Buyer Beware

“Mattresses Cheap!”

Should I buy a mattress advertised on a little sign on metal legs stuck in the ground by the side of the road? Are these used mattresses? Are they defective? How can they be so cheap?

There are all kinds of little metal signs along the road advertising everything from low cost wifi to real estate classes. I’m all for the little man, but I have to question something like bedding being sold on a tiny sign along the road.

Pizza, I get. Store closings, I get. I understand politicians putting up “vote for me” campaign signs that litter every four-way stop in town at election time. I don’t mind those — I just wish they’d clean up the mess after it’s all over.

What other kinds of things do we buy that are “cheap”, that maybe, just maybe we should think twice about ….. like steaks at the dollar store. Can filet mignon for a dollar really be good for you? Picture it – date night at your neighbor’s house – “I thought we’d stay in tonight. I got this great deal on steak at the Only $1 store and they had movies too. Won’t it be fun reading the subtitles?!”

I like a bargain like anybody else, but I don’t know about some of this stuff. Where does it come from? This goes right along with those trucks that drive around neighborhoods trying to sell meat out of the back. (my in-laws actually bought some of that meat one time – can  you say “tough as whit leather”)

Sometimes it’s just not worth the cheapo price when it makes you sick (beware dollar store pizzas, too. I know this from firsthand experience…) or you have to keep replacing said item. Now, dollar buys are not all bad. I love their holiday cards, bags and candy!

Just remember, boys and girls, a bargain may not always be a bargain. Especially if you fall for the ‘ol “let’s make it look exactly like the name brand item” only to get home and find out your Post Toasties aren’t Post at all, they’re Past Toasties. Check the label, people – check the label.

 

You Might Be Antique

If you want to feel old, go to an antique store.

Browsing through antique stores can be enjoyable, entertaining and downright funny- until you realize… all the stuff you grew up with is in there. My favorite dolls, games and glass McDonalds cups are in those stores.

Some of the antique offerings are a little weird too… you’re browsing through the bric-a-brac (an old term for stuff) and you get this weird feeling, all of a sudden, that you’re being watched. Then you slowly turn around to find a doll dressed in a mink coat and hat giving you the once-over. Its glass eyes staring at you. It kind of looks like it’s trying to talk – almost pleading with you to take it out of there.

And the clowns – the sinister looking clowns that perch on shelves at the top of old staircases in antique stores, just waiting to scare you. That’s a real thing that can happen.

Antique malls are all the rage now. They’ve popped up everywhere. Although I seldom find anything in them that’s affordable. All that stuff we had is worth a fortune now – we should have kept it. Not the clowns – I don’t know that anybody wants those things.

Now, before I get hate mail from people who own and/or go to antique stores – I go to them, too. I like to browse down memory lane from time to time.

There’s one particular antique mall near us that plays Cajun music all the time. That one’s my favorite. The music makes it more festive and I don’t feel like I’m such an “antique” too.

Oh Kitty Cat

I will not be licking my kitty cat, thank you very much.

I don’t know how the barn cats would react to something like that.

If nothing else good comes from Facebook, it does offer an abundance of weird topics to blog about.

The current video being shared is about this plastic/rubber “thing” you can use to lick your cat. What? I guess it’s to help show your love, therefore forging a human-kitty cat bond to stand the test of time. That or until your feline friend departs for the great kitty land in the sky.

This new “innovation” looks like a big ol adult pacifier to me. The video shows people with this thing in their mouths, licking a cat with it. The cat responds with love and affection – and the sharing of hair balls.

You know you’re going to get a hair ball stuck in your throat from licking your cat. That’s a natural rule. Cats shed and the nearest person to them will be the recipient of enough fur to make Christmas sweaters for everybody they know.

I may have hit on something: sweaters made from discarded cat fur. Hmmm…

Anyway, I don’t know about everybody else, but I think this whole “licking your cat” thing is kinda kooky. Each to his/her own, though – it’s not illegal or immoral so go for it. Lemme know how it goes.

I’ll have to take a poll from all my cat-parent friends and see what they think. Who knows. I could be wrong. It just might be the best thing since sliced bread – or Fancy Feast.

I can hear it now: “Oh I just love my kitty cat licker! Fluffy is so happy and it saves a ton on kitty cat therapy sessions.”

The cats in the video seem to be content.

What will they come up with next? I’m not even going to try to imagine what these inventors might design for dog owners…

Wrinkle Spray and Royals

I was planning to blog about the royal wedding and wrinkle spray got in the way.

Which brings up an odd question – do royals use wrinkle spray? Probably not.

I love royal affairs, especially the weddings – the pomp and ceremony, the lavishness of it all and the history. (remember all those history classes you hated back in school? I loved ‘em.)

I’m getting to the wrinkle spray story. So, while I spent the day royal watching I was also preparing to leave for a conference.

I washed up all my clothes and packed them away in my suitcase, all the while eyeing my bottle of wrinkle spray. It didn’t matter how “slept in” my freshly laundered clothes looked when I arrived and unpacked, I could simply spray them and voila! The wrinkles would fall out faster than relatives fighting over grandma’s will.

Then I drove across the mountain and pulled onto the great writer’s conference campus. The birds were singing, people were happily unpacking their cars, excited for the week of learning ahead and it hit me.

I had forgotten my wrinkle spray.

Had I been a royal planning a trip, I would have a lady-in-waiting and she would have made sure I had my wrinkle spray.

My advice to all the royal gals – always stay on good terms with your staff. They will take care of you and make sure you have things like that packed for the trip.

Not that a member of the royal family would be caught shopping in a “dollar” store. That’s where you have to get it. And it’s a certain kind of cheap – not just any wrinkle spray will do. Don’t get the big name brand either. It’s twice as expensive and doesn’t work.

So, here I am with no wrinkle spray. Thank goodness I didn’t get an invitation to the royal wedding. They probably don’t even have dollar stores in England where I could run out and buy the things I always forget to take on a trip.

Just about anywhere I go, usually not too far away, I know there will be a Wal Mart or a dollar joint nearby in case I forget anything. I can always count on that.

It’s probably a good thing I didn’t marry Prince Andrew all those years ago (I used to practice my royal wave, just in case)- I’m sure the Queen would have looked down on a daughter-in-law shopping at the Wally World. I could have shown her a few things about getting a bargain though, and the joys of wrinkle spray.

This Little Piggy

I may never be able to eat bacon again.

I just read that scientists have discovered how to keep pig brains alive outside the pig body.

Why?

That’s just weird on so many levels. I hate the thought of slaughter houses and already worry too much about the animals that end up there. This doesn’t help. Do the pigs know what’s about to happen? Apparently now they can think about it for awhile after the slaughter… (picture me sobbing here)

Wait a minute – I’m way too smart for this. Where’s the hidden camera? It can’t be real.

Really??

I may become a vegetarian. No more burgers. No more chicken. No more bacon…

Everybody else can enjoy being a carnivore. I’ll just be over here eating a salad and hummus. This reminds me of something my friend, Pam, told me when she was having dinner with another friend from (I think I’m remembering right) Jamaica. (Pam, feel free to correct me) She was at a restaurant eating meat and the other girl said something like, “I see you’re eating flesh.”

Yep, I would have promptly pushed my plate away and become a vegetarian right there in the middle of the joint. I’m not knocking vegetarians. For heavens sake, don’t start sending me hate mail. If you’re a vegetarian, be the best one you can be! I really like bacon. (or I did, anyway)

Back to this whole pig brain thing. Why would they even need to do that? It’s like the time I heard they were measuring cow flatulence to see if it affected the atmosphere. Cow gas? They should live with my Boxer for a day.

Say What?

Everybody say this with me — Appa – latch – uh.

There now, I feel much better.

I can overlook Northerners and a few others who “ain’t from around here” for their faux pas, but how is it that the Weather Channel people can never pronounce Appalachia correctly?! Can you tell this has become a burr in my saddle? None of them – no matter how many times I yell it at the t.v. – have grasped this concept. And they’re in the South. You’d think they would know better.

Lands a mercy.

We were talking about this at lunch after church one Sunday. I don’t remember now what started the conversation, but some of us got a little miffed just thinking about it. One friend in the group who came to us from “up north” was quickly forgiven when she divulged the truth. She had been saying it wrong, but only because that’s how she learned to say Appalachia growing up above the Mason-Dixon line.

She also said she learned the correct pronunciation and we let it go. We aren’t in the business of holding grudges.

I cringe everytime I hear the Weather show people predicting the weather in our neck of the woods – it usually goes something like this: “Here we have a strong storm approaching ‘Appa-lay-shuh’. If you live in a mobile home, save the underpinning and get out of there!” they warn. That’s another subject altogether – where are we supposed to go?

I may have to start a write-in campaign. I don’t want to be mean about it — I just want them to acknowledge they’ve been wrong all this time and then start saying Appalachia the right way. I don’t know if any of their on-air people have actually listened to the way we say it. With this, I invite any of the Weather Channel meteorologists to come up and visit a spell. Hang out with us and we’ll show you how it’s done! 🙂

Maybe we could show them old news reels of Johnny Wood doing the Channel 5 weather report (Johnny is a beloved local (long time) newscaster who loves his homeland of Appalachia). That should actually be a requirement in meteorology school. I think it would do them all a lot of good and they would learn a thing or two.

To my northern friends, just know that I understand and it’s ok. Bless your hearts. You’re precious.

Everybody else, get with it! We’ve got to make sure the little ones know how to carry on when we’re gone on to Glory.

Just don’t let them watch the Weather Channel and they will be alright.

Drive Thru Etiquette

The drive-thru line needs some rules of etiquette.

I think I’ll get started writing the manual – any and all thoughts on this subject are appreciated, as I record a few proper lane rules. First rule (as Barney Fife so nicely put it years ago) – Obey All Rules.

This is probably my biggest peeve of them all: People, for the love of fries and shakes, keep the line tight. It kinda drives me a little batty when somebody leaves space the size of a football field between their car and the one in front of them. The tighter the line, the more room for others to get in line from the road and you can avoid that weird “half your car at the speaker, but you’re not quite close enough to talk to the drive-thru person” thing. The the attendant asks you for your order and you’re trying to yell it out to her from a mile back. This just does not work. It strains your neck too – not to mention the fact that everybody in line now thinks I’m planning to eat two fried pies and a large McFlurry.

Etiquette rule #2 – have your dadgum order ready when you get up to the window. I apologize for the salty language. There’s plenty of time to figure out what you want by the time your turn comes up. People will sit there and “hem haw” around (a Doublewide husband saying) – “What comes on that big and wide, extra crispy bacon taco burger?”
I’m sitting there thinking, “A taco – it’s a big ‘ol taco on a bun. Can we just move along…”

Sorry for the rant…. cause, you know, I’ve never done any of this…

And please have your money ready. That’s really all I’m asking. Just have the money ready.

So, here’s to seeing you in the drive-thru line this summer. I promise to be nice and just read from my Bible app (from the book of Job) while I wait to order that taco burger.

Chicken Thieves Beware

Chicken Thieves Repent!

The funny things you see while driving the back roads through the country.

That announcement was on a sign outside a little roadside diner, shouting its message like a street corner preacher trying to get people saved. I don’t know if live chickens had been kidnapped or if it was frozen chicken thighs they were missing.

Oh, the stories you could make up with that little bit of info to go on.

Interstate travel doesn’t entertain nearly as much as the sights and sounds on country roads. Although there are some interesting billboards along I-40 around the Sevierville/Pigeon Forge area in the East Tennessee neck of the woods.

I guess that’s the exception to the interstate rule – boring, except for vacationland attractions. Some of the signs actually do a good job luring families with antsy children off the beaten path – “Wrestle a Bear – Get a FREE corndog!” Dads will spare no expense to give the kiddies a wonderful vacation experience.

On the other hand, think of all the makeshift vegetable stands and yardsales you’ll miss if you avoid the scenic route (not to mention the unique,and often misspelled, homemade signs advertising it all). Need a handmade quilt? Looking for freshly whittled nic-nacs? Take a backroad!

All in all, I’ll choose curvy road travel over the interstate every time, unless I’m in a big hurry.
Barns and cows are way more fun to look at than Stuckey’s and McD signs.

As you’re planning vacation travel this year, consider what you might be missing out on if you set the GPS for the more crowded route. Lush meadowland scenery vs tractor trailers and billboards – you decide.

Dump Day with Mary Grace

We still drive our trash to the dump. Yeah, we could pay to have it picked up, but where’s the fun in that?

Dump day is always a big adventure for our Boxer, Mary Grace. The funniest thing is watching her get so excited.

She starts doing her wiggly dance, running back and forth between the door and the place where her collar and leash hang on the wall when she knows she’s going. She can hardly stand still long enough to put the halter on.

I wish the mundane was that exciting to me. Maybe I’m missing something here.

Do you get up and schlump through the day when there’s nothing particularly exciting going on, like I tend to do some days? (this sounds like an ad for fiber pills)

Mary Grace thinks everything every day is exciting. I should be more like her.

Maybe that’s why the Lord gave us dogs – to help us learn how to enjoy the little things in life. There’s proof they help lower your blood pressure. (I read that somewhere)

So, I’m going to take a tip from my dog and find fun in everything! No, I’m not going to ride down the road with my head hanging out of the window.

I may just get a little more excited about dump day, though.

 

 

The Brown Mountain Adventure

We went in search of the mysterious Brown Mountain Lights of North Carolina.

I say “we” because I convinced my friend and trusty sidekick, Shaylah, to go on this adventure with me. She even drove. It’s good to have a friend who will do whacky things with you when your husband won’t go.

I read about the Brown Mountain Lights several years ago and, since then, I’ve wanted to go see what all the excitement was about.

This past weekend we made the trek up to the North Carolina high country, turned onto Hwy. 181 and soon found Jonas Ridge and the Brown Mountain overlook. There, we also found the Brown Mountain Lights research and reconnaissance team (not their official name). The group had planned the outing, posted FB announcements and videos of reported sightings, and we responded to the call.

People were there with anemometers,  cameras with night vision and instruments that looked to me Geiger counters. They were also wrapped up in big quilts and heavy coats. All of us should have our heads examined for being up on top of a mountain ridge in the night, with cold wind gusts strong enough to blow you over the mountain. But we’re always up for a good mystery so there we were, right in the midst of the excitement.

Shaylah and I decided to do our investigative watching from inside the car.

In the spirit of the event, I made some investigative notes during our stakeout:

  • 7:04pm – the mountain remains dark
  • 40 mph wind gusts are blowing against our car, almost sending us over the mountainside – are we crazy?
  • Still we wait – the lights are elusive
  • Others are gathered outside, wrapped in blankets, braving the cold and wind – they must be crazy too
  • We see one light appear and disappear over the mountain that we can’t explain – who knows what it really was..
  • Hunger overtakes our curiosity about the lights – time to head down to find food – our mission is over

We never saw what we thought was really a Brown Mountain Light. The one lone, unexplained light we saw seemed to come from nowhere and  disappeared about as quickly as it appeared.

All in all, it was a fun time and we got to see a view that I never get tired of – the Blue Ridge Mountain range.