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It’s October, so my Christmas list is well overdue.

Of course it is.

Santa is so demanding.

And, lest you think this is all a tad early, let me inform you that Costco has been Christmas-ing since August, yes indeedy.

There are entire aisles you can Deck the Halls in, wearing your flip-flops (we can’t generally wear flip-flops during the ACTUAL festive season in Canada).

There are buffalo-checked Christmas doo-dahs as far as the eye can see (I try my best to avert my eyes back to the free samples they give out at Costco, which it’s really important to keep one’s eye firmly upon so as not to forget the real reason we shop at Costco).

Buffalo check pattern

Photo credit: Spoonflower

Practical Man does not approve.

Of the Christmas doo-dahs, I should clarify.

No sirree.

He’s a free-sample fan, though.

What kind of Practical Man would he be if his favourite thing was not anything, preceded by or followed by the word, FREE?

He never eats the free samples – he gives them to me, like some kind of Snack Saint.  He doesn’t snack and did I mention that he’s kind of annoying, sometimes?

Lovely, but annoying in a Snack Saint sort of way.

Or, maybe Snack Santa.

But, festive flourishes (even with free snacks for his beloved) before a respectful observance of Remembrance Day (Nov 11)?  Now, them’s grounds for grunting and Rick Mercer-esque rants.

I don’t disagree.

It’s only October, merchants!  My Hallowe’en costume is barely out of my head and onto the sewing machine, yet.

But, Practical Man still wants my Christmas list early, early, early.

He’s not a huge fan of all the commercialism and forced gifting that comes with the season but, he does like to make someone happy.

Tra-la-la.

“You know that I don’t go in stores after the beginning of November,” he warns in a Bah Humbug sort of voice.

Who cares about that when everyone knows that Santa doesn’t shop in stores?  Santa has elves making things in workshops and eating gingerbread, dontcha know.  They don’t shop at Costco (unless they are snackers, in which case, who can blame them?)

Ho, ho, ho.

Still, on account of their too early Christmas hullabaloo, I wonder if Costco has been listening to our conversations about overdue Christmas lists?  Like a George Orwell, big-brother-is-watching-you kind-of-creepy, Santa?

Oh wait, that’s Siri and Okay Google.  Neither of which we use and yet…

I’m feeling spooked.

Which would be fine because it’s nearly Hallowe’en:  the season of spookiness.

Boo!

And what with my distraction about whether my non-Siri/Okay Google devices are listening to my conversations without my permission, it’s a bit difficult for me to think of what I want for Christmas.

Except maybe a vintage, Fisher Price hospital, complete with X-ray machine and working elevator.

Vintage Fisher Price hospital with all people and equipment

photo credit: YouTube

Because, every woman in her 40s needs one of those, right?

And peace on earth, wrapped in buffalo check flannel.

Except, not yet.

Because it’s wa-a-a-a-y too early for Christmas-y stuff.

So says Practical Man–and me.

But, not Costco.

Boo Humbug.

 

 

 

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There is a type of person who aspires to live in weird places.

Like, a lighthouse, say.

Or, a converted barn.

Who me?

Yes me, but not just me.  There are other weirdos about.

Behold the Tiny House movement.

Naturally, I would love a Tiny House.

Of course, a vintage Boler is really a kind of Tiny House.

Our vintage Boler travel trailer with awning up, rug and chairs in front, door open

Tra-la-la.

Arlo Guthrie memorialized the cool, weird house back in the 1960s with his song, “Alice’s Restaurant” in which Alice, Ray, and Potcho the Dog lived in an old church.

My dad introduced me to the song when I was about 12.  As an adult, my friend and fellow Alice’s Restaurant fan, Bamboo Guy, even owned a church that was very swoon-y.  Bruce Cockburn lives there now and how cool is that?

I’ve wanted to live in a church ever since.

And, even before.

In fact, my fascination with weird houses manifested itself as a child when, with every snowstorm, I attempted to build a house made from snow.

Unfortunately, I never learned the Inuit tradition of igloos (although I tried to build one many times!)

Usually, it was just me and my sister with shovels and soggy mittens, making a hole in the snow bank at the end of our driveway and trying to pretend that the result was a cozy as a Hobbit house.

In a melty, collapse-on-your-head kind of way.

My mother was concerned (as all Canadian mothers were) that the snowplow driver would kill us, by accident, with all that gallivanting at the street side.

That meant, my other option was an old margarine container in the back yard.

I would pack the snow in the container tightly, then tip it out carefully on the ground.

Sometimes, it was that dumb sugary snow that wouldn’t hold together.

Boo, hoo, hoo.

Other times, it was close to Spring and my “bricks” had a lot of leaves and twigs in the mix.

It marred the pristine, crystalline, margarine beauty I was going for, but I tried to just pretended it was mortar.

I wonder if Frank Lloyd Wright ever had these kinds of issues?

I’d lay out the floor plan:  kitchen here, library here, secret passageways there.

My projects always seemed to cover the whole back yard.

Not one able to keep to minimalism even then, no siree.

Which meant that either I got discouraged, or the snow melted before my margarine-tub-formed walls were more than about ankle height.

As an adult, I drag Practical Man around to look at every weird building I can find.

Yesterday’s schoolhouse was very fun.

Historic brick schoolhouse front with bell tower

Built in 1847, it counts as “very old” among buildings in Canada.

It was kind of in the boonies, of course, since that’s where country schoolhouses tend to spring up.

It still had slate chalkboards.

Original slate blackboards with wood wainscotting below

Be still my heart.

There were tin ceilings in what used to be the girl’s and boy’s entrance foyers.   Oh yes, they were of a time:

tin ceilings - scrolly square pattern

And the original schoolhouse lights (SIX!):

Wooden floors, blackboards, view of one schoolhouse light on the ceiling

Swoon-y swoon, swoon.

As you may have observed, it even had a bell tower.

Ding, ding, ding!

Minus the bell, but I’m sure we could remedy that.

Alas, it had a bidding war planned for Monday and about 10 years of hard labour involved after purchase.

Boo, hoo, hoo.

One of the things stopping me from buying some of these weird buildings (besides a usefully-practical Practical Man) is their one-room schoolhouse size.

Since we can’t usually afford the life-size ones that don’t have 10 years of hard labour, I’ve been collecting small buildings.

Fisher Price vintage ones.

I’m sure you guessed that’s what I meant, since I have no children and I’m pushing 50.

They do take up a bit of space, as you can imagine.

So far, I have a castle:

vintage fisher price castle with Queen and Princess standing on the drawbridge

A farm:

Vintage Fisher Price farm with animals, silo, and farmer driving tractor

Sesame Street:

Vintage Fisher Price Sesame Street with garbage truck, The Count, Mrs and Mr. Hooper, Ernie

an A-frame Cottage:

Vintage Fisher Price A Frame Cottage with RV

A Firehouse:

Vintage Fisher Price fire station with fire trucks, ladder truck, ambulance, police car

and perhaps best of all,

the School house:

Fisher Price Schoolhouse with bus, swing set, merry go round

This Schoolhouse was the perfect price and size.

It even has a bell in the bell tower.

Tra-la-la.


I admit it…there was squealing.

As we drove away, all my pent-up, cool buyer nonchalance burst in a very un-dignified way.

A. GIANT. BOX. OF. VINTAGE (MY vintage…ie. 70s). FISHER. PRICE.collection

Ten whole dollars.  And, I don’t usually spend in the double digits at garage sales so you know it was a major score.

That’s ten Canadian dollars too, so that’s almost practically free in England (not that I live there but I did a few times, years ago, and in one traumatic incident paid $37 for contact lens solution!  $37!)

But this…this vintage awesome-ness was a genuine karma-paying-me-for-past-purchasing-injustices deal.

I might have swooned but since I take medication for that (I have a fainting disorder), I merely hyper-ventilated slightly with a huge grin on my face.

Yes, they are toys.  And, I know, I know.  I don’ t have any children.  Or nieces and nephews.   Or even a pet.

Yet, my vintage Fisher Price collection continues to blossom.

Saturday’s large treasures included the Happy Family Camper (complete with row boat AND easily-lost-over-30-years oars!).  There was also a tent (which I have never seen) and a sleeping bag.  The giant-box-of-glee also contained the Play Family A-frame house with assorted furniture (baby furniture, beds, hibachis, lounge chairs), a few cars and 29 Little People to add to my collection.

Not that Practical Man complains much, but I am now justifying the encroachment of vintage FP stuff by using it as props for photography.   I see special occasion cards, re-usable shopping bags, message Ts, buttons and other  fun FP stuff being churned out of my craft room in the near future.Life is better when you share a boat

Now, I just need to find the vintage dog (red collar, black body) and a few more ethnically-representative Little People.  My collection is looking unnaturally caucasian (and blond) at the moment.

While I was fawning over my Fisher Price finds, Practical Man had his own treasure.

A meat grinder.  Not vintage.  Very practical, as befits his name.

I think he may have hyper-ventilated just a little.