A little purchase

A few months ago,  I bought a little sponge holder that has suction cups for adhering to the side of the kitchen sink. I paid $7.44 at Amazon and got free shipping because I have Prime. It took maybe half a minute to finalize the purchase.

But if my loyalty had been unswerving, I would have tried to buy the sponge holder from Miller’s ACE Hardware, which sent me this letter a few months ago:

letter

They apologized for an inconvenience I didn’t know I experienced and refunded money I did not realize I was owed. They sent me a letter. With a stamp. Think of that.

But there was Amazon with free shipping and the i-click option, and how much time did I want to spend thinking about a sponge holder, anyway?

(Apparently way more than the average person, because I am blogging about it.)

If you are not fortunate enough to live near a great hardware store, the transaction is  meaningless—it never would occur to you to think in terms of loyalty.  But I do and I did.

This hardware store in a shopping center with the wonderful name of Ruthfred. I blogged about it in 2009:

Shopping at Ruthfred (where?)

And in 2013:

Shopping at Ruthfred: an update

Shopping at Ruthfred: an update

Ruthfred

Well, the bank is gone. It just packed up and left a couple months ago.

I am sorry about this because Ruthfred Acres Shopping Center ought to have a bank.  This place—dating from the 1940s—is western Pennsylvania’s first strip mall. In 2009 I wrote a blog called Shopping at Ruthfred (where?). It was one of the most popular things I ever posted. I figured it was time for an update.

Without seeing Ruthfred, it is hard to visualize how tiny it  is. You could walk from one end of it to the other in about a minute. Yet in that minute you would pass a grocery store, a three-story hardware store (it had to expand vertically), a deli, a dry cleaner, a pharmacy, and the offices of a lawyer and a primary care doctor.

The pharmacy  is new. The old place, O’Briens, had always the look of a business waiting to be sold. Last year the business was taken over by a local chain called Spartan Pharmacy. The place is light, warm, and inviting—not an easy look for a drugstore to pull off.

At the front are an overstuffed couch and comfortable chairs. More candles for sale in proportion to its size than I have ever seen in any drugstore. One line of candles is made by a company called A Cheerful Giver. Burt’s Bees are there. So is Sarris candy.

The primary care doctor next door to Spartan happens to be mine, which is how I found Ruthfred in the first place. (An insurance change necessitated a change in doctors.)  Although she practices thoroughly modern medicine, her office is plain. Friendly and welcoming, but plain. Her office has imbued character from its surroundings.

The last time I was there, my doctor mentioned that when the deli next door makes macaroni and cheese, everyone can smell it cooking through the wall. This is Ruthfred. “You  can talk to me” this office says. “This is life.”

I hope my doctor is never forced to move to an isolated healthcare citadel—a place a sane person would flee from. No one in all of Ruthfred’s history has ever wanted to flee from it. I would bet money on this.

In 2o12, Ruthfred Market won a Tribune  Reader’s Choice Gold Award for “favorite grocery store.”

The Artist’s Way Week 8: Becalmed

This is my fifth  blog about The Artist’s Way course. The first four are Do Fury Honor, Everything Is Connected, Fasten Your Seat Belts. and Reading Deprivation.

It’s been a quiet and focused week: “filling the form” time.

Filling the form means work. Right now, work  means getting up at 6:30 every day; setting aside time at the top of the day for my writing; and then comes the rest of it. The effect has been an amazingly productive week.

The sequel to Cel & Anna is very close now—very close. I did something I’d been saying I was going to do since New Year’s Day: sent the first twelve chapters to my favorite readers, who happen to be my nieces (they will steer me in right direction). I finalized plans for a trip on which I had been waffling. I made two paying work deadlines and will make a third this afternoon. I did odd jobs related to de-cluttering.

I connected with friends. I DID stuff. Not thinking about it, just doing it.

The spilling-over energy of last week found a channel. Now, the thing is to deepen the channel so that it becomes a habit. There is nothing more useful than a good habit, for it carries you forward when you want to hang back. I am not saying I have solved all my problems. :)

Something that made me smile: when I decided to start my work week at 6:30 am rather than when I had been starting it (which was rather later than 6:30), I expected trouble. I expected resistance.

What I did not expect was to start waking up before the alarm, starting one day after I made the decision. This has happened every day, without a fight. My inner sleep goddess has decided to cooperate with the plan. This too happened quietly and calmly.

This morning I put an armload of sheets and towels in the wash, I did the morning pages, I am sitting here typing. Someday soon I am going to do an update on what is one of the most popular blogs I ever wrote, called Shopping at Ruthfred (Where?). There is an old shopping center not far from here called Ruthfred. Really.

I am happy to report, as a preliminary, that Ruthfred is still thriving.

The music of the morning is a peaceful little piano tune called “A Lullaby” by Nathan H. Taylor. It floated by on Pandora one day. iTunes let me buy it for 99 cents. (Thanks, iTunes. Thanks, Nathan H. Taylor. Thanks, Pandora.) I would post a YouTube link, but as it happens “A Lullaby” is the only piece of music in the world not available at YouTube, so you are on your own.