Prepping for Cooler Weather

It’s not far away. The cool weather will be coming soon enough. Rah! As we approach the fall with all its wonderful seasonal foods (like pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread), I get excited anticipating the fun ahead. It’s time to think about my Halloween costume, where I am going for Thanksgiving dinner, and how I am going to decorate my front porch. You can bet that it will be loaded with carved pumpkins with candles inside. My front door greets the world with festive wreaths made of small gourds. People in my neighborhood expect something unusual—and different every year. It taxes my imagination.

Meanwhile I am pulling sweaters out of mothballs and leather jackets from the storage closet. This usually makes me happy but not this time. Yikes. My favorite jacket smells like smoke. After a quick post on social media to explain my distress, it was back to thinking about how it happened and how to fix it. It must be from a party I attended last year. Since it was a fall event, we stayed inside because of the cold. The smokers who usually retired to the garden were too frozen to go outdoors. The host was okay with it and thus my jacket got a lot of exposure. With fabric, you can deodorize it; but not with leather. I was in a quandary about how I could get the smell of smoke out of my leather jacket.

You can, of course, clean leather with special paste polish in a neutral color or one to match the garment. Dry cleaning is possible but very costly. Besides, the odor might be in the lining. First I will try to air it out. Spraying a product like Febreze would be totally inappropriate. The problem can be solved, but I might not be totally satisfied. I am not making a rash decision as yet to toss the item.

After a long session outside and one round of dry cleaning, the jacket was approaching perfection. It is now ready to wear on chilly nights. It looks cool in late summer with jeans but cozy and warm with cords and a scarf in the dead of winter. It is the fall season when it really shines. After this incident, I was curious as to why leather, being a skin, absorbs odor. It is a natural material and must be porous at some level. It is not visible to the naked eye. Beware of smokers in your home if you have leather furniture. It also goes for cars with leather seats. Only the most high-end models have them, the very cars you don’t want to reek of cigarettes.

Well, my prepping for fall blog turned into a rant on protecting leather. It might be a practical reminder for you anyway. Leather jackets are the norm in my area come September so at least I can forewarn a few innocent souls. Give your garments a long life with a little extra care. If only smokers knew the havoc they wreak. Maybe we should ask them for pay for dry cleaning. It might stop a precious few!

Like Finding a Wedding Band in a Pile of Leaves

I was on a plane to visit family out of state and got to talking to my seatmate. Given the length of the flight, we got into some detail about our lives as friendly strangers do. We had made an immediate connection. I asked him about his profession, city of residence, marital status, children, and that kind of thing. Pretty normal stuff. But then he volunteered that his favorite hobby was gold prospecting. He said that most people relate it to panning in a creek, using a pick and shovel to gouge it out of a lode, or availing oneself of a gold sluice in a river. I was fascinated by this odd interest. He then mentioned that he also looked for precious metals on playgrounds, in parks, at beaches and stadiums from time to time when he was young. The hobby grew into a passion. It reminded me of a funny story of my own.

My father had lost some weight one year and we didn’t realize the complete consequences until an incidence occurred while he was raking leaves in the yard. Autumn is my favorite time because of the holidays and wonderful gourds that appear everywhere. It is pumpkin time to my delight. Leaves are table decoration to me, but not him. It was a chore. He dutifully performed the task in the crisp October air and was almost done when I heard a sharp cry. I ran quickly to his spot and found him brushing the remaining leaves all around. “I lost my wedding ring,” he said with annoyance. “Help me find it. It must have been loose due to my weight loss.” Of course, it was precious to him not to mention that it was 18K gold. We got on our hands and knees and scrutinized the entire area to no avail. We both were exhibiting signs of frustration. It reminded me of the times when I couldn’t find something I needed in my messy room as a teenager. Now I know that it was like finding a wedding band in a pile of leaves.

It was an apt comparison but not really funny. Finally, we gave up and called my uncle. He said he would come over and help, but would do better than that. He owned a good metal detector he had bought for the kids at the beach. They were only looking for metal debris but now it would show what it was meant to do. He took it out of its pouch and started to set it correctly for fine metals, which he’d been reading up about on the internet at Finding a Fortune.

To set it up to detect gold meant putting it on low sensitivity – or was it high sensitivity? I can’t remember. He placed it facing the ground around our big stately tree and turned it on. Within seconds, we could hear a faint buzz. A green light also went on. Eureka! We found the ring. This device saved the day and my dad’s good spirits. We invited Uncle Jim in for a beer and some snacks. He deserved a reward.