Monday, September 26, 2011

Why Can't A 300 Pound Avocado Come Hurtling Down At Me From Outer Space? And Other Imponderables (Like How Mitt Is Middle Class)

Probably I should make this a terribly cerebral post.  After all, I have enormous amounts of time in which to think and become Deeply Informed.  My Plain Dealer is read thoughtfully and deliberately each morning, and I am following The Politics again, albeit somewhat haphazardly, lest they disrupt My Zen.

Oh, but let's not, as they say, Go There.

Instead, I think I'll just shake loose a few errant Thought Nerfuls and set them free.

~*~Back in 1979 when Skylab's doom was forecast and we all were warned of its imminent plunge to earth, I was a junior at Bowling Green State University.  This, as I am wont to constantly remind my children, was well before the Interwebs and Cellular Phones, but not before alcohol, so pretty much the entire university prepared for this event by hosting dorm parties.  We all designed and wore hats--ostensibly for protection ha ha--and made huge targets and Welcome Skylab! signs.  This week's recent overhyped Newsworthy Event regarding the entrance of space junk the size of a bus into our atmosphere held no cache or thrill for me. I didn't even wear a headband.  On a related note, here are some places that I wish the NASA Space Junk had hit:  1. WalMart HQ; 2. republican National Committee HQ; 3. Atlanta's airport (the only place to lose my luggage and delay me, twice) 4. Congress (but get Sherrod Brown out first).

~*~Avocados, The World's Most Perfect Fruit and my Culinary Crush, are a ridiculous $2.50 each at the local grocery store.  At a warehouse club, you can get five for about eight bucks. Still insane.  I was reading a food blog the other day and saw a farmer's market sign in California that said "Hass Avocados $1 EACH" and almost wept. I feel like part of the reason avos are so unreasonable is because of Beneful Dog Food.  This brand includes a variety called "Healthy Fiesta" which includes avocadoes.  How ridiculous. No dog, even if it is a Mexican hairless or a chihuahua, eats avocadoes or needs them. The Beneful people are buying up avocadoes, thus needlessly creating a demand which, in turn, is raising prices for me.  Hey, Beneful. Knock it the hell off!  Who the hell do you think you are?  Dogs eat meat and, in the case of the Golden Retriever who lived here for six weeks, the occasional door. Lay off my avos.

~*~Okay, I lied.  I am going to get A Little Political.  But just a teensy bit.  You know, Mitt Romney has been running for president professionally now for, what, eight years? Ten? Whatever.  He wants It really bad. He also has the John McCain Disease of being whomever and whatever the situation calls for at the time. He just cannot help it.  Even though Mitt said, "I think the American people recognize that we're at a point of crisis and they want to hear the truth. And they can tell when people are being phony and are pandering to an audience, and you'll see that in politics. You're not going to see that in my campaign"; he also turned right around and said this, calling for a tax policy that will help "the middle class. It's not those in the low end; it's certainly not those in the very high end. It's for the great middle class -- the 80 to 90 percent of us in this country."  There's just one problem:  Mitt really isn't one "of us" as he said.  His net worth is estimated at between $190 million and $250 million.  That one is right up there with his "I'm also unemployed" joke. Speaking of jokes, (fill in name of republican debater here).

~*~I read a blog yesterday in which someone used the following in the same post:  I could loose a lot of blood.  and  "Are you going rouge?" (said to someone doing something against the rules).  I almost screamed.  Seriously.

I'll let Nancy pun her head off with that last one.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

You Just Don't F*#k With Someone Who Served Thirty Years In Public Education. (Y'all Gotta Run More Game Than This)

One more Garage Sale Story, this one not nearly as endearing, and then I promise to put them on hiatus.

Saturday--the final day of the sale and traditionally Not A Big Day, either money-wise or crowd-wise--was making us a bit crabby.  The weather had been gloomy and threatening rain, and we spent the whole first hour without a single person (or car!) anywhere near the sales on our street.  My brother, a compulsive record-keeper, consulted The Notebook, which told us that last year's Saturday had sucked bigtime as well.

At that moment, a woman in her late sixties with a shellacked coif and a rather prissy air about her approached the cashier table.  In her arms she carried two scarf and hat sets, a hooded quilted faux down vest, and a black knit stocking cap.  She set them down and...

Nance:  Hi.  Let's see what you've got there.
Woman(in a petulant, Sarah Palinesque voice) Well, before you start, this vest has a spot on it.
Nance:  Really?  Where?  It's brand new.  See?  The tag is still on it.
Bob:  Yeah. My daughter put that in this sale, and I know for a fact that she never even wore it.
Woman:  Right there.  See?  (points to a fading water spot)
Bob:  That looks like a water spot.  Anyway, that's a thirty-dollar vest, and you're getting it for three dollars. 
Woman:  Well, and this knit hat here.  It's all stretched out already.
Nance:  That is also brand new.  See how it's attached to the scarf by the plastic tab?  Besides, it's not a stocking cap.  (turns it inside out) See here? See the lining? It's not made to stretch like a regular knit hat.  That's the style.
Woman:  Well, we go to these sales and buy up all the warmer things to send them off to the poor Indian children on the reservation.  I'm sure they don't care about what's in style, poor little things. (pauses and puts bottom lip out; pouts)  They only want to be warm and not freeze.  Poor things.
Nance:  Well, ma'am, those brand new hat and scarf sets are only a dollar each.  The vest is brand new and it's only three dollars.  You got the stocking hat out of the Five Items For A Dollar bin.  There's a pair of hand-knitted leg warmers in there, by the way.
Bob:  We'll throw in the single hat for nothing.
Nance:  That's five dollars, then.
Woman:  The poor little cold Indian children don't care if things are brand new or not.  They just want to be warm, bless them.  Poor things.
Nance:  I understand.  And you're getting a great deal for five dollars.
Woman(sighs, frowns, shakes her head, pouts; takes out her wallet and a five.)  Well, you're not much of a bargainer.
Nance:  No, ma'am.  You're not.  That's five dollars even.  Thank you.

And I did not offer her a bag.

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's Never Too Late To Learn Something New (Or To Buy My Punch Bowl--Please!)

Over the weekend I was rusticating at my brother's lake house a couple counties downstate.  He has a lovely vacation home in Amish Country, and the community there has a twice-yearly garage sale.  He told me about it a little over a year ago and urged me to start gathering up things in my house to put in his sale.  I go gather up my mother (St. Patsy) as well, jam everything in my car, and spend the weekend at the lake peddling my crap, visiting with St. Patsy and Bob, watching people and making a little wine money.  Bonus:  a blogpost.

Bob and I love to watch what people will buy, how they will try to bargain you down on a fifty-cent item, and try to figure out why, after over a year and three sales now, my brand new punch bowl will not sell, even at the low low price of only five dollars.  (I've had it with that goddam thing--I mean it. Next sale, I'm marking that puppy up to ten bucks. Fuck 'em.)

We have a goodly amount of Amish customers--Mennonites, too, and here's what we've learned:  1.  They will bargain, gently, on items of beauty or luxury, such as my strawberry crockery or faux depression glass; 2.  They buy sporting equipment in the spring; 3.  They do not generally buy plastic kitchen items; 4.  They will buy dishes or silverware in vast quantities. 

This year, a young Mennonite girl bought a pink plaid skirt from me after looking interestedly at--and touching--my black lace peignoir set.  For a long time.  Shortly after that, the following occurred:

Amish buggy pulls up.  Inside are two twentysomething Amish women.  One alights and begins browsing.  She is either heavy or pregnant.  After a time, she chooses one 12"X12" mirrored tile marked $2.  She shows it to her companion in the buggy, who nods. 

Amish shopper:  (approaching our cashier table)  Would you take less for this?
Bob:  No.  In Home Depot, a store, you would pay at least five dollars for that.
Amish shopper:  All right. I will take it then.  (carefully hands over a one and some change)
Bob:  Can I wrap that for you?
Amish shopper:  No.  That's okay.
Bob:  Thank you.

Amish shopper leaves.  Goes to buggy. Conversation occurs with its occupant. Amish shopper turns back around, clutching mirror, looks unsure.  Looks back at us. More conversation.  Occupant points to us.  Shopper starts back slowly.

Patsy: Oh no. Maybe she's not allowed to have that.  Maybe she has to return it.
Nance: Here she comes.
Amish shopper:  (looking up at sign above our heads) I would like a...Pepsi.
Nance:  Oh.  Would you like regular or diet?
Amish shopper:  I...I...(hand to mouth; looks from one of us to the other)...don't know.  Which one is best?
Bob:  Well, the regular Pepsi has a lot of sugar.  The Diet has no sugar.
Amish Shopper:  Well then, the Diet sounds best.
Nance:  That will be fifty cents, please.

With that, she handed over the money and carried both the mirror and the can of Diet Pepsi back to the buggy and her companion as if both were precious treasures.  Once inside, she stowed the mirror and opened the can.  And as they urged their big brown horse to life, I had a glimpse of the Amish women tipping back that Diet Pepsi inside their buggy.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

On The Road Again: Sexy Ice Cream, Sexy House, And Hillbilly Stonehenge. You're Welcome

On Saturday Rick indulged me and took me out for a Ride.  We didn't have any real destination in particular, which is my favourite kind of Ride.  It was 97 degrees outside--NEO's typical September Summer Blast--and I just wanted to get out of the house and Drive Around awhile and see what I could see.  Deep below my whimsy ran the insidious undercurrent of A Hidden Agenda:  Mitchell's Homemade Ice Cream.  We ended up there after a time, and I was richly rewarded with a scoop each of lemon blackberry sorbet and rhubarb chevre frozen yogurt.  Rick had two scoops of caramel sea salt ice cream.

Needless to say, it was all downhill after that.  Case in point:

Along the road (some road, who knows which or where, really) I saw what looked like a spare, dilapidated, faux colonial made of cardboard residing behind gargantuan hunks of sandstone, in picket-like formation.  It was astounding and absurd.  Immediately, I turned to Rick.

Me(assuming he had seen it) Wow.  They have some big rocks.
Rick(cringing and grinning) Um...what? Who?
Me:  No, really. Back there.  That horrifying house.  Didn't you see the big rocks in their yard?  It was like Stonehenge.
Rick:  No, I didn't. 
Me:  Well, they were huge. And really, it was completely ridiculous. Enormous pieces of sandstone, all along, in front of their house. Entirely out of proportion and character. They needed to be taller or the house needed to be shorter.  The house was a dump. A hillbilly haven. You really should turn around and go back and look at it. 
Rick:  I'm not going to do that.
Me:  It was hideous.  I cannot imagine what possessed them to put those in their yard.  It was unbelievable.  I'm...I'm...I'm just done talking about it.
Rick:  Thank God.

Second case, and this one was in our downtown area.  This mystifying sign caught my eye immediately, and I made Rick circle back and sit through two traffic lights so that I could get a picture.  If I had not already had my Orgasmic Ice Cream, I would have needed it for a reward after seeing this:

And then, inexplicably, in the lower right hand corner, is the picture of a...
German Shepherd.  (Oh, do click to enlarge.)

Which, for those of you scoring at home, is a DOG.  Which may or may not be sexy, for sale, only, or named "House."

We are two more bottles down in the wine cellar.
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