The New House and Christmas

One of the things I like about keeping a blog is the history. I can go back eight years and see what I was up to. Facebook, however, is keeping me from posting. And, while I’m an almost daily poster on FB, now I’m posting here every other week or so. The downside is FB has no “archive,” really. Yes, I can click “see older posts,” but who wants to do that to find something eight months old? No one. I did it once, looking for something from Jimmy T’s bachelor party, and it took forever. So I need to remember to post milestones here.

Back in the first week of October, I moved into my childhood home. My mom bought a new trailer, and placed it on a couple of acres about a mile from her old house. I have said for years that I would love to live in my old home town, Spruce Head Maine America. With mom moving, that opportunity came around. With the blessings of my brother and sister, Mom and I made arrangements for me to purchase her house–the house I grew up in. Susan moved five times before she was 12. She was really captivated by the idea that I grew up in essentially one house for my entire childhood. (Technically, another house was burned out in ’77–or was it ’76? Either way, I was too young to have any real memories of it. The “new” house sits on the old foundation, though!) So we’re now all settled into my “old” house, which is now the Batty’s “new” house, even though it was this Batty’s old house. Got it?

Our “new” house is a ranch, where “Rockland House” was a typical New Englander. Living on one floor has significant advantages. Since the laundry is all on one floor, I’m like to wash, fold, and put the laundry into storage. At Rockland House, where laundry was in the basement, clean laundry went onto a table, and eventually became a mountain of clean laundry. And, since the bedrooms are on the same floor, we’re more likely to make the bed, and keep things tidied up. No more hiding mess upstairs! The only downside I can see so far is that the kids don’t go “downstairs” in the morning, making sleeping in after those late night gigs much harder to do.


Christmas at the new house was a lovely affair. Though a made a special trip to Rockland House to pick up the video camera, we forgot to use it. My inlaws came down and celebrated with us, as they usually do. In the afternoon, we had lunch at my mom’s new house, and opened presents there. I should also mention that Christmas Eve was at my grandmother’s house. This year, she “cut back.” Every year, she says she’s cut back, and bought fewer presents. This year, she actually did. And honestly, I appreciate it. In years past, the kids would get so much stuff we’d actually have to give perfectly good toys away in order to make room for the new stuff. This year, everyone was more in line.

I bought Susan a Wii Fit–something she wanted last year too. I played a very nice Christmas party for a legal firm, and parlayed that gig into her present. Really, the whole family is using it. I’m even getting up early to try and put in 15-30 minutes of “work out.” I do a little stretching, some cardio stuff, and then a little run. It’s really quite fun. The biking, the obstacle course, and the run get the heart rate up, get my lungs working, and get me off the couch. Here’s hoping I stick with it!

Dreaming of Laserdiscs

I had a dream last night that I was in a music shop. In the shop, they also had quite a few used laserdiscs. As a guy who still has a LD player, and as a guy who likes a bargain, I was checking tem out. Most of them were “slasher” movies: scantilly clad women running away from some gruesome killer. (One of them had the tagline “Like sex and murder? This is the movie for you!”) Not being into those kinds of movies, I kept looking. There wasn’t anything really good. I did find a copy of “Splash.” It was pretty beat up. At first, I thought “No, it wasn’t THAT good a movie.” Then I thought “Well, it DOES have Tom Hanks.” I pulled the beat-up jacket out of the bin, and the price tag read “$11.00, Rare.”

I looked at the clerk, my facial expressions reading “$11, are you kidding?” She understood my look, and said “According to the guidebook, that’s what it’s worth.” I thought to myself “Good luck selling that at ‘book value'” and put it back in the bin.

The clerk then held up a very large LD box. “Here’s the Jayne Mansfield box set: 80 laserdiscs, every movie she ever made. Interested?” I wasn’t.

That’s all I remember. Well, there was a part about me buying a restored candy green Jeep, but I don’t remember how that tied in.

Castanet Burns

I have a habit of mishearing things. I hear something, and I KNOW it’s not right, but sometimes the results are funny. What Nathaniel said was “How did llama get downstairs?” What I heard wad “How did Ramadan get in my bed?”

Friday Fill In #154

1. Good times: that’s what I need a little more of.
2.I talked to an insurance agent today about my home.
3. Sleigh bells ring in the most unexpected places, if you’ll just take the time to listen.
4. Someone should turn down the heat a little.
5. Once more with feeling this time.
6. Ever had one of those days when you just couldn’t wait for it to end?
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to getting done caroling, tomorrow my plans include ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, and Sunday, I want to stop having a poor attitude!

School Me in Economics

Let’s say I have business. And let’s say I know with the economic downturn, I can tell I’m going to lose money. Let’s say, for easy math (and I like easy math!), I’m planning on losing $100,000 this year. Now let’s say business isn’t as bad as I thought. It’s still bad, and I’m still losing money, but let’s say now I’m only going to lose $25,000. Here’s the question: Who in their right mind thinks “Woo hoo! I’m not losing as much as I thought! I think I’ll go out and spend $75,000 since I’d already planned on losing $100,000 anyway!”

Does that not sound ridiculous? Wouldn’t most of us say “I’m glad I’m not losing as much, but I still need to buckle down and at least try to make a profit. Now is not the time to be spending money–spending money I actually don’t have!”

Yet, the former seems to be the attitude of some of our legislators. The TARP bailout isn’t LOSING as much as they thought. So what do we do with the “leftover” money? (As if you can have leftover negative somethings!) Spend it! Hey, we’d already planned on it losing, so let’s spend it so we can meet our budgeted loss!

I’m not an economist. I was an English major; I don’t even particularly care for numbers at all. Yet I’m involved with budgets for my church, my household, and for two other organizations on whose boards I serve. What would they say if I proposed spending money in a budget deficit year, using the math theory “We’re not losing as much as we planned, so let’s spend!” They’d clonk me! It doesn’t make sense.  Or does it, somehow? If so, please school me how.