Exactly Half The Year Done

Today at midnight the year will be half way over. If I still wrote checks I bet I would still be writing 2017 on them. In some ways the days are slow, and I blame politicians for that, but the year is flying by in other ways. As far as getting major life long projects done, read clean out the attic, I have not made one ounce of progress on that, but on smaller things, like cleaning out my old shirts, I have made leaps and bounds.

I started a bullet journal two weeks ago and it has been very helpful to keep me on important tasks, especially if they are not particularly fun. Since I like to cross things off the list I just go ahead and do them. This doing work rather than fun things is really eating into my game playing, needlepoint and quilting. I am not sure how I feel about being productive.

The good benefit of the bullet journal that I do like is my tracking good habits. I have lost some weight because of tracking eating, drinking water and taking steps. It has a good outcome, but it also is not adding to my fun life.

With exactly one half of the year left I am trying to balance being productive, being healthy and having fun. It seems like more jobs and not fun tasks pop up and can’t be ignored, than fun. So I think I can justify scheduling more fun because the s#$& stuff is going to happen anyway and can’t be ignored.

If I ignore what is happening in politics the first half of the year has been better than average. I hope the second half can be way better on all fronts. If only that would come true if I just wrote it in my journal.

Me and Ron Popeil

I have always liked to sell stuff. It started when I was five and went to morning kindergarten. We lived on a street in New Canaan that dead ended into the elementary school. I noticed that many kids walked right by our house on their way home so I set up a lemonade and cookie stand. I had practically captive customers who almost all could get their hands on a nickel or two. Lemonade for two cents and a cookie for three. I got hooked on selling things right then.

Of course I came from salesman stock in my father. He had sold Vick’s vapor rub and was salesman of the year by the time I was opening up my stand. Then it turned out my mother was quite a good sales woman. When I got a little older she sold Doncaster in our house.

I went on to sell jawbreakers in third grade, Girl Scout cookies in Forth grade, Burbee seeds in fifth grade and Avon after that. My father made me do test marketing on certain products Avon was trying, Since by then he worked for them. I can tell you that kids should not sell hair color or panty hose door to door. In college I sold Electrolux vacuums and cable TV.

It was no wonder I had no problem getting a sales job during a recession when I graduated from college. I had been breed for it, or had I just been born into it?

Tonight while I was watching Jeopardy I paid very close attention to a category named, “born salesmen.” The $1,000 answer was about a Ronco salesman born on May 3. Of course the answer was Ron Popeil, great hawker of things like the veg-o-mastic. What really got my attention was he and I are born on the same day. Maybe my genetics are not all to blame for my “sales” gene, perhaps it is in the stars.

No Service Dogs on Retractable Leashes

My friend Nancy and I find many of the same things funny, odd or just plain wrong, but how we react to them is usually different. See, Nancy is much nicer than I am. The story she told me the other day is a perfect example.

Nancy was at our local Trader Joe’s where she saw a well bodied twenty something couple in the store with their small brown labradoodle dog on a retractable leash. Before she went on with another breath of the story I was suspicious since “service” dogs are only allowed to be in public on retractable leashes if the disability of their human required them to be able to go farther than an arms length. And comfort support animals do not qualify for retractable leashes inside public buildings.

Nancy said that the young couple paid little attention to their dog and while they were stopped talking to another person in the store Nancy witnessed the dog pull a long lead out of its leash and go over and lick a whole row of French bread loaves that were displayed in a basket on the floor. The owners never even noticed and moved on with their shopping while Nancy stood dumb founded.

Nancy quickly told a clerk, who was on his or her way out the door and said, “I’ll get to that in a minute.” Concerned that the clerk would forget about the doggy saliva loaves, Nancy went up to the counter where the Trader Joe’s, excuse the expression, big dogs, stood. She alerted them of the situation using the word “disgusting” with extra syllables for emphasis and not just one, but two clerks ran to the bread basket to retrieve the soiled product, much to Nancy’s relief.

Now I am a proponent of dogs. I think dogs should be allowed in many more places than they are now. I believe that service dogs greatly improve the lives of people who need them. I just don’t like when people take advantage of the program. Here is where I would have acted differently than Nancy, and why she is nicer than me.

If I had witnessed the dog even stepping away from the owners, the second the animal put out a tongue towards the bread I would have said in my naturally loud and attention grabbing voice, “Your dog is licking the bread!!! Why aren’t you paying attention to your Dog?” And pointing dramatically, I would say, “All those loaves!! Your dog licked ALL of them.”

Nancy was concerned about other people not buying dog licked bread. I would be concerned about making sure those people never took their eye off their dog in public again. And by the way, if there are two of you going to the store, one can stay outside with the dog on the retractable leash and one can shop!

Antipasti, the Perfect Summer Lunch

Yesterday I was prepping antipasti for my Mah Jongg lunch today and the HVCA guy who was working at my house asked if I was a television cook. I wasn’t talking out loud while I was preparing so I asked him why he thought that. “I’ve never seen anyone cook so much food so fast except on TV, plus it smells delicious.” I don’t know what kind of TV he has that has smell-o-vision, but he got me on the cooking quantities.

Every week I try and make a different lunch for my Mah Jongg group. It has to be very healthy and yummy. Since it had been so hot I decided a nice cold Antipasto platter with a side of homegrown arugula salad with Parmesan and balsamic would make a good choice this week.

I got my cast iron grill pan out and grilled, eggplant, zucchini, red onions and portobello mushrooms. I didn’t use any oil, just salt and pepper. I roasted red peppers on top of the gas burners and oven roasted a dozen tomatoes. Of course I made lots of extra because these things can go with any summer meal

To make my antipasti platter I put the vegetables down and added tiny fresh mozzarella balls, a red wine soaked salami and some prosciutto. I chiffonade some fresh basil from the garden and served olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the side. My favorite part of lunch in Italy was the antipasto table. Who needs pasta when you have a plethora of yummy vegetables? Bravissimo, if I do say so myself.

Don’t Accept the First, Second or Third Offer

As if you aren’t tired enough of reading about my refrigerator saga, you should push through and read this one because it contains lots of useful negotiating information that might serve you well in the future. After my new free replacement fridge was delivered yesterday I noticed that it had a dent in the door the size of a walnut. Russ also noticed that the doors were not aligned. So I called customer service this morning to discuss it with them.

I got Carol on the line. I explained the situation and she offered me 130,000 shop your way points (that is a $130 towards something at Sears). I politely declined that offer. She came back with 240,000 points. I told her that I was not so happy with Sears right now so now offer of more Sears stuff was going to work for me. She asked me how much the fridge cost and I told her $2,600. She put me on hold a while and came back with $340 in money. Now we we getting some where.

I told her that I would rather have my door not have a dent in it. She asked for my sales receipt number, put me on hold and came back with $910, which was 35% of the cost of the machine. She had finally gotten my attention. Of course I could have demanded a new refrigerator, and they could take this one back and sell it at a scratch and dent sale of 35% off, but that would have been a lot of work for both me and Sears. I was saving them the cost of a delivery. I decided to take the money.

Then came the problem of my not having used a credit card to make the purchase. Carol never quite grasped the idea that I had not paid the $2,600. It took me a while to get her to understand she had to take my credit card info in order to credit me the money. Once we got that cleared up I also requested they send someone to fix the alignment of the doors. She agreed to that.

I had been on the phone with her for 35 minutes, but I wanted to make sure I recorded her telling me the final deal we agreed on, so I told her I was going to record her and we repeated the outcome of $910 credit on my card in 7-10 and a service guy to come in 7-10 Days to fix the door. Keep your fingers crossed I do not have to use this recording to make sure it all gets done.

The lesson for you is never accept their first, second or third offer. I was calm and polite, but kept saying the offers were not good enough. Who know if I could have gotten more than $910.00, but since it was a free refrigerator I felt like I shouldn’t push my luck. I consider it a pain a suffering payment for this 49 Day problem.


A new free refrigerator to replace the two year old one that Sears could not fix in 47 Days was almost too good to be true. We got approved to replace the same model, free delivery, tax and haul away of the old machine. It arrived today and the three men delivering it moved the old one out and brought the new one in.

After I took the plastic off the front surface, there it was a dent! Really!??!??!!! The delivery guys told me I can call customer service tomorrow to discuss resolution. Customer service is not going to be happy about me calling again.

I am not happy about the dimple, but it appears the refrigerator is working so it is better than the old one. Oh the joys of appliances in the Twenty first century. If you own a twenty year old refrigerator and it works, keep it, baby it and do everything you can to keep it working because an old working refrigerator is better than any new one.

Out of the Dark & Back to Camp

When Carter got hit on the head Tuesday night it was surly a concussion. Since we got the call at ten at night I had to hold back on my mama bear instincts to drive right out to the mountain and get her right then. So I did what the parent of an “adult” should do and waited until the morning. I waited until 7:45 to text her, but what I got back was a hurting girl who needed to come home, see the doctor and follow the well memorized concussion protocol we know too well.

In the last three years I have not driven to Cheerio once because Carter takes herself. It was such a familiar drive I had made for the seven previous years. My favorite part being the look at the thermometer, in the car, at the bottom of the mountain and it’s dropping ten degrees by the time we reach Camp at the top.

Carter was glad to see me and I kept the car as dark and quiet as I could all the way home. She stayed in her cave like room for four days, only leaving the house for the doctors. Thankfully she improved and felt that she could return to Camp today in time for staff Sunday lunch for which we were invited. I knew she was ready when she texted me this morning and asked if we could leave even earlier at 8:00 AM.

When we pulled into her lodge, Millis, where she lives as a staff member she was greeted by all. “Hi, Friends,” she said. They asked if she was OK and filled her in on what she missed. We went to lunch and her dear friend Morgan, who she has been a camper, CIT, Junior and Senior counselor with came up gave us all hugs. I knew that Carter was back home.

Morgan joined us on the deck to eat lunch since Shay was with us and not allowed to eat in the dining hall. It was a perfect camp day, cool with blue skies and clouds that looked like far off mountain ranges.

After lunch she looked at us and said, “It’s time for me to work.” So Russ, Shay and I walked back to Millis alone and drove off without seeing her again. The SUVs and Minivans of families waiting to drop off their girls for the 4-g session already lined the Camp road. It was still two hours before Camp opened for them. I could see girls greeting their old camp friends outside the cars and remembered back to when that was us. That familiar pit in my stomach as I leave Camp without her came over me. I really shouldn’t be too sad since we are going back for the Forth of July celebration, probably the last time I will drive to Camp, as long as Carter protects her head.