Magical Mystery Tour

Today was a Magical Mystery Tour kind of day.  Got up and saw the crisp blue sky, and the warmer-than-usual temps, and decided to let the day take charge.  No planning, no scheme, no . . . nothing.  I would let things happen as they might.  To go with the flow, you might say, and to let life surprise me with it’s awesomeness and wonder.

It’s been a pretty boring day.

It started when I realized that I was a week late in paying my utility bill.  Truthfully, I knew this a week ago, but I wasn’t motivated enough to write out the check to pay them.  I spent most of the week lacking that motivation, and last evening it dawned on me that I might get hit with another bill before I paid the first, so I thought I should do something about it.  I still wasn’t motivated to write the check, but I somehow found the strength within me to tough it out.  Fifteen seconds later, I was staring at a newly minted check for eighty dollars.  Because I didn’t want the utility to know that I’d been lazy this month, I backdated the check so that it appeared as though it’d been written on time, just not delivered as such.  (Sorry, USPS.)  All of this was rather pointless because I don’t mail my utility check; I take it to the payment box just outside the main office’s front door.  Maybe they’ll think that whoever was in charge of collecting the payments screwed up.  I hope.

Anyway, I kept thinking about the fact that I could do a lot of other things with the money in my hand.  It’s a miracle that I actually made it to the main office; in my mind, I’d spent that check at least a half-dozen times before I got there.  I walked over to the payment box and dropped in my envelope.  Goodbye, five-pound bag of M&M’s.  As I turned to walk away, I was greeted by a sign announcing the end of the payment box.  Seriously??  This is a box outside the main utility office.  No one has to go anywhere; just one employee with a key comes and collects the envelopes.  And now they’re putting an end to that as a cost savings?  Their solution – for those like me who hate buying stamps or hate paying using their wonky online service – pay it at a third-party station.  For the unenlightened, a third-party station is another business, like the corner drug store (you know, some business that has absolutely nothing to do with the utility) – that will allow you to pay utility bills as an act of “convenience.”  Oh, did I mention that the third-party station also charges you a fee for the privilege of paying your bill?  This is a scam if I’ve ever heard of one.  I guess I’m buying a boxload of postage stamps next month.

After that episode, I tried to locate an antique store.  We used to have this large antique mall near my home; I visited at least once a week and usually walked out with something or another.  I like old stuff – what can I say?  Truthfully, I could hang out at an antique store for hours if it’s interesting.  I like ephemera (small items, usually paper-based, like labels or boxes), and had a sizable collection of various items at one point.  I stopped visiting this particular mall a few years ago, and it’s only recently that I’ve developed the urge to return.  I heard that they’d lost their previous building, and that a new site opened several months ago.  So . . . I was off to find it.

Unfortunately, it was a fool’s errand.  I couldn’t find the new site, and it didn’t take long for me to toss in the towel.  I’m not finished; I’ll just have to sit down at my desktop and look up the location.  I’ve got two other antique malls that I visit, so it’s not like I’m without options.  But this one had been pretty decent, so I’m curious to see how it’s changed since my last visit.

From there, I roamed around town.  Visit to a gaming shop?  Check.  Visit to Barnes and Noble?  Check.  Standing outside a restaurant with a grill just to smell that charcoal aroma?  Check.  Because I’m looking for a particular book, I stopped at a local small bookstore in hopes that they would have a copy.  They didn’t.  But while there, I thought, “Gee, I’ll step in next door at Starbucks and get a small coffee.” Don’t cheer, kids – it was not to be.  Fortunately, the gal in front of me took more time than I would have liked, and I used the extra wait to actually look at the menu.  The cheapest size was $2.50.  Now, for some areas, that’s cheap; not here.  I could make coffee at home for the month for just $6 (and I make pretty decent java, thank you very much), so there’s no way that I could justify that.  I promptly backed out of line, and decided to finish my exploration.

Later, a trip to Trader Joe’s netted me their Bacon Cheddar Ranch Dip  (and a small sample of brewed coffee), and suddenly, the day did a 180 degree shift.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had that, and I’m glad that I picked up a tub.  It’s just as good as I remembered, but I’m starting to remember why I stopped buying it – the stuff’s addictive!

Maybe I was wrong.  Today’s turned out to be a lot more fun that I could have anticipated.  The weather was nice, the people were generally nice, and I’m sitting here with dip and chips.  Yeah, life will have to take charge more often, methinks.

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