Super SCORE!

We visited my mom yesterday, as we typically do every other Sunday.  Her bee in her bonnet yesterday was to make us sit with her for hours while she sifted through boxes of old photos and artwork.  I came away with a really nice Japanese scroll, a bunch of Thai temple rubbings, and one heck of a gorgeous Japanese print she’d never gotten framed that I will.  The Japanese print will have to be framed, and kept away from sunlight so that the freakin’ gorgeous blues do not fade.  The Thai rubbing are somewhat fragile, but no more so than those brass rubbings I made myself in a church a block or two off Piccadilly Circus in the ’70s, for anywhere from 1-6 pounds each, depending upon their size.  I have loads of those.  Most of them are still unframed.

The Thai temple rubbings are probably worth more than my brass rubbings, but the main thing is that I love all of them.  I don’t think there’s anything odd about mixing Native American, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and English wall and knick-knack art in my house.  It’s what I grew up with, instead of hippy-dippy flower power stuff.

*UPDATE* Hmm … A Day Early

I have three things on order, two of which were supposed to be delivered tomorrow, and one on Saturday.  All three are now rescheduled for a day earlier.  Fed-Ex is usually pretty good, but the post office is another matter (and it’s not my mailman’s fault for that).

The part that sucks is that I need to go run an errand, but dare not leave the house until the Fed-Ex delivery is made.  I might need to ask the delivery guy if he can haul it into the house for me.  What’s weird is that the online listing said the item weighs 130 lbs., but Fed-Ex tracking shows its shipping weight as 45 lbs., with a much smaller box size than it should be, so I’m not completely sure what to expect.  It wasn’t supposed to arrive in multiple packages.  I can still lift nearly half my weight, even packed into an awkwardly large box, but if it really does only weigh 45 lbs., what’s missing?  If it weighs nearly 30 lbs. more than I do, there’s no effin’ way I can haul it into the house by myself w/o going out to the barn to fetch the hand cart.

At the very least, I’ll have to open the box and take inventory.  If there is some screw-up, I’ll need to let the seller know.  I’m sure the seller will rectify it, if that’s the case.  This is the outdoors patio sectional sofa and coffee table with a thick glass top, so it’s not as if I need to have to have it ready for a cookout party anytime soon.


Okay, the Fed-Ex delivery guy showed up a few minutes ago, with three large packages.  Our dog barked up a storm to let me know that he was here.  He appeared to be in his 70s, and was a skinny, wiry guy.  I asked him if he thought he could get the packages over my threshold for me.  He looked at it (it’s ~8″ tall over that stone step), assessed the situation, and said “Sure.”  I took it from there, and squiggled each one out of the way to make room for the next one.  Neither our dog, nor our “Houdini” escape artist cat got loose.  I thanked him profusely.  That delivery guy was the best!  Wow.

Another Off-Season Sale

I was raised by my “Great Depression Baby” parents to value a good bargain, but not be “penny-wise and pound foolish.”  This is why I might buy Halloween candy on Nov. 1, or Valentine’s Day candy on Feb. 15, for half price, but won’t blow money on something cheap (in more ways than one) just because it’s inexpensive.  Do I need it?  Do I have a use for it?  If it’s not a grocery item, like a fresh whole turkey or chicken marked down to $0.67/pound from $0.99 at Aldi, before its sell-or-freeze-by date, it has to have long term use.  Otherwise, I’ll take a pass on it.

This is why I was thrilled to find a six piece outdoor patio sectional sofa, including cushions, and a thick glass top for the coffee table piece, for almost 70% off.  It got 90%+ five star reviews from over 60 “verified purchasers.”  Evidently, it’s really rock solid sturdy.  I’m sure the reasons it’s such a bargain right now are:  1) it’s January in snow country, and 2) it requires assembly.  The alternatives that caught my eye required no assembly, and were nice sofas, but were not reconfigurable sectionals, didn’t come with the coffee table, and cost nearly twice as much.

I’m really good at assembling furniture.  Why in blazes would I pay another $160 to have it assembled for me upon delivery?  This comes with the hardware and tools necessary to assemble it, so I don’t even have to go rifling through my own tools to find the right wrench sizes.  Assembly won’t even require breaking out one of my power tools.

I would not want a sectional sofa and coffee table inside my house, because it would clash with our antiques, but for the patio, its fine.  It’s more comfortable, and friendlier seating than sitting in opposing chairs around an outdoors dining table, or a picnic table, when we have neighbors over for a cookout.

We still have all the patio furniture my parents gave me after they sold my childhood house, and moved into a retirement community.  All of that is circa 1970-1971.  It’s excellent furniture.  They bought it when they had the previous owners of their house’s rose garden ripped out, replaced it with a patio, and enclosed the screened in porch.  There’s no need to get rid of that furniture.  But, it only takes up one end of our main patio.  This entire sectional, plus coffee table, won’t take up much more space along the wall than the two cord wood rack we have there during winter.  The wood rack gets moved back down to the barn when the weather is warm enough to no longer want fires in the wood burning stove in the living room.

I’m rather excited about this.  Kit furniture isn’t challenging to assemble.  Might take me an hour overall by myself to accomplish, but that’s about it.  I will pay someone professional to disassemble, move, reassemble, and level a three slate top pool table with the felt, pockets, etc. (and I did pay two guys to do that for a very reasonable cost, plus tip), but not something as idiot proof as this.  It’s supposed to be delivered on Friday.  As long as I can catch the delivery person, and ask if he can bring it around back, all will be good.

A Challenger for State Rep

We got a mailer yesterday from a guy in our legislative district for state representative, who wants to take on the incumbent.  His “Why I’m running” statement is the usual vague gobbledygook about wanting to eliminate corruption, “unreasonable debt,” and “ensure the same opportunities are preserved for our children and grandchildren.”

What would those opportunities be?  To get elected to partake of that corruption?

The guy is maybe in his early-mid 40s, with two girls under the age of 10, judging by the family picture on the mailer.  His career to date is a mish-mash.  He advised Rand Paul for a year or so, then investigated Medicaid fraud in another state.  He moved his young family here from D.C., and opened up a small real estate investing business, does some independent consulting, and writes for local and national publications.  His experience seems all over the map to me.

IMO, real estate investing businesses can be a bit shady.  Some involve using investor money to flip distressed properties; others involve buying up rental properties (mostly apartment buildings), and reeling in investors to become shareholder-type landlords of god-knows-what.

Still, I want to hear him explain more about what he thinks is wrong with our current state rep, who is in the same party.  He’s holding four events in early-mid February, one of which is a mere mile down the road from me at our local pub.  I think I’ll attend.  My other half has a prior commitment that day.  Complimentary buffet-style food and beverage will be provided.  My guess, having eaten supper there many times over the years, is that it’ll be appetizers, salad, mac & cheese, and maybe pizza cut into hors d’oeuvre sized pieces, with nothing alcoholic served, unless we order and pay for a brewski ourselves at the bar.

That’s fine, but that’s not why I intend to go.  I want to find out what this guy’s all about, and why he thinks our current state rep is so awful that he needs to oust her.  There are three ways to RSVP.  Two involve emailing or sending back a postcard via snail mail that wants our name(s), email, phone number, and employer’s name.  Um, NO!  The third option is to show up with the mailer in hand.  That, I can do.  I’ll simply need to take a Sharpie to black out our name and address.  I’m sure that will be sufficient to gain entry, especially since at this point, his primary goal is to gain enough signatures to get his name on the ballot.  There’s no obligation to sign anything, contribute anything to his campaign, or volunteer to do anything for him, although he’d be thrilled to have us do any or all of that.

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Just last weekend it hit 68F, but today it’s snowing with a vengeance.  It’s about time!  The three previous snows we’ve gotten this season amounted to not much more than a dusting, which quickly melted.  This one started with a few flakes less than an hour and a half ago, and is accumulating pretty quickly.

At least it’s happening over a weekend during which we don’t have to drive to another state to visit my mother.  If we get enough accumulation to have to get out the big tractor with its snowblower attachment tomorrow for the driveway, I might be able to go out and make snow angels, and even do a little XC skiing in the yard (the acreage is nice and hilly), after I get done shoveling the patio, deck, and front of the house.  Of course, the first time I go out XC skiing every year, I come back with rubber band knees, and end up with leg muscles that ache for the next two days, but it’s worth it.  Unfortunately, our pond never freezes over thick enough to shovel off, and go skating on it, which would also be fun.

Hello, winter wonderland!

Two Weeks in to 2020

This past week has been a comedy of errors, of sorts.  First world problems really, but still funny in their own way.  Several items I ordered during the post holiday sales either arrived, or didn’t.

In one case, the seller skipped out on the order, and never bothered to ship it within two weeks, although it was supposed to be delivered a week ago, so I have a case open to refund my purchase price.  That will happen in a few days.  In another case, Wayfair shipped a decorative pillow that FedEx evidently delivered somewhere ~a mile away from me, going by their GPS driver tracking when I contacted them, and they were not able to recover it to redeliver to me within three days, so Wayfair is sending me a replacement for free.  In another case, I ordered five scented candles from a guy over in Pennsylvania Dutch country, who is a wonderful chandler (fantastic jar candles, with super fast shipping), but two of them arrived with broken jars.  He’s sending me free replacements for those two, including shipping, even though they are still burnable, as long as they’re set in a ceramic cachepot that will collect any remaining loose glass shards or leaking wax.  One last case involved something of which I ordered, and was charged for two, but received three.  The seller told me to keep the extra; it was so inexpensive an item that the postage wasn’t worth returning it.

So, with all that … 2020 is working out well so far.

One thing that is questionable is that my mom wants out of the retirement community in which she lives in a different state, and thinks she wants to move near me, egged on by a cousin of mine whose previous career was in nursing home/retirement community administration.  We checked it out, brought her brochure material, etc.  It’s supposedly a good one, but it’s out in the frickin’ sticks, and there is no way she can get to the community center to get her meals without going outdoors, which she does not want to do in winter.  Also, her bank does not do business in this state, she’d have to get a dozen new doctors and a dentist, and make all new friends if she was ever able to move there.  Her only reason for making us go through the motions is that she wants me back under her thumb.  She likes the floor plans of the apartments, but refuses to walk outside, even across the street to get her meals, so it’s probably a no-go, anyway.  Besides, she couldn’t go grocery shopping within a five mile radius, unless I drove over to pick her up and take her shopping, which is very sparse in that area, anyway.  She still has a car, and drives, but won’t do it more than three blocks from where she currently lives, which really is a good thing, given that she can’t turn her neck very far, to look side to side.

Happy 2020

It’s only three day in, but so far 2020 is going well.  We roasted our duck for NYE, as we have done for over two decades.  It was delicious, moist, and not greasy.  As usual, I managed to pop the cork on the champagne right at the stroke of midnight.  We didn’t have any pinot noir to go with the duck, but the malbec my in-laws gave us back in May worked out quite well.  It didn’t overpower the duck, and the duck didn’t overpower it.

My post-Christmas sale holiday decorations have mostly arrived.  If you want Halloween candy, buy it on Nov. 1.  If you want Christmas decorations, buy them between Christmas and New Year’s.  One item I bought is still on sale, but now the sale price is $15 more than I paid for it last week.  All decorations but one have been tested, and are working.  One set of icicle lights (I ordered two sets) does not work, but Wayfair is replacing that one set for me for free, and I don’t have to return the non-working set.

I suppose I can use its bulbs for replacements on other incandescent strings of mini-lights as they fail, but the string itself will not light.  The working set was obviously unopened, but the non-working set had obviously been opened, unstrung, the spare bulbs removed, the whole thing just stuffed back into the packaging, willy-nilly, returned, then shipped to me.  As long as Wayfair’s replacing it for free, it’s no big deal.  I’ll test the replacement set, then stick it in a closet until December, anyway.  FWIW, I also got an email from Wayfair offering me a 10% off discount code on my next order tom make up for the one with the bum set of lights.  May not use it, but if there is something I want that’s already on mega-sale, I’d be stupid not to use it.

Boxing Day

We survived Christmas.  Of course there was a disaster when we were leaving my mom’s place, and packing our catering gear and leftovers that mom didn’t want back in the truck.  The cooler made it fine, but my other half tripped in the driveway and dropped the triple crock pot thingy.  Two of the ceramic inserts shattered, and scattered stuffing and mixed vegetables all over the driveway, but mostly underneath the truck.  Miraculously, all three glass lids survived intact.  My other half borrowed a dustpan from my mom to scrape up what he could reach.  Mom didn’t even think to ask what he needed it for.  I wonder whether she’s discovered some peas, carrots, and stuffing on her driveway yet.  Maybe the birds and raccoons got it all, overnight.

Mom was delighted with her slipper booties, Harry & David apples and pears, and a six month’s supply of Dr. Scholl’s corn cushions.  We also let her pick out a jar of honey from an assortment we got at the Cape May Honey Farm.  Evidently, the Dr. Scholl’s are the only ones that stay put all day, and mom has trouble finding them, because all the pharmacies now carry their own brands, which don’t stay on.  I think she was more thrilled to receive those than the fruit or slippers.

This year, I had the food prep more under control than ever before.  I did the desserts and cran-apple sauce a day ahead, so all that was left for Christmas day was the bird, and the fixin’s.  The only thing last minute was carving the bird, and wrapping it up in foil.

Our neighbors brought over a large plate of Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve day, so that made for a third dessert — eight kinds of cookies, plus some walnut fudge squares.  That woman is a fantastic baker.  To reciprocate, I gave them a box of gourmet chocolates.  My mom, who insists she can’t eat chocolate because of the caffeine content (which is minimal compared to coffee or tea) indulged in one of the little squares of fudge.  Have you ever seen an 89 year old woman practically *squee* like a little girl?  LOL.

I managed to find some replacement ceramic inserts for the crock pot trio this morning, so no harm done.  Yes, it’s easier to cry over spilled milk than put it back in the bottle, so to speak, but it’s even easier to get a new bottle of milk.  All is well.  On to the next holiday — New Year’s.  We always roast a duck for that, and watch the Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy.

Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas

The two coincide this year, which is nice.  As usual, I sent a John & Kira’s gift tower of gourmet chocolates in to the office.  We always get some for ourselves, so what goes to the office gets split up between the boss and the office manager.  The office manager is in Israel right now, so hopefully the boss will leave some for her.  He and his wife go absolutely gaga over those chocolates.  It was rather funny that he called to ask whether he could bring some home for his wife.  Well, of course!  Fortunately, I placed my order before they jacked the prices $10 for the holidays, and delayed delivery until last week.

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, here’s a cover of a Billy Squier Christmas song from a friend of mine.  She’s the one singing, and playing violin.

All I Want for Christmas Is …

A bag of rock salt, and some new dish towels.  I’m dead serious.  We’re due for another snowfall, and parts of our steep driveway that don’t get sun get icy.  That can make it tricky to get out onto the road.  Rock salt comes in handy.  Our dish towels have gotten so ratty that they’re ready for dipstick duty.

If I had received anything like that when I was a kid, it would have been as unwelcome as a pair of socks, when I wanted an erector set.  My spatial visualization and mechanical skills did not suffer as a result of getting socks, but what a letdown that was.

Now, I appreciate practical things.  Yeah.  Rock salt rocks.  Dish towels don’t, but they are useful year ’round, instead of for three or four months.  *shrug*