A Quiet Moment of Grace
One of the things I love about winter weather is when we get the muffled quiet after a gentle snow of big flakes. The world's been softened all around and until the cars wear the snow and glaze down or the plows come 'round, even the road noises are gentler. So it was rather remarkable in the early afternoon when one of these moments was broken by the sound of honking -- Canadian geese not cars. I had a window open and was trying to see where Mrs. Dr. Phil, who was outside, was looking. The honking got louder and louder and finally, a good ten seconds later than I expected them, a large flight of geese in their V-formation came over the house and headed on south. It's probably not a migration as more and more geese and other birds are wintering over at this latitude -- though considering the month of winter we've endured so far, perhaps those who don't migrate much anymore might have had a change of mind. (grin)
It's In The Mail
There are seven boxes and two Flat-Rate envelopes piled up on one side of the living room -- all going to the Post Office in the morning for Priority Mail across the country. Shipping has most definitely evolved since I was a young boy. I mean, I remember that every kind of catalog or mail order was accompanied by the phrase "six to eight weeks for delivery". If you didn't have all your orders in by Halloween, you'd never get everything in hand early enough for Parcel Post to slowly move the packages to their final destinations. Living in Medina NY my first ten years, Christmas always dribbled on through Christmas vacation and into January as eventually packages from all the relatives drifted in through the snow drifts.
This "slow boat from China" approach to shipping just doesn't cut it in an on-demand world. Top grade consumer electronics have shelf lives measured in months, not years. So the decision to buy is based on an optimization process of need, price, want and value. The amount of "buyer's remorse" one could accumulate waiting six to eight weeks after ordering the latest e-widget or i-gadget would be unbearable. And in the electronics upgrade/repair business, if any one of a number key components go down today, I may be "shit-out-of-luck" until I get them working again. I ain't gonna wait no six to eight weeks for shipping, I can tell you.
Yet the Get-It-There-Yesterday top-flight shipping of Next Day Air from FedEx, UPS or the venerable yet excellent USPS isn't quite required for everything. Priority Mail from USPS for Second Day service in most domestic markets is Quite Good Enough for Dr. Phil -- I've been shipping by Priority Mail since I edited a railfan newsletter when I was in high school... but that's another story.
Point is, it is One Week Til Christmas and we're just going to mail our packages tomorrow, with full expectations that they'll be delivered this week in time to spread the (consumer) joy of the season.
Oh Look, The Mall Lots Are Still Full
We just aren't mall store consumers. In fact we avoid those sections of town as much as possible this time of the year. But we had to drive down to Holland to stop by a natural foods place to get a couple of items -- Apple Valley is owned by Seventh Day Adventists, so they close early on Friday and aren't open on Saturday for the Sabbath, so Sunday driving it is.
The parking lots were still, a week before Christmas, stuffed full. Mrs. Dr. Phil mentioned that some of the people she knows at work were going to just get started with their shopping this weekend. Yikes.
And Here Come The Turkeys
So we were driving on a back road behind the malls over to the D&W Food Center and came to a 4-Way Stop intersection. But I paused longer, because, in a semi-residential neighborhood, a long line of wild turkeys came walking down one driveway, single-file, and crossed the road to walk along the side of another house. Must've been a dozen of them or more. Big birds. Wild turkeys are very confident birds and I'm not about to argue with them over right-of-way, especially when I was already stopped. Besides, like the flight of geese, it's a wonder to see a dozen turkeys crossing the road. Mmmm.
The Green Blob Remains
"See?" Mrs. Dr. Phil is saying just now, "it's just us." She's referring to the big green blob over Allendale and West Michigan on The Weather Channel's local radar map. Snow flurries and snow showers accumulating 1-2" seems to be the rule all the time.