Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring Awakenings!

Tomorrow is the first day of Spring so I thought it would be appropriate to dust off the ol' blog and start writing in here again. 

The winter of 2015 has been a tough one.  Extended periods of bitter cold and just enough snow to make a mess has taken it's toll on our sales.  We expect a slow down in the winter. Many people have gone south for the winter and the folks who have to stay here just want to hibernate.  It's a great time of year to binge watch TV shows and eat, because seriously what else are you going to do?

So like everyone else, we are now shedding off our winter blahs and getting the shop ship shape for the busy months!

We've ordered some new items that will be coming in soon.  New artwork will be on the wall and the warmer weather will be bringing people out again!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

This is how I feel about snow right about now!

December 8

6:00 PM. It started to snow. The first snow of the season and the wife and I took our cocktails and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down from heaven. It looked like a Grandma Moses Print. So romantic we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow!

December 9

We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every inch of the landscape. What a fantastic sight! Can there be a more lovely place in the Whole World? Moving here was the best idea I've ever had. Shoveled for the first time in years and felt like a boy again. I did both our driveway and the sidewalks. This afternoon the snowplow came along and covered up the sidewalks and closed in the driveway, so I got to shovel again. What a perfect life.

December 12

The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Such a disappointment. My neighbor tells me not to worry, we'll definitely have a white Christmas. No snow on Christmas would be awful! Bob says we'll have so much snow by the end of winter, that I'll never want to see snow again. I don't think that's possible. Bob is such a nice man, I'm glad he's our neighbor.

December 14

Snow lovely snow! 8" last night. The temperature dropped to -20. The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life!
The snowplow came back this afternoon and buried everything again. I didn't realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I'll certainly get back in shape this way.

December 15

20 inches forecast. Sold my van and bought a 4x4 Blazer. Bought snow tires for the wife's car and 2 extra shovels. Stocked the freezer.
The wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think that's silly. We aren't in Alaska, after all.

December 16

Ice storm this morning. Fell on my butt on the ice in the driveway putting down salt. Hurt like heck. The wife laughed for one hour, which I think was very cruel.

December 17

Still way below freezing. Roads are too icy to go anywhere.
Electricity was off for 5 hours. I had to pile the blankets on to stay warm. Nothing to do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate her. Guess I should've bought a wood stove, but won't admit it to her. God I hate it when she's right. I can't believe I'm freezing to death in my own living room.

December 20

Electricity's back on, but had another 14" of the damn stuff last night. More shoveling. Took all day. Darn snowplow came by twice.

Tried to find a neighbor kid to shovel, but they said they're too busy playing hockey. I think they're lying. Called the only hardware store around to see about buying a snow blower and they're out. Might have another shipment in March. I think they're lying. Bob says I have to shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he's lying.

December 22

Bob was right about a white Christmas because 13 more inches of the white crap fell today, and it's so cold it probably won't melt till August. Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel and then I had to poop. By the time I got undressed, pooped and dressed again, I was too tired to shovel. Tried to hire Bob who has a plow on his truck for the rest of the winter; but he says he's too busy. I think the jerk is lying.

December 23

Only 2" of snow today. And it warmed up to 0. The wife wanted me to decorate the front of the house this morning. What is she nuts!!! Why didn't she tell me to do that a month ago? She says she did but I think she's lying.

December 24

6". Snow packed so hard by snowplow, I broke the shovel. Thought I was having a heart attack. If I ever catch the man who drives that snowplow I'll drag him through the snow by his nose and beat him to death with my broken shovel. I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down the street at 100 miles an hour and throws snow all over where I've just been!

Tonight the wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open our presents, but I was too busy watching for the snowplow.

December 25

Merry -bleeping- Christmas! 20 more inches of the slop tonight. Snowed in. The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil. I hate the snow! Then the snowplow driver came by asking for a donation and I hit him over the head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude. I think she's a fricking idiot. If I have to watch "It's A Wonderful Life" one more time, I'm going to stuff her into the microwave.

December 26

Still snowed in. Why the heck did I ever move here? It was all HER idea. She's really getting on my nerves.

December 27

Temperature dropped to -30 and the pipes froze, plumber came after 14 hours of waiting for him, he only charged me $1400 to replace all my pipes.

December 28

Warmed up to above -20. Still snowed in. THE WITCH is driving me crazy!!!

December 29

10 more inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in. That's the silliest thing I ever heard. How dumb does he think I am?

December 30

Roof caved in. I beat up the snow plow driver he is now suing me for a million dollars not only the beating I gave him but also for trying to shove the broken snow shovel up where the sun don't shine. The wife went home to her mother. 9" predicted.

December 31

I set fire to what's left of the house. No more shoveling.

January 8

Feel so good. I just love those little white pills they keep giving me. Why am I tied to the bed?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lot's of snow and Jesus Saves!

Snow was a lot of fun when I was a kid!  We'd get all bundled up and would try to be the first ones out the door to explore the beautiful winter wonderland. 

Of course having the day off from school was an added bonus! 

My friend Brenda and I would take our dogs with us and go exploring.  She had Misty who was an American Pointer and I had Herman a Weimaraner.  Both great sporting dogs.  They loved it and we loved it and we would be out in it for hours until our feet and fingers were frozen.

She'd go home to her house, I'd go home to mine.  I'd give good ol' Herman a nice rub down with a towel to take off all the excess snow and then I'd have to take all of the wet clothes off in the garage before my Mom would let us back in the house.

Back inside there was a fire going and my Mom would make us hot chocolate (the old fashioned way) and popcorn. We'd site by the fire until we warmed up enough to go back out in it again. 

I didn't even mind helping to shovel the walkway.  It was fun!

Fast forward 30+ years and now snow it a giant pain in the butt!  Especially when you own your own business!

It's not fun anymore.  You don't play in it.  Instead you are stuck digging yourself out and now I have to go out and dig my business out too. 

The first snow fall we had which was Dec. 26th dumped over 30 inches on us.  Luckily for us we were closed that day so we had plenty of time to dig ourselves out.  The road crews were working 12 hours shifts trying to get the streets clear for emergency vehicles.  We were one of the lucky ones because the street that I live on was plowed several times on Monday afternoon.  Some people didn't see a plow down there street until Tuesday or Wednesday.

Here is a great time lapse video posted on CNN by reporter Mike Black who lives in Belmar, NJ.  Belmar is about 5 miles north of us.

I had full plans on opening up on Tuesday.  This was the week after Christmas which could be a very big week in retail.  People have a little extra holiday money and are on vacation from work or school.  We were really counting on it.

But no, Mother Nature had different plans for everyone that week. 

Margie and I were watching peoples posts on Facebook about being snowed in.  Businesses all over the place were having a very hard time getting open.  Every truck with a plow and any able body with a shovel was out trying to dig people out. 

We finally decided to take a ride and see just how bad it was.  This is what we saw:

Some how the tenants who live up stairs were able to dig the entire driveway out.  From the back of the building where they park to the street has to be about 50ft.  50 feet of 30+ inches of snow!  I am in awe.

It took Margie and I about 2 hours just to dig a small area so that I could park my car in front of the building!  It was going to take a miracle or at least a person with a plow to dig us out.

The next thing we had to find out was who was responsible for the snow removal for our building.  Us or the landlord.

No was US!

I opened the phone book and began calling every snow removal and landscaping business I could find in the area.  I left messages with all of them because as you would expect, they were all out plowing!

A few called back saying they could get here on Wednesday sometime.  OK...that's fine.  So Margie and I went home.

On Wednesday - Margie went back to her full time job and I came in the store around 10:00 AM.  I made a few more calls and then sat and waited.

And waited...and waited. 

A few called me back and said they would stop by.  One guy with a plow came over and said that he couldn't do the job because it was too tight for him to get in with a plow. 

Meanwhile my brain is thinking about all of the business I am losing because of this freakin' snow.

Then...I got a call from a friend!  Brian Alvarez who co-owns Mon Alyssa's Restaurant down the street knows a guy with a Bobcat and wanted to  know if I still needed to be dug out.  (Great Italian food at Mon Alyssa's...go there)

"HELL YEAH!", I exclaimed!

Brian said he's be over in about 30 minutes!

YES!  I've been saved!

Then this wonderful man in his Bobcat arrived!

What a sight for sore eyes!

Within 20 minutes this man pushed and lifted the snow and cleared my entire parking lot!


He was only going to charge me a very small amount for the work he did, but I gave him a lot more because he really helped save me. 

The wonderful and ironic thing about this great man...his name is Jesus!

Jesus really does work miracles!

I love Jesus!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New Year!

I've really neglected my blogs lately.
There was a lot of great stuff that happened too!  Let me try to recap:
We had some great art shows:

Helen Harris was our featured artist for October.  She specializes in water color and mixed media.
There are so many wonderful colors and a lot of texture to her work.  Absolutely beautiful.

November we highlighted contemporary artist Clayton Thomas.  Working with acrylics he paints in a style all his own and uses cardboard, wall paneling and old "office art" to paint on.  His show was a focus on New Jersey and the Jersey Devil!

And December was photographer Wendy A. Ritch.  Her photos range from captioning parts of NJ to captioning digitized music.  The colors are bright and grab you right away as does the subject.

Our first holiday season was absolutely amazing!  We joined "The Band" and promoted a shop local theme that was fun for everyone!   Many of our customers really appreciated our free gift wrapping service and consultative sales.  We aren't stalkers, but if you come in and let us know who you are looking for and what price range you are looking to spend we can give you some great ideas. 

We had a friend help us out during the holidays and she was amazed at how nice all of our customers were!  We had spontaneous reunions of friends, classmates and people who had never met before chatted and shopped away.  How awesome is that?  As a store owner - that makes me just beam with pride to know that my customers are so comfortable that they can relax and be themselves and even make new friends!

Of course the Sunday after Christmas brought the blizzard. 

Between 30 and 34 inches of the white stuff fell on us that weekend. 
That's a LOT of snow!
We were closed on our usual Monday which was fine because you couldn't go anywhere.  It took me until Wednesday afternoon before we found a man and his Bobcat to dig us out!

There was a lot of grumbling about how long it took for the Public Works Depts to clear the streets. 
We had nearly 3 feet of snow!  Not only do they have to plow it they have to pile it up somewhere!  People were yelling at the men/women out there plowing.  I'd would have been out there with $20 and saying Thank you!  They were working 12 hour shifts with only 4 hours break in between.

So - the snow put a BIG damper on our after the holiday sales, but what can you do?  Nature happens right?

Here we are 2011!  7 months old and doing great and we look forward to changing things around to bring in new products for our customers.

Thank you to all of my wonderful customers for your friendships and your patronage.  It was the best gift we could have received during the holidays!

Have a very happy and healthy New Year everyone.  Peace on Earth.