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Posts Tagged ‘#shopping’

So much has happened since I last updated. I really can’t cover it all in one blog post. I will start with yesterday and go backwards. The rest will have to wait until another time.


We’ve been working on getting Mom’s stocks transferred into my name. I tried doing it on my own but it turned out to be far more complicated than I could have imagined. So I contacted someone at our bank for help. Greg & I met with him (George) once in mid-December for 2 hours. We laid out things and explained what we were trying to accomplish. He made some phone calls (in front of us) to Computershare. I had tried dealing with them via phone prior to seeing him and it was so frustrating. The people working there are less than helpful and don’t know things. They can be rude and dismissive. They are also vague and leave you un-reassured about what they’ve told you. I was glad to have George handling things for me. I never felt fully convinced things would work out. We met with him again in mid-January for 3 hours. In addition to switching the stock to my name, we had to get some stock certificates replaced which cost me some money. Years ago (like ’80’s or ’90’s), Computershare had demanded Mom send in all her stock certificates and they would hold them for her. It was mandatory and we remember helping her with this. Now they were saying they didn’t have all of them. That she would have them. I’ve looked everywhere and can’t imagine she threw them out. Even though she was going through that phase. More likely they didn’t mark them down correctly. We went back to see George a few weeks ago and we spent almost 2 hours filling out more paperwork. I had to get several things notarized and a guarantee of security plus a small estate affidavit. There was as much paperwork as taking out a loan for a house. Not kidding!! The oddest thing happened. I had to sign my name dozens of times but the last time, I was listening to a conversation between Dave (another banker) and Greg and started signing my name Chrisor B. B Then I inwardly freaked out and wrote C over the B and wrote Culbert. This was my maiden name that I haven’t signed in almost 25 years!! I didn’t even catch it. George is like “Can you sign below and initial by that that you made a mistake?” I’m like, “Why? I can read the C over the B, can’t you?” He comes back with, “yes, but the name has to match or they won’t open the account”. I’m like, “What’s wrong with it?” Duh. I wonder if I had a stroke. Either that or it’s definitely early onset dementia. Geez. When he told me the last name was wrong, I was so embarrassed. I’m still embarrassed. Who does that?! Then when I initialed, I’m still wondering if I put the wrong initials?! CBC instead of CBB. I got a call from George yesterday saying all the stock was transferred to my name. I can’t believe it!! Now when I get confirmation in the mail to that effect, I have to call and make another appt. with him. I’m going to move the stock to a brokerage account at Chase bank. I’m so happy that it all went through without having to go to Probate court. That would’ve stressed me out to no end.

 
As far as getting the rest of her estate settled. We’re still waiting for her medical insurance and Medicare to pay. They have paid some but it is a hot mess. The ambulance bill is down to $78 but you’d think between the 2, it would be covered. Greg & I talk about getting wills made out for ourselves now that we’ve learned this lesson from Mom not having one. The hard part is figuring out a beneficiary. That will come with time.


Yesterday we called Greg’s mother and asked her if she’d ever had her ancestry traced by dna. She said no but she’d wanted to. So Greg & I told her that we’d order her a kit for her birthday, come up to WI and get her saliva and mail it in for her. Then bring her results to her. She was so excited but was watching something on tv so got off the phone quickly. Greg’s been thinking of getting his done and I said it would make more sense to have his mother’s done first. So he ordered a dna kit from Ancestry.com for $99. We got free shipping with a code off Retail Me Not. It should be very interesting indeed.


Hubby is working a double shift today so he can have tomorrow off. Tomorrow we’ve got a busy day. We’ve got back to back dental appointments for cleanings at 10 & 10:30 am. Before that he has to run to our new doctor’s office for a repeat blood test for the insurance co. The past 2 Thursdays Greg’s had an appt. with our new doctor. This is the one Dr. J recommended. We call him Dr. Z. He’s ok but only spends 15 min. with you which is such a switch. I guess that’s what most doctors do. Dr. J would always run late because he spent so much time with people. It would be a 1-3 hour wait to see him but then he’d spend up to an hour with us. That always made it seem worth it. This guy runs a half hour late and then we get 15 min. Anyway, I’ll be going the beginning of May for blood work and then later for my pap. The Metformin alone isn’t working for Greg’s diabetes so he got put on a combo drug. We have to watch what we eat more too. I keep bugging him to go to Weight Watchers with me but he thinks we can do it ourselves. I’m not convinced. Last week the doc gave him a prescription but the pharmacy wouldn’t fill it without the insurance co. getting pre-authorization. This all changed just since the first of the year. In a way it feels good to be in the know about his health versus in denial. 


The last few weekends there haven’t been any estate sales that looked good. So we’ve been skipping them entirely and checking out some of the antique malls a little ways from home. Last Thursday Feb. 2, we went to Gurnee Antique Mall and it took us 2 1/2 hours to go through it! It was a fun place but all I found was books. I say that like it’s a bad thing. It was great! Hubby found a piece of Haegar pottery that he wanted so I told him that was his Valentine’s Day present. If you saw it, you’d know why. Before we went in there we went to lunch at Olive Garden. We got the soup and salad and breadsticks instead of pasta. I was so surprised Greg wanted to go there. He hates Olive Garden. We used to eat there 25 years ago and Mom and I loved it. He said it’s not Italian food and not any good. Well, after eating lunch there, he’s right! It was not good. Everything was so bland. All I could think of was how much better my homemade soups and salads are than that. At least we tried. Then we walked it off at the mall.


Last Friday Feb. 3rd, we went up to Kenosha to the Rustic Dairyland Antique Mall. The place is crap. Pardon my french. Mostly reproductions and new items stuck in between older things. The prices were out of sight. I ended up getting one book. The floor in there is painted white and then someone dunked a crumpled up piece of paper in black paint and pressed it down every few inches to form a pattern. It looked terrible. Maybe the idea was alright but how it turned out was gross. After that we went up to Sturtevant, WI to the School Days Antique Mall. We’d never been there or even to Sturtevant before. I didn’t expect much because it’s just a tiny town. Little did I know they could have one of the best malls I’ve ever been to!! We found more stuff than anywhere and it was all fairly priced. Of course, they had a winter sale on or we wouldn’t have been able to get all we did. I got a picture that looks like a painting, hubby got a sign that flips to say different things. I found 3 paper mache lipstick holders that look like girls. I’ve only seen them online previously. We got some brothel tokens which are probably reproductions but they’re still neat. I got a calendar, a thermomenter, a metal holy water font, etc. It was a really fun day. 

Afterwards, we went for an early fish fry (we’d skipped lunch) at Route 20 Outhouse. It was good and we found out Bad Boy will be playing there on Sat, Feb, 18th. We are thinking of going! Like a date night but we never really have those so this would be a big deal. We saw Bad Boy up in Milwaukee 6 years ago and I had so much fun. The first time I saw them was when I was 17 in 1979! 38 years ago. I’m almost embarrassed to go at my age but the band is even older so…. I’ll let you know if we go.


Sat. Feb. 4th, we went to our regular mall nearest our house. Golf-Mil mall in Niles, IL. We haven’t been there in years but I needed a new pillow. I bet I haven’t gotten a new one in 20 years! Gross, huh? I’ve washed it in the machine but there’s not much left of it after years of use. So we went to Sears and then remembered why we don’t go to the mall anymore. Especially on a Saturday. Ugh. First we had to get tennis shoes for Greg & me. We always bought them at the Reebok outlet down in Tunica, MS while on vacation. In 2015 we didn’t go to the mall and then when we finally went at Christmas, that store (and most of the others) were out of business. For years, we had a tradition of getting tennis shoes and fragrance down there. We could get 6 pairs of tennis shoes (3 for each of us) for $100! The fragrance store was a good deal if you used a mall coupon too. Now the only store left is Kitchen Collection which is where we bought our Big Boss Air Fryer. We use that almost every weekend to make fried chicken without any batter. We make a whole value pack of chicken legs and I divide them up into baggies for Greg to take one a day to work as a snack. Anyway, the last 2 pairs of tennis shoes I wore/ bought were Keds that I got at an estate sale for $1 each! I’ve been looking for more ever since. One pair were unused, the other was almost like new. At Sears we had to help ourselves. Nothing jumped out at either one of us. We both ended up getting plain white tennis shoes. Greg’s are hi-tops. I don’t know if those are in style or out. They must be in style if they sell them?! They were $10 off each pair which brought them down to $50 each. That hurts to pay that much for shoes you aren’t in love with. They are just “ok”. After going through that and then looking at the pillows and socks, I was done for. I grabbed 4 pillows and went to a display bed and laid down and tried them one at a time. It was easy to pick which one that way. Once I get my car running again, I will have to go back to the mall on a weekday morning and see what else is up.


I titled this Taking Care Of Business but I was thinking more of the Bachman Turner Overdrive version than the Elvis version. I’m going to bake some banana bread tonight and listen to music. Thanks for stopping by and hearing about my life. 🙂

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I am ready to drop from exhaustion over the past 10 days. I took the plunge and started an Instagram shop on Valentine’s Day. I’d been thinking about it since I found the vintage community with tens of thousands of people on there a few months back. After watching and trying to learn how it’s done, the time finally came to stop agonizing over it and JUST DO IT. There are two ways to open a store on there. Start promoting it for MONTHS, telling everyone you’ll open when you have x amount of followers (usually at least 150), running contests, etc. The other way is to just announce it and start listing things. Which is what I did. I’m not saying one is better than the other, it’s just personal preference. I’m proud to say that within the first week I’d gained 150 followers and now after 10 days, I’m at 167. I can see how this is going to take time to build up a business. I’ve had 14 sales and one of them a repeat customer! 🙂 Sadly, I can see how people are all gung-ho when they start and get discouraged and quit fairly soon. I’m going to stick with it as long as I can.

Shop Introduction

Shop Introduction

I try to pick out new items in the morning and then photograph them between 11 am and 1 pm when the lighting is best. After lunch, I measure and write up a brief description on paper. I’ve been listing every night after supper. Sometimes supper is late like 8 pm  because I’ve been busy wrapping a package or doing paperwork. We watch the Winter Olympics while I’m writing up the descriptions on my iphone. I have done the entire shop from my iphone. Since my 8 yr. old computer does not work that well, I thought it was preferable. So far it’s taking me too long to list each thing. I know I put a lot more description than is needed but I want people to know exactly what they’re getting so there’s no problems later. The first night I put on all stuffed animals or plush (new with tags) and they haven’t sold. The next night I put all shot glasses and those didn’t go either. It could be that not enough people saw them. The 3rd night I started putting on a random assortment of things to appeal to a wider range of people. That seemed to be working so I’ve stuck with that. The things I think people would go nuts over, no one cares about. My favorite listings are a Hawaiian hula skirt from 1969, a ceramic lady with scarf flower frog, Nestle Quik rabbit cup, tin banks, a handpainted tin mirror from Mexico, Corn Flakes tshirt and hat, an Afro-Italian silent butler, a plasic wicker purse and a plastic thermoset leaf and vine necklace. None of these sold. Go figure.
Ceramic Personal Mail Holder

Ceramic Personal Mail Holder

The most successful sellers on Instagram seem to be the ones who not only give good customer service but are very social with customers. I’ve been shipping out immediately but haven’t had as much time as I’d like to socialize. Having the 2 accounts, I don’t get time to get over to my original account. I was afraid that was going to happen. There’s also a learning curve with shipping. When we sold on ebay in the past, we shipped everything Priority Mail and the buyer paid the postage. Now I try to include the shipping in the price. I know when I see something I want on there, when it says “plus shipping”, it turns me off. I always assume it’s a lot. In truth, sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. When something is under 13 ounces, it can go first class and that’s usually under $3.50 depending on the weight. When I charge $10 shipped, I am paying the $3.50 shipping out of my own pocket, plus whatever the item cost me plus Paypal fee. It’s just the cost of doing business. I understand that and accept it. If it goes over 13 ounces, then it either goes Parcel Post or Priority Mail. Sometimes it’s only 20 cents difference to send it Priority. Other times it’s the same. So already I’ve sent 3 things Priority because they were heavier than I thought. I also have to look into some of the “bags” to ship in. Some sellers just bubblewrap things good and put them in a bag. I never would have thought of that!
Hedwig Owl Mug from Harry Potter

Hedwig Owl Mug from Harry Potter

I have some postcards and pictures I want to list but am unsure how to charge for shipping or mail them. I don’t know if they need to be in something heavier than an envelope like cardboard? I’ve been doing the best that I can to try to gain a good reputation. I can see how if a person got a bad one, it would end their Instagram selling just through word of moouth alone. It’s hard to know what to price things at. There are people selling things $2 plus shipping and I don’t want to do that. God bless them if they can afford to do that. They must be getting their stuff a lot cheaper than I am. I try to sell things that have some worth. At the end of the day, I want something for my trouble. When I price something and it doesn’t sell immediately, I think it has more to do with the right person not seeing it yet.
Lenox Elephant Hinged Box

Lenox Elephant Hinged Box

When buying, I usually know right away when I see something if I want it. If I don’t, I walk around and think about it. If I’m still thinking about it after awhile, then I definitely want it. If I don’t, then I pass. The way the successful sellers do it, when they have a sale, they list things and people are snatching them up the second they go on. Basically, the first person that sees it, gets it and everyone else afterwards just looks at it longingly. I hope someday my stuff starts selling that way! 😉
Creepy Doll Head

Creepy Doll Head

As for only selling in the USA, it’s mostly due to the cost of postage. It cost like $87 to mail a hankie to Australia. Nobody wants to pay that kind of shipping nor do I want them to. Worse still, I don’t trust myself to calculate International rates correctly and would probably end up eating most of the shipping by accident.
Smokey The Bear Salt & Pepper

Smokey The Bear Salt & Pepper

I hope everybody who reads my blog checks out my Instagram shop! Even if you don’t have an Instagram account, you can start one just to look. You wouldn’t have to post any pictures unless you wanted to. All pictures in this post are of sold items.  It gives you an idea of some of what I sell. It looks like a lot of ceramic items and it is but also a huge variety of other items. It’s hard to believe it’s stressing me out already. It’s seriously cutting into my blogging time. 😉 I’ll have to figure out a better way to do it so I can still do everything else I need to and nothing suffers.
Lefton Madonna & Child Jesus dated 1957

Lefton Madonna & Child Jesus dated 1957

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When we went to the Packers football game in Green Bay, WI earlier this month, all those who attended the game were given commemorative “crying towels”. That’s what we call them anyway. To sob into when/if your team loses. They’re tiny hand towel sized cloths that fans wave during the game. We had put ours away and didn’t look at them until we got home. Attached to each towel was a coupon for Kohl’s department store. $10 off a $30 purchase. I like Kohl’s well enough, I just don’t go there unless I have coupon of some type. About once or twice a year, they send a $10 coupon in the mail that can be used for any purchase. When I get those, I usually buy a couple 3-packs of pretty socks and use the $10 off and only owe a few bucks (if anything). Kohl’s usually has something on sale when we go (or everything) and I always wonder how they can stay in business with cheaper prices than anywhere else. Since hubby and I both had a $10 coupon, we figured we’d go together on his day off.

On the morning of Thurs. Jan. 16th we went to the Kohl’s in Niles, IL. Hubby had asked me ahead of time what I needed. Well, I need bras, underpants and socks ALWAYS. I decided to focus on bras first. Since that is the most unpleasant thing to shop for. Talking back and forth in the car on the way there, we were trying to figure out when I bought bras last. Could it really be 25 years ago?! I don’t know. That seems hard to believe but if you know me, I’m still wearing clothes that old so it could be…. If it was after we moved here, it would be closer to 18 years ago. I know I haven’t boughten any for sure in over a dozen years. It sounds crazy but not implausible. There are some things I HATE shopping for and one is bras, the other is shoes. In the distant past when bra shopping, my mom always came with me. We always enjoyed shopping together and were the best of friends. About 12 years ago, she lost all interest in shopping, getting anything new and even going to the mall to people watch. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like doing things alone. It’s not that I can’t. I’ve driven myself to the mall alone before and walked around. Browsed in stores, etc but I don’t enjoy it. Half the fun comes from pointing things out to the other person. Showing each other what you like and what’s new. I always enjoyed shopping but now I’m more into the estate sale shopping where you never pay anything even close to retail!

My husband is a trooper for being willing to go along with me. He’s the greatest about it that anybody could be. He doesn’t pout and stand to the side making me feel like he’s waiting for me to finish. He actively helps me find my size! He is as interested in finding things for me as I am. Maybe more so! This didn’t come about overnight. We’ve been together almost 29 years. We’re a solidified team now, looking out for the other’s best interests. He is emulating what I’ve done for him for years. When he worked a job that required him to wear a suit every single day, I helped him pick out many suits. I gave input on having them altered, etc. When he needed other work clothes, jeans or anything else, I’ve searched through big & tall sizes. He hates shopping for himself and humors me by trying things on and I run back and get a size larger or smaller as needed. Everyone should have a shopping buddy since salesclerks are in poor supply nowdays.

Back in the day, when you shopped for bras, you could NOT keep the salesclerks out of your business. I really hate to be bothered unless I really need help. I know how to find my size and try things on. I can tell if they fit, etc. Well, in the distant past, the sales clerks would count how many garments you took in with you and then they would stand outside the door and keep trying to come in the fitting room. They’d want to see how it fit. Then they would offer advice which coming from a stranger holds no weight with me. I used to be shy and not want a salesclerk to see me in only a bra. Now I don’t have to worry about it because there are NO salesclerks. Not kidding! That’s how Kohl’s is able to offer such cheap prices. They only hire people to ring up your purchase. No one is available to help you on the sales floor ever. It has been this way the last several times I’ve been there. So if you were alone and needed a bigger size, you’d have to put your clothes back on and schlep over and get another yourself. Unless you have a shopping buddy! 🙂
White bras

White bras

A few years ago when we had gotten a coupon in the mail for Kohl’s, we had tried to find bras for me then. Both hubby and I remember it well because I left without any. There are racks and racks as far as the eye can see of different bra brands, sizes and colors. They are all hanging on hangers. I’ve never worn any of those. I’ve been a Playtex girl since I started wearing them at age 11. My mom has always worn Playtex so I guess that’s how that came about. I’ve always been really happy with them. Heck, they last like 25 years so how can anyone complain?! I’ve only owned white bras with the exception of a black bra which I bought to wear to funerals. Take my word for it, there’s not nearly enough funerals to warrant a bra just for that. Playtex are the only bras I’ve seen that come in a package (they used to be boxes, now they’re clear plastic with paper inserts). There’s a special 2 sided wooden rack with drawers that pull out that house all the Playtex brand bras. All the sizes are mixed up and totally random. You’d think they’d be put in by size but no, every size is jumbled in with all the others. So I would say there are maybe 1,000 bras on both sides of this rack. Hubby and I stood side by side and went through one side of the rack pulling out all the 42Bs. That time we left without any was because we had searched this entire rack and there were NO 42bs! At that time, I remember they didn’t have anything larger than a 40! I remember grumbling how I’m not the only big person so why don’t they make bras for big people. So then I ended up wearing those bras another few years to the point that they were disintegrating on my body. The inner cup lining disappeared from thousands of wearings and washings in hot water. The elastic on my old bras were so worn that it’s like wearing nothing. I didn’t notice until I tried on new ones how bad the old ones fit/felt. They were giving me the support of a string of dental floss and the straps were a perpetual source of aggravation.
Colored bras FTW!

Colored bras FTW!

So hubby and I searched through all the sizes and were shocked to find so many 42bs.  (I could swear I wore a 42b back 20+ years ago but it could have been a 38b. The tags no longer have printing on them from countless launderings.) I had many to choose from and took one of each style to the fitting room. Hubby stood in the doorway of the fitting room (no one else was around) and I went in and tried them on. Then I would walk out and show him. I went by feel more than looks. The first one I tried on, I loved right away. Then the 2nd one didn’t even come close to hooking. I read the size and knew why. It was a 36b inside of a 42b package. Grrr! There were several styles that I had gotten without looking at them to see if I’d like it. Taking them out of the plastic, I could tell right away they weren’t for me. They had 4 hook and eye closures instead of 3 and were made of that starchy lacey fabric that I don’t like. They were what my mom wears. The kind of support you need if you’re trying to lift a heavy load and don’t have a crane. 😉 One step away from steel reinforced. So I had 1 white one and 3 different colors I liked. I didn’t really know how many I would get ahead of time but planned on getting at least 2 or 3 white ones. So we went back to the other side of the rack and scoured that. I found a few more and tried those. Then I had it narrowed down to 6. At this point, you’re probably marveling that my husband’s a saint! 3 white and 3 colored (beige/tan, blue gray and chocolate brown). Kohl’s had a promotion going on where if you spend $50, you get $10 in “Kohl’s cash” to use in the future. Hubby talked me into all 6 and we rang up separately. The bras were $32 each (which I wouldn’t have paid!) but were on sale (35% off) for $19.99 each. That’s still more than I wanted to pay but having the $10 off helped too. So I got 6 bras for $100 and $20 to spend next weekend on underpants. We were joking on the way home that now I don’t have to shop for bras for another 25 years. I’ll be in my mid-70’s before I have to do this again! Yay. 😉
Going wild with color!

Going wild with color!

At least I left feeling good about the experience. There’s nothing I hate more than going out shopping for a specific thing and coming home empty handed. My husband was a champ and when he’s so good to me like that, it validates my feelings of love and contentment in our marriage. When people say that you can’t have your spouse be your best friend, they’re just jealous. I’ve had it and it’s absolutely wonderful! 🙂

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One of our local grocery stores, Dominick’s, is going out of business before the end of the year. They are closing their doors in a matter of days. This would be sad if it weren’t for the excitement of Mariano’s buying that location and putting in one of their fabulous markets. On Friday, we had heard they were going to put the groceries at 50% off. We had  a bunch of stuff to do that day and I didn’t have a chance to call them until late afternoon. I wasn’t about to go over there if it wasn’t true. I’ll have you know I don’t believe everything I hear! 😉 Well, it was true, so hubby and I left at 5 pm and hustled over there. Our Jewel grocery is only 9 blocks away so we go there much more often. Dominick’s is on the south side of town about 2 miles away. We used to shop there if they were having a good deal on something but otherwise no.

Crowds at Dominick's

Crowds at Dominick’s

When we got there, it was already a madhouse. This sale had been on since midnight and I’m surprised there was any food at all left on the shelves! It looked like the majority of people had come right before we did, like after they got off work. We managed to find a parking spot in the basement. One of the coolest things about that store is they have an underground parking garage. Just one small floor but it’s out of the elements. When we got inside there were NO carts. Hubby went outside on the main floor all the way to the end of the parking lot and there were still NONE. Then he saw a woman unloading her groceries and waited for her and got her cart. I was going to get some flowers since half price is about what I feel is fair to pay. Hubby wanted to keep going so I let it go. They looked like they hadn’t been watered in a few days and were starting to wither anyway. All the fruits, produce and bulk items weren’t on sale so we passed them by and headed to the back of the store where the meats are. The meats weren’t included except the frozen meats. We ended up getting a 20 lb. frozen turkey for $10. Like 49 cents a pound & it’s a Butterball. Those really are the best. All the dairy was excluded except ice cream. So we started going up and down the aisles. I’m so glad we didn’t skip ahead and then try to come back to things because we’d never have been able to! Up and down each aisle was a line of people with their carts going both ways. You couldn’t get through in the middle, you had to wait until the line moved!! It was crazy. Crazy awesome! 🙂
Serving Park Ridge since 1971

Serving Park Ridge since 1971

There’s a tv show I’ve never watched but I’ve heard of it. It’s called “Supermarket Sweep.” Where someone tries to fill their grocery cart with as much food as they can in a very short amount of time. They literally take their arm and sweep everything into the cart at one time. Instead of lifting the cans one by one or a few at a time, they take the entire section in one motion. Canned goods must get dented beyond recognition that way! Anyway, we didn’t do anything like that. I was proud of us because we actually showed some restraint. 😉

This is what restraint looks like

This is what restraint looks like

We didn’t take ALL of an item that was there. We took a few or up to 6 if there were a lot. Most things only one or two of. I can’t see being a selfish pig about it. Although apparently, a lot of those shopped before we did. I wanted to get one jug of Maxwell House coffee for Mom (I knew she’d be out soon) but they were ALL gone. We also got a few interesting things that we wouldn’t buy otherwise. There was a Chimichurri sauce I wanted to try but it’s over $6 which I can’t justify spending. But at half price, it was doable to try ONE bottle. It helped that a lot of things were on sale and THEN half off. We got apple juice for Mom for $1 each. Canned beans for less than 50 cents a can. It was like going to an estate sale! We got the same kind of rush. We bought mostly staples and canned goods that will last over the winter or longer.

Ahead of us in line

Ahead of us in line

I’m most excited about the pie filling I got. It was on the bottom shelf way in back and I had to get on my  hands and knees and reach way under. I got some blueberry and cherry pie filling that’s normally $6 a can for $2 each. Plus 2 bottles of mincemeat. That sells for $9 each and I won’t pay that so haven’t had that for a few years. It was on sale and then half off so I got them for $3.50 each. I miss mincemeat so much. Someday I’d like to make my own. When we got to the ice cream, it was all gone except our favorite flavor of Haagen Daz. We couldn’t believe that flavor was still there! So we got the few Chocolate Peanut Butter that was left. It didn’t completely melt so that’s a bonus.

It took us about an hour to make it through the aisles and by then, our cart was full and we’d “had it.” Really couldn’t take much more. It was so hot in the store, probably from the sheer volume of people. I had on a vest and a hoodie and was roasting alive so about halfway through I took my hoodie off. At 6 pm we headed to the checkouts. All 9 were open plus the self checkouts. I’ve never seen more than a few checkouts open anywhere! Even with that many, the lines were going halfway down each food aisle. I picked one that only had like 5 carts ahead of us. You’d think it would go fast but pretty much everybody in the entire store had an overly full shopping cart! I’ve never seen that before either. It took forever to check out. Which in Chrisor speak is over an hour. Gah! I just didn’t have the patience to wait but did. I was hungry and thirsty and sick of all the people. Behind us was a guy who had to hold his toddler the entire time in line because his cart was so full there was no where for her to sit. Hubby says, “Who brings a kid to this kind of thing?” I reply, “Apparently, a lot of people. Just from where I’m standing I see 10 little kids tagging along.” Then the toddler behind us starts wailing and crying and won’t stop. The mother says, “Be quiet. Nobody came here to hear you yell.” So my husband, ever the smartass, turns around and says, “I came here to hear you yell!” Which made everyone bust out laughing. We finally got up to the checkout and loaded everything onto the belt. We had a really nice checker who told us how crazy it’s been all day and even though he’s being let go, they all have to work overtime that day for the sale. We ended up paying $180 and got 59%. We had 122 items in our buggy. It’s been years since we’ve had a full shopping cart so it was kind of a thrill. Especially since we usually find out about these things long after they’ve happened! One thing for sure, if nothing else, we’ll be eating good over Christmas vacation! 🙂

Hubby and I both wanted to make Christmas cards with our pictures from that day’s shopping adventure. Saying something like “Have a bountiful holiday” on the front and inside “May your shopping cart and your bellies be full this Christmas!” We weren’t able to do it to our satisfaction so instead we made a card with an old fashioned Santa on the front and Elvis inside and on the back. Inside in his elf pajamas and on the back with Christmas lights tangled around his little body. Both pics are from last year but we didn’t have time to take new pics of the dogs. I would’ve preferred a shot of the 3 dogs but it’s not worth stressing over. Sunday night we finally printed out the cards and last night I folded them. Today I hope to start addressing them but here I sit writing a blog post. I hate being so late with the cards but we do the best we can in life and hope others understand.

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There’s been so much going on lately that I can’t even begin to catch up. As much as I’d like to make blogging my first priority, it’s just not possible. Instead of telling about the vacation from hell we took the week of Labor Day, I’ll jump to yesterday. ATI, the physical therapy place I went to last month, offers a program where you can use their facilities and equipment to exercise for 30 days after you’ve completed your therapy. The 30 days doesn’t start the day of your last session, it starts the day you come in to start doing the exercises solo. I had taken off for vacation so missed that week and then last week there was so much going on, I knew I’d only be able to make it once. So I decided to wait and start yesterday. I had been dreading it but it went really well. They let me use one of the evaluation rooms and I kept the door partially open. I had to go in and out to retrieve the 1 & 2 lb. leg weights, the strap for hamstring stretching, the exercise ball, etc. It’s nice to have the benefit of using the extra stuff I don’t have at home. I’m going to look into getting these stretchy ankle bands that are connected and you wear them and walk sideways across the room and back. They really give a good workout to the hips. Probably the best part is the 10 minutes of warm up on the recumbent bike. I’m going to try to stick to going a minimum of 2 times a week for the next 4 weeks and take full advantage of it. I’m also going to stop over at the yoga place next door and see about trying some yoga classes. I don’t know if I’ll like it and am trying to figure out of I have to invest in yoga pants and a mat before I see if it’s something I want to do long term.

Last Friday at 10 am, hubby had a phone interview for work. It was his day off and basically screwed up the entire weekend. When he first started in his current dept. over 5 years ago, they told him that everybody that starts as an H band (pay grade), automatically gets the I-band (pay raise) after 1 year doing the job. Well, just before the year was up, they quit doing that. People no longer get it, they have to apply for the job. It is the same job, just more pay. They only have so many slots at that band now. So the one open I-band slot has everyone that doesn’t have it vying for it in the office plus people from across the country, some at even higher pay bands. It doesn’t seem to matter who has more seniority or who does more work or better work. Part of it is who the supervisor puts in the good word for and the other is the phone interview. Hubby felt like he hit a home run in the interview. I was in the other room but heard most of it and I was really impressed. I’m not going to get our hopes up since so many other factors come into play. 2 of the people in his office should’ve retired awhile ago, one is 69, the other 66. They have no intention of retiring! Without going into the long sordid story of the politics at his work, I’ll just say that it makes me crazy because it reminds me of so many unfair things that went on at the Post Office when I worked there back in the day. I need to remember how lucky I am that I don’t have to contend with all that anymore. 🙂

I had booked hubby’s doctor’s appt. for Sept. 11th. I had made it way early on Aug. 12th since our doctor books up early. Even then we got his first appt. of the day at 11:30 am. Well, hubby took off that day to go to the doctor and was up in the shower about 10:45 am when the doctor’s office called. They wanted to make sure we knew that the appt. had been cancelled and rescheduled!! I said, “You’re just telling us now?” The receptionist said, “No, we called to let you know before.” I told them we’d never heard from them and have an answering machine so if they’d left a message, we’d know. Well, she kept insisting which makes me crazy. Boy, I never noticed how many things make me crazy but it’s A LOT. Even in the shower, hubby heard me on the phone and called to me. I went up there with the phone and handed it to him in the shower. I figured the doctor decided that morning not to come in (that sounds like something he’d do) and they were covering for him. They said he was on vacation all week! Hubby asked if they could take his blood for the A1C test and cholesterol and they said yes so we went in anyway. It was the fastest time in and out of there ever–about 20 minutes. Hubby’s blood pressure was still high but when he weighed himself on their scale, he was down 15 more lbs.

As we were leaving the doctor’s office, hubby asked me if I wanted to stop at the Sears Outlet store in Melrose Park. It’s only a few blocks away from the doctor but half an hour from home. They only have a few of these in the area (we found out later that they have one in Niles which is much closer to us) so figured we’d take a quick look. In April, our basement flooded again and we lost our dryer. So I’ve gone 5 months without a dryer which has been interesting. I’ve been hanging the clothes on the clotheslines in the basement which takes a few days to dry, even running the dehumidifier. The larger items like sheets I’ve been hanging on the railing in the 2nd floor hallway and I’d go and turn and alternate them until they were dry. This is tedious and time consuming to say the least. I was putting off the inevitable while we decided what type we wanted. Seriously, I didn’t even want to buy new appliances! I hate spending money on things like that EVER but especially when there’s so much else I’d rather buy. Our living room couches turned 16 years old today. Our sunroom furniture is even older. The LR couch has had the reclining handles break off and the foot part of the recliner break off on my side a few years ago. I sit sideways on it leaning against the armrest which is broken. No wonder I have back problems! We’ve thought of getting new furniture for years but 5-6 years ago we had old dogs which got sick a lot. Then we had puppies which you don’t want to tempt with new furniture. Now we’ve got an incontinent grandma that makes me not too keen on getting a new couch either. I guess I can always find an excuse, can’t I?! We really love La-Z-Boy leather furniture but it’s not cheap. That’s the next hurdle we need to get over. Baby steps here…

So the quick look at appliances turned into 2 hours. Sears Outlet specializes in things that have minor damage. Like someone bought an appliance and it got dinged up as it was being delivered and they refused to accept it. They are the same items you find in any store except they are discounted due to cosmetic damage. We had been debating whether to get the newer front loading type of washer and dryer since they are on pedestals and hopefully high enough so the next time our basement floods (and there will be a next time) they’ll won’t be affected. Of course, I’ve heard some bad things about them due to odor and that the pedestals are so expensive too. I’m cheap and am always looking for a deal. Sears Outlet had every brand under the sun and we looked at each of them, not being particularly sold on any given brand. I’d been loyal to Maytag my whole life. Having replaced my original Maytags with Maytags and then having to replace both the washer and dryer separately due to floods in the past. I’ve always had white and they hadn’t even matched this last time since they were purchased years apart. Circling around, over and over again, looking at the different models with the aid of a salesman who’s been there 3 months, we were getting more confused. Our top loading washer and dryer were set up in the basement with the dryer on the left and washer on the right. When we had looked months ago at Home Depot, the salesman there told us that the front loading HAD to be set up with the washer on the left, the dryer on the right. I wasn’t wild about this and asked the Sears Outlet salesman if there wasn’t a way that the doors could be switched to the other side so that the new ones could be put in the exact same position my old ones were. The guy said no. I didn’t really have my heart set on a color, though I liked the gray and even the blue ones. Looking at the prices, a lot of them were marked only a little bit down from the original prices of $1099. Then there was a pair of RED Samsungs which were deeply discounted. I didn’t even know that Samsung made anything but electronics. If anyone knows me well, they know I just HATE the color red. It is the last color I would pick for anything. I don’t like wearing it, I would never get a red car, I just keep away from it at all costs. Since I’m not going to be riding in either the washer or dryer and no one’s going to see it, it seemed like something I could tolerate. So imagine my surprise when I’m drawn to the red pair over and over, mainly due to the price but also they just looked like the newest models. So we told the salesman we’d take the red pair and then he had to see if they had the pedestals in the tango red color. After waiting for him to talk to his boss and many other delays, we finally got down to business and paid. Even with the discounts, we had to pay $69.99 for delivery and various additional expenses of a new water hose for the washer, a new dryer vent, taxes, etc. It came to $1932 which all of a sudden didn’t seem like any deal! 😦 We found out they could deliver the next day (Thursday) or Friday. Friday was the phone interview and hubby wanted to “just get it over with,” so we settled for Thursday.

What should have been a joyful event to get a new washer and dryer turned into a less than happy event. Wed. night we got a recorded phone call saying to expect delivery on Thurs. between 8:15 and 10:15 am. So we got up extra early to make sure we were ready. The delivery guys called and showed up around 8:45 am and stayed an hour. They came down and removed the 2 existing appliances and as they were taking them to the curb, the junk man was driving around in his truck and asked to take them. So that worked out or we would’ve had to pay $10 to get rid of them! Then one of the delivery guys said he could only put one of the new hoses on for the washer because the one to the hot water was rusted on. They don’t carry WD-40 or anything to loosen it. Then they said we should’ve boughten a new gas pipe (salesman never mentioned this) and the dryer wouldn’t be covered if they didn’t use a new one. Then they said the 2 pieces wouldn’t fit! Hubby and I had measured as soon as we got home from ordering it. We KNEW they would fit. Then we find out there are NO manuals. I’ve never used one of these new fangled machines and had no clue what I was doing. I still don’t but that’s a whole other issue. 😉 When we were at the store, we had seen bags taped to the back of each machine with papers inside that looked like manuals. Lord knows what those were but we were out of luck. After the deliverymen left, we went online and found the PDF version of the manuals. We only printed out about 8 pages of each. I sat down to read and saw there’s a whole section on “switching the doors from one side to the other.” Hmm. Another case of me knowing more than the salesman. Well, now we’re stuck with them where they are. Still trying to decide if we want any extended warranty. Everytime we have it on something, we never use it. When we don’t, we always need it. You just can’t win!

What’s it like going from top loading to front loading? Different. I wish I could say I’m in love with them. I can’t. I have a shelf behind the washer and dryer that I always kept all my detergents on for easy access. Now the machines are so high and stick out farther that I need a stepstool to reach it. I had asked the salesman what people store in the pedestals and he said he didn’t know! I can’t put washing powder down there if there’s any chance of flooding. I also used to sort the clothes on top of the old waist high appliances. This isn’t possible so I’ve put a small table down there to work on. The hardest thing is I can’t physically feel the temperature of the water. When I select “hot,” I don’t know how hot it is or even IF it’s hot! That’s all because you put the clothes in an empty washer, shut the door, put the soap in a compartment on the top left side and push buttons and GO. In my old machine, I started running the water in an empty machine. I would use my hand to check the temperature. I would add the soap to the water and let it dissolve as it filled and when the agitation started, THEN add the clothes. The nicest thing is both are SO QUIET. I mean so ridiculously quiet that you could sleep next to them. So far, I’ve washed 2 sets of sheets, a bedspread and 4 loads of laundry. I don’t notice it getting the clothes any cleaner, in fact I’m wondering if it’s worse on stain fighting. I always used Shout on stains, then add the clothes to Tide with Bleach or regular Tide. Now there’s a compartment for “pretreating.” It says in the manual to add part of the detergent to that section. I’m still using Shout but also tried the pretreating thing on one load and wasn’t too impressed. That’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight, losing my religion and washing all of the things with my lovely RED appliances. 😉

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