Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tidal Wave Stockings!

30 stockings!

Stockings have been kind of a big deal lately.   In fact, they are cutting into my blog time!   Ah well.   As if I was ever going to actually write anything in November....   Like a novel or something.

With embroidery 
It's true, I never had any time to really begin the novel, so all that talk ended up being for nothing.  Of course I can always start the thing anytime....It does not have to be in November.   That one thought is what keeps me away from the cliff of depression.  

And one Glitter Name...
All that aside,  stockings have been rather crazy this year.   Possibly better than last year at least.  We just finished over 70 stockings for the last two days!  And are still behind several days.  We managed to finish 40  today alone.   Anything over 40 begins to tap into the next day, so we are trying to keep things in manageable portions.  

Day 2,   40 stockings!
The weather seems to be holding out and Cheryl has managed to squeeze in at least some token training runs in the afternoon when we need a break from the sewing.   However,   today she was feeling the pressure a bit and cut the run short.  Perhaps tomorrow we will tackle 10 miles.  
Cheryl feels giddy!

Cheryl just  informed me that we finally have made a dent in the backed up orders.  Before today, we had been knocking out 15 orders..only to have 20 more pop up!   ( Yeah Sales!)    I should not wish for a slowing of the sales...or lessening of them.   Every one is a blessing!   Even when they seem to swamp us.  

So, for the rest of the night, I have been enjoying these "Hard Ciders" that Julie and Mike ( Cheryl's Sister and Brother-in-Law) gave us from Michigan.   I'm pleased that Michigan has embraced alcohol as a means of digging itself out of the social and economic turmoil it has brought upon itself.   Michigan has  lots of apples and other fruits to ferment into delicious alcoholic beverages.   Who needs to compete with California for Wine?   They have Apples!  
A gift from the Michigan In-Laws.

That being said,  the Hard Ciders are actually pretty good.   I was skeptical at first,    They taste an awful lot like wine coolers.   Which is fine....A sweet fruity bubbly flavor.  Just nothing like beer.   
Taste like Wine Coolers,  Refreshing

In the end,  I'll drink it.   And enjoy it!   It's good, after all....  just closer to wine than beer.   Then again,  Comparing apples to apples and not apples to oranges...or hops in this case,  does not seem a fair assessment.  The Hard Ciders are good!   Enough said.  I'd drink it again, but I might choose a beer over one if I had the option.  
Hope everyone is enjoying their "cyber sales weekend". I know we are...kind of.  From a business point of view anyway.  Maybe all this work will pay off when we have to pay for Boston..which is coming up in 6 months!   Until then...Enjoy!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Home Sweet Home..With an After Thanksgiving Turkey Half Marathon.

Biscuits and Gravy for Fuel!
 So much to blog about over the last two days.  I went through all this trouble to get the pictures...so I better start in order.
Oatmeal for Cheryl

The Trip from Michigan was SO much better than the trip there.   Dry roads, light traffic, and clear skies.   And best of all...it started with Biscuits and Gravy from the Country Inn.

A welcome Iowa sign.
Cheryl drives the Home stretch
I never thought Iowa looked so welcome....except for that one time....when we first got here.

Kinda like this...only on the RIGHT!
  Aside from some @#$@! nearly getting us killed by passing Cheryl on the right of the highway....When she was in the far right lane.... While driving 70 miles per hour!    Yep.... he took the shoulder of the Highway at at least 85+ miles per hours.   Too bad we do not have a dash cam to capture that reckless driver!   ( well,  he won't be wreck-less for long with that type of driving...I'm sure.)
The Hungry Turkey Race shirt.

We are currently swamped with Stocking orders, but that did not stop us from traveling to  Des Moines for the Hungry Turkey Race today.   Only a 4 A.M. depart time to pick up the packet.  The crescent moon was a sight to behold.....unless it was with a wobbling camera.

Awesome-ish Crescent moon

Finally some light to drive by.
It was frosty and cold this morning, but warmed up to almost 60 towards the afternoon.  Not soon enough for Cheryl...since she left her ear cover at home and forced us to buy a new one at a very old HyVee.

She knew that eventually she would warm up...and we were able to stay in the car to keep warm until the event took off.  It was a small race, although it seemed fairly large to me.   I believe there was a mix of 5 K-ers with the half marathoners.  maybe that is why the numbers looked larger.   In the end only about 300 finishers for the half marathon.  Still!   A pretty good time.
Waiting in the heated car.

Cheryl checks out the Medals

Note she is the only one in shorts!
Eating Jolly Ranchers
Cheryl at the start!
I could bore you with the story about the race course that changed...causing confusion for both spectators and runners.  But in the end,  I was able to make it back to the finish to catch her crossing the finish line.  And...More importantly,  She did finish with 13.1 miles and not the 10 that everyone had feared.
Cheryl at the finish!
 ( Ok,  the runners turned back too early at mile 5 instead of mile 6.5...where the spectators were waiting, including me!   But then the race people made up for the missing 3 miles by doing uncharted "loops" in the park.   Crazy!)
Look at all those medals!

2nd place female.  Non-teenager
In the end,  Cheryl finished;  Got her medal: AND got an age group award for being 2nd in her class!  Two medals for one race!  And her time was pretty good for being cold, out of shape, and full of Thanksgiving Dinner!   She was pretty happy.

We came home to find the Landlords finally finishing the stairs in the hallway.   It turned out much better than I thought it would.   Here are some before and after pictures to compare:



The carpeting really grips your shoes, allowing for far better traction than what that old shag junk had. Now all we have to do is pain the walls and the railing and it might take 20 years off the old apartment!

Cheryl is now ready for stockings!
And finally,   Stockings.    So many stockings.   I should be happy...and actually I am,   But we just finished sewing up 24 on only a few hours of sleep.   So...I'm pretty tired.   Cheryl seems to be as well.   She is currently surveying the damage control and conversations to see how much we should tackle tomorrow.   It's a good thing to have to worry about..."too many sales".   For so many years the worry was how are we going to survive with so few sales.   Perhaps it will be a turning point for us...somehow.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend after Thanksgiving.  Black Friday is over and Cyber Monday will soon be upon us.  With a little luck and some heroic work,  perhaps we will be caught up by then and can face it with joy instead of fear.   We shall see.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Turkey Trot Day!

Early Misty Morning
Cold, Blurry, Rainy...
After battling a long and treacherous journey to arrive half alive in Michigan,  Cheryl ran her Turkey Trot.  The hours were early, blurry  and cold.   For only a 5 K race, there sure were a lot of people here today.

The Floundering Mob Rushed by...
And ran with reckless abandon!
 Cheryl noted that most of the people were kids who had no experience running anything longer than a 5K.   It is difficult to explain, but imagine a bumbling, stumbling, gaggle of children running through school doors to beat each other to the play ground so they do not miss a second of recess.  With Tutus and Chicken hats!  

Got that?   Now add about 3000 to that number and that was the race.  Cheryl noted that 5K-ers seem to be unprofessional motley crew of people who push and shove their way to the front and trip each other as they rocket out of the start...only to fizzle out after barely 1 mile.   If you manage to not get trampled at the start line, there is a very good chance the longer distance runners will pass them after they collapse in the middle.

And showing off the shirt.
Cheryl pinning on the Bib.
We were forced to pick up the packet this morning, as we arrived too late to pick it up last night.   And just as I was about to pick up some atmosphere pictures...the batteries died in the camera.   FUN!

Then texting the Fam for Batteries!
The Family arrives to save the day...With batteries in hand. 
No  worries!  Cheryl's Fam brought new ones and helped me out of a pinch.... But the camera still lacks the precision for action shots.   Ah well.   What would a Turkey trot be if it were not cold and blurry?

The Race Route.  Along the River
Let's get the race Started! 
The map ran through Grand Rapids limited cityscape,  But managed to hit the more scenic sights. The fish ladder and bridges and parks were possibly the most notable.

Cheryl comes into the Arena
And crosses the finish.  
Cheryl tried NOT to hurt herself this time....and still ended up coming in third in her age group....Thus earning her a medal.  I managed to get a limited, blurry picture of her at the finish...along with a random black guy.  (Who turned out far clearer than the actual target of my shudder!)

Let's see the results!
Third place!   Good enough for a medal!
Cheryl and Julie pose with the Turkey
Afterwards, we collected her trophy and headed out to the parking lot to get the one truly clear picture of her with a mascot.   I do believe that this is the one and ONLY mascot picture of this year.   Maybe we can finally say 2016 has not been the best year of things.   Cars, cameras, injuries, pictures, and mascots....   There will still be a few races before the new year, but let's hope 2017 sees and improvement by a noticeable margin.

Retaken Picture.   The Turkey blinked!

The rest is all normal stuff.   Meet the family; Eat too much food;  Catch up and talk about our problems/ lives.  Nothing special.

So that is all!  Mission successful!   Cheryl's goal was to run slower and not get hurt.   She was not even trying for a medal this year...but managed to get one!  Yeah!    And we got the visit the family while we were here.   Two Birds...One stone!   Now we get to ride back home and repeat the process again for Saturday.

Well,  the running part anyway.   Not the family visitation.  Cheryl has a "After Turkey Day Half Marathon" in Des Moines this coming weekend.  With a little luck,  the weather will clear up,  our travel lag will improve, and the racers will not be a disorganized mob of kids.  I know this may make us ( or just me) sound like a "Running Snob".   But last year, Cheryl hurt herself trying to run with those loose cannons.   And that injury took her out for almost 6 months!  Best to leave those 5 k races for the beginners and let them learn the ropes...

Hope everyone has had a wonderful Thanksgiving today.  And hopefully you did not eat too much to keep you up at night....or feel regretful in the morning when you gain the 5 lbs back that you worked so hard to lose before today.   But then again...What are holidays all about?  Have a good one!


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