Friday, January 07, 2011

2011 brings Snow, Eggs, and a Shopping Epiphany

The snow started here a little while ago, but they are saying we should only get an inch or two today. No big deal. I am better prepared than I was for the storm that came after Christmas. This time, I already put the chickens' tractor under the swing-set, so they would have a protected and relatively snow-free place to go outside the coop. I also fixed the tarp again in the chickens' area yesterday, so they should not be bothered too much by snow there. The Christmas snow last time was way too much for my jury-rigged tarp arrangement to handle, and the whole thing had collapsed under the weight of the white stuff. But today's snow should not be a problem for my pathetic little system of hooks and zip ties.

I know it sounds like I spoil them, but we all feel a lot of responsibility for them. Like any pets, they are completely dependent upon us to take care of them. But, unlike pets, they pay their way by providing us with FOOD--we are getting 3 or 4eggs everyday. For some reason, this really makes me feel my obligation to them even more strongly. It's like a contract: they're living up to their end, and we need to do our part, too.

The cat sneaked out this morning when Mathboy ran out for his bus. The bugger has perfected the art of hiding near the foot of the stairs in the front hall. He waits for one of the kids to run out to the bus, and dashes out behind: a white and gray streak leaping through, in the nick of time, before the door slams. You might think the sound of the door crashing closed behind him would remind him of the way he lost half his tail a few years ago. Apparently not. At any rate, even he did not want to stay out too long this morning with the snow coming down. He's back already, licking the white stuff off his fur and watching the snow fall through the window.
Cat wants out

I ended up having to spend a while at the mall yesterday, in my hunt for the elusive Pants-That-Fit for my son. He's turning into quite the long, tall drink-of-water, and the pants I bought only a few months ago are already way too short. He wears them anyway, because he could care less, but Rich and I are have frightening flaskbacks of Erkel every time he puts them on. So I was determined yesterday to get pants that he wouldn't grow out of in a few months and secretly remove all the old pants from his closet so he couldn't wear them by accident. Mission Impossible? I was afraid so.

First stop: trusty old Macy's kids' department. I have given up on buying any shirts for Mathboy there--the kid clothes are just too ugly these days. But they usually have a good selection of Levis. But I discovered yesterday the limitations of kids' sizes: Mathboy has outgrown the 14s, which measure 27x27. I could have bought him 16s, which would have been 28x28. But that seemed pointless. Judging by the expanse of sock showing above his shoes and below his hems, he's probably too tall for those already. The size 18s measured 29x29. Those might be the right length, but they also would fall down around his ankles.

Crap. I was going to need 28x30 pants, and I think you can only get those in ... the men's department.

And right there, in the kids' floor of Macy's, surrounded by ugly dorky shirts and wrong-sized jeans on the boys' side, and ugly too-glittery shirts and babydoll dress on the girls' side, I finally realized it.

My days of shopping in the kids' department are over. My kids are now adult-size, or least teen-size. How did this happen??!!

Once I got my breath back, I bid farewell to the kids' department of Macy's, left my coupons behind, and walked out into the uncharted territory of The Mall, to hunt down the Perfect Guy Jeans.

My first stop was the Gap, because it was not too far outside my shopping comfort zone. Then I saw the price of men's jeans in the Gap. $60, anyone? Hunh? I wonder if the clerks noticed me laughing hysterically as I ran back out of the store.

I ended up at (gulp) American Eagle and (gasp) Hollister. My friend Mildred buys her kids clothes at American Eagle, and the display windows looked teenager-centered. And they were having a sale. Bingo! I ventured in. I found jeans and khakis in Mathboy's size, and felt pretty pleased with myself. This was easy, and relatively painless. The price was not as good at Macy's, but not as bad as the Gap. My confidence soared. I decided to challenge myself, and try to track down a "Cool Guy Shirt" as well. You know the kind I mean, right? The kind of shirt worn by boys who do not take pre-Calculus two (or 3?) years early, and who do not read 10-pound history books for fun?

I looked at the shirts, and, although I could tell that they definitely were for "Cool Guys," I also knew that Mathboy would hate them. Mathboy generally dislikes clothes with words and logos all over them, and American Eagle's stuff was all like a walking advertisement.

On a whim, I went down the hall to Hollister. It must have been the big "40% off Everything" sign in front that convinced me to go in, because I normally avoid Hollister like the proverbial plague. Hollister is one of those stores where the lighting is so dim that you can't find anything on your own, and the the music is playing so THUMPA-THUMPA-loud that you can't ask the clerks for help. And I did not think they would have anything Mathboy would like. It seems that there is no point in wearing Hollister clothes, unless you can make darn sure everyone knows you are wearing Hollister clothes. Fortunately, that's not hard with the way they plaster their brand name and logo acrrss the chest, arm and butt of everything they sell. As I've said, that's not Mathboy's style, so I did not expect to find anything for him there.

But I was pleasantly surprised. In the guys' section (excuse me, I mean "dudes" section), I found a big table full of heavyweight, long-sleeved henleys and t-shirts. They were all extremely soft, in nice subtle colors, and with very subdued logo-placement. I threw caution to the wind and bought 3 of them, for only about $50. And guess what? Mathboy loves them. Mission accomplished!

As a funny coda to this story, let me tell you what happened when I left the store, pleased with my find but a bit embarrassed by picture of the seriously-ripped male model on the store bag I was carrying. As I paused to let my eyes readjust to the bright light of the mall, I realized that a horrendously loud fire or theft alarm was sounding throughout the mall.

The Hollister music had been so loud, we had not heard it inside the store.

Good thing it was a false alarm. I hope the mall has some alternative plan for emptying out the Hollister store in case of emergency, since the alarm clearly doesn't work in there. :o/

We had a great visit with Leslie and Frank, who stayed with us from December 27th through New Year's. We did not do that much, mostly just enjoying the time with each other. My big gift was a Christmas Nativity Pyramid, that they had gotten in Germany when they were there in September. It's beautiful, and we all love it so much. It's fascinating watching it go around and around.

One day, we drove over to New Hope, PA, which has changed quite a bit since I grew up around there. We walked around a little there, had a nice lunch, fed some birds in the river, and rode the New Hope Ivyland Railroad.
NH Ivyland RR
Then we drove to Peddler's Village, which seems SO much different! Of course, that's what happens when you go back to a place after being away for 20 years! The Christmas lights were gorgeous.
Peddler's Village Lights

Catgirl and I waited in line (in the coooooold!) to see the entries in the Gingerbread House contest.
Gingerbread Houses 1
These house were amazing. The winners were spectacular, but some of my favorites didn't win anything.
Gingerbread Houses 2
Gingerbread Houses 3

In this picture, the White House got 3rd prize in its category, but the Rockefeller Center on the left got nothing.
Gingerbread Houses 4

Check out this wreath, made entirely of gingerbread "pinecones." Wow!
Gingerbread Houses 5
The wreath only got an Honorable Mention in its category. The winner was this covered bridge scene, which was very nice, too:
Gingerbread Houses 6

Happy New Year!

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