Wednesday, January 19, 2022

 January 19, 2022

I know I’ve often waxed damn near rhapsodically about the “good old days”, when the snow was so deep in the wintertime that driving down a plowed country road, one couldn’t see any of the passing scenery because the snowbanks were higher than the car’s windows.

Well, it wasn’t quite that bad on this past Monday morning, but it was close. By the time the plow went down the road clearing off the foot and a bit of snow we received during the night and into the morning, the cold white stuff was piled to a height that came to just at the bottom of the car windows. Fortunately, Monday was our daughter’s regular day off, and she hadn’t planned to go anywhere.

Our grandson had hoped to come by and give us a hand with the snow removal. Unfortunately, his car was snowed in as badly as ours were. David got the snow blower out of the basement mid-morning and slowly began to go to work on the sidewalk and our small walkway. He used the shovel for the porch and the porch steps, as well as a bathroom path in the back yard because the snow was deeper than a couple of our dogs are tall. A friend who also has small dogs coined the phrase, “a path to pee-dom”. Kind of cute.

This snow blower is the only one we’ve ever owned. We bought it several years ago, and while it is electric, it is not self-propelled. It’s large and can be nearly unwieldly if the snow is deep and heavy enough. Using the blower is a bit better than having to use a shovel, but honestly? Neither are easy for my beloved anymore.

The work took a lot out of him, but I could see he felt good that he was able to do that much. He’d planned to wait for our grandson to come and dig out the cars—but that didn’t happen. In the end, since this is house stands on a corner lot, after supper time David used that snow blower once more to clear the area between the side street and the front of our daughter’s car. Hers was parked ahead of ours, so once that area was relatively clean, she was able to drive it out, and park on the plowed side street. Then she did the same with the car that we use as our own. The snow work and car moving was done by about seven in the evening.

Then the next morning, the plow came down early, about six in the morning, and cleared the snow that had been piled up next to our vehicles. When daughter came home at around one yesterday afternoon, she parked in her usual spot and then brought my car back to its place in front of our house (and behind hers). I had been told by both my daughter and my husband that I was not going out in the snow, because it was still deep in a lot of places and really, I would likely have ended up on my ass if I had tried. Since falls are to be avoided at all costs, I gave in to their wishes.

There are times when I want to just say, bugger this getting older crap. In my thirties and forties—before my heart attack—I was quite adept at cleaning off my own car in winter and digging it out if I had to. In fact, there were times in my past when I actually enjoyed the exercise. The country house I grew up in, and that David and I lived in with our children after my mother’s passing, had a driveway that if filmed from about fifty feet up by a drone would look like a hockey stick laying on its side. We all loved that driveway because we could pull in, drive to the end, steer to the right, back up, and then drive forward and park near the back door of the house with our vehicles facing the road, so that leaving again involved no backing up whatsoever. The driveway measured about one hundred feet with the turn around, making it a fairly long one.

And before I was a married woman, and a driver, I was a teen with a shovel and yes, snow days meant I had a shoveling assignment. As long as the driveway was clear by about 3:45 in the afternoon, when Mom came home from work, all was good.

There were a few times when I shoveled the entire length of that sucker in just a few hours. And a few blessed times when one of our neighbors (who owned the quarry and would in the future be my husband’s boss) came down with his loader and cleared that one hundred feet in about ten minutes.

The good old days indeed.

Every snowfall we’ve received this winter prior to the one on Monday has melted away in less than a week. I doubt this lot will be melting anytime soon. But one thing I do know, if I know anything at all is that you really never can judge how long the snow will last or what the weather will be, forecasts be damned. And since I don’t need to leave the house until the first week of February, I guess I’ll just sit back and watch out my window to see what happens next.




Wednesday, January 12, 2022

 January 12, 2022

I know it’s definitely winter when I dig out the few pairs of thick, dark blue men’s very fuzzy socks that David gave me a couple of years ago. Regular socks worn with high over-the-ankle slippers simply just don’t cut it when it’s deeply cold the way it’s been here the last few days. Thanks to the arthritis, when my ankles get cold, they don’t feel cold to me unless I touch them with my fingers. They just hurt.

I resorted to those socks on Monday when the temperature was “14 Fahrenheit but feels like minus 4.” They absolutely made a difference. I wore them again yesterday and I’m thinking that for the next few days at least, they’re going to be my new best friends.

With the arrival of January comes the return of a some good prime time television programs, so I have more than the option of watching the cable news networks in the evening—theoretically. I’m trying to focus on reading in my off-writing hours, and not watching so many doom-and-gloom cable news presentations. The constant hair-on-fire admonitions can really wear a body down!

When our kids were younger, weekends were a time when we’d head to Blockbuster Video, and each kid would get to pick a movie—and that was how we spent the weekend. We’d watch those movies as a family, and sometimes twice. But in the last, oh, ten years or so, I have lost my taste for watching movies. There are a few I’ve gone to the theater to see (pre-Covid, of course), and a couple I’ve watched since, but at home. But mostly movies just don’t appeal to me anymore. I wish I wanted to watch more movies. With all the streaming services available there are movies galore one could watch and never view a news program again!

In the interest of complete transparency, I must confess that there is currently one exception to that, and it’s not a movie, but a “live capture” of a Broadway play that’s available only on Apple TV plus. I know I’ve mentioned it to y’all in at least one previous essay. The name of the production is “Come From Away”. I’ve watched it, oh, maybe a dozen times since last September. It helps that it’s a musical because I always have loved musicals.

Lately, I’ve been more than a little annoyed with the propensity for people—people who I have to figure were raised better—to lie. And not just to lie to their neighbors and friends, but to the world at large, and on social media. But what I am really annoyed with is the way so many people seem to believe the lies being told. There is an entire massive chunk of the population that has not been blessed with what I consider to be a vital characteristic: discernment.

Discernment is an important attribute/skill/trait to cultivate. You don’t have to be born with it the way you do with a talent for, say, music or writing or making an inviting home. It can be gifted to you, of course, but you can develop it if you have a mind to.

How many of you recall a time when mom or dad would get after you for following along with some lamebrain thing that one of your friends did, with an admonition that sounded like: “And if Ted jumped off a cliff, would you follow him then, too?”

That was your parent’s attempt to help instill discernment within you.

But from what I’m seeing with regard to societal trends especially with regard to social media? There are a whole lot of people lying and a whole lot more folks willing to follow those bad actors off every kind of cliff you can imagine—metaphorically speaking.

Now, I earn my living through the sale of eBooks. I owe a lot to this online medium, this internet, I really do. But there are times when I wonder—would it really be so bad if we suffered a major CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) and this technology went poof?

Of course, that’s just my irritation talking. Since it would, in fact, be bad—there are likely so many everyday things that are built on the back of the internet and its attendant technology that if that went for a dive, we’d all be in very real trouble. So, no, I can’t pray for the internet to vanish just to stop the rabid spread of horse puckey and bull hooey on social media. (Although there is a part of me that wishes I could because, man, that stuff is getting deep.)

Thus, it’s up to me, and me alone to monitor my own intake of mind-waste. And since I do have a healthy sense of discernment, separating the wheat from the chaff in life isn’t a particularly difficult thing for me to do.

It is however—and especially lately—an onerous, boring, never-ending task.




Wednesday, January 5, 2022

 January 5, 2022

Last Monday marked the 59th anniversary of my father’s death. I was eight and a half years old at the time. I always think of that as my age then, eight and a half, which is how a child thinks of their age. Adults don’t say I’m sixty-seven and a half years old.

This tells me that when I think of my father, and of his death, I’m back there, in the mind of that child who lost the one parent who would hold her and hug her and tuck her into bed at night. The one who read her stories and craftily slipped her soda and potato chips on a night when she snuck from her bed, certain that everyone was having a party without her. The soda and chips confirmed that long ago four-year-old’s suspicions.

I remember having a discussion with one of my supervisors several years ago. He had lost his father as an adult, and he said that had been the hardest thing he’d ever gone through. Far worse, he proclaimed, to lose a parent when one was an adult as opposed to when one was “only a child”.

I didn’t voice my disagreement with him on that because it wouldn’t have registered with the man.  He was one of those arrogant types who believed that only men truly mattered in life. Yes, there were still some of those in the early 2000s. Probably still are today, but since I am blessed enough to work in a solitary profession, I no longer have to deal with any of them.

I have met some people who’ve never lost a close family member. I think they’re lucky, in some respects, not to know that kind of pain. And by the same token, because it is the truth that all who live must die, I feel sorry for them. They will eventually be devastated by a loss that will cut them to the bone. That will be a new experience for them, and maybe in that regard, my former supervisor was correct.

New experiences are not always as welcome, the older we become.

We’re currently at the end of a several days long cold snap here in my neck of the woods. But even more worrying than that, we, along with just about everyone else on this continent, are in yet another Covid surge. I’ll tell you one thing and it’s this: when the infection numbers get high enough (they are 4 times higher here than they were at their previous all-time high) you rediscover the fear that you first discovered in the beginning of this pandemic two years ago. And you decide that, okay, I can stay home, isolate, keep everyone away, if I have to. No problem!

Of course, we know that we’re relatively safe, because we’ve been vaccinated, and boosted. We know that although catching the virus is possible, that we’re protected from serious illness and death by that vaccine. Still, we don’t wish to go through that if we don’t have to, so we will be careful and just stay the hell home.

David continues to work on his current renovation project. It’s going slowly, and that’s fine with me. He’s put a door into the wall that exists between our bathtub and the outside wall with the window (on the west side of the house). You see, on the other side of this wall, as one is facing south, is (or I should say was) our bedroom closet. When all is done, instead of walking forty-five to fifty steps one way from my bed to the bathroom, I will be able to make the trek in about ten steps.

And looking to the future, the door is wide enough to accommodate my walker, something that the door from the front hallway into the bathroom is not.

Of course, the color scheme of the bathroom is going to be different. Shortly after we moved into this house, about thirty or so years ago, we painted the bathroom. David and a then teenaged Jennifer went to pick out the paint. I had wanted a soft, pastel pink. What we ended up with was a pink so bright that at times I felt I needed to wear sunglasses just to go pee.

This time, we’re thinking of a pastel green. The plan is to have tile board from the floor four feet up, all around the room, and in the shower area, and then paint the color above it. Where we’re at, today? David is going to be putting the dry wall paint onto the new drywall and the parts of the walls that used to be pink but are now wearing a coat of flat white.

He’s still in the process of looking for that tile board, and of course, with new restrictions in place with regard to shopping in this province, it may be some time before we get that. And despite the fact that our preference is for a pastel green on the walls, I did suggest we wait until we get that board purchased and delivered before choosing our final color. Because his original suggestion, that we get just a plain, blinding-white tile board?

My knee-jerk reaction is that’s not going to fly. I told him that sounded far too institutional looking to me. We may end up in an institution some day, but until we do, I can see no reason to live in anticipation of that time yet to come.




Wednesday, December 29, 2021

 December 29, 2021

The year is winding down, and even though this tradition we have of celebrating a new beginning at the very end of December is much cherished, it is, in a way, artificial. But having said that, I think that we humans must have known what we were doing way back in the long ago, to set a definite end moment of the current year and create a “starting over point”, going forward.

I imagine there are a lot of people in eager anticipation of the end of 2021—good riddance they’ll say—and ready to blow the horns and shout, come on in, 2022!

That concept—out with the old, and in with the new—is the very reason that spring is my favorite season. After the relative stasis of winter, of course, comes the spring. Spring, with it’s tiny green shoots poking through the snow, gives us the reality of new life beginning, and a very real sense of “starting over.” When you think about it, the “new year” really should begin in the springtime.

I need to share with you something that I’ve thought about long and hard over the last few days. If life were a movie, it feels, especially lately, as if the movie we would be living would be Groundhog Day, as opposed to the one that the season of Christmastime tries to edge us toward—It’s A Wonderful Life.

But I digress.

It has become harder in recent months for me to keep up a positive attitude. I don’t think I’m alone in this.  And that is most unfortunate because now is when we need a positive attitude more than we have ever needed one to date. Therefore, desiring to be proactive, and on a positive note, I can tell you that the one thing I know for certain right now is that neither you, nor I, are the only ones who feel as if they have slowed down, as if they are just so damn tired all the time, and as if everything we aim to accomplish takes a ton more energy now that ever it did before.

It really is not just you and me, my friends.

I believe that this sense of brain fog and energy depletion we’re feeling should be recognized as the pandemic within the pandemic. Whether we’ve individually come down with Covid or not, this one, this pall, this miasma, we have all come down with. There is not a single person I’ve spoken to who doesn’t feel this way.

 I don’t know what the cure is, really. I imagine it’s going to be different things for different people. Seriously, I believe the choice before us all right now is this: perk up or perish!

To a certain extent, I believe that the cure for the dark ick hovering over us all must include some form of physical exercise. In times past, whenever someone was feeling tired, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say “burned out”, others have recommended exercise. The maxim is that expending energy to exercise creates more energy. (That’s sort of like that truism in life that the more love you give, the more love you have to give).  I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, per se, as you well know from these essays. But I sometimes will take the time to look at where I am and what I’m doing with a view to perhaps making a slight course correction.

The course correction I’m contemplating involves physical activity. Heck of a time of year to decide on that, but there it is. I want to move more—not higher, stronger, faster. Just….more. Around the house, around the room, it doesn’t matter. I can put two feet in front of the other (I walk with a cane so technically that is three “feet” I am tottering around on) and just do it.

I don’t have to talk myself into accomplishing this—at least not much. What I do have to keep affirming, mentally, is that this isn’t something that will show any kind of instant results. This will take time. There are some small, particular improvements I am hoping to see, and I think if I begin today (actually I began yesterday) and move more each day than I have been doing over the last year, I should see some improvement by the end of March. In this household, the end of March is synonymous with the end of winter. So that would be as close to perfect as I can get.

Movement creates energy, and energy eradicates stagnation. Yes, my dear friends, this is just my opinion. I don’t care if anyone else believes this, or not. I only care about getting my butt in gear, and honestly, moving is the best way I know to do that.

Plus, keeping busy does guarantee that sleep comes easier. Trust me when I say that a good, easy sleep is second to exercise in curing whatever may ail you.

And I will also here admit that I need to add the adjective “earlier” to that. Staying up until the wee hours really isn’t good for one hoping to get an early start on the day with vim and vigor.

Wishing you all a wonderful 2022!




Wednesday, December 22, 2021

 December 22, 2021

Here we are again! It’s almost Christmas of 2021, and it really doesn’t seem like a year since it was Christmas of 2020.

And as another wave of the virus surges, so does what they’re calling “virus fatigue”. I don’t think there are many people who don’t feel this modern-day miasma. I’ve been reflecting lately, and I really can’t tell you how many times in the 2010s I heard the warnings. Several learned, intelligent people, people of consequence, warned us that we were overdue for a major pandemic. They told us that it could be very, very bad. They told us to be ready.

Then, just as we were exiting that decade and entering the 2020’s, it came! The pandemic the ubiquitous “they” had been warning us about for years. And…we really weren’t prepared for this at all, were we?

Do you think that our habit of living life at ninety miles an hour, of arranging our society so that instant gratification is the norm has contributed to our lack of preparedness?

I do.

If you’re a parent, you inevitably recall times when your children “just couldn’t wait” for something—be it Christmas morning or arriving at your destination after an hours-long car ride. It’s that kind of impatience that I believe is gripping society at large right now. There are a lot of people interviewed briefly on the evening news casts who are positively whiny about wanting this over.

Which brings me to what else we are lacking in, and this is a biggie and an absolute necessity for surviving a pandemic, sanity intact.

From what I am seeing most people do not, by and large, seem to have an old-fashioned quality called “stick-to-it-ivness”.

I first heard that whining of “when will it be over?” sometime in May of 2020. This was after the general consensus was in March, that, hey, we shut everything down, and in a month, it will be over.  Really, people? A pandemic that comes and goes in a month, three at most?

When we learned there was a pandemic, David and I were absolutely terrified at first. We didn’t know if it was an airborne virus that could come on a wind, or if it needed some form of closer contact to spread. And, since the consensus was that older people, and people with “comorbidities” were most at risk, and we realized we checked both of those boxes, yeah, terror defines our original reaction well.

So we shut the door of our house to everyone who wasn’t one of the three of us, and we watched and we listened, and most importantly, we learned. Now, in our search for real, solid information we did stumble upon some “misinformation”, but for us, that was a pretty easy commodity to sort out. Like separating the wheat from the chaff.

We came to the conclusion that this pandemic would be with us for two, possibly three years. That realization didn’t make us at all happy, but it was what it was—and still is. Now, here I must say that in truth this pandemic could have been much worse. It could have been more “air borne” than it is, and—and this is a very big and—the scientists could still be searching for a vaccine. So, if we had to have a pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 is not the worst one that can imagine.

What we never once had on our bingo cards was that a whole bunch of people would refuse to be vaccinated. Or wear masks. Or social distance. We never once, in the beginning, could have imagined that people, en masse, would refuse to believe that the damn virus was even real.

Because of our failure of imagination, we are both beginning to wonder how long beyond our original estimate of two years this thing will last.

We have received two shots of the Moderna vaccine, and tomorrow, we get our boosters. If, in another 4 to 6 months, they suggest we get another shot, which is what they are doing in Israel right now? Well, we will be rolling up our sleeves.

We are no longer living in fear. We watched and we learned. And because we did, we are living in reality. Yes, we’re tired of it all. But that is something we just have to get over. Or endure. It is exhausting. But we’re not quitters, generally speaking. And since we want to stay on this earth for as long as God will allow us to do so, well, we’ll just do our best to carry on. We intend to live our lives, not by going ahead and, against best practices, “doing” this or that, and not by clinging to customs that used to be, as pleasant as they were.

We may not go out to dinner, or to parties. But we are keeping our attitudes as positive as possible. We are keeping in touch with family and friends. We are keeping busy.

This year, at some point we will attend small gatherings of family, and everyone there will be people who are also vaccinated. Until those two events happen, and, I hope, for every day from this moment forward, we are keeping the peace of that first gift of Christmas within our hearts.

And I can promise you that on Saturday, we will be communicating with our loved ones, and possibly watching some of our favorite Christmas movies. We’ll remember the joys of Christmases past—which, as parents of a child who is in heaven is something we have done for nearly two decades.

May your hearts be filled with love and laughter and the peace which is at the heart of this season. Merry Christmas, from our house to yours!



Wednesday, December 15, 2021

 December 15, 2021

Thanks to the past weekend having been spent with three of our four great-grandchildren here for a sleepover, our Christmas tree is up and decorated.

It’s not a real tree that you’ll find here in our house. Our daughter developed an allergy to the real thing when she was a young teen. (She can’t even have one of those classic pine-tree air fresheners in her car.) The tree we have now we purchased a few years back, the December following the “great attic clean-up caper” that David and the girls staged one spring. This was back before our daughter moved in with us. It was a very well-organized effort, needed because over the last many years prior to that noble effort, they both—our girls, that is—liked to bring things here to “store”. That’s all well and good and we are always happy to help them—until the space runs out. So, they planned a mass clean-out of what was no longer needed/wanted.  We’d ordered a huge bin, and the three of them, working together, did a good job “cleaning up” the attic. The good news is, that there was a lot of space created and unwanted stuff gotten rid of.

Unfortunately, they tossed our Christmas tree out in error. Our daughter had mistaken our tree for her tree, which she had thought she had stored here. And during that great attic clean up she had decided, for whatever reason, that she no longer wanted it. There were a couple of other items in that clean up that we lost as well, including a small metal table that I had purchased to use when I needed to sort out my paperwork during tax prep season. The table had been bought the fall before, and it hadn’t cost much, but it had worked perfectly.

The tree we have now isn’t very tall—only about five foot high. Because I like that tree, the year after we acquired it I went out and purchased some miniature-sized decorations for it. We have lights, garland, and hanging ornaments. With small dogs in the house, we don’t bother with the tinsel or anything else that might end up going through a dog’s digestive track. The tree is pretty, and the little ones did a good job of hanging the tiny ornaments.

The snow that I wrote about a couple of weeks back melted, and then we got more snow. It, too, melted over this last weekend. On Monday, as I peeked around the corners of my computer monitor to see outside, I was greeted by bright sunshine, bare trees, and green lawns, mostly raked of leaves. I was blessed to see the exact same sight again yesterday, as well. I don’t know if this is real, or just perception, but it seems to me that two straight days of sunshine and blue skies lately is a rarity.  I tend to think its more the former than the latter, since we’re at the time of year when two lines have been added to the daily forecast screen at the weather network web site: expected snowfall and expected hours of sunshine. It looked so pretty outside Monday and yesterday. If it weren’t for the fact that it was only just a couple of degrees above the freezing mark, I might have been tempted to go and sit on the porch for a bit. The forecast for today tells me to expect 0 hours of sunshine, and possibly some rain. Since the skies are now grey and the street is wet, I’d say that’s an accurate report.

Because our local government will not collect yard waste again until the spring, one is left trying to decide what’s best: letting the leaves that are still there on the lawn right now stay there, to be covered by the snow that is sure to come again any day now; or does one rake, and bag, and then store those full bags of leaves in the outside storage spaces until spring?

Friends, that is a dilemma with which my beloved husband has been wrestling over the last couple of weeks. Or one that he says he is wrestling with. I think the truth is, he just doesn’t want to take the chance that any stored bags will somehow get wet, thus beginning their decomposition cycle. So, he really is counting on the snow to arrive soon and hide the unsightly brown, somewhat rotting former foliage from view.

My daughter is going to take me Christmas shopping in the coming week, so I can get something for the smallest two of our great-grandchildren. At two-and-a-half and three-and-a-half, they much prefer getting something to open on Christmas morning, and who can blame them for that?

The older two of our great-grandchildren look forward to shopping trips with their “nanny” where they can choose their own gifts. And, of course, there’s the plus for them that the after-Christmas sales mean they can get far more than they otherwise would have with the money gifted. And yes, at the age of eight, the oldest of the two can reason that out.

I know it’s lazy on our part, but we pretty much gift money to the rest of our family—kids and grandkids alike. It is lazy, but it is also the gift that always fits and never has to be returned due to a flaw in the manufacturing. That makes it a win-win for two older people who really don’t like shopping.







Wednesday, December 8, 2021

 December 8, 2021

I’m here to tell you that not all change is bad.

We live in a quiet neighborhood, with streets and cross-streets, made up of single-family dwellings with various types of front yards, and back ones, too. Our neighborhood is resplendent with mature trees of various genus. There is a sidewalk in front of our house. It used to be a straight and short journey to it, out the front door, three steps across the porch and then straight down the five concrete stairs to the sidewalk.

A few years ago, the town wanted to repair our sidewalk and wanted to know why we put our steps down from our porch onto their sidewalk. The engineer working for the town with whom we spoke seemed to suffer a disconnect; we explained that when we purchased this house in 1993, those steps had already been there, and we hadn’t even thought about the fact that they rested on a part of the sidewalk. He kept insisting that couldn’t be so because the blueprints he had on file didn’t show them.

This house is more than a century old, and only God knows how long those old concrete steps had been there.

The long and the short of the back-and-forth discussions with the town was that we had to remove the steps. But the gentleman proved not to be a total dork, because he suggested that the town crew working on the sidewalk down the street and scheduled to do the repairs in front of our house would likely remove our concrete steps for us in return for the donation of a case of beer.

David took a stroll down the street, and the bargain was struck. As it happened, we had to go out that evening, so we dropped the case off to them, and headed out, stairs mostly intact. I say mostly, because David and our son both had tried a jackhammer as well as a sledgehammer, on that behemoth of a staircase, all to no avail. The town’s crew were several and they had machinery at their disposal.

When we returned from our evening out, those steps were gone, as was all the associated debris. The neighbors thanked us for the evening’s entertainment. They sat out and watched those four burly men and their mighty machines struggle and struggle and then finally succeed where we could not.

All through the time we’ve lived here in this house, one thing has remained a constant: on the 16th of the month and on the 1st of the month, we have had to move our car from parking on one side of the street, to the other.

That is, until this past Monday.

I did wonder some when I was working yesterday, because I have just enough of my window available to me to get a gist of what is happening outside in front of the house. And yesterday, I watched David go down the new porch steps he and daughter built this summer to replace the old new steps he and son had made after the crew demolished and then hauled away the remnants of the concrete ones.

David walked across the street, and then seemed to be looking at the parking sign beside my car. Then he looked up and down the street. He was clearly confused about something, but I had no idea what. Then he returned to the house, but rather than retake his seat on the porch again with the dogs, he came inside the house, and to my office.

“I think you have to move the car,” he said. “There’s a no parking sign there.”

I blinked. It was only the 6th of the month. Now I was confused. “You mean, no parking 16th to 31st.”

“No, I mean no parking, period. And it is the only parking sign there is on either side on the entire street.”

I texted my daughter, who’d gone out to the store and was due to return shortly, to let her know she needed to park on the house side of the street when she returned. And then, because I am just a tad anal, I called the town offices.

And I learned that because the snow plowing crew had been complaining for years how difficult it is to remove snow when cars are parked on either one side or the other depending on the day of month, a change had been mandated. Beginning when the signs go up, and going forward, we will only park our cars on one side of this street.

I will tell you that likely this sign was installed before Sunday last—the day I went to get groceries and then returned my vehicle to its spot right beside the parking sign that was now a “no parking” sign. I’ll tell all of you, but I am not mentioning to my family the fact that I never even looked at the sign or noticed the change.

Right now, though, I feel as if I have been given an unexpected Christmas gift. I will no longer have to trudge out on a cold or rainy day just to move the darn car from one side of the street to the other. And from now own, I won’t have to idle and wait for the groceries to be unloaded, either, because I then have to park on the other side when that chore is done. Nope, from now on my car will always be parked on our side of the street.

Yes, indeed. Merry Christmas to me.