Y is for Yard Sales in Heaven

At 12:15pm today, my grandmother died. I wasn’t by her bedside, or even in the same state. I was in my office, waiting for the call I’ve been dreading for the past day and a half.

Several times on this blog, I’ve mentioned my passion for going to yard sales, especially in search of books. I got this love of riffling through other people’s old things from my grandmother, who was an avid connoisseur of yard sales, rummage sales, and estate sales. I loved going to visit her, knowing that we would spend all day Saturday driving around the neighborhoods of Maryville, TN looking for thrifty treasures. She knew all the best neighborhoods, and would always scan the yard sales listed in the local newspaper, looking for the best sounding ones and planning out our entire day beforehand. We would pick her up from her house (a house who’s land backed up right to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park), and she would climb into the car, armed with her newly-purchase purse (95% of the time she had gotten it from a yard sale a few weeks beforehand) and the clipped classifieds section, the best yard sale advertisements circled in pen. From 8am to lunchtime we’d prowl the subdivisions, and then go back out and search for more after lunch. No one had a better garage sale sign radar than she did.

Growing up, it was always my dad who drove. My dad has a tendency to hurt himself, or, he would rile me up enough to where my little-girl fist would somehow find that perfect spot on top of his shoulder. Any time my dad got hurt, it set my grandma off into giggle fits. She couldn’t help but laugh every time he cried out in shocked pain.

Over the years, she gave me many small presents, treasures that she had found at yard sales and knew they were perfect for me. She got me dinosaur figurines and jewelry, books and fancy boxes, beautiful pens and silly notepads. Each thing was special, especially since it only cost twenty-five cents.

Later, my husband took the reins of driving us around, at the same time we drove him crazy. “GARAGE SALE SIGN!” one of us would shout, forcing him to react quickly (his radar isn’t nearly as tuned as ours). It was on one of these adventures with my husband that my grandma said something that has stuck with my husband and me ever since: “Monkey Fuzz.” Where most people would say something like “Ah damnit, lost my lipstick!” she would pipe “Aw, Monkey Fuzz!” in her unique sweet and high-pitched voice. There’s hardly a day that goes by that one of us doesn’t use this playful curse.

One of the first books that I ever picked out for myself was during one of these yard sale excursions with her. It was the fourth book in the Babysitters Club series, Mary Anne Saves the Day. I have bought many books from yard sales since, and I don’t remember where or when. This one was special, because it was my first. I remember that it was an old farm house, shaded by old, mossy trees. And I remember that my grandmother was there.

I continued the tradition of going yard saleing with my grandmother up through my early adulthood, and I would still go with her if I could. I inherited several things from my grandmother (the allergy to penicillin being one of those things), but my love of yard sales is one of the best things she ever gave me. I won’t be able to stop at strangers’ houses looking for cheap stuff without thinking of her. I love her and I’ll miss her dearly.

Mamaw, I hope you’re enjoying all those yard sales in heaven.

W is for What-the-Dickens

dickensGregory Maguire is best known for his re-imagining of  L. Frank Baum’s Oz in the Wicked Years Series. He has written several other books that having nothing to do with wicked witches or lions, and many have been children’s books. What-the-Dickens is a young adult novel that he wrote. It involves a rogue tooth fairy who is named What-the-Dickens by accident.

The story is told by Gage, a young Language Arts teacher who is watching over his small cousins during a hurricane. To pass the time, he tells the three children about What-the-Dickens and the skibbereen. When he is into this world, What-the-Dickens is already an orphan. He remembers nothing before waking up in a discarded tuna can. He encounters cats, birds, tigers, and a old lady before meeting one of his own kind. Because of his unknown past, What-the-Dickens is an outcast, and he must learn the ways of the skibbereen.

I’ve enjoyed most of Maguire’s books, especially the Wicked Years Series, but this one is certainly lacking. At many points in the story, I was  just plain annoyed by the skibbereen characters, and occasionally wanted to choke the children being told the story. The ending also leaves something to be desired as there is no real resolution. The skibereen story ends decently enough, though with the obvious, trope-like question of “Was it real, or just a story?” It’s the story of Gage and the children that leaves the story wanting. The reason the kids are left with Gage and are not with their parents is due to an emergency. Their mother is a diabetic and ran out of insulin supplies due to the storm and lack of electricity. The father takes the mother out in the storm in search of help. They never return and the reader is left wondering if they even survived the raging storm.

This book exasperated me at times. I found parts annoying and pedantic, and as soon as it finally grabbed my attention (the last 100 or so pages), it just stops. The sun comes out, and you’re left wondering what the hell happened. It is far from Maguire’s best work. I recommend sticking to his more adult books.

2/5 stars

V is for Vampire Bites

I’ve had a couple people ask me about the scars on my neck (as referred to in yesterday’s “U” post). I call them my vampire bites, because that’s what they totally look like. Two round scars, about the right distance apart. Unfortunately, they are not the scars from a vampire battle. No, no. The real story is much less interesting, I’m sorry to say. They are simply scars from when I got a couple moles removed. The scarring shouldn’t be as prominent as they are, but for some reason, the wounds and scars did not heal like they should have. The pictures below are from 7 years ago (sheesh, has it been that long?!) when I first got the moles removed, and I REALLY looked like I had been attacked by Dracula.

Neck01 Neck02

U is for Unique and Untrue

Here are five Unique and Untrue Facts about me. The first part of each statement is a unique fact, the second part is completely untrue:

  1. I have two scars on my neck. I got them from a Vampire bite.
  2. While I was growing up, my family had a pet squirrel. His name was Bullwinkle.
  3. I can stand on the tips of my big toes because I have no feeling in them.
  4. I named my childhood dog Oreo because my dad loved Oreos but was constantly on a diet. I was the nicest, least wise-assed child in the world.
  5. I like to play video games. World of Warcraft is my favorite.

Do you have any Unique and Untrue facts about yourself?

 

T is for … o.O

I don’t have the filters turned on for my google searches. This has burned me before, so you’d think I’d learn to think before I google. While searching for inspiration for today’s post, I searched for “T is for…” — not realizing this was probably a mistake. The first thing that popped up, I kid you not, what a link to  EnchantedLearning.com’s Picture Dictionary. Innocent enough, and actually made for kids and educational purposes. I probably could have used it for inspiration and written a nice little entry about Tapirs or thumbs or something. It was the juxtaposition of that entry with the following STREAM OF YOUTUBE TRANNY PORN that really got me cringing and giggling. The front page was filled with porn, children’s educational sites, and toilets. I’m just glad that I didn’t decide to do my inspirational googling at work.

Life Lesson of the Day: Beware what you google when your filters are turned off.

S is for Sickness and Staining

Wait… Those two together make for a really gross combination. I swear, they’re mostly unrelated.

Staining:

This weekend was a project weekend for the husby and me. The next big thing to cross off of our “To Do” list was re-stain the front porch. We allotted three days of work. I work from home on Fridays, so I was able to sneak in the first step while taking work breaks, which was bleaching the porch. This part was done without incident.

Day two involved pressure washing the old stain off of the porch. Greg was home, and we were both eager to get started with the pressure-washing. The problem was, of course, that we only have one pressure washer. Only one of us could do the necessary work at a time. Greg started while I decided to trim our butterfly bushes. Then when it was my turn, Greg decided that our front porch stairs needed replacing (which they did; they has started cracking in odd ways). So after purchasing the materials we came back to face our porch project, each with something to do. I finished pressure washing while he replaced the three stairs.

We began the actual staining on day three. All of the pegs and banisters were stained, and about  1/3 of the floor boards got finished. We took an early dinner break and that’s when the unspeakable happened…

Sickness:

I was sitting on the couch enjoying a nice, flavorful ribeye steak, when my stomach began churning.

I won’t go into details, but let’s just say that we didn’t finish the staining on Sunday, or even think about it Monday. I was up all night Sunday, and spent most of Monday sleeping and recovering. Tuesday I was back at work and function at about 80%. By the time I got home today, I was feeling much better. So after a delicious dinner of fried Tilapia and a ruffage-filled salad, Greg and I got back to staining. We finished putting the first coat on a couple of hours ago.

So there you have it, that’s why I didn’t post yesterday. I was doing so well with the A-to-Z Challenge until I died a bit.

Now to think of a “T” to post and catch-up…