It was only after the windows were washed that my wife dropped the bombshell: she had mentioned this chore two weeks ago. While the weather was good. Did I not remember?

Well, of course not, you can say. Not wise. Or: Yes, I did remember, but then there was that incident with the yak and the oxen. Do you not remember? Then the shoe's on her foot.

By the way, what is the origin of that phrase? The shoe being on the other foot? Was there some ritual of comeuppance that involved people wearing ill-matched footwear? In most situations, the shoe, or at least a shoe, is always on the other foot, being a necessary part of the whole two-shoe game. Anyway, she wasn't that surprised I didn't remember. When your wife says "we should clean all the windows" as you're heading out the door on an errand, the words are like the seeds of a dandelion, blown into the wind, but eventually taking purchase somewhere to burrow and spout. If she'd said it again, and laid down a specific day, well, of course I would have remembered. But "we should clean all the windows" is like "we should reinforce the foundation to guard against any minor shifting that might lead to cracked plaster." Even then you can make the case that foundation work would probably crack the plaster anyway.

So, the family room windows. There are six. They have many parts. They are relatively new, though; the airport installed 21 windows a few years back as part of a noise-abatement program. They're not ancient and sticky. They are merely new and sticky. Once we got working, a division of labor arose nicely. She did most of the labor and this led to divisions.

Just kidding. She did the outside, and I handled the disassembling. Hosed them down, applied Sprayaway, my favorite window cleaner, and wiped them dry with newspapers. (At one point I was looking at my own picture, wet with chemical froth.) Even if Sprayaway didn't work as well as advertised, I would prefer it for its aroma. It's almost like Ditto fluid. Institutional, but a good memory. If I wrote for the New York Times or Slate or Salon I would bang out a piece titled The Proustian Mysteries of Scent - Why Smell is Important and How We've Lost the Art of the Sniff or something tedious and predictable. You know the drill: a few paragraphs about the Important Role of scent in our evolutionary development, more grafs about how cities once smelled so much worse, a swipe at the 20th century for wanting everything to smell nice (this would be the part where the author informs us that advertising played on our insecurities both personal and societal, and how bad odors were associated with slums and hence a sign of class anxieties about the poor and the immigrants, and how body-shaming was invented by deodorants.) Interview with an academic from a discipline whose practical applications are nonexistence and exists to salve wounds and open new ones; she informs us that the Western obsession with not smelling as though you have smeared handfuls of goat smegma under your arms is a sign of the culture's twin sins - the denial of nature, and the desire to dominate it. In the future, perhaps, we will learn to love bad smells, and embrace them, and the clean antiseptic atmosphere of a shopping mall will be regarded as unnatural as polyester shirts and saccharine-laced sodas.

The article will have a sidebar of related items, chosen by algorithms, and one of them will be about how Chinese urbanites spend their leisure time in the shopping malls because the air outside stinks too much. They're called Oxygen Refugees!

Bottom line, scent is linked to memory, and this seems quite obvious and not particularly insightful, but people love to go on and on about the ruder, baser senses, as though their ancient status connotes some sort of wisdom, or primacy above the more refined senses. I'm sure we've lost our ability to smell Wooly Mammoths a mile away. I do not regret the diminution of this faculty. I was watching the dog at the door the other day, and his nose was working and twitching and sampling with quick little movements, and I thought: he can smell the squirrel through two doors, because they're not airtight. That's amazing. But that's his job. He can't make sense of Beethoven. That's mine.

We finished the windows in the family room, but you know what's coming next. As long as we're doing it, let's finish the job. I love my wife and I wish she had been in charge of the Allied forces in Europe in 1945 because she would have marched to Moscow and put Stalin's head on a pike. No sense in doing things halfway. I do not mind drudgery work, as long as I have chosen to do it. When it is thrust upon me, or sprung as the Afternoon's Assignment, it is just dull. But we did allllll the windows, all 21, and when it was done I took a nap and she ran around the lake and possibly stopped off at her sister's to plant 58 tulips for next year.

Then I had to go buy candy. Yes. The day after Halloween. She had a meeting coming up, and there were supposed to be treats for all the attendees. We needed Fun Size bars. All that was left from Halloween was Mini Sizes. These wouldn't do. So I went to the big box Hardware Store, mostly because I wanted to return some things and buy some of the coffee I like. Get this: the 12 pack of K-cups at the budget grocery store is $7.99. At the hardware store it's $4.99. Can't beat it.

I went to the Halloween Candy discount area. Three bags. MINI SIZE. Uh oh. Found something that might be considered 'twixt Fun and Mini, and went over to the grocery store section. (Of the hardware store.) The coffee I like was now $5.99. It had jumped a buck in a day. I know it's discounted at the budget grocery store every four weeks to $5.99, so nevermind.

Went to Target: not much candy. The main bagged-candy aisle was reeling from the locusts that struck the previous night; they were out of everything except 80% Dark Chocolate Squares for $8.99 per bag because even the people who showed up desperate for candy on Halloween night looked at that price and said "well, screw that." I went to Walgreens, where a clerk was shoveling the old Halloween candy into a rollaway cart, and I interceded to see what was left - AH! GLORY BE! FUN SIZE! I'll take the lot.

Fine by him; less to put away.

He was clearing away the Halloween candy on a Sunday night to make sure that people would look at the Christmas candy bright & early Monday morn.

Christmas candy.

It was in the 60s here on Sunday; didn't feel like November at all. Still some leaves. Sun slams down sooner, but when the afternoon is warm the idea of Christmas seems a laugh, a jape; Santa begone. It's almost hot today.

Perfect day to do windows!


Eighty-nine years later:


I'd guess Washington school was torn down, or someone just cleaned out the store room.

Eh, that's not too interesting. Let's try another.


If I put this in a frame and passed it off as Pop Art, it would be in a museum.



If you're going to merchandise your valuable properties, go with the peple who know how to make and market toys all kids will GAAAAAH NO GET THEM AWAY FROM ME

Maybe you like them; it's a matter of taste. I just don't love Seuss as much as I'm supposed to. I liked "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas," of course, but the rest of it was okay.

I don't think Peanuts was funny for the last 40 years of its run, either. As long as I'm confessing to heresies.

Note: not actual size.

Electronic Moduflow! No one said that. I don't know if anyone called them anything other than the Thermostat, but the top right device became known as a Muffin to some. Designed by Henry Dreyfuss, it says - and that meant something. He'd given the world the streamlined Hoover vac, among other products, like, oh, the telephone.

Who'd gone all-in for the Honeywell Moduflow home? A leading builder:


There's not a lot on the fellow on the web.

I'll bet some of those houses still have working Honeywell thermostats. We had one; it never failed. My house today has three.

If it's not a house bolted down the ground you prefer, well, here's the new twist in modern living!

How about that! One package, one price. Pictures and bric-a-brac may be up to you, and you have to subscribe to your own magazines. But imagine how happy life will be! Your friends will come over and wave!


You will offer canapes from across the room! And the paneling will be as up-to-date as your cuffs and lighting fixtures.

Not a bad way to sell these things. Instant Middle-Middle-Class Status at a lower-Middle-Class price!

That will have to hold you, although there are two pages of Frank Reade Jr. The adventure continues, in a new vessel; I think Frank has completely trashed at least 75 big airships / submarines / land skimmers so far. I don't know where he gests the money.


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