Garage Sold and Cleaned Up After

We had the same song, second verse of the garage sale rag yesterday.  My dishes finally sold — to my mother!  She was afraid they would never sell and would sit in boxes in her garage and be unsightly forever, so she bought them and then gifted them as a wedding present to a couple in her church who are soon to be married.  That’s service for 12 of Noritake Aquarius.  In the spirit of the thing, I told her to ask them if they were interested in the glasses that go with the dishes — footed goblets, actually.  They are hard to fit in my dishwasher, so I don’t use them.  There’s 12 of them, too.

I went over Friday evening to help her set up, and while I was there, my mom told me one of her nieces called this past week to tell her that her last remaining sibling, her brother AJ, passed away Wednesday.  This is the brother we visited when we were last in Pearland (he lives in Alvin) in October of last year.  He was pretty healthy physically for a 97-year-old man, but he was noticeably suffering from dementia.  He was a month shy of his 98th birthday at the time of his passing.  Mom is the only one left now.  I also learned Friday that my BFF’s stepfather had passed.

My mom does this thing where she will call me and ask me about symptoms she’s having — they’re obviously concerning enough to her that she will ask me about them, but then when I suggest she go to a doctor, she hems and haws and minimizes . . . .  She’s been having pain in the area of her groin when she walks — and she’s limping on that leg as well — and we are about to go gallivanting off to the right(-hand) coast on a vacation that’s been planned since last year, during which we will be doing a lot of walking.  I’ve already tried to get her to go to the doctor about it.  But, you’d think as many doctors as we have in this town you could get in to see one within a reasonable period of time (like within 3 weeks).

Finally, I confronted her yesterday during the garage sale and said I was going to come get her and take her to the emergency room at one of the hospitals.  At least they will x-ray her and a doctor will see her about her symptoms.  I know what her symptoms suggest to me,  but she also has a history of diverticulitis, as well as osteoarthritis and a family history of heart disease.  It’s like I told her.  I would hate for something to happen while we’re on our trip, like her breaking a hip or having acute diverticulitis and landing in a hospital halfway across the country.  She’ll be 92 this year, and while she is very spry for her age, I do not want to court disaster.  So this afternoon, I’m going to pick her up after church and we’re going to the big hospital’s ER, where they have all the high-tech doodads and the educated eyeballs to read the results.  In matters of health, especially my mother’s health, I prefer to err on the side of caution.

So we had the garage sale and then we straightened up after it, which took about two hours, so now it’s all stacked against the far wall of the garage, leaving room for my car, which I will leave at her house while we’re gone, as I do not have covered parking where I live. The fat(cat)boy will go to the Petsmart pet hotel for the duration.  He stayed four days the first time he went, then five days the second time.  This time he will be staying there for over seven days.  We have to be at the airport at Ye Gods! o’clock in the morning so I will have to take him the night before, and we’ll get back about midnight so I won’t be able to pick him up until the next day.  Poor little guy.  But he is gregarious, and he’s been there twice before, so it will not be like it’s the first time.  I will take his own dishes and his own food, and a bag of his favorite treats.  I may also take a tee shirt I’ve worn (so it has my scent on it).

On my way home from my mom’s, I stopped off at the Fortune Cookie, a local restaurant about three blocks from where my mom lives, and got some almond chicken, rice, egg roll and some fried wontons for my supper.  I felt today I’d earned a treat.  I had a sip or two of Harvey’s Bristol Cream for my just deserts, and now I’ve had my shower, washed and dried my hair, and it’s night-nights time.

Rain and Taxes

We had a little cloudburst just now, rumblies, rainies and a splutter or two of hailies.  Nothing big, or dangerous.  Just a little thundersnit.

IMG_0001The daughter of a long-time family friend AS and her husband welcomed a little tax deduction on April 15th.  Rubina Christine arrived on schedule, and the new grandpa will be wending his way to meet his new granddaughter on Friday.  He will have a baby afghan, two baby sweaters and hopefully at least one pair of baby booties to take with him.

My taxes are all ready to mail after I get my money order tomorrow. Next week will be busy and we will have a repeat of our garage sale to try to sell what we didn’t sell last time.  I would really like to sell my dishes.

I’m having a hard time finding a free desktop clock that I like that will display more than two time zones, mine, and Zulu/GMT, which is how that jive outfit in San Francisco times its end-of-pay-period — midnight GMT on Saturday. I did find one I liked, but it’s $20, and I don’t know if I can afford to like it that much. I had a free one I liked but I can’t get it to correctly display GMT.

Now, I think I’ll go work a puzzle on Jigsaw Planet.  


An Uphill Week

The tax program that I had used for free last year, even though I had 1099-MISC income then, too, has now decided to charge me $30 to use their program because I have 1099-MISC income and therefore my taxes are not “simple.”  However, they let me go far enough into the situation that they did all the figuring I needed to prepare a good, old-fashioned paper tax form, which means I cannot file electronically, and so have to pay the bank $2 for a money order to send in for the self employment tax I owe. This was because the only people hiring transcriptionists these days will only hire you as a consultant, meaning you are “self employed” and all they have to do is send you a 1099-MISC, thus dumping into your lap all the hassle with the FICA and withholding and quarterly payments, etc.  Which means I had to pay self-employment tax on the money I made transcribing for that jive outfit in New Mexico, and that if I make more than $400 working for that jive outfit in San Francisco, I will be in the same boat with them.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that starting last year, $1248/year is being subtracted from the already minuscule income I get from Social Security to pay for Medicare (which I don’t understand because they have been deducting from my income to pay Medicare all along, and now that I’m retired, they take MORE?).  So I ended up having to pay $166 in self employment taxes, instead of not having to pay anything and picking up an extra deduction for being 66, and having no cap on my earnings anymore.  (If you start drawing Social Security at age 62, you have a cap on your earnings, meaning that if you earn over $15,000 a year, they decrease your Social Security payments accordingly until you turn 66, at which point the cap is removed and you can earn as much as you want, now that you’re retired . . . . .)  I couldn’t live on the income I was getting from Social Security BEFORE they started taking out Medicare premiums.  I’m about to the point now that I’m going to go see if the Whataburger up the streetis hiring. . .

The garage sale last Saturday was a big success from my standpoint — I made $200, which leaves me with $34 after taxes (see above) to blow on groceries. I brought knitting (what a surprise!) and sat and knitted all day on the scarf below.   My dishes didn’t sell, though.  We’re going to have a second go Saturday week.

This week, I locked horns with Suddenlink, my ISP.  I got another notice that I had exceeded my allotted gigabites of data again.  Don’t know why.  I went round and round about it with them, and they suggested maybe somebody had hacked into my modem, was stealing my internet and was using up my gigs, so yesterday, I hung fire all afternoon waiting for the (short skinny Hispanic) Suddenlink guy to come by to switch out my modem, which he did (giving me a new password).  He also made changes on my computer — he had to ask me how to get to the control panel — which he said were necessary to make it work with the equipment.  Hardly had the dust of his passage settled before my computer started dropping the internet connection and giving me “cannot find DNS server” errors.  It took four phone calls and another wasted half a day hanging fire waiting for the (quite rotund and rather tattooed Anglo) Suddenlink guy to come change out the modem again, problem solved.  By yesterday evening, I was starting to feel like Cleese in the Dead Parrot sketch.  So now I have to go change the password on my two internet radios and my Kindle, for the second time in two days. . .   Stayin’ sane’s a full-time job. Welcome, hoss, to Babylon. . . . .

2016_04_14-03 2016_04_14-04 2016_04_14-05 2016_04_14-06In the knitting news, yrs trly, the Queen of the Asymmetrical Scarves, came up with another asymmetrical scarf pattern, which I’m calling Rolanni‘s Necklet, which I’ll be posting shortly on my knitting blog.  I’m on the last (bind off) row of it.  There are things I like about it, and things I don’t like about it, and there will be another iteration/pattern coming out of it at some point changing the things I don’t like about it.  As with any scarf in this style, the tricky bit is getting the pattern established.  After that, it’s the same two rows over and over until the finishing bit.  The edging bit is formed by a little “motif” that begins the odd numbered line:  K3, (yo, K1)x3.  In the next iteration, the K3 band will be wider.  The body is largely stockinette, with a little edging formed by yo, ssk, k2tog which gives it a nice “eyelet” effect which I like.  I think in the next iteration it will have two repetitions of that little bit with about 6 stitches of garter stitch between them, because stockinette is notorious for wanting to curl, which this does.  The yarn is the last ball of the Red Heart Gumdrop color Grape, “Medium 4”, 4 oz/113 g, 240 yds/187 m.  I’ve got a ball of Deborah Norville Collection “Everyday” color Lagoon, “Medium 4” 3.5 oz/100 g, 180 yds/165 m yarn for the next iteration.  It’s the first Deborah Norville yarn I’ve used.  It’s a variegated yarn and I must say the color pattern of aquas and blues with white is lovely, and the hand is very nice.  Stay tuned.

2016_04_14-01The fat(cat)boy has been sunning his head in the window of late.  Now and again I will hear him chattering at the birds.  The weather has been warm enough that the kids have been playing out on the lawn, which gives him something interesting to watch when he isn’t blissed out in the sun.  I’m beginning to suspect that cats may be  hybrid vehicles that run partly on solar power. . .   Despite how uncomfortable the position looks, he lies like that for hours.  There’s about a 4 inch step-off between the sill and the top of the chest, and the sill is only about 4 inches wide, just wide enough for him to get his shoulders onto.  Inscrutable creatures, those cats.  Not scrutable at all.

It will be a year Sunday since I lost the white boy. He was my wingman for almost 16 years, and I miss him.




Garage Saling

Mom and I are going to have a garage sale Saturday.  The lumbering juggernaut has already been set in motion.  I spent most of the day over at my mom’s schlepping stuff into the garage.  We have the market cornered in lamps.  There are probably 12 of them, 6 from my downsizing, not counting the ones I sold before I moved.  Another 4 or 5 left over from the mortal coil that was shuffled off when two longtime family friends went on to where ever it is we go to from here. My mom has an incredible accumulation of stuff from 70 odd years of being the compleat hostess.  A coffee pot from the dim recesses of the 1950s emerged.  If anything over 50 years old is classified as an antique, that makes two of us!

I’ve got service for 12 of Noritake Aquarius pottery, plus serving pieces, for sale (still).  It was my wedding china pattern, and I actually got 12 place settings plus serving pieces as wedding presents, except I got 13 dinner plates and traded the odd plate in on a salt and pepper shaker set.  I stored it all away when I got the Churchill blue willow ware at the local Skaggs-Albertson’s store back in the 1980’s.  This was before they divorced and Albertsons got custody of our stores.  They gave you stamps in incremental amounts depending on how much you spent on groceries — the more you spent, the more stamps you got.  When you filled in a card with stamps, you could get a place setting for $3.98.  They offered serving pieces (covered casseroles, serving bowls, butter dish, gravy boat, salt and pepper shakers, sugar bowl, coffee and tea pots, etc.) for sale at regular price so you could fill in your set.  I filled in my set.  I’ve got service for 12 in the Churchill, too.  I figured I’m going to use it for the rest of my life, get plenty while the getting’s good to allow for attrition (touch wood!). . .

My mom, bless her heart, has a very low “unsightliness” threshold.  She will get bent out of shape if the yard guy comes and does three or four yards in the block and leaves his unsightly trailer with all it’s unsightly lawn care paraphernalia parked in the street for most of an afternoon.  (Woe betide him if he parks it near or at my mom’s house!) So this afternoon, she was filling me in on the latest skirmish in the ongoing war against unsightliness in the neighborhood.  It appears that somebody left a Target shopping cart between my mom’s house and the house next door (where an elderly, ailing, widowed Hispanic man lives).  The Target Store is about 6 blocks away, and no telling how the cart got there between the houses in the first place.  However, my mom and the lady across the street got their knickers in a knot because of this unsightly item between the houses that sat there being unsightly for several days.  Finally, unable to tolerate the unsightliness of this shopping cart on the next door neighbor’s property, mind you, the lady across the street got her husband’s pickup, backed it into my mom’s driveway, and the two of them lifted the shopping cart into the truck bed (no easy feat!), spirited the errant shopping cart back to Target and left it in one of the “corrals” they have in the parking lot for you to put your shopping cart into once you’ve unloaded your purchases into your vehicle.  As she was telling me the saga of this covert shopping cart extraction and repatriation caper, I’m cracking up, because it’s just so typical of my mom.  She’s just priceless!

I went over about noon and we worked for a couple of hours schlepping stuff out to the garage for the garage sale, and then about 1:45, I went up to Kentucky Fried Chicken and got us some, and we ate fried chicken and cole slaw and their good biscuits and watched the NCAA women’s basketball final playoffs on TV.

Today was a red lettuce day for one of our local universities (we have two).  Lubbock Christian University‘s women’s basketball team, the Lady Chaps (Chaparrals), won the division II NCAA national championship in a very exciting game against the Anchorage, Alaska, Seawolves.  The Lady Chaps are undefeated, 35-0 for the season, having won every game they played! And not to put too fine a point on it, this is the first year the Lady Chaps have played in this division.

They have some tremendous athletes on their team.  I’m not much of a sports fan, but my mom loves women’s basketball and follows the Lady Raiders (Texas Tech University, the other local university).  LCU only has an enrollment of around 2000 students (compared to 31,000 for Tech), and to field that kind of a team out of that small an enrollment is amazing.  Several LCU players were making shots from outside the 3-point line (from more than 23 feet away from the basket!) and getting nothing but net.

After the game, I came home, filled a glass with ice cubes, poured a bottle of apple juice in, and added a jigger of Harvey’s Bristol Cream (sherry).  I was hot (today’s high was in the 80’s F (26+ C)), tired (I fell asleep in the chair again), but I’ve found the card the guy gave me from before I moved. I’ll call in the morning to see if they still come haul off everything that doesn’t sell in the garage sale. . . . and see if I still have those tags I printed for garage sales that have my initials on them . . . .