Mashing Up — Snow, Gifts and Guinness

Not me (you can tell because s/heʼs wearing boots), but a nice website if you click the pic. Maybe some day I will get The Lovely One to shoot me in my snow-shoveling garb.

I am probably shoveling as this post appears. We are supposed to receive up to four inches of snow overnight. I begin the composition process about twenty-one hours earlier than the posting time, so right now at 8:30 AM yesterday, itʼs just a miserably gray day, although as warm as it has been any day in the last three (9° — a gloriously equatorial torridness we remained five or ten degrees below all through Monday and Tuesday). But the snow is supposed to begin about the middle of the afternoon, which means that The Lovely One will get to drive home in snow and then again in snow to work this morning. The least I can do is to clear our drive.

Actually, the driveway wonʼt truly be clear. It has been so cold that even with the sun shining brilliantly on Monday and Tuesday, the glaze of ice from frozen rain on the drive from the last storm (Saturday) hasnʼt fully melted/evaporated (and slip-sliding around on that will make adventurous the shoveling of this new snow, supposedly light and fluffy instead of the dense, half-melted mess I struggled to clear away over the previous weekend). However, with the gelid precipitation being the antonym of dense this time, perhaps the snowblower, now that I got it to start this year, will get its first use.

Aside from moaning about snowfalls (this is our third in less than three weeks), which can only lead to elderly complaints about my manhandled hands and finger-joints*, I think I may have exhausted my stock of inspiration for now. I must hit the road myself, for Dubuque (Samʼs, Hy-Vee, perhaps Borders, who put a 50%-discount coupon in my hands yesterday) and lunch with Janet. Letʼs see what I have to discuss once I go and return.

…And I returned home, heavily laden with goodies well before the storm hit. Even now, having been home for almost two hours (I said I was heavily laden with goodies, and the truck took a while to unload, among a few other things), I donʼt think thereʼs a flake in the air. Yet. However, it has grown dramatically dark — on the other hand, weʼre closing in on 4:30, and the sun sets this time of year by 5:00.

Janet did cop a gift or two out of the trip, but mostly I was out to stock us up for Christmas (I believe I mentioned at some point that weʼre hosting her side of the family here this year). So Samʼs provided us with boxes of frozen hors dʼoeuvres of several kinds, several large bottles of Australian chardonnay The Lovely One enjoys, and a couple blocks of feta. I also visited Hy-Vee for some decaf French Roast beans, really just for us, but very utile with guests, I assumed. Furthermore, once we shared a delicious lunch, I got delegated to acquire several gifts for others, including a certificate of immense value, a special bottle of wine and an excellent vodka.

Dubuque and its environs host one of the better liquor stores we have patronized, and Janet has formed a personal relationship with the owner/manager at Family Beer & Liquor** (in her regular role as assistant to her initial boss; she also gets close and personal with restauranteurs, Chicago parking lot supervisors, and lots of interesting folks one might not immediately expect). She told me to ask for Tim when I went in and to have him to help me pick the correct wine for the gift. Being me (and a male) I went ahead and found a bottle that seemed perfect, but as I could not locate any Guinness Extra Stout (horrors of hideousness, both in being unable to spot my favorite beverage in my favorite store***, but also that I had let my home supply run down to a single six-pack), I decided I would check with him about the wine while also getting him to guide me to the Guinness (and unlock the Grey Goose). Tim carefully studied my selection, checked on the computer and decided with me that the chosen wine was very appropriate. He also checked that there should be eleven cases of Guinness in stock, and once I located two of those cases on the floor, he went to the back room to cart out four more for me to truck home.

If I was concerned that the truck might not have enough weight in the back to handle the slippery roads if snow started falling, I accidentally (and, yes, expensively) made sure I was well weighted with my personal purchases (and thatʼs what took the longest to stow away for future use). Maybe I need to get one of those pick-up bed toppers or locking covers, so I can just store my boxes of stout back there safely as the extra weight to haul for wintertime driving…

Anyway, I got home. This post is written. Stupid Qwest just knocked me off the internet (again), naturally. But if I can get a connection, this drivel will appear for your reading pleasure at the regular time on Thursday, December 16, 2010 (just twelve hours from almost exactly right now, when I will, as I began this meandering piece of nonfiction by noting, be out in the driveway and the street shoveling snow). And I have only fifteen more compositions to complete a full year of daily posts to the blog.

* Actually, now that itʼs afternoon before the storm, itʼs my elbow that hurts horribly. Tennis elbow? From what? It hurt badly even before I picked up my first case of Guinness.

** We have two favorite liquor stores that we originally noticed only for the comedy of their names (both happen to be excellent stores as well, once we visited them instead of just laughing as we drove by). On the western edge of Madison, Wisconsin, is one. We spent years making fun of the fact that we were about to go past “Liquor Town” en route to or from sister Dianeʼs house. Until one time I boldly decided to stop, mostly just as a joke to say we had visited Liquor Town, and we discovered our private joke was a fine (and inexpensive) place to shop for multitudes of wines. The other hilarity was visible on our way to or from Galena, and thatʼs Family Beer and Liquor (now come on: that really is a funny name for a liquor store — just what kind of family would that be that a liquor store could serve each and every member?) — also reasonable in price, stocking a huge variety of interesting items, and, if you read everything above, the primary source in recent years for my Guinness adoration.

*** For more than a decade, initially because their prices were so incredibly reasonable, I have trucked on up and over to Family Beer when I wanted more Extra Stout. And now, thanks to my conversation with Tim, I learn that the fabled Foreign Extra Stout is available in the united States! And thanks to his close, personal relationship with the Executive Assistant, light of my life, heʼll let us know as soon as he has some for sale. Sometimes life is good. Very good indeed.

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A

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