Fun in the sun

… Highs of 90 degrees today.

Are you kidding me!?! That’s like mid-August weather in Kansas City!! Not mid-June in Chicago!

Ah, well.

Kates and I braved it by first heading to a garage sale that caught my eye in this morning’s paper. The classified ad spoke merely of some household items and Cubs trinkets. Instead, we pulled up to the rural home and found an estate sale with a treasure trove of household items, antiques, electronics, sports collectibles, and -- (cue angel chorus) vinyl records.

While Kates perused the household items and found some things for her classroom, I thumbed through the vinyl records. At the front of the stack was the ‘Godspell’ soundtrack -- a find that Kates and I pondered for a couple minutes since it’s a record both our parents had, and both of us had built an attachment to it while growing up. But with two CD copies of it sitting in our music collection, I decided to stick to one of the rules I set when I began collecting vinyls a few months ago -- I won’t buy anything I have already in another medium; I’m buying records to play and enjoy to their fullest, not solely to look at.

… After pondering a few more selections (including an original Jackson 5: ‘Diana Ross Presents …’ album, which I eventually passed on because it was in pretty poor condition), I settled on an Elton John album and a near-mint copy of The Annie Soundtrack -- in addition, of course, to a few sports collectibles (or my toys, as Kates called them …) that included a Cubs-themed Santa Claus (Hey! I’d been looking for one for awhile, but didn’t want to fork over 30, 40 dollars for it …), a set of bobbleheads from the 2001 All-Star game in Seattle and a model of Wrigley Field…. Aw yeah.

From there, we headed to one of the gardening centers and finally got a cart full of plants to begin the final phases of the overhaul on the landscaping in our yard. Since we moved into the place two years ago, we’ve gradually torn away the decrepit timbers and hastily -placed stones, replacing them with more eye-catching stonework and the bases for a flower garden in the back corner of our backyard … Now, we’ve finally reached the point of planting new shrubs and flowering plants …

… Then while Kates went to work for the afternoon, I toiled in the yard, in the hot sun, laying more stones off our new deck and planting our new, colorful additions -- some Coral Bells, Purple Emperors, Moonshine, Walker's Low, English Ivy and much, much more ...

( ... All this, of course, while listening to the Cubs lose another one -- it's starting to get bad, real bad. The highlight of the broadcast, though, was Pat & Ron discussing the Ron Santo bobblehead sitting in the booth during the game, apparently a gift from Mark Prior. In response to Pat's remarks about how well the bobblehead represented Ron, Ron -- in his gravely deadpan voice -- says, 'Yeah, it was tough modeling for it. It made me dizzy.' ... I laughed out loud.)

Finally, just as the sun was setting -- and the fierce storm was beginning to roll in -- I planted the last one with care … oh, the beauty of it all.

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