December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas 2018

Moravia, New York
Christmas Eve morning 2018

My Planet Whizbang mail order business will send out just over 2,000 packages this year. That number is down considerably from previous years. But it's still a lot, and the local post office picks up the packages every day at my home. It's a nice service they provide, but it's asking too much from my mail carrier in December, when she is really overloaded with packages to deliver.

So, this year, in addition to delivering a big plate of Christmas cookies (a token of our appreciation) to the post office, Marlene or I are taking our outgoing packages there every day this month. Fortunately, we don't have to stand in line at the front window. We walk in the back door.

This morning, the day before Christmas, I got to the post office much earlier than usual. All the mail carriers were in the big back room sorting their mail into pigeon holes. I gave a cheery "Good morning" to the room. One carrier smiled at me and said, "That's debatable." 

I replied: "So, do you all have a big party when Christmas is over?" 

I wanted them to know that I know this is a hard time of year for them. My question brought some laughs of affirmation, and lots of Merry Christmas wishes as I headed back out the door.

From the post office, I took a left onto Main Street and headed to the local bank. It's a small, independent bank. How many of those are left in this world of bank conglomeration? Not many. 

But, to my dismay, the ATM was not working. The day before Christmas and the ATM was not working! Fortunately, it wasn't a crisis—just a little disappointment. 

I headed back onto Main Street towards the gas station. Marlene and I are driving west the day after Christmas to pick up Futureman (our grandson) for a short visit. This morning was a good time to get the gas tank topped off.

The annoying gas pump television was less annoying than usual today. The volume was down. Maybe someone complained. I noticed that a small group of Amish men were getting coffee at Dunkin Donuts. 

From the gas station I went to the local lumberyard, which is just outside town, at the bottom of Tollgate Hill road. 

Years ago I worked for a local contractor who owned the building and it was known as Home Center Mall. The store had kitchen & bathroom displays and I was the "General Manager" in charge of all kitchen & bathroom sales. I met with customers, helped with design and product selection, drew up the contracts for work, and did the remodeling jobs myself (with a co-worker). 

It was a lot of work and responsibility, but it was a good experience. From there, it was just natural that I would go into business for myself doing the same work. My co-worker (Steve) and I went into business together as Bestbuilt Construction.

When the Home Center Mall was bought and turned into a lumber yard they pretty much gutted the interior of the building. But they left one small room untouched. It was my office. It is now the paint-mixing room. If you are ever at Alpine Building Supply in Moravia, NY, be sure to take a peek into the paint mixing room. You will see the built-in desk, drawers, shelving and moldings that I made there in the early 1990s. In fact, I remember working on that office on a Christmas eve day (on my own time) way back then.

I always enjoy going to the local lumberyard because I usually see someone I know, and I always have a good conversation with the men who work there.

This morning, when I walked into the store, I was the only customer. Tom was at the counter and Don was doing something at one of the nearby displays. I asked if I was their first customer of the day. They told me that a truckload of men in straw hats (Amish) had left a short while earlier.

I bought some ice melt and a tube of Gorilla Glue. Then I told Tom that I appreciated the "Merry Christmas" wishes on the sign in front of their store. He replied, "We're not afraid to say Merry Christmas." I told him I had seen a business sign on the internet this morning that said: Wishing you a happy "whatever doesn't offend you."

We exchanged pleasantries, wished each other a Merry Christmas, and I went outside to take the picture you see at the top of this blog post.

From the lumber yard I headed home. We live only 6 miles from town. A nice distance. 

Tonight, my three sons and their wives will come for dinner. My youngest sister and her husband will also be here. After dinner we will open some presents. 

We picked names for presents at Thanksgiving. So, everyone buys a gift for only one person. But it always ends up that more gifts materialize. Even still, we do not go overboard when it comes to giving gifts. 

As I write this, Marlene is busy with cooking and cleaning. I have things to do before the evening's festivities too. So that's it for today's blog post. 

Here's wishing you and yours a blessed and merry Christmas... or whatever doesn't offend you.


  1. Lisa Alpaca Lady from MichiganDecember 24, 2018 at 4:41 PM

    I love your blog and Merry Christmas to you and your family too!

  2. Glad to see you mentioning a visit with Futureman. Wishing you Safe travels, Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

  3. Merry Christmas to you and your family, I do enjoy your blog.

  4. Elizabeth L. Johnson said, Wonderful to hear about your lovely village and your doings! It is endearing to my heart, homey, and comforting good news. So glad to hear you get to visit with Futureman. As for my family, we traveled for the first time in decades. We Christmased at our oldest daughter's, and nearby, our youngest daughter had her first child, a girl, on December 27th!!! Our daughter and her husband made up her name, Kynnerly; 8 lbs 10 oz, and 21 inches long. Her dad comes from Viking ancestors and was himself, a large newborn--10.5 lbs. We had snow there in Bend, Oregon while with the family! A wonderful, Blessed Christmas!

    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      A new granddaughter! Congratulations.