Monday, January 19, 2009

Laying Low

A survey in a Iowan newspaper asked residents what their favorite winter activity was during this time of the year. Not surprisingly to me, it was staying home. Up during my five year stint in the frozen tundra of central Minnesota, staying home was apparently not an option. There was always ice fishing, snowmobiling, skiing and drinking. Yeah you could drink indoors at home but them hardy Swedes wouldn't have any of it. I remember being forced to go sledding one cold evening where all the beer was stored in coolers not to keep them cool but to keep them warm. I would pop the top on my can and get maybe a couple swallows down before icy pellets started tickling my throat. Within a minute or two, it was frozen solid.

Post holidays when the cold snowy wind blows is perhaps one of my favorite times of the year to get caught up on that reading I've been meaning to do. I've made a pretty sizable dent on my bookshelf in a the few short months since cold season began and my main time for getting reading done, now until March when things begin to thaw, is just getting started. I also get time to do some of my other joys such as writing and genealogy work. These days it seems as if most of my writing is in the form of blog posts which I have well over a dozen qued up waiting to be published on some future day. Most of my genealogy work is tracking down small tidbits through email, phonecalls or correspondence with distant courthouses or libraries that I may never see anytime soon.

Another enjoyment these days is playing with Little Abbey. She loves to play with her cards and now knows all but two letters of the alphabet. Y, Z are the lone holdouts. She can also get a quite a few numbers, shapes and most of the basic colors. Little Abbey's favorite toys now are most definitely the Legos that we and her grandparents bought her. She loves to build things out of them and I can't help but be amazed at how much creativity she has exibited with them already. She built a lego version of her Elmo and lots of towers. Perhaps there is another engineer in the works in the Abbey household.

I'm hoping that isn't true because right now, life as an engineer isn't so good. As you may have heard, the economy is in the tank and we are at 7.4% unemployment and rising, half of that from the manufacturing industry where we engineers seem to congregate. My business in which I am part owner is no exception and we've had to lay off quite a few people last year. This year doesn't look to be much better. Even though we are in good financial health, we are voluntarily cutting back here and there. One of the best ways to do that is to lay low and that brings me back to the beginning and my favorite time of year. Thanks to the economy, I now have an even better excuse to light a fire in the fireplace and work even more diligently on that bookshelf crammed with books that are unread. Ah the sacrifices we must make.


Murf said...

And does this now include drinking really cheap beer?

Sage said...

Now, if the beer begins to freeze, it's the water in it that's freezing, not the alcohol, so that your few swallows contains more punch, right?

TC said...

Awww, she builds Elmo out of legos? It's hard to beat that :) (My niece adores Elmo, which is handy, as my nephew used to as well, so their house aleady has tons of Elmo stuff.)

The Real Mother Hen said...

After reading this, I paused and thought long and hard about all the winter activities, and you know what, I think hibernate at home (doing nothing) is my top choice!

It's always great to read about Little Abbey. Ummm child that age is the cutest. Oh I can spend hours playing with little kids. hhmm, maybe I should be a baby sitter!

geri said...

As I have found out last Friday, I can't even spend 1 day inside the house. It drives both Evan and I crazy! Yup, Little Abbey is an engineer alright! Evan is still into towers :)

Ed Abbey said...

Murf - I'm a family man now. For me, heavy drinking it perhaps drinking one beer two nights in a row if we happen to be grilling.

Sage - For some reason, cheap pure alcohol tastes pretty foul.

TC - That's what she tells me. It takes a pretty good stretch of the imagination to see an Elmo. Tonight, she built a star out of legos.

Mother Hen - You should be a babysitter AND move to rural SE Iowa. There is a pretty good size asian population here in town so you would fit right in.

Geri - One day doesn't bother me and I can do two now and then but more than that, I go crazy too which is why we did a mini-vacation over Christmas.

Beau said...

You've said it well, and staying home is my preference too right now. Hope business improves- somehow with spring coming everything seems more hopeful. Just maybe we're heading to the back side of this.