Wednesday, November 30, 2011

11/26-11/30/2011 Just Stuff

Ok, ok, I’ve gotten behind on the blog again and I need to catch up. So I’m going to put five days together here. One reason for this is because not a whole lot happened in these five days. Four of them we were off and we just lived life.

Bob went and hit golf balls at the driving range. I played Mexican Train or some of other game with friends. We went to the store once or twice. Bob fixed a leaky faucet. We watched TV, we cleaned the house, did laundry, read, made meals, rode bikes and slept. That’s pretty much it.

Here in the park we have a “veggie man” that comes every Tuesday at 12:30. He pulls a good sized flat trailer with bins built on top of it and we drives up word spreads fast, “the veggie man is here!” and he is swarmed. I was part of this this week and I came home with a large bagful of green peppers, tomatoes, grape tomatoes, red peppers and bananas.


I bought all of the above for $8.00. The grape tomatoes came in those plastic bowls with the clear plastic domes over them which usually sell in the grocery store for $2.98 a piece. I got three of them for a dollar each. And sweet!?!? Oh yes! I made up a large pot of pepper, tomato and onions, one of my favorite things to eat.

Tuesday evening we went to dinner with the Every Other Tuesday Night Let’s Go Out To Dinner Club. This week we went to Casa del Taco or for those who are lacking in the ability to read or speak Spanish that’s House of Tacos.


This restaurant hasn’t been here all that long from what we’ve heard. But when we went inside I didn’t get the impression this was a newly built building so I’m thinking just the façade is newly built.


We arrived a little bit later than everyone else so when we got there Joy was already enjoying a margarita.


Now I’m not a great fan of Mexican food. I’ll eat taco’s if I get to build it so that I know exactly what’s on it and I’ll eat beef fajitas. That’s it. No refried beans, no rice, I don’t even want a tortilla. Eating a burrito is not something I’ll even entertain the thought of eating.

It came time to order and Bob and I were the last ones. I ordered the beef fajita sans rice, tortilla, guacamole and whatever else the others got with theirs. I did get a tossed salad and was a bit surprised when it was served on the plate with my fajita.


Ya know, when you come down to it, what I had for dinner was the Spanish version of Chinese pepper steak. It worked for me! I must say, it was good! Really good! Others at the table enjoyed theirs and then some said it was bland. I don’t recall what the bland dinners were but I’m glad I didn’t get it! Bob also got the fajita with all the trimmings and thoroughly enjoyed his too.

We got back to the park in time for the horse racing. We gathered in the clubhouse and found seats at a table and were ready to place our bets. No this wasn’t OTB by any means.

We have our own racetrack here in Trade Winds.


Everyone bets a dime on the horse they want. Bob picked three horses and I picked three so we had the track covered, we were going to win no matter what. (We think each bettor should be limited to two horses and it should be a quarter bet, it would make for bigger pots to win and there wouldn’t be so many winners.) There are isix races played. At the start of each race the Call to the Post is played on a dime store plastic horn. (I’m sorry the pic is blurry but I had hard time keeping the camera steady because I was laughing) Yes, he actually got the Call to the Post played on that.


The fellow above is really decked out for this. Take notice of his hat, see the horse ears?

Here’s another picture showing his mane and tail.


So how do the horses race you are wondering? Another fellow has a wooden tray with the bottom covered in felt. He also has six die. He takes the tray to the person sitting on the end seat at the table and that person rolls all six dice. He then calls out the roll of the dice. Let’s say there was one 2, one 3, two 5’s and two 6’s. The number one horse would move 1 space, number 3 horse would also move one space. Horses number 5 & 6 would each move 2 spaces. In the picture above you can see the number three horse is out in front.

The “crowd” really gets into this cheering the horses on and fun was had by all. We won every race! We went in with $1.80 and went home with $3.40.


That’s all for this block of time. Nothing important, nothing exciting, just life. Boring, mundane things, fun things, good times with friends and always, always, lots of laughs. I’ll take it any day of the week!

Friday, November 25, 2011

11/25/2011 Beware of Tan Lines

Now I’m not telling you this to be braggin’ on the great weather we are having here in the Valley or anything like that. I just want to make this clear from the git-go. But darn if we aren’t having some GREAT weather!

Unfortunately, this poses a problem for me. As I’ve told you we work four days and then have four days off. Well, on those work days I’m outside 99.99% of the time. In the sun. Because I could possibly pushing a lawn mower, using a weed whacker, walking through a field or any number of other reasons, I must wear shoes and socks. Not to the extreme of steel toed shoes or anything, but a pair of sneakers and socks.

I’ve noticed a slight tan line around the top of my socks and this does not make me a happy camper. As soon as I get home at eleven o’clock I tear those shoes and socks off, slip into a pair of flip flops and go outside for a while to give my feet a chance to catch up on the tanning from the morning.

I’m so afraid I’m going to end up like a friend of ours who had a definite tan line problem going on, wouldn’t you say?


Thursday, November 24, 2011

11/24/11 What Snookie Will Do to Save a Buck

Talk turned to Thanksgiving Day Sales and Black Friday today and I remembered what I did six years ago tonight. This is from a post from five years ago.

Ok, I did something in the last 24 hours I swore I would NEVER do! I participated in Black Friday. I don't mean that I went to the mall this morning after watching Good Morning America and did some shopping,,,,I mean I participated with a capital P!

Let me set some background here. My good friend and neighbor, Kelly, and I were talking the other day (Wednesday) about the laptop computers she and her husband wanted to give their two boys for Christmas. She told me about the special Walmart was having. I too saw the ad but looked at what this laptop had to offer and to tell ya the truth, wasn't really impressed. One GB of hard drive and not a bunch of RAM and practically no software installed. Ok, to each their own. Since there was only one allowed per customer her sister Lisa was going with her so that each could get one. Have two boys...need two laptops. I talked with Kelly Thanksgiving morning and the conversation turned to the quest for the laptops. She told me that Walmart was out and Circuit City was the destination for laptop buying. I looked at the ad for that one and while there wasn't a great deal of software included it did have 60 GB hard drive and tons of memory. Now we're talking! I told her I'd like to tagalong with her since Bob and I have been talking about a getting a laptop for our RV travels and with $750.00 worth of instant rebates that brought the price down to $199.99, well, you just can't go wrong. Still on the bare-bones side for software but we really only use our computer for surfing the web, email, and Bob's online poker games and my addiction to online Scrabble. Did I mention that the ad also stated in very small print that there is a minimum of 15 laptops per store? We knew we would have to get there earlier than the 5 a.m. opening of the store in order to get one.

Kelly will work the evening shift at the hospital and call me on her break so that we can set a game plan. Kelly calls and it is decided that she will swing by Circuit City when she ends her shift around 11:30 pm and if there are people in line she will call her sister, Lisa, and me, and we would meet her up there. If in fact there was a ton of people at the store then Kelly would just come home and Lisa and I would sleep thru the nite. Now I didn't really think anybody would be there at midnight and was figuring I'd have to get up at three or so in order to be there in time for the opening. After my talk with Kelly, I talked to Lisa and we tweaked the game plan a little further. It was decided that we would in fact go to Circuit City when Kelly got off work and that we would take lawn chairs with us and set them up outside the door and we would sit in the heated car and just wait. When someone else came to wait in line we would jump out of the cars, run to the chairs and wrap ourselves in the blankets we would bring with us to keep us warm. Also, we would bring umbrellas to ward off the winds. Did I mention it was in the low 20's with 20-30 miles an hour winds with gusts at 61 MPH??? Yes, delightful weather! Ok, game plan is set, we're ready to roll!

I started "preparing" for the chilly evening. I had sweats on to begin with so just pulled another pair on top and added a turtleneck to the sweatshirt I was wearing. Heavy socks, sneakers, good to go. GLOVES! I don't ever wear gloves and don't own a pair! Next best thing? A pair of Bob's wool socks, yeah, that will work! Got my umbrella out, pulled out a wool Army blanket we have and got settled in for the evening waiting for "Operation Laptop" to begin. Kelly calls at 11:45....panic in her voice....people are here, get here as soon as you can! She calls Lisa and as planned, Lisa who also lives in our neighborhood, two streets away, will swing by and pick me up. Reached the store at the 12:15 and there are six people in front of us. THEY had been sitting in the warmed cars waiting for others to arrive, just like we planned to do. They had gotten there between 11:15 and 11:30.

So we're in line, its freezing cold and we're wondering if ANYTHING is worth standing in 22 degree air for 5 hours! Personally, I had my doubts and was regretting riding with Lisa instead of driving myself. You see, Kelly and Lisa are DIEHARD Black Friday shoppers but even this was a bit much for them. At least the building was blocking the wind and we didn't have to contend with that. Then a miracle happened. Lisa's friend and co-worker, Pete, knew what her plan was for the nighttime hours and being the great guy that he is showed up with hot chocolate and are you ready for this????? A FIRE PIT! With logs! AND...a portable propane heater! Needless to say we are EVERYBODY'S best friend now! In just a few short minutes a fire was roaring in the fire pit and portable propane heater was spewing out tons of HEAT! We are happy campers! A few more shoppers arrive and we're having a grand time! We're laughing, we're joking, we're WARM!

By two the line is now snaking around the building, to the windy side. A lot of cars are driving into the lot and right back out, the occupants aware that they waited too long in getting there, there would be no laptop for them. We, the first 15 in line, are very territorial now, we look suspiciously at anyone that walks up to the doors to peer inside and kind of hangs around for longer than 30 seconds. They are quickly told where the end of the line is. So they go, heads hung low, passing the masses wrapped in blankets and snuggled in sleeping bags to the dreaded "end of the line". "Sucks to be them" we tell each other as we inch ever closer to the warmth of the fire pit!

The First Fifteen, as we call ourselves now, have bonded. We allow runs to the local all night convenience store for more hot chocolate and coffee with the driver being welcomed back with open arms, to cheers and a guaranteed place in line. We, the First Fifteen, are a unit, we are strong, we are warm and one of us has to pee! ME! Damn that hot chocolate! I convince myself not think about it, it will "go away". I can hold it for two hours! I immerse myself in conversation, taking my mind off this ever present need to squat! I politely refuse the offer of more hot chocolate at the next store run. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

Its now 3 a.m and there are several hundred people in line. Didn't they see the small print???? Don't they know there are only 15 laptops available for sure and if there are more it won't be many? Well Circuit City was having a great sale on batteries so maybe they are here for them!

Four in the morning! Employees are arriving, no, they don't know how many laptops there are, no, they don't know where they are located in the store, no, they don't know if vouchers will be handed out to insure that the first in line get the long awaited for laptops. These employees are not happy people! They look tired. Makes me wonder how we look, after all, we've had NO sleep!

Four-thirty. A brave employee stands before us and tells us that vouchers will be given out for several "special items" and that the number of vouchers matches the number of items in stock. He is swarmed! Not by the First Fifteen,,,,but by the individuals who are just now arriving in the parking lot and are hearing him as they stroll by. The First Fifteen will not stand for this! No way, no how, not in this lifetime! We've paid, and paid dearly, for those vouchers! One of "our guys" pulls him into the huddle we've formed and calmly informs the poor guy that we have been there all night and that we know who the first fifteen are and that we will protect him. Vouchers past the first fifteen...well, he's on his own. He then tells us there are only 18 laptops in the store, we assure him that we do indeed know who the first 18 are. Ours ranks have swelled by three. He hands them out, we look at them in awe, we cradle these magnificent pieces of paper gently in our hands, WE HAVE ARRIVED! We are the CHOSEN! We are the shoppers looked up to by the others wwwwaaaaayyyyyy in back of the line. We are the "smart" shoppers, we brought heat! We are SHOPPING gods! (...and one of us still has to pee!)

We're counting down the minutes now. The crowd is pushing closer as 5am gets nearer. Our vouchers are being looked at with lust. THEY want our vouchers! Word goes through the First Fifteen,,,,oops, First Eighteen to put the vouchers away, deep in a pocket, away from glare of seedy looking characters that seem to surround us now.

Ten minutes to five....the fire pit is rolled away from the doors, off to the side of the building where no one is. It is there that the embers will die and cool. Damn, 10 minutes with no heat, this is going to be a LONG 10 minutes! Three minutes to go, the crowd is really pushing now and I'm starting to get scared. Finally, the doors are opened the crowd surges forward. You don't even have to walk, you are just moved along. People are tripping and the ones behind are still pushing. I managed to get off to the side a little bit and had room to run. I joined the masses heading for the computer department. We had vouchers but running was not a choice,,,,it was a necessity to keep from being knocked down. Obviously, those not near the front of the line didn't know that vouchers were given out and this was truly turning into a free for all.

I'm running for all I'm worth, I'm running for my LIFE and then I see it! THE SIGN! IN RED NO LESS! *****R E S T R O O M S***** It suddenly came rushing back to me, I had to pee! In the panic I had forgotten, but it was in the fore thoughts of my mind now. Decision time, do I keep running to the computer department or do I make a mad dash for the ladies room? Then I remembered,,,,I HAVE A VOUCHER! Off to the ladies room I go, praying to make it in time. I did. Well, it took Kelly, Lisa and me nearly three hours to get through the lines. Only because those who could run faster than us (and who didn't make a pit stop) had to argue with the store personnel about only having 18 laptops, how they waited all night, yada, yada, yada. Was it worth it? Yeah, I think it was. I met some nice people in line, had lots of laughs, didn't really "suffer" in the cold and I got the laptop. Would I do it again? HELL NO! Oh yeah, Lisa's friend, Pete,,,,the one with the fire pit,,,,turns out he's a computer GEEK and will load all kinds of software onto to the new laptop for me. We just have to let him know what we want.

Yep, this Thanksgiving sure is different from last.

In case you are wondering, we still have that laptop and use it as backup when one of ours is in the shop.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

11/23/2011 My Journey to Ropa Usoda

I experienced something recently that I didn’t even know existed. It was a jaw dropping moment when I first entered the building with a group of the quilting ladies.

I had been hearing of this thing called Ropa Usoda a Spanish term. I don’t speak Española so I had no idea what everyone was talking about. Ropa means clothing and Usoda means used. In English, Used Clothing. Now I get it.

So we piled into Linda’s truck and off we go. The reason we’re going? Material. Material for quilts. After a 20 – 25 minute ride we pulled into the parking lot of a very large, large building. I was told during the drive you buy anything you find for twenty cents a pound. It was also explained that you’ll have to dig sometimes to find the good stuff. Little did I know.

So in we go, most everyone carrying pillow cases and me carrying my Canon. I was told to be sure to bring my camera because I would most certainly want to take pictures.

To say that I was totally taken by surprise when we first entered would be an understatement. My jaw dropped.


This is a pile of clothes. Every size, every color, men’s, women’s and children’s. Long sleeve shirts, long dresses, baby jackets, clothes that should be rags, clothes with tags still on. House brands intertwined with likes of Bill Blass. You name it, if it can be worn, in one or another its in this pile. How do you find it? By going through the pile one piece at a time.

Now let me put some people in the picture to give this pile some perspective.


You climb up to the top and find a place to settle in and start looking.


Here’s Linda, the woman above, sometime later and I do believe she’s standing in the picture below.


One of the very first things that caught my eye was a raincoat. It was in perfect condition and still had dry cleaner tags on it.


It wasn’t my size so I put it down and kept walking. Ten minutes later I was still thinking about and thought if it weighed 5 pounds it would cost me a dollar and since it was in perfect condition and newly dry cleaned I wouldn’t have a problem selling it on Craig’s List or Ebay. I went back for it. It was nowhere to be found. I could have kicked myself for snatching that right up.

This will give you an idea of how big this place is.


I kept saying “I wonder what is on the very bottom in the center of this huge pile?” The pile is constantly being overturned by human hands.

Have you ever seen a truck traveling the interstate of what seems like great stacks of rags bundled together?


It’s these clothes. Goodwill’s, Salvation Army’s and probably other second hand clothing retailers send the clothes leftover at the end of the season here. There are Ropas, as they are known here, everywhere. There is one that sells formal wear. Gowns go for anywhere from ten to twenty five dollars and don’t be surprised to see a well known designer name/

Today we came here looking for gently used sheets, blankets and mattress pads. Once washed, the mattress pads and blankets will be used for the filler in a quilt or lap robe and the sheets will be used as a backing for said quilts and lap robes. Top sheets, especially kids sheets are seldom worn so they are most useful.

A bottom, or fitted, sheet doesn’t go to waste. The elastic is taken out so it can be used.


I don’t know how long it will take for all these stacks of clothing to reach the floor, perhaps months if they are out of season.


The ropa was busy today.


I just know some of these clothes are probably from my home area. My clue? This.


Of course it could have come from a Eagles fan in Minnesota.

It certainly was an interesting morning. I learned about something that I had never even knew existed.

Monday, November 21, 2011

11/21/2011 Idle Hands …..

The saying goes, “Idle hands are the devil’s tools”. If that old adage stands true then the Quilting Ladies of Trade Winds are SAINTS!

I’ve been volunteering in the Quilting Room on Monday’s and some Thursday’s and have really enjoyed getting to know the women here in the park.

Every group needs a coordinator, or leader, if you will. These quilting ladies look to Phyllis for direction. I like Phyllis. A lot. She gives me a hard time every chance she gets. We have this great back and forth verbal sparring thing going on and we laugh often.


There’s wonderful group of ladies here who…….















There is quite the system in place where everyone has their job and knows what they are doing. Then of course you get a newcomer like me or Bunky who don’t know squat when it comes to quilt making.

Bunky loves, loves, loves, to iron! So when something needs pressing Bunky is the go to person for that.


Most of the time she and I work together on rolling and pinning the hems. We’re a good team and she’s taught me how to make mitered corners.

Now I did try sewing the squares of material together…… at Phyllis’ insistence, er,suggestion. It’s been a lot of years since I sat a sewing machine. Back in the days of Home Ec in junior high school I had even made a dress at home on my mom’s sewing machine. That is my experience with sewing. I’m not into sewing and I’ll be the first to admit it. Seams split? Buy a new one. Patches have to be sewn on Bob’s uniforms? Take them to mom. This is why God made tailors and seamstresses and moms!

So because I like Phyllis I agreed to trying the sewing thing for her. My first two pieces of quilting squares had to be ripped apart. They were supposed to be sewn with right sides together. (That means in the case of a printed material, the sides with the boldest colors should be facing each other when sewn) I had one of each facing each other. I finally got that right.

Take notice in the picture below that the solid color pieces of fabric and the printed pieces are opposite of each other.


This is what happened when I did it.


There’s only one thing to say about this. I suck at it.

Let me introduce you to by new best friend.



No, the sewing part isn’t for me. I’ll stick to rolling hems and pinning them. That’s my niche in the assembly line of quilt making here at Trade Winds.

So where do all the quilts go? Last year the ladies made 429 lap robes and quilts for local nursing homes, a mission in Mexico, one here in Texas, a church (or two) that gives them to the needy, the Salvation Army to give where needed and other places that just don’t come to mind right now.

Just a small sampling of what’s on hand and every week several more completed quilts are added to the stockpile.

These ladies, they do good things. No idle hands here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

11/19/2011 Craft Show at Tradewinds

November starts the monthly craft shows here in Mission and the surrounding area. There will two here in a matter of three days. I think I better explain something about this park we’re in.

It’s called Mission Bell/Trade Winds RV Park. The owners bought Mission Bell RV Park first and then several years later when Trade Winds RV Park, which is located directly across the street, came on the market they bought it too. For the most part, the Winter Texans who have been coming here for years still consider them two separate parks. So much so that the old timers won’t cross the street to attend function on the other side. Therefore each park has its own bingo night, its own card elimination night, their own shuffleboard etc.. This side will have a craft show on Saturday and the other side will have theirs on Monday. So that no one takes exception to the term “old timers” I meant people who have been coming here for a long time, I wasn’t referring to their ages, but, if the shoe fits……

When we all first got here, workampers that is, we found it amusing that there seems to be this silent war going on between the parks. Don’t get me wrong, there are some Winter Texans who will come over here, not many, but some. We said, “Well, we’re not going to get into this we’ll do things on both sides”. Guess what? We don’t. We play bingo on this side, we play card elimination on this side, we swim in this pool, we play games on this side. Granted, dances are on that side because they have the bigger ballroom. Thanksgiving dinner will be on that side, again because of the bigger room. So now you know how it is here. On to the Craft Fair.

The Fair started at 8 a.m.. I got there at nine so that I could look around before I went to work at the quilt table at ten. I was a little disappointed. It was mostly you typical Craft Fair items, knitted things, decorative items, some leather goods etc.. Quite frankly I think things were overpriced. The crowd wasn’t all that I expected it to be either but it was explained that they expect November to be slow because so many snowbirds, oh, excuse me, Winter Texans aren’t here yet. I’ve been told December through March will be crazy though!

I worked with Bunky in the quilt room for two hours, ten to twelve. We sold raffle tickets for two quilts that will be raffled in December and we sold quilted goods and felt scarves and hats the ladies made and 50-50 tickets.

Bunky next to the quilts to be raffled. (Note: Bunky is severely hung over but you would never know it by this picture)


Saturday night I played Mexican Train with Toni & Eddie and Chip. Bob stayed home and watched TV and Bunky, well, she wasn’t feeling too good yet so she stayed home too, I think I heard her say, “I’m never drinking again!”

Friday, November 18, 2011

11/18/2011 Volunteering in the Park

In the clubhouse, I guess that’s what its called here, there is a rather large board where you can sign up to volunteer to help out in different activities/events in the park. If so inclined, you could volunteer to put on a pancake breakfast, we’re not. If so inclined, you could volunteer to host the ice cream social, we’re not. If so inclined you could…the list goes on and we’re still not.

There was one that I was happy to help out with. We’re having a Craft Show on Saturday and lunch will sold to all of those who want it. There will be Sloppy Joes or tacos served. The veggies for the tacos have to be chopped so Toni, Bunky, Eddie and I volunteered to help with that. The onions were already done when we got there so we only had to deal with tomatoes and lettuce.

We started right in and took care of the tomatoes first.


Good sharp knives made quick work of this,,,,,


and in no time at all we this part done.


Bunky scooping out the tomatoes to a colander so they can drain.


Next was lettuce shredding, Toni got right to work.


Bunky chopped like there was no tomorrow!


Eddie sharpened my knives for me.


In no time at all we were done. I don’t think we were even there an hour. This is one chore I’ll sign up for again and again, at least until I cut myself on one of my super sharp knives.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

11/17/2011 We Gotta Be NUTS!

After work this morning, we took it pretty easy this afternoon. We know we’ll be running a race around six so we want to be well rested.

No, we haven’t taken up running and we’re not doing a mini-marathon this evening. We are however taking a 35 mile drive to Harlingen for the grand opening of the Bass Pro Shop.

We had gotten a circular in the paper earlier in the week and Bob noticed they had Turkey Fryers as one of the specials for the opening and it was at a fantastic price! So we decided to go.

I wanted to go prepared so I had Bob put a chair in the truck, we packed a little cooler and I had my book. The store doesn’t open until six but Bob was insistent on leaving at three.

On the way it was quite evident we were close to the Mexican border.


We pulled into the parking lot around quarter to four and it’s a good thing we left Mission when we did. The parking lot was filling quickly. Very quickly. There was no point in even taking the chair out of the truck as it was evident that we were going to get in line right away.

While waiting there was a band playing and soon a woman with the screech-iest voice you ever heard took the stage to give away t-shirts, mugs and what have you. Evidently she travels to each new store for the grand openings and gets the crowd in a frenzy waiting for the doors to open. Some people should never, ever be given a microphone.

The doors were advertised to open at six. Didn’t happen. At the six the speeches started. The Mayor of Harlingen, the head of the Commerce Committee for Harlingen, the head of this and the head of that. I think we heard from every level of Harlingen government and business association. Then,,,oh wait, its not over yet, we had to go through the Bass Pro Shops line of dignitaries. You know, Division Mangers, Regional Managers, Store Managers, Department Managers and I think they threw in the Custodial Manager for good measure. Finally, the doors will open.

Uh-uh. Not so fast. Now we have the celebrities to get through. We had to listen to some fishing stories from one of those guys that has a fishing show on cable TV, we had to listen to a hunter who shot a lot animals also on cable TV, then we had to listen to Miss Texas, Miss Harlingen, Miss Orange Blossom, Jr. Miss Orange Blossom,,,well, maybe not the last two but you get the idea.

Ok, we’re ready to go. Nope, we have to clear the roadway in front of the store so that the Bass Pro Shop race cars can speed across the parking lot, tires screeching and practically smokin’ so they can stop on a dime in front of the doors. Will it ever end?

People are getting restless now. The crowd is moving towards the doors even though it hasn’t been announced yet they will open in “X” number of minutes. Now keep in mind that its 94 degrees out here. Lots of good bargains to be had and lot of men came right from work and judging by how they are dressed I’m thinking a lot of construction workers. Do I need to go into detail what its like for me, at five feet two, the perfect armpit level height? Oh yuck!

The. Doors. Are. Open! The surge began, bodies crushed against another and I had a mother with a toddler in a stroller right behind me and she kept hitting me in the back of legs with the stroller.

Bob and I had gotten separated which I knew would happen so I told him I would meet him in the Turkey Fryer department. I had talked with one of the employees who wasn’t on duty but there for the opening with his friends and he told me where the fryers were so I knew where to go as soon as I got to the doors.

When I got to the back of the store there was one rather large platform that was completely bare. A sign hung from the ceiling that said Turkey Fryer Grand Opening Special $39.99. Thankfully, right next to it was another platform with three boxes containing the coveted turkey fryers in them. A man grabbed one, I grabbed one and one stood on the platform alone. But not for long.

I never thought to get a cart and am glad I didn’t because I would never have gotten to the back of the store in time to get next to the last box. I sure wanted one though, the box was cumbersome and on the heavy side. Lucky for me a fellow pushing five carts happened to pass me and I asked if I could have one. Within minutes he had no carts to push because others holding these large boxes were taking them too.

I set out to find Bob and got several aisles over when I decided that I had better go back because surely he would have asked someone where they fryers were located….oh wait, silly me. Here I was in a store with testosterone overload goin’ on and I’m thinking my husband was going to ask directions???? Silly, silly me.

I did find him and lo and behold he had a turkey fryer too! The empty platforms had been quickly replenished and almost every shopper in the area had one.

We would have loved to have stayed and looked around the store and watched the fish in the floor to ceiling fish tank and taken in all the animals and birds that had met up with taxidermist at some point but the place was too darn crowded! It was said that 20,000 turned out for the Grand Opening.

Was it worth going to Harlingen (70 mile round trip) for this turkey fryer? Standing and listening to all the speeches from people we don’t know in 94 degree heat? Having the backs of my legs sore from being hit with a baby stroller? Standing nose to armpit in a crowd of sweaty, smelly men? Hell no! Next time, we’ll order online, cost be damned!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

11/15/2011 Every Other Tuesday Dinner Gathering

I think I have already mentioned that a group of us go out to dinner every other Tuesday night. I look forward to this dinner as does Bob. Of course our reasons for looking forward to this are worlds apart.

Bob looks forward to having something different then our normal weekday fare. Yes, he gets bored eating the same old, same old, as I do making it. This is also a chance for Bob to eat FISH! I don’t eat fish so therefore I don’t cook it.

On the other hand I look forward to these dinners because I don’t have to cook at all, or clean up or even shop for it in the first place.

The best part of all? Our friends. We share so many past experiences with this group, so many dreams for the future with each other, read that as places we want travel to, and laughs, we share lots of laughs and that’s the very best part.

So this week Chip and Bunky got to pick what restaurant we went to. How did they get the honors? Why Bunky won the Mexican Train game of course!

So we went to Cheddars.


Chip and Bunky had never eaten in this restaurant before so its at the top of their list. Bob and I had eaten in a Cheddars in Missouri or maybe Kansas one time when we met up with Don and LaVon while on the road. We knew we were going to get a good meal so we were looking forward to it.

We arrived just minutes after Chip and Bunky and they were already inside when we got there. The first thing we noticed when we got out of the truck was the odor. Not good smells usually associated with being right outside of a restaurant but a definite odor of ………… sewer! It was overpowering. We went inside and found the other two early arrivals and we could still smell it even inside. This was not good.

What else wasn’t good was our seating arrangement. They wanted to put eight adults in a booth. Granted, it was a good size booth but just how big can a booth be? We could have gotten away with six of us and it would have been alright,,,,,maybe. Chip asked to see the manager and told him that we weren’t satisfied with the seating and also asked about the odor. The manager explained that there were tables for eight but he could put a table next to a booth for four. We agreed to that although I have to say it put some points in the negative column for this restaurant. As far as the odor was concerned the manager apologized for it and went on to explain that they didn’t know where it was coming from but they were investigating it.

Shortly after we got to our new seating arrangement Eddie & Toni arrived and they too commented on the odor. It wasn’t getting any better as time went on. We were still waiting on DeWayne & Joy to arrive so Toni called them only to find out they were at a different Cheddars. She explained where we were and 15 minutes later they were there. We took notice the odor was gone and were glad they got whatever it was fixed.

Drinks on the table, orders placed, it was time to get down to some conversation and some serious laughing.

Everyone enjoyed their meals even though the last 15 minutes or so the odor was back. Whatever that is I hope they find it and fix it!

So we can now mark Cheddars off the list of restaurants to go to this winter. We’ll play Mexican Train next week to see who picks next.

Yep, Bob and I sure enjoy our Every Other Tuesday Night Dinner Club.

Monday, November 14, 2011

11/14/2011 I Know a Dog With a 401K

You don’t have to read the title of this over again, you read it right the first time. I know a dog with a 401K.

Do you remember GHOST from South Dakota?


When his owners people were graced with the privilege of feeding him, washing him, walking him and picking up his deposits, little did they know it would be so profitable.

Eleven years ago when they started the walks with Ghost they would pick up whatever change they found and they saved it. Probably in a jar to begin with but I don’t know that for sure. One day Jerry was walking Ghost and there stopped by the fence from blowing any further in the wind was a twenty dollar bill. The pot was growing!

Then there was the day, when out for a walk, they found a Post Office money order for one hundred dollars. It was totally intact so the person who lost it couldn’t even track it or put a stop to it if that’s possible. It was theirs for the keeping. And cashing.

Over the last eleven years they have accumulated over $1,300.00. They call it “Ghost’s 401K” Of course its not in an actual 401K but it is in an interest bearing account. It has grown quite a bit I would say. Jerry told me that he rarely goes out on a walk with his dog that he doesn’t find something, even if its only a penny.

I have often picked up change from the ground but never saved it, just put it in my pocket and it got spent somewhere along the way.

In case you are wondering, I am one of those who says

“See a Penny, Pick It Up, and All the Day You’ll Have Good Luck”

when I see a penny laying on the sidewalk. And I do pick every one up!

Since I’m a change picker upper anyway I decided to start saving it.

My change saving started with a penny I found when we were still in South Dakota.


I have picked up every penny, nickel, dime and ONE QUARTER that I’ve seen. Any my savings is growing.


So far I’ve accumulated a whole $ .93.


No, I’m not ready for real bricks and mortar bank yet, may savings are growing nicely in this.


Pick up those pennies, they do add up!