I'm beginning to suspect that Christmas is coming soon.
Back in my high school and college days -- when I might be working some kind of retail job (Andy's Furniture, Shop Rite Supermarkets, Big Scott Double Discount Department Store, etc.) -- the whole commercial thing, putting up decorations in the store, stocking shelves with tinsel and lights and ornaments, being surrounded by mobs of shoppers, incessant Christmas songs being played, all served (for good or ill) as constant reminders of the approaching holiday.
After spending last week in Toronto and in Rochester, MN (and passing through a snowy Chicago airport) it seemed very strange to leave those snowy winter-bound places to return to mild weather in Rhode Island. On Sunday it reached 58 F (14 C)... okay, so there were really strong winds (gusts exceeding 50 mph) and some heavy rain with thunderstorms, but temperatures were mild. At the same time in Rochester it was five degrees with minus 30 to minus 50 wind chill. Things have cooled off here and the rain that started yesterday turned to snow shortly after dawn this morning, leaving a sprinkling of white on the lawns (further inland it mostly fell as snow, leaving several inches in parts of Mass)... so there is a hint of winter outside now.
Finally mailed Christmas cards on Monday (yes, I know, I bought the cards two weeks ago)... uh, except for an address I'd lost, that one is out in the mailbox now waiting to be picked up. And we decorated the tree on Sunday. Yes, the tree we brought home and put up on December 3rd finally got decorated on December 17th.
I'm taking today off from work. There are eight "weekdays" left in 2000; I have six days of time-off to take (including the Christmas Day holiday)... taking all of next week off will account for five of those days, but I needed to take a day off this week. (It's a use or lose situation; can't carry any time over into the next year.) Jennifer and I plan on working in the basement, attempting to bring order to the chaos and start to make space for the home work-out and fitness center we want. Sean is in school but I'm picking him up when school gets out to drive him up to the Warwick area (location of a couple of malls plus lots of the "big box" stores, etc.) so he can do his Christmas shopping. (Actually, this will be finishing off mine as well because I want to get him into Sports Authority or whatever-the-name-is other big sporting goods outlet so he can new weight bench and weights... the part of our proposed family work-out center that will be his Christmas present.)
Our Christmas tree... You'll notice the somewhat eclectic mix of ornaments, including some from my childhood, some purchased over the years, some given by friends, some made by our children...