Friday, September 16, 2016

An Epiphany to Share With You

Friends...I had this epiphany (a Judge Judy word)
today that I feel I must share with you.
Just an insightful vision.


Say your car needs some gas, so you decide to stop
at the QT to fill up.
And say you devise a great plan to
1. Start the gas to pumping, and whilst it is doing so,
2. Run in to the convenience store to get
some Fritos and a Dr. Pepper, 
so that
3. You can then stop at Sonic for a corn dog.
Great, huh?


But I'm hearing a warning buzzer in my brain.
BzzzzBzzzzBzzzz.
What if your car's gas tank is on the passenger
side?
And you get back in with your Fritos and DP
on the driver's side?
What might you forget???


Well...just in case that might happen to one of you,
the hoses are detachable now, lessening the
liklihood that you will be responsible for
burning the whole place down.
The embarrassment level, unfortunately,
would still be about the same, I would guess.


You're welcome for my epiphany.
It is most helpful for me, too, since some days
I fear I am on a slippery slope and might,
just possibly,
do something like that.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Seven Words I Hate To Hear


"ATTENDANT HAS BEEN NOTIFIED TO
ASSIST YOU"





I know the "Girl" part is a stretch, and
I may not actually scream,
BUT I WOULD LIKE TO!


Now I have friends who refuse to check out
their own groceries.
Maybe they have the right idea.
I don't think I have ever completed a transaction
of more than 3 or 4 items without hearing
 those hated words.


And while I'm on the subject, aren't you supposed
to be able to put heavy stuff in your cart
after you check in out anyway?
There's some kind of "Skip Bagging" button.
Maybe I'm being old and dense, but
I'm never been successful at getting it to work.
No--not me.
I've got stuff stacked and teetering on top of stuff 
on every surface available, trying to avoid hearing
those 7 dreaded words.


So one might wonder why I keep finding myself
in those self-checkout lines.
Well, I'm just so busy, you know,
that I can't wait in those long checker lines.
(I always picture Jack rolling his eyes
when I say something like that!)


No.  It's impatience.  Pure and simple.
Oh, and determination, too.
I'm determined to beat that faceless voice!





Friday, September 2, 2016

Are You Ready to Guess The Price Of My Bargains?

I love Gene Allen's Gifts!
We are so blessed to have Connie and Becky and
all the other sweet employees--and the store--
 here in Arlington!


This was my third (annual, I hope)
brown bag sale.
I was at the Little Road store door at 10:00 A.M.
on Monday morning.
I tried to find some bells to put on, but I'll have
to look for some before next year!
I had SO MUCH FUN!


It works like this.
For $25 you can fill a big brown grocery bag
as full as possible from the sale area only.
There's also a small $10 bag.
But not for me. 


(Just in case you've forgotten what a brown paper
grocery bag looks like.)

Now it doesn't hurt that I've always considered
myself an efficient packer, if I do say so myself
and, of course, I do.
I surveyed the items and calculated how to fill
my bags with maximum effectiveness!
(It's a wonder they welcomed me back this year!)


I filled 4 bags.  Becky had to put one of them
in a plastic sack. My stuff was bustin' out!
(I leave my pride at the door!)



Here are pictures of my fabulous loot!
You can click on them for a better look!





I realize you can't tell much from these shots.
I can see so much better here in person!
The table to the right is kid stuff, and the table
on the left grown-up stuff.


Here's a little bit about what I got.
There are 14 gorgeous scarves which do not
show up well in the pictures.
(Some are hanging over the window shade cords!)
There are 5 tee shirts over the back of that chair,
ironically green and gold and UT orange themed!
There are 4 very nice wooden jewelry boxes,
2 great scarf, hat, and glove sets,
and 6 electric candles, one set of 3 w/remote!
And lots of miscellaneous treasures!


One of the items of which I am most proud is 32 pairs
of children's short socks from a company called 
"notes to self." 
They have positive words on the bottom--
words like "perfectly made," "awesome,"
"smart," and "blessed."
(Grandparents--we should have bought these socks!)
I got a few pairs of tiny ones--birth to 3 months.
Although most of the items I purchased will go to 
Mission Arlington,
those will go to the Arlington Pregnancy Center!


Then there are games!  That tall stack on the
kids' table is Xoom Cubes, for age 6+--14 of them!
I also got 12 Xoom card games, and 7 very special
books.
Some of these are going to the three schools in
which our church will have volunteer mentors
this year through KidsHope USA!



I feel obliged to be honest here.
I am not entirely unselfish.
I'm hearing some of the items call my name.
One of those boxes of Sweet Shop candy may no
longer be suitable for gifting.
You know, expert bow maker that I am, that
the ribbon may end up with me.
Oh, and some of those electric candles flicker.
I've always wanted the flickering ones...


I only got to the one Gene Allen's this year.
I had an appointment at 12:00 and
one at 1:30 that day. Bummer!
  Next year I'll plan better!


So...take a guess at the original cost of these
items for which I spent $108, including tax!
I meticulously (yes, that's me) added up the
prices on the tags.
This year I realized that I should include the
tax which would have been paid on the
full purchase price, so that I did!


Please send me your guess on my Facebook page.
Whoever gets the closest to "the actual retail value"
(Price is Right talk) including tax,
will win a $50 gift certificate, compliments of
yours truly, Bargain Hunter Extraordinaire, to
the fabulous Gene Allen's Gifts!!!


In order to give everyone a chance to guess,
I will not determine a winner until
Monday, Labor Day, evening!


"May the best guesser win!"












Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Look What I Got Today!

I certainly have plenty of time to grocery shop now,
and a huge selection of times at
 which to do so.
Know when I choose to go?
Almost never.
My cupboards are bare, much to the dismay of
my children and friends.
My "joke" is that only a lack of three things will
get me to the supermarket:
dogfood, heavy cream for my coffee, or t. paper!


 Monday night in a roundabout way I discovered
 Amazon PrimePantry.
Once I got rollin' it was midnight before I 
stopped shopping.
Notice I didn't say "finished" shopping.
I was just too tired to continue.


For reasons I'm not completely clear on, my
shipping was free.  Usually it is $5.99 per box.
(I think ordering 5 of certain items qualified me
for free shipping but I did not take time to
try to figure out which ones.)
My box arrived by 1:00 P.M. today.
It was HUGE, but only sparsly filled by my stuff
(and LOTS of filler!)




Several of the items I ordered have back stories.
That Jello is sometimes hard to find for
my famous Cherry-Coke salad!
Sams had no Woolite last time I was there.
The Keurig coffee is Starbucks Verandah
blonde roast, very $$ when I can find it.


As far as prices go, I think they will be the
same or less.
But...I rarely grocery shop, so I'm not sure.
I know the toothpaste I ordered was cheaper
than CVS (and sometimes they're out.)




Now please don't give me a hard time about the
fact that there's not much to eat here.
(That means you, J, T, S, R, M, S.)
This was just an experiment.
I have already ordered again!


One of the disadvantages I see is that it takes
quite a bit of time to go through all of the
options.  I think there were 85 pages of food items.
I got to Page 40 something the first night,
then I couldn't get back to that point the second.
Of course, you tech wizards probably would
not have that problem.
And I know I will get faster.


I'll tell you it was pretty great to drag that
box in this morning, still in my pj's.
I just hope this will be of help to some of you!

******************

P.S.  I was already an Amazon Prime member.
I think that is $95/year for LOTS of benefits.
(Many of which I don't know how to take 
advantage of!!!



P.P.S. There will need to be some refinement
to my "grocery" shopping.
I had to stop at Taco Bell on the way home
from choir to get something to eat. 













Monday, July 25, 2016

Hints From One Who Loves to Travel

"I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted
by routine."

and...

Every single trip I learn something
about perfecting the art of travel.
In this day and age, however, travel will
 never be perfect.

"Travel is glamorous only in retrospect."


Which brings me to my first suggestion.
You cannot arrive at the airport too early.
Until you've been caught in a ridiculously long
security line, scared you are going to
miss your flight, you may not realize this.


Often, a nearby gate will have a shorter
security line.
I have a new ap which helps in determining that.
It is:  iFly TSA.
The gates are rated green, yellow, or red.
Madeline and I used this on our recent trip.
We had to walk quite a distance, but the
 line was much shorter than at the close gate.


The BIG thing I learned about on our just
concluded trip is Uber.
Madeline has used Uber a lot in Austin.
Me--never.  Until DC.
It was excellent.  We used it many times 
and never had a bad experience.
The cars are much newer and nicer than cabs.
It cost us almost $30 to travel to the 
National Cathedral in a taxi,
and only $10 to Uber back!  
For those of you who don't know (like I didn't)
you put the ap on your phone, put in all
your information, so that no money changes
hands in the car.  No tip!  No getting out your card!
And I got a detailed receipt for each ride
on my email.  I cannot recommend this enough.
At least in DC it was great.
One exception was the ride to and from 
the airport.  We did taxi for that.
It is just so routine for them, and they are
more accustomed to the luggage.


Just thought of something...
I loved the fact that the taxis in DC had
flashing signs which said,
"Taxi for Hire"
unlike New York where I can NEVER 
remember if the light on or the light off
means it is available!


Trust me, you do not really want my packing hints.
Over the top, perfectionist, obsessive hints.
But I will say--my clothes not only get there
in perfect shape, they arrive back home the same!
It involves lots of time
 and plastic dry cleaning bags.
You might like this one:
If you might bring home breakable souvenirs,
be sure to include some bubble wrap for them.
Oh, and you should like this one:
Use those free shower caps you get to cover
the bottoms of your shoes in your suitcase!


Speaking of free things...
Always gather the little toiletry items from
your room and bring them home.
They are great to give to the 
Arlington Pregnancy Center to be
included in baskets for their clients!


An unusual habit I've developed over the years
is to make a different kind of list
 after I get home from a trip.
It started when I found this:

Although in retrospect it's fun to remember
scouting Barcelona desperately trying to describe
these when you don't speak the language,

 or 

feeling like your cruise is totally and forever RUINED
because you forgot this indispensable item,

you don't necessarily desire to repeat the mistake.
So my last step in getting ready for a trip is
making sure I'm not leaving at home one of the
 items I've left in the past.
(By the way--as to the comb--I went to the
salon onboard the ship.  A new stylist had
just boarded, and she had an extra she sold me!
Whew.  The trip was saved.)


Here's an idea just for you girls.
We have to carry a pretty big purse for all the
travel essentials.  Right?
But once at our destination, I hate to tote that
big thing on day jaunts.
This, therefore, is what has happened to me:
 
I have had to buy smaller bags here, there, and
everywhere!
Now, I ALWAYS pack one or more small purses
to lighten my load upon arrival!


This tip is a repeat--a unique repeat.
I always carry one of these on cruises:
The reason?
If I have a room with a view, I like to go up
to the buffet, get food and drink,
and return "home" to dine at lunch.
Ships do not furnish trays, so I bring my own!
Yes, people look at me strangely on the
elevator, but they are just jealous!
Pack carefully--AA managed to break my tray
 when I flew to London!


One of the first things I do when I unpack
on a cruise ship is stand my cosmetic brushes
in a drinking glass.
A room steward taught me this.
See them just to the right of the tissue box?
This was in my little 99 sq. ft. room.
Organization necessary!
Oh!  And look on the shelf right above!
There are my Q tips in the Barcelona box
I told you about above!
It's probably 15 or more years old now
and deteriorating!


Okay, that's all the "major" tips I have for now!
So...it's your turn.
Tell me what floats your boat
when it comes to travel!
















Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I Got the Best Birthday Present!

It was just a story, but it was about this guy...

Here's what happened.
My insurance company sent me a check for hail 
damage to my gutters and a flat portion of
roof on the back of the house.
That means there's only one thing to do.
Call Curtis.
Curtis Cohen was Jack's #1 roofer;
therefore, he is my #1 roofer, in spite of the
fact that he is trying to be retired!


Curtis was expressing his appreciation for Jack
and their many business dealings.
I asked him how he met Jack and how he 
started doing his roofing.
I'm so glad I asked.  Here's the story.


Curtis just stopped by a Stovall project one day
(this would have been many years ago)
and inquired about bidding the roofing portion.
He was directed to the office and went there.
Jack said, "Well, I have three McDonald's roofs 
that are leaking.  Can you check them out?"
Curtis did and reported back with solutions
(within just hours.)
Jack said, "Fix 'em."
(And you have to understand, when Jack said to
fix them, he meant right then.)
Curtis was able to do that, insuring him great favor!!!
He began bidding and installing many, if not all, of
Stovall Construction's roofs.


I can't remember how much later,
("Please, Lord, I hope it was quite a bit")
Curtis got a call from Jack.
Again it was about three McDonald's roofs, but
this time Jack informed Curtis that he was
getting ready to fire him!
Why?  Because these three roofs were leaking
and hadn't been fixed.
Curtis (quite taken aback, I am sure)
told Jack that it was NOT the roofs but the
air conditioning units that were causing the leaks.
Jack said, "Okay, meet me out there."
Curtis agreed and asked, "When?"
Jack: "In an hour!"



Subsequent to taking a water hose and demonstrating
 the actual problems
to Jack, a meeting was set up with the AC unit
representative. Guess how much notice Curtis had of
that meeting?
You got it--one hour!


Needless to say, Curtis was not fired.
Jack thought the world of Curtis Cohen.
And vice versa I found out today.
(Although I knew that all along.)
I often say that "I have people."
Curtis is my roofer person.
He drove a long way to come look at
my problem today with no compensation
other than my gratitude.
But...it made my birthday to get to hear
 Curtis tell me this story.
After all I was often hearing (and cringing at)
the other end of those conversations.
If Jack didn't mention firing you at some point,
you might want to feel neglected.














Thursday, June 30, 2016

Dining with the Stovall/Metzger Clan

We are just your typical family--sort of.
We love to dine...out or in!
Each of us, however, has a little something that
makes us special...
one might call them idiosyncrasies.


When we arrange ourselves at the table,
 there is just one stipulation.
The lefty in our group--Jay--
must have plenty of clearance for his elbow.


Since we're discussing Jay, I shall start
with him.
Jay likes for his food to be hot.
If we're dining in,
he may disappear from the table for a moment, 
go to the kitchen, and microwave his plate. 
I have no idea where he got that!
(Actually I do--from me.)


Terri is our ketchup or salsa girl.
She puts it on almost everything.
My face was probably a sight to see the first
time I watched her put salsa on my fresh, slow cooked,  
perfectly seasoned, New Year's blackeyed peas!
They are only the best in the world, and
that girl added salsa!
(She even had to bring her own.)


Rob is the master preparer/fixer of his plate.
Everyone else may be halfway through eating,
and he is still salting, fresh ground peppering,
condimenting, cutting, and arranging his food.
Seriously--it takes forever!


And then there's Susan.  Oh my!
That girl hardly takes one bite from her own plate
before she starts scouting everyone else's
food and wanting "a bite."
One year Jay and Terri gave her a fork with
a l-o-n-g extending handle for Christmas to make
her reach to the other plates easier!


And what about me?
I might as well tell you, because the family would.
I will always, always be the last one finished.
I savor my food.
However many times one is supposed to chew
a bite, I probably chew more!
No matter how long it takes Rob to get
started, he will be finished before I am.
No matter if Jay does reheat his food--twice--
he will be finished before I am.


Maddie and Susie are still in the very early
stages of idiosyncrasy development.
(They are, after all, just about perfect you know.)
Except that they are very willing participants
in the "bite sharing" program initiated
by their mother!
They will often order different things, 
with the agreement that bites will be shared
generously.
It can be quite spectacular!


One hint:
If we are dining out, one would be wise to
wait and see what Jay orders.
If one doesn't, one will likely wish he or she
had ordered what he gets!


Bon Appetit!