Yet Another Journal

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» Sunday, December 14, 2008
I Am Successful (Yellow)
This was a long, long weekend, and Friday was the first of two long, long days. But in the end we had a Christmas tree and proper lights for the village.

Friday I went back to Lowes for the bench and the plant table I had seen on Thursday. They weren't all that heavy, so I just tipped them into the back of the car (and paid for it later). I went to Target looking for yellow bulbs. None could be had but I did find slippers for James and myself, so it was a win anyway. Following was an unsuccessful search at Home Depot. I would have kept searching, but I hadn't eaten lunch yet (it was almost two), and I had other things to do. But I was determined to get those yellow bulbs now if I had to mail order them. The white bulbs just do not work on a 1940s village. The white bulbs make it look like there are fluorescent lights, which aren't period.

(Reputedly, the most stubborn Italians come from Calabria. I'm not sure why this is supposed to be so, but when an Italian wants to call another Italian "hard-headed," he usually accuses him of being "Calabrese." Lou Monte used to bandy around that word frequently. My mom claimed that, after the Calabrese, the people from my dad's paese—Quarchina—were the most hard-headed. When he got stubborn about something, she would shake her hand at him and mutter "Quarchinese!" Which is why while I'm hunting these yellow bulbs I keep hearing her voice saying "Quarchinese!" LOL.)

James hadn't been able to get the tree upstairs Thursday night or Friday morning, so I figured I would prep everything for tree decoration. After eating lunch and watching Rick Steves' European Christmas, I cleared the area and vacuumed, and cleared off the coffee table so I could bring up the box of ornaments and have all the boxes and bags open and ready. In this way I was able to separate out James' airplane ornaments and would be able to put up the little airplane tree in the downstairs hall.

First I had to assemble the plant stand. This came with a little metal wrench and no instructions, but it was really easy to assemble. Next came the piece of material we had picked out to cover the stand: a royal-blue yard of cloth with glitter scattered on it like stars in the sky. I had pinked the edges so it wouldn't fray and ironed it smooth. Next came the little silver tree. I placed all the little airplanes and one non-flying object, our Hallmark Snoopy in his French flying ace outfit, on the tree and put a thin, curly garland around the branches. It's red and green, like the navigation lights on aircraft, with gold in between. At the top is a wire star I had.

It looks pretty good, if I do say so myself! :-)

We had supper in (pizza). James was in a bit of a morose mood (more about that later), but he brought up the tree and I commenced to decorating. This is when I found out I shouldn't have carried those boxes, however light they seemed, because boy, did it hurt after awhile. I started at eight and ended sometime after Conan O'Brien started blathering.

In the meantime James was looking critically at the village. "It looks like it's on fire." Yeah...sigh...I know. Earlier I had been surfing the web for yellow C7 bulbs and found a company that supplied them in, of all places, Alpharetta, GA, not far from Fry's. Since we had to go to Fry's anyway for a new computer keyboard and they had showroom hours on Sunday, we thought we would try that.

Yesterday we had "Hair Day." The main course was chicken; in an uninspired mood we just brought French bread and some dessert things, but the cake slices and brownie bites were well received. It was Neil's birthday last week, so they had a cake for him, but they had my name, Lin's name, and Oreta's name placed on the cake as well, for the rest of the December birthday crowd, which was sweet.

We left a bit after one and James dropped me off at home to go to the hobby shop. I wanted to tidy up the living room after the great tree trimming—there were fake needles scattered everywhere—so I vacuumed the living and dining room and also the stairs and swept the foyer (again), and then took some ibuprofin and lay down for a nap since we were going to be out late.

About 5:30 we left to drive out to Birmingham for Shari's Christmas party. We didn't go last year because gasoline was so expensive, and since we usually only see her once a year, we had missed it. Neither of us had eaten dinner, so we made one brief stop on the way for a single Wendy-burger, but that was only stop on a road which is mostly pretty bleak except for a couple of large shopping centers after you get west of Arbor Place Mall in Douglasville.

It was a great party. Shari's co-workers, theater friends, and family all come to this party, so it is a great mix of personalities. Plus she loves to cook—her fantasy is to open a combination teashop/bookstore—so we are well fed as well. We had a good time, but by the time midnight came we were both about to turn into pumpkins, and I was becoming a sneezy one to boot. You see, the Butlers have cats, and Shari has cats, and the combination of two households with cats played hob with my allergy. So my eyes were itching and watering as James drove home accompanied by some Yuletide radio programs: Fibber McGee and Molly doing early Christmas shopping, Phil Harris and Alice Faye encountering a Christmas miracle, and a dramatic playlet called A Daddy for Christmas where a wife tries to make her husband into something he isn't.

We arrived home at 2:30 and went directly to bed, as you can imagine—even James slept late this morning! We were so late getting started (and then we had to stop at Kroger again) that we decided to go to the Christmas store first, as we tend to dawdle when we're in Fry's.

This isn't a "Christmas store" per se; it's a lights and tree display business in an industrial park that has a very small, plain "showroom floor" with different models of trees and some garland. So I bought a box of yellow C7 bulbs (they only had opaques, not clear, darn it—I wanted to try both) and we also bought a blue Moravian star.

When we drove up to my mom's right after we were married, we were driving through North Carolina and noticed that so many of the houses there were decorated outside with the white Moravian stars. James and I thought they were so pretty! Naturally we jumped at the chance to have our own, especially in a color that matched the blue lights out front.

Picked up the new keyboard and a couple of other things, including something to put away for Valentines Day, at Fry's, then came home. James assembled and put up the light immediately. It's very pretty, if a subdued blue next to all those bright blue mini lights and LEDs! He also assembled the bench tonight. It's not only nice looking but nicer than it looked in Lowes, and appears darker, too, which was what I wanted.

I had soup for supper to soothe the last of the allergy symptoms, since I've had a nagging cough and sore throat all day. I was wondering why it made me so queasy when I realized what was bothering me was an odd smell. It turned out to be coming from the newspaper, from the Michael's ad, specifically. I don't know what they printed the ad on, or with, but it literally stank. I finally had to cut the coupon from it and ask James to take the paper out with the trash. I can still catch a whiff of whatever it is from the coupons. Ugh. Whoever printed these should be forced to smell burnt honey all day.

We watched a cool special tonight on TCM: The Age of Believing, about Walt Disney's live-action films. Several of the actors from the films appeared, including "little" Karen Dotrice from Mary Poppins and Thomasina, Kevin Corcoran, Hayley Mills, and Glynis Johns, who looks damn wonderful for 85 years old!

And as for those yellow lights, they look Just Right. :-)

(The reason James was in such bad spirits was that late Friday afternoon everyone at work got an e-mail announcing a 10 percent pay cut effective the next day. Merry Christmas indeed...)

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