Archive for December, 2010

OK, clearly it’s different. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. A couple of people asked me about a cookie exchange, and I said YES! but . . . I’ve been swamped with home and work responsibilities, and I’ve frankly been a little blue.

But this isn’t “real world” where you have to open your door at just the time the invitation says. Here, it’s blog rules. So here’s what I want to do. I’m off from work next week. So I’d like to stop in and show you some of our holidaying. My city is very pretty this time of year. I’ll show you some of that. Riggins is a wild man. I’ll show you that. I’m even trying some new recipes. I’ll show you that, too.

Instead of a one-day exchange, it will be a week-long holiday open house. If you want me to visit your blog, leave a link and I’ll stop in. You in? I hope so.

Merry Christmas, dear friends and visitors. God bless us every one.

I’ll be back soon!


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There’s an ugly property dispute going on within the Fairchild family. Both of the combatants make compelling arguments. As the heads of the household, Jif and I are called upon to render a decision, but we are stymied.


Some weeks back, we took delivery of one black metal baby gate, all the better to contain Riggins with. It has served its purpose well. He stays mostly in the family room. Said family room was added on to the house at some point, and was once a garage. As such, it sits on a concrete slab, and is not particularly well insulated, and frankly, gets cold as Mars. It is difficult to keep the family room warm, especially with no fire in the fireplace. Thus, the stage is set for the appearance of The Toasty House.

LG performed the very valuable service of installing the baby gate, in the space between family room and kitchen. However, when she did so, she did not perform what would also have been a valuable service — that of properly disposing of the cardboard box from which the gate emerged. What she did do with said box, is to slide it under the breakfast bar in the family room, and lean it against the wall — where it remained for far too long. Where it remained, in fact, until Riggins disappeared one day, and we discovered that he had taken up residence in the lean-to structure that was formed by the box leaning against the wall under the breakfast bar. He seemed so fond of this newly claimed spot, that we did not immediately move to take the box away, thereby dismantling the lean-to.

In the meantime, the family room grew colder. Being a person of considerable investigative talents, I investigated. Could there be a connection between the dropping temperature in the room, and the newly claimed lean-to, where Riggins resided? Indeed, there was. There is a heating vent that comes out under the breakfast bar, where the gate box leans. The heat from that vent is captured between wall and box, and makes the lean-to one of the toastiest places in our home. Hence its name, “The Toasty House.” The answer to the question, “Where’s Riggins?” is more often than not, “in the toasty house.” Once we became aware of his love for this home within a home, we did not have the heart to recycle the box as we originally should have.

Riggins chillin' in the toasty house

Over the weekend, the temperatures dropped here. LG began to ponder the possibilities of the toasty house. One thing led to another, and she crawled in, to experience first hand its warm delights. She didn’t want to leave. Riggins was highly offended, but eventually burrowed in with her. This leads to our current stalemate.

LG tries out the toasty house

LG says that she is the builder, and indeed, the architect and designer of the toasty house, and as such, she should have clear deed to it. Riggins argues (we think) that if not for him, no one would ever have discovered that a discarded box against a wall is in fact, a toasty house. The “toasty” part, which is, in fact, what keeps the house from simply being more trash in the family room, was his discovery. They have reached a stalemate, but each has agreed to abide by the decision of the internet.

So I ask you, who has rightful claim to the toasty house?

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I found some gift cards that the in-laws had given us for Christmas, probably a couple of years ago. They were for that really great one-word department store that begins with “N.” LG has a few events coming up that will require something nicer than her usual jeans and t-shirt uniform, but not quite a sparkly homecoming dress. Since that’s the extent of her wardrobe, it’s time for us to do some shopping. And the gift cards will work nicely.

While she’s trying on her selections in the fitting room, I’m sitting on this stool just outside, next to the rack of clothes to be put away. I feel something really REALLY soft and pleasant against my arm. I look down, and here’s this vest, which I assume, there in the junior department, is an inexpensive faux fur. So I pick it up, and it’s LG’s size, and it’s beautiful, and I can’t wait until she comes out so I can show her, have her try it on.

So along comes the young woman who works in the junior deparment. Young, stylish, African-American. She reaches out to take the vest from me. I smile and say, “This is great.” I’m all ready to talk young, hip fashion, like I know what I’m talking about.

She says, with no particular expression in face or voice, “It’s really next-door.” It took me a second, but I caught on. I realized that “next-door” must be some new expression that I don’t know yet, like “off the chain,” or something like that, but it means groovy.

So, always willing to be vernacularly adaptive, I say, “Oh, yes, it really is!”

She looks at me like I’m “special” and pulls the vest from my hands, saying, “It’s really NEXT DOOR.”

And I’m all, “I KNOW. I want my daughter to try it.” By now the thing is slipping through my hands and starting to walk away in hers. The last part to leave my grasp is the tag, on which I read the word “MINK” and a price that’s in the hundreds of dollars. She’s still looking at me like I’m special, but now she’s walking away with the vest, toward “next-door,” which, turns out, means the next department over, in the high-end fancy pants clothes.

What does she know? I still think “next door” is off the chain, as an expression of fabulousness.

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