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That’s Writing AND Typing!

Earlier today I was talking to my sister Vicki, and she was saying how she and her husband were having difficulties with a new device that I confess would mystify me as well.

“Because we’re stupid,” she explained.

“You are not stupid,” I assured her. “You are OLD.”

I surmised that she would rather be stupid.  Be that as it may, here is my story about how today I was old, and Old School.

First, a confession.  I am usually last-minute with the murder mysteries I write, especially the conclusions. I am not going to try to explain it, much less justify it, but there it is.  I had the script typed into my laptop and emailed to my actors this morning (yes, I was last minute, or perhaps last hour for that).  I had to go to Basloe Library to print it out for a few of us.  The others were able to print their own.  I like to save the conclusion for the first rehearsal, to see if the actors are as mystified as I hope the audience will be.  In this case, I had not finished writing it.  Don’t judge me.

I had thought I would have it written by now and print it out at the library, perhaps making copies at Hummel’s Office Plus.  I am embarrassed to admit that I did not.  However, all was not lost.  I could finish it today, and type it into my desk top, which is still good for word processing purposes.  I just had to get a new cartridge for the printer and print out sufficient copies.  No problem.  I got Steven to get the cartridge out, and off I went to Hummel’s to say, “I need one of these.”

Did I mention that my desk top is kind of old?  They didn’t have the cartridge I needed.  The fellow I talked to thought they could order it and have it by Tuesday, which was too late for a Sunday rehearsal, and then he found out he couldn’t even get it.  I asked about typewriter ribbons, thinking of my minor collection of typewriters. They have cartridges for Brotherton electric typewriters and that was all.  Oh dear.

I tried Wal-Mart.  A nice man there looked on the shelf, although he was pretty sure they did not have it.  Indeed, they did not. He showed me a couple of printers I could purchase, ink included.  I could hook these up to my laptop, with or without wires.  That would be perfect! Alas, I am not beforehand enough with the world to just make a purchase like that.  Still, if all else failed, I could keep it in mind. After all, Wal-Mart is open all night, and I have a credit card.

Back home, I went up to the attic and looked for typewriters.  First I found several notebooks empty or mostly so.  Score!  I always need more notebooks.  Then I saw a really old one, but the ribbon was dry (I put a scrap of paper in and checked) (yes, my attic is quite messy and there was plenty of paper handy).  Ah, there was my electric typewriter, which did not look like a Brotherton.  I brought it downstairs anyways.  The ribbon was pretty sad.  No good.

I remembered seeing a Smith-Corona upstairs, such as my mother used to have many years ago.  I remembered buying it at a garage sale some time ago and purchasing a new ribbon for it.  It was some years ago, but maybe the ribbon was still good.  I brought it down.  No ribbon at all! I went up to the library (that is what we call one of the bedrooms that we put all our books in).  I had some idea that the ribbon might be there.  I don’t know why, but I looked.  There was another Smith-Corona typewriter!  I didn’t remember that I had two, but so I do.  And this one had a ribbon!

After ascertaining that the ribbon still had ink, I found that my fingers are no longer up to a manual typewriter.  In my defense, it was the 1980’s when I was in the habit of using one.  I took the ribbon out and put it into the electric typewriter.  I soon found that this typewriter had a lot more problems than needing a ribbon.  Never mind the fact that I didn’t put the ribbon in correctly and it kept slipping off the holders.  The “b” key stuck, the “t” didn’t work at all, this was a mess!  I couldn’t compose at this keyboard!

OK, I told myself. Just write out the conclusion, then worry about typing it.  If worse came to worse, I could just email it to everyone and beg those with printers to print out extra copies for us that needed them.  It turned out pretty easy to write, and fit in nicely with what came before.  Does that mean I should have just gone ahead and written it earlier, or that I needed to wait this long for it to be so good?  We’ll pretend it was the second.  I tried to type it up, dealing with the erratic ribbon and bad keys.  It did not go so well.  For one reason, the ribbon wasn’t moving along as it is supposed to, so I was typing everything on the same little bit of ink.

Finally I put the ribbon back on the machine I found it on and typed in that damn conclusion.  I kept making stupid typos, which I could not correct, being on a typewriter not a computer, but I persevered.  It actually got a little easier as I went.  I got it done in time to get back to Hummel’s to make copies. Woohoo!

Wow!  I am over 900 words!  What a post!  I hope you remember the reference in my headline.  Truman Capote famously said, “That’s not writing, that’s typing.”  Well, Truman, sometimes you do both.



Ooh! Look at the Skeletons!

One of the shortest stops Steven and I made on our Saturday adventures was at Hummel’s Office Plus in Herkimer, NY.  We had to get a birthday present for a young friend of ours.

I wanted to get her a blank book.  It is one of my favorite things to have, so I naturally think others will like it too.  First we looked for a pen in the office supply area downstairs.  Like many writers, I am fascinated by the tools of our trade, so I was happy to spend some time with the writing instruments.  We finally picked a green one, a pen I have gotten for myself many times.  Then we went upstairs to look for a blank book.

We were immediately confronted by the Halloween decorations.  I LOVE Halloween!  There were many decorations I had never seen before. I especially like the See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil Skeletons.  We went around pushing the buttons on all the ghosts and things that played music and/or danced.

However, we were there for a present.  After much debate, we picked out a blank book we thought our friend would like.  Steven asked the clerk to wrap it. What a good idea!  I am terrible at wrapping presents and I don’t know if we have any birthday gift bags.  At the cash register I saw a couple more Halloween things I would like to go back and purchase.

We had not spent much time at Hummel’s, but I felt it was time well spent. I’m not saying I will, but I just MIGHT  go back and buy those skeletons.  And maybe a green pen.


Herkimer Hop

Instead of  Wuss-out Wednesday, how about a brief overview of Steven’s and my running around Sunday afternoon (before it became Wrist to Forehead Sunday).  We made several stops in our hometown of  Herkimer, NY, so we’ll call it a minor Mohawk Valley adventure.

We first went to Hummel’s Office Plus, because Steven wanted to purchase some small yellow envelopes  for a prop for that play we’re in (can’t help but mention Roxy, can I?).  He found what he wanted easily.  I took the opportunity to pick up a couple of the pens I currently like best (ballpoint with a find point, excellent for how small I like to write on post cards).

After a quick stop for gas and cash, we went to T & J’s Fruits and Vegetables, to get fixings for a salad for my lunch (yet another attempt on my part to lose that last 15 pounds) (to give you an idea of how well I’m doing on that, it was previously the last 10 pounds I was trying to lose).  I got romaine lettuce, tomatoes and sharp cheddar cheese.  I had other vegetables at home.  I did not put the cheese in the salad, but I just love sharp cheddar cheese.

From there we went to Family Dollar, where I found two water bottles suitable for bringing to work.   We ran into another cast member from Roxy (just can’t get away from that play, can I?).  Our last stop was at Valley Wine and Liquor, where we purchased a bottle of Pinot Grigio, because we thought we might like to enjoy a glass of wine on the deck, time permitting (it did).

It did not take long to run our errands, and soon we were home and I was working on my blog post and dithering about auditions for  Lunch Hour, which were to take place that evening.  We felt pleased with our little burst of productivity.  I feel a little pleased that I wrote a blog post about something other than not writing a proper blog post.


Thank You, Hummel’s

I may have mentioned once or twice that I am secretary for Ilion Little Theatre. I’m not a very good one, so I hope none of my fellow board members reads this blog.

One of my duties is to send thank you notes to people who make generous donations. What this duty consists of is me making a note during the meeting that a card must be sent, forgetting about it till I type up my minutes for the next meeting, then saying, “Oh yeah, I have to do that” and running to the store for a card.

Somebody suggested I purchase a box of Thank You cards, thus saving myself a whole step in the routine. Accordingly, Steven and I made our way to Hummel’s Office Plus in Herkimer, NY last night. I first called and made sure they carried packets of Thank You cards (who can be sure in these non-writing times we live in?).

“Oh yes,” I was told. “They’re blank inside.”

“Just what I need,” I said. Then I hung up the phone and went to change my shoes. I was still in my blue collar outfit, and my feet can only put up with steel toes for just so long.

The trip had the added advantage that Tabby would get to ride in our new Trailblazer for the first time. I may do a whole blog post on our new Trailblazer, but that’s a preview of coming attractions.

I left Steven and Tabby downstairs chatting with Ryan, the manager, and went up to the gift shop. At first the only cards I saw were obviously thank you’s for a baby shower. Cute little animals mocked me. I saw a rather sexy vintage-looking mouse (it may have been Minnie or one of her forebears, but she didn’t look Disney to me). Then I noticed a classy set in green with a design.

“This doesn’t look too Christmasy because it’s green, does it?” I asked one of the ladies that work there.

“Oh no, that’s not a Christmas design,” she assured me. I don’t know why I don’t trust my own judgement on these things.

There were a number of definitely Christmasy things for me to admire. I looked at snow globes and singing angels and wished I had more time. I saw at least one thing that would be a very good present for Steven. I can’t tell you what it is, though, because he reads this blog (sometimes I read it to him before I hit “Publish.” Hi, Steve!).

When went back downstairs, Tabby greeted me as if she hadn’t seen me in a month. I love dogs. Steven had purchased some superglue for snowman repair, so we made use of both the office supply and the Hallmark sides.

It seems I see things urging me to Shop Local a lot these days, so I suppose I could feel virtuous about my purchase. Only I didn’t shop there because somebody told me to. I went because it is a good place to shop.

For more information on Hummel’s, visit their website at