If I felt a tiny bit smug, as we headed out into the country, away from stores, malls and bargains, I surely have had to eat my hat this morning. Maybe gloves and scarf too. Here's a rundown of this day so far:
After a very rushed breakfast...
(in his jacket, ready to go)
...we pack up our computers and make our way to this region's largest mall.
To explain: I am one of the unfortunate MacBook owners whose computer did not take kindly to the Operating System upgrade a couple of weeks ago. It now drops WiFi at about the speed of moths flying to a bright lamp. Work, work, work DROP. Reconnect, wait. Work, work, work, DROP. etc.
Ed has tried the recommended patches for me. I have done the upgrade to the upgrade. Nothing helps.
Since I'm going away on a quick little trip the day after tomorrow, a work, work, work, DROP connectivity isn't ideal. So off we go, braving the horrible crowds of the mall, grabbing the one Apple Store Genius Bar appointment available this weekend. It's a last ditch effort to get my baby to speak intelligently to me again. If the problem isn't fixed, I'll have to take my BIG laptop. At a time when I like a SMALL travel bag. (Another reason to let go of my smugness: you can't always travel light. )
We navigate the mall, Ed and I, clinging to each in a strategic attempt to ward off the shoppers, their bags, their snacks, their reindeer antlers (a popular way to shop now). Still, I must admit that most people around us seem to be quite happy. The Santa is out, the trimmings are bright, the sales are big -- what's there not to like?
Well, lots. Predictably, the Apple Genius guys want to keep my laptop to unload and reload the new Operating System. So now we're faced with this bleak prospect: we must linger at the mall for at least an hour. And the only place to linger is either on Santa's lap or in the food courts -- in full view of all the ways in which you can eat miserably after already eating too much yesterday.
Never mind. We sit down somewhere between Taco Bell and McDonald's and plug in our computers and again, the noise around us is cheerful. Joyous, in fact. Honestly, it felt a little like Whoville: you know -- when the people join hands and celebrate Christmas (shopping in this case) despite all the Grinches and detractors who insist on putting down this great annual tradition (of going to the mall on Black Friday).
It's been said before: the mall is the American equivalent to a row of cafes in Paris or the Lazienki Park in Warsaw -- it is a communal space where you can take great pleasure in being part of (a shopping) humanity.
An hour later, we pick up my laptop.
But in the meantime, in taking my laptop in and out and in and out, I manage to ding it on the corner, which bothers me tremendously because now it just looks, well, dinged and it's only 18 months old! Ed, knowing my dislike of things that don't look right, offers to fix it. If we can find the little tool that can take out the teeny tiny Apple screws on the bottom.
We go back to the Apple store. Tsk, tsk -- can't unbend it. But we can replace the base for you! ( -- at a price that is the equivalent of a brand new laptop at Best Buy).
We go to Sears. Lots of tools and fancy screwdrivers. None of them fit an Apple screw.
We take a break and pick up some food.
Next stop -- Harbor Freight, home to a million cheap tools. We buy one. We try it. Nope. We return it.
By now Ed realizes that Apple has its own special tools and we, the lesser beings have no way of getting at the insides of that little baby! God forbid you should discover something while poking around in there!
Okay. So I have a ding. So what. (That's me trying to convince myself it doesn't matter.)
And now we come to the animal portion of the day.
First, we visit my daughter's cats. We don't spend much time with them because frankly, I am just wanting so very much to lock myself in the farmhouse and breathe deeply to get all that mall air out of my lungs. But here are two of their kitties for you to admire:
Next, we return to the farmette and attend to the cheepers. Ed had let their food dish run too low and they were as hungry as we've ever seen them. Oops.
Finally, finally, I enter the farmhouse. And I pick up the little broom to sweep up the mud room which right now is looking very muddy. And I notice the discarded mouse trap to the side. The one we replaced, because it wasn't working anymore.
We were wrong. It's been working alright. It has not one, but two mice inside, both dead, since they had been in it for at least two days. (I'd not been checking, as we did not load it with food. It's as if the mice crept in just to smell the glory of the peanut butter of yore.)
We wondered what possible food these guys are finding at the farmhouse. We're experienced with the ways of the animals that hunt for grub and shelter, come November. We hide every bit of edible anything.
Except the potatoes. This afternoon, as I go down to the basement to do a load of laundry, I find a disturbed feast -- my bag of potatoes (which I thought was safe because, gosh darn it, who likes raw potatoes?) is in shreds.
This, then is our Friday after Thanksgiving. You'll think it was a bit on the discouraging side. The laptop is still dropping WiFi, but now it also has a ding at the side. The mice continue to outsmart us. The mall was crowded, the breakfast was rushed.
And yet... I mean, just look at these guys!
...and the view outside the barn:
...and when we come inside the farmhouse (mouse free! for now.), Isie boy (our cat) comes running down with that "where have you been?" look.
...and I make myself a cup of tea and break off the end of the baguette and Ed describes for me a cartoon he thinks would be a great hit -- where a mouse is holding the door, while his mate shops for treats inside the trap.
Do you think it's New Yorker stuff?
Nah. Sorry. It's funny, but it doesn't have that New Yorker ponderous edge.
You think not?
Yeah, like about the meaning of life or at least about the meaning of mice and men, and men trying to trap mice...
Isie boy, bored with our idle talk, returns to his sleeping post on our bed upstairs. Ed returns to his project in the sheep shed, I return to my writing.