Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The season is almost upon us

It was chilly today. Had to start the day out wearing a sweatshirt, for the first time in months.

Ah, fall. I had that cider and a doughnut, by the way, courtesy of the little country fair we went to last weekend.

When I was a kid, my memories of this time of year are mostly the beginning of school, and the shortening of available daylight. Had to come in earlier at night, and it was starting to cool down then, anyway, so coming inside wasn't such a bad thing. Reading books in the living room by lamplight, rather than up in a tree, by dappled sunlight.

When I reached the age of paying attention to things such as time and dates, other than birthdays and Christmas, I realized that September is the beginning of that oft-dreaded time, Holiday Season™.

So I thought I'd write a little about the season, as it is celebrated in our house.

Starting the second weekend of October, we have what WE call "Christmas," the Friends of the Library Book Sale. Ooh, baby. The mother of all book sales. A few years back, when I lived out in CA for a couple of years, we went to something called a library book sale there, and woe, the disappointment, the long faces and teary eyes, to walk in and find a couple of tables with a few books on them.

The Library Book Sale here is an Event. One that brings visitors from far and wide. People camp out the night before, even in the rain. I've even camped out. It is Christmas and Birthday, Great Pumpkin and Easter Beagle all rolled up into one. As it says on their website, the "number of items for sale usually exceeds 250,000."

And that's for each sale, now that it happens twice a year.

Plus, the prices start out quite reasonable, and get progressively cheaper every day of the sale, so on the last day, everything is a dime, and there's usually a lot of interesting stuff left. Most of my classic literature collection was purchased at ten cents per book.

The sale runs right into our next family celebration. We celebrate Thanksgiving on Canadian Thanksgiving, for a variety of reasons, not the least being it's when we're all here to celebrate it. A brilliant suggestion from a friend the first year we were faced with spending the american version not together as a family. Not nearly as stressful as trying to get everything together the same time as zillions of other people, for one thing. And closer to when things actually are harvested here. Not to mention, it avoids the whole pilgrim bullshit story.

After that comes the season that most people don't consider, and those who "celebrate it," rarely wish to do so again.

I'm talking about Chimney Fire Season.
In conjunction with Turning the Heat Back On Season.
And also, Kerosene Heater Accident Season.
Celebrated by a bunch of firefighters running around like mad, trying to keep up with it all.

This was all a long-winded introduction to a Public Service Announcement.

Get your chimneys cleaned.
Have your furnace cleaned.
Don't postpone it.
Don't decide not to bother.

Change the batteries in your smoke detectors. Add a few more smoke detectors. The more, the merrier.
Get some good-sized fire extinguishers, learn how to use them, and mount them on your wall in an accessible location. I'm a big believer in bright red home decor.

Don't leave space heaters unattended, especially any kerosene heaters.
Make sure you have Carbon Monoxide alarms if you have any kind of source of combustion in your house. Fuel oil, kerosene, natural gas, propane, whether it's for heat or hot water, your dryer or your stove.

Let's get through this cooling down time of year, without any rapidly heating up occasions.

Then we can go on to discuss the rest of the holidays.

I'll even tell you about my family's four Major Holidays of the year:
November 1st, December 26th, Feb 15th, and the day after Easter.

Cheap Chocolate Days.


Lori Skoog said... march to your own drummer...

I just went out to put the horses in for the night and need to wear a's cold out there. You're right, fall is coming on.

What courses are you teaching this semester?

Spartacus Jones said...

Good post, Hilinda.

When I'm president, I'll be sure that fire companies are trained and funded better -- and will give free furnace/chimney/etc inspections.
Zero Annual Fire Deaths is a good goal.

Stay Safe,


hilinda said...


Currently, we have four foil classes, a longsword class, and a rapier and dagger class. Some sabre stuff in the works.


Zero Annual Fire Deaths would be great. Lots of work to be done to make that happen, though.

Lori Skoog said...

Hilinda...I am a member of the Art & Aesthetics Committee of the Walk Bike Brockport Action Group.
A few months ago we installed this Mule (Phebe) on the bank of the Erie Canal and had a great dedication. Within 24 hours she was knocked down and shattered by some vandals. The community was not happy and a local 70ish man said he would like to put her back together again with some left over fiberglass he had (made an airplane with it a few years ago). 2 doors down from him, a man with a body shape said he would volunteer to do the painting, and another local shop donated the paint.
Yes, she looks like an 800 pound chocolate bunny.
In my archives there are posts about Phebe...June-now off and on. A sweet story. She will be reinstalled after her "rebirth" on Saturday. The kids who did this were caught and went to court.

hilinda said...

Lori- I'm glad they were caught. And the folks who worked on the restoration did a fabulous job, looks like! Maybe the kids and I will have to make a road trip to come visit Phebe.