Showing posts with label Shopping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shopping. Show all posts

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Essential Things You May Have Missed Out On

It amuses and amazes me everyday how I have become that old person who looks back on life and wondered how I ever got through it without all the aids, gadgets, networks that are available today.

I raised two delightful and complicated children back then.  We did not have seat belts in cars and my friends who smoked were allowed to smoke while we went somewhere.  Miraculously my children survived both these dangers.  I unknowingly fed them foods in containers lined with carcinogenic plastics or probably sprayed with dangerous pesticides.  School lunches included the vegetable ketchup to balance the repast.  Abandoned refrigerators and mean dogs were the greatest fear in neighborhoods.

Because I am a technologically savvy grandma, I purchase gifts from my grandchildren via that new magical mall, the Internet.  These companies then automatically assume I need paper versions of their inventory as well and my mail box begins to regurgitate colored catalogs of items beyond my wildest dreams.

There are gates and locks and containers that even an enterprising raccoon would have difficulty surmounting.  Children now have their own luggage when they travel, and sunglasses and helmets when they are out riding in that dangerous but very comfortable stroller.  With the added cup-holder and side music speakers, as Fran Lebowitz says, they are never leaving that stroller.

In the latest version of one of these missives offering "thoughtfully selected products," I have the opportunity to purchase a Potty Watch that alerts small children with lights and music to remind them to go to the bathroom at preset intervals...I cannot help but think of a child who would become dependent on this and could not go to the bathroom without the know, that idiot CEO at the board meeting!  I could buy a pillow that supports good posture in small children when they sleep...unless they sleep sideways across the bed as does my grandson #1 or with the pillow over their head as does my granddaughter.

There is even a strange device that one uses to remove mucus from the noses of little ones who have not mastered the art of blowing.  The mother puts it against the child's nostrils and then puts a little plastic tube in her mouth and proceeds to suck on the tube.  The text assures us that the mucus goes into a tissue and not the mother's mouth.  It still looks very unsettling in the photo (above) of mother and child using it.  The real clincher is that the publisher claims it has been used by European parents for years.  (They probably write in the European version that it has been used by North American parents for years.)

How did our baby "animals" survive without this stuff?  What new wonders will be available to my grandchildren when they begin to raise their little ones?  All of these do not belay the real dangers of global climate change, air pollution, water pollution, crime, drugs and daily stress that our little ones have to battle.

Monday, February 01, 2010

A Steal

Start the car!  Start the car! (link to the ad here.)

This is exactly how hubby and I felt after we purchased this large garden structure from Lowe's hardware store.  I had planted a climbing rose last fall and had nothing for it to climb on when this summer came!

This was the only arbor remaining in their cold and dreary outdoor garden section and had been marked down for clearance to $60.  It was made of cedar and completely put together and originally $200!  Putting it together would have taken me all day!  Now all I needed to do was bring it into our basement to dry out then take it out in the spring and do a little sanding and some sealing as it already had a nice gray patina.

We drove home and got our little pull-behind wagon to load our find.

Immediately after it was loaded Hubby shouted "Start the car! Start the car!"

Friday, June 05, 2009

Stuff has over 15 definitions for the word 'stuff'. Clearly we are lazy and use this word a lot. Not as much a f***, but almost, being the vocabulary deprived nation that we are.

On my recent visit to Nassau this store at least admits that it sells stuff by the lettering over the door.

Above is someone's precious stuff that was thrown out onto the street when they could not pay rent two years ago.

I have lots of non-precious stuff that should be thrown out. What is non-precious stuff? This stuff is that object that is so rare that it has remained in that dusty box at the back of the closet for years. Non-precious stuff is that very useful gizmoo that you have never used that sits in the darkest part of the kitchen drawer. Stuff is that gift you bought that you never gave away which now sits on the top shelf of your closet just waiting to be noticed once again. Stuff is that brand new hand-held appliance that costs too much to repair and would break your heart to toss away and so it sits on the garage shelf waiting for 'someday.' Stuff is that pair of shoes worn to a wedding that will never again see the light of day. Stuff are those 1,000 fishing lures carefully organized in that Tupperware container in the garage. And, if you are like me, your stuff comes with stuff. I am thinking of the 4 pieces of two-foot square 2 inch thick pure white packing Styrofoam boards that sit awaiting creative genius so that they can be made into some grandchild's project. Unfortunately, I think I packed the creative genius in one of the (unlabeled) cardboard boxes in the closet.

I know that when I die my children will take most of my precious and non-precious stuff and give it away or just toss it into some landfill. I stopped buying folk art years ago because I knew I had too much non-precious stuff. While this thought of tossing bothers my husband because he is tied tightly to his stuff, I am really comfortable in knowing that I will return to dust someday and it is all just stuff!

Lately, I have been (once again) feathering my nest by adding stuff. We recently purchased some hose racks to hang our garden hoses. We just purchased two gold fish and a red waterlily for that fountain we bought last year. I also purchased several trellis stands for around the house to use on all the annual vines I am attempting to grow this year. Hubby bought a sprayer for the liquid fertilizer. We also had to buy two new cushions for the canoe and a long cushion for the patio lounge. I then purchased several new flower pots for the new deck as it was looking awfully bare.

In a fit of organization we finally got around to buying some pieces of peg board and some furring strips to use in the garage so that we could actually find stuff when we needed it.

We bought two new bird feeder hangers because we buried the others so carefully under brick that we cannot move them. (We try to move the feeders once a year because of salmonella issues.) We also bought another bird house to discourage the blue bird from moving into that silly little blue house without the ventilation and drainage. We failed in that attempt, of course, and we now have a brand new empty birdhouse.

We had received a gift of a hammock net from our kids after our long-ago trip to Belize and I finally purchased a hammock frame that we will put together someday soon(!). I had moved one of the deck tables to the patio area so I had to purchase a new small table for the deck to replace it.

The problem with all this purchasing of stuff was that I promised myself when I moved into this house, that I would start a simpler lifestyle. No more stuff! I told myself it was now time in my life to be more zen, to be more accepting of bare space. (I had lived, quite happily I will add, for almost a year on 60 pounds of household goods delivered to my apartment overseas when was younger. Therefore, I know I do not need much stuff.) Having currently failed this promise to myself --- miserably, totally, agonizingly--- I promise this fall I am going through our large basement storage room and begin the process of getting rid of stuff! We have lived here almost two years and not used some of the STUFF down there at all. Who knows, maybe we have someone else's stuff mixed in with our stuff!

Next I will start on the kitchen where I have at least three of every single thing from all of my prior moves, including an entire set of cobalt blue goblets (14) that I have been unable to give away. (Pay the shipping and they are yours!)

Last I will start on the closets. When there are only two of you living in a house, you take over the empty closets...all of them and fill them with more important stuff. The kind of stuff that has to stay in boxes which are never opened, so you forget what is there.

Stuff will take over your life. It will become the pack leader in compiling your list of how you want to spend your time. I have found maintaining stuff consumes too much of my day already. Stuff, begone, I say!

This was my son's bedroom when we lived in the rental house years ago.
He was trying to create a sound studio in one corner...there is way too much
stuff here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Luck of the Irish

Yes, I should have posted this little story yesterday, but being retired I didn't. My husband is part Irish (also some Scot and English) and he definitely has the luck of the Irish. He is the one who stands in the fastest moving line at the store, wins the door prize at the charity events, and has the closest parking place open up just before he gets there.

I, on the other hand, have to work hard at my luck. This past Saturday was different.

I had headed out to the drugstore to buy more milk for my thirsty grandchildren and to pick up a few other things. I also had to stop by the drugstore and see if there was a toy or two that I could bring home to the little ones, being the spoiler that I am. When I reached the drugstore I saw that the lot was full of cars and I had to squeeze carefully between two large vans to get one of the few remaining places.

The weather was cold and gloomy and I darted between the raindrops toward the front door following another grandmother with her little granddaughter. Once inside, I found a 'Cars' model that Xman did not have and I found a cute little plastic Dora for Sha. The lines were long at the register, but I waited patiently.

When I finally got back outside I noticed that most of the parking lot had cleared and my car was one of only two or three left in the lot. I hurried to the drivers side and just as I opened the car door, I noticed a five dollar bill lying at my feet on the pavement. It was well worn, but just sitting there grinning up at me. I picked it up and looked around to see if anyone was near and also to see if this was some 'candid camera' incident. I never find lost money! (Well, there was that one time, but that is another story.)

I stuffed the bill in my bag and got into the car and backed out. As I pulled forward passing all the empty parking spaces I noticed more 'paper' fluttering gently across the pavement at the far end of the lot before the exit. I stopped my car at a crazy angle and got out to collect quite a few bills scattered across the pavement.

I collected the money, looked up and around and saw no one outside, and got back in the car and pulled into an empty parking space and counted my find. $106.00! Yes, I was happy to find this money, but I am a Puritan deep inside and I knew this much money might mean much more to the someone who lost it. The money was lost at a distant end of the parking lot, quite a ways from any store. I sat in the car for 5 minutes waiting to see if someone came out of the drugstore or returned their car to the lot and appeared to be looking for something. But no one appeared, and after the last car left the lot, so did I.

I headed home and now must think of something 'good' to do with this windfall.

Friday, December 12, 2008

"oh" My Darling Clementines - Part II

There are clementines out there from Morocco as well I found out today. I bought the box and the surface of the rind is not as smooth as those from Spain. They are as sweet and as easy to peel but even though the box says seedless, I got an average of 5 seeds from each Clementine!! Buyer beware. Spanish clementines are expensive but worth the price. Also make sure that someone has not removed a citrus or two from under the netting!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shop Until You Drop

I had to drive my husband to the airport and also was asked to babysit the two grandchildren over the weekend. This left me 1.5 free days in between to myself to spend in the 'magic mall.' The 'magic mall' has one of those tremendously large consumption arenas where you can walk for almost a mile before getting to each store and can spend as much money as you want on stuff, things, junk and treasures which will eventually fill a landfill across the ocean.

I only go to the mall when I absolutely have to shop for something, and since my retirement, that is maybe once every three or four months. The holidays are fast approaching and as somethings abhor a vacuum, I abhor volumes of people rummaging through piles of crap looking for that one good bargain. Thus this time before Thanksgiving and "Black Friday" as it is know in the U.S.---the shoppers best sales day---I decided to enter the arena and purchase a few items and browse for some ideas.

If you have never been in a major city mall, the decadence of variety and the stupidity of junk will amaze you. You can buy any tiny crystal thing to spend your life dusting, any exotic lacy boulder holder to truly reveal your age or recent surgery, any latest facial cream to pretend that you do not have wrinkles, any number of fuzzy wuzzies to keep your feet and hands warm long before the first snowfall, any number of electronic devices that vibrate (not that kind!), beep, blink and talk to you, and any number of ball gowns, if perhaps, you are attending one or more of the Presidential Balls. There was an entire store devoted to ties, another devoted to cell phones and a third walk-in store that sold only pictures...really ugly those of Elvis singing. In addition there are pretzel palaces and coffee corners to satiate your hunger and thirst needs forever. Interestingly enough, there are very few clothing stores for anyone over the age of 25.

It is not unusual to forget where you entered the mall and where you parked at the end of the day---I now write this location down when I leave my car.

Some new things that I noticed were an abundance of very helpful sales people. I had one woman offer to give me a free make-up session OR a free facial at least three times while in one store. She accosted me in the sweater section, the shoe section and the men's pajama section---this last a little unnerving. Another 18-year-old male offered me a paper cup of face cream as I passed his kiosk. I clearly do not have a memorable face, or on the other hand, perhaps I really need some help with my face!

This mall is in a rich area of the city and had quite a few shoppers who did not appear to be affected by this recession or the pouring rain. BUT the prices were being slashed almost everywhere. Some stores had 20% to 30% off on everything in the store while others had racks with 50% to 75% off on items. It is sort of sad that in this time of my life when I don't need anything and want even less, there are so many bargains. Such is life.

I did manage to get a few gifts purchased, downed a latte and croissant, and did some people watching which is a favorite sport AND found my car at the end of the day.