Sunday, November 18, 2012

From Scrooge to Griswold in an Afternoon

Tammy has been busy for at least the last month sewing hats and mittens that she'll give away to some of the children she works with on Tuesday nights at Hosanna. For the past 7 or 8 years, she's been volunteering there every other Tuesday painting nails of mostly young children but occasionally adults as well. She's doing such a nice job with these and putting in a lot of hours on them, I had to make mention of it here. I know she'd rather I didn't say anything but it's me tooting her horn, not her. The hats are really cute and the photo to the left is just a small sample of what she's done. I told her that I think Rachel would love a pair of the mittens she's made for Christmas.

I've mentioned before in my writings how selfless Tammy is, always giving of her time to others while expecting nothing in return. Not even a thank you. I admire her so much. I know she won't be one to sit back and put her feet up when she finally steps into retirement life. She's got a good jump on it already.

Over the weekend we were looking through a publication of adult courses being offered through the city of Lakeville. There's a painting class and a pottery class that we'd both like to take but unfortunately, our work schedules are competing for our time. The pottery class interests me most but I wouldn't mind trying my hand at watercolors too. Mostly, I'd love for Tammy to get back into it because she's already shown a natural talent for it through a class in college years ago. How nice it will be when we no longer have our work schedules to consider.

We had to cancel out of our glassblowing slot this week because Tammy needed to fit in an opportunity to make Lefse with her aunt Joyce. It's something they get together each year to do. Here's the two of them from a few years ago demonstrating how to make Lefse for me to upload to YouTube.

While Tammy was away I headed up to Foci to gather up our work from the previous week. I'd normally wait until the next time we'd be in the studio to get them but there was a vase I needed to pick up. It's a housewarming gift for Keith and Tracee along with some matching tumblers.

Instead of turning around and coming straight home, I took some time to sit down at Steve's bench and watch him work his magic. He's been so gracious with his time helping Tammy and me as we learn this most challenging art form. Steve was working on some pet memorials—smaller, paperweight size pieces of art that contain a small amount of ashes from a cremated pet. Here's a link to his site, specifically the page about his pet memorials. It's such a neat idea. He also makes urns for both pet and human cremated remains.

I'm editing this post one month after I originally published it. I wanted this bit of information to be a part of my blog but for personal reasons, I didn't necessarily want our family or friends to read it as they follow my weekly updates. We paid off our mortgage this past week! Yay! That's a big piece of the puzzle for us to have fallen into place as we both prepare to retire. I've been aggressive in paying it off over the last 7 years or so and now it's done. Between taxes and insurance, I figure it will still cost a little more than $600 per month to be in our home. Much better than the $3400 we had been paying monthly. I was always the one to write out our mortgage payment each month but I let Tammy do the honors with the last one. I like her style!

I'd pretty much convinced myself that I wasn't going to do Christmas lights this year. Tammy was very insistent that I not get up on the roof considering I'm still on Coumadin (blood-thinner) for another couple months. A fall resulting in any internal bleeding could be a big problem for me. I was sort of feeling ho-hum about the whole idea anyway, even to the point of asking Tammy if we could just take a pass on all of the Christmas decorations entirely this year, inside and out. We both work Christmas Eve and I also work Christmas day and I'm not sure when we'll get together with Rachel. Simply forgoing the entire celebration crossed my mind.

Anyway, I got up Saturday morning to a beautiful day outside; a day perfect for hanging Christmas lights if a guy had that on his to-do list, which I didn't. But then I started thinking about it and thinking some more. I had no plans for the day. Before too long I was backing out the Forester to get access to the loft in the garage where I keep our strings of lights and warming up to the idea of welcoming Christmas. I made a list of what I'd need in the way of lights to do the works and headed off to Fleet Farm. I'll typically get a few seasons out of LED lights until they begin to fail but with regular lights, I often toss them out after one season because the color coating erodes away in the elements and they lose their brilliance. $89 later and I was in business!

Getting up on the roof doesn't really bother me at all. It's climbing my extension ladder to a point beyond where I can grab onto it while reaching out to try and work the string of lights into a small plastic hook about 3 feet away that can be especially unnerving. I've said more than a few prayers from that same spot over the years. I need look no further than the guys I work with to hear about more than a couple of really bad falls associated with hanging Christmas lights. I'm careful but I'm sure they were too.

Between some quick diversions into the house to play a fast round or two of SongPop (my latest online game fascination) with friends and a couple of trips to the store I had the job completed after 8 hours. Tammy wasn't too keen on me being out there on the roof and actually pleaded with me early on to not bother with the job but in the end she was happy to see the lights doing their thing. Or maybe she was simply happy that I'd survived the ordeal for another year.

A preview below. They don't officially go on until Thanksgiving night.

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