Yesterday, The Wife and The Girls went off to see Hoodwinked (I understand that I didn't miss much on that count!) and do some other stuff, so I had all day to myself. We have "holiday traditions" which are less traditions as they are scheduling parameters, in that Daughter #1's birthday is right after Thanksgiving, so No Xmas Stuff May Go Up until after the first week in December, an Daughter #2's birthday is right before Valentine's Day, so All Xmas Stuff Must Be Down before the last week of January (to allow a sufficient period which is "holiday free" to focus on the birthday ... Valentines is sort of a one-day blip around here). This leaves pretty much a 2-week period for dealing with putting away the Xmas decorations, with weekends featuring some of the best Football of the year. Since I only had the Cat to contend with yesterday, I opted to make it the day. This involves excavating the access to the big storage closet, pulling out a dozen or so storage boxes, re-filing ornaments in their boxes, racking the lights, and disassembling the Tree (which is now 14 years old ... I was never one to do more than the most perfunctory Xmas decorations, but The Wife insisted we get a Tree when she moved in with me, but I have an ethical problem with bringing in a mortally wounded pine into the house to watch it shrivel and die over a period of weeks, so I opted for the plastic version back then and it's still what we're using).
I was fortunately able to get all the Tree stuff done before they all got back, and then had the various other stuff to get boxed up and re-stashed in the storage closet. Needless to say, having something to do helped buffer me from the emotional woodchipper which was the BEARS game.
Now, a strange thing also happened ... LibraryThing went DOWN! I know, it's not quite the panic-inducer that having LiveJournal go dark was, but it put a cramp into my "side plans" of getting the rest of Bookcase #4 logged in. What was supposed to have been a brief downtime has now stretched into two days ... but they are promising be to up (with all sorts of new and fixed stuff) sometime tomorrow.
Well, The Girls were home from school today (being the MLK thing and all), so being unable to update my LibraryThing catalog worked out well as far as they were concerned. The Wife had a client appointment this evening, so she suggested that I pick up her rental car early and take The Girls SomePlaceElse. It seems that Daughter #2 had been angling for a trip down to Chinatown yesterday while they were out, so The Wife suggested that I take them down there for Dim Sum today. Now, getting to ChinaTown from here is a breeze, just hop on the El and in 10 mintues or so you're there, but it does involve walking to the train, going up/down stairs, waiting, etc., so having the vehicle just made it that much easier ... so I grabbed The Girls, we wandered down to Enterprise, picked up a car (they gave us this huge Nissan SUV), and hopped on the Drive. I finally figured out that it's better to take the State St. exit past McCormick Place, rather than going on to the "Chinatown" exit which puts you south of everything on Wentworth ... the State St. exit put you right on State, just a few blocks to Cermak, and an easy shot right into the big Chinatown parking lot.
We do Dim Sum a the "Three Happiness" restaurant right across from the parking, and The Girls were happy that they came right up with their favorite, Sticky Rice ... they got that and some Pot Stickers, and I got various other things. They both wanted MORE Sticky Rice, so we did another round of that while I finished up whatever Pot Stickers they didn't get into. After leaving there we wandered down Wentworth to the Chiu Quon bakery so I could lay in a supply of BBQ Pork Buns and Sesame Balls and The Girls could have some cookies.
I knew that The Wife was hoping to get some work done today and didn't need the car until about 5pm, so I had a back-up activity planned ... we hopped back on State St. and pulled in at the new Jewel right under the Roosevelt Orange Line stop, ducking in there to pick up a couple of bags of unsalted roast-in-shell peanuts, and then headed back up to the neighborhood. I was lucky in getting an "end" parking spot which didn't require me to actually try to parallel park the SUV, and we headed over to Washington ("Bughouse") Square park to feed the squirrels. Now, "feeding the squirrels" was an activity that I dearly loved as a wee lad (in New York City's Central Park), and it still amuses me ... and The Girls are, of course, enthusiastic about it as well. It's a slightly schizy activity for the squirrels, however, as the park there is used by locals for their dogs, some of which are quite fond of "hunting" the squirrels, so one has to try to not distract the squirrels when they need to keep an eye out for the dogs!
Anyway, we did that for about an hour ... popped some more quarters in the parking meter, reclaimed my bakery goodies from the car, and headed back to our place, where I've been since.
Gee ... doesn't this entry just make you ache for some gripping "how I won cheap Pokemon cards on eBay" stories?