We now return to your regularly scheduled blog. Nov 28.

Ok - here's the deal - As much as I want to - If I try and do normal blog length catch up on this missing gap I'm gonna be here for years - so forgive me if this is fairly swift - but it will enable me to get back on track :) Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry - I should have TOLD YOU we were going away for Thanksgiving. I'm aware a number of you thought we were dead and Jean Anne almost had Po's face put on a milk carton. Apologies. So we worked through the day after the last blog and then hitched up the Blazer and went off to Ohio for a nice long turkey-induced rest.

The primary activity prior to departure was the Great Wreath Install. And boy oh boy that was a whole lot more work than the Tweedles anticipated (and just wait until I tell you the nonsense we're doing NOW).

So basically Janice developed this extremely ingenious (like ingenious for a normal person... ASTOUNDING for a Tweedle) wreath suspension system utilizing five suction cup hooks. Four held the wreath to the outside of each window - and then one on the inside - attached to fishing line, served as a safety. It worked beautifully, just took a while - but not nearly as long as fluffling, bowing, and lighting did. Part of what took a while was the recovery time Janice needed in order to enter the window area again after I insisted on spraying about three gallons of Raid around each window to TRY and ward off the giant evil spiders that seemed to be ENJOYING the cold weather. (I've been hearing they would take off for the winter - but not yet they haven't). See I wasn't really looking forward to the spiders a) getting inside the apartment; or b) nesting in our wreaths and then taking occupancy in the theatre once we brought them back inside. They looked awesome - I need to take a picture - but just they didn't make nearly as much impact as we were hoping on the scope of the building. I mean most places six wreaths sound like a lot - but this is a BIGGG space to cover. So we started figuring out alternatives and began by hanging another giant one in the box office. Which, after about thirty minutes in the cold of trying to hang it kinda blind (because the wreath takes up the whole window and you can't see where the heck the bow goes.

JANICE TEETERING ON THE EDGE OF WREATH-ON wreath-install.JPG

They also ended up on the doors to our apartment and Natalie's office - but without lights cuz we figured it's tough to keep opening and closing your door with an electric cord dangling around you. Personally, I'd be happy to risk electrocution for a little extra sparkle.

Then there was a big question about what kind of cycle to set them on with the timers we bought to run them. Originally we thought they would not be lit during the day, and then they'd come on at dusk until like midnight. But we discovered that they actually look much fancier during the day when they are lit - AND since not many people really drive down this street at night. Ok, not many people drive down this street after like 2pm - but anyway - it's better for the business folk in the area to see it, than like one person an hour on their way to and from on our sixty eight hundred local bars. So - they run from like eight in the morning until like nine at night I think.

But - no - the wreath-a-thon is not over.

Janice and Rich figured it could still be taken up a notch. So when we were in Ohio we went back to the craft store where Janice got the wreaths. This place is called Pat Catan's and it's awesome. It's like a Michael's but with MUCH better prices. For some reason - and this is a first - Bob decided he wanted to come shopping with us. To a craft store. Which is kind of like taking Richard Simmons to a Hooters. There ain't gonna be a lot to amuse him. So for like an hour Janice and Rich were rooting through a zillion feet of artificial garland - comparing prices, and 'point numbers' and bushiness. While Bob thought we were totally insane. Totally.

But the two of them managed to come up with something pretty great. They realized that if you took some of the less expensive scrawnier garland and twisted it with another one exactly like it, you ended up with a garland that was thicker and bushier than the others in the store but it still cost less to do per foot. So - we bought eight football field lengths worth of garland. Like I actually think, not exaggerating that if you laid it end to end (not twisted together) it might make it all the way down our block end to end.

And, when we got back to Indiana, Janice began wiring the stuff together. Wire, twist, wire, twist.

"WIRE YOU MAKING ME DO THIS?" janice-garland.JPG

THIS STUFF GOES ON FOREVER-GREEN. killer-garland.JPG

She'd do a length and then I would string the lights on. Neither job was particularly easy (trying to wrap a string of 300 lights like a barber pole stripe along an eighteen foot garland can get a boy pretty tangled). Eventually Janice's arm gave out (it's still a little sore - I think it was the twisting). So now I have tennis elbow, and the has wreath arm. We're all in great shape. But - after many hours (mostly Janice's) we managed to the stuff assembled. Things also were not too easy because the electric in my office isn't rewired yet - so the only electricity for the living room AND my office is this one power strip. To which the tv and the tivo are also plugged in. And while we were engaging in this garlanding Janice was trying to watch Dancing With the Stars - to which she is mildly addicted. Like Whitney is mildly addicted to crack. But with all the twisting of the lights and tangling, the plug kept getting yanked out of the socket. In the middle of Dancing with the Stars. And then because it's all hooked up to the Tivo it has to reset. And, if you have a tivo, you know that for some reason it takes like ten minutes to reset. Which complete astounds me - I mean - how does it forget EVERYTHING? Whatever. So this happened like three times during Dancing With the Stars. Which did not thrill Janice because last time the Tivo decided to tape something IMPERATIVE like Mama's Family because it was on at the same time and had been chosen BEFORE Dancing With the Stars was picked.

Anyway - we finished the garland yesterday and tried to install it last night around the marquee but we experienced substantial technical difficulties. We were going to use those heavy duty magnet hooks. But they aren't going to cut it. Soooo we have a plan B which I'll tell you about next time.

We had a great time in Ohio. It was really nice to be able to sleep in. And yes, the pack leader actually slept in past nine o clock once or twice. A miracle. Yay. And thanksgiving dinner was awesome. Including the special magic Najuch potato stuffing. See, this was totally new to me until I infiltrated this particular family. I never knew potato stuffing existed. It's pretty great. Now, at Christmas, my Mom makes like regular stuffing AND potato stuffing.

AND I'LL BET JULIA CHILD DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO DRYWALL. janice-cooking.JPG

And everyone got lots to eat. PO AUDITIONS FOR SEAWORLD turkey2.JPG

We took it pretty easy - except for our traditional Black Friday insanity. Black Friday - since it involves sales - is taken very seriously at the Najuch House. It's like watching the military prepare an invasion. They lay out all the folders that come the day before, scour them, and make lists and lists and lists. And then plan. And prioritize. And plan routes. It's huge. If you had told Rich and Janice that there was a door buster sale in Bagdad - we would have been out of Iraq like in a week.

Anyway - so we LEAVE the house at 2 am. That's right. 2am. And it was not warm. Admittedly it was warmer than last year - but that ain't saying much. Actually last year when we left the house the fog was so thick we could barely see the road. Anyway - first stop was Kohls. We were like seventh in line. We did our traditional drive past Best Buy just in case... at 2am there were already hundreds of people in line. They camp out. But there wasn't much we wanted from there this year anyway - so no biggy. So we waited outside in the line at Kohls until they were due to open at 4:00am. By that point there were probably at least 150 people in line behind us, if not more. BUT at like 3:45 this grouping of people gathers right at the edge of the parking lot near the entrance. At first it was like five people - but then it was like thirty. And with all these other people having waited in the COLD in a long line down the side of the store, these guys were hanging out right at the front. Waiting until they opened the doors, and then they would rush the door and by-pass everyone who waited. Which they did. And since they keep the doors closed, and since there weren't security people outside - there wasn't anything to do. So that was sucky. And they will go to hell and probably have to watch Pauly Shore and Andie McDowell perform highlights from obscure Jacobean drama for ETERNITY.

Other than that the Black Friday shopping was a big success. I am not skilled in the art of combat - so normally i get really important jobs like "stand by this cart, don't move, and if someone tries to steal the $12 motorhome with a $12 rebate out of our cart: hurt them". Actually there were no free things this year - which kind of bummed Rich and Janice. See normally they have things like blank cd's or power strips or whatever with this "On sale for $5 with a $5 rebate" thing. They do this, of course, to get people into the store - and since only a fraction of people actually SEND IN rebates - they end up making money on them in the long run. But we did get a car-full... a BIG car-full of stuff - not just Christmas stuff - we did a huge Home Depot attack and got a lot of really great stuff on sale. So that's fun.

Other than that - the rest of the time was relaxed. Our big fun outing was the night before we headed home. The Toledo Zoo (which actually looks really nice and I wanna go back in the summer...ooo and I also found out there is a Carousel Museum I wanna see at some point too) sorry - tangent - the Toledo Zoo does this thing called The Lights Before Christmas and they do the whole place in Christmas Lights. Some of the animals are still around

WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE... THIS IS A HEAT WAVE. its-cold.JPG

- not many - but the place was just beautiful. And a lot of these things were animated - so the bear, for instance, catches a fish, and all kinds of stuff... really nifty.

flaminigo.JPG

leopard.JPG

moose.JPG

penguns.JPG

toucan.JPG

zoo-lights1.JPG

bear.JPG

zoo-entrance.JPG

So - if you're even in Toledo in December (and who isn't) make the trip. But make sure you dress warmly:

THE MUMMY janice-bundled.JPG

The biggest accomplishment since we've returned would have to be the pack leader managing to get the baseboard heaters running. So now we have heat. Some. It's not toasty in here at all - and Po still migrates from blanket to blanket

EMPEROR PO-PATINE popatine.JPG

(No doubt if Mr. Lucas decides on a seventh Star Wars, he'll call Po) evil_emporer.jpg

- but it's more tolerable than it was. Rich is in the process of getting the gas turned on. But they want a huge deposit from us... for THREE YEARS. At least we get interest on it. But still, when money is tight, it kinda sucks. But even he admits it's cold.

ANOTHER EIGHT HUNDRED OF THESE AND WE'LL BE TOASTY. :) baseboard1.JPG

Janice was having a heck of time the other night because for some reason with the heater on, and the outside wreath lights, and the television...the living room breaker kept getting thrown while she was in bed. And she sleeps with the tv on. So it kept waking her up AND freezing her butt off. Eventually she gave up on the heater and plugged in the electric blanket. It's better now.

On a 'stuff we've gotten done' update... I forgot to show you that Rich installed the bathroom mirror. (Recycling one of the ones we removed from the Lobby - and it's really nice).

REFLECTION INSPECTION mirror-in-bath.JPG

Ok - i've got more to tell you...but this is a good start and should stop people from sending out a search party.

More later. xoxox jojo.