How’s this for a Middle Class Guy Saturday?
I cranked out three blog posts, two of which had been in draft for a few days: the one about the American Community Survey that I had been stewing about for over a year now, and another about having read over 100 books this year.
If you have looked at any previous posts, you know that I am an Avid Reader (which was the original blog name that I intended to do for years before checking the availability of the domain) and want to share what I have learned from all of this reading so you may take in the most salient and valuable points of a book that I spend three or four days reading by reading a 1,000 word post in a few minutes.
The post on Kiplinger’s, I just sat and cranked out in less than an hour between meals and mowing.
Anyway, in between posts today, I managed to eat a lot of leftovers from a family party the day after Thanksgiving including bagels, casserole and salad. I also drove to a local eatery to pick up a gigantic serving of nachos, which served as our dinner.
I read an article in the November 24th Thanksgiving Day edition of the Chicago Tribune, by Tim Johnson of the Chicago Botanic Garden, saying to keep mowing your lawn as long as grass is growing. Johnson writes that with a rather mild weather forecast, the grass will keep growing and that mowing it will make a positive impact on lawn appearance and health. He also wrote that mulching the leaves is good for the grass and saves a lot of time raking leaves, which I have already done to the tune of about 20 bags this year, which only got up about a third of the leaves.
By the way, my town charges $2.80 per yard waste sticker, so those 20 bags cost me nearly $60 in sticker cost to haul away on top of the $10 or so for the bags and the hours spent raking and bagging.
Reading the article made me at least think about mowing again, and the kicker was when I saw our kitty-corner neighbor mowing her lawn. Realizing that a Middle Class Gal (a hospital nurse married to a long-time grocery store clerk, with three kids) was mowing her equally large lawn on this nippy November day gave me the motivation to mow my own lawn one last time this season. I did just mow the front, for appearance, and was too tired afterwards to do the back. Perhaps next weekend will be warm enough to mow the back.
About ten days ago, I left on the overhead light in my ancient Subaru while getting something out of the car at night. I cannot recall what it was, but it was probably to get a book or magazine out of the back. Anyway, I readily admit to becoming more forgetful upon my fortieth birthday over half a decade ago, so this time I forgot to turn off the overhead light.
When my wife pointed out that the light was on the next evening at dusk, I went to turn it off and then tried to fire up the trusty old Subaru’s engine. Just a little sputter, then nothing. Great! Another thing to deal with. I tried again the next day, and just a few feeble clicks before silence ensued.
I spent the next ten or so days using my super beater Nissan while trying to ignore the inoperable vehicle parked in front of my house. Remember, I am a Middle Class Guy who lives in a borderline Middle Class/Working Class neighborhood, so there have been many houses over the years with inoperable vehicles in their driveways, some covered and others on blocks without wheels. I did not want to become one of the homeowners with an inoperable vehicle in front of it for the next few months or longer.
After an enjoyable Thanksgiving gathering at my (Upper Class) aunt and uncle’s home, and another family party at a higher-end restaurant the following day, Saturday was the time to get some minor things done around the home front.
Luckily for me, my wife wants me to remain alive and my two beater cars to survive until I replace one or both, since she corrected me in the way to jump a vehicle. I was going to connect the negative side to the bad battery too, which apparently could do me and/or my cars’ engines harm. She stopped me before I proceeded, having looked it up online like I should have.
Anyway, it is no tremendous accomplishment, but we were able to get my old trusty Subaru fired up. I took it for a nice drive around the neighborhood, and later took it to a local grocery and produce market with a redbox, to rent a movie for our “date.”
Besides reading a spate of books in the change your way of thinking/improve your life/become wealthy genre this year, I have continued reading dozens of books by my favorite contemporary (Daniel Silva/Anne Rice/Dan Brown/Steve Berry/Jonathan Franzen etc.) authors as well as some of my old favorites like John Le Carre, Peter Straub and Len Deighton.
With both of our kids out tonight, I thought it a good chance to have a movie date with my wife. Finding a 2016 make of John Le Carre’s 2010 novel, Our Kind of Traitor, I wanted to see this. During the holiday season, I watch many of my wife’s favorites like Holiday Inn, White Christmas, etc., even though I am very sick of them.
By the way, even though I thoroughly enjoy John Le Carre books, you can skip this one if you are not into a cerebral, subtle story line about cultivating relationships with a Russian mob financier named Dima, who seeks asylum for his family when a new head of the Russian mob comes into power with less than great plans for Dima and his family.
I guess that you could classify this one as a Guy movie or even a Guy Who Loves Spy Novels and Movies movie. I would give it three stars, my wife would probably give it zero. I rated it two on the redbox website.
Following the movie, I did something that many if not all of us Middle Class Guys must do this time of year: shopped for holiday gifts.
Since signing up for Barnes & Noble “x” amount of years ago, I have been receiving e-mails from them daily. They send but one out of my 100 or so e-mails per day received via my Yahoo! account and I delete it 99% of the time, but had not yet deleted one.
A few days ago, I recall clicking on one and seeing color Nook readers on sale for $49. Having purchased my wife an old school black & white Nook many moons ago, likely over five years ago (maybe ten? I do not know when they came out and do not feel like looking it up), I figured that it is time for an upgrade.
With our daughter having compiled a Christmas wish list, and our son having contributed some thoughts on jazz CDs that he has an interest in, I ordered six CDs (three for each of them) and a 7″ color Nook reader for a total of $116.17 on the Barnes & Noble website.
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Decent House in a Lower- to Middle-Middle Class Neighborhood in the northwest suburbs in Illinois
|Bill To: the Middle Class Guy
Shipping Method: Standard Delivery – Whatever’s Cheapest
Barnes & Noble
Apparently, I have to pay some shipping fees because two of the jazz CDs that I ordered are being shipped from Barnes & Noble-affiliated sellers.
Never in my life have I shopped the mayhem of Black Friday, and I do not intend to. Usually, my wife takes care of all of the holiday shopping, for better or worse, and I end up scrambling at Target or Kohl’s on December 23rd or Christmas eve picking over the leftover gifts with other Middle Class, Middle Aged Guys.
The last five or so years, I have vowed to myself to start shopping earlier, preferably online in what I call “the Giant Shopping Center in the Cloud,” a.k.a. Amazon, in late November or at least early December.
So, I write about my Barnes & Noble shopping online because, as my few readers know, I love books and buy them often and would rather support independent booksellers, but Barnes & Noble makes it easier for me by e-mailing often and letting me “shop in my pajamas.” Plus, you can purchase an obscure jazz CD via their website, and you cannot do that at the small, independent stores that I favor. Also, now that I think about it, I did not actually order any books from them this time.
I have a lot more shopping to do, and intend to purchase gifts for my wife in the Great Shopping Center in the Cloud in the coming days. Maybe I’ll blog about it.