Something to Think About

A stylized image of my new kitchen wall. Lots of windows. Lots of light.

Yeah, I know. I’ve been radio silent for a while. Sorry. Turns out I learned that I’m not a HGTV-lifestyle type blogger. I know their ilk since I’ve been reading their blogs–their posts on trends and their how-tos written with folksy familiarity. The edgier ones smattering in some cuss words. The more wholesome peppering posts with sweet kiddos and doggos. The rarefied have chickens, which lay heirloom coloured eggs. Their kids have blonde ringlets festooned with sweet bows. They also serve up recipes. And dinner parties hosted at a clearing in their personal thousand acre woods lit with strings and strings of round bulbs powered by some mysterious source of 1% energy.

Nope. Writing about construction progress and current project status with accompanying pictures isn’t my forte. Not because I dislike that genre. I’ve definitely binge-watched many a remodeling series, hungrily following each episode to the great reveal. And, also, not because I don’t have scores of photos chronicling this journey.

I just can’t write it. Nope. This Doc does musing, angst, comedy and more thinking. Show and tell? Not without a point to make. And in the fast forward pace of this remodel, there hasn’t been much brain space left to make my points.

Sure there have been some decisions. And some real walls. And moments of beauty.

Like that moment when I walked upstairs to our bedroom and looked through the new window. Our bungalow is a classic story and a half, but when they rebuilt the walls and ceiling they recovered about eight inches of head room at the dormers. The construction team raised the windows up, too, and we have a new view to the outside and a more airy inside.

Taking in the new vista, I placed my fingertips on the newly drywalled and primed walls. I looked at my hand and recognized the perfectly familiar meeting of the knee wall angling to meet with the roofline. I suddenly ran through a series of memories–of painting that wall, of moving the bed (once moving the head to meet it, and once rotating it on the side), of steadying myself on it on groggy mornings.

Relief. My house is still here. I didn’t ruin it by stripping it down to its sticks. When I exposed its very bones. The house, its soul, still remains. I felt it in through the gypsum plaster that marked the newly finished corner. It told me it was okay.

Then there was the moment I needed to select cabinet hardware. It was more than a moment, to be honest. My wonderful design lead from the design-build team emailed me links two websites. She told me to pick out a few, and we’d order one of each to see what works.

There were literally THOUSANDS of choices. Overwhelming. So, I did what any modern Doc would do. I googled, “What to look for in kitchen cabinet hardware?”

Turns out that there are some things for the practical-minded to look for. First, there is a difference between knobs and pulls. Knobs are little and pulls are bigger. Bottom line, you don’t need to be as precise with your grab if you have pulls. Also, there are categories of pulls. There are bar pulls, handle pulls, finger pulls, cup pulls and arch pulls. Bar pulls can get caught on wayward pockets. Cup pulls can get full of the goop from your dirty hands that open the drawer to grab the extra whisk.

Armed with my new data, I downselected to handle pulls that were black or bronze and added those categorized by “industrial” or “rustic” style. And, still, there were hundreds. I started scrolling the options.

The first one I liked was $20. For one cabinet pull! Some long drawers could require two. I could easily spend thousands of dollars in kitchen hardware. I immediately added a downselect with an upper dollar limit to accommodate my budget. There were still a bunch.

My search and selection process could have consumed hours. I stopped looking after I found four that I could like. I slapped myself. Really, Doc? What’s a “good” cabinet pull? For items that, to be honest, I can’t tell apart? I cut and paste links to pulls, hit send and haven’t looked back. Don’t ask me what I chose. I don’t even know if my selections come in the right size. I’m praying that the pro makes sense of my design idiocy.

Then there’s that color moment. Last time I painted was the unfinished refresh of our bedroom. I know exactly the day I stopped painting. September 11, 2001. Just never got back around to it. I lost interest in color around the time I lost interest in the project.

Now I have to choose colors for all the rooms in the house. Someone said to paint it all white or taupe or greige or some neutral. But I have pro-painters using fabulous paint at my disposal. And I’m not moving the furniture to paint again. This is my moment.

I don’t want my house to have that flipped house gray with white trim. Or that creamy builder white. No. No. No. I walk into the open houses for the new crappy condos popping up all over my neighborhood and feel nothing but coldness. I check out the newly rehabbed homes with their cookie cutter granite countertops and cheesy cabinets and their achromatic walls and feel empty.

Ours is a 1915 bungalow that traditionally had that craftsman/arts and craft palette with muted vegetable colors of squash and pumpkin and greens tinged with yellow. Colors with names like ochre and olive, walls to be framed in natural wood.

I imagined walking in the front door with the brown stained wainscoted walls topped by that yellow squash color, turning to the muted yellow green in the living room and stepping into a pumpkin dining room. I started pulling paint chips for this warm, autumnal color scheme. I found historical palettes online and assigned colors to rooms. We’d paint a few samples on the walls before making a final call.

One problem. I don’t actually like those colors. Sure, they were better than the colorless “new house” look I was railing against, but they actually brought me down and closed me in. I wanted colors that had warmth but a cool vitality. Back to the google drawing board.

I decided to back up. What colors make me happy? What colors did I want to be surrounded by?  What colors looked good together and flowed from room to room, too? I flipped through Design Seeds, focusing on how the images made me feel. I dismissed photos, not looking at palettes. I pinned the pics I liked. I saw that my aesthetic had a clear pattern. Now I have a bunch of paints to try on the walls. My starting point is authentic.

So, sure. There’s been stuff rolling around in my brain, some causing strain and some stirring emotion, but none with much of a tale.

Yesterday, I took my regular foray to the worksite that will soon, once again, be my home. And my excitement was definitely tempered. After weeks of daily transmogrifications–of sticks being formed into walls that became rooms and closets and hallways and entries, of a huge rectangular box that time-lapsed into a kitchen lined with cabinets centered with an island and framed by a light wall, of the hole between the upstairs and the basement bibbidi-bobbidi-boo’d into a grand staircase–things have slowed down.  I’ve entered

The trough of disappointment.

This is the part of the hype-cycle. The part following the peak of unrealistic expectations. Stuff is happening, but we’re waiting on the delivery of the grout, and there is some challenges with the cabinet install, the basement windows had to be reordered and there will be some painstaking craftsmanship that will go into the creation of beautiful trim (no prefabbed trim for this project).

Meanwhile, I’m studying the project calendar every day. Sometimes more than once a day. Okay. Always more than once each day. As if by looking at the schedule it will move ahead. I walk into the house daily, on my way home from work. The actual days have shortened to leave me only a few moments of light before it switches over to night. Next week there won’t be any daylight moments on my way home.

This is the time where you can see the finish line, but there is still a grueling distance ahead. This is the time when I want to be on the other side of that line.

I want to move home and figure out where to put my colanders and to hang my winter coats in the closet. I want to unpack my waffle maker that I stored in the basement. I want to line up my spices in the new kitchen and put the good dishes on the dining room table. I want this computer to be on my new wooden desk in the office. I want to place my shampoo on the bench in the upstairs bathroom and put my hair dryer in the new closet.

I’m really done with this project. These last few yards need to be ground out, but the excitement has faded. This week anyway. I’m ready to move in and move on. I know there are more finishes and more surprises that will get me back in the game. But now, today? I’m wishing that I could buy a fifth of brown patience liquor.

I hate waiting.

Gutted

I was showing a friend pictures from our demolition. The friend’s friend had an op-ed she needed to share. One that bit.

“So, if you hate your house so much, why don’t you just buy a new one?”

Ouch! That throw away comment from a grinning stranger really did burn. It freezes, too.

I, in my shock at that unthinkable thought, objected. Too much, in retrospect, methinks. Too much because her unwelcome comment was based on her observation. Of the evidence. That I provided.

Looking at the photos of the bare and picked over bones of the edifice I had sworn to protect I thought, “What hath I wrought?”

The next day, I hesitated as I stepped onto the porch as part of my daily construction inspection. I gingerly inserted my key. I slowly opened the door. There was almost no floor to speak of–just a bunch of planks that forced me to leap from one to the next at the risk of falling through to the basement below.


And I’ve been stuck here. Right here. For two weeks I haven’t been able to move this post forward. Not able to skip past it. Because I can’t skip it. It has to be dealt with. I have to deal with it.

Usually, I have posts and pieces of posts trolling through my head–all of the time. I sit down and tap them out and hit publish. That’s how it works. Sure, there’s a bit more than that, but not the writer’s black hole I’ve had.

Usually, the hardest ones come out the fastest. Usually.

I’ve been stuck in the unusual.

I’ve reopened this page again and again. I’ve tweaked some words, moved a comma about and walked away. I’ve sat down with a brew in hand and a strict self-imposed deadline to put a bow on it. Three beers later, I successfully avoid any accomplishment. I’ll do it tomorrow. I don’t.

I’d walk into the house and take more photos. I’d look at the skeleton of the house, and see that the specimen is incomplete. Some of the bones are missing. No floor, not just exposed joists, but an entirely missing kitchen floor. No stairway to the second floor, the ladder carefully balanced over the canyon of the basement stairs.

The radiators were all piled up in the former toy room, like the mountains of blocks, legos and Hot Wheels from a recent past.

This week the siding was torn off. The chipped paint along the thin wooden boards were stacked in dumpster number six. Or are we up to seven boxcars of the house toted away? What could be left?

I didn’t know what gutting the house really meant.

GUT: to clean out. strip. decimate. ravage. ransack. disembowel. eviscerate. empty.

That was it. Empty.

I haven’t been able to come to terms with what I’m doing to the house. I started counting what was staying.

  1. The roof. (Which we replaced 8 years ago).
  2. The foundation. (Which is getting parged to shore it up.)
  3. Most of the original sheathing that was diagonally hung, keeping out the elements. (It’s being covered with some kind of new-fangled water impervious wood and then foam insulation and then new man-made siding.)
  4. Most of the original posts and joists. Many of which are being sistered with new, man-made materials.
  5. All of the woodwork and trim in the living and dining rooms. The fake fireplace mantels are STAYING!
  6. I saved the floors in the first two bedrooms, now known as the den and the office. (Over objections of some/one. I can’t let them all go.)

I’m looking at this list and the house that I swore to protect that I can’t recognize and I start hearing Obi-Wan telling Luke that Luke’s father is now more machine than man.

And then I get to thinking. And I feel better. Because in the end, Darth Vader was alright. He kept his soul.

Publish!

CatchUp

Guy packing a box in front of empty bookcases.

So, like these last couple of weeks have been full of whack. We were backed up against an immutable deadline–demolition. So we moved a generation’s worth of life out of the space it had occupied.

I fully recognize that I’m making a big deal of what others just manage without comment. But, I’m here to say those folks are just withholding. They might be outwardly strong, but this shit is real.

It’s not like packing up all of your worldly possessions accrued over a middle-aged lifetime is insignificant. But you’re correct in your impulse to say, “Doc, shut up. It’s just life. And you’re getting what you want, you ingrate.”

Okay. Thanks for the reminder and for your chastisement. I earned it.

But now here I am with so much that I haven’t told you. Not for lack of thinking about you. Not for lack of sentences that I strung together in my head without any tether. It’s that I’ve lacked the mental space to write. Since I’m a bit behind, I’m just gonna share some pictures. And some captions. Just to catch you up.

Above is a sampling of old crappy furniture that you can’t even give away. Except that there are always takers. I might have had to post online more than once, and there may still be some crappy junk furniture yet to find it’s forever home, but I can always put it out on the curb and send an alert to the listserve. Crossing fingers that someone doesn’t try and have me cited for illegal dumping. If all else fails, there’s a dumpster on the way.

Warning sign that there is an impending dumpster. And there's some wild marigolds.

There was the day that I came home to find a pair of candy corn cones marking the spot that the dumpster will sit. It says that we have the permit until mid-November. That coincides with the hopeful move in date of, “before Thanksgiving.” Also, check out those wild marigolds that are growing from a crack in the street. I hope they survive the ordeal.

IMG_0541

Truly a ridiculous amount of boxes. At one point I just started throwing items in and marking the boxes rando.

green yellow and orange dot stickers

Now this, this was a piece of my genius. There were some items to go to our interim abode, some things–mostly furniture–to be stored in the garage, and others to go in the basement. I color coded everything. It was brilliant. The movers thought it was brilliant. I had to mark some of the crappy furniture with duct-tape and a handwritten “NO,” to keep the flow going. That helped kill the questions that slowed things down. I paid the guys by the hour, not the pound.

The moving truck, in front of my house.

This is the moving truck. That is all.

The emptied wall.

We painted the dining room walls this amazing terra cotta twenty-some years ago. I wanted to capture the color, and the nail that steadied the sconce for four candles. You can see where the sconce hit the wall. I saved the sconce. I don’t know if it will go back there.

Two red mugs and a coffee setup.

We left the coffee rig at the house when we moved. It was the last thing to pack. We moved the bed, and that meant no coffee. Since the interim abode is only one and a half blocks away, I figured I’d walk over there and make coffee.  But guess what? The Spouse went and got it. So I woke up to fresh coffee. This was the best morning.  I married well.

Yellow tomatoes, parsley, bread and cava.

There was much eating out around the move. This was the first dinner I made in the interim abode. It was rice with minted peas and sweet, salty and sour chicken thighs. Oh, and, obvs, some bubbles. Celebratory and what not.

The Beast, chilling.

The Beast was a little worse for the wear during the move. But he found a chill spot on the floor at the interim abode. He kept an eye on everything because even though the movers came last Wednesday, we didn’t actually finish moving out until yesterday. Yes, a full week later.

It was at a point–or perhaps a few points that I may have made in a borderline hysterical tone–that I didn’t think we’d ever finish. But that’s what happens when you move. You lose your mind over the fact that you seemed to be almost done and then you weren’t. And you cycle through that again and again until you realize that the contractors are coming tomorrow. And then, it’s done. And there are things on the porch that will be picked up by Purple Heart and stuff that the person from the next neighborhood over claims to want and then the stuff that the city will take. I love the city for that.

The front door with all the signs of construction.

And today, the front door was adorned with the signs of construction. Warning labels. EPA certifications–required in a house as old as ours–permits, and the posting of the nuisance fee that we pay the city because…dumpster. Just for the record, my neighbors don’t get any of that nuisance fee.

As I walked through the empty, echoing rooms, I didn’t know what to feel. I thought that I should feel a big emotion, yet I barely even registered relief.

So I found a random pink ribbon during my clean out and decided it would look perfect next to the random green ribbon that has been hanging from our door knocker for more than a year. The house is still ours. I’m feeling good.

New Game

Cleaned out a junk drawer, shined my pressure cooker, de-grimed the microwave, got dogfood, took down & put out the tree, then ate dinner out of a bag & bottle.

Well, Loyal Reader, it wasn’t a surprise. No. Not really a surprise at all. I am none the less disappointed. In myself. 

Yes, I have let the dust settle a bit too comfortably on this journal. After my fury (or furiousness) of thinkings and writings and postings, I took a sabbatical. And didn’t come back.

I said that I’d post weekly, but I fell into my old pattern of doing the thinking, the coming up with ideas and the starts in my head without the actual writing. Much disappointment. But I said that already.

So, like the little kitten who chases the laser for fun, I need something to chase.  Another challenge. This time an easier one, but still specific and measurable. Like a game. A game I can win! 

Here’s my plan for this year. I’m going to take and mess up a picture and write something. Every week. A photo prompt and a post. I’m not going to necessarily write about the picture, not that I won’t. And sometimes you will scratch your head, puzzling over the relationship between the post and the pic. That’s part of it. (Thanks Matt, who claims to read this blog, but I think he does not.)

Anyway, it’s a little game. Just a little trick to make myself do what I want. Yes. I’m really that lazy. 

Anything to win.

Week #1, done! Purr. 

What I Learned Writing Every. Stinking. Day for A Year

A Doc and The Beast in writing repose.

Okay, Loyal Reader. It is day 366–why didn’t anyone tell me that I chose a long year for my quest?–the end of the line.

Quick recap, my 2016 New Year’s Resolution was to write and publish a blog post every (single. stinking.) day for the entire year. I allotted myself no excuses, no blackout days and no get out of jail free cards. I (wisely) made no resolve about quality. It was a production resolution. Daily production, irrespective of word counts or topic areas.

One year later, the results are in. Since January 1, 2016, I published 358 posts, filling in 98% of the year. Per my weak platform-provided analytics, 5,800 visitors read 9,500 pages. The Onion and Vox must be shaking in their boots and looking over their shoulders with competitive concern </sacrcasm>.

But, so what? To what end? In thinking about it–since that’s what I do–I found that this challenge provided a plethora of lessons. I’m breaking down my learnings into four categories: doing, creating, sharing, growing.

Doing: What I learned about process

Publishing every. stinking. day requires alot of process. The ideation process is accelerated to grab any straw of an idea. This sounds harder, and while sometimes it was harder, there were thousands of prompts in front of me all of the time. It’s in the recognition of them. No idea is too weak. I saw dust particles in the sunshine and wrote a post. The comfort of warm blankets was good for a few hundred words as was the initial warm breaths of spring.

I wrote about people I saw walking down the street, making up stories about the man with the cake, the woman in orange, the tuba players, the equine fanciers. Pop and politics were occasionally fertile, but I didn’t want to write “me-too” posts so these were sometimes more challenging.

After a few months I came up with a set of categories to help me understand what I wrote about–it provided a structure that I could pop thinkings into and speed them ahead. 

I had a running notepad of ideas and fragments that I’d mine and I occasionally found an almost completed post, I wrote about that here. Using the notepad was clutch when writing on the subway.

Two more process learnings. 

First, photo editing takes a lot of time. Alot. Speaking of time, if I was very conservative I spent 90 minutes per post (and I know that it was not unusual from start to finish to spend a few hours), I spent weeks writing this year.  

Second, I am so friggin’ lucky for the support of The Spouse. The Spouse would look at me furiously typing and say, “I got dinner,” or “Are you having luck on your post?” and never a disparaging remark about my daily (and frequently nightly) embrace of my keyboard. Total, unequivocal support. That’s how shit happens. 

Creating: What I learned about writing

Writing. Wow. I guess after the more than the one-hundred thousand words that I shared this year, I can call myself a writer. I started to think of myself as a writer after a few weeks. I started thinking about writing itself and in a few more I was thinking about how I wrote.

I enjoyed putting together a post with a clever title–many times I rewrote the title, and I often hoped that you, Loyal Reader, would get my little references in the title. Or in the photo. Or, for those of you who look at code, in the alt-text describing the photo. The post is more than the words and sentences and paragraphs. It’s the wrapper, too.

I would often fight with my inner editor. The editor who knows exactly what a complete sentence looks like. The editor who questions the use of dashes over commas. The editor that battles the writer who might be striving for a specific rhythm or an irregularity in syntax. The hubris of the author can cause confusion for the reader. Or so says The Editor. It’s like my personal version of The Narrator and Tyler Durden.

Most importantly, I learned that my writing takes its own course. Everyone writes differently, and I didn’t know how I wrote. 

Thinking about it, I found that I get an idea, and it drags me along. I realized that I wrote an allegory after I reread it. Sometimes I start with an allegory, but the story takes its own shape. 

I can’t know how a post is going to end until it actually ends. There is no master plan. It’s organic. And, so sometimes, it stinks.

I can get things out of order, because the stream of words switchback and I write something else. So I’ll move a paragraph around. 

Less frequently, I’ll find a few paragraphs at the end that don’t belong. I added something in the middle that diverged from where I was going. I have deleted thousands of words that belonged in a different post, for a different time or a different mood. When a post is done, it’s done. If it needs more it nags me until it’s satisfied that it’s complete.

I know I am the writer. I really do. But I know, too, that what I’m writing is more revealed than reasoned. 

I own it. It’s from me.

Sharing: What I learned about you, my Loyal Reader

Oh, Loyal Reader, you have been a great teacher, too. Sometimes you tell me directly and sometimes I infer.

Bottom line, it’s really is all about you. I mean that in a good way. 

I have learned what you care about, which is humanity and making connections. You like my vignettes much more than I do. You infuse them with life and invest your hearts in my made up characters. I love you for that.

You also really care the most about personal things. Things that really happened. You have given me much love and support, and have turned sometimes to me for support. I like that. We’re here for each other.

Growing: What I learned about me

I realized that being authentic was more important to me than showing off. Showing off is publishing every day and doing what I said, even if I was cheating by posting twice in one day and backdating. 

After a few months in, I decided that missing a day or two (or eight) was better than faking it. I confessed to you, my Loyal Reader, and you, as is your way, didn’t care. Or forgave me. It’s okay either way.

I always said that I was undisciplined. Lazy. Couldn’t stick to anything. But after writing hundreds of posts, writing every day and sometimes forcing myself to hit publish, I can’t say that that is true.I guess this project never bored me. 

Sorry if I bored you.

Finally, and I am really almost done, I learned that I want people to read my work. I would obsessively look at how many people looked at a post, lapping up any likes, and super proud when an editor featured my post.

But, the other thing is, ultimately, I don’t care. I wrote for months before I started telling people my resolution. I wrote every day. And you didn’t know. 

I say that I write for you, my Loyal Reader, but that is a lie. I write for me. Because I am a writer. That’s what I most really and definitely learned.

That’s The Lessons Folks

Phew. I did it. I am proud. And I am taking a little break. Let me know what you think. And I’ll be thinking and sharing and writing more in the New Year!

xoxo
Doc Think

26.198 (Post #357)

A boy. On a hill. Wearing skis and a Washington Football Team jacket.

I can see the finish line. It’s just ahead. Just one day more, cue Les Miserables.

Tomorrow I’m going to post about what I’ve learned this past year (like the irrelevance in teasing you, my Loyal Reader). My retrospective, if you will. Today, though, I’m going to be prospective. What am I going to do?

You see, last year at this time, I resolved to write and publish. Every. Stinking. Day. For the entirety of 2016. This has taken up a good hunk of my life. Like 44 waking days over the course of the year.

So, what’s next? 

Well, one thing for sure is I will not publish a post every stinking day. But you likely already knew that. So let’s say I commit to publishing weekly. That is a decrease of 600%. (To be honest, I kind of made up that number. I don’t feel like doing real math. It might be a higher percentage decrease. See what I mean? Higher decrease?) 

When I started this challenge, I said that I wanted to produce as well as consume. Now, I want more balance. I want to read more quality writing. Read more books. Read more long form, more New Yorker. Oh, and read zero celebrity you-won’t-believe-where-they-are-today posts. I’m also cutting back on fake news. Just kidding there.

Third, I am going to use a bunch of my brain-space as we remake a hunk of this, our 103 year old, house. It’s going to be a big project. Even huge. It may kill me. It may have me killing The Spouse. I hope not. This will require extreme effort. But I’ve seen others succeed. We can do this. I’m going to set out a goal right now, no family bloodshed on the house thing. There, I said it.

Last, I realized that I’ve slacked off on volunteering my time and talents. We have a cool town here, and in addition to buying local, I need to do more to contribute local. It was easy when The Boys were in school. There were plenty of things that needed doing and plenty of people asking. I’m going to do some asking and then get about some doing.

Pretty much all of the above is ripe for future thinkings (that’s my code for posts). I expect that I’ll be incohate, insulted, insipid, inspired, inept, intrigued and infatuated. Not all at the same time, though. More spread out. Maybe some overlap. Maybe also some adjectives that are not as alliterative. Maybe. I’ll keep you posted.

Anyway, I’m poised and ready to start a new year. Sadly, for me, I’ll be spending a lot less time with you, my Loyal Reader. But I hope our time will still be good for you. Fingers crossed. 

Holly and Jolly

My feet. In front of the Christmas Tree. The tree is lit.

So tonight we had a Christmas Party. It’s a party that we’ve thrown more often than not in my lifetime. This means at least two things. First, that we’ve had this party for many, many years. And second, my adulthood is now told in decades.

I was challenged by a friend last night, during someone else’s holiday soirée, to look good. So I put on my most fabulous red dress and my princess shoes. I didn’t name them princess shoes, I had a contractor on staff a different set of years ago who named them. His designation wasn’t wrong.

Anyway, I really do not want to miss writing a post because we had a party. On the other hand, I used up all of my creativity making a party. Well, maybe used up is wrong. Creativity is unlimited, so it can’t be depleted. It’s more like exhausting, as in being tired. If I really, really, really needed to be creative, like to save a life, I could do it. It’s there. But to be more easily available, it needs to have some regeneration time. I used alot today.

So there were people here. Some were little people who played tag in and outside and who were sorry that The Beast was not running around with them. They don’t know that he is a great party foul perpetrator. Like he’d eat that cookie from their hand. Without aggression, mind you, but also without remorse. That’s just who he is. And is also why he is isolated during parties. He’s now resting his heavy head on my shoulder. Very calm once we’ve move past festivities.

There were some big people here, too. And returning to the decades thing, I introduced a friend of twenty years to a friend of thirty. I guess they are both old friends. Some people drank red. Some drank white. And some hit up the keg. It’s always fun to have a keg at a party. That’s why we do it. And The Spouse likes having alot of beer.

Speaking of alot, there was the Ham. We always have the Ham. It has been known to flip new vegetarians back to meat. Sadly, for at least one, their second slip was a double mcCheeseburger. The Ham was also partook by a guest who doesn’t eat pork. Since this was a guest, I did not correct her. She was enjoying herself. And, for the knowing meat eaters, suffice it to say that it is enough to keep them coming back. Year after year.

Someone asked if I made the most amazing dessert of the chocolate thing on top of the mini pretzel. First, the dessert snack offering was brilliant. And second, I don’t make dessert. It is either bought or brought. This one was brought. If I new the elf who made this simple ambrosia (where ambrosia=food of the gods), I would kiss them on the lips. So, it’s likely they are happy to remain anonymous.

Last, and apropos of absolutely nothing, the Big Guy gave me a Baby Ruth, after everyone left and the remaining scraps of food were refrigerated and I was sitting on the couch trying to scratch out this post. I ate the entire candy bar. Even thought it’s very late. I’m now going to brush my teeth and turn in. Okay. So that’s it for tonight. And a good night was had by all. I hope yours was a good one, too, Loyal Reader.