Monday, July 22, 2019

To Infinity and Back in an Instant

I'm confused, but that is not unusual. I have a new Instant Pot. This 'Instant' notion is new to me, so I understood my learning curve would be a bit steep. What I was not aware of, was the time warp of the concept. An example of this was a recipe for  'Ligurian Lemon Chicken'. 'Ligurian' refers to the Italian Riviera. But I digress.

The recipe said: 'Serves 4-6, Prep Time: 15 Minutes, Pressure Cook Time: 12 Minutes'. Pretty straight forward, I would say.

I gathered my ingredients and went to work, following the directions:
  • juice 3 lemons
  • finely chop garlic, rosemary, and sage
  • add lemon juice and olive oil to chopped herbs and marinate the chicken for 2-4 hours
  • then saute the chicken in the inner pot for 15 minutes
  • remove chicken, add wine to inner pot and de-glaze - 3 minutes
  • return chicken to inner pot and cover with marinade
  • cook for 12 minutes
  • remove and serve

Now at my age, I realize this is new math and I have an old math mind. But still, aren't there 60 minutes in an hour. 2 to 4 hours equals 120 - 240 minutes - best I can calculate. But, before that there was the time preparing the marinade. Even with my fairly good cooking skills, it takes me a minute or two to juice 3 lemons. Then maybe a minute or so more to 'finely' chop the herbs.

According to my calculations (using the shorter marinading time)  1 minute juicing lemon + 1 minute chopping herbs + 120 minutes marinating chicken + 15 minutes to saute the chicken + 3 minutes de-glazing the pan + finally 12 minutes cooking = 152 minutes (aka 2 hours, 32 minutes). This is where the time warp comes in. My only guess is that the pressure of the Instant Pot compresses the prep time from 137 down to a mere 15 minutes. So does that mean that this mystery pot shrinks the prep time so that when all is done, you are back to the future?

Saturday, July 20, 2019

What Happened to David?

By now I was beginning to fear that the appliance store may well have been a Sci Fri adventure after all. And, both David and my washer/dryer had disappeared into the ethos. I had left several messages with no response.

But, oh ye of little faith. There was a God. Around 4 that afternoon, a young man from the appliance store called. 

"I know we were scheduled to deliver your unit today between noon and 4, but we are running late. If it still suits, we can be there sometime between 4:30 and 5."

If it suits? Are you kidding? My belief in humanity was restored. "I'll be right here."

At 4:30 a young man knocked on the door and introduced himself as Rob. He and his co-worker, Mike, had my washer/dryer. "Can you show me where it goes?"

I took him to the kitchen and showed them the hookups. In a moment Mike was at the door with the unit. As they were coming through the living room, I asked, "Did you get my messages? I called several times and only got voice mail."

Rob responded, as he carefully maneuvered the washer/dryer through my living room, "No, we didn't get any messages."

"Well, I was calling to cancel today's appointment because a conflict came up." I laughed, "But this worked out well." I paused, then added, "I was just surprised David never returned my calls."

While working on the installation, Rob offered, "David is no longer with us. The owner is trying to get everything straight."

"Oh? But no one got my messages?"

"Well, the phone number on David's card was his personal cell phone. So even though it sounded like it was the company phone, it wasn't." He paused, "So we haven't gotten anyone's messages. The manager is trying to figure out which customer had bought what and when they were expecting delivery."

I thought, 'David's 'Post-It' system may be a game saver after all.'

Friday, July 19, 2019

Oh My, We Need to See You

In all the commotion, chaos, and calamity of the move, I almost forgot that I needed to get my vaccinations for an upcoming trip to South America. Years ago, my husband and I had traveled to Ecuador for several weeks, so I already had gotten many of the necessary immunizations. However, I knew there were additional ones as well boosters I would need. All my travel out of the country since then had been to locations where one needed not be so concerned about vaccinations.

Amid all the hub-bub, I had gotten DHEC (Dept of Health and Human Services) to send me my complete vaccination record. However, looking over it I needed help deciphering it. I had already had my Hep-A and Hep-B vaccines. Did I need boosters? I had Tetanus, DTAP, and a MMR, but were they current? What else did I need?

DHEC referred me to this great service that did nothing but handle overseas vaccination needs. I called them to make an appointment. "Where are you traveling?"


"And the dates of your trip?" When I told her it was only several weeks off, her reaction was, "Oh my, we need to get you in here quickly. Let me look at our schedule." She paused as (I assume) she looked over the schedule to see when they could see me. "We can work you in next Tuesday at noon. Does that suit?"

Knowing I was lucky to get an appointment that quickly, I told her it would work. She asked several more questions,and referred me to a their web site. "If you complete your paperwork online,  you will not be charged for the visit itself, just whatever vaccinations or other medication you will need." I thanked her and rang off.

Tuesday? What did I have planned on Tuesday? Oh, my washer/ dryer was scheduled to be delivered Tuesday afternoon. I found the number for the appliance store and dialed it. Hopefully, I could reschedule my installation appointment with them for Thursday.

When I rang the number, there was no answer. I rang again. This time I waited long enough to get the voice mail. It was David the salesman I had initially dealt with. I left him a detailed message about my needing to cancel my Tuesday appointment and that I was hoping to reschedule the delivery for Thursday. I asked him to please return my call to confirm that he had received the message. I left my name and number.

Monday came and I still had not heard from David. I called once more, got the voice mail, and once again left the message as I had several days earlier.

Tuesday morning came and I still had not heard from David. I called one more time and left another message. If they showed up that afternoon and I was not home, I had done my due diligence. At 11:30, I left the townhouse for my noon appointment. Disappointed that the washer/dryer was not going to be delivered that day, I made a note to call David once more when I got back home.

As it turned out, my appointment took less than an hour, so I was back home by 1:30.  Once again, I tried to call David. All I got was his voice mail.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Frugal to a Fault

I do not believe in spending any more money than I need to. Perhaps the term 'false economy' applies to my consumption philosophy. I learned years ago that we pay way too much for the sparkle of something new - like that new car smell or the shiny item in the front window. Well, maybe not the new car smell, but I digress.

I try to meet the happy medium between the top price and cheap. Over the years, in furnishing my abodes, there are many examples of this. Now, I am not judging here. I wish I had the disposable income that allowed me to purchase anything I wanted at any price. But there is the game of 'The Bargain'. I find great joy in the estate sale, the thrift store, the yard sale, etc.

Some jewels I have found over the years include a heavy well made large solid wood book shelf for $20, a marble topped washstand for $25, and several very unique table lamps for no more $7 each. Why pay $20+ dollars for an ironing board when a perfectly good one can be procured for $5.50. Looking for an apartment size kitchen table, I was thrilled to find a solid wood hi-top table with 4 matching chairs (in excellent condition) for $35. I was the lucky beneficiary of the unfortunate closing of a local bar and grill.

Then often some things just work out. For example, several days ago, I decided to 'splurge' for a small rug to fit under my coffee table (the solid wood one I purchased for $19 from a local thrift store).  $35 for a new 3x5 rug was ridiculous, but I put it in my buggy anyway. When I was checking out, the cashier could not get the sku to scan. After trying several times, she looked all over the rug for a price tag. Being honest I offered, "The sign said '$35'."

"Well if I cannot scan the sku, I cannot just ring up $35." Once again she tried to scan the sku. Then she asked, "Does $9 seem reasonable?"

"Well, certainly," I replied, trying not to seem too pleased.

With that she scanned the last item she had rang up and smiled. "We'll just use this sku and go with it. They really need to make sure the sku's are registered."

I thanked her, paid my bill, loaded my buggy, and walked out of the store. Perhaps this was not honest. Should I have demanded she charge me the $35 the sign indicated? Nope, I justified to myself. She offered the price of $9, and who am I to refuse such an offer.

As a note, I have learned over the years that there are some items one never tries to save money on. It is well worth the extra expense to buy the strongest aluminum foil, highest quality bed sheets, thickest bath towels, and most excellent gin.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Cable Man Cometh

The 'Window of Service' scheduled for the cable technician to arrive was between 4 and 6 PM on Friday. At 2 o'clock, I received an automated call from Spectrum, reminding me  'Your technician is scheduled to arrive between 4 and 6 PM'.  A little after 3 PM, a polite young man called, identifying himself as 'my' Cable Technician. He had finished his last appointment and was ahead of schedule. Would it suit for him to come early? Obviously, this was not an issue with me.

As if big brother was listening, my phone immediately rang once more. It was Spectrum informing me that my Technician was on his way.

Sure enough, ten minutes later, he was knocking on the front door. I let him in. He asked a few questions and then walked through the downstairs area of the townhouse. After a minute or so, he asked, "I think here in the kitchen," he pointed to the corner, "would be the best place. Is that OK with you?"

As if I had a better idea. This was 1940's construction of brick and plaster. I doubted there were many choices. In less than 15 minutes, my internet was installed, up, and running. Maybe my ugly words about the cable company were unfounded.

The young man showed me the equipment he had installed. He handed me some materials and pointed to the bottom of the front page of one of the pamphlets. "Here is your password." 

Expecting some insane combination of letters, numbers, and characters, I was surprised to see "sparklychest123". I laughed, "This is my password? Seriously?"

He laughed. Yes mam, the original one assigned to me at home was "mushyking123".  We both laughed.

"Let me ask you a question. Yesterday I received a call from Spectrum offering me some super service that would allow me to run faster and jump higher on the internet. What is the difference between the tier of service I requested and that one?"

"About $35 a month."

"So I don't really need it?"

"No mam. You have all the speed and bandwidth you need." He paused, "Unless you are a professional gamer. No offense, I doubt if that applies here."

I thanked him and he left. The good news - I was back on the grid, the bad news - I was back on the grid.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Super Duper Service

According to Forbes, Cable Providers are the most hated industry in the country. Just ahead of Internet Providers, Cell Phone Companies, Health Insurance, and the Airlines. That said it is a necessary evil. But I could only stay off the grid for so long. 

Not able to postpone the inevitable any longer, I used my phone to access the local provider's web site. I was able to set-up service online and make an appointment for the cable guy to come on Friday. Trying to save money, I had decided to only get Internet service and then stream whatever I wanted to watch on my smart TV. As if dealing with No. 2 on the list was any less painful than No. 1.

The following day, while in the grocery store, my phone rang. The screen said it was the cable company. Fearing there was some issue, I answered it.

"This is Madge from Spectrum cable, how are you this morning?"

"Fine, and you?"

"First I wanted to thank you for your business and confirm the time scheduled of our technician's visit."

She confirmed the date and time of the installation. Then she started in on her spiel - because I was a new customer, they had this very 'special' offer to make. Spectrum would be happy to give me service, 30 days for free, to a super duper Internet tier that would allow me to stream anything I wanted at any time. (Funny I had researched their site to make sure the service I was getting allowed me to 'stream anything I wanted at any time'.)

I rudely (so much so, I could see my dear departed Aunt Kat scolding me for such behavior) interrupted her. "I am not interested in anything 'free' that is going to be automatically added to my bill later."

"But, I see that you are not taking advantage of our excellent cable TV service. This will allow you to stream anything you want on up to 5 different devices. And, it will give you 'optimal speed'."

"It was my understanding that the service I have signed up for offers me high speed streaming on up to 3 devices. Is this a faster service? "

She didn't pause at all, "We find that most households have . . ."

I interrupted her once more (now I envisioned dear Aunt Kat rolling over in her grave), "Mam, I do not want any additional service that will be added to my bill later on."

"Of course, but ..."

With this I rang off.

Come to think of it, in my mind 'Cable Provider' and 'Internet Provider' are usually the same entity. Therefore Spectrum is the  No. 1 squared most hated service. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

The Illusive Appliance

One thing my new abode did not have was a clothes washer and dryer. There were hook ups for such in the kitchen - but no appliances. Looking at the space, I did not want to take up a great deal of valuable real estate in the kitchen. The alternative was a 'stacked' washer/dryer.

When I started looking for such a thing, it was evident I had not been in the appliance market for a while. This was clear when I asked a nice young salesperson in an appliance store if they had stacked washers and dryers. He said they did and led me down an aisle pass the refrigerators, took a right at the ranges, we made our way through the dishwashers, and finally to the washer/dryer section. Proudly, he showed me what they had. 

This was not what I had in mind. No one told me that these days they 'stack' full size washers and dryers. Who knew? Politely I told him I was looking for the space savers, the ones folks in apartments use. He looked at me, "Oh, those?"

"Do you have any?"

"Sure let me show you what we have." He led the way. He stopped and indicated a stacked unit - what I had in mind. However, the price was not - they wanted almost $2,000 for it. 

Taking a deep breathe, I asked, "Are there any less expensive ones or, maybe, used ones?"

"No, mam. Well, let me rephrase that. I have seen new units for as little as $1,200."

My budget did not equate 'as little as' with '$1,200', unless it referred to the price of a new car or trip around the world on the Queen Mary. I thanked him and made my way out of the store. 

Back in my car, I pulled out my phone and searched for 'used space saving washer dryer units' in the area. This revealed several potential stores. The first one I called said they did not have any and did not expect to have any. The man who answered the phone at the second location I called, told me that they had 3 in stock the day before, but they were already sold. "Hard to find those things," he said. I thanked him and rang off.

For the next few days, I scoured Craig's list (there was one listed, but they did not deliver). One constant point of frustration was finding dealers with a web site but at the bottom, in very small print, was written "Due to the size of our business, we do not have a current inventory list on our site. Please come in and see the selection we have." I interpreted this as either 'We don't know what in the Hell we have.' or 'Don's nephew's real good on the internets and such. He put our web site together and we don't have a clue how to edit it.'

Whatever the situation, these units were harder to find than I first thought. Finally, I found a store on the edge of town that said they had 4 used units in stock. Quickly I made my way down there, hoping to procure one of these long sought after units. 

When I walked in the store, I started to pull out my sun glasses. The combination of the white floor, white walls, white ceiling and dozens of white appliances was blinding. I wasn't sure if I had stepped onto some Sci Fi movie set or the domain of Progressive's Flo. The lone sole I could find was a gentleman (David) sitting behind a desk on the phone. He waved and indicated he would be right with me.

While waiting I saw in the corner, a site as rare as a herd of unicorns, 4 space saving washer/dryer stacked units. I noticed 2 had yellow Post-It notes with names and dates written on them. Finally the salesman was off the phone and walking toward me. "Looking for one of those?"

"Yes, is 1 still available?"

"Well 2 are but I have another person coming in this afternoon to look at them."

I looked at the line of units again. They were all the same make and model. The price was extremely reasonable.

As if reading my mind, David offered, "These are all refurbished, come with a 30 day warranty, and a discount on service, should you need one after that."

"Do you deliver?"

"Yes, the price includes delivery."

I looked at the 2 still available and selected one. I followed David back to the desk to complete the paperwork for the sale. Watching him work was painful. It seemed to take him forever to complete a form and make a copy. Finally, he took my debit card. Even then he was flustered that his card reader wasn't working. Well it wasn't until he pulled the card out and inserted it the correct way.

Since they only delivered on Tuesday and Thursday, I made an appointment for the following Tuesday to take delivery. When I finally was able to walk out of the store, I read over my paperwork. I wanted to make sure it in fact said I had purchased a washer/dryer (and not a trash compactor or such), the amount I had paid, and the delivery date.

I could relax, and check this off my list. Finally I had found what I needed at a decent price with a warranty and a delivery date. Now, where could I find some baskets for the shelf in my room?

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Just a Bit Short

Making my way through the canyons of cardboard, I went upstairs. Looking into the master bedroom, I saw the bed had been set up with the frame and box springs. Next, I walked into the second bedroom. There was the bed - as in just the 4 poster bed - no mattress, no box spring. Thinking about what we loaded, it dawned on me that I was so concerned about getting the correct box spring for my bed, sofa for the living room, and matching kitchen chairs, that I totally forgot I needed a mattress and box spring for the other bed. And, to think I had been so proud of both my preparation and my execution of the move.

Later that afternoon, the Fed Ex man showed up with a 50 pound box containing my memory foam mattress. I saw him drop it on the door step. He turned to go back to his truck. Wanting to catch him, I ran to the door and asked, "Can you please bring that into the house?"

He turned around, "No mam, we're not allowed to bring anything into someones home."

Obviously, he could tell that was not the answer I expected. He walked back toward the door and smiled," But, if you open the door, I will put it inside."

I thanked him and opened the door wide. He picked up the box, and without putting a foot over the threshold, placed it just inside the door. I thanked him. Now getting it up the stairs and onto the bed was going to be another story.

One of my favorite pieces of furniture is a large buffet which I have always had in my living room. Unfortunately, 2 of the legs had been broken during a previous move. Until they get repaired,  the buffet had to be set on the floor in my living room, upside down. If nothing else, it makes for a conversation piece. Especially with my television sitting on top of it (or on the bottom of it) together with my crystal decanters.

I'm not sure who built the building in the 1940's but I am convinced he (or she) had to be at least 6' 8" tall. Working in the kitchen, I found I could barely reach the kitchen cabinets, much less anything inside. Even at 5' 2", I had never had that problem before. Note to self - I need a step stool.

In the master bedroom there was a nice size closet. However, when trying to hang up some of my clothes, I could not reach one of the hanging bars. Once again, I made a note - I need a stool. 

I spent the next few hours unpacking and putting things in their proper places. There was great satisfaction with each box I emptied. But, the number of boxes never seemed to decrease. This was worse than the Tribbles on Star Trek.

On the edge of exhaustion, I grabbed a glass of tea, moved a few items from the sofa, and took a seat. It was all coming together. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel or rather the living room floor. There was a noise outside which sounded like the mail being delivered. Sure enough, opening the door, I saw the mailman making his way down the walk way. I opened the door and reached to my left where the mailbox was mounted on the wall. Standing on my toes, I could barely open the box, much less reach inside for any mail that may be there. Note to self - I really need a stool.

Friday, July 12, 2019

My "Stuff" has"Stuff"

Fast forward - I loved the place. I called the landlord and told him I would take it. Check that off my list. Now all I had to do was arrange for 2 sets of 'loaders' (one to load the truck and another to unload it.) 

The going rate for such was $40-$50 per hour per man with a 2 hour minimum.  But, not having to worry with the move, it was well worth it. The logistics were handled. I had it all lined up - the truck, the movers etc. 

Now a little back history here - when I started packing my worldly goods, I found that not only did I have 'stuff', but my 'stuff' had 'stuff'. The number of boxes I was moving was ridiculously down right embarrassing. I brought a good car load down on one of my initial trips. (My college roommate, bless her heart, let me unload my prized possessions and store them in her yard house until I could move.)

My good friends from Richmond brought the remainder of my boxes down - which took up 90% of the room in a good size RV. The site of this was something akin to a photo spread in National Lampoon. Since I could not move in yet, I had rented a climate controlled storage space - a fairly large one. I also had furniture and other goods in 2 more locations.

The loaders we had to load the truck were jam up. They were fast, professional, and happy to help with anything.  Loading the furniture on the truck, I was concerned that the right sofa was loaded, that the chairs loaded were the correct ones for the kitchen table, and other details. I made sure the correct box spring for my bed was loaded. (I was going to have to purchase a new mattress.) Also, I carefully looked over the many table lamps and chose those I thought would suit me best.

Very soon, "Operation Load It Up" was done. Now on to Greenville for Part 2 - "Operation unload." 

Miracles do happen. We arrived at the town house early. Thankfully the unloading crew were waiting for us. They were efficient, but not as impressive as our loaders that morning. That said, it only took them a little over an hour to unload the truck and get all the furniture into the town house. When they finished, I said, "Now we need to bring the boxes from my storage unit. It's only a mile or 2 away."

I could tell the head loader was not pleased. "But, we are finished and you hired us to unload the truck."

I had to remind him that I was paying him for a minimum of 2 hours of work.

"I understand, but we got the job done."

There was a little discussion about timing and the contract. Finally he grumpily said, "Fine, but we need to hurry." He looked at his watch. "We only have 40 minutes. Any minute after that, I will have to charge you for." It was agreed that all they needed to do was load the truck. We would unload it.

We made our way to the storage unit (which was 2 minutes away). When I opened the door to the unit, I heard the loader say, under his breath, "Good God." But, in 15 minutes, the truck was loaded. The unit was empty. Given there were still 15 minutes "on the clock", I started to suggest they could help us unload for that amount of time, but I thought better of it.

Finally the "move" was over. I walked back into the townhouse. Actually, it was hard to walk due to the number of boxes everywhere. Someone asked, "Where is all this going to go?"

Standing there, trying not to show my feeling of total inundation, I just said, "Oh, there's a place for everything." In my mind I was thinking, 'If you believe, it will happen.' Oh, where was the Good Witch Glenda when you needed her?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

For Rent

That afternoon, my friend wanted to show me some neighborhoods in town, an area I had originally written off due to the rental prices. Riding down a tree lined street, there was a sign in the window of an attractive townhouse - "For Rent" with a phone number. I jotted down the number. Probably too expensive, I thought, being in a really nice neighborhood in town. Also, it was not a renter's market these days. Unless one had $1500 a month for a studio apartment (complete with a microwave, mini fridge and Murphy bed) in one of the several fancy brand new buildings downtown, you were on the street with everyone else looking for that 'doable" place for an affordable price.

I called the number and left a message. It wasn't long before the landlord returned my call. Yes, the property was available. I was shocked at the reasonable price. Then the big question - what about dogs? Not an issue. Was it available? When was it available?"

The landlord paused. Great, I thought, this is where the bad news comes. Maybe it will not be available until the end of the summer. Did he have to evict someone first? Were there toxic fumes coming from the walls?

He continued, "The unit has had the same tenant for 4 years. This is the first time I have been able to do some updating, you know - painting, new counters and back splash. Things like that."

This was good I thought - an updated place.

He continued, "I'm afraid it will not be available until sometime in the first week in July at the earliest. We found some issues with the plaster."

This was bad. I needed to move by the first of the month at the latest. "When can you show it ?" I asked?

"Well, I have had a lot of interest in the place. I live out of town, but I will be in town this weekend (this was a Tuesday). I can show it to you then."

Once again, I was crestfallen. I wasn't the first interested, motivated, or potential tenant. This property would not be on the market long. Before I could say anything, he said, "But,  just talking with you, I like you and have a good feeling about you. If you want to see it today, the key is in the mailbox. But, just remember the mess. I promise the ladders and drop clothes will be removed....."

I spoke up and interrupted him,"Trust me I understand."

"Well some people cannot see through that. They want it turn key perfect, especially the Millennials. Even when it is first shown to them. These are townhouses built in the 1940's. They don't have all 'sparkle, bells, and whistles' the newer places have."

I laughed, "Trust me, I am way past any Millennial years."

We both chuckled. Then he said, "Well, let me know what you think. And, if the contractor is in there just tell him I said it was OK for you to look through it."

I thanked him, told him I would be in touch, then we rang off.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019


The domicile hunt continued. I found a small former mill house that was being renovated into a precious little bungalow. It was located within walking distance of a cute area of "hip" bars and restaurants. Charles, a young man from the rental agency met us. (We were there on time - he was 10 minutes late.) 

Charles was obviously recuperating from a large time the night before. He was cute but clueless. Walking through the house, I noticed an issue with the kitchen. "Is this going to be fixed?", I asked.

You would have thought my question required a degree in calculus with a minor in physics. After a moment or 2 with a blank look on his face, he responded, "I don't know."

The wooden tongue and groove ceiling was flaking badly. "Is that going to be sanded and repainted?"

"Not sure."

"And, when will the deck (that was missing half of the railing and steps) be finished?"

"I'll have to ask."

"When did you say it will be available?"

He looked in the notebook he carried, "It is available now."

"As in today?"


"But what about the work that still needs to be done?" I said referring to the issues I had pointed out earlier, together with the drop cloths on the floor, ladder in the middle of the room, boards stacked on the deck, and problems in the kitchen.

Another blank stare from Einstein as he contemplated my query. "Not sure about that but I can check."

As we walked outside, I thanked him for showing us the property. He got in his car, but not before he said," Just go online to our website, complete the form, and pay $40."

"$40 dollars, for what?" I asked.

"That will start the process."


"Yeah, you know, it will give you the application to complete. You know, to see if you are qualified." He paused, "You know, like a background and credit check."

"And, if I'm not qualified, I get my $40 back?"

"No, but then you do not have to pay us another $40 when you find another property of ours you are interested in."

"If you deem me unqualified initially, why would I attempt to rent another property from you?"

Blank stare again, "Not sure, I'll have to ask."

Obviously Charles was the son, grandson, or nephew of the owner. - clueless, completely clueless. No point asking any more questions. But, upon reflection, I realized the location, although in a great area, was 30 minutes from my work in one direction and Greenville in the other. Next!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

On the Move

A short break from Gallagher. I am in the process of moving.

Ah, the move. How I love to move. Boxing up all my worldly belongings, finding some strong young men to assist me, and transporting all this to a new location. What fun, especially in July in the South. Who moves in the middle of the summer in the South? Only fools, idiots,. . . and me. I think every move I have made, with one exception, was in the summer. But I digress.

One would think finding an apartment, condo, townhouse, or small home in a thriving metropolitan area such as Greenville would be easy. One would think. Well, it isn't. I don't require much - a safe location, something not God awful tacky, within my budget, with room for my 2 pups.

Google says 68% of American households include at least one dog. However only 30% of available abodes allow dogs. You do the math. Right off the bat, my market has shrunk. 

One place said they were "dog friendly". I was enthused. The young lady showed us the available unit. She was quick to point out it faced a lovely green space. However, I noticed something was missing.  "Where would I park?", I asked.

"Oh, in the large safe parking area located behind the building."

"So I would have to walk all the way around the building, carrying whatever I may have to get from my car to the apartment?"

"Yes," then she smiled, "But this unit is on the first floor, so there are no stairs."

The kitchen was nothing special but updated and clean,. The young lady pointed out the nice bar around the kitchen. "This is great for entertaining," she said waving her arm about like Vanna White.

A good idea, I thought. However, I'm 5'2" and could just barely see over the great bar for entertaining, much less eat from it.

All that aside, we returned to the rental office. The young lady handed me some papers. "Here is our lease agreement. Read through it and let me know if you have any questions." (Mind you I never indicated I was interested in the property.)

In reviewing the agreement, I noticed on p. 2 the "Pet Policy" stated that a (Non-refundable) fee of $500 together with a (Refundable) deposit of $600, then an additional $25 per month were required to take advantage of their "Pet Friendly" policy. Otherwise, not so much.

Move along nothing to see here.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Luke Warm Evian and a Small Glass

Tara then spoke up, "Well if that was his father, what happened to his mother."

Ima Jean started, "Well, I don't rightly feel its my place to discuss this in company, but she came to a tragic end."

Ada was intrigued, "Do tell."

"I don't like to gossip about such but it is not a secret."

Della interrupted her, "Mama, seriously, it's no secret. You act like there was some conspiracy." She turned to the other ladies,"Unfortunately, Belva took her own life."

There was an audible gasp from the ladies from Texas. Tara asked, "She must have been despondent over the situation with her former husband."

Della reached for one of Hatties' biscuits."Maybe so. But she was the one who killed him." She paused, "Or her, I should say 'killed her'."

"And, all this happened in Gallagher?" asked Marigold.

"'Fraid so," said Della.

"This could be a little Peyton Place," laughed Ada.

Ima Jean spoke up, "Oh, there is more."

Not wanting her mother to wax on about mysterious situations, Della added, 'Well, let's see, there are twin sisters in their 80's who got caught making moonshine in their back yard." She paused and took a bite of her biscuit. "Then there is Colonel Wadsworth. He's hard to miss, since he is always dressed in his Confederate uniform riding his horse.

"In the country?" asked Tara.

"No, in town. You'll know him when you see him." She thought for a moment,  "Then we have Bucky Beever who proselytizes about town. He's easy to recognize with his dirty loin cloth and large wooden cross slung across his shoulder."

"Della, seriously, you are making this up," laughed Marigold.

"I'm creative, but I couldn't make this up if I tried."

The subject changed and the ladies discussed the wedding, the reception, and their invitation to Cre Uisce Aer that evening. Then the door opened and in walked Bryson Lee and Sam.

"You made it," exclaimed Marigold. "How was your trip?"

"I'm here," said Bryson Lee, as she looked around the Tea House. This was not what she expected with the gorgeous decor, lovely table settings, and sterling silver. She kissed her mother's cheek, then took her seat."I'm exhausted. The puddle jumper on my last leg did not have first class or even a beverage service. And, I was seated next to this obnoxious fat woman who droned on about her diet."

Grice approached the table, "Can I get something for you?"

"Yes," Bryson Lee said, without looking at Grice. "I would like a bottle of Evian, luke warm, and a small glass." Then she stopped, "I don't know why I even asked for that. I'll just have a glass of unsweetened ice tea."

Grice smiled, "We have Evian, but I think it is cold. Generally we serve it chilled. Would you rather have that or the tea?" Before Bryson Lee could answer, Grice continued," But you know what? I think our Perrier is room temperature."

Bryson Lee was a bit taken back. For the first time, she looked at Grice and smiled, "The chilled Evian will do nicely."

Looking around the table, Grice asked, "Anyone need anything else?" Seeing the ladies smile and shake their heads, she left to get Bryson Lee a bottle of Evian. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

What About Arlene?

The following morning, Della had arranged for Marigold and her friends to meet Ima Jean for brunch at the Tea House. Della picked Marigold, Tara, and Ada up and drove them to the Tea House.

When they walked in the door, Caroline was there to meet them. "Welcome to Gallagher. We are thrilled to have you." She turned to Della, "Della, your mother is over there." She pointed toward the table where Ima Jean was seated. 

Della thanked her and made her way to her mother's table with Marigold, Tara, and Ada in tow. She made introductions and they all were seated.

"Marigold, it is so good to meet you, finally."

Marigold laughed, "Well, speaking for the 3 of us, we are thrilled to be here." She turned to Della, "We just adore Della."

The ladies sat and continued their conversation. Grice came and they placed their orders. As she left the table, Della's phone rang.

It was Sam, "Honey, I just got a all from Pierce. He has invited all of us to Cre Uisce Aer for drinks this evening. Can you check with everyone and make sure it suits."

"That is so sweet of him."

"Oh, and he said it is casual, so no one need get all dressed up."

After checking with everyone, Della got back to Sam, "They would love to, we can discuss the details later." They rang off.

Della gave them a bit of the history of Cre Uisce Aer. "Pierce is so nice and has done an incredible job restoring his family's estate."

Ima Jean added, "It was just unfortunate what happened at the Historical Society Gala."

"Oh," said Tara, "This sounds interesting."

Della looked at Ima Jean. Before Ima Jean could continue, Della told the ladies about that fateful night. When she finished, she could tell they had questions.

Ada commented, "I've never heard of such in real life, only on TV. "Who was the lady, the one who was," she paused, "killed"? 

"Colleen Cantrell, a lovely lady."

Ima Jean spoke up, "And, that is why Cordelia now has custody of Wells."

"He is such a nice young man. Cordelia told us he was an orphan. So Colleen was his mother?"

Ima Jean looked at Della, the turned to the others. "Not exactly." She paused,"Colleen was Wells' father."

Taken aback, Ada asked," Father?"

"Yes, Well's father, Culler, had transgendered into a woman named 'Colleen'."

"Really?" asked Tara. "I've read about such but never knew anyone."

"Well, not exactly," said Marigold. Ada and Tara looked at her. Marigold continued, "Arlene, Arlene Kieser."

"What about Arlene?" asked Tara.

"Well, seems Arlene was the former Richard Johnson."

"Richard Johnson! I thought he moved away."

"I did too, until his, or rather her, mother slipped up at bridge last month and referred to her daughter Arlene."

Ada shook her head,"That will happen when you drink too much wine at bridge."

This lightened the air at the table as the ladies all giggled at the thought of the tispy bridge player.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

A Wall Mannered Young Man

Meanwhile, Della was getting Ada and Fred Barnes settled in with 'Miss' Cordelia. Pearl had already offered them lemonade and showed them their rooms. 

Della looked at their hostess,"'Miss' Cordelia, thank you again so much for opening your home up for Sam's parents' friends."

"Oh, sweetheart, I'm excited. I don't get to entertain as much as I used to. They'll be in good hands."

Della reached over and gave 'Miss' Cordelia a hug. "I know that."

By this time, Ada and Fred Barnes were back in the living room. "You have such a lovely home."

From the dining room came a young voice,"Pearl, I'm home." Wells McCord rounded the corner and stopped. "I'm sorry Granny Cordelia, I didn't realize you had company."

"Wells, this is Mr. and Mrs. Barnes. They are staying with us this week." She turned to the Barnes, "This is my great grandson Wells."

Wells walked into the room and shook the Barnes' hands. "Nice to meet you." He turned to his Great Grandmother, "I'm going to find Pearl, and then I have homework to do." Looking at Ada and Fred, he said,"See you later." With that Wells went back to the kitchen in search of Pearl.

"What a well mannered young man. Is he visiting?"

"No," 'Miss' Ella sighed. "He lives with me. Unfortunately, he is an orphan. He lost both his parents recently, and I felt it was my place to rear him." She smiled, "Well, me and Pearl." Pivoting, she looked at Della. "We just love this young lady. Why, I have watched her grow up. And, Sam, what a dear."

Della blushed, "'Miss' Cordelia, you know you are one of my favorites. Once she was sure they were settled, she excused herself to find Sam. 

"Oh, dear that is tragic. The poor young thing. He is lucky to have someone as caring as you."

"That is kind for you to say. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

Drama, Dallas, and Rayanne's Imagination

Next, it was on to 'Miss' Ella's with the Marcuses. When she came to the door, Sam introduced them, "'Miss' Ella, this is Tara and John Marcus, Sam's parent's best friends." "'Miss' Ella stood back and welcomed them into her living room. 

Tara was quick to thank her. "This is so nice of you to open your home to us." 

"Oh, it's nothing. I'm excited to get to know Sam's people. We just love Sam and Della. Please have a seat." She pointed to the sofa and wing chairs in her living room. Sitting on the coffee table was a silver tray laden with a large crystal pitcher of lemonade, 6 matching glasses, and a small plate of scones. 'Miss' Ella picked up the pitcher, "Can I offer you a glass of lemonade?"

"I would love some," said Tara with a smile.

"Mr. Marcus?"

"Oh, please, it's John, and yes, I would love some also."

She looked at Sam, "Sam?"

"No thank you, I just finished a glass and a half of Ed's tea." He looked at the tray, "Are those Hattie's scones?"

"They certainly are", said 'Miss' Ella as she poured the lemonade. She offered a glass with a small linen napkin to both Tara and John. 

Sam laughed,"You may not want to turn down those scones. They are Hattie's world famous scones."

'Miss" Ella smiled, "Hattie is the baker at the Goodness Gracious Tea House. If you think those are good, wait until you try her cheese straws and biscuits." Realizing her guests were full, she added. "Now, don't you worry, they are all in a tin on the kitchen counter. My home is your home, I want you to make yourself comfortable. If need something and cannot put your hands on it, just let me know."

They discussed the wedding and Sam's family. Soon, Sam knew he could safely leave without offending 'Miss" Ella or making his parents' best friends feel abandoned. He thanked 'Miss' Ella once again for her hospitality, reminded John and Tara he was only a phone call away, and excused himself.

"Miss" Ella made sure her guests were settled in. "There are towels in the bathroom and I hope anything else you need. I have left a key to the house on the dresser."  There is a coffee maker in the kitchen, as well as drinks and snacks on the counter. Please feel free to come and go as you wish. There is piece of paper under the key with my cell phone number." She paused, "If I have left anything out, please let me know. I'm never far away."

John laughed, "And the tin of goodies is on the kitchen  counter?"

"Of course. And if you find it empty, I'll have Hattie fill it up."

Tara and John thanked her and excused themselves. It had been a long day.

It wasn't long before Rayanne called, "Oh, Ella, I heard you have company. Are the Barnes staying with you."

"No, I think they are staying with Cordelia. John and Tara Marcus are staying here. And, I must say they are delightful."

"Oh," said Rayanne crestfallen. "I was hoping it was the Barnes. You know I've been thinking and thinking, and I just cannot place them."

"You've met them?"

"Oh, no. But I know they are somehow kin to Pamela Ewing, remember she was a Barnes. Then there was her brother Cliff and her daddy, Digger."

"Rayanne, this is not a TV show."

"Oh, I know that. But they are from Dallas. And, how many Barnes do you think there are in Dallas?"

"Rayanne, your imagination amazes me." They talked for a while and then rang off.

It wasn't a few minutes later before Rayanne called back. "Ella, you said they were the Marcuses?"

"Yes, Tara and John Marcus. They are Sam parents' best friends."

"I knew it. I just knew it."

"Knew what?"

"Neiman Marcus - they have to be those Marcuses. They are from Dallas."

"Rayanne, I do not think these are the 'Marcus' of Neiman and Marcus. Honestly. Good night." With that Ella rang off. She just shook her head at the thought of Rayanne's imagination.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Checking In

Marigold walked into the General Taylor followed by Tooley, Sam, and many pieces of luggage - hanging bags, suitcases, hat boxes, and other sundry pieces. Seeing that no one was in sight, Marigold rang the bell on the desk. 

Bobbie Mae came out of the door behind the desk. "Why you must be Mr. and Mrs. Peterson."

"We are and are very happy to be here."

Bobbie Mae pulled a piece of paper from the desk and handed it to Marigold. "If you can just sign this and we'll get you folks checked in."

Marigold took a pen from her purse, quickly read the terms, and signed her name. She pulled out her check book. "Now how much do we owe you for 6 nights."

"Well, 7 rooms for 6 nights," Bobbie Mae punched some numbers into the old adding machine that sat on the desk top. With each entry she pulled the handle, and the machine made a loud 'Che Ching' sound.  She pulled the paper from the machine, looked at it and said, "OK, with tax that will be $1056.17."

Marigold started writing her check. "So for 6 nights that will be $7,000.00 and how much?"

Bobbie Mae was a little confused. "No mam, $1056.17."

"Per room, correct?"

"No mam, the rate is $23.95 per night, but we have to charge that stupid room tax. So the total is $25.14."

"Are you sure?" asked Marigold holding up her pen before she wrote the check.

Afraid she had offended Marigold, Bobbie Mae said, "Well, I guess we could give you a discount, since it's for Sam's wedding and all."

Marigold laughed, "No, dear, that just sounds very low for 7 hotel rooms for 6 nights." She smiled, wrote the check and handed it to Bobbie Mae.

She glanced down at the check, it was made out for $2000.00. "But mam," she protested.

Marigold smiled, "No buts about it. I know you will take very good care of us. The others will be straggling in. It's just us for now."

Bobbie Mae thanked her, got the room keys, and came from behind the desk. "I'll show you to your room." Looking at Sam and Tooley burdened with the pile of luggage. "Just leave that there. I'll get Bubba to bring those to your room."

They followed her down the hall. Marigold asked along the way, "Now isn't Bubba your award winning chef? The one who makes those opossum pancakes?"

Bobbie Mae, turned around and laughed, "Yes mam. He makes his ramp pancakes every morning and serves them with his opossum sausage."

Sam shook his head, "And, all the time I have been living in Gallagher and no one ever told me of such."

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Texas Comes to Town

Sunday afternoon, Sam and Della picked up Sam's parents from the airport. Sam had arranged for them to have a rental car. After the luggage was loaded, Sam's parents and the Barnes followed Sam, Della, and the Marcuses to Gallagher.

Knowing they were famished, their first stop was the Ed's Cafe. As they were seated, Sam said, "Ed makes the best burger."

"Better than Rogers back home?" Tooley asked.

"Yep, better than Rogers." He turned and looked at  Marigold and the other 2 ladies, "And the chicken and the egg salad are both freshly made in house."

Soon, Mae came over to take their orders. "Why you must be Sam's daddy, he looks just like you."

"My dear, I will take that as a compliment. Yes, I am Tooley Peterson and this is Sam's mother, Marigold." He introduced the other 2 couples to her and they exchanged pleasantries.

"Sam says the burger is the best here," said Tooley.

"Yes sir they are, known county wide," answered Mae.

"Well, I want one all the way with cheese, cooked medium rare." He paused, "and a glass of sweet iced tea."

"Yes, sir." She turned to the other guests and took their orders. After she walked away, the conversation got back to the plans for the week.

Sam told them where they would be staying. "Aunt Ada and Uncle Fred, y'all will be staying with 'Miss' Cordelia Wells. I promise you will be in good hands."

Della piped up,"Mr. and Mrs. Marcus . . ."

Tara Marcus interrupted her, "Della, dear, please call us John and Tara."

Della smiled and continued, "You will be staying with 'Miss' Ella Osbourne. She is just a delight."

Quickly, the food came. Sam wasn't sure if it was the quality of the food or just hunger from the trip, but everyone seemed to be enjoying their lunches.

"Mama remind me when Bryson Lee arrives."

"Oh, it will be tomorrow,  I think her flight comes in around 10 in the morning. "

 "Good. I'll pick her up."

"You sure? Aren't you busy?"

"Maybe, but I always have time for her. Besides we need some 'sibling bonding time' before the wedding."

After lunch, Sam dropped his parents off at the General Taylor and he and Della took the Barnes to 'Miss' Ella's and the Marcuses to 'Miss' Cordelia's.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

So You Must Know the Ewings?

All Marigold could say was, "That does sound like quite the gourmet meal." She went on to ask Bobbie Mae whether she needed her credit card to reserve the rooms.

"No, mam. You sound quite nice on the phone, we can trust you. Bring your check book when you come. I just need your name." She paused. "If I may ask, just why are you coming the Gallagher and why do you need so many rooms." 

"Our son is getting married. You may know him, Sam Peterson."

"Oh, lordy, he is one good looking man. And, we just love Della. Why we are all so excited about the wedding."

"Well, we are also. We've never been to Gallagher."

"Really? So where are you from?"

"Dallas, Texas."

Bobbie Mae was very excited, "Dallas, Texas! I bet you know the Ewings, you know that family that owns South Fork. Oh I just loved them, especially Sue Ellen. My girl friend, Dee Dee, loved Pam, but I just loved to see Sue Ellen and JR fight."

Marigold interrupted, "No, I'm afraid, we do not know the Ewings, but they are quite famous." She was quickly realizing that this town equated Dallas to the Ewings, never mind the other 7.5 million residents of the city. She thanked Bobbie Mae for her time and they rang off.

Later she called Sam. "Sweetheart, I finally got reservations for the family, but they only have 7 rooms. What am I going to do with the others coming from Texas?"

"Mama, I can handle that. Just send a list of the guests who will need accommodations. And, don't worry about that any more. What else can I help with?" 

"Well, I finally found a venue for the rehearsal dinner."

"Really? Here in Gallagher?"

"You didn't tell me there was a 'Gentleman's Club' in town? I know it won't be as big as the Dallas City Club, but it should do. Do you know who I should speak with there."

Sam took a silent breath. "Well, I don't think that will do."

"Why not? You are not giving me credit. I know Gallagher is a small town and maybe not as," she paused. "as sophisticated as Dallas. But, we an make this work."

"Mama, the Gentleman's Club, is just that - a gentleman's club. It is not a venue for anything. And, it is private."

"Well, certainly you are a member."

Sam couldn't help but laugh. "No, I'm not a member." Then he remembered, "Besides they had a fire there and I'm pretty sure it is closed for a while. And, I told you, we will take care of that. No need to worry."

Realizing there was no sense protesting, she moved on. "After speaking with a few folks there, I fear they will be disappointed when we arrive and they learn we are not in fact Ellie and Jock Ewing."

Sam laughed, "I never heard that before."

"Have you ever spoken to Bobbie Mae at the General Tyler? And, what in the heck is 'Opossum Sausage'?"

Sam laughed, "Mama, all I can is welcome to Gallagher. I love it here. It may be a bit quirky, but it is now home to me." He paused, "I promise we will take care of the rehearsal dinner. Don't you worry about that."

"Oh, I know you will. I just hate not to be doing our part."

"Well, if it makes you feel any better, I'll send you the bill. And, we'll make sure it is a gourmet meal. Heck, I bet I can find some chicken gizzards and livers for the meal."

"Sam!" Marigold protested.

"Mama, I promise, you will not be embarrassed. You're going to really like here. Now, ____, not so much, but that's her problem."

With that they rang off.