Friday, August 13, 2010

I couldn't help but to share the lovely deals.

We visited the thrift store today.  Hubs worked late.  K- and I had some time to kill and Hubs was down to one pair of shorts for work.

We needed to fix that situation.

Aside from purchasing Hubs three pair of khaki shorts for $4.50, a pair of denim shorts for me for $1.00, a couple of pairs of jammie pants for less than $2.00 and a Land's End fleece nightgown for K- for winter for $2.00, we cashed in on the kids game and book section.

What's Gnu?  Would have been $19.99, but we paid $1.25.  It is missing one letter tile, but I thought that was completely doable since they are three letter words anyhow.

Scrabble Junior (Brand new-- Still sealed in the box) Would be $15.99, but we paid $2.00.

Veggie Tales Minnesota Cuke 100 piece puzzle (Though the box is open, it appears completely brand new and yes, I did count the pieces in the store.)  Sticker on the side from Berean says $4.99.  We paid 20 cents.

Animal Antics "Now I'm Reading!" for beginning readers 10 phonics books- short-vowel sounds  (Seems very lightly used and the Border's price tag on the back says $14.99.)  We paid 25 cents.

Maya and Miguel The Lucky Easter Hat Level 2  Price is $3.99, but we paid 25 cents.

A Child's Book of Birds (An old library book, but one worth having for K-.)  25 cents.

And for my nieces and nephew I found:

Camp Rock, The Junior Novel (For my 9 year old niece) Price tag $4.99, but paid 25 cents.

Once Upon a Potty- Boy (For my 16 month old nephew) Price tag $5.99, but paid 25 cents.

Frog on a Log Phonics Reader (For my soon-to-be a first grader niece) Price tag $6.95, but paid 25 cents.

With all that I bought, I paid a hair above $15.00, but I really think that I cashed in!  :)  Had to share my finds! 

(This is my second post for the day, so read on.)

Haiku Friday: The dental unit

My pearly whites,
Grinding, clinching, damaging,
Must have one fixed.

Remember that month long migraine that I had in early summer that finally came down to my clinching and grinding my teeth?  Well, apparently I ground a divot into my tooth, causing a very minor crack.  It can be refilled and stabilized for now, but eventually I will need a crown.  I promised Dr. Rick that I've learned my lesson and that yes, I am wearing my night guard rather religiously now.  Ugh.

On a sunshiny note, K- came through with flying colors.  NO CAVITIES!!!  That is something that the entire office breathes a sigh of relief about every time we visit.  Her crack baby soft teeth are something that all of us hover over, so we give her a fluoride treatment, wipe our foreheads and look toward the next cleaning on March 3. 

Smiles in my day:
-  Great dental coverage. 
-  The crock pot meatloaf worked, but it is definitely a 4 1/2 - 5 hour cook only on low.  That one I won't be able to leave unattended when I go to work.  Good to know.  It will be one of the things that I make for my mom and dad when Mom is off after her surgery.  Hubs loved it and asked that it be put in the regular rotation.  (Yes, I've made meatloaf before, but the crock pot version was actually much more moist.)
-  It rained!  The plants were looking a little dry.
-  The sheets made it yesterday without getting rained on.  (I know that I was thankful for the rain just above, but when my sheets are out drying and I'm not home, I'd like the rain to hold off.)  I was so desperate to keep my sheets dry (I only have one regular set and one flannel set for our bed.  I'm a bit of a sheet snob, so I'd rather go without than have cheap sheets) that I called the neighbor to be my line runner if the rain came. 
-  Laundry all done and hanging on the inside lines.
-  I cleaned today with only the kitchen remaining. 
-  Mom is in better spirits today about the upcoming surgery.  She's looking forward to my pile o' books arriving for her and happy that she'll be living by delivered crock pot for a few weeks.  Frankly, mom needed a bit of a break and I'm sad that she has to have major surgery to get one.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A bit of a mom update

Mom is scheduled to have her hysterectomy on August 26 at 11 AM.  If you could keep that in your prayers, it would be great.

I was concerned about mom over doing it.  She's a mom and she was talking about not wanting to spoil anyone's plans of coming down to the river property (basically a big family campsite).  There are a couple of big weekends coming up and the likelihood that mom will be able to participate is pretty much gone.  Hopefully, family can understand that.  I fear that one family member wanted mom to have her surgery held off until after a big river weekend in September.  Argh.

Mom's friend was very honest with her.  She was honest with her in a way we couldn't be.  Mom needs to rest.  She needs to take it easy to let her body properly heal.  I'm thankful that Brenda talked with her about it. 

Mom will be having the full blown surgery as opposed to the laparoscopic option.  Though laparoscopic is less invasive, it renders the tissue fairly unusable regarding biopsies.  That isn't what we want.

That's what we have.  I'll let you know more when I more to tell.

Smiles in my day:
-  K- and Hubs had a second Happy Daddy Day this week.  They were able to go to a farm, hiking and play miniature golf.  They had a great day!
-  When they got home, they saw that the chrysalis that we had brought in a few days ago had turned into a beautiful butterfly. 
-  I was able to make it through the rest of the store today with my boss who has been having some health issues.  I wiped her out and had to drive her home!  She was okay, though.  She said that she was going to go in to take a nap in her La-z-boy chair. 

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I've been preparing for our upcoming sale at work.  I've been hauling and moving things.  It never ceases to amaze me the number of people that will just reach over top of me or around me as I'm resetting displays. 

Deep breath in.  Deep breath out.

Remember that I'm the resident claustrophobic blogger.  I was polite and just got up and left the room to give them more space to shop. 

That is one of my number one pet peeves, though.  If someone would only ask or say excuse me, it would make it a better thing. 

Smiles in my day:
-  The conclusion of Hell's Kitchen and the continuation of Master Chef.  Hubs and I have a TV date.
-  K- had a great time with Aunt Annie today.  My niece, J-, announced that, "We would like to have K- come over more often."  Very sweet.  My sister is pressing for an overnight.  She wants to be on the top of the list.  We haven't let go yet.  Someday, though.  (Yes, she has been with me every single day/night of her life other than her first day and a half of life.)
-  Leftovers for dinner and enough for lunch tomorrow.
-  My sister gave us a load of smaller cut branch pieces for our fire pit.  They are set for wood for a few years and wanted to share their wealth of woodness. 

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tales from the Trenches: Hornworms and a hysterectomy

I've grown tomatoes for years.  I've never once had a problem with tomato hornworms, but noticed a green caterpillar on my tomato plant about 2 weeks back.  Deciding to give it the benefit of the doubt, I had K- relocate it to a plant out back. 

It came back and brought some of it's sumo wrestler sized caterpillar friends.  They were having a Thanksgiving feast on the leaves of the plants.  Believe me, they were working fast.

Don't know if you are familiar with the hornworm, but I've heard tales for years about my organic chicken farmer friend having battles with them.  She picks them and feeds them to her chickens.  We don't have chickens to feed them to, but I did confirm with Hubs that they are one of his approved bugs that can go.  (We love all creatures and really do our best not to spray or deter them from coming to visit.)  I suggested the next best thing. 

The neighbor's koi pond. 

The neighbor wasn't completely convinced, but complied when I promised to dig dead worms out of his pond if they remained.

Later he reported that they loved them.


Be gone from my tomato plants or the lovely cardinals and koi will enjoy you for supper. 

Thank you.

Now for the hysterectomy part. The end story to my mom's bit is that she called to announce that she has to have a hysterectomy. I told her that I wasn't a bit surprised and I was fine with her going in and having it taken care of before something like chemotherapy would need to be done. She said that Billy told her the same. Actually, it seems that each of us (4 in all) basically told mom the same thing.

So the hollowing out of mom is to be done soon. She wants it out now because of the amount that the fibroid grew in just the three months. Her consultation with the surgeon/specialist want swimmingly. She really liked him and loved that he told her that he wasn't as concerned about the tale of the lost ovary. Apparently, after menopause, they can just shrink up. Who knew? He talked to my mom about the hysterectomy and told her that she hasn't used the parts in years, so why would she want bad stuff hanging around anyhow?  He stated that she has a thickening of the wall which could be a precursor to troubles later. 

Mom already started fretting about my birthday and my sister's birthday. She said that she's afraid that we're going to have to bake our own cakes. I told her that Hubs buys me a Dairy Queen cake every year anyhow, so this year he can just buy a bigger one. I told her not to sweat it. I told her that I would rather have her okay and a birthday cake is something that I can handle.

"But I'm going to be off 6 weeks and what am I going to do about Christmas presents? You might end up with something from Goodwill!" "I don't care. I've given you things from the thrift and you didn't know it." (A beautiful tart burner from Yankee Candle for Easter one year.)

I should pause to remind that in my house, the gift doesn't have to be new. Hubs buys used CD's and DVD's. He bought me a beautiful sweater and toasty fleece from the thrift once. K- has gotten gently loved games from Santa (though they looked brand new.) New is certainly not a requirement in any way. It is the love and thoughtfulness behind the gift that is important to us.

At any rate, I believe that we've confirmed to mom that her presence is way more important than her worrying about what gifts she'll be passing on or what camping weekends we may or may not be able to have together for this season. She's mama. We want her. The rest of the stuff can be done at a different time.

I talked with my sister this evening about each one of us taking a night in the week on an every other night basis to provide a two night meal for my mom and dad. In rotation, it would only be once a week for each of us. One night would give my dad some leftovers for lunch, too. LeAnne, Dumpy and I live closer. It won't be an issue for us. For Billy, he lives about 20 minutes out, works about 25 minutes out and he and his girlfriend share a car. We'll figure it out, but at least I put a bug in my sister's ear.

Speaking of my sister, she's on deck to watch K- for the day tomorrow.  My mother-in-law is unable to watch her (a rare thing), so my sister is trading me child care for a back pack.  (I insisted that she be compensated somehow for a full day of childcare.)  In the AM, they'll be stacking wood at someones house, so K- will be dropped off there.  After, there will be swimming (the pool is only filled to about 3 feet and no one is permitted in without an adult in direct supervision) and playing and much fun to be had by all.  K- is very excited and has been counting down the days.  I also made a batch of granola to take. 

With that, I have towels to fold.  They are my only dryer item, as the rest gets the line dry treatment.  I was standing outside, folding my laundry this evening and chuckling at what the neighbors must have thought when there was still snow on the ground in March and my sheets were flapping in the wind.  Oh how I love to line dry the clothes.  I miss the outside lines in the winter.  I still have the inside, but they don't have the same ozone-y type smell. 

Smiles in my day:
-  My mom finding a surgeon that she likes.  It was nice that the surgeon confirmed that everything that my mother's practice did was correct. 
-  Hubs got to have a nice Happy Daddy Day with K-.  They went to the Prehistoric Dinosaur Park and to Marblehead to the beach to swim.  It's a bit of a hoof and a haul, but they had a great time.
-  K- has started getting our gentle reminders that she needs to use her words and not flip out.  Some day the flip outs will end, right?
-  Hearing K- reading to herself.  Walking through the house, doing chores, and listening to her sounding words out.  Since I'm not standing right over her, I don't know if all the words are correct, but the important thing is that she is choosing to read on her own and is truly working on it.  That right there is good stuff.

Have a great day!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The success of my yard sale.

A quick 7:15 AM shot before the crazy day of Friday began.

It always amazes me that you can take a bunch of needless-to-you items, slap them on some tables and whatnot in your yard, people WILL come and WILL pay you for your stuff.  I love it. 

I'll start with what you really want to know.  How much did I make?  $276.00.  That is not at all a bad haul.  My plans for the cash that we raised is to take $150.00 to purchase K- a savings bond towards her college education and the remaining to go into kitchen spiff stuff. 

The sale started before the sale.  My neighbor told me that he would list our Burley Cub Bike Trailer on Craig's List.  I'd never done Craig's List before and frankly, it has gotten a bit of a bad rap from some bad apples out there.  In the end, the gentleman who said that he wanted it came with his wife and 4 1/2 month old daughter.  They are so excited.  He paid us $100.00 for it, when we know darned well that we would have never fetched that from having a yard sale alone.  Thanks, Don!  (Yes, the sale of the bike trailer is included in the total amount above.)

We were all out on Thursday night setting up.  Hubs was able to borrow two EZ-Up tents for us (no garage) and some tables.  As we were setting up, a guy and his wife came through to see if they could look.  It was dark, I was getting eaten alive by mosquitoes and couldn't believe that he was actually for real.  Well, and we looked like the big top circus had come to town. 

After he left, Hubs went in with K-, had her taking a bath and it started to rain.  Hubs insisted that it wasn't supposed to but it did and rather vigorously for a bit.  Since we had two 10 x 10 tents cable tied together, it leaked down the seam where they were butted together.  One place on the roof gathered water and I had to stand up to push it off, as it was leaking on my stuff.  Over all, most things remained dry and I was thankful to have the opportunity to set up the night before.

Friday morning started bright und earlie (as we say in our house.)  I was out wiping things off and getting things ready to go before 7 AM.  Sure enough, our first folks came through at 7:15 AM.  There was a slow, but steady flow from there.  I had a woman at about 8 AM (our sale was actually set to start at 9) ask me, "How firm are you on that price for the stroller?"  I was selling a Baby Trend Expedition Jogging Stroller.  I had researched it online the night before.  I knew what a new one was worth.  ($139.00)  "I'm very firm.  It's just the start of sale and technically, the sale hasn't really even started yet."  "Oh."  I had another guy in later.  "I'll give you $15.00 for your stroller."  (I had it tagged at $25.00.)  "I'll take $22.00."  "You mean that you won't take $15.00."  "It's a $140.00 stroller."  He started some mumbling and grumbling at me.  "Well sir, I know what I have and I know what it is worth."  He told me that he would be back at end of sale on Saturday.  You'd be glad to know that the stroller did sell for $25.00 without a quibble.  Many women came in and told me that it was a wonderful price. 

This past fall, I purchased a big wooden disk swing for K-.  Hubs was thinking that he was going to build her a play set, but in the end the nice Amish men sold us one for basically we would have paid to build one.  The disk swing didn't work on it, though.  Hubs tossed it into our pile on Thursday night and I plunked a $15.00 tag on it.  A woman offered me $10.00.  She was stunned when I wouldn't take $10.00.  "Ma'am, this is a $33.00 swing that I bought in anticipation of building a swing set for our daughter.  We bought an Amish set instead and this didn't work with it.  I'll take $13.00."  She paid $13.00 for it and I admit that in the end, I at least broke even.  She didn't really need to know that I bought it on clearance for $13.00.

This past spring, we had some internet issues.  The neighbor had us purchase a wireless antenna and a range expander.  In the end, we couldn't use them and couldn't return them because of Best Buy being a horrible place to purchase things.  On the antenna, I had marked that we paid $50.00 and marked it to $30.00.  "I'll give you $20.00 for the antenna."  "I'll take $25.00."  The man looked at me stunned.  "Sir, I bought those new this spring.  We couldn't use them and couldn't return them because they were in an open box.  At $25.00, you get it at 1/2 price."  He bought it.

The one big sale that delights me most is the sale of my Coach bag.  That bag was snagged by my mother-in-law from my sister-in-law's garage sale in Chicago.  She had all of her Coach bags for sale for $2.00 each.  (Insane, I know.)  I carried the bag for 7 years.  My sister-in-law had carried it previous to that.  In the end, for what was probably a 12 year old bag that I lovingly mink-oiled prior to the sale, I sold it.  I had it tagged for $25.00, which Hubs thought was ridiculous for a bag at a yard sale.  The lady asked me, "Would you consider taking $20.00 for the Coach bag?"  "Oh, absolutely!"  She was thrilled.  She had her money and her cell in her hand, put her belongings in the bag, put it directly on her body, paid me and went away happy.  I did mention to her that I swore that it was real.  "Oh, I could see that!"  We were both happy.  It was making me no money by sitting in my closet.  It needed to go. 

My mother-in-law was funny.  She put some items in the yard sale for me to sell, which I picked up on Wednesday.  I was up until 2 AM Thursday morning pricing and evaluating my own items, as well as re-pricing my mother-in-law's items.  She had a baby gate marked to $1.50, which I re-priced to $7.00.  She had bed rails marked way too cheap, too.  She laughed that I sold them for the higher price with no quibbling.

What I found most interesting is that Friday was by far way busier than Saturday.  Friday had such a constant flow that it was difficult to even eek in time to run to the bathroom.  It rained off and on on Friday, which left me to putting the sides up and down on the tents. 

A funny end to my Friday was one lady who seemed to need a lot of assistance.  She needed me to explain everything.  Then, she got to the bag of wine bottles I had out for free.  (I was going to craft with them, but never had the time.)  She wanted to know if I had any from Italy.  I did find one, then she wanted a green one.  I dug through the free bag o' bottles and found her a green one.  "How much are they?"  "They are free."  "Oh, well, do you at least have the corks for these?!"  "Um, no.  They are free."  So after we dealt with that, I asked if she wanted a bag.  "Yes and wrap those bottles up well so that they don't clang around in my car as I'm driving."  Really?  I did wrap them with a little paper, was struggling to get them in the bag, but she offered not a spot of help.  I took a deep breath and wished her a great day of shopping. 

At about 3 PM on Saturday, I started parting pieces of yard sale leftoverness into bags for people that we knew.  Bethany got a bag, as did Lena and Julianna (her brand new baby sister), Grace and Anna.  We delivered all but Anna's, but did leave hers at church with her grandparents.  I packed up boxes of homegoods into the back of the RAV.  Don, the neighbor who organized the sale, asked where we were going.  I told him to the Goodwill drop and asked him if he wanted me to take anything.  He loaded me down with about 50 pressed and starched dress shirts (he is a retired Dean from one of the local colleges) and a couple mink coats.  I drove them up to the Goodwill drop and started carrying things to the man in the drop trailer.  "Don't you have any bags?"  "No."  [insert humph from him]  I carried the shirts in chunks because they were heavy.  I then started carrying one of the two boxes of homegoods over.  It was a big box and one top flap that I had been carrying was giving way.  "You know, you guys can't bring boxes overflowing like that!  Those are entirely too heavy!"  I tried to ignore him, but he kept grumbling.  I carried the next box over and placed it on the floor of the trailer.  He was humphing and belly aching.  "Sir, I'm not even 5'1" and I'm about 125 pounds and somehow I can manage to carry these things over to you just fine."  "But I have to lift them above my head," says the trailer attendant who wasn't wearing his attendant shirt, but rather a button down shirt that was left unbuttoned and flapping in the wind.  I walked to my truck grumbling about how you would think that he would be pleased that we were donating.  I walked back to the stairs and stood there.  "Yes?"  [add a snotty tone] "Um, do you still give out receipts?"  "Oh, yes." Really?  This is the first time that I've gone to this Goodwill drop in the nearly 11 years that we have owned our home that I've been treated like this.  He never left the trailer.  Never offered to help unload anything and complained about everything.  Don called later to see how the drop went.  I told him and he called me later to say that he had e-mailed Goodwill about the attendant.  I have to truly tell you that if they remain having that man as an attendant, I will be taking my donations elsewhere.  Ugh.

My neighbor went up to the Goodwill drop today to leave off some more items.  He ended up discussing the matter with the attendant there, who happened to be the supervisor.  He said that he'll be writing up the problem.  I certainly don't want anyone to lose their job, but if you are being paid to take donations for a place that depends upon donations to resell to help those in need, don't be so mean and unhelpful!  The neighbor told the attendant that he considered leaving his items at another donation drop and he asked him please not to.  I do believe that the matter has been officially handled.

In the end, I find myself exhausted, but pleased.  K- had a brownie stand.  She sold brownies for 25 cents a piece and ended up pulling in almost $18.00.  She learned valuable lessons on making a product, packaging to sell, the disappointment that not everyone wants your product, and the need to make change.  She ended up taking her profit (I told her it was all hers to spend as she wanted) to Hallmark and took advantage of their 60% off Zhu Zhu pet sale.  She managed to purchase 3 additional Zhu Zhu pets and a truck with a surf board for just a handful of change more than she made.  We now have Jilly (the one she already owned), Scoodles, Nugget and Winkie living with us.  It is the most bizarre toy, but she loves them and we are thankful that we accidentally found out about the clearance sale that they had. 

Smiles in my weekend:
-  Listed above. 

Have a great day!