Saturday, May 30, 2009

Where's My Sign?.........

I think I'm losing it. Today I went to Lowe's and bought a 75 foot garden hose and a couple of small things. The cashier didn't put any of it in a bag so while walking through the parking lot, I was trying to hold the hose in one hand and the other stuff in the other while trying to fish the keys out of my purse with a couple of fingers. I managed to get the remote between the hose and one finger so I could push the unlock button and then I had to figure out how to get my thumb free so I could open the door. I balanced everything on the hose to accomplish that feat and then set the hose in the floor and the little things in the middle of it.

So it really wasn't my fault that I didn't notice it was the wrong car. I did notice the thermal coffee mug in the floor and didn't recognize it, but Hubby has so many of them that I just figured it was one I hadn't seen yet. I also noticed the ear buds hanging from the rearview mirror and thought with irritation that I wish Hubby wouldn't do that. Then I noticed the two cups from Braum's. We didn't eat lunch at Braum's and there were two of them, so Hubby didn't go there alone, and besides that I KNEW they weren't there before. I stared at them for at least thirty seconds before I noticed that the gear shift was different. The car seats were the same, same color interior, same carpet, but the cup holder held the two cups side by side instead of one behind the other.

I picked everything back up and shut the car door and stared at the car. It was in my spot, my remote either unlocked it or it was already unlocked, but it was a Chevy and ours is a Saturn. I tried to lock it with the remote, clicking it twice to make it honk. It didn't. I looked around and in the exact space but in the next row was my car.

Now I had two choices. I could go back in the store and act like I forgot something and then come back out again and go to the right car, or I could hope no one was watching and just go get in my car. I did that. Then I noticed someone watching. *sigh*

If this was your car, I'm sorry. Oh yeah, do both of us a favor and start locking it.

Now, where's Bill Engvall with my sign?

Until next time, may you have blessings and awareness,
Marti

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ode de Sulphur

I've taken a shower and washed my hair twice, but I still keep smelling ode de sulphur. I think it's in my nose. Wonder if I can wash the inside of my nose without drowning? As bad as sulphur normally smells to me, it didn't seem quite as bad to me this time. Maybe because I knew the relief would be worth it. Sitting here though is a bit like being in chemistry class sitting next to Chad McConley (he was a hunk who smelled great); the odor of sulphur lingering in the background while the good clean fragrance of shampoo and soap is near enough to tantalize.

Around the garden today:

Horse trough with purplish blue tropical water lily Nora, behind is the livery stable, aka the shed.


Lotus and lilies in the lower pond. The pink bloom is Ellisiana and the white is Alba.


Two rows of tomatoes, one mulched and the other almost ready for mulch.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oh, The Agony

The clawing, the moaning, the twitching, the howling. Yes, the chiggars have arrived and my ankles are ringed with itchy red bites. Shaving over the bites makes it worse, or at least it makes the ointment sting more, so I have skipped over them while shaving. I'd post a picture of my ankles, but when you've seen one bumpy, hairy ankle, you've seen them all.

It begins with a little prickling a few hours after the chiggar has bitten a piece of skin which has had something pressing against it, like the top of socks, elastic around underwear (and impossible to scratch for even momentary relief) and waistbands. The bite then turns into a firey itch after a little scratching. Add a little heat and sweat and the itching turns into stinging needles of pain. I have red bumps of varying sizes everywhere, accompanied by red streaks where I can't keep from scratching, and all are coated with a white layer of Chiggarex which only slightly eases the itching.

But unknown to the little beasties, I have been to the garden center where I bought 200 pounds of sulphur pellets. I don't know if the sulphur drives them away or causes them a slow, agonizing death. I hope it is the latter.

scratch, scratch, scratch

I Just Thought Missing Them Would Be the Hard Part

I have been trying to call Lil for a couple of hours with no answer. I know she doesn't know anyone there yet and the worry about her safety and helplessness to do anything is far worse than missing her. Add to that, Brownie is working the night shift this week and has to go to work at 11 p.m. I hope she can find someone to walk in with every night.

Let me give you some background that led up to this worry. A few days before, Lil had decided to end her boredom by going to a disc golf course, and while there she met a bunch of guys playing the course ahead of her. As the course wound around, she found herself meeting up with them over and over and they talked. They were very surprised to find a girl playing, especially alone. Apparently, it's a male-dominated sport. When they parted company for the night, they gave her the name of a girl who was trying to organize a women's league. So Lil called her when she got home and they set up a time to meet and play a round of disc golf the next evening, which was the night I worried. Lil called me that afternoon and told me she was off to meet a stranger in a deserted park. That in itself is a worry to a mother who is 500 miles away.

I called and emailed that night until 12:30 when my battery died. The next morning I got up and began calling again. Finally, about 11am, I couldn't take it anymore, and called her apartment office and talked to the woman who had shown us the apartment. She said she would put a note on Lil's door. About an hour later, Lil called and the first words out of her mouth were: "I can't believe you couldn't wait 24 hours before calling the office!" She had left her phone in the car and since it was raining when she got in, she just left it.

Since then, she has called me regularly.

Until next time, may you have blessings and convenient phones,
Marti

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More Moving in the Family

As if it isn't enough that Brownie and Lil have just moved, now the in-laws are moving. The good news is that they are moving here! At least I think that is good news. In 34 years of marriage, we have never lived in the same town as our parents. We spent the weekend with Brother and Sister Bear at the in-laws, going through stuff they wanted to pass on.

Both of the in-laws have had medical issues lately though both are fine right now. Mama Bear had had a mysterious rash that covered most of her body and she had pictures of front and back to document it. Why she wanted us to see them, I have no idea, but Sister Bear dubbed the photos Granny Porn. Still trying to get those images out of my mind.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Road Trip!

After Lil graduated, she moved to Missouri and we went with her to help with the move and to take a mini vacation. We never got to go on our mini vacation because the in-laws wanted us to come divide things they want to hand down. Here are the picks and pans from our trip.

1. Gordman's Department Store in St. Charles, Missouri. This store was across from Bass Pro Shop so I went there while Hubby cruised the aisles of Bass Pro Shop. Later, I brought Lil back to it. It is a lot like Ross Stores which are common in Texas. The prices are a bit higher, but it is arranged more like a department store so the merchandise doesn't get as beat up from shoppers and there seemed to be more of a selection. I haven't been able to wear flip flops in years because they hurt my feet, but I found a pair with a soft spongy sole that actually felt comfortable, and they were only $2.99! Aren't they cute!


2. Rosati's Authentic Chicago Style Pizza in Waco, Texas. Not knowing what Chicago style pizza was, we didn't object when the other members of our group wanted to order it. We were told that this pizza takes about 30 minutes to cook but we were in no hurry. We were served our drinks quickly. However, after an hour we began wondering where the pizza was and finally flagged down our waitress who seemed to be avoiding us, and she told us that this pizza is supposed to cook at 500 degrees but all the regular style pizzas going in and out of the oven were slowing down the cook time and it would take a little longer. About 15 minutes later she brought out plates so we thought pizza would be coming right afterward. She was short two plates but had taken our drinks for a refill, so we thought she would be coming right back with the other plates. She never did bring the plates, and instead of giving me a refill of my Sprite, she gave me water. Everyone else got a refill of the drink they had originally ordered. Also, the straw in the water had a hunk of black mold or something in it, which I only noticed AFTER taking a drink.

All of the people in our group were beginning to grumble about the time it was taking to cook three pizzas, and we once again asked the waitress how long it would be. She brought the manager who repeated the same thing about our pizzas needed 500 degrees and the other pizzas coming in and out were lowering the temperature so it was taking longer. Finally, TWO HOURS after we ordered, we finally got our pizzas.

In case you have never had Chicago style pizza, it has a paper thin crust with a thin layer of cheese on the bottom and meat in a thick chunky tomato sauce on top. Hubby and Lil don't care for tomatoes, and the sauce was more tomato than sauce. The cheese layer was so thin it had very little taste, and the crust was similar to hard tack and burned on the bottom. It was absolutely the worst pizza I have ever eaten. When all had eaten, we had to chase the waitress down for our bill and because we were ready to get out of there, we took it to the cash register ourselves instead of waiting on her to do it.

Because of the extremely long wait, we all felt the pizza should have been comped, or at the very least, we should have been given some appetizers while we waited. I'm not sure if their crust is normally that hard or that burned or if that was a result of being in the oven so long. Still, it wasn't good pizza, terrible service, and I don't recommend it.

3. Marriott Southern Hills Hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We stayed here because our first two choices had no rooms available. This is a nice hotel, clean, and comes with wireless high speed internet. It does not have queen sized beds, you either get full or king. That wouldn't be a problem except we were traveling with Lil so we needed two beds and Hubby is 6'4", which is about 4" longer than a normal full-sized bed. He thought these were extra long full-sized beds, all I know is they weren't wide enough for the two of us. The rooms had a climate-controlled thermostat instead of the usual under-the-window unit, but it was difficult to regulate. There is no complementary breakfast but there is a coffee pot in the room. It probably would have been quiet, but it seems it was prom night and there were a lot of teenagers running up and down the hall and slamming doors until about 2 a.m.

4. Los Cabos Mexican Grill in Jenks, Oklahoma. The food here should be classified Tex Mex instead of true Mexican if not for any reason than their fajitas, which happen to be wonderful. I got the Veggie Fajitas although have I never seen Veggie Fajitas on a menu before. They were grilled but not burned, with a smokey flavor that enhanced the flavor of the zucchini and squash, as well as the usual red and green bell peppers and onions. Yum! Our waitress was great and brought refills without even asking. Along with the great food was a quartet playing guitars and trumpets and singing. The waitresses were all wearing short shorts and t-shirt which Hubby probably enjoyed, but I didn't see any male waitstaff to see what they were wearing; I hope it wasn't short shorts.

5. Comfort Suites in St. Charles, Missouri. Again, there were no queen sized beds but the room was clean, quiet, and comfortable, it has wireless internet, and complimentary breakfast. Definitely worth looking for if all are like this one. The best part for Hubby was that it was across the street from Bass Pro Shop so we went there not once, but three times. Hubby was excited to find 9mm ammo being stocked while we were there so all of us bought the limit of two boxes each for Brother Bear's gun range.

6. King Edwards Fried Chicken in St. Charles, Missouri. They also have fried fish and shrimp, but we got their fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy. The chicken and mashed potatoes were good, but the gravy was thin and watery and was the color of chicken fat.

7. Crooked Tree Coffee House in St. Charles, Missouri. Hubby has to have his morning coffee and found this place early one morning. I went with him the next morning although the hot water must have been run through a coffee pot because my green tea had a coffee after taste (and I don't like coffee). But the owner was friendly and knew Hubby by the second day. It's one of those coffee places that has a regular bunch of people who seem to know each other, which is a nice break from the impersonal atmosphere of Starbucks. Plus Hubby really liked one of their house blends.

8. Main Street Shops in St. Charles, Missouri. There are just too many shops and restaurants to name here. What's nice about it is that there are shops and restaurants mixed together so you can shop and then eat as you walk along the street. Most of the restaurants have outdoor dining, but we ate indoors at one restaurant. The Hubster thinks the street is set up for women, and he's probably right; there was no Bass Pro Shop there.

9. O'Charley's Restaurant in St. Peters, Missouri. Even though this is a chain, it feels like a locally owned restaurant. The manager's name was painted over the door and he came to every table to make sure everything was good. The first day (yes, we had to go back the next day), our waiter was a young man and he was very attentive to Lil, but also to us. Lil ordered a cherry limeade even though Sonic is hard to beat. She said it wasn't very cherry and the way her eyes scrunched together when she drank it, I assumed it was a little bitter too. So I had to taste it. Yup, not much cherry, and not much sugar. So then Hubby had to taste it. He agreed. When the waiter came back, Lil asked if she could order another drink and he laughed and said not many people like the cherry limeade and he suggested a strawberry lemonade. When she got that, we all had to taste it too. It was wonderful! I don't really remember what I ordered to eat, but it was good. Their rolls are soft and a little sweet too. Lil had ordered a meal for two so she could have leftovers later, and Hubby didn't eat all of his meal, so he put it in her take-home box. There was only one roll left and the waiter brought her four more. He brought us drink refills before we had a chance to run low and even brought Lil a strawberry lemonade in a cup to take home.

The next day we had a different waiter, but he was just as attentive as the first one. He didn't bring Lil extra rolls to take home, but he did bring our last drink refill in to go cups. Those were strawberry lemonades for all of us, of course. My new favorite drink and my new favorite restaurant!

10. Tulsa Select Hotel and Conference Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma. This used to be a nice hotel when owned by Holiday Inn. It is now independently owned and the maintenance and quality have definitely gone downhill. It wasn't very clean and the broadband internet was slower than dialup with ten windows open at the same time.

11. Chevy's Fresh Mex, St. Charles, Missouri. Lil and I split the Mixed Grill Fajitas and even though we asked for no sour cream or red sauce, we still got it. Lil loved the shrimp and we both liked the chicken, but the carnitas tasted a bit off. The service was fine but we did have to flag down the waitress to get refills.

12. Red Robin Gourmet Burgers in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The non-smoking section was in the bar area, which was ok as it wasn't crowded the night we were there, but the air conditioning was set a bit low for Brownie and me. At the waitress' suggestion, Brownie and I split the Red Robin Gourmet Cheeseburger. She said it was really big but when we got it, it was the same size as a burger from Sonic or any fast food place, just twice the price.

13. Ultimate Electronics in St. Peters, Missouri. I think Hubby found his new favorite store here. He went in with Lil while she looked for a new tv, and they both walked out with one. His salesman was friendly and observant which is probably why both bought a tv.

14. Sage Inn in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Near downtown shopping, museums and restaurants, and has a free shuttle for those who don't want to walk a few blocks. The rooms are small but clean and the staff quick to respond. The continental breakfast is good too. Great place to stay for those on a budget.

Until next time, may you have blessings and a pleasant journey,
Marti

Monday, May 25, 2009

Graduation Day - Partie Une

This was the big day for Lil, graduation day. We drove up Friday morning and got to see her big group project which was a mechanical horse that mimics the motion of a real horse to aid in muscle development for disabled children. It was impressive. After that, the college of engineering sponsored a hamburger lunch and some of the professors actually did the grilling too.

After a photo session with a real photographer along with all of us parent photographers, we attended the graduation and watched our daughter walk across the stage and shake the hands of her professors for the last time. Her final grades had been posted the day before and she was thrilled to learn that she had a 3.9 average and would be a magna cum laude graduate. Can you tell I am a proud parent?

After the ceremony, we loaded more of her stuff into our car (remember we already moved most of her stuff out of her dorm apartment a few weeks ago) and went to dinner with some of the other students from her senior project. We left to drive home and Lil and joined her friends and her boyfriend for a final movie and game night.

It's both happy and sad to know she will leave college life behind. Even though we are relieved that the financial drain is ending, it was nice to have her so close. Her new job is over 600 miles away where she doesn't know anyone. I try not to think about her leaving.

Until next time, may you have blessings and time with your family,
Marti

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Graduation Day, Partie Deux - The Dark Side

Mark Twain once said, "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." While I agree that we need to make a good impression, I have to say that clothes can debilitate the woman. Let me explain.

I planned on wearing my black skirt, blouse, and jacket until Hubby mentioned how hot it was going to be in the afternoon, and he asked if I could wear something other than funeral clothes. I searched through my meager closet and found a dress I thought I had donated to the thrift store. It had been a little too big the last time I wore it, plus it is polyester and tends to get static cling in a bad way, but since the day was warm and humid, I thought that wouldn't be a problem. Dress shoes weren't a problem since I only have one pair, and seldom wear them.

We met Lil in the parking lot and she told me how nice I looked and remarked that she was glad I didn't have on a funeral dress. What is it with these people and their aversion to funeral attire. Little did she know that I bought this before going to an uncle's funeral a few years ago.

We had arrived on campus just in time for a luncheon and walked over to the building where it was being held. It was then that I realized I had made a poor choice in both dress and shoes. The slip I was wearing beneath the dress was also polyester and as we walked toward the building, it began a slow ascent up my legs. I found that the slower I walked, the less the slip climbed which was good, because the pain in my feet was making it hard to walk fast anyway. I did find that if I kept my hands pressed against the sides of my legs, my slip couldn't crawl up any further, thus preventing a completely see-through dress look. Unfortunately, the wind was blowing and the dress had a short jacket which eventually worked its way off my shoulders while my hands were pinned to my legs, so I had to release a hand to hold it on.

The more we walked, the more my feet hurt and I had thoughts of Japanese foot binding, and wondered if the binding ever cut off the nerve endings to end the pain. Finally, the pressure on my tootsies was even too much for my hose, and it gave way in the area of the big toe of my left foot, and as we walked, the hole in the hose tightened around my toe like a tourniquet. Meanwhile, the little toe on my right foot had formed a blister.

When we got to the basketball center where the graduation was held, we had to walk down a hall on the perimeter of the building and had gone about halfway when Hubby noticed I was lagging further and further behind on my little club feet. He told me to wait there while he found Lil, and I found the ladies room where I adjusted the loathsome slip and took off the right demon shoe to find that the blister had burst and coated the side of the shoe and hose with *ahem* wetness.

I spent the entire afternoon hobbling from one event to another, while trying to keep my slip from trying to crawl up my body where I'm sure it's intent was to wrap itself around my head and strangle me. When it was close to reaching its goal, I had to excuse myself again and again to the ladies room to adjust the heinous thing.

After the ceremony, we intended to take another picture of her and head home so she could spend the evening with her buddies, but after we got back to her dorm, another friend and her family came over and wanted to go to dinner. They had made reservations at 7pm. They had already changed into jeans and comfortable shoes which only reminded me how miserable I was. I asked if we could stop by a department store and let me grab a pair of shoes, so we left the apartment a little early. I knew that almost any pair of shoes was going to feel better than the ones I had on, and quickly found a pair, although it's hard to really get the feel of walking in shoes when there are two of them tied together with a zip tie and a security device hanging off it. Also, I tried on a shoe on my left foot instead of my bigger right because my right foot was just too gross.

Then, because I hadn't kept my hands pinned against my side, my slip was once again around my waist, and I stopped by the clothing rack on my way to the checkout counter. I picked up a pair of jeans and asked Lil to find a shirt in my size, the only requirement being that it wasn't low cut. I left the new shoes with Hubby and hobbled over to the dressing room. When I took off the right demon shoe, the ooze had stuck it to my toe and I had to rip it off. That hurt. But the jeans actually fit great, though I was willing to settle for anything that zipped up. I took them off, ready to hand them off to Lil when she brought a shirt for me to try on, and then I was going to send her racing to the checkout and bring them back to me to wear out of the store. I sat there in my skivvies and waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, I pulled my dress and shoes back on and hobbled out to find what was keeping her. She was standing in front of the shirt rack saying she couldn't find anything she thought I would like. At this point, like had nothing to do with it, it was all about comfort. I stopped at a rack, picked up two shirts in my size and went back to the dressing room. Not only did the first shirt fit, it was even one I liked. So I handed them off to Lil and told her to go buy everything and bring it back to me. I figured it would be a problem with the dressing room sentry, even if I told her I had CSS (Creeping Slip Syndrome), but she seemed to be ok with Lil's explanation. I changed quickly and we left, arriving at the restaurant about 15 minutes late.

It was a pizza restaurant known for it's Chicago style pizza which the others in the group wanted. So we ordered and waited. And waited. And waited. With an 18 month old at our table. Finally, the waitress came to say that Chicago style pizza takes longer to cook than regular pizza and opening the oven door frequently for the regular pizzas was making it take even longer. When we asked how much longer, she said it wouldn't be much longer. So we waited some more. And waited. And waited. I don't know why we stayed. People around us got their pizza, ate, and left, and more people took their places, got their pizza, ate, and left, and still we waited. Finally, the manager came to say that our pizza was taking so long because it takes longer to cook than regular pizza and opening the oven door frequently for the regular pizzas was making it take even longer. Yep, exactly the same thing the waitress said. Why he felt the need to come repeat this, we didn't know. It didn't speed up the process and he didn't tell us it would be out in a minute. He also didn't offer us any appetizers while we waited, and he didn't offer to comp the meal because it was taking so long. Finally, when we were getting ready to leave, the pizzas came - two hours after ordering. And no, it wasn't worth the wait. It was absolutely the worst pizza I have ever eaten.

And thus ended my day of joy and misery.

Until next time, may you have blessings and comfortable clothes,
Marti

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Moving Day


Both exciting and sad as Lil's stuff is loaded onto the moving van.

And with this, the Mom and Dad Moving and Storage Company is officially out of business, and not any too soon.

Until next time, may you have blessings and someone else helping you move,
Marti

Kathleen Turner I'm Not

But I do have her voice today, husky, and just a tad raspy. Totally sexy, right? Wish I felt that way instead of dead tired with a cold coming on. I think I'll take a quick nap before the movers come and see if I can wake up looking like her too.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mama Bird is Watching


And this evening there are four eggs.

About two feet away was a pair of roadrunners. This is the female. She has been eying the deadfall I left at the back of our property. I hope they decide to call that home and stay awhile.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Look What I Found Today

Can you see it?


Look closer


Now do you see it?


It's a nest of the Kildeer bird in my front flower bed.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sad Day

No attempted satire or humor today. To quote Mike Myers as Linda Richman, "I'm a little verklempt."

Today was the funeral of a dear lady who died from cancer. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer about four years ago. She beat that, or at least the doctors thought she beat it, but about a year later, it was back. Since she told me she had it the second time, I have been asking why. Why her? Why again? Why weren't our prayers answered? I know that God is in control of our lives, and He has known what will happen from the beginning of our lives, but there are still so many unanswered questions. I just have to remind myself of this verse from Romans 8:28.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

This dear lady was an internet friend who I was lucky enough to meet in person. She lived in my area and we had met in person before her illness. Besides the common interest that brought us to the same message board, our children had a common interest that we talked about. We chatted mostly by email but often by phone too.

When you see only what a person writes online or talk to them occasionally on the phone, you often don't get a real picture of them. What I saw about this woman was her love for her family, her thrifty values, and her helpful nature. What I heard from everyone who spoke at the funeral today reinforced that picture, and I was grateful that I had had a chance to know her. Several people who spoke said she looked for people to help, even people she didn't know. One man likened her to a man who said his daily prayer was that God would lead him to someone who needed his help each day. This person I was lucky enough to call friend did indeed have service as her gift of the Spirit.

Another common interest we shared was John Denver. I don't know which song was her favorite, so I picked one for her today.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Some People Just Don't Get It, Another Craig's List Adventure

About five minutes after we dropped off the u-haul trailer, Lil called. She had seen an ad on Craig's List for a sleigh bed and dresser two counties away. The ad said they were moving today and to make an offer. Lil had called on it earlier and asked what price they were looking for and learned that they had had it listed for $800 because it was really nice furniture from The Room Store. At that name, I heard the faint tinkling of warning bells, but I dismissed them because $800 was so far out of range that I knew Lil wouldn't even consider it. She told the guy that her budget wouldn't allow anything over $400 and he politely said they would call her back if they reconsidered. Evidently they reconsidered about five minutes after we dropped off the trailer.

So we stopped by the house to pick up blankets and plastic wrap just in case this was the one, and headed out. Lil had given me the address which I figured was either an apartment or storage unit because it was on a busy street, but we couldn't find anything with that address. We pulled into a shopping center and I called the guy for better directions. He said it was at the intersection of where we were and the freeway, next to a gas station. Since I didn't see that gas station, I asked if it was on the northeast or northwest side of the intersection. A pause. He didn't know. The warning bells were getting louder.

We drove back to the intersection, found the gas station, and then the apartment complex. It was a gated complex and he had given us his passcode to get through the gate. I'm thinking this guy might not be the brightest bulb in the package, but hey, we were there and Hubby is a big guy and a brown belt, so we go downstairs to the apartment. He led us to the bedroom, which had the mini blinds closed and he turned on the ceiling light, all 40 watts of it. The dresser looked black, but when I got close, I could see a grain in it, so I asked what kind of wood it was, and he said black-brown. Uh huh. The warning bells are really loud now, but it's too late, we are there.

I asked if we could open the blinds to see it better. Ah, that's better. I see that the dresser top has the "black-brown" completely worn off the edges, and there is a big scrape on the top, as well as a corner broken off one drawer. It was a chunk about two by three inches, and under the black-brown was very white, soft wood. The guy thought the chunk was in the drawer and would be easy to fix. Why do they always say something is going to be easy to fix? If it was easy, why didn't they do it before listing it? So then we look at the headboard which has a gash in it revealing that it is made of particle board. Didn't bother to see if the "leather" was real.

The dresser is about three and a half feet tall and five feet wide. The headboard is about five feet tall, and connected to the footboard with rails. He mentioned that they were selling it because the bedroom in the apartment they were moving to was too small. Oh, and because it was heavy. Heavy? I asked. How heavy? Can your wife move it? No, she can help move it if all the drawers are out. I was already thinking Lil wouldn't want it because of the hunk out of the drawer, but this half of the Mom And Dad Moving Company wasn't having any part of moving a heavy piece of furniture UP stairs.

I don't have a poker face, and he must have sensed his sale evaporating, so he tried to clench the deal by telling us it was heavy because it was solid wood. Um, solid particle board says Hubby. Yeah, the guy beamed, it's made really well. I looked at the drawer corner and then looked back at his face. He was seriously deluded. As we left, we thanked him for his time and his passcode. Sure, no problem, he says. After we were back in the truck, Hubby wondered when he would realize he had given his passcode to strangers. I wondered if his wife knew he was home alone with a computer and what's left of their furniture.

Until next time, may you have blessings and furniture you can move by yourself,
Marti

Sunday, May 3, 2009

College Has Changed

Back in the olden days when Hubby and I went to college, we took some clothes, our stereo (portable, with speakers attached), linens, and maybe a plastic storage cube or two, and it all fit in the trunk and backseat of our car. Our parents didn't go with us to help us move in and they didn't go to a parent's orientation (because there wasn't one). We shared a room with a roommate and the community bathroom was down the hall.

When our girls started college and moved into the dorms, they took their clothes, linens, and stereo, along with a tv, a refrigerator, a microwave, a computer, printer, bookshelves, dishes, and small kitchen appliances. Brownie's college specified the size of the refrigerator, but Lil's college only specified the amount of electricity it used, so she got one that was about five feet tall with a separate freezer compartment. Both girls lived in dorm suites, which is a living room and bedrooms, and in Lil's case, also a dining area. Brownie had a roommate in addition to two suitemates, and she and her roommate shared their own bathroom. Lil had her own bedroom and she shared a bathroom with a suitemate, and there were two other suitemates who had the same setup.

Brownie didn't like dorm living, so she moved in with the basics, and moved out at the end of the semester without much more. She still needed our help to move in and out, but it wasn't difficult. Lil's move-in, however, could have been titled "Ellie May Goes to College." Her freshman year, we had both the car and the pickup totally loaded, with the pickup loaded to the top of the cab. At the end of her freshman year, we came down in a pickup and van and it was still packed to the gills. When she went back for her sophomore year, we took two pickups completely loaded. She had summer internships the next two summer, and only had to move from one suite to another. Their last year, she and her roommates decided to get a full kitchen suite so they gathered up even more crap valuable items for the kitchen.

Saturday morning, Hubby and I got up early and rented a u-haul. We used it that morning to drive to the far side of the next county to pick up the living room furniture that Lil bought over Easter break. The neighborhood where she bought the furniture was having a community garage sale. If we had gotten there early in the morning, we probably could have found her a nice bedroom set. As it was, people had just the hard-to-sell stuff left, and a lot of them were packing up before it started raining again. As difficult as it is to drive around a crowded neighborhood pulling a trailer, people are much more willing to negotiate if it is near closing time, they don't want to haul it back inside, and they know they are going to get rid of the item on the spot. Some folks even tried to wave us down to load up the rest of their crap treasures. I bought a patio table and umbrella and two lamps, and from a free box, I picked up a bag of pillar candles, a metal poster-sized picture frame, and a nicely framed poster.

We also learned that when pulling a trailer down car-lined streets it is especially important to look at street signs before turning, and not to turn into any street that ends in CT, aka Court. Cul-de-sacs with no obstructions are a real pain to turn around in with our extended cab pickup, even worse while pulling a twelve-foot trailer. The other drivers in the cul-de-sac didn't seem any more pleased for us to be there than we were, but they finally figured out that they could back up and we couldn't. Or it could have been that they were afraid the peeling paint and many scratches and dents on The Beast were an indication that an uninsured driver was bearing down on their new, unblemished, and payment laden SUVs. In any case, they finally let us out and we started reading street signs.

This morning after it stopped raining, Hubby and I took the u-haul to pick up the contents of Lil's dorm apartment. Graduation is looming and we wanted to beat the rush since we were bringing a trailer this time, and the dorm has no convenient place to load a pickup, much less a pickup pulling a trailer. Luckily, we were the only ones moving out today, maybe it was the threat of rain, or maybe everyone else is waiting until the last day of school. Lil checked out a wagon-style dolly from the dorm, and we had our regular dolly, so we were loaded in record time. And I must say, as silly as it seems to use a u-haul for a college dorm, it is sooooo much better than trying to tie down a bulky load in the back of a pickup.

And with this move, the Mom And Dad Moving and Storage Company is coming to an end. As soon as Lil has procured a bedroom set and we have moved it to our house, we are hanging it up. Her new company pays for her move to Missouri, and it had better not be a POD delivered to our house for us to load.

Until next time, may you have blessings and children with strong friends,
Marti

Friday, May 1, 2009

TMI?

I was watching television yesterday, one of the things I do best, and there was a segment on the morning news about people who make connections and keep up with each other on the internet. There are so many venues now, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and of course blogs everywhere. Most people kept up with others in at least one of these formats, with younger people being more open with their information than older people. That's reasonable, since they grew up with communicating over the internet. What surprised me was one thirty-something woman who thought there was too much information shared online. No, not by putting real names, locations, or other things that would reveal their identity to strangers, but by talking about issues like having cancer, potty training children, financial trouble, or legal problems. She said it made her uncomfortable to read about people's problems, and thought they should keep such personal information to themselves. I wanted to reach through the tv and slap her superficial face.

It reminded me of those Christmas letters people send out where they only tell the good things that happened during the year. I had a friend who did that. Her Christmas letter talked about her wonderful life, how successful her children were in school and sports, how well her husband was doing in his business, and how busy she was in organizations. It was years later that I found out that her husband had been abusing her, one of her daughters had a mental breakdown, another ran away from home, and she got a divorce. If I had known even a part of that over the years, I could have prayed for her, talked to her, and been there for her. I have another friend whose Christmas letter tells mainly about all their illnesses and deaths in the family. Neither of those are too much information, just one-sided.

I think most people my age want to know what is going on in the lives of their friends. That's why we keep up with each other's blogs, connect on Facebook, and even (shock!) meet in person for reunions once or twice a year.