Piles of boxes stacked taller than me, slivers of space to squeeze through to get to the back door where the UPS truck is waiting to load in 200 more packages. Books as far as the eye can see on every counter and spilled over onto the boxes. Sound like an episode of “Hoarders?” It’s the stockroom at Barnes & Noble, where booksellers now have to try and get the product out on the floor and in the hands of customers in the less than 6 weeks until Christmas.
It’s the same scene every year. Our back room is really too small to handle all the boxes delivered on a daily basis during the season and we have gotten pretty creative about how to maneuver, but it’s a tight fit for a few weeks and it is really stressful to try and scrape enough personnel together to take care of it all. Always too much to do and not enough time to get it done. But then we do. We will get it all out and spend the next several weeks delighting customers with all the gift ideas we have, then clean up the glitter and snowflakes and start the ‘new year new you’ theme, and then comes Valentine’s Day, and the year will continue. The circle of retail life.
The next six weeks will be a blur. I will put my heart and soul and extra hours in to make sure the store is ready for all those people looking to create an amazing holiday. I’ll make my special meatballs and bring in treats and try to keep everyone in the holiday spirit, and when they are not I quote my dad to them, who is fond of saying, “Ho ho ho your ass!” By New Year’s Eve I’ll bone tired, but also happy we made it through another holiday.
Why take the time to share all of this? To ask that every time you are out shopping, trying to make the perfect holiday for your family and loved ones, remember to thank a retail worker who spent the previous evening stocking the shelves. When you stop to eat somewhere because you are exhausted from holiday planning and you can’t even, give an extra smile and maybe a larger tip to your waitress who works so hard so you don’t have to. Instead of cursing DPW workers who plow snow into your driveway, say a thank you that the roads are clear and salted. So many people toil every day in service so others can go on doing for their family and friends. Make sure to let them know how grateful you are. I know I am. Happy Holidays!
I know I have missed a couple of days of posting, but there are wireless problems in my home so am posting from my phone tonight. That way I only owe two days in December. But sometimes life happens and no amount of tech support can help and then you have a tiny little screen to tell all of your larger than life stories.
Technology has come such a long way in the last 5 years…the last 10 years…the last 50 years. I was a computer science major 35 years ago and all my programs were typed on computer cards and heaven help anyone who spilled those piles of cards and had to try and put them back in the right order…back when some computers still filled entire rooms and no one could imagine one fitting in the palm of your hand.
It’s like the memes of people talking on the phone connected to the wall with a long curly cord and talking about how kids today don’t understand what it was to be a teen in the 70’s. The phone in our house was next to a comfy armchair and I remember spending hours talking to my boyfriend on it even though he only lived 3 blocks away. Today I called my sister and my nephew answered and then yelled at her to come to the phone. “Why are you yelling? It’s not like the phone is connected to a cord!” “Well actually it is, Aunt Buddy. The batteries on our other phones are running out too fast.” I guess he told me! And now HE knows the struggle is real.
So forgive me any mistakes or misspellings that may be occurring because of this tiny screen. And maybe take a moment to marvel at the technology that allows me to blog on a phone!s
So many songs came to mind after my blog post Glory Days was published a few weeks ago that I just had to do a part 2. The only group missing is the parody band Tone Deaf from SUNY Oswego. These guys made anything an instrument and the goal was to be bad on purpose. They deserve a whole post all their own. In the meantime, enjoy some of these classics!! And share some of your favorites!!
Play That Funky Music White Boy by Wild Cherry
One day Jenny’s roommate came home all excited about the new song she found out about while shopping downtown. None of us had the heart to tell her it had come out almost 10 years before. Maybe we should have. That may have kept her from torturing us with it over…and over…and over…and over again. 30 years later, whenever Mobius Jones plays this song, I see her face.
Continue reading “More Glory Days”
On This Day is one of my most fun things about Facebook. For those who don’t know, it shows all the things posted in that newsfeed on that date in previous years. Included in today’s list on mine were entries from different years that all had one thing in common, an optimistic and enthusiastic post talking about NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) and how THAT year would be the year I would hit the coveted 50000 words. I started out strong, mathematically calculating how many words per day (1667) and then recalculating at the end of each week as I fell short of the intended goal. By mid-month, things would look bleak, and by the time Thanksgiving week arrived, my retail life had taken over and I would slink toward November 30, vowing to do better next year.
Continue reading “IAWABAD, My Own Version of NANOWRIMO”
My mom excitedly introduced me to John, a guy that she and her grandtwins got to know this past summer at Great Camp Sagamore. “This is John! Ty really enjoyed him this summer”, she exclaimed with a huge grin. I smiled.”Nice to meet you. It sounds like you had a great time with my mom!” This happens all the time, whether it is church or the bookstore or at one of my band gigs. So many times someone has said to me, “Are you a Horan? Are you related to Carole?” And my answer is always yes. My mom collects people the way some people collect stamps or shells.
From a very young age, our family dinners always included others, whether it was one of our friends or someone living with us. An overfull table didn’t seem out of place. It wasn’t until years later that I found out that most people only ate with their nuclear families. And it wasn’t just food we shared, it was also our space. We moved to the Near West Side when I was 11, and the two family house provided all the space we needed for our family of 9, plus whoever. Here’s a pic of the seven of us with some guy named Tony we picked up along the way. My parents wanted to help out in the neighborhood and at St Lucy’s church, and that included giving shelter to those who needed it. The upstairs mirrored the downstairs, and it was really fun for the kids to have our bedrooms be in the kitchen or the living room. I paired with most of my siblings throughout my time there, and once Judy and I got the front room with the balcony! There were a lot of us but there was always room for one more at Our Father’s House.
Continue reading “There’s Always Room For One More”
Last February I was watching the world stroll by the porch where we were hanging out and sipping beer in the sunshine. I have been thinking about how I wanted to write about the places that the Band Wives (and husbands) visited in Key West last winter, then I crunched the numbers and realized we frequented 22 different restaurants and bars! How to get this down to a manageable number…to make it an even dozen, I’ve decided to leave the Hemingway bars Sloppy Joe’s and Capt Tony’s for a separate read. So here are 12 of the most fun places, all located in sunny Key West!
We started at the Grand Vin Wine Bar, the wives lured in by the chalkboard sign out front that said, “Free Wine Tasting!” The guys and I scrounged a couple of beers from a cooler in the back while the wives lined the bar. We got our drinks and headed out to the porch and the sunshine. A photo op led us to meet Liz and Dave (on the left), there on Key West for a long weekend from Indiana. She heard someone yell, “Troublemaker!” (it could have been meant for any one of us} and then offered to take a pic. They joined us for a drink and we became fast friends, joining in when the partiers on a balcony across the street started a yelling war, in which of course we participated. When it was time to get some dinner, Liz and Dave recommended The Salty Angler. We were charmed by the fish tacos and live music. It didn’t take long for the dancing to start when we heard Warren Zevon’s Lawyers, Guns, and Money, one of Bridgette’s faves.
Continue reading “My 12 Favorite Key West Party Places”
Driving down Bridge Street with Nick, checking out all the changes that have occurred since I was enrolled at SUNY Oswego, all the dive bars now torn down or repurposed. I jumped at the chance to take him back to school, wanting quality time with him to see how it was going. He’s living on West Campus, where I spent four years engaging in shenanigans during the 80’s. As I approached, all the feels for the sounds that I love from that time came flooding back. Whether it was Taps played on a snare and trumpet by Michael and Nelson at sunset, or walks to the lake with my roommates where we could not even talk over the roar of the waves on Lake Ontario, or playing the stereo with the speakers out the windows having a music war with the opposite dorm, there are so many memories. And the music…so many songs…here are 10 of the songs that take me to Cayuga Hall every time I hear them!
Continue reading “Glory Days”