Thursday, December 25, 2014

Giddyup Rudolph!

It is Christmas Eve. The neighborhood is peacefully quiet. Some friends are at midnight mass. Some are fast asleep, resting up for a day of activities tomorrow. I am relaxing after a very busy day at the bookstore. I spent the evening eating chocolates, doing a crossword puzzle, and taking a nice hot bath. Just now I finished watching the first episode of a British television show called "Black Mirror" that was pretty impressive. In fact I was riveted throughout. I'll get back to that.

I closed the bookstore last night after one of the busiest days of the year, and today we did just as much revenue, and that was with us locking the doors at 5pm, five hours earlier than usual. We had a hardworking crew today, with none of us taking a lunch break. The management bought three pizzas, and we each took turns munching on the cheesy triangles, while standing behind the used book counter. Many books (and scarves) were gift wrapped, and the rain abated, even allowing the sun to shine through in the afternoon, and turning the trees to the east a glowing gold, against a darkening sky. We all took a few moments to appreciate the natural artwork outside the bustling store, reminding us (or me anyway) of the beauty that surrounds me every moment of my life. I just need to take the moment to be aware of the beauty, and breathe it in fully.

We sold out of a few titles just before closing today. Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See, Lily King's Euphoria, and Cheryl Strayed's Wild, which has had renewed sales thanks to the film, starring Reese Withering Soon. All successful books are "soon to be a major motion picture." You never see an honest exclamation, such as "Soon to be a Minor Movie Not Worth Your Time." The paperback copies of Unbroken -- which had been in hardcover for four years -- were also flying out the door, along with the local favorite, The Boys in the Boat.

So, all in all, a very successful holiday season at Ravenna Third Place. It's not really over, since children are out of school for another week, and to encourage customers even further, we have our annual 20% off everything in the store sale on New Year's Day. I have tomorrow to sleep in, but I expect another crazy business day (in a pleasant non-medication kind of way) on Friday.

My son arrives tomorrow at 5 pm, after spending Christmas day with his mother. She is more into the material celebratory aspect of the holiday, so I let her run that show. He'll come over here to detox from his video games, and maybe even get a little reading done. I know I'm going to get some reading done tomorrow, that's for sure. At least until Justin arrives, and then I become a full-time dad again, which means watching three point shots (rolled up socks into wastebasket), or checking out his latest drawing of NBA team logos. Whatever we do, we'll have fun, and I'll never tire of hearing him say "I'll love you forever daddy" or saying back to him how my love for him will also never end. Even after my last earthly breath, my molecules will transform into other objects, but they will carry with them into the universe, my infinite love for my son.

I'm sounding a mite sentimental tonight, but it is Christmas Eve, in some parts of this country anyway. I have also unabashedly showed my pride in the bookstore, where I have worked since they opened back in 2003 (except for a three stint when I was a stay-at-home dad. I worked at the late great Bailey-Coy Books during Justin's infancy.) I love turning fellow readers onto good books and new authors, and I feel like I have a personal stake in the sales of my staff picks. My current pick, Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin, is quickly becoming one of my bestselling staff picks yet.

Netflix is usually a source of great frustration for me, as I usually struggle to get the streaming service to work properly every night, but tonight everything popped right up as it should. After browsing titles for at least twenty minutes, I plunged into a British show called "Black Mirror." This show is immediately compelling, and -- as the title implies -- reflects back to us some of the most horrible aspects of our fancy technological age. I don't know if the following episodes will live up to the impact of the initial chapter, but I'm guaranteed to tune in again.

Well, I have gone on enough. I obviously had some time to kill tonight, and enough finger strength to put down an assemblage of words that express my state of mind on this day, December 24th, 2014. Now it's time to sink into our new contour form-fitting mattress pad. My wife just put it on top of the existing mattress and box spring, so she has to use a step stool to get in bed now. I'm still able to lift a leg up, and turn in successfully, but it's almost like having to jump into the saddle before being able to get a good night's sleep. That shouldn't be a problem tonight though.

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