Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Proven Wrong...By The Worker At Wendys

On Mondays things are a tad hectic at the Taylor household. Actually, the hectic-ness extends to beyond the walls of our home--extends to the theater and to where we decide to pick up dinner.

My daughter and I are currently in a local production of A Christmas Carol. We do the shows Monday/Wednesday/Friday nights. My daughter has dance rehearsal until 6pm on Mondays. Call time for us to be at the theater is 6pm. So, on our first show of the week I leave earlier than normal, stop by a fast food establishment, and order my daughter dinner. For the past two weeks, I've stopped at a local Wendys restaurant.

Funny, how you learn things in the strangest places.

Two Mondays ago I got us food--to go--then picked up my daughter. Thinking I would eat a little healthier than normal, I ordered a side salad to offset the ill effects of the spicy chicken sandwich I also ordered for myself. I took the food, jumped in the car, and when time came to eat, I found no fork in the bag.

Ever tried to eat a salad sans fork?

My son had to do it on our return trip from Seattle back in September. My daughter, son, and I laughed as he told us he forgot to get a fork and we watched him eat each lettuce leaf with his fingers. When it happened to me, it wasn't as funny. As I looked down at my fork-less salad, I wondered if the worker forgot to give me a fork. That must have been it.

This last Monday I found myself at the same Wendys. Once again I ordered a salad. This time I took a picture of the drink counter. I took the picture because I didn't see any forks, spoons, knives, or anything other than stuff for drinks. I had proof the worker failed to give me a fork. The order came, I checked before I left and once again--no fork.

"Um, can I get a fork?" I asked, thinking the worker had once again forgotten an essential tool I needed to enjoy my tasty food.

That's when he casually pointed to his right.

"You can get a fork right there."

Duh! I said to myself. I had not noticed either the week before or this time the other table loaded with everything I'd need to eat my food. Forks, spoons, knives, napkins, straws, ketchup--it was all there.

Funny, how you learn things in the strangest places.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

At Work Just How Cold...Is Cold?

I've written about being cold at work before. It's not a big deal. I could appeal to HR to get a portable heater, but that requires seeing a doctor and having to be diagnosed with an actual medical condition that requires me to have a heater. I do a fleece jacket that I keep at work for just such circumstances. I've been wearing it for the past couple of months. Our autumn was mild, as autumns in Utah go. But this week it's turned cold. 

My little jacket no longer keeps me warm.

A few years back the building where I worked had their heater die in the winter. It got so bad I had to wear gloves in order get my work done. It hasn't gotten that bad where I'm working now, but this morning I wondered just how cold it was in my cubicle. On my way back from lunch, I stopped by a local hardware store and for a few dollars picked up a thermometer.

The question I now have is, how cold is cold?

The temperature at my cubicle for most of the day was 70º Fahrenheit. Usually the mornings are worse and I got the thermometer at noon. I'll have to see what tomorrow brings. Since I've never had a thermometer at work before, I can't tell if 70º is warm enough or should I feel slighted that my cubicle is colder than other places in the building?

Truth is, this whole experiment is mostly for fun. I've put up with it being a little chilly for years. And I hardly expect the company to make massive changes just to raise the temperature in my area a few degrees warmer. Tomorrow I'm going to also take the thermometer to areas I know are warmer to see just how much warmer they are. Again, it's for fun. Maybe after doing more amateur sleuthing, I will know just how cold at cold at work.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Frosted Beauty...In The Haze

I know many people who hate the weather we had in Northern Utah today. They hate the cold. They hate the smog. They hate the inversion. They hate the frost.

I love it!

I don't know when exactly I came to love this kind of weather, but I remember one time back when I was in high school. For some reason I noticed everything around me on that cold morning. I noticed everything because everything I could see was covered in frost.

It looked amazing!

Trees, cars, grass, nothing was spared. This morning I didn't know if we'd get the same effect. I drove to work in a thick fog--sometimes the sun comes out and burns off the fog and frost. Not today. Today everything stayed covered in ice. I went out on my lunch break and snapped a few pictures. They weren't the best subjects, but I loved seeing how everything looked.

The trees made me think of a childhood memory, too. When I was young, we had a basement full of incredible things. My dad was sort of a hoarder and most of what he collected I didn't have the understanding or experience to know what they were. I did come across two boxes--maybe a foot square--that contained flock. I asked my mom what they were and she told me my dad bought these boxes in case he wanted to flock a Christmas tree. Since it was most likely a product of the 1960s, I have no idea what kind of poisons those boxes contained. We never did use it--probably for the best. And as I walked around the business offices, I thought back on those boxes...strange memory recall.

Yes, many people will take to social media and complain about the cold and the fog, but on days like this, I think outside becomes absolutely beautiful.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

We're Invited To A Christmas Party...And Those Doing The Inviting Have No Idea Who We Are

The first e-mail came yesterday around 2:30 in the afternoon. We were being invited to a Taylor Family Christmas party. At first, I was glad. I mean, who doesn't like getting an invite to a party, especially a Christmas party surrounded by family, loved ones, and good food?

The only problem with this one is, I have no idea who these people are.

I don't know a Jamie or a Jason Taylor. I thought maybe it was one of my father's extended family--since he had eleven siblings, there might be a Jamie and/or Jason Taylor out there who are family and who might be inviting us to a get-together, a slight chance, but a chance nonetheless.

Next, I checked the other eight e-mail addresses to see if I recognized any of them. None looked familiar. It was obvious, they sent this invite to the wrong Taylors.

I thought it necessary to e-mail Jason back letting him know that they had made a mistake inviting us. I'd hate for them to think an invitation they they thought they'd sent was not delivered. So, I responded, thanking them, letting them know the food and fun sounded great, but unfortunately, their e-mail went to the wrong place.

I thought the whole thing was over. 

Until last night.

That's when the first of the response e-mails came in. It basically said they couldn't wait for the party. Today we got another response. This time Natalie will have out-of-town guest and may not be able to make it.

After I got the latest response, I did some investigating. I went on Facebook and after some investigating, I found Jamie and Jason. They live halfway across the country. The seem like nice people. It would be fun to show up at 1pm on Saturday, December 30th and crash their party. Technically, it wouldn't be crashing--we were invited, after all.

If I only knew where Jamie and Jason live...

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Star Wars Space Punch...Yeah

After a long Saturday of laundry, grocery runs, and putting up outdoor Christmas lights, I needed something to drink. And I was enticed by the "impulse buy" display at the local Chevron. The product: Star Wars Space Punch.

Yeah, it's a thing.

And when you think Star Wars, you'd better think collectable, too. I guess they would like all Star Wars fans to collect all the different editions of their vitamin drink. I'm not a collector so I'll not be participating in collecting part.

I did, however, choose the Mellenium Falcon can. I thought it fitting because the Falcon, a ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs, surely added a lot of space punch in its many adventures.

So, serious question for all you collectors out there. Are you supposed to collect and keep unopened cans of this stuff, or drink it and keep the cans? I honestly don't know.

You may be wondering what the stuff tastes like. It's fruity, was my first impression. I read the ingredients before buying. Most of it looked pretty good. The only drawback was the 20 Calories note on the side of the can. 



And I was right. It tastes good, but there's a "missing real sugar sweetener" issue for me. Why didn't they load it up with 100% cane sugar from Hawaii? Even though real sugar isn't the best thing, it's much better than artificial stuff imo.

My conclusion: I won't be buying it again. It's not my thing. But if you like carbonated fruity Star Wars-themed diet drinks, I say go for it. And if you're collecting post-drank scifi-labeled aluminum cans, let me know. I'll keep it for you instead of just tossing it into the recycle bin.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Getting This Year's Christmas Tree...At Costco

Things have been a little different preparing for this year's Christmas. It's little things that have caused me to be busier than I normally am. I'm in no way complaining, it's just different.

We would have liked to have gotten our lights up and a tree bought last week, but that was just not possible. We decided this was the weekend to do all that, and since tomorrow is going to be a little less hectic than today, tomorrow was going to be the day.

That is, until I went to Costco.

If you had asked me last week if I thought Costco sold Christmas trees, I would have not believed it. I should have believed it--they sell so many other things. We went there this afternoon looking to buy something else, my daughter and I turned a corner, and boom--there it was, along with other trees lying on a big orange cart.

After a few texts back and forth to my wife (complete with several photos...), the decision was made. I bought it, took it to the car, hoisted it up, tied it down, and drove away. It's now in the house waiting to be trimmed, and it makes the front room smell heavenly.

Usually we go to a place that brings trees down from Montana. We've been so pleased with them in the past. We did get a tree a few years ago from our local grocery store. That one turned out to be a pretty good tree. We hope this one does to.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Did You Have This Record...And Did You Follow The Instructions?

My wife and I were talking about Christmas songs tonight, and my mind flew back to when I was a kid. A distinct memory entered my mind, a memory of laying down on the big couch in our front room and listening to one record, a Christmas record over and over again.

The record? Holiday, Sing Along With Mitch

Looking back, it seems strange that a eight to fourteen-year old boy would listen to big-band songs that are just a step or two above elevator music. I think of my boys--the thought of them calling this "entertainment" seems laughable.

But in my defense, there weren't a lot of options.

This would have been the mid to late 1970s. The internet as we know it was decades away. This was even before cable television. A High Fidelity, or "Hi-Fi" system was about as good as it got for home entertainment. We had no VCRs, no Blockbuster videos. If you wanted to listen to something, you had to buy it, or hope it came on the radio. My mom bought Mitch's holiday spectacular and it was my Christmas jam.

I wonder a lot about my childhood, especially watching my own kids grow up. I see what they have now, and the things me and my friends didn't have. I wonder if--even with all the games and internet and YouTube videos available to them today--are they better off? Or is there something sweet and innocent about a boy laying on the couch as Mitch and his orchestra crank out holiday favorites, something a pre-teenager wouldn't understand, something maybe gone and lost forever.

The album was most likely tossed or donated to a thrift store years ago. The hi-fi system is probably rotting in a landfill somewhere, its carcass of plastic, wood siding (I think...), and maybe even vacuum tubes having long lived out its usefulness. The memories, however, they remain. I hope they always will.

And I'm pretty sure I did follow Mr. Miller's instructions and sang along with him and his music.