September 15, 2019: First the Fireplace, Then the World

We had ambitious plans for the day that involved six miles of walking through the forest, a ghost town, and some 65-year-old plane wreckage, but then we woke up and…didn’t do them. That simple. Sundays are hard to be ambitious about. Like, if Sundays go 2 fast 2 furious, you’re at Monday before you know it. I normally like to treat my Saturday’s like it’s my last day on earth and keep my Sundays like it’s the day after what everybody thought was going to be the last day on earth.

So, instead, our big plans were to do some Halloween decorating.

Where we last left those cloth witches and plastic pumpkins and paper bats was on the concrete floor of my garage…STAGED.

We sorted through them, throwing away the ones that didn’t survive storage (although it’s really hard for me to throw away something with a Jack-o-lantern face. I taste its fiery tears for days afterward). Then, after we put on some seasonal tunes and brought in a selection to decorate with, Lindsey suddenly said, “We should be drinking ciders while we do this.”

And with that she was gone, like out the door, skid marks on the driveway.

I disappeared down to my office to squeeze in some writing while she was gone, and the next thing I knew she was…there…proffering me a golden cordial with a crunchy rim and a Granny Smith apple slice garnish. We then went through THE RITUAL.

“What’s this?” I ask.

“Try it,” she says.

“You’re not going to tell me what it is?” I ask.

“Just try it,” she says.

I pause and look at the glass and lift it to my face, pausing at my lips and wondering if arsenic has a smell and if you can read the ingredient list in her eyes, and then I quaffed.

It was amazing.

Apparently, it involved butterscotch and caramel vodka and a rim of caramel and cane sugar. Just a Royal Rumble winner of a Fall cordial. She made a pitcher of it, the surface bobbing with floating apple chunks and cinnamon wands.

Thus fueled, we continued decorating. But, really, we concentrated on the fireplace. That’s the most important part of the house when it comes to decorating. We get that right, the rest of the house will be right automatically. It took us a while to figure out a plan for it, but once we did, it was just a matter of getting the pieces we had in place and then figuring out what we lacked and needed to pick up from the store. And that’s a pro-tip. Decorate before you buy.

So we’re about 25% decorated in the house, and that pitcher is 100% empty.

Since I don’t have an ending for this piece, let me pitch stuff!

  • A new seasonal episode of Odd Things I’ve Seen: The Podcast is up, in which I answer these questions about Salem, Massachusetts: When should you go, what do you need to do there, what are my favorite spots, and how do I feel about dancing on corpses.
  • I’m doing a Facebook giveaway of two autographed Twelve Nights at Rotter House advanced reader copies. All you need to do is like the OTIS Facebook page (if you haven’t already) and then share it. The cutoff is Friday, September 20, at 8pm EST.
  • I’ve started an email mailing list, for those who want to keep in the know about my major projects. It’s called the Jots and Jaunts of J.W. Ocker, and you can sign up here.