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Posts Tagged ‘#treasurehunting’

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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We got home Friday Oct. 14th from a week spent in the Indianapolis area. We tend to get stuck in a rut while RVing and this was a chance to break out of it. We usually go to either Green Bay or Black River Falls, WI. I noticed there were a lot of antique shops in the Indy area and since it’s about 4 hours from home, it was doable. We ended up staying way in Pendleton which is a farming community north and east of Indianapolis. There really are only a few RV parks to choose from and our first choice along the river was full. The place we ended up at was called Glowood Campground. It used to be a farm and they now have mostly tent camping. There must’ve been about 10 sites for RVs that had full hookups (sewer, water & electric). If we ever go again, I think we’d try staying south of the city.
We had heard that Carmel was a hub for antiques so that was our first stop on Saturday. It is pronounced Car-ml (like the candy) but we still can’t help calling it Car-mel like the one in CA. “Carmel by the sea” is one of the places we went to on our honeymoon and it took many corrections to learn to say it right. The Midwestern Carmel turned out to be a cute town full of shops of all kinds, statues, bike trails, etc. It is basically ideal for hipsters (aka yuppies). Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?), we’re not hipsters so after spending a few hours in the Old Town Antique Mall, we didn’t buy a thing. We almost missed Melissa’s Antiques which was on the 2nd level behind the stairs. She’s someone I’ve been following on Instagram for years but we’re not friends. I wanted to check her booth out and it turns out she had the best stuff in the place! Plus she had it organized like a dream. When we left there, we headed to Westfield to the Main Street Shops Antique Mall. We had higher hopes for that place but also came away without buying a thing. We were only in Indy 24 hours and were starting to second guess our decision to go there.


Sunday we went to Noblesville which is just charming. The Antique Mall there was the best! We got a few things and planned to come back later in the week if we didn’t find anything better. I always take a ton of pictures of things I like when antiquing. I can look back on them and see if I still love it or still want it. Sadly, there were a few things I was iffy on and we were going back on Thurs. but never made it. Mostly because we got caught up in other things but also because the traffic in Indy is WORSE than Chicago! Not even kidding. It takes forever to get anywhere and there’s a lot of construction and bumper to bumper traffic. Ugh!


Monday we went to Pendleton which was 5 miles from us. There were a few antique stores there but they were closed. A lot have a sign on the door, “Open by appointment or chance”. It seems like a crazy way to run a business. We ended up coming home early and taking Mom to the Hoosier Park Casino (& horse track) which was in Anderson about 20 minutes away. We ended up losing but had a bit of fun. On Wed. we went back to the casino with Mom and played for hours on Fortune 88 slot machines. We were just recycling money but at the end we came out $38 ahead and were able to go buy dinner at the buffet. This was my 4th time eating out this year so it was a real treat. The food was “meh” but I enjoyed it anyway. Otherwise we ate all our meals in the RV.

Tues. we went to the Holy Cross area of the city of Indianapolis. There’s an industrial building (formerly a factory) that was been turned into Midland antique mall. It was a blast going from room to room and floor to floor exploring. Hubby found more treasures than I did this trip but that’s ok. We both had a great time and would gladly go back anytime. In fact, we did go back on Thurs. when we were in the area visiting several other places. We came back specifically for a Pullman Step Stool. It’s from the old Pullman train cars out of Chicago and made of all steel. It is heavy duty and rare. I looked online and there is only 2 on ebay and they go for between $289-400. The one we found was in great shape and much cheaper! Greg couldn’t stop thinking about it and so we got it and will be using is as the step coming into our RV. Next we went to Audrey’s which was advertised as “where the dealers shop”. First off, it was in a BAD neighborhood. They have a furniture store and then another larger building with “vintage”. Most of it was new stuff made to look old and the prices were the worst I’d seen. So far beyond retail, it was a joke. Like if a pair of sunglasses is $1 at an estate sale, $2 at a thrift store, $5 at an antique store–Audrey’s would have them marked $59. Needless to say, we didn’t buy anything there. I had such a bad vibe off the place. Greg found a nice newish metal cross and it was marked $125. I would’ve paid $65 and I wouldn’t have felt good about it. Greg asked how much they’d take for it and the guy says $100. He thought it was solid brass and old but it wasn’t. Finally the guy came down to $95. We let them keep it.


On Thurs. we went back to the Holy Cross area to a place called Society Of Salvage. Another store called Rewired Antiques is located in the same building. He specializes mostly in vintage lighting but has other cool stuff too. The most memorable thing we got this trip (besides the step) was a set of 5 chairs from SOS. They were auditorium seats taken out of an old school. We’re talking 1950’s heavy duty (sturdy) steel chairs that fold up. We both liked them the minute we saw them. They’re bright orange and can be hooked together at the bottom. We were originally going to get 3 of them. The guy working there said they were $20 each which seemed fair. We had to go through about 10 of them to find the best ones and had it narrowed down to 5. Since they’re old, they all have something superficially wrong with them. Like missing rubber feet, stains, etc. The guy saw how hard we were trying to find good ones so he said if we bought 3, he’d throw in the 4th for free. We couldn’t decide between the 5 so asked if he’d take $60 for 5 of them. He said yes! We were so thrilled! These suckers are really heavy but feel so good to sit in. Not like a metal folding chair or a plastic chair. As comfortable as a couch (minus the footrest and armrests). Now we have to figure out where to put them!


Greg is getting more and more into primitives and salvage finds. I find them interesting as well. The guy running SOS told us about a new place that opened up 2 months ago a block away so we decided to check them out. It’s called Little Doc’s Architectural Salvage. They have a showroom in front and a warehouse in back filled with some of the nicest, choicest salvage I’ve ever seen. We met the owners, Little Doc & Lindsay Keys (husband and wife), who are the coolest. They are living their dream and doing it in style. Little Doc’s father has run Doc’s Architectural Salvage for decades and now has opened another one in the Nashville area. Little Doc caught the vintage fever and he collects and sells. He showed us around and I saw several things I’d love to have but alas, I have only a 1,379 sq. ft. house that is already crammed full. One of the cooler things he had was a gigantic old porcelain sign for a monument company. Another was a huge 10 ft. tall wooden pulpit from the 1840’s! He’d taken it out of a lady’s house. She had won it at an auction when her church went out of business. I would give my eye teeth for it but as I said, I have nowhere to put it so can’t even entertain the idea. My dream is to buy a historic church that has closed and renovate it into a home and either an antique shop or a homeless shelter. I know that sounds vastly different but I like saving old things and I like helping people. I haven’t gotten Greg on board completely yet. He’s afraid we could lose everything we have by getting in too deep with something like that. In any case, it was fun to look and meet the Keys. I know they’ll be a big success! When we left there we went to check out Little Doc’s dad’s place. It was ginormous and a true junkyard. It was more old barn boards, doors, doorknobs, hardware, etc. Things we’re not as interested in but still like to look.

While we were in Indy, I can’t say I was loving it. However, since I’ve come home I have much fonder feelings for it. We had more fun than I realized at the time. 😊 If that makes any sense. I take so many pictures that I like making Flipagram videos and posting them to Instagram. Unfortunately, IG keeps removing them as soon as I post them. So I got fed up and didn’t post anything last week. Now I’ve tried again and they still removed them. My blog won’t allow videos either so I’m just going to put in a small smattering of pics to sum up the week. Thanks for reading!

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I had planned to write about all the cool antique shops we found while up in WI on vacation last month. Instead I just have to gush about the fun we had yesterday (Sat. Oct. 1st). 👍 There was a one day sale at Bookworks on Clark St. in Chicago. It’s in the heart of Wrigleyville where the Cubs baseball stadium is. I’d never heard of this bookstore before but I loved reading the history online before going to the estate sale there. It’s an independent used bookstore that’s been around for 32 years. This area of Chicago used to be non-descript with Japanese markets and restaurants. In the last decade, it has changed drastically. It is now overrun with hipsters. All the buildings have been renovated and upscale bars and restaurants have moved in. This has caused the rents to skyrocket. Greg and I did a little math in the car on the ride down there and it boggles the mind how many books they would have to sell every month just to pay rent, not counting utilities and other expenses. Before even making any profit whatsoever. The man and woman who own it are closing for good but will still be selling books online. This made me wonder if everything had been cherrypicked by them ahead of the sale. It turns out it really didn’t matter. They had 22,000 books plus cds and records (which I didn’t even look at) all for $2 each. I feel so fortunate to be able to attend a once in a lifetime sale. 🎈
The sale started at 11 am but it was raining all night and day. We got up at 8 am and left about 10:20 am. We got down there a minute before 11 am and drove around the block for parking. Supposedly they had free parking in back but not for that amount of people. So we parked around the corner about half a block away for $4. The line of people waiting outside was daunting. I would guess 60 people because it stretched to the end of the block (across from where we parked). It was a few minutes after 11 when we crossed the street and just as we did, they opened the door and the line started moving swiftly inside. I have no doubt some of these people stood outside for an hour or more in the rain to get to be towards the front. I was floored to see they let everyone in at once!! At most estate sales, they limit the number inside to usually 15 (sometimes less) at a time. Then when people leave, they let others in. Well, I felt lucky as could be to get right in just as we walked up. We didn’t get wet or have to wait! 🍀


As you can imagine, letting that many people in at once caused it to be wall to wall people. Your body was touching others’ bodies at all times. 😳 But surprisingly, people were great. Everyone was really polite and patient with each other. I said it was because everyone was in a good mood because they were getting new books. ❤️ Normally, I never ask the people running a sale where something is because someone else will hear and run there ahead of me. For some reason, this time I made an exception. I asked where the oldest books were and she pointed out 2 areas. One was right behind them at the counter and the other was a far corner which was already filled with people. Greg & I decided to go for behind the counter first. We didn’t just grab indiscriminately, we looked things over and put them in bags we’d brought along and then placed them on one of their side counters to be held. Then we made our way to the far corner. That was really hard to reach things and see around people. It took a long time to even get to the books because of the masses. Finally we left that area and wanted to take a browse through the rest of the store. That wasn’t easy. Just to make our way through with throngs of people everywhere was a task. We ended up not finding anything else in the rest of the store. We could’ve gotten a bunch of coffee table books or biographies but I didn’t want things that take up that much space. I forgot entirely to look for cookbooks and never saw any while going through the place. It was just before 11:50 am when we decided to check out. Greg went up to the front to guard our selections and I went to the back of the line. It snaked back and forth through half of the store. It took 45 minutes to get through the line! Most people had between 6-10 books with some several others getting about 30 or so. One couple had over 150 books and they took them ahead of most even though they didn’t wait. They offered Greg the chance to check out ahead of others and he said no! I was in the back of the line and I heard this and texted him, say yes! That’s what makes him so much of a better person than I am. We were able to carry all the books to the car in one trip! Then we took a walk down the block towards the stadium and looked around at the neighborhood. 


That was the only sale we had planned that day. There was a small one in our town that didn’t look too good from the pictures but we stopped at it on the way home. We found an old suitcase which we’re going to store the books in until I read them (before selling them). We also got 2 wire baskets to attach to the deck for plants and a ceiling light for the LR. Our LR is so dark and back in May we found an old swag lamp at a store going out of business. It needed some rewiring so we got it for $20. When we saw the one at the sale yesterday, I thought it would go with that one. It’s a diffent shape but has similar colored glass. This one worked and they said “Make an offer” so I said $20 and they went for it! When we get home from our next vacation we’ll be hanging it in the LR. The picture is one they took for the sale. The double pic is the one we got in May. It was an unforgettable day. I’m still on a high from getting all those books! 😍

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The need to feed my soul won out over the need for anything else today. Hence, this blog post. It’s already been over  month since I posted and so much has happened, I doubt I’ll be able to cover it all. But I’ll give it  shot. Settle in for a long catch up session. 😉
 veggiesongrill
After a mild winter, we’ve been enjoying a spell of nice weather–sunny and temps in the 70’s. We really can’t ask for more than that. So much yard work to do and not enough energy or ambition to do it. Hubby cut the grass for the first time on Sat. after hunting for a particular type of 2-cycle ashless Lawnboy oil at half a dozen places and online. There doesn’t seem to be any place that carries it anymore and we feared using something else and wrecking our lawn mower. He decided to try the Toro brand and that worked fine. I’m sure you’re thrilled with the minutiae of my life.
 playdatewithasher
At the beginning of the month, we took the dogs to the vet (over a 2 day period) to get heartworm tests and vaccinations for Ivy. They also had their stool samples checked for parasites and came back clean. It’s about the fastest way to blow through $450 I’ve ever seen. We had run out of Revolution (the heartworm and tick preventive we have them on) which they get topically on their back between the shoulder blades once a month. I had called 1-800-PetMeds (an online pet supply place that is much cheaper than the vet but still coslty) to order the same day I had made the vet appts. Even though we’ve known the vet 20 years, she still won’t authorize it until after the tests, even though the medicine wouldn’t have come until after we’d gotten the results back. After the vet appts., I had to call the Pet Meds place back to get them to send another authorization to the vet. Well, the person I talked to said they would but then I got an email days later saying that Amber still needed her heartworm test. So I had to call back again and set them straight. In all the years I’ve been using Pet Meds, this is the first time that I can recall them screwing up. It’s too bad it had to happen at all.
 Mominwheelchair
Then I had to deal with a screwup at the pharmacy. We had switched to CVS from Jewel a year or two ago because Jewel made errors almost every time we got a prescription. Now CVS is doing the same. Hubby has his pills on “Readi-fill” which refills automatically and a recording calls to say they are ready. Of course, the recording doesn’t tell you which ones are ready so you have to guess. He went to pick up his Bystolic which he needed right away and they had an additional one for him. He didn’t need the Amlodapine for a week but got it anyway. I didn’t open the 2nd one for a week until it was needed. Inside I found the paperwork saying he had gotten 90 pills (like always) and only one bottle of 30 enclosed. So I had to call the pharmacist and explain the situation and she said, “We owe you 2 bottles.” So I told her I’d pick it up in a few days and to have it ready. That’s how I spend my time, doing piddly little things that just rob me of time I could be blogging. ;-D
 mommeamber
Greg turned 55 on April 1st. We had plans to go out to eat for the first time this year but we didn’t. A few days earlier we had gotten takeout and brought it home which is also the first time this year. We got lamb burritos from Mr. T’s Gyros. They were good but not something you’d want to eat more than once a year. We ended up going shopping and getting a 10 lb. beef brisket which I cut in 2 and cooked in 2 crockpots. We also got a ton of veggies and roasted them in the oven and on the grill. It was probably better than eating out would have been. Greg heard from his 3 brothers who wished him happy bd. His brother Brian who had the traumatic brain injury in Feb. 2015 got approved on Greg’s birthday for disability from the government. They even paid him for the past year when his application was hung up in red tape. I doubt he will ever hold any type of job again. 2 months ago, he fell in the shower and hit his head again and got another concussion. He ended up being in a nursing home for a few weeks for rehab. The older we get, the more careful we are trying to be to keep our health intact.
 crams1950globe
So my left knee had gotten a bit better for a few days when I blogged last but that didn’t last. My knee has been terrible and bothers me in 3 different places. It even aches when I lay in bed, no matter how I position it. Same with on the couch. I miss being able to sit cross legged now and then. I’m still moving around on it but so many stairs are a killer. Today is the first day in a month that it’s been less painful. I’m not holding my breath because I know all it takes is one wrong move or turn to get it sore all over again. It’s been depressing to not be able to walk the dogs every day like I used to. I still do it when Greg can go which is about 3 days a week we do it together.
 afghan
My mom turns 95 on Saturday April 23rd! I don’t know what if anything we’ll do. We saw a new hole in the wall restaurant that serves homemade Polish food so we may try that. About a month ago we found an almost brand new wheelchair at an estate sale in our town for $20! We’d been thinking of getting one for Mom and couldn’t pass it up at that price. We had to take her to the ENT doctor to get the wax out of her ears and also to the audiologist twice to get a new ear mold made for her right hearing aid. I was really debating whether I should take her alone or have Greg along. I mean, I like to do this things alone so I feel independent but while I have him, why not have him help me?! I try to be strong but just having someone help with the burden a little bit eases up on the stress for me so much. So I asked him what he wanted to do and he said he’d be glad to come along. I hit the lottery big time when I got him. 🙂 Anyway, he dropped us at the curb and I got Mom in the wheelchair and took her to the elevator and up to the 3rd floor. The first time I had her walk from the waiting room to the exam room. She can do it but is so slow and unsteady. The next time they said I could push her wheelchair right in the room and leave her in it. That made it so much easier. Having the wheelchair should make it so much easier for vacations! We’ve also taken her in it around the neighborhood when we walk the dogs. That way she can get some sunshine and fresh air. I never realized how much work it is to push a wheelchair though. 
 roadclosed
In between everything else, we’ve been feeding our addiction of going to estate sales. We’ve found some really interesting things. Hubby got a giant ROAD CLOSED sign that we added to those on our backyard fence. It measures 4 feet long by 30″ high. He also got a new wood burning fire pit. I took a picture of his old one that he got 18 years ago that he paid $99 for and the bigger one he got for $15 at an estate sale. The new one is not “new” but has a lot of life left in it. He’s already had 2 fires in it. We’re going to take the old one to the recycling place to get money for the metal.
 firepits
I’ve never bought a doll as an adult. Seeing various doll collections when you go into someone’s house tends to creep me out. Not as much as a huge collection of clowns would but enough so to keep me from entertaining the idea of buying a doll. Until Friday. Up in the attic of an old house, there were a few dolls and one in particular called to me. It’s more than catching your eye, something about an item can “speak” to you. It makes you feel like it needs to come home with you. This doll did that. It’s a very old Horsman brand doll that has a porcelain head, arms and legs. The head has a crack in the chin and some damage to the side of the head (the bonnet covers it well) but it’s just charming. It has tin eyelids with eyelashes that close when laid down. The body is cloth. It reminds me of a doll that my mom had as a child named Myrtle. She had given it to me as a baby and I broke it. I was too young to remember it but know how much it meant to her . On Sat. we ventured to Evanston, IL to 2 estate sales. One was in a condo and had newer things but we got some great deals like 2 sets of bed sheets for our bed for $6 and 11 necklaces at $1 each!! Then we went to an antique store where the owner was retiring after 30 years in business. It was called Eureka! They’d had the sale the day before too so there wasn’t as much stuff left but we still managed to find some treasures. We saw “just a piece of cardboard” hanging on the wall and had to have it. It was advertising for the Gold Dust Twins Washing Powder. It’s very old and rare.
 dollgolddusttwins
Last weekend we had an unpleasant time at one sale. Some places charge more if they do a lot of prep work and clean and organize which I can understand. Others have more of a “digger” sale where they prepare nothing, leaving everything dirty, in piles or boxes and packed to the rafters. A lot could be in the garage or attic. Usually they tend to give a better price because you really have to dig to get to anything good. Usually it’s buried under literally garbage. Things that should’ve been put in a dumpster. Well, those types of sales CAN be the best. They are definitely fun but it takes a lot more time plus you get filthy touching things. Last weekend, we went to one run by 2 guys who we’ve gone to a few of their sales. They don’t have any helpers or employees and do no prep. Nothing is ever marked. One sits at the front desk taking money but he can’t quote any prices. The other guy runs all over the house and has to give prices for everything. There is always a huge wait to get him to look at anything. Usually the prices are fair. I got a huge gorgeous afghan there for $6. It smelled find but when we left, they put it in a dirty bag that stunk so bad of mold, I could’ve thrown up. Yesterday I finally took it out and aired it out outside and threw away the bag. Anyway, last weekend Greg & I were in hurry to go home for lunch but went in the garage and there was boxes of ephemera. That is my weakness and we started looking through and culling. We only wanted certain things and maybe we’d only find one or two things out of an entire box and go on to the next. We must’ve spent 45 minutes out there in the cold (35 degree weather) and dark (very little light) and dirt. Most places if they value ephemera, will label each piece individually. They’ll also have it inside the house and displayed. Most places when you dig your own, you show up with a pile and they don’t look at it, they just quote you $5 or $10 for the batch. We had a stack of an inch or two thick and went in the house with it in a box. We had to wait for the guy that could price and then he began looking through it piece by piece!!! He was like $10 for this, $3 for that, etc. plus he wouldn’t go through it all because he had to stop and give prices to others for things they were interested in. We asked him for a price for all of it and he said he couldn’t do that. So we left it all!! We were just disgusted and upset that the guy was so unreasonable. He didn’t want to take the time to go through the boxes in the garage himself but now he could sell what we culled for him on ebay without putting in the effort of finding it. Thank God they’re not all like that! I know this isn’t what AC/DC had in mind when they wrote the song in my title but it does seem fitting.
mannequinhandlers
                                  

 

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Today it was 64 degrees. 4 days ago, it was snowing! A week ago yesterday, it was 60 degrees and I should’ve taken advantage of the incredible weather. That’s unheard of for February in the Midwest. I didn’t get outside once. I should feel bad about it but I don’t. I feel so good about why I didn’t get outside that I have to share it. We finally took down our one big picture that hung over the couch in the LR and completely redid the wall. For some reason, I never remember to take “before” pictures. 

 LRwallfull
We got out most of our religious wall art that we’ve been collecting (er, hoarding) for the past 3 years. All were estate sale finds. We measured the space and chose what we thought would look best up there. I’ve been wanting to do this for over a year!! It’s not something I can do by myself but every time I’ve mentioned it to hubby, he would just groan. This time he was receptive and it went great. It took us less than 2 1/2 hours for the whole thing and it gave us a bunch of ideas for the other walls. Now I am SO HAPPY. I love looking at it and it gives me a feeling of joy and peace. I call it The Wall Of Peace.
 closeupwall1
I have some more finishing touches to put on it but couldn’t wait to share it. Now I want to do some major dusting and clear away an area to put up my religious statues. I can only imagine how happy I’ll be when that happens. I’ll be as giddy as a kid at an amusement park. 🙂
 closeupwall2
I’ve got a “stairway to heaven” on the way up from the main floor to the upstairs where the bedrooms are. I’ve also got another decorated stairway to the basement with religious art. Things are slowly taking shape. When I say slowly, it’s baby steps. It always seems to be worth the wait. 🙂 I hope if there’s something you’ve wanted to do for ages, you’ll finally take the plunge and start. We can all use a little more peace in our lives.

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Before noon, we had an 11" snow cake.

Before noon, we had an 11″ snow cake.

Now is the perfect time to sit down and write a blog post since we’re in the middle of a blizzard. It is so eerily quiet when it’s snowing that hard and for that long. No one is on the roads or even the sidewalks. We had about a foot of snow by noon and 17″ by 6 pm.  They’re predicting several more inches in the next 12 hours or so. Everyone is huddled indoors watching the Super Bowl but we’re not. Hubby had to work and our football team isn’t playing so we’re skipping it this year. Hubby just got home and is snowblowing the driveway and sidewalks. It’s windy so it’s drifting very badly. He’ll probably have to do it again tomorrow morning before he leaves for work. I got outside in the backyard a bit this morning to play with the dogs but it’s bitter cold too.

Elvis in the snow.

Elvis in the snow.

Amber loves snow.

Amber loves snow.

Ivy hates snow.

Ivy hates snow.

On Valentine’s Day, it will be 2 years that we’ve been actively going to estate sales. I know winter is the slowest time of the year for sales but this is the worst I’ve seen. We only hit one estate sale on Thurs. and one on Sat. Since we had a bit of free time on Thurs. and were in Chicago, we made a point to go to Andersonville (the neighborhood) to Woolly Mammoth. That’s an oddities shop that I found on Instagram. They have a lot of taxidermy animals and all around odd stuff. Basically, right up our alley! They’re open noon until 7 pm. We got there right at noon and the owner arrived right behind us ready to open the store.

Inside the wonderland called Woolly Mammoth.

Inside the wonderland called Woolly Mammoth.

Love this helmet & mortar shell lamp.

Love this helmet & mortar shell lamp.

Xray reader and framed wishbones.

Xray reader and framed wishbones.

We spent an hour walking around admiring everything and talking to Skye. She and her husband have owned it for 5 years and she also works full time and travels internationally for her job. I was as impressed with her as I was with the place. They are both artists and it shows. They have such a creative mindset. They’ve made use of every square inch of the building which is part museum, part curiosity shop. We didn’t end up buying anything because the prices were higher than we’re used to. I don’t begrudge them charging them though. They have unique items and sell to a niche market who will gladly pay to acquire pieces for their collections. Someday I’d like to go back, especially if they have a sale. 🙂 I encourage anyone who’s in the area to stop by and browse around like we did.

Fish and pool playing frogs.

Fish and pool playing frogs.

Part art museum, part freak show.

Part art museum, part freak show.

I want to take the wallaby home.

I want to take the wallaby home.

We had one more hour of paid street parking so I looked up (on Yelp) if there were any antique stores in the area. About 2 blocks away on Clark St., there were at least 6! We only made it to the first one. Brownstone Antiques has been around 20 years and it is the exact opposite of Woolly Mammoth. Everything looks like it has barely made it in the door and they put it in the first open spot they found. Usually on top of a several foot high pile of other things. There’s a path down the middle to walk and another path about halfway up another side and then it’s blocked by furniture. This is a digger’s dream. Nothing is grouped together, you have to search to find anything. If you’re a pirate, this is where the treasure is buried! 😉 Some things have price tags, a lot doesn’t. I found some jadeite bowls, a couple of hand vases and 2 crosses. If we’d had more time, we would’ve found more. There was a huge pile of ephemera that I simply love looking through. Like old postcards and photographs. I like to get a huge box or bag full for a cheap price (like $5-10) and “play with” them. I don’t even look at them until I get home. I’m not sorting them and picking out the good ones in the store. I would just grab a bunch or let the owner grab a bunch and shove them in a bag. I asked him about that and he said he’d have to go through each one individually and then he’d give me a price for the whole lot. I said I don’t have time to look through them myself so I had to pass. 😦 I especially love seeing someone’s whole life in pictures. You get an idea of what the person’s life was like and their personal history.

Brownstone Anttiques. Looking towards front door.

Brownstone Anttiques. Looking towards front door.

Looking deeper into the store.

Looking deeper into the store.

Now I’m excited to get back to Chicago and check out the other antique stores. This probably won’t happen for months but it’s fun to dream about on a snowy winter day. 😉

 

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As I alluded to in my Ringing In The New Year post, we had some unexpected excitement and fun on our vacation. On Wed. Dec. 30th (2 days before we left), Greg was walking the dogs behind Hollywood Casino in Tunica. He was crossing over the levy and found quite an attractive deer ass. Not attached to a deer! Just the tail and skin/fur surrounding the rear portion. He came back to tell me about it and it just sounded too strange (code word for interesting for me) that I had to go see it for myself. So we walked back over there with the dogs and I saw it. It was like the rump of the deer had been scalped. I was wondering where the rest of the deer was. The remaining deer body couldn’t have been eaten bones and all, could it?!
Deer butt

Deer butt

We were on the edge of the woods and I saw something a few feet away so I walked over. Sure enough, there was the head of the deer with a nice rack (antlers). It was completely intact, only a bit of the nose had been picked at. It was a substantial specimen with the bloody spine still attached. It was minus all meat and picked cleaner than baby back ribs at a cookout. Once again, I wondered where the rest of the deer was. It couldn’t have all gotten “et” (southern for eaten). A few feet beyond that were 2 of the hooves and parts of those 2 legs. Later we found the stomach (full of waste) on top of the levy a little further down. That was all that remained from such a huge, prideful and gentle creature.
Hooves

Hooves

We always see deer when we’re down at this RV park. They venture out of the woods at dusk and later. There’s a whole community of them since we’ve seen up to 9 of them at a time. There had been one large one that had come very close to our campsite, into a different field and had been showing up there every night around midnight. Greg had seen it when he’d take the dogs out at night. This one would show up alone and didn’t seem to be as afraid as the others. It would let them get within 50 feet and not run away. We have a great respect and love for these majestic creatures. To find one dismembered gave us pause.
Dead animal FTW.

Dead animal FTW.

So many things went through my mind. Naturally, the first thing I thought of was: this is what happens in a horror movie! 😉 People stumble upon dismembered animals and then are the next to be torn to shreds by some unknown creature in the woods. Ha ha. It was amusing to entertain the thought until it started getting dark. 😉 Hubby’s first thought was: Treasure Hunting: Mississippi Edition. Some people can hunt (with a gun) for years and never bag this kind of trophy! Also what better thing to just come across at random that people pay lots of money for–a deer head mount. We already have 2 antelopes we got at an estate sale hanging in our upstairs hallway on either side of a huge sailfish. We can totally appreciate the beauty in God’s creatures and are all about recycling and repurposing things. Also cleaning up the environment.
Found in the woods

Found in the woods

My hubby doesn’t believe in fate but there are times that I do. This was one of them. It just seemed meant to be. Or at least that’s how I fantasized it up in my mind. After looking at it, I took a bunch of pictures and we went back to the RV. We had to talk about it and see how to proceed. Greg is always worried about getting in trouble. Probably because in the state we live in (Illinois), you can’t do anything without a license or permit. So hubby was on his way to the police station to ask them if it would be ok if we just took the head. He ran into a sheriff in the parking lot and asked him. He said he saw nothing wrong with it but gave him the phone number for the DNR (Dept. of Natural Resources). He called and that guy said he thought it was ok but to call the game warden. So Greg called the game warden and he was fine with it. So we gathered a few tools (hammer and pocketknife) and a couple of black garbage bags and went back.
Good eatin'.

Good eatin’.

As we were returning to the scene, we saw a huge bird of prey flying away. Maybe that’s who had been eating on the nose. We knew we had to work fast since it would be dark in less than an hour. I held the dogs and tried to videotape Greg at the same time. This was my first time using my new iphone 6+ so it was shaky plus I kept getting distracted by the dogs. Greg used both the hammer and knife to try to separate the skull from the spine. It didn’t happen easily. Finally he started twisting the head and kept turning it until it snapped. This is how serial killers start. Then we took pictures of each of us holding up the head. Yes, we’re barbarians. He put the head in one of the bags. Then I was trying to convince hubby to get the legs for a table. He tried for a minute and said it was too hard. I don’t think his heart was in it. He did humor me when I said I wanted the deer ass though. That tail is so cute and if we could figure out how to taxidermy it, it would be adorable hanging on the wall. I’m not as sick as I sound, I promise.
Hard at work.

Hard at work.

I don’t know too many wives that would get this excited about finding a dead animal. The best things in life are free. Hubby and I were both almost giddy. We were making jokes as we walked back with our pirate’s booty. insert reference to the tv show Dexter about a serial killer who would’ve loved this.
Head and spine.

Head and spine.

After getting back to the RV, I set about researching how to clean the skull. Apparently there are several methods. Some include chemicals, others involve bugs that eat away the flesh (shudder) and others call for boiling the skull and scrubbing it away with a steel brush. EW! Not what I expected. On tv they always show rednecks doing taxidermy. How hard can it be?! Well, if you’ve never done it before…VERY HARD. It’s out of our skillset. But we’re not giving up. We are going to give it a try in Spring. (Spring is the mythical timeframe before Someday.) It will take us that long to gear ourselves up to do it.
Victory.

Victory.

In the meantime, what’s the status of our find? It is frozen and sitting under snow on the side of our house. This is a fenced in area, not accessible to the dogs. We have nothing in there now at all. It never gets any sunlight and is always wet. Almost an unholy place. I’ve been trying to talk hubby into putting down some large patio blocks since it’s too muddy for grass or a garden. We’ve tried both with no luck. Once the patio block is in, I want to use it for storage.
Nice rack.

Nice rack.

Worst case scenario? We screw it up and have to throw out the free deer. Best case scenario? We have some radically cool souvenir from our trip. I think it’s a risk worth taking. I will have to document the rest of the adventure in pictures. 🙂

 

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