Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Like A Scene From A Dark Comedy...

So today as I was sitting in our town office, during an informal meeting in which were discussing ideas for enhancing our 'Arts & Entertainment District'... A very different scene was playing just outside the door.

It was difficult not to stray from the subject of promoting our small town, new businesses, friendly shopping atmosphere and arts... Whilst in our peripheral vision we could see a homeless woman just outside the door, denuding the town Christmas tree of its sparkly garland and move it to the street sign, where she'd carefully wrap it around the pole. Once she'd finished with that project, she'd shuffle back over to the tree, remove another strand of garland and start over again on another sign. Eventually, she enlisted the help of homeless gentleman (a friend?), who at first, became a co-conspirator in the deconstructing of the tree ornamentation. However, as our meeting progressed, some sort of shift had taken place outside. At some point, the two unlikely elves, altered their strategy and began RE-decorating the town tree.

I'm wondering just how, we can go about marketing that particular brand of small town charm.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

To Give Is Divine!

My husband and I debated back and forth for weeks, months actually. The kids both wanted laptops... Nay, NEEDED laptops... But 'that much money' as a Christmas gift... For BOTH of our offspring seemed, well, OVER indulgent!

The boy, well, his laptop was well into antique stage... I guess we got him that for Christmas something like 5 maybe 6 years ago. Surely it belongs in some museum somewhere and the noises it had been making every time he used it, led us to believe it just might give up the ghost at any moment.

The girl, well, like most 2nd children she survived on hand-me-downs or just had to do without. MY laptop became her recent 'dumping' ground for ALL those photos she takes and my hard drive was beginning to groan with the strain of it all.

It wasn't an easy decision for my husband who kept mumbling phrases like, "Wish MY parents had been 'rich' when I was growing up!"... "Laptop bags cost WHAT? I'm not spending ANOTHER penny, this Christmas is just getting outrageous!" (or something to that effect and that's when I had to set him straight by telling him, "Listen, either you go through with this gift, giving it with a generous heart or DON'T bother GIVING it at ALL!"... At which point he acquiesced and never made another derogatory statement.)

Christmas eve morning arrived (the day we give our gifts to one another before venturing off to spend time with family) and we went through our usual routine of the youngest handing out her gifts first, then my son and then my husband and I exchanging gifts back and forth, whilst giving the kids a gift here and there. It was a very generous Christmas indeed and the kids just assumed that the videos, tickets to a show, various clothing items and books culminated this years Christmas 'take'... They were completely flummoxed by the large box my husband and I pulled out from the back of the tree at the end, a box that listed both of their names on the 'To:' portion of the tag. Once they got the tape loosened from the box and made their way through the piles of paper filler inside, they discovered 2 laptop bags. That's when my husband said, "For Someday." My daughter says she immediately thought, "Maybe I'll get a laptop for my birthday" which is in April. My son says he thought possibly the laptops had been ordered but not yet arrived. But then 'Dad' said, "Or you could go look in my office."

The ensuing clamor as both kids jumped to their feet and raced up the stairs left both my husband and I laughing. Especially when we heard my daughter yell to her brother, "No fair, your legs are longer!" Her brother politely stood at the top of the stairs, stepped back and said, "After you." There was a long pause once they entered the office and my husband and I both yelled up, "Hey, open 'em up down here please!" They both came down the stairs much more carefully then they'd climbed them, both cradling their still wrapped gifts.

My husband and I watched as our two wonderful kids opened their laptops with mile wide smiles upon their faces and that's when my daughter looked up and said, "I'm gonna cry." And then, this daughter of mine who isn't one who is easily moved to tears... Her eyes begin to fill up which in turn made my eyes fill up... And all that doubt my husband and I had regarding 'Over Indulgence' went right out the window because we knew how truly grateful our kids really were for the gifts they'd received... We've been thanked dozens of times by both of them in the last few days... And another really big advantage... I can use MY laptop again, without having to kick someone off of it... Well, except for maybe my husband.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

3 Days More

You know, an answer would be nice!

I'm still managing the Artist Co-op I mentioned a while ago.

You see, it goes like this...
In November the owners of the shop conceded to giving several artists a 'cut rate' for the opportunity to sell items out of their building for a 2 month period... A building they've been trying to sell for the past 2 years and would otherwise be empty and a complete drain of money without the Co-op.

The owners originally agreed to a 2 month lease, facilitated by the local Chamber & Alliance. In 3 more days the lease will be up. However, 2 weeks ago I submitted a letter to the owners asking that we might sit down to negotiate staying at the shop and possibly moving forward with a month to month agreement. As of yet the answers I've received have been vague and non-committal.

3 days... In 3 DAYS!!!

We need answers people... ANSWERS!!!

I'm not very good at living with frustration and unanswered questions.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

What would YOU do?

So the other night I had a very vivid dream that I won $138 million.

$138 MILLION!!!

How does my brain, in a state of dream-like consciousness manage to come up with such an untidy number? Well, at least it's an even number.

But here's where it gets really weird... Having won the money in my first dream, I segued into a second dream where I was telling David Cassidy I had a dream I'd won $138 million dollars. For what it's worth, I don't think David Cassidy was all that impressed by my dream... Now that I think about it, I'm willing to bet your reaction at reading this post is in line with David Cassidy.

Anywho, turns out sharing my dream with our friends the other night led to quite an interesting conversation over just what we'd do if we were to win $138 million. Everyone seemed to agree they would hide under a rock somewhere and tell only those folks closest to them (spouse, kids) and the first thing they'd do is find a GOOD lawyer (which could obviously take a serious amount of time.)

Past the intial plans, most folks decided to keep enough for themselves so they could live off the divendends (In today's economy we never did arrive at what figure that should be) and with the remainder they would become philanthropists. Others came up with some crazy ideas. It's been a fun question to ask people and here are some of the answers I've received:
  • Offer $100,000 grants to anyone named Zak.
  • Build a Lego bridge across the Elk Neck River.
  • Open a rent free hotel for people down on their luck, help them get back on their feet through education and job opportunities.
Note: I asked how they'd handle deadbeats and the answer was they'd be incorporating their 'Bullshit Meter' which is highly sensitive.
  • One gal said she'd hop in her car and travel from one side of the U.S. to the other, visiting small towns and the overlooked and under appreciated parts of America.
I think she's interested in channeling Charles Kuralt.

As for myself? I can't even fathom what I'd do with that kind of money. It's painfully obvious even my sleeping brain couldn't conceive of an answer, as the dream ended before I even had a check in my hand.

Now, I'd like to propose the question to you... What would YOU do with $138 million? I'm sure David Cassidy would like to know.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Beat The Clock

Is it true, tomorrow makes us only 9 short days away from Christmas? But how can that be?
  • I just started MY shopping today.
  • I have just half of my Christmas cards signed and addressed.
  • While we DID manage to get the tree up and the house decorated, my living and family room are littered with storage containers, unused strands of lights and all those magazines I managed to purge which now need to be taken to the recycling center. (It was one of those stupid activities which had me thinking I had an unlimited amount of extra time on my hands.
  • Oh and let's see, what else? There's that little matter of landing another front page story in the local newspaper about donating my gift wrapping services to raise money for our local hospice foundation. Either people are going to forget about the article OR this time next week, I'm gonna be up to my eyeballs in gift wrap.
Little wonder I don't seem to be able to catch up to the speed of those hands spinning around the face of the clock on my wall... But you know what? I'm still able to take deep cleansing breaths.... It'll all get done... And if it doesn't? Nobody's really going to care because I'm fortunate my kids have reached the age where they're not asking how many days 'til Christmas but instead saying, "Are you freakin' kidding me, there's ONLY 9 days 'til Christmas?... *deep breath* *deep breath*

Gotta' love it!

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Let me tell you again saleslady... NO, I DON'T WANT TO USE MY SEARS CARD!



Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Liar Liar Pants On Fire

Last night I was watching the show 'Bait Car' on 'TRU-TV' with my daughter.

Hoo-Wee!... What an eye opener.

Because last week I was dealing with someone who wasn't exactly honest with me and at the time all I could think was, "Wow, how does someone go through their life thinking a lack of honesty will get them out of the circumstances they've put themselves in, by lying in the first place. Obviously I'm being a bit vague here, but you know what I mean. Little kids typically learn early on, that lying usually results in more trouble than the initial indiscretion but it never ceases to amaze me when I come across an adult who never learned this simple lesson.

So, I'm watching 'Bait Car'... If you haven't heard it, the whole premise behind the police department's '
bait car' program is to entice an auto thief to take the rigged automobile and get caught. The real fun ensues when, after being caught, the perpetrator(s) try to talk their way out of the 'situation' they've found themselves in... And the more they talk, the deeper they sink into the bullshit they're dishing out.

My favorite part of the show last night, had to be the guy who explained his way out of stealing the 'bait car' by telling the police he surmised the car was stolen and he didn't want a 'stolen' vehicle sitting near his house, so he decided to 'move' it out of the area. Good one Jose, but I don't think the cops bought your story, especially after watching the hidden video where you giggled at your good fortune and the stupidity of the person who abandoned such a 'fine' vehicle (Cadillac Escalade.)

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Jewelry Lady

We're now up to 9 artists at the Co-op I'm managing. I have the luxury of pretty much flitting in and out of the shop, tending to 'important' business-like stuff but every once in a while I get the opportunity to linger and learn a little bit about each of the girls.

Last night I made an off-hand comment to the 'Jewelry Artist'. I asked her if she'd had anything to eat, after spending the entire day at the shop. When she said, "No." I teased, "So you subsist on nothing more than coffee & cigarettes?" That's when she said, "Well after I was shot I don't have much of a stomach left, so I don't need to eat much."



"Yes" she replied. "I worked at a Burger King and one night I was robbed."

"Did you refuse to hand over the money?"

"No, I gave him the money and just as I was telling him there was someone else in the back, my co-worker came out carrying a armload of pans... When he saw the gunman, he dropped the pans. This startled the gunman who shot me and then my co-worker." "I was the lucky one" she said. "I was shot in the gut but my 15 yr. old co-worker, working his first job, was killed."

I guess in an attempt to lighten the mood a bit she followed with, "But they didn't get rid of me that easily, I went back."

I had to ask, "How can you even consider working in retail after something like that, I'd be terrified!"

"For a time, that's exactly the way I felt... The only place I'd go is to the physician and the grocery store and then I'd hide in my house... But I knew I couldn't do that forever, so I fought back."

I then asked her if that's why she walks with a cane?

"No" she said. "I walk with the cane because I was smashed in the back with a heavy metal fire door, while I was crouched down doing an inventory of salt packets, yes, you have to inventory EVEN the salt packets, at the restaurant where I worked. The only way to get through the heavy door was to put all your weight against it. One of the guys I worked with did so, I was on the other side and the door hit me squarely in the back, with such force, it shattered 4 of my vertebrae."


I've come to the conclusion that there are some people who refuse to let life ground them and it's these people who I hold in high esteem. Because there are some who have dealt with far less, who think the world somehow owes them. But people like 'The Jewelry Lady', push on with an attitude of refusing to give up on the business of living a full life.

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