Friday, December 22, 2006

It's been a while ...

Alright ... I'll admit to it ... I've been suffering from a bout of writer's block when it comes to the adventures and misadventures of the crew at Chippefield's ... It's been awhile since I've had a story come into being ... I hope it lifts soon ...

In the meantime - the real life Chipperfield Coffee Company is festooned for Christmas ... there are decorations and special Christmasy menu items, and lately the staff have been wearing goofy - oops, I mean "Seasonal" hats ... and if you're stuck for last minute gift ideas in the last couple of days - they have a HUGE selection of gift items - edible and otherwise.

If you have a chance before Christmas to stop in - go for it ... Wish the crew a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ... In the meantime, take a moment to bounce over to a blog site I've found with some awesome pictures of Latte Art You may not get Latte's that look quite like that at Chipperfield's - but they are very good ... and with the new customers cards you can mark off your card with each visit and after 12, you get a freebie.

Check out the BLOG with the Latte art, then head over to Chipperfield's for a visit ... it's a good way to pass some time ...

(and stay tuned - my writer's block HAS to lift sometime ...)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfields' ... Part LIX ...

"Um ..." Ross paused before spoke, "How are you Rev?" he turned with a forced smile to greet The Rev who was standing behind him holding a take out coffee cup in one hand and a tiny plastic lid plug in the other.

"Good morning Ross," said The Rev, his tone flat, his face expressionless, "something you want to tell me?" as he spoke the take out coffee cup with the cup sleeve bearing his likeness moved slightly upward and towards Ross.

"Oh that?" Ross swallowed as he glanced over towards Jaydee and Kriss who were standing behind the counter watching to see what was about to transpire. The two customers standing in line waiting for their orders were equally enraptured by the unfolding of events.

Drawing a breath Ross continued, "Um ... well ..." he hesitated again, "Well, it's like this ..."

The Rev stared at Ross. Behind Ross sitting at the table with a broad grin on his face sat J--, who was taking obvious delight in what was unfolding before him.

"Ross?" The Rev's tone remained flat, "What were you thinking?" as he spoke he jiggled the cup again drawing attention to the advertisement on the cup sleeve for the Prairie Spring Ministry.

"I guess that's the point," Ross chuckled as he spoke, "I wasn't really thinking. I was just trying to get something going, and the idea of making some money got the better of me."

"Making money?" asked The Rev, his voice remaining monotone.

"Yeah," answered Ross a smile cracking his face, the red in his cheek diminishing, "I've already gotten letters about this stuff."

"The packages of Holy Water?" asked The Rev.

"And your sermons," answered Ross moving past The Rev to the counter where Kriss and Jaydee suddenly resumed their duties and tried to pretend that they hadn't been listening or watching the drama unfolding in the corner. Ross ducked down behind the counter and pulled out a cardboard storage box that he opened as he stepped back towards The Rev. "This is the mail we got this week alone. There's over forty letters in here, all with donations."

"Mail?" asked The Rev remaining unmoved, "Donations? How long have you been doing the cup sleeves to be getting mail and donations?"

"Oh no," answered Ross, "the mail isn't from the cup sleeves. The mail is from the advertisements I've put in a bunch of regional publications and monthly newspapers letting people know about this bold new preacher and his ministry."

"And you were going to tell me when?" asked The Rev.

"When he cut you the first cheque," answered J--, laughing while he sat at the table.

"The first cheque?" ventured The Rev, "you were planning to buy me off?"

"No, nothing like that," answered Ross, his voice sounding choked, "I wouldn't try to buy you off. I know you're not interested in the cash. I wanted the ministry to be up and running and successful, then I was going to let you in on it."

"You're using my sermons and writings," replied The Rev quietly, "and you weren't going to tell me until you felt it was successful. Did you think you could keep me in the dark about this forever."

"Yup," said J-- slapping the table as he laughed, "He had you pegged as a mushroom."

"A mushroom?" asked The Rev, a slight smile crossing his face, "keep me in the dark and feed me horsesh..."

"Not exactly," interupted Ross, "I never thought of you as a mushroom. I just wanted to know this was going to work before I got your hopes up."

"My hopes up?" pressed The Rev, "why would I have hopes about some online and mail order ministry? I'm interested in the work I have to do here."

"Yeah, but this is a way for lots of people to connect with your stuff," replied Ross smiling until he noticed that The Rev wasn't smiling.

"Ross, I'm not interested in having lots of people connecting with my stuff, I have enough to do here with the work I do in this community," The Rev's head shook imperceptibly.

"Busted," laughed J-- from the corner. Kriss and Jaydee both looked up briefly and smiled as they went back to their work.

Ross opened his mouth to speak, but paused as he noticed Bonnie walking out of the kitchen and heading up to the cash register. Ross' eyes followed Bonnie as she walked up the front. The Rev and J-- both followed Bonnie, which in turn drew Bonnie's attention. She paused in front of the cooler and noted the three men watching her.

"What?" asked Bonnie, smiling nervously.

"Nothing," muttered Ross, "nothing at all."

Bonnie's eyes narrowed and she stepped up to the till. Then glancing to her left she noticed the stack of cup sleeves and the bowl of lid plugs. She gasped and reached out to the bowl. Picking up one of the plugs she turned it around in her fingers, examining carefully the tiny picture of Ross that was prominent on the top of the plug. Bonnie cast a withering glare at Ross as she glanced down again and picked up one of the cup sleeves and looked at the advertisement on it for the Prairie Springs Ministry. Bonnie closed her eyes before drawing a breath.

"Ross," Bonnie's voice sounded far calmer than she felt inside, "what have you done?"

"Busted," laughed J--, again striking the table top with his hand.

"You said that already," observed Ross, glancing quickly at J--.

"Yeah but this time I mean it," laughed J--, shaking his head.

"Honey," Ross offered hopefully, "Let me explain ..."

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfields' ... Part LVIII ...

Jaydee was working behind the counter, J-- was still at the corner table reading the morning paper, and Kriss was busy serving a customer when Ross walked out of the kitchen.

"Morning J--," Ross called as he filled his coffee mug and headed over to his table.

"Morning Ross," answered J-- as he folded up the newspaper and looked up.

Ross noted the empty take out cup and the lid plug with his smiling face on it, "I see you've seen the newest feature at Chipperfields?" Ross said idly as he sat down.

"Yeah," said J-- smiling, "and I am particularly fond of the new Church you're trying to get started ..."

"Oh," Ross' eyes bugged slightly, "That. Yeah. I wasn't really planning on launching that yet, but it just sort of happened."

"Just sort of happened?" asked J--, a broad grin crossing his face, "how does using someone else for something like this 'sort of' happen?"

"Well," Ross gulped as he answered, then took a sip of his coffee before he continued, "I didn't actually intend to let this out until I had talked to The Rev. It was kind of connected to some of my other ideas."

"What other ideas?" asked J--, still smiling.

"Well, the lid plugs, the cup sleeves and the stay-cations," said Ross, "I want to diversify the investments I have and branch out, and if I can bring some economic development to the community it would be nice."

"Somebody has to do it," answered J--, "because there's no one else doing it in town right now."

"Anyway," replied Ross, "my plan was to get all of this stuff together and show it to The Rev and then invite him to put the Prairie Spring Ministry piece in ..."

"But you jumped the gun?" pressed J--.

"Not jumped the gun," observed Ross, "I kind of panicked the other day when I found a blog about a stay-cation, and I thought that the idea might be slipping away."

"Stay-cation?" marveled J--, "you're still on the Stay-cation idea?"

"Absolutely," replied Ross, "I think the stay-cation kits have a huge potential. We just need to get busy and do them. I will put up the cash and bring the investors together, but I need The Rev to do the creative writing and the PR part."

"He is good at it," observed J--.

"Absolutely," replied Ross, "he's very good at it. But he hasn't committed to helping yet."

"So what made you panic like a little girl?" asked J--, his smile broadening.

"I didn't panic like a little girl," answered Ross, "I just jumped the gun."

"I thought you just said you didn't jump the gun?" asked J--.

"Listen to what I mean, NOT what I say," snapped Ross. For his part J-- just smiled and chuckled.

Ross took a sip of his coffee before continuing, "I was cruising the net the other day and I found a blog by a woman in Philadelphia, who was about to take a vacation to Madrid."

"So, what's so special about that?" asked J--, the smile fading slightly as he listened,"people take trips all the time."

"Yeah, but that's the whole point here," said Ross, looking around the shop before continuing, "She posted the whole itinerary of her trip, and then did two or three blog entries a day about what she was doing and where she was going. She even posted shots of the rooms where she was supposedly staying in Madrid."

"What do you mean supposedly?" asked J-- the smile gone, his attention rapt on Ross.

"Well, she carried it off for a week or so, then she was outted," said Ross.

"Outted?" asked J--, "what does 'Outted' mean?"

"Somebody figured out that she wasn't actually in Madrid," answered Ross, "they tracked her IP address and realized she was still posting from her home IP, and then they looked closely at the pictures she was posting, and the pictures of her apartment she had posted previously, and they put two and two together and got four ..."

"Four?" asked J--.

"Four," answered Ross triumphantly, "they outted her as a liar. She hadn't gone on a vacation to Madrid at all. She stayed home and in her words had a 'Stay at home vacation."

"Stay at home vacation," repeated J-- shaking his head, "and you connected this to your stay-cation idea how?"

"Well, it was a stretch," said Ross, "until she described the items she had gathered from Thrift stores and Import businesses so she had souvenirs from Madrid, and the pictures and post cards she had searched out to give her trip a sense of place."

"What about the pictures of where she was staying?" asked J--, "you said she posted pictures of the rooms she was staying in in Madrid. How did she fake those?"

"She re-arranged her furniture," answered Ross, "then she bought some new furnishings and knick-knacks and made up her apartment like a hotel or hostel or whatever ... the windows gave her away though. In almost all the pictures, the view out the window was the same. That one detail gave her away."

J-- paused and stared at Ross for a long moment before speaking, "Okay, I'm confused here." J-- observed, "how does any of this have anything at all to do with your hare-brained ideas and business ventures like lid plugs, cup sleeves, holy water and stay-cations?"

"Directly they have no connection," said Ross flatly, "but indirectly, they are connected."

"How?" the volume of J--'s voice drew the attention of both Jaydee and Kriss who looked up from behind the counter with quizzical looks.

"Shhhh," laughed Jaydee as she held a finger up to her lips.

"Sorry," answered J-- with a matching laugh.

Ross glanced over at the women, then back to J--, "The indirect connection," he continued unabated, "is that in Philadelphia a woman came up with a stay-cation idea without even realizing it, and all it would take would be for some idiot out there to say - 'what a great idea!' and to run with it and we've lost an opportunity."

"Some idiot already came up with the idea," observed J-- in a whisper as he sipped his coffee.

"Exactly," agreed Ross, then he paused and reflected on what J-- had just said. His eyes narrowed as he continued, "I decided that I needed to act fast before lost the opportunities."

"Yeah, like someone else is going to put your picture on lid plugs," observed J-- as he lifted the lid plug from the table and held it aloft for Ross to see, "or someone else is going to put The Rev's face on cup sleeves and open a ministry without him knowing."

"That's not what I meant," pleaded Ross, "I meant ..."

Ross was interupted by a voice behind him, "Good Day gentleman."

Ross' face blanched, then reddened. The smile on J-- face stretched to the breaking point.

"Hello Rev," answered J-- his voice stretching out each syllable, "getting a coffee to go I see?" The smile on J--'s face broaded even more.

The Rev nodded, in his left hand he held the take out coffee cup with a sleeve bearing his image, while in his right he held aloft a tiny lid plug bearing an image of Ross. J-- noted that The Rev's fingers were gripping the lid plug rather tightly.

The shop had fallen silent. Kriss and Jaydee we both staring, the other customers had paused in their conversation and consumption of coffee and other refreshments to watch, and Ross stood stock still, his back to The Rev ...