Thursday, November 29, 2012

Breather and 'happy holidays'

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, Puckerbrush has a new roof --- so that project's done, bills have been submitted and now we've got to figure out what to deal with next in the never-ending campaign to keep vintage buildings from falling apart.

I took this photo Wednesday morning in part to show the roll of "breather" (a more accurate description than "spacer") that separates the new cedar shingles from the new plywood sheeting to which they have been carefully nailed.

The reason for the breather layer is to allow air circulation under the shingles and prevent rot. I'm wondering if we'll get 40 years out of this roof, too.


Then I went to Walmart, which involved driving to Knoxville --- in search of socks. Ever since Pamida started transitioning into a ShopKo, it's been a challenge to buy socks and underwear in Chariton. Hopefully the transition will be complete one of these days.

Halfway to Knoxville, it occurred to me that I probably could have found socks at the lumber yard (city folks sometimes find it amusing that it is possible to dress one's self from the shelves of many lumber yards). But what the heck --- I'd had new tires put on Friday and wanted to see how they drove anyway.

The last time I was in a Walmart was just before Christmas last year when Hy-Vee failed me and I had to drive to Knoxville to find mincemeat. That doesn't mean I'm philosophically opposed to Walmarts --- just that I'd rather shop at home. Besides, socks --- no matter where you buy them and how much they cost --- come from the same Chinese sweatshops.

By the way, I counted last night. Chariton Hy-Vee has three jars of mincemeat left on the shelves. Better hurry. I'm buying one this morning.

Anyhow, I found my socks --- and an especially good deal on paper towels. I love paper towels, even though I know I shouldn't. Twelve jumbo rolls at roughly $1 each. Wow, that took me back to the good old days.

I got to the checkout line and was reminded why, among other reasons, I don't enjoy the Walmart experience. All but three of the checkout lanes were abandoned.

I got behind a woman from Pella who had been stocking up on Chrismas tree ornaments, including quite a few large glass ones that looked a little delicate. So delicate, in fact, that after consultation with the clerk it was decided to double-bag each ornament in small bags, then combine the double-bagged balls three-balls-each in larger bags and then consolidate all of the larger bags of bagged balls in a giant bag. This took time. Fortunately, I wasn't in a hurry.

Besides, I've been getting all of these "It's not Happy Holidays it's Merry Christmas. Share to agree" postings in my Facebook feed lately, so I spent some time preparing to to pounce when the time came, finally, to pay my bill and receive the clerk's benediction. Imagine the disappoint when all she said was, "Have a great day."


I don't really understand the "Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holidays" hoo-ha. I don't recall ever wishing anyone a "happy holiday" rather than a "merry Christmas," but it may be that I have. Generally I figure "happy holiday" beats a kick in the teeth, so what's the big deal.

I do try to be a little careful with "merry Christmas," however. Once, in the checkout line at a Target far from the south of Iowa I absent-mindedly wished the clerk a merry Christmas and was treated to a lengthy discourse about why Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas and just what a wicked and pagan observance it actually is. I've often wondered how long she lasted behind that cash register.

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