Monday, December 12, 2011

Decorating for the holidays

I have a huge section of my basement devoted to Christmas decorations. Over the years, I've amassed quite a collection of "Christmas crap" (what Bill affectionately calls my Christmas decor).

Christmas 2002
When the kids were little I loved making the house festive. And, I think they enjoyed it just as much as I did. Will used to love putting small birds (not live! ha!)  and sugar plums on the stair railing after wrapping it with cedar boughs. Both Emma and Will would spend hours arranging and rearranging the miniature houses in the Dickens's village. Every year we would add a house, or some fencing, or more people or a bridge. And, of course, like millions of people, hanging ornaments on the tree was always special. It was a magical time.

This year, I spent the Sunday after Thanksgiving hanging lights outside - on the bushes, trees and fencing. My adult children waved to me from the comfort of the living room as I teetered precariously on the top step of the ladder. I think they were laughing. Clearly, the magic has gone.

Since no one else seems to care, I haven't done my usual vomiting of greenery, pine cones, miniature trees and ribbons in the house.  I'm perpetrating a fraud: the outside of our house looks like we are all set for Christmas, but, inside all I have done is put wreaths on the front and back doors. When people visit, I'm compelled to make excuses about the lack of holiday spirit.

This year, I don't think I'm even going to put up a tree. Without the kids, and with Bill's lack of enthusiasm, I don't feel like I should do it just for me. It seems like a lot of work just to satisfy my inner elf. Besides, every day I get to work at a beautiful mansion where the Christmas decor is stunning. My co-workers and I decorated one morning in early December: Check out our music room:

CTG at Christmastime

I don't know. There are still a couple of weeks left before Christmas.  I might change my mind. Bill has me booked with various parties over the next 2 weeks so I won't have any time after work to run up and down the basement stairs with my plastic tubs of Santas and garlands.

However, it is Christmas, a time for miracles... Maybe Bill will be infused with the spirit and help me!

Friday, December 2, 2011

In the middle of the road

I drive down Main Street almost every day to get to work. It may not be the fastest route to my office, but it's the most direct and my brain can cruise into automatic pilot, a welcome occurrence first thing in the morning.  I know the traffic light patterns like the back of my hand and I even think my car changes lanes by itself.
Last week I noticed a single black suede running shoe in the middle of Main Street - right where Parker and Amherst and Fillmore come together to create a grid lock every weekday. I sit there through 2 light cycles and often check my email at that point. But, one day last week, my phone was in my purse in the trunk so I was unable to flip through my emails. Instead, I gazed out the window and noticed that the lone shoe was still lying in the middle of the road.  I calculated that it had been at least 3 days that it had been there. 

My mind wandered a bit at the stop light and pondered how on earth that one shoe had found its way to the middle of Main Street. I imagined someone hobbling in North Buffalo with one shoe wondering just what the HECK had happened. Or, did someone get so mad at the grid lock that they whipped their shoe out the window in disgust? It was a perfectly fine looking shoe, so I didn't think it had fallen off a garbage or Goodwill truck. Did someone get hit by a car and an importance piece of evidence was left at the scene? Was someone running away from such a bad situation that going back for the dropped shoe was just not an option? Was a serial killer randomly distributing his prey's belongings? Like I said.... my mind wandered.

Ok, here's a strange bit of synchronicity: The very day that I was pondering about the owner of the shoe, I was also slated to play squash at a downtown athletic/social club. While I was changing into my gear getting ready to play, I overheard one of the fitness instructors telling a humorous story: Early on Thanksgiving morning, she had opened up the fitness area (she is the lifeguard). She noticed a vagrant sleeping in the entrance way to the club. At least she thought he was a vagrant. But, apparently he was well spoken and had nice manners. Turns out he was a college kid who had lost his way from the downtown drinking establishments and had stumble bummed (one of my dad's phrases) into the protection of the entrance of the club. (Aside: The night before Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the biggest party nights in Buffalo - since kids are returning home from college and are anxious to reconnect with high school pals). 

Get this: He had lost his SHOES! BOTH of them - it turns out. Since he was still far from home and his socks were destroyed, Betty (the fitness gal) rooted around and found him some white soled squash sneakers that the club kept as extras. She figured he may still be a bit drunk but at least he could navigate his way home with his feet covered.

So, the black shoe on Main Street probably wasn't this kid's shoe... but, Betty's story added yet another possibility to my list of scenarios. Can any of you think of other possiblities? And, can you posit why you tend to only see one shoe in the middle of the road?