Saturday, December 25, 2010

Screw You Delta

Screw Delta! I don't say that in a mean way. I'm just trying to fire myself up to drive 1700 miles to Boston. I would much prefer to fly. I used to have Northwest Airlines Visa card. For 10,000 frequent flyer miles plus $200.00 I could drive sixty miles to Thief River Falls and be in Boston that same afternoon. But Delta took over Northwest and installed their expensive American Express card that is rejected by numerous merchants. They also scuttled the nice Cash and Miles deal. Now we end up driving 350 miles to Minneapolis and pay $14 a day to park.
We want to go to Boston the end of January. A non-stop flight from MSP costs $344. There's two of us going:$688. Parking: $126. Gas to the Twin Cities: $52.50, for a total of $866.50.
That figure makes me recall the times I used to shuttle cars to Boston when my sons were working summers there. We would leave home around nine a.m. with a cooler full of Coke and a bag of beef jerky. I liked going through Duluth to pick up I-94 at Eau Claire. From then on it was tolls and cruise. We would hit Chicago around 8 p.m. and once through that maze would make our only extended stop for a burger. Otherwise we took turns sleeping and driving through the dark night of Indiana and Ohio, and by Buffalo the sun was coming up and I knew we were going to make it. I got good at driving the Chicago to Buffalo stint myself and let my co-pilot sleep. When I got gas I'd get a big coffee to sip with M&Ms. When this was gone I'd pour myself a cold Coke and chaw on jerky. If I got a little dull I'd stop for more coffee and a stretch. When we crossed the Massachsetts line around noon I'd call my mother and with the help of the Lord we'd pull up to her house by the bay around two or three p.m. feeling just fine. It was early to bed and the next morning we'd be ready take in the opera or the ballet or whatever.
So now I'm weighing the pros and cons of driving: gas, tolls and snacks would cost less than a single plane ticket, but we'd have two fewer days at our destination plus all those extra miles on the car, and there's the possibility of bad weather.... If only Delta would come through with a deal. C'mon Delta. I love you Delta.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ugly Betty

The place where I work raises money for breast cancer research by letting us wear jeans on Fridays. We pay a couple of bucks in exchange for a little pink ribbon we wear to work that day with our denim. I got an idea for a fundraiser this morning when my wife was complaining she had to get out of bed to put on her make-up. She spends quarter hour after quarter hour doing God knows what to her face while I'm off drinking coffee and watching the news. I think she looks fine without makeup but she doesn't agree. My new idea is that people would pay to not wear makeup one day a week. I would call it "Ugly Betty." "Oh, people will really go for that," my wife said a little sarcastically I thought." "OK, how about 'Make-up Free Monday,' and the money would go to our Foundation at work." "That's better," she said.
A person would wear a little paper compact with a red line through it to show he or she had paid two bucks and their co-workers would not be permitted to say catty things about them.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another Man's Junk

Don't go to the salvage yards to find unique or interesting items for your home. The dealer in antiques has been there long before you to stock his shop and left behind endless rows of windows, toilets and other things only an expert could identify. Just as likely, the owner of the antique shop is friends with the salvage man and has been through the building before demolition and removed anything he thinks will bring a good price. It is very hard to find a bargain in an antique shop.
To find a bargain, visit an auction. You may be bidding against the antique dealers, but you know at least that he won't overbid. And maybe he's sick that day or at a wedding, then you've got a good chance, though you've had to forfiet the day yourself. On the third hand you'll get your dosage of vitamin D for the day and catch up with neighbors you only see at auctions.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Day of One's Own

My friend Steve, co-publisher of The Raven, is the one who started naming days in people's honor. My brother Steve had done a signal service to The Raven, and as thanks, Steve the publisher named March 16 as Steve McDonnell Day in Palmville Township. It is quite a day here in the township. The bank and the school are closed. There is a parade, poster waving, and beer drinking and much goodwill is expended, and we trust Steve my brother enjoys the day as much as we do. There is a standing invitation to Steve to be here all expenses paid (excluding transportation to and fro) to enjoy his special day with all of us.
Well a few years later, Steve from The Raven did my father a signal service and to say thanks, March 18th was designated Steve Reynolds Day in Hull, Massachusetts. Of course there is a parade, efforts are made to string banners across Nantasket Ave., and beer is consumed in Steve's honor.
All this naming of days made me realize that each of us is born with 365.25 days to give away to whoever we like. Say it's your mother's birthday and you can't afford a gift. Wouldn't mom be thrilled to have a day named in her honor, even if it's in Palmville Township, pop. 46.
I'm thinking of having a boxed set of 365 "A Day Has Been Named in Your Honor" cards made up to make the process as simple as pie.