Banks County Opinions...

OCTOBER 9, 2002


By: Angela Gary
The Banks County News
October 9, 2002

It’s past time to start Christmas shopping
If you haven’t started Christmas shopping yet, you better get busy. I’ve got well over half of the names on my shopping list marked off already.
I’m not bragging, I just want to encourage everyone to get going. I don’t want to hear all of that whining come December 15 from those who haven’t even started yet.
In fact, Dec. 15 should be the cut off point. Everyone needs to set a goal of being finished by this date. That will give them 10 days to enjoy the holiday season without fighting the crowds at the stores. If you really get busy, you can even finish by Dec. 1, which will give you the entire month of December to relax while those crazy shoppers fight over what’s left over.
Shopping early also takes away some of the money worries. Budget yourself to purchase one present a week between now and Dec. 15. You won’t miss the money as much if you are only purchasing one gift a week instead of 15 gifts the week of Christmas.
It’s really easy to get going. Just take a couple of minutes to make a list of the people you want to remember at Christmas. Then, every time you go shopping have that list in the back of your mind. It’s also a great time of year to find sales. I saw some nice black pocketbooks at Old Navy last week for $1.99 each. You can’t beat that. Throw in a bottle of lotion or a candle to go along with it, and you’ve got a great gift.
Another reason to start shopping early is that it will give you more time to think about what you get for your friends and family. I don’t know how many times I hear people complain about not knowing what to get for someone.
Before purchasing a gift, it’s always good to ask yourself a few questions, such as: “Would I want that for myself?” or “Do they really have room for another glass doo-dad in their crowded house?”
So many people spend December in a shopping whirlwind. I would rather spend the month enjoying special singings and events that celebrate the real reason for the season. I would also actually spend time enjoying my family and friends’ company than racing through stores grabbing something, anything, for them.
So, get your list made and get to shopping. I don’t want to hear any whining or complaining come December. You’ve been warned...
Angela Gary is associate editor of The Jackson Herald and editor of The Banks County News. She can be reached at


By: Phillip Sartain
he Banks County News
October 9, 2002

For Sale: Moronic Homeowner
The house I live in has a large attic. But that doesn’t mean you can put just anything you want up there. Even the simplest of minds will tell you not to put a queen-size mattress and box springs in your attic. It’s hard to do and it doesn’t make any sense. I did it anyway.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. We had just bought a new bed and decided to store the old one in the attic. I think that was also about the time that I had my brain surgically removed from my head, placed in a glass jar, and set on a shelf in the root cellar. Even so, whenever I visited the attic and saw the bed, the words stupid and agony always drifted to the surface.
The problem, as I recall, had something to do with the fact that the opening to the attic is smaller than the attic itself. The builders of our house never intended for someone to try to store a bulky, awkward to handle mattress and box springs up there. It makes me wonder why builders don’t put instructions in the attic giving people without a brain some idea as to what’s within the realm of possibility and what’s not.
The other thing I recall about moving the bed to the attic was mentally writing the “For Sale” ad to our house if my wife and I ever decided we wanted to use the mattress and box springs again. Realizing that there was no way to get them down again, I decided that it would be easier to just sell the house instead. Beyond that, I forgot about the whole affair—until last week.
For some reason, I didn’t flinch when my wife told me that we needed to get the bed out of the attic. I guess somewhere deep down inside, I knew this horrible moment would come. At the same time, I’ve also developed a weird propensity to suffer in private. And that goes a long way toward explaining why we ended up calling 911.
I didn’t mean to create an emergency. After Lydia left on an errand, I climbed up into the attic to size up the job. But once I got up there, my propensity took hold and before I knew what was happening, I had launched a sneak attack. The mattress, not surprisingly, was lumpy, out of shape, and totally unable to resist being dropped down the ladder to the floor below. The box springs, on the other hand, put up a fight.
It wasn’t really much of a fight. After I dragged the box springs over to the opening, I tilted it up and let it go under the ridiculous assumption that it would grow arms and legs and climb down the attic steps of its own accord. You can imagine my surprise when it stubbornly refused to go further than halfway down.
Not to be deterred, I pushed and tugged and cajoled the box springs until it was no longer stuck, but instead, firmly and irretrievably wedged into the opening. Standing over the box springs sweating and panting, it occurred to me that it wasn’t wedged so much as it was permanently and forever affixed to the attic opening thereby blocking my only escape.
That was when I began to mentally rewrite the “For Sale” ad to put in the newspaper: “For Sale: Nice house with all amenities; spacious attic with box springs affixed to attic stairs for unique architectural conversation piece; trapped homeowner available to answer questions about attic space; care and feeding of moronic homeowner negotiable.”
When my wife came home several hours later and found me, she was understandably incredulous. But after I explained everything, she finally agreed to call for help. It was while I was waiting on the fire department to arrive that I heard her call the realtor. She told the agent that she would be willing to owner finance the moronic homeowner part.
Phillip Sartain is an attorney in Gainesville.

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