Wednesday, October 28, 2009

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

My mailbox was full. I received a notice telling me I had a package too big to fit inside it. Since the post office was closed for the day, I’d have to come pick it up, the next day. Excited, I couldn’t wait. My SKELETON had arrived. You see DRACULA is buried in the back of my garage, hidden away behind all kinds of junk that accumulated throughout the year. So… it would be too much trouble to DIG him out, without emptying the entire garage. Life-size, with bloodshot eyes, and an infectious grin, he will be sorely MISSED this year at Halloween. I fell in love with him, in Chicago, six years ago… and he hitched a ride home with me. My faithful friend has stood on my porch, every October, since then, until this year. In years past, I would don my witch’s apparel… complete with warts, cobwebs and vampire teeth, dripping blood. Throughout my yard would be an assortment of ghouls, tombstones and ghosts, sitting in the grass or hanging from the trees. The kids loved it. It was great fun. But… as I’ve gotten older, the neighborhood children have grown and gone. I no longer see the TRICK or TREATERS I used to. So the theatrics stopped, for a few years, until DRACULA. Then, it was just he and I… year after year. BUT, now… this holiday, I’m feeling lonely without him… so I had to improvise and find something to REPLACE him. I cleverly made up a GOBLIN, sitting in a chair and put a PUMPKIN in his lap. But the LOOK wasn’t complete. So… I went online a week ago, and found myself, a life-size, GLOW-IN-THE-DARK, SKELETON to sit on the opposite side of the porch. He’s the perfect companion, to my other new friend. This year… won’t be the same, without the VAMPIRE... but I’ll still be in the spirit... haunting anybody, who happens past… TRICK or TREATERS, or not.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

APPRECIATION

My house is adorned with artwork hanging on the walls. These are paintings we have been collecting, for a lifetime. Most have more sentimental value than monetary. Some of them belonged to my in-laws, before they died... some, to my grandmother, others were my husband’s and there are a few that were mine. Now they belong to us. At the time we acquired them, there was a story attached to each one, that we mulled over. As the years passed… they just hung there, pretty much ignored, except for dusting… until the other day. Our four-year-old granddaughter was here, and she started asking questions about them... which proves, art appreciation starts at any age. Looking up at a colorful painting of a symphony, behind our sofa, she wanted to know what it was? My husband told her, “ It is musicians playing their instruments.” The same was true of the next two paintings she examined. “More musicians.” One of a trio… the other, of the conductor and orchestra. “What does this one mean”, she asked innocently, walking across the room and pointing out a cityscape of Chicago. I told her it was a painting of the Chicago skyline. “What about this one”, she inquired. “It’s pointillism of a house and flowers, poppies to be exact.” “And this one”, she whispered. I explained that picture was painted by her aunt. It was a pot of gold, at the base of purple mountains, majesty. Temporarily satisfied with the answers she pressed on. Looking quizzically at a bright red and black abstract painting, she wanted to know what the ‘books’ in the picture were. This surprised her grandfather, who always thought the blocks drawn in the painting, represented a street scene in Detroit. So he told her that. “BUT”… she said, “What does it mean? It’s Books.” Out of the mouths of babes… ART interpretation is, all in the eye of the beholder. Forget Woodward Avenue, grandpa… from now on, BOOKS, it is.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

CONCERT

I had an interesting day… And, it was quite unexpected. I went to run some errands, and ended up… with a front row spot, at an impromptu concert, in the center aisle, of my local Wal-Mart store. The scene unfolded like this. One kid was sitting there playing the drums, another was on the guitar, while their father stood at a microphone, singing along, karaoke style… all prompted by a big screen television, displaying the new interactive Beatles game. A small crowd gathered round to listen to their live performance. Hoots and hollers, with a smattering of applause, filled the makeshift arena… encouraging the trio, as they tried to emulate the Fab Four. It was quite a moment… They did a bang-up job. But, after a while… I decided it was time for me, to get busy and shop… since I didn’t come here to see a concert. So, before they finished their latest set… I left the area to find coasters, a tablecloth, and the rest of the stuff on my list. It took a while, to gather the things I needed, in part… because of all the material distractions, along the way. But finally, I got the job done. Heading to the cash registers… Imagine my surprise, to discover… the entertainers were still going strong, forty minutes later. The crowd had thinned out quite a bit, and seemed much quieter, than when I first got there, but… the musicians pressed on, nonetheless. Wal-Mart should have paid them for all the free publicity. It was very clever strategy to put an interactive display out there on the floor. Passerby’s inevitably wanted to become part of the act or be audience members. It turned into quite an advertisement for the product, not to mention a memory maker for the participants. The experience was PRICELESS. Thanksgiving and Christmas sales are right around the corner… looks like Wal-Mart got a big head start.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

VACUUM

Company... is coming in three days, and the vacuum cleaner just broke. I smelled something burning. I think it’s a broken belt.  I need a number 10 Bissell belt, if it is. I bought a package of two, just in case. However, the package says it’s also for 7, 9, 12 and 14 too. So… I hope it fits. It was cheap enough, though. Only $2.50. Unfortunately, you have to unscrew and snap the cover off the vacuum to install it. I may take it to the sweeper shop and have them do it. But... they’ll probably charge $50, and keep it for a week, so maybe I won’t? I don't have the time. And, I think I need new filters too. Unfortunately there weren’t any, the right size, at any of the stores I frequent. I don’t know where I can get some, around here, on such short notice. I’ll have to order them online and make do with the old ones for now. The other problem is, the canister keeps getting clogged with dirt. What a pain in the rear, this is. I don’t know why they don’t make them with bags anymore… that way, your hands stayed out of the dirt, and the mess was contained. With the canisters it’s just not as simple as the manufacturers would like you to believe. Nowadays… it seems… anything meant to simplify life, ends up complicating it. Well… the clocks ticking, time’s a wasting and the floor needs cleaning. The vacuum better be up and running, by day’s end, or else I’m trading it in.

Friday, October 9, 2009

THE MOVE

On the way out to eat… I noticed a grasshopper on the windshield of the car. Clinging for dear life, the little bug maneuvered itself onto the windshield wipers, on the far right side of the vehicle. There it stayed quite content… sitting pretty, throughout downtown and then past the post office. This is quite a trek for people, not to mention a hitchhiking bug. But I noticed the poor little guy, beginning to get antsy, not long after the sightseeing commenced. When the car stopped at the first red light, he began trying to edge his way… left, across the seemingly endless expanse of the blades. I worried a gust of wind might carry him away, into traffic, when he shifted to the front edge of the wipers, instead of laying low, near the rear. Resilient… he hung on, as the car worked it’s way through town, slowing at intersections and stopping at stop signs, then speeding up again. Dinner out, was the intended destination, so when the car got close enough… I started plotting strategy. I wanted us to park near, the shrubbery, on the grounds of the restaurant, so the grasshopper could end his ride, without incident. Fortunately, there was the perfect parking space, next to a grassy island, complete with bushes and a tree. The car moved into position. On his journey… the grasshopper had successfully maneuvered to the left, driver’s side of the vehicle. That’s where he was, when we headed into eat. Throughout the meal, I speculated if he hopped off to start life someplace new? My question was answered a short time later, when we headed back to the car. There he was, still clinging to the wiper blade. A decision was made to end his adventure, and to put him out of his misery. He belonged, closer to nature. His wild ride was over. With the help of an old cardboard temporary tag, he was lifted from the car and set into the grass, next to a bush. I hope he likes his new digs. It was fun helping him move. I’m just glad it didn’t rain.

Friday, October 2, 2009

TICK! TOCK!

A year ago, I bought a new watch. It had a nightlight, showed the current date and had big numbers I could read without my glasses. It was two-tone silver and gold, with a bracelet band that opened and closed. I liked it, but it kept losing time… first, fifteen minutes, then, half an hour. Initially, I blamed the manufacturer and took it back to the store to complain. The store claimed it had an old battery and replaced it. Problem solved. I was ecstatic. With my watch fixed, I went about my business and stopped worrying about it. But a couple weeks later, the nightlight stopped working and the hour hands, slowed down again. TICK! TOCK! I took it back to the store. Jewelry clerk looked it over, tested it and determined it needed another new battery. “How is that possible?” I demanded to know, stating the battery had just been replaced. No explanation was given, except to say, that was the problem. The battery was dead. So, it was replaced again. Making the assumption, this battery thing was a coincidence… I rested easy knowing my watch, still had shelf life, off the shelf. TICK! TOCK! Three weeks later, the watch lost half an hour and the nightlight failed. I got mad. I wanted the store to replace the watch. After a lengthy, song and dance routine, the store refused. BUT… you guessed it, offered to replace the battery, claiming that was the only thing wrong. This prompted me to ask, “How old is your stock of batteries? This will be the third time in two months, you replaced it.” To which, I received a dirty look and the inevitable comment… “Our stock is current.” So I wondered what could be causing the problem? It was irritating and I was tired of dealing with it. With no solutions in sight, disgruntled, I left the store. TICK! TOCK! Sure enough, in a couple weeks, it failed again. This time… I took the watch from my wrist, put it in my jewelry box and went in search of a new one. On my birthday, I found one... different manufacturer, different store. For four months it’s been running fine. Yesterday, I noticed the nightlight stopped working. Here we go again…