A Day In The Life Of A Retail Santa Part 2

Today I donned the jolly mans red suit for the last time of this holiday season.
It wasn't near as busy as what I expected especially so close to Christmas.
I mean there were adults there but hardly any kids at all.
About an hour into my gig, a lady pushing a cart started walking by in front of me.
I wished her a Merry Christmas and it was at this time I noticed that she was trying to talk but was also fighting back tears and emotions.
She was finally able to tell me that her 28 year old son had very recently passed away while serving our country in the military.
She continued by telling me that everyone kept telling her to get out of her house and get out into the public and that is what brought her to this store.
I was completely caught off guard by what she told me and I told her how sorry I was to hear about the death of her son and gave her my condolences.
Before heading into the store further, this woman asked me to make sure that her son received a gift up in heaven tonight.
She made this request to me a couple of times and because of the situation and what she was going through, I promised her that I would make sure that her son would get a special gift from me, Santa, up in heaven.
Although I knew full well that I could not physically complete my promise to her, I knew that I could fulfill my promise by saying a prayer tonight for this lady and for her recently deceased son.
After we had our brief conversation, I found it rather hard to portray the happy face of Santa to kids that are still very innocent and still believe in such things as a jolly old man dressed all in red and white. Young kids whose reality is based upon their innocents and beliefs compared to an adults reality that is based on much different feelings....an adults reality that is based on sometimes rather cold hard facts of life that must be dealt with...like the loss of a son.
And it wasn't just what this one woman was going through that weighed on my mind but all of the other senseless tragedies that have occurred recently and most especially the recent loss of children's lives. Children whose most likely biggest worry in life was if they were going to get all they had asked for for Christmas or maybe all that they asked Santa to bring to their Moms and Dads.
After this lady had left my area for a while, I decided to walk the store to see if I could locate her and to see if she could use someone to talk to.
I noticed that she was at the jewelery counter but there were several other customers standing right next to her too.
 Because I did not want to impose upon her and especially since there were numerous customers in her immediate vicinity, I decided to hold off on contacting her at that moment.
A short while later I was wrapping up my time as being Santa and I headed into the back offices to change into my street clothes.
After changing my clothes I grabbed my gym bag and headed out onto the sales floor in an attempt to locate this woman.
Unfortunately she was gone.
I left the store feeling somewhat empty and as if my purpose for the day had not been completed.
I felt that there must have been a reason for this lady to happen into this particular store while I was doing my Santa gig and us sharing those few moments together.
So tonight I will keep my promise that I made to this woman...in the best way that I can.....and say a prayer for her and her recently lost son. I will also say a prayer for all of those other parents who had their children taken away from them way before their time and all of those innocent kids who were still young enough and innocent enough to believe in something.
There are days when I feel that all of us could use something to believe in.
I can tell you this much...there have been days recently when all a person can do is walk around and ask why?...a simple one word question with so few answers. Those are the days when a person needs to find something to believe in the most....on those days when all you seem to do is ask WHY? and no logical answer exists or comes to you.

Alternative Ways To Display Vacation Photographs

Because we have so many photographs, Veronica and I had to come up with a different way of displaying them all.
We decided to use a "line display" using a length of yarn which the ends were tied to hooks that were screwed into the wall. This line display is the same type that we used to display many of Veronica's artistic tags.
Both line displays are over the head board of our bed.
Upstairs we utilized an ornamental tree type of wire/wood art and decided that this was going to become our Travel Tree. Numerous photographs of our travels are now hung up on this tree. Some photos are back to back so no matter where or which side or what angle you view this tree from, you will be able to see various travel photos.
We also placed all of our "we were here" footprint photos. Everywhere we travel to we take at least one photo with both of our shoes that we are wearing next to let's say a manhole cover that has writing on it. The manhole covers that we choose usually has some sort of writing that shows the location of where we are at. Sometimes just the color of what we are standing on or near is enough to remind us of the location where we took that particular photo. A perfect example would be the photo of our feet at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. The natural chemical compounds in the water at the Blue Lagoon turns the rocks and everything around the lagoon white in color.
By taking these traveling shoe photos, it reminds us of all of the amazing places we have been to.
We used yarn to connect the "branches thus allowing us more areas in which to hang our photos.  Below are some photos of our Travel tree, our line display and a couple of Christmas Tree and stocking photos:

 Our stockings are stuffed to the top with goodies
 Our tree...many of the gifts around the backside of the tree, near the sliding glass doors are for our favorite little one...Savannah 

All In A Days Work

This morning Veronica and I had to get up early and head to the DMV in Manteo, so that Veronica could get a replacement DL as her original got lost.
Luckily there was only one customer before her so we ended up not being in there for very long.
Not only did she get a new DL but she got a new photo taken for her new DL, which she was extremely happy about.
On the way home we stopped at the grocery store to get a few items and then we stopped by the Post Office.
I was expecting one of Veronica's gifts to arrive along with her new Lexmark printer, which we got a killer deal on. We happened to be looking at getting her a new printer and I off course had to confer with my "consumer bible" also known as Consumer Reports. The Lexmark OfficeEdge Pro 4000 was rated fairly high in the ratings and the price was reasonable.
I then did my usual Google searches and of course I checked in with Amazon to see who had the best price and least expensive shipping costs.
 It was hard to believe the differences in pricing for this all in one unit.
Amazons prices ran the gamut from around $150.00 all the way up to around $275.00
I then did something I rarely do, I checked at Lexmarks own web site and found that they had this unit on sale for $99.00 The only bad thing was that they were out of stock. We called Lexmark and found out that we could go ahead and order one but it would take about 2-3 weeks to get it.
We figured that for the low price we could get it for, it was worth the wait and Veronica proceeded to place the order.
We were surprised when only after 4-5 days we got an email saying that our new printer was on its way.
Well...Veronica's new printed arrived at the Post office today. Although we only paid $99.00 for this printer, the shipping was free for us too. I checked the printer box and Lexmark had paid USPS $56.00 to ship this computer via Priority Mail to us.  I couldn't believe that they would pay that much on an item that sold for only $99.00
So after finishing up all of my soup cooking for Veronica's people at her workplace and getting the mess and dirty dishes cleaned up, I took another trip to the Post Office and picked up not only Veronica's new printer but the last of my Christmas gifts for Veronica that also arrived at the Post Office today.
 After getting home from the Post office I decided to go ahead and wrap Veronica's gift up.
Then there was the quick job of assembling a 3 shelf wired rack for our closet and after that came the unveiling of Veronica's new computer.
There are still a few small things to be done before the day is done but right now...time to take a breath and enjoy a bowl of pasta e fagioli soup.
Then its back to work....whew....what a day it has been!

Extending Our Stay In Venice

In October of this upcoming year, Veronica and I will be flying into Venice Italy where we will be boarding the NCL Jade for a 14 day cruise that will take in ports in Italy, Sicily, the Greek Isles, Slovenia and Croatia.
We decided that since we will already be paying a steep price for the airline tickets into Venice and then out of Rome for our return flight home, that we would like to extend our vacation for a couple of days. This way we would have a little more time to be spent in Venice itself.
I booked us a room at the Hotel Papadopli Venezia for 2 nights prior to our cruise starting.
I got us a Luxury King room that overlooks the Tolentini Canal.
We will hopefully be arriving into Venice early and drop our luggage off at the hotel and then go out and about in the city of Venice.
I am planning on making some type of arrangements for our 2nd day in Venice, to go visit the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello.
Of course I will also need to set up a gondola ride for Veronica and I, which will include a serenade from the gondolier.
We will also have 1 other day in Venice, when our ship returns to Venice to drop of those passengers that did not book the back to back cruises that make up the 14 day itinerary. This return will be at the end of the first week of our 2 week cruise.
We should be able to get off of the ship early and head directly into Venice from the cruise ship terminal.
I still have a lot of prep work to get done for this next upcoming adventure but by getting the hotel reservations done, it feels like it is really going to happen for us.
I am also doing some preliminary work for our next adventure that will be happening in 2014.
That adventure will be one where we will be going and doing things more independently compared to a cruise.
We are looking at flying into Edinburgh...where Veronica and I had way too little time to really take in a lot of what that city has to offer during our last cruise and then from Edinburgh we would be going into London for a few days and then taking a train into Paris, where we would spend several days and then return home from there.
This itinerary will be a big and really exciting one for us.

Our Couple Of Days In Historic Williamsburg

Veronica and I spent the last couple of days in Historic Williamsburg.
We spent Thursday afternoon strolling through the Outlet Malls doing a little Christmas shopping.
Then we went to Historic Williamsburg and walked around taking in all of the sights. It was not very crowded there which made our time there even more enjoyable.
Below are some of the photos taken while we were at Historic Williamsburg, VA.

The Palace Greens were fairly empty when we were there

 Here is the love of my life enjoying her visit to historic Williamsburg, VA

 Another couple riding off into the sunset

There were several distinguished gentlemen roaming the streets and spreading words of good cheer and holiday greetings

 One of many decorated houses and buildings. Actually every building had some sort of holiday decorations on it

 Veronica left Williamsburg with a new friend. She always gravitates towards the strong silent type

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