2017 November 27-30

2017 Letters to Santa_147~2.jpgMonday 27th started bright and sunny at 60°. The Leander Senior Center was open again after the holiday, so Ella spent her morning there while I worked at the mall.

On the way to work, traffic was very slow. As I got a little further down the road, I saw why: There had been a fire at the Firestone store. I’m sure there is some kind of irony there. It appeared that it hadn’t caused any damage. But of course people had to slow down and gawk.

I was surprised at how slowly the day went by. I had a toddler, who had his picture taken yesterday, just come to sit on my lap again. Since we weren’t busy, I got down on the floor and we pushed a toy car back and forth for a while. Those return visits always warm my heart.

There were several sets of siblings who came for photos. It seemed that one was always smiling and the other crying. Sometimes the younger was crying and sometimes the older.

One family brought in two boys with autism. It was a challenge to get them to sit with Santa. I would manage to start interacting with one when the other would wander off. I’d then switch focus to the wanderer and lose the other. Finally, I had mom and dad sit on the floor with me and each hold a child. Even then we couldn’t get both of their attentions.

Later, there was a little boy that I could get to smile. However, the photographer always missed it because they were looking at the computer screen to see what the previous photo looked like. It is frustrating to me when that happens.

Another frustrating thing happened when I took a 5-10 minute break. Santa must always be escorted by the photography staff. So they took me to the break area and then left me there for a half an hour. The one who took me to break went ahead and took her lunch break, thinking that someone else would come and get me. It wasn’t until she came back that they realized I was “missing”. The set manager was so busy with her nose in her phone or paperwork that she hadn’t noticed that I wasn’t there. Seems like one hell of a way to run a business.

After work and after picking up Ella we drove to the Walmart that had had a fire. It was still closed and judging from all of the porta-potties lined up in the parking lot, there were a lot of people inside working on cleanup and so forth.

From there we went across the highway to Andy’s Frozen Custard for some malts. And then we drove to H.E.B. for more groceries. It seems to me that we should now have enough groceries to last us through all of December. Seriously, I don’t remember spending this much on groceries in such a short amount of time since we had our “sticks and bricks” house and eight or nine people living there.

Tuesday 28th started at 51°. The day was much like yesterday. It is very slow now that kids are back in school after the Thanksgiving break.

The mall marketing manager came to the set today to tell us that we are going to open early on Saturday for a private photo shoot and time with Santa. This means that I’ll need to be there two hours earlier. A blogger has booked the time for her followers to come and have Santa read them a book. There are to be three half-hour seasons of 10 each. That sounds like fun to me.

We also were told that the Caring Santa start time for Sunday had been moved ahead to 9 from 9:30. That also is most welcome for me because I really enjoy my time with the special needs kids/people. Having it earlier (before the stores open) is especially nice for the folks with autism. The less bright lights and fewer noises the better because they can easily become over stimulated.

When I arrived at the library to pick up Ella, she was sitting on the patio because it had become such a nice day to be outside. She said that there were 9 people at the senior center for lunch and games. They had individual pan pizzas for lunch. She took the photo book of the people at the Grimes, Iowa Senior Center to show the manager of the Leander center, as a suggestion for what they might do here in Texas.


Wednesday 29th started clear and chilly. The first hour at the mall was dead. Not a single person came to be photographed or even to sit with Santa. The second hour we were very busy with around twelve photo shoots plus others that just came to see Santa but didn’t want pictures.

Later, Eddie, one of my friends from the Leander Senior Center came by with his girlfriend and two of his daughters. They did a family photo. As he was leaving, his other daughter and grandson arrived. They also got photos with Santa.

The carpet at the set has had some purplish stains for a few days now. It looked like someone in high heels had stepped in something and then tracked it across the carpet. We mentioned it to the mall management and they sent someone with a spray can of carped cleaner and a scrub brush. He crawled around on the floor, spraying, scrubbing and then wiping with a cloth. It looked a lot better when he was done. It was fortunate that we had no one waiting while he was working. (Fortunate but not profitable)

Ella went to Grandies and then out to lunch with some of them before being brought back home.

We did not go to choir practice because we will not be in church on Sunday. I will be working with the Special Needs people


Thursday 30th began at 40° but warmed up throughout the day.  It was a day like any other day with me at the mall playing with children and Ella at the center playing with adults.


Published by Tom

husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and Santa

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