Monday, November 28, 2011

IT'S A WRAP, THE FEAST IS OVER



 We had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebrating with my parents on the East Coast. We weren't sure we were going to make the trip. My husband had been very sick and they live 9 hours away. But it had been quite a while since we had been back home. So we decided it was just what the doctor ordered. My mom pulled out all the stops for our visit making a tableful of favorites. Candied yams, green beans with bacon, oyster stuffing, cranberry sauce, creamed corn, sauerkraut and of course Tom Turkey and crabcakes. Her pies and desserts were out of this world. Coconut Cream, Pumpkin, Cheesecake, Banana Nut and her special Fruitcake. My dad proposed a toast that brought tears to our eyes. He also made a slideshow of  everything that had happened around their house, that we had missed for the past 3 or 4 years. We watched that on TV.  It was so good to be with our family. We talked and talked into the wee hours of the morning. Then when my parents headed off to bed, the hubby and I got adventurous. At 2am we left to do a little bargain hunting on Black Friday.  At our first location, no shopping carts were to be found and there were long lines. But I snagged a toaster oven. The one we have is on it's last leg, so this will be a good replacement. The next place we went to, kind of surprised us. Nobody was there. I kid you not, the place was empty. But they had merchandise out the wazoo, stacked ceiling to floor. It was a blast looking through it all. Nothing we really needed, though, so we left around 5am. We fell into bed exhausted, but pleased with our one find. Gluttons for punishment when we woke up, we ventured out again. I know what you all must think of that. Please don't judge us. Frankly, we were curious if anything GOOD was still left and we were having fun. It takes so little to thrill us. We are on a fixed income and finding a GREAT deal is critical. So we had to scout them out. My hubby managed to pick up an Early Bird special, that was drastically reduced, at the computer store. It was 12 noon and he got the very last one. And he also got a variety of his Keurig K-Cups. Coffee never tasted so good. Meanwhile, I  found a Christmas Tree Shower Curtain and hooks for the bathroom. Just BEAUTIFUL. And a pair of winter boots. We also went grocery shopping for all the things we can't find where we live... stocking up on them, since we don't know when... we are going to pass this way again. Found everything we wanted, EXCEPT for the EGG BARLEY. Apparently the only place to get it is online. Thank goodness for the internet and Cyber Monday. LOL  I just want to say, in closing... there was no drama at any of the stores we went too. People were polite and nice, contrary to what you  hear in the news. It is unfortunate it couldn't be that way everywhere. I'd love to show you pictures of everyone but they are shy and prefer not to be seen online.

So we have WRAPPED up one holiday, putting away the turkey and the trimmings, replacing them with festive Christmas decorations. The countdown has begun. Santa wants to know if you've been naughty or nice.

Monday, November 21, 2011

HAPPY TURKEY DAY

..HAPPY THANKSGIVING..
from my house to yours

 I'm taking a little BLOGGING BREAK to celebrate the holiday. So if you don't see me post here, or commenting on your blogs, do NOT be alarmed. I'll be back DECEMBER 4th or sooner. Meanwhile, enjoy the little video below.


"America's traditions tend to indulge in over-eating, watching too much TV or  shopping. Therefore I suppose it's a MIRACLE that the concept of GIVING THANKS even surfaces at all." REMEMBER 'WHY' WE GATHER TO CELEBRATE. It AIN'T football or Black Friday.

PS). Also check out my other blog http://scooterladyridesagain.blogspot.com/

 

Monday, November 14, 2011

MY AFFAIR WITH eBAY IS OVER

I bet all of you have heard about eBay . And I’d wager some of you have listed your wares there and love it. I used to. I began following the site back at the very beginning. I saw the potential of a giant yard sale online and signed up immediately. I was not disappointed. Listing, wrapping, packing, and shipping became second nature. I sold clothes, jewelry, knicknacs, and books. I became an expert in product photography. Life was good. I didn’t get rich, but I was making a small profit, selling the stuff, I no longer needed from around the house. I expanded my horizons. I was actually able to buy secondhand books for a quarter each at a local store. Then, I turned around and sold them for $8.95 to $14.99 on eBay. Pants... I picked up for $2 on sale at Value City, went for $14.99 to $19.99. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I began hitting garage sales, flea markets, estate sales and local discount stores looking for things to recycle online. My success continued until I decided to make a bigger investment and focus on selling NEW things instead of the old ones. Suddenly everybody else discovered they could do the same thing. And do it, they did. I had real competition. My profit margins shrunk, postage rates increased… and I was stuck with a couple storage areas… full of merchandise I couldn’t move, at any price. After years of eBaying, I quit. But we kept all the stuff, thinking we’d save it to sell in our retirement. We figured it would accumulate in value. It did. But we’ve been paying rent on those two storage areas for more than 14 years. We’ve spent a lot more on that, than anything is worth, inside. When my husband lost his job we knew that had to change. We couldn’t afford to keep them. So we cleared out all the clothes inside one of units donating them to area thrift stores. The pile of flip top boxes they were in was stacked 12 feet high and about 10 feet wide. Covered the whole back wall. It was a lot of clothes, worth thousands of dollars. But I felt donating them to needy folks was the way to go. However that did not empty the units. We still have boxes and boxes of old vases, books, collectibles, floral arrangements, etc. in them. So on a whim… I took a couple boxes home to see what treasures they held. I carefully researched what I had discovered and determined that they were worth listing. So... for the first time in years, I did eBay again. I threw money on my account… for fees eBay would take from each sale. eBay's gotten expensive in regards to sellers. But it's still the only game in town. If you want to sell. You've got to pay. So I began listing. I got two bites. I sold a used table runner for $17 and a vintage cat statue for $40. I was so-oo excited. I had a new job. The old eBay optimism was back. This was going to be the start of something big. It would supplement our Social Security. I was seeing dollar signs. I carefully wrapped and packed the items in anticipation of the big payoff. Then reality hit me squarely in the face. Neither of the two buyers who bid on my merchandise contacted me within the alloted time, after the auctions were over. No payment was made. I waited and waited. Not a peep. Then I complained to eBay. Enough was enough. eBay took action and pestered these people until I eventually got my money. It took forever. All this aggravation. It ain’t worth it to keep paying for the storage units and muddle along with eBay… making a few bucks, here or there. So… I’m contacting an auctioneer and am going to say farewell to this chain around our necks, once and for all. It’s been a long time coming… but it’s the right thing to do. I will be free at last... of the promises made. eBay this is goodbye. Our affair is over. I mean it this time. I really do. You can tease and tempt me... but you can’t LURE me into returning. We are finished. Once upon a time, I LOVED you. And I admit it was fun while it lasted. But sadly, this is the end of our story.

Monday, November 7, 2011

THE BOOMERANG KID

At age 31... our youngest daughter, who is a microbiologist, officially became a BOOMERANG kid. She moved back home with us because she lost her job. Everything she owned went into storage. We paid for it, along with her cell-phone and car insurance. After living with us for about 6 months... she found another job. With our financial help she moved to St. Louis to begin life anew. Within the first week or two there, her employer flew her to Denver for training. They praised her skills. Everything was going great until a new boss came in to run things, a couple months later. Our daughter and that boss had a personality conflict that couldn’t be resolved, so she QUIT working there. With no job, she bummed around, trying to find another. Getting contract work, tided her over for a while. After a year... when her money ran out, she did what she always did,  she called us for help. My husband and I are not spring chickens. But rather than pay someone else to do it... we made the trek to St. Louis, to help her physically move out of her rented townhouse. Destination... our place... once again. Once here, she dug her heels in... refusing to look for local work or helping out around the house. She had a huge chip on her shoulder. We all had a tough time getting along. And no one was happy. She sat online... all day and night... playing World of Warcraft, while we prayed for a solution. About 5 months later she informed us she had found a new position in Tacoma, Washington. This was 2,500 miles away. There was no relocation package. She had no money... so my husband and I had to subsidize the journey there. Then... we also had to pay... for someplace for her to lay her head at night, until she got her first paycheck. Everything was fine until she had chest pains, four months into the new job. She suspected she had had a heart attack. A visit to the doctor confirmed she had an irregular EKG result. She told this to her employer. They suggested she take a medical leave of absence until this was resolved. She agreed. But then... they fired her for not coming to work. Yet... amazingly, they continued to pay her for the duration of her contract. All of this added more stress to our daughter’s situation. While she tried to recuperate her health, it became clear she couldn’t stay there. So she packed up her car... and drove the 2,500 miles back home to us... yet again. She was 33 going on 34. She was supposed to be out on her own, grown up, with a life. Things for all of us became complicated, once more. Old patterns die-hard. Back in her old room upstairs, she acted more like a willfull child instead of an adult. And unfortunately we treated her accordingly. Another year and a half passed. She is now going on 36 years of age. With renewed health... and after circulating thousands of resumes, she finally got a bite. This time it was in Arizona, at a hospital on an Indian Reservation. They were willing to pay for her relocation, and needed her to start at the end of October. She immediately took the job. The movers came in, packed up her stuff and off she went. With nary a look over her shoulder, she barely said goodbye. Before she left, we had a heart to heart talk with her. A little tough love from us, a little too late. We told our daughter... she was going to have to... somehow, someway make it work, this time... whatever happened in Arizona. Now that we were unemployed, and living on Social Security, we couldn’t afford to support her financially anymore. There was no coming home, except for a visit. She said she understood. I really hope she does.  Although we miss her... my husband and I have been readjusting... to the empty nest left here by her absence... quite well. To tell you the truth... it’s been nice, just the two of us. But... we can’t help wondering if the BOOMERANG kid will bounce back and make a go of her life, at long last. Or fail miserably.  Her TRACK RECORD speaks for itself. Our fingers are crossed.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

UNBURDEN MYSELF OF DRUGS



The truth is I have trouble throwing most things away. I always think it will be important later. So I save stuff. But when something is potentially dangerous, like motor oil and old batteries, I do my level best to dispose of it, properly. But what about old or unused medications? For the past 20 years or so, my husband and I have acquired quite a stash. The street value of these meds had to be in the thousands of dollars. I didn’t want them to fall into the wrong hands by dumping them in the trash. And somehow it didn’t seem right to flush them down the toilet either. So I put them in a bag in the closet, adding more to the pile, each time we went to the doctor, and there were leftovers. For a while now I have been complaining to my local pharmacy that I had these old prescribed drugs and had no means to get rid of them. They told me to dump them in the garbage, or boil them in a big pot of water, then flush them down the commode. I recited my mantra about polluting the water supply, hurting fish, wildlife, and even people. And I talked of my paranoia about bad guys ransacking my trash, dumpster diving, finding the meds, then reselling them on the black market or online. My complaints fell on deaf ears. So I just kept filling the bags in the closet. Then I heard some startling statistics. Approximately 70% of kids that abuse drugs, do it, with old precriptions from their family and friend’s medicine chests. Another half a million children, aged 5 and under, will be poisoned by household medications. How sad. Because my daughters are grown and our visits with the grandchildren are usually at their houses, locking up our medications isn’t necessary here. But, I was wary of the fact there seemed to be no solution for this disposal problem, I had. Then, imagine my complete surprise, when out of the blue, a DISPOSE MEDS PROGRAM Flyer showed up in my grocery bag last week. The program was being sponsored by the College Of Pharmacy at a local University. They were setting up booths around town to collect old medications from local residents. Police would be on hand to assure proper transfer of the drugs. According to the college, everything would be disposed of with high temperature incineration in a contained vessel, not hurting the environment. This clinched the deal. Years of worry were over. I was delighted to finally unburden myself, and the bathroom closet of 12-15 lbs. of old pills. GOOD RIDDANCE.