Friday, October 19, 2018

Ever Have One Stress on Top of Another?

Ever feel like you are hitting your head against the wall -- especially when dealing with government agencies?  My life, my memoir, and my talk show all echo the same message -- I never quit.  "No" is a word rarely in my vocabulary especially when I experience an injustice.   

I sold an amplifier on eBay last May that the post office damaged extensively.  The man who purchased it mailed it back to me for a refund, RATHER than submit a damage report at his local PO.  Consequently, I was denied my claim of over $1,000.  I submitted three appeals and they were each turned down for the same reason.  The parcel was securely packed so that was not an issue.  It was denied strictly because the buyer jumped the gun and sent it back to me demanding a refund.  

I researched on how to take the PO to small claims court.  You can't.  I thought I had exhausted my resources after spending numerous hours on the phone with various branches of the claim department -- all to no avail.  Three strikes and you are out.  You can't submit another appeal.

Then I contacted the Attorney General of the US in D.C. and registered my complaint about three weeks ago.  Yesterday I received a phone call from the head office of the USPS and they said they were reopening the case; and after I submit the pictures, they will resolve this for me.

 Sometimes you feel like.....if it isn't one thing it's another!

We were rudely awakened by the telephone several times one night.  It was the alarm company calling about an attempted break-in at our store.  The police were called as well but they refuse to respond until the store owner goes there to make sure it isn't a false alarm.  We live in a small town.  The cops are seconds away.  

Hubby flew out of bed each time and rushed to the store to confirm it was a false alarm.  Maybe a bird or mouse at the back door?  We never found out.

But the next morning the manager of our store in a different town let us know that we had a break-in there.  The thieves were only able to steal a couple watches which were in the shop's front window but the damage to the glass was a few thousand dollars.  And it hurts!

Lesson Learned:  Read the small print

While driving out of town my hubby realized he ran over something on the road.  He pulled over but couldn't see anything.  About an hour later the dash light warned him of a tire losing pressure. Sure enough, he had a flat tire.  After putting on the spare, he was warned not to drive over 50 mph.  Longest trip ever!  I told hubby not to be concerned about replacing it because I bought tire insurance when I bought the car.  

A few days later I made the trip to the dealership which was 100 miles away, white knuckling it all the way watching big semi-trucks in my rear-view mirror going 75 mph and obviously angry with me for driving so slowly.

What a relief when I arrived safely and the service department informed me I needed all four tires replaced.  The guys in the shop couldn't believe what they saw and everyone had to have a peek at this tire with FIFTEEN nails in it.  The only explanation was that a nail gun from a construction truck had fallen on the highway.


I showed them my insurance papers and settled into the waiting room for the next couple of hours.  BUT.....they were quick to inform me that my tires were measuring 3 3/32 and the insurance did not cover tires at 3 3/32 or less.  How is that even possible that it could be that close?  I was devastated.  Choking back, I asked to speak with the service manager who I knew well and he crunched the numbers to give me a few hundred bucks off the price.  In checking online to compare prices, I knew he was honest with me.  FIVE hours later, I was able to drive away with my insurance intact for any mishaps in the future.  Lesson learned.

Weirdest Dinner Party - EVER

I'm a great cook -- at least that is the general consensus by all those who have enjoyed a meal in our home.  My husband tells me almost every day that is why he married me -- not sure if that is a compliment or not!  Our guests often put in their 'request' when we invite them for dinner especially if I tell them we are having East Indian or Mexican cuisine.  

We invited our neighbors for dinner last Saturday and for an entire week, they told us how much they were looking forward to it.  Now, I am wondering why......

I make everything from scratch so it is not unusual to spend an entire day preparing a meal.  I served roast beef rolled in olive oil, peppercorns and Dijon mustard with roasted potatoes and carrots, buttered squash, cauliflower in cheese sauce, huge popovers, and Caesar salad.  Our guests seemed thrilled and impressed.  They each took huge helpings.  Here's the weird part -- they barely touched their food.  I mean, maybe five small bites.

It was awkward eating an entire meal while they watched us eat.  They kept saying they had a late lunch and were stuffed.  Should I point out that they came with their own thermos of alcohol?

Several times throughout the previous week they said how much they were looking forward to my famous chocolate mousse cake.  When we served it, they refused to eat it saying they were bursting from dinner.

We did have a delightful evening sharing stories and getting to know them.  They continue to send us messages of how much they enjoyed coming over for dinner.  Huh?  

Our dogs sure enjoyed what our guests left on their plates for the next three days.  My hubby suggested the next time we serve popcorn.
The Grands!
Of course, no post would be complete without sharing the grands.  Brie is the youngest in her ballet class.  She listens, takes direction well and at two, we see great potential as a dancer.

William, at six, is enjoying 'helping' daddy build their new playground and learning how to run the big equipment all by himself.

Brie loves shoes! Especially slippers.  After breakfast out with daddy, she was thrilled to go shoe shopping.


 New Creations this week
Here are two of the beautiful creations hubby did for a very happy customer this month.  Blue topaz set in white gold with diamonds.


This has been my monthly contribution to Fly on the Wall blogging challenge where bloggers share what has been going on in their homes.  Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado        
Menopausal Mother           
Never Ever Give Up Hope  
Spatulas on Parade         

Friday, October 5, 2018

What is Your Biggest Regret You Would Like to Undo?

Are you one of those people who would rather have folks come visit you or you travel to visit them?  I certainly am!  I know part of my 'problem' is that I am a work addict and if people are visiting me, I can get up earlier than them and stay up later to complete tasks.  

For the same reason, going away on vacation has little appeal because I think of how far behind I will be when I return home.  Do I like being this way?  Nope!  How about you?  Would you rather go away and relax and not stress about getting behind in your work?  Or do you secretly work behind the 'scenes' while you have friends visiting?

When I was asked the question "If you took a dream vacation in reverse, who is the one person you would want to come to you and why?"  I would have to say very loud and clear:  "My family."  I have spent most of my adult life living far away from family and it is a major regret of mine.  How I would love to live near them and enjoy holidays and summer fun with them.  It is time lost and can never be regained.  

Friday, September 21, 2018

Who Should Care About Texting and Driving?

If you have ever canned vegetables, I am sure you can appreciate both the hard work and the excitement you feel when you look at the finished product.  You are excited that you actually FINISHED the endless job but elated that you have a year or two worth of homemade salsa.  


In the past I usually had a friend work with me but this year that was not an option and I feared taking on the task by myself.  But I was determined to can both salsa and stewed tomatoes.  After buying 150 pounds of tomatoes, it was a commitment.  I hate the taste of store bought canned food!

It was Labor Day weekend which gave me an extra day to get the job done.  When I woke up Sunday morning, my hubby informed me that he was able to help.  I was thrilled.  He had been plagued with a migraine for a couple weeks so I wasn't counting on his assistance.  

Salsa ingredients
We worked nine hours the first day.  Chopping, chopping, chopping.  He had some great ideas to make the process more streamlined which was a thrill!  We never took a break until the job was done.  The finished product was beautiful and just the right amount of heat!

We decided to leave canning the stewed tomatoes until the following day.  My friend suggested that we blanch and freeze them rather than can them which cut our time by several hours.  Done!  Happy!  Thrilled, in fact!

Mexican Salsa

I was scheduled to do a speaking tour in the Yakima Valley in Eastern Washington but had not realized it would be such a long drive.  I left home on Sunday afternoon without realizing there was a five and a half hour ferry line-up.  It was pouring rain outside and there are no shops or food outlets at the terminal.  It was a LONG wait.  

I spent the night at a friends and set out for the Cascade Mountains the next morning.  What should have been a five hour trip turned into a twelve hour one.

Rather than plug my destination into my GPS I followed the directions of the woman who was chairing one of the meetings.  She directed me from Highway I 5 by mistake.  She forgot to tell me to turn onto I 90.  

treacherous driving

Although the rain was a welcome site after being in a drought, it was difficult to drive.  At one point the usual 70 mph that people drove changed to 10 mph.  The downpour was so heavy you could not see the road.  Many cars were pulling over.  I took the first exit to find a bathroom and in a matter of seconds was drenched head to toe when I stepped out of the car.  I didn't want to lose my way after pulling off the highway so I put the address into my GPS and realized I was going the wrong way.  Fortunately, I only lost about 50 miles; and by the time I got to the mountain range, the rain had subsided.

If.....texting while driving is illegal then........

I was in the far left lane and a little blue beetle in front of me was driving 64 mph. Hoping she would speed up I realized she was swaying all over her lane and crossing the line.  I pulled next to her and saw her using BOTH hands to text.

Texting and driving

I got behind her and dialed 911 (hands free of course.)  The officer appreciated the call and they would send a patrol car.  I told them where I was and the speed we were driving.  After 15 minutes, nothing.  I called again.  They said they were 'on it.'  Once again I gave them my location.  Another 20 minutes - nothing.  Should I call again?  I did.  This time they were not so nice.  They asked me if I was trying to play 'police' person or was I actually headed in that direction.  I apologized reluctantly after assuring them that she had almost caused three accidents.

Then it happened.  Please realize that she had been texting all this time -- for many miles -- in heavy traffic covering five lanes.  As she approached a semi-truck she veered into the next lane, causing the truck driver to quickly move to the right lane and he ended up swerving on half his tires but was able to gain control.  At the next exit she left the highway.  What will happen the next time?  Even if the cops were busy....

Last year a girl texting alongside my car pushed me off the highway when she hit a cement wall.  I survived....and here is that amazing story.

I don't get it

Last month my daughter was pulling into a parking lot with her credit card in her left hand.  A cop mistook it to be her cell phone.  She showed the cop that her phone was in her center console, tucked away.  She showed him the card she had in her hand which was about 1/3 the size of her phone.  He didn't believe her and gave her a $367 ticket.  Justice?

Have you been to the Cascade Mountains?

My time in Southern Washington was one of the best tours I have done.  I was booked into small towns that rarely get inspirational speakers.  Consequently, the whole town shows up and almost everyone bought my book.  They were so appreciative that I came so far and I loved meeting and connecting with so many great people.

Yakima Valley


I passed miles of hops fields.  I am not a beer drinker and you could smell them -- Yuk!

Cascade Mountains

The vineyards were beautiful - dozens of them.  The mountains were as far as you could see and I loved the scenery....... until I hit a hail storm that hit without warning as I went around a curve.  I almost flew off the mountain highway.  Shook me up for a few minutes.

It is always great to be home and I am blessed with a hubby who keeps the house neat and orderly whenever I am on the road.  Anyone relate with me on that?

No Fly on the Wall post would be complete without pics of the grands this month.  

Love this shot!

Helping daddy
Learning to work at a young age
Working with daddy
Work can be taught to be fun no matter how young 

This has been a Fly on the Wall monthly post where bloggers share what's goin' on in their neck of the woods.  Hope you enjoy their stories as well:

Friday, September 7, 2018

Paperback or eBook - That is the Question

pocket paperback

Do you prefer reading a paperback or an eBook?  Why?  That question was posed to me as the secret subject of this blogging group.  I submitted a Facebook survey and appreciated the 148 responses.  I have condensed those reasons below.

Monday, September 3, 2018

It is All a Matter of Roots

I'm not much of a gardener.  In fact, I know very little about gardening but I do know that it is wonderful therapy for many people.  I don't understand gardening, yet I have learned a valuable lesson from a tree. 

Years ago, we lived on a large acreage and over the course of any summer, trees seemed to spring up out of nowhere.  It was as if they had some special magic like the seeds in the story, Jack and the Beanstalk.  In a matter of weeks, these alders would grow tall and if we didn't get rid of them, they would easily take over the road.

It was not difficult to eliminate them as they had a meager root system.  The tree could be several feet high with roots that were only a few inches deep.  If you leaned on them they would uproot.

Real Trees 'Know'

What I did not understand was why some trees took so long to grow and these grew so quickly. I asked an avid gardener friend and her response was, "Real trees know better than to go up until their roots have gone down.  Trees that last," she said, "have as many roots underground as they have branches above."

BAM!  That hit me hard.  It rang true when thinking about life and what matters.  I applied this concept when I share on optimum health.