Thursday, March 31, 2011
Day 3: the Ronn Saga---Ronn is in a "real" room, 606 Main Building. He's in a private room(don't know who he did what to get that) and coming along fairly well considering. He went for his first walk down the hall today(no minor task with all the stuff that needs to go along with him). He is not cranky yet, so he has a lot more recuperating to do! So far everyone at the hospital has been most accommodating and professional. The folks in the ICU were outstanding--caring and understanding, and everyone on the "floor" the same. It takes a certain kind of person to care for the sick, and my thanks goes off to them. I won't beleager(SP?) the point, but what's with this weather?
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Day 2: Ronn had a good night according to the nurse in the ICU, and when I saw him this morning, he looked much better than yesterday. He has some pain, but can manage it with his handy dandy drug pump. His doctor seems pleased with Ronn's progress and told Ronn basically the same as he told me. As of 5:00 this afternoon he was still in the ICU, but the nurse that I spoke to thought that he would be moved to a room later tonight after his doctor came by. He was out of bed sitting in a chair for about an hour this afternoon. Tomorrow I'll give you his room number if all goes as planned. What's with this weather? Of course my mother always said that the weather would not settle until after Easter, and Easter is not until the end of April. My mother also told me that if one didn't eat a doughnut on Shrove Tuesday the mice would get you!!!! Don't put that snow shovel away. Till tomorrow, Bob
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Well, today was the day beginning at 6:00 this morning. The operation began at 7:30 after the usual preps and endless questions about name and date of birth(of course all that information was printed on his wristband). The operation went well according to his doctor, but it did take about five hours. Ronn will spend the night in the ICU; if all goes right, he will be given a room tomorrow. We saw him before I came home. He's hurting, but was talking sanely, even making some jokes. The really good news is that his doctor said that there was no sign of cancer anywhere but in the bladder(which has now been "blasted away"). Thank you everyone who has and are praying for Ronn and to all who have voiced their concern and good wishes. I'd like to especially thank Eileen, Bob,Angela,and Larry who came to the hospital to keep me company through a seemingly endless wait, which would have seemed eternal had I been alone. On a completely unrelated note, does anyone like this cold weather..... w
Monday, March 28, 2011
This is coming to you from the new laptop at the house uptown where Ronn is going to the bathroom often in preparation to tomorrow's surgery. This is Bob who will be doing the blog until Ronn is up to it again. Now here's Ronn: Just a quick thank you to everyone; please give Bob all your support during this difficult time for him. JJ is already planning to visit Uncle Ronn in the hospital. That should be worth blogging . . .
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Easter egg production is well underway at St. Michael's Lutheran Church on State Street. Get your orders in pronto. Phone 234-0092 . . . Spent the day tackling all sorts of odds and ends in preparation for the big event. Not quite enough cash to cover current expenses so I had to dip into my reserves . . . Am getting a little shaky but decided I would drop a personal note to all of you who have been so kind and thoughtful to Bob and me during this difficult period. Realized almost immediately that it would take a week (and a lot of postage) to complete that task, so I will have to make do with a general "thank you" and hope you accept that . . . Cecilia and JJ visited this afternoon. They had labored all weekend on a giant get well card. Suspect those finger paints must have made quite a mess at grandma's house. In case you don't understand, my "Mr. Bladder" is being sent aloft in a rocket ship (click to enlarge) . . . Will offer a few more words tomorrow and then Bob and/or Jon will be posting updates if there is news . . .
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Spent most of the day programming Bob's new e-mail directory for the laptop. Many thanks to all who popped by with their best wishes--Yvonne Brown, Mary Ann Furendi and Rick May, Guy Kehler, Carl Kepner, Joanne and Eric, Rick Miller and several others . . . Unfortunately had to bow out of the 50th birthday party for Kevin Sheets but we offer our greeting . . .Just wish the weather would warm up . . .
Friday, March 25, 2011
Went to city hall this morning for our new parking permit (used the Walnut Street entrance and avoided all the hassle of getting in) and encountered neighbor Doug Hill. He informed me that I missed reporting on a major event last Saturday night when a St. Patrick's Day reveler staggered up the street and collapsed on our block. Police and ambulance were summoned and many of the neighbors became on-lookers. Apparently it was merely a case of too much drink . . . Remember, folks, those who need parking permits in their areas must have them in their cars by April 15 . . . We are still uncertain about our hours for the next couple of weeks but I can tell you now that we will be open tomorrow (Saturday) from 10 until 5 and Monday from 10 until 3. Definitely closed on Tuesday all day. Please call if in doubt . . . Looking back over 75 years, I have decided that the greatest luxury one can have is that of staying in bed as long as you like any morning . . .
Thursday, March 24, 2011
I was chilly and wrapped in a blanket all day; Bob kept telling me it was nothing but nerves. I kept telling him that it was cold outside . . . Jacquie Kirby Hensel came by to report that 805 Green Street is back on the market. The home is move-in ready with a neat back yard; some new addition to the Corbett team is going to get a real deal just a couple of blocks from the office . . . The kids descended on us after school and wiped out our stash of cookies . . . JJ got an "adult" hair cut and it certainly aged him a bit. No longer the lovable little tyke but a blossoming young man. I am not sure I am ready for this . . .
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Very busy day with visitors. Dan Browning and Judy Robinson stopped by with their best wishes and some goodies from Judy's kitchen. Ed Freed, Lonnie Kerr and Mike Billo checked in as well . . . Bob received the necessary equipment from Verizon to connect his new computer to the Internet. Hopes to do that within a day or two . . . The major news of the day, of course, was the death of Liz Taylor. I recall having first seen her in National Velvet back in the forties. (Turns out she was about five years older than me.) . . . I guess I was a bit vague in my March advertisement in TheBurg. Got a telephone call asking about the peeps and bunnies. The caller thought we were selling live animals and was disappointed that ours were the decorative kind. Reminded me of Easters long past when one could go to the 5&10 and buy pastel colored peeps for a couple of pennies. Fortunately that practice has been outlawed--at least I think it has . . .
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Rainy morning, sunny afternoon. Got to the hospital early and zipped right through all the procedures--blood drawn (four vials), EKG, ("If you were hoping your heart would stop your operation you are out of luck," the technician said), chest x-ray, and an informative meeting with Lynn who "tattooed" me with directives for the surgeon. One nurse sidled up to me and whispered "If you are staying with us for a time, bring your own toothpaste. Ours is truly yucky." . . . Couldn't eat before the blood work but I was clever enough to pack some Oreos which I munched on through the rest of the morning. Finally got a coffee in the lobby--two dollars plus and it really wasn't the best I ever tasted; passable, though . . . Got home in time to watch the workmen dismantle the tree down the street. It was truly amazing how the fellow was able to manipulate his machine through the battery of wires without doing himself in. Unfortunately, removal of this tree merely proves what we all suspected--the tree in front of 710 is so far gone that it, too, will have to be sacrificed. Going to be hot on this street come summer, I fear . . . (click picture to enlarge) . . .
Monday, March 21, 2011
Almost everyone in these environs got rumbled out of bed this morning. I heard the racket but didn't see the lightning which I understand was extensive . . . This afternoon Bob (with Eric W.'s help) bought the laptop computer that Rick May approved of. Now all he has to do is learn how to use it . . . When the big silver maple in front of 706 Green comes down tomorrow the last vestige of Ruth DeGroot will disappear from our block. Ruth was already a long-time resident when I moved here in 1963. She was a hair stylist (fancy term not used back in the old days) and had operated a salon in her home, but by the time I arrived the place was a men's rooming house . . . She was a neighborhood fixture and swept the sidewalk and gutters almost daily. In the summer at day's end she would sit on her stoop and enjoy a large "ice tea." Bob was treated to one of those "teas" one afternoon and discovered that the water glass was filled with bourbon (and very easy on the water) . . . Ruth loved her trees, and when one died she planted two silver maples. She was warned that they would damage the sidewalk but she shrugged off the warning. She was, by that time, in her late eighties and said she wanted the shade of mature trees before she died . . . She got her wish and even in her late nineties she could still be seen sweeping the walk and enjoying her tea. She lived to be 101 or more, if my memory is correct . . . Having tests at the hospital tomorrow morning, so we may be late in opening . . .
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Spent most of my day with old movies for the third Sunday in a row. Really enjoy these except for those occasions when the hero gets an important note that was slipped under the door. One might be able to read the writing on the big cinema screen, but not on our little TV. The plot goes on but we are still in the dark for a while . . . The big silver maple that has been creating havoc with the brick sidewalk in front of Bryan and Jaime's house in the 700 block of Green will come down on Tuesday if the weather permits. Be careful where you park for the next few days . . . Bob, Angela, Eileen, Charles, Janet and a host of others in the neighborhood spent the afternoon at the Historic Harrisburg Association antique appraisal event. A good time was had by all, though as far as I know none of them had a treasure worth thousands but I am told that the munchies were worth the admission price . . .
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Our neighbor Mia Semuta was featured on TV last night discussing the "moon event" that will take place this evening. The orb will be closer to the earth than it has been lately and therefore should appear a lot larger. We shall see. Mia is the author of a few romantic novels which I have not read but which are available on Amazon.com. I know her better for the yummy pastries she whips up--particularly the cupcakes . . . Mary Ann Furedi and Rick May treated neighbors and friends to an Irish brunch prior to today's parade. Lots of good eats and some strong libation for those who indulge. The parade lasted for two hours (and included several of those so-called "interludes") but the wait was worth it. Lots of fun and camaraderie . . . Jack Barnett and Dr. Bob Coldren got into the spirit of the occasion as they do each year . . .
Friday, March 18, 2011
City steam customers in the 700 block of Green and the 200 block of Briggs have been informed that the company will not service their accounts next year and they will have to obtain another method of heating their homes come fall. The company has been shrinking its service area for the last several years, and there are hints that the service on North Street will be discontinued in two years. A lot of unhappy people in our neighborhood just now . . . Well, we now have the date you all have been asking for. The surgery will take place Tuesday, March 29, at Harrisburg Hospital. Of course there are a lot of pre-op preparations and those will be done one week before, on the 22nd. Guess I better get my butt in gear and take care of the taxes and other pressing financial matters . . . Needless to say I have been having some restless nights lately. We have a chiming clock that can be heard throughout the house though once one is accustomed to it it isn't always heard. In the past it was sometimes fun to hear the morning chime and then calculate just how much longer one could remain abed until rising--always hoping for just a couple of minutes more. However, of late it has been less than a blessing; you imagine it must be seven in the morning but the clock only strikes twice and your body refuses to drop back to sleep. Ugh! . . . Well, spring is either here or just around the corner. Tonight the kids gave up the computer and coloring books and opted for sidewalk chalk. JJ then gave himself a very handsome blue-green mustache, but Mom Sarah didn't get a picture of that . . .
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Happy St. Patrick's Day--but what a disappointment. The weather was glorious and I was decked out in green head to toe but nobody came to shop. I believe they may have been enticed by Irish breakfasts and green beer that were being featured on Restaurant Row and we certainly cannot compete with that. So I spent about an hour watching the big parade in Dublin. You can catch some of it here for the next several days: http://www.rte.ie/player/#v=1094238 . . . Have misplaced one of my favorite VHS tapes--the one about several small English villages and the activities there for a year. It is possible that I loaned it to someone; if that 'someone' was you, can I have it back, please . . .
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Bob and I met with Dr. Keith Dowling this afternoon and he explained what must be done to jettison an unwanted bladder. None of it was particularly pleasant so I am not about to discuss it here. Somehow the required three month hiatus from work is not the vacation I had in mind. Bob is a lot more optimistic than I am at this moment, but your e-mails of encouragement have made me feel a lot better. The doctor's best and most welcome advice: "Buy a laptop computer; it will help pass the time and you can do your business in bed!" . . . This Eiffel Tower replica is made of cast iron, stands 15 inches high and accommodates a t-lite in the base. Use indoors or out. We have sold quite a number of them over the years, but here is the pleasant surprise--what once was $25 is now $19.50. We have three on hand . . .
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
We have been wanting to share this news with you for a week now, but it was more or less a secret--less, I suppose, considering how many friends already knew about it. Anyway, it was announced today that our favorite restaurant, Dodge City, will have a "make-over" for the Food Network show called Restaurant: Impossible. The re-do will take place within a week or so but the show will not premiere until August. I am curious to see what changes are made, but let's not spoil a perfectly good thing . . . We will be closing about three-thirty tomorrow afternoon for our first consultation with the surgeon. Thus far I have handled the situation pretty well (even better than Bob, I think) but I will admit that my anxiety level is going up. Maybe I have not yet accepted this as well as I thought . . . This popular Art Deco lamp has reappeared in our catalogs so we have stocked one to judge the interest. We had sold several eight or so years ago. It stands 16 inches high, sells for $55 and takes one of those small "Christmas tree" light bulbs. We show it with a white bulb for picture purposes but it looks really romantic with a soft blue bulb . . .
Monday, March 14, 2011
As promised, here is the first of the items in last Friday's new shipment. The brass sun face would be great as an indoor wall piece or as an accent on the patio. It is heavy and measures a foot across. $26.00. Have two in stock at the moment . . . Lots of coming and going at the store today. We are contemplating the purchase of a laptop computer in the near future and many friends who have one have been offering advice . . .
Came home from the party hoping to share the events of the day only to find that my computer would not respond. My thanks to Jon Carfagno for the post to alert you to my problem . . . Made a few calls to the computer techies on my list and it was Gary O'Leary who diagnosed the problem--a locked down ALT button that the kid must have done inadvertently when playing his computer games . . . (Anyway, he is a convenient scapegoat.) . . . But we are up and running again so I will be sharing all the new products we received on Friday . . .
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Eileen Young and Angela Lawson hopped the train yesterday and spent several hours at the Philadelphia Flower Show. Spectacular, according to the girls . . . Have mentioned in the past that I review most of my DVDs and books for Amazon.com, so I was surprised to receive an e-mail this week from an author offering me a complimentary copy of his new mystery if I would only do a review of it, positive or negative. I had to decline, at least momentarily, since the schedule for surgery is not yet set . . . My thanks to Rick May for doctoring my computer this afternoon . . . Planning to attend the kid's fifth birthday party tomorrow afternoon . . . These cute rabbits are looking forward to Easter. Have two of each design. Only $6.50 each . . .
Friday, March 11, 2011
Big shipment of new items arrived late this afternoon. Will be sharing them with you over the next several days . . . Moments after I posted yesterday's diary entry we were visited by three pleasant Asian men just before closing. They were from Singapore and in town for military training at Ft. Indiantown Gap. And, yes, they had found the place on TripAdvisor. They were on their way back to Dallas today for additional activities with some purchases under their arms . . . My longtime friend Russ Harr surprised me this afternoon with an official program from the Oscar ceremonies. Russ got interested in the picture business as a young man when he was an extra in the film Witness. Eventually he made the trek to Hollywood and I want to tell you about his career there when space permits. For the last ten years he has served as an "escort" at the Oscars, tending to the stars backstage as they come and go from the podium. Russ is now back in the city as co-owner of Bar 704 but giving up the glamorous life on the West Coast hasn't been easy . . . The apple bowl is eight and one half inches across and safe for the microwave and dishwasher. It sells for $11 . . .
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Heavy rain off and on all day is real reason for concern. There will be flooding in the usual low-lying spots and maybe more. Keep alert . . . Our TripAdvisor visitors today were a pleasant young couple from Cleveland, Ohio. They are touring the area and heading for Washington, D.C., tomorrow. Sorry they have to contend with the wet weather, but according to the Weather Channel they are escaping up to ten inches of snow back home . . . I was sorry to read in the Patriot-News today that the state bookstore in the Keystone Building is closing. It was a favorite haunt around the holidays because it stocked all those Junior League and similar organization cookbooks that you don't find at Barnes & Noble. Where do we turn now for state publications? The $5 one illustrating poisonous plants in Pennsylvania was an especially valuable one at an affordable price . . . The "cock clock" featured in yesterday's post has flown the coop. A wife in the Dillsburg area will be surprised when it lands on the wall of her kitchen . . . Today we are offering these cookbooks at a sale price of $16, marked down from $23. Each box features a series of recipes on laminated cards and a CD of music appropriate to the occasion. We have sold these for several years now, but they seem to have run their course. Grab the few remaining ones for gifts . . .
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Everyone seems to be gearing up for flooding to some extent; those who live in those flood-prone areas are moving things out of the basement, etc. The rain has only just begun as I write, but a lot more is expected. We are hoping everyone will be safe . . . Spent the afternoon with my new DVDs--looking for the perfect English village and touring gardens large and small throughout the British Isles. Very pretty . . . Started the morning with two of these handsome rooster kitchen clocks; wood, about 12 inches wide, $25.00. Have to tell you, however, that we are ending the day with just one, so if you are interested send us a quick e-mail (address on the left) . . .
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
One of those March days that promises Spring and yet cannot be trusted. Some nice sun, a chilly breeze, and the threat of more precipitation later in the week . . . Placed a small order for some giftware due to be delivered in a few days . . . Bob is fretting about gifts for JJ who celebrates his fifth birthday this weekend. Always hard to tell what the lad is into these days. Apparently Thomas the Train and Kipper are far in the past and Harry Potter is now on the horizon . . . The city's St. Patrick's Day parade is a week away, but we have some very appealing books about things Irish. Ronn is also offering some of his huge "coffee table" books at a good price. Begorrah, the selection of St. Patrick's Day cards has been severely diminished, however . . .
Monday, March 7, 2011
Being an old newspaper man I can sympathize with the Patriot-News today. Its lead story concerned a drop in street crime in Harrisburg allegedly brought about by more active patrols on the city's avenues . . . However, the newspaper had barely rolled off the presses at midnight when a man was shot and killed at Second and State Streets, the city's first homicide of the year . . . Further, a city law firm took this day to announce that it would be leasing the top three floors of a five-story building to be erected in April directly across the street from the scene of the killing . . . The change in State House administration should bode well for the sale of this mother and child. The elephant pair is nine inches long and eight inches high and sells for $24.50 . . . Was going to keep silent about the doctor's visit today, but so many have shown compassion for my plight that I decided I would lay it out this one time and then hopefully keep my mouth shut for the duration . . . I am hosting an aggressive cancer that, if left unchecked, could be fatal in less than five years. Major surgery is required; that will result in a hospital stay of five to seven days if all goes well. The "recovery" period after (before I could be fully active in the business) would be three or so months . . . Bob and I both would like to see The Bare Wall continue--the interaction with all of you keeps us sane--but we suspect that since Bob will bear the burden as both proprietor and care giver our hours may have to be curtailed during this period. Several of you have generously volunteered hours toward this, and we thank you; don't be surprised if we "come calling" one of these days. Just when all of this might occur has not yet been decided, but it most likely will be in the very near future. I or Jon Carfagno will keep you abreast of developments in the coming weeks . . . Needless to say, your continued patronage will be appreciated . . .
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Warm but heavy rain off and on all day. Bob played in the kitchen as he likes to do on these kinds of days, so I will be enjoying home baked lima beans and banana cake for supper tonight . . . I spent the day in my sleepwear nursing various pains and immersed in the cinematic adventures of Bulldog Drummond. He was a popular British detective who first appeared in print in 1920. Dozens upon dozens of books, short stories, radio, movie and TV dramas followed. Among those playing him on the screen were Ronald Colman (for whom I am named) and Ray Milland . . . one of the fun events in watching old 1930s films is spotting an unknown with a walk-on who later becomes a star. A very young Anthony Quinn was a "heavy" in one of the four films I watched today . . . Angela Lawson and family members are safely home after a week's vacation in Cancun, Mexico . . . David Griffith will celebrate his 77th birthday on Tuesday . . . We will be closed for an hour or so tomorrow starting at 12:30 p.m. Off to see the doctor; hopefully he can relieve me of some of my recent aches . . . After all that 1930s decor that I observed in the films today it is only fitting that we feature this Silver Lady statue more or less in the Art Deco mode. She stands 12 inches high and sells for $25. We have two in stock . . .
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Quick response by city police in the middle of last night foiled a supposedly would-be burglar on our block. The man attempted entry at the front door but the resident heard the noise and immediately phoned the police. The dispatcher kept the caller on the line until assistance arrived. The event awakened the neighbors as well. The intent of the criminal is not entirely clear, however; by all reports he was so drunk or stoned that he might have been totally disoriented and not at all aware of just what he was doing. Fortunately no one was hurt during the incident . . . The nicely made wooden sign is nineteen inches long and about five inches wide and is already equipped with hooks for hanging. Sells for $10.50 which I consider a bargain when one considers the workmanship . . .
Friday, March 4, 2011
Busy, busy day. Bob got some home improvement deliveries at his house while I tackled the major shipment that came to the store yesterday. Suzi and Julie came shopping in the midst of this and several others made an appearance. It was a very upbeat day . . . I think I may have been scammed in the meantime, but I will have to do some additional calculations to find out. Received The Video Collection catalog a day or so ago and found a few English DVDs that I thought interesting. The catalog said Free Shipping on the entire order, which appealed to me. It also recommended going to the website for thousands of additional titles being discounted. Of course, that suckered me in. Made my selections and since I was already on line I decided to enter my order there rather than making a phone call. And here comes the catch. The on-line prices are a few pennies or a few dollars cheaper than the catalog BUT there is no where on the order form to claim your free shipping. I ended up telephoning for help and that is when the scheme (if such it is) was exposed. No free shipping on line--just in the catalog where the prices have been inflated to cover the shipping cost. So I placed the order on line (after all, I spent many minutes typing); now I am awaiting the shipping charges to see just which "offer" was the better one or if there actually was no difference at all. Frankly, I feel taken already even if I did end up saving a few pennies . . . The cute doggy figurines stand eight inches high and sell for $9.00 each. The doggy frame comes in two styles and accommodates a 4x6 photo; $12.50 . . .
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Sunny with a chill and very little activity on the street except for a UGI "dig" at Green and Briggs. Don't know where that repair might lead . . . After a boring afternoon we received a major shipment of gift ware just at closing. That should keep us busy tomorrow morning pricing and displaying. Stand by for some descriptions . . . I have always gotten a chuckle when passing this house in the 1300 block of Green. Are the gargoyles above the door meant to be a warning of some kind or are they just a humorous touch? The sun was just right this morning so I asked Bob to stop the car so I could grab this snap.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Another bright day, but with a chill wind. Made a short trek to the bank without incident, but still don't seem to have an excess of energy when it comes to sweeping up the street in front of the store. How long until I am feeling a burst of "get up and go"? . . . It has only been a few years since we ceased our video rental department, so I am not surprised that we still get a call or visit every now and again from someone looking for an obscure film. However, it has been over twenty years since we disbanded the needlework collection in the back room, so one really cannot believe that there is still the occasional customer who has come especially for yarn or other supplies. Such was the case today . . . A report from the city police department says that the mayor has been receiving "harassing" messages and that new measures will have to be taken at city hall to protect her safety. She still has a group of body guards in tow, doesn't she? Wonder what else we will soon be paying for . . . Still, I do not wish her ill and I support whatever must be done IF this is a legitimate concern . . .
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
A little sunshine can do wonders for one’s disposition. We were blessed with a steady flow of customers and friends today and our spirits were high. Suzi Marsico and Larry Kirkhuff dropped off some goodies (and just as I was finishing the last of Cecilia’s birthday cake—what timing!) . . . The new cards from California came and Bob and I spent several hours getting them separated and onto the shelves. The place is starting to look like a store again with all the new acquisitions . . . Discovered that we have to work harder to win over one of our neighbors, though we don’t know which one. A new review of The Bare Wall appeared on Trip Advisor last month and I found the two-star entry amusing . . . “I've lived in Downtown Harrisburg for 6 years, actually a block from this place for 3 years and never even knew the name of this place. I would just see them sitting outside with old books no one wanted to buy. I would never expect this place to be number 2 on Harrisburg's places to visit. Don't expect much . . .” Well, thanks to this fellow, we are no longer #2. His comments dropped us a notch. But just for the record he also panned Shady McGrady’s, the Subway Café and the Carsonville Hotel; Sammy’s Restaurant, on the other hand, was top rated. Hope we learn the identity of this fellow someday; maybe I could talk him into a good used book . . . Glad the furnace waited until these relatively warm days before acting up . . .