It’s Beginning To Look At Lot Like Christmas – Or Is It?


The General described it as a very productive day. If you’re reading between the lines, then you already know that yesterday, I opted to do it her way. Sure, there were other things I wanted to do. I can’t deny it. In fact, I suspect that most of you would have agreed with me, but when you’re trying to get out of the doghouse, you don’t always get to control the shots. You simply are content to try to dodge the bullets. The General said, “It was a productive day.” I’m not one to argue. “Productive day” is good. I’ll go with it.

I could have opted to take a nap, read a book, connect with Facebook friends or engage in a myriad of a thousand-and-one other things that would have been higher on my list of desired things to do, but I opted to yield to what was important to the General. I told you, “At times, I can be a very smart man”.

I just wish I were more consistent. Yesterday, a friend responding to my blog wrote: “Don, Don ,Don, ‘When will you ever learn’ (lol)? I’m to assume you’ve heard the term, ‘Not the sharpest knife in the drawer?’ Just remember, ‘This too shall pass’. I learned a long time ago to heat & cool the ‘Dog House’ because I knew I’d be spending a lot of time there……. :-)”

That reminds me of something I read once. Actually, I both heard and subsequently read it. It was in the introduction to a sermon shared by a former pastor. They were words I clearly remember. He said this:

  • “If you have a lot of tension and you get a headache, do what it says on the aspirin bottle: ‘Take two aspirin’ and ‘Keep away from children’”.
  • “When I die, I want to be like my grandfather, who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.”
  • “This was not encouraging: Oscar Wilde says, ‘Bigamy is having one wife or husband too many. Monogamy is the same.’”

I know that some of you are thinking that since the General is retired, she probably has all the time she needs to do whatever she wants while I’m at work. You are also probably thinking that she should acquiesce to my wishes when I’m off the clock. I appreciate your kind thoughts, but those are the kind of thoughts that could cost me my life and/or my retirement. If you thought that, “You’re probably both delusional and single.” One thing’s for sure, “You don’t know the General very well.”

It has been said that: “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” The same could be said for the General. At least it’s true for me. When she talks, “I listen… Well eventually I do. If you get my point, I always get hers”.

So how did we spend Saturday morning? The General wanted to buy new towels (white) for the bathroom – I mean spa. She also wanted at new lampshade for the floor lamp in our bedroom. Of course, I previously told her how she could restore the existing lampshade to “like-new” condition, but she opted not to hear me. She said, “My idea wouldn’t work.” Okay, so I don’t always get it right.

Finding new towels was not a problem. Finding a suitable lampshade was a lot more challenging. We actually both wanted a lampshade similar to the one we have. We shopped at Barton Creek mall and a couple of other places in South Austin, but didn’t find anything that would work. Finally, because I’m a “super-hero” when it comes to knowing where to shop, we headed to the Arboretum. What’s Saturday traffic other than a challenge to overcome?  We purchased the previous lampshade at Pottery Barn. Why not go back to Pottery Barn? You’re thinking, “I’m brilliant”. Not so much; just good luck.

Actually, our luck wasn’t that good. After arriving at Pottery Barn, all we saw was lamps with lampshades, but we didn’t see any lampshades by themselves. Finally, I asked. The salesman said, “You can purchase any of the lampshades you see on the lamps. They are priced separately. “Duh” – Why didn’t I know that? Okay, so problem solved! Not really! We didn’t like the lampshades we saw. They all appeared to be covered with burlap. So here’s the Pottery Barn drill, you can shell out $500+ and purchase a lamp. For an additional, $90 you can get a burlap covered lampshade.

We honestly didn’t see a lampshade we liked. Leaving there, we walk around the corner to Restoration Hardware. I was surprised. Their lamps were priced with shades included. They could learn a thing or two from Pottery Barn.   Unfortunately, their shades looked very similar to the ones at Pottery Barn. We opted to keep looking. Eventually, before we headed homeward, we found a shade that worked. We still didn’t like it nearly as well as what we had, but what we had was sagging, it had to be replaced.

On our way home, the General declared that we’d spend the remainder of the day cleaning the garage and going through storage tubs of Christmas decorations. She had to be kidding, but I knew she wasn’t. The die was cast.

Before we started that, I asked to use her hot-glue gun. I was going to work on the existing lampshade myself. It wasn’t that I didn’t like what we purchased, I just didn’t like it as well as the one we initially purchased for the lamp. Just for the record, if you’re highly motivated, you can do almost anything with a hot-glue gun. I am very pleased to say the old lampshade is no longer sagging and it looks great. I put the new one on a shelf in the closet.

We did have a productive day. The General identified about eight storage tubs of Christmas decorations that she is going to give away. “Praise God From Whom All Blessing Flow!” That will free up a lot of space on the garage shelving. I couldn’t be more pleased.  In addition, she cleaned all the storage tubs and the shelves where they were stored. I as amazed. A pair of rubber gloves and a container filled with Clorex wipes and the General is in her on element.  She really is obsessive compulsive.

I also got the sense that the General wanted me to voluntarily offer to get rid of some of my tools. For example, she picked up the case for my skill saw and asked, “What’s this?” When I told her, she said something closely akin to, “You sure have a lot of tools not to know how to use any of them.” Ouch – Pardon me! Did she forget who built our well-house? Obviously so! She is operating on the notion, “If you haven’t used it in a year, you need to get rid of it.”

The day ended with many things identified for Goodwill. I’m keeping my Craftsman automotive tools even if I’ll probably never use them. In fact, I know I’ll never use them.  In addition, I’m also keeping my saws. The General is going to let our children know that I’m the hoarder in the family.  Most of the Christmas decorations are on there way elsewhere. It was a very nice day.  It was a productive day indeed.  The General couldn’t have been more pleased.  So was I!

All My Best!



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