Monday, August 29, 2011

Farewell to PA,,,,,no place like home

Tomorrow AM we depart Mt. Top for home, two days on the road and if all goes as planned we should be back in our home late Wednesday.  I confess I am starting to feel about this area the way I felt when I left in 1963 and when I would come back to visit---I cannot wait to leave!  I am tired of the traffic and the hassles, the challenges with the house, and just being here for the 3rd time this year.  I am even tired of our coach and the daily commute back and forth around the hills and across the bridge from Mt Top to Lower Burrell.   I suppose I am just good and tired.

Yet I focus on the positives--seeing  long time friends again, participating in the  50th HS class reunion planning, and meeting folks here on the hill; the trip has been successful.  All we need is a buyer for the house.  All is well, thanks to Jerry and his skills and handyman talents and willingness to work maybe more than he should.  Imagine having to hire a contractor to build the railing he constructed on the partial part of the cellar stairs  where there was none.  Imagine finding someone around here to do anything small for a decent price.  Just imagine and the thoughts you can conjure  can be magnified by ten at least. 

When my old folks were alive both my mom and aunt complained how tough it was to find someone to do work here, to fix things. For a time I thought it was just because they did not want to spend the money.  Now I know differently. Once again, we never know until we step into the moccasins.

Enter the rip off artists, the scammers who dwell around the area and prey on the elderly especially.  There was one such guy in particular, Eddie, whose last  name I will not share here, who  replaced Mom's roof every two or three years until I intervened;  when I sold my aunt's home I found a receipt where  he had visited her too and replaced some parts of her hardwood living room parquet floor but only once.  And then going through documents at Uncle's home, even good old  Uncle Carl, another master handyman himself,  encountered  Eddies tentacles, but only once for a minor outside porch railing and fascia repair. The realtor tells me she has encountered tales of Eddie many times and if he is at one home in a neighborhood, pretty soon he is in action at most.  While his rates were not exorbitant, the suspicion is that he was not doing the work.  Eddie  charmed his way around the old folks.  It was not until one of my long distance calls that I questioned why she was having roof repairs and replacements so frequently.  There after, I managed to put a stop to that long distance, reaching from  California where I lived.  I heard that Eddie was ultimately sued by employees whom he had not paid and either left the area and or stopped his contracting business. 

Having been involved with trying to get work accomplished this trip I certainly share the frustration of locals when they need minor handy work done.  I am thankful for Jerry's skills and I am thankful I do not live here.  I am chagrined  that I could not find another lawn service and will have to rely on my nephew's company, though they do a lousy job when they do anything.   When we arrived none of the shrubs nor hedges had been pruned, so we did all that ourselves.  I tried calling other places because I doubt they will cost anymore and perhaps a stranger will be more reliable.  But no luck.  Most of the lawn landscape services do not come from the Pittsburgh area to Lower Burrell.  One reliable tip from a local friend was in vain because the young man is a school teacher and unwilling to take on anymore lawns now that school has started.  He obviously is a man who wants to work, supplementing his teaching salary with lawn care.  Oh if there were more of that level of ambition around.

Tonight I cooked  a  large chicken breast  using half the box of  the Betty Crocker Chicken Lemon Herb Helper mix for the two of us along with mixed frozen veggies and big tossed salads and delicious sliced tomatoes which we bought at the local farmers market Saturday.   When I see these Helper boxes at home, I quickly turn up my nose, and I think, "how lazy can you be?"  How hard is it to cook up some meat and noodles and make a sauce.  But in the motor home, easy does it.  Although I do have a small shelf full of spices, I have begun to appreciate these quicker dinners.  This one was very tasty, all I added was an extra shake of garlic powder and  several squeezes of lemon juice.  I have never known a recipe or mix I could not tinker with my adding or adjusting. 

The tomatoes from the Lower Burrell farmer's market are outstanding, large red, juicy.  I bought a basketful to take home and  3  big slicers, the last of which we will use tomorrow for BLT's at the end of the day on the road.  The MN tomatoes have been down right lousy this year  while this area has outstanding produce.  Oh  the plus and minus to all things, striving to create balance.

Another  accomplishment is I have not a trace of the right  strained/sprained Achilles tendon that has been annoying me since early June.  I believe that my new SAS sandals deserve credit.  Just as much credit to Carlie for revealing that her best therapy for plantar fasciatis

I have been doing 3+ mile walks around the RV hilltop, enhanced by going down and up the entrance hill.  This has helped keep the calories  from accumulating.  The weather has been lovely this trip. The visits have been good and yet, I am ready to depart PA.  Now that the tendon is healed, I will click my heels  together sharply in the AM and say,  "...there is no place like home, Toto, there is no place like home..."  I look forward to home and staying put for at least a month.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A knock at the door and......

Yesterday AM a knock on the motor home door revealed an elderly man who stood outside, ready to enter with a pair of moccasins in his hand to not track in wet grass or dirt.  Trouble was, we had no clue of his identity.  Jerry was mystified as the man began to enter and asked, "can I help you?" to which the man replied, "I came to sell you something." to which Jerry replied, "well I have a house to sell you."  The man looked at him as if to say, "what is wrong with you, get out of the doorway and let me in."  I appeared, took one look and thought, "oh no another elderly man who should not be out driving, he's confused."  When I asked who he was looking for, he replied, "Bauman's" and then suddenly realized that was not us.   He said, "oh am I at the wrong place?"  We said yes, we did not know them, but then he said, "Well I saw your HHR and thought...."  Six  spaces down at the end of our line was another motor home with an HHR.  We suggested that might be the right one and he laughed, "well I wondered why there was no one outside to greet me, They told me to make a left at the hill and I guess I made one left too many."  Obviously he was not totally confused.  He drove his car down to the other motor home and there his friends awaited.  When we returned back yesterday  afternoon we noticed his car and theirs were still there.  We laughed about what he must have thought when Jerry offered to sell him a house.  Can you just hear him telling his friends, "Those nutty people wouldn't just tell me I was at the wrong place, he wanted to sell me a house."  All's well that ends well but after posting the event on facebook, several others have had similar experiences at  motels, etc. where children or adults came in to the wrong place. 

  I recalled an episode from Marilyn,  my Louisiana rose friend, who jumped right into the passenger side of a waiting pick up truck outside the post office to the astonishment of her husband in their truck and the man who was in the driver's seat waiting for his wife.  Marilyn then, the epitome of southern lady charm said, "well, tell ya what I'm gonna do, just get myself over there to Myron's truck.  Bye now."  She was only in her 50's at the time and not senile and all had a good laugh.  But I thought about how immediately I suspected the gentleman at the door of having dementia when it was just a simple mistake.  I suppose these things jump out of my head because of recent years dealing with relatives with dementia.  Last Sunday's Valley News Dispatch here featured a front page story of a man diagnosed with dementia at age 36, now 42 years old he resides in a nursing home unable to feed himself, unaware of anyone and wheel chair bound.  A friend and I discussed how tragic that is and it is surely one of the youngest people to get a dementia diagnosis.

This AM I enjoyed two cuppa's from the new Keurig  B31 that I bought yesterday at JCPenney's, Mills Mall for the motor home. It will stay in here and travel easily.  Carlie had given me an assortment of teas and cocoas leaving me bound to buy the Keurig now and it was on sale at JC's.   Although Jerry disdained my purchase  because he brews and consumes a pot of Folgers each morning while I prefer better coffees,  this morning he allowed as how the Keurig might be quite handy on the road when he wants just a quick cup of coffee.  This baby brews 3 sizes, 6, 8, and 10 ounce however my tall travel mug does not fit into it but  Jerry's squattier travel mug does.  To this discovery  his eyes said, "never mind and hands off my mug. "  Not to worry at home, I have a big ceramic mug that will do and or, I may now search for a squattier travel mug.  I bought a box of Paul Newman's extra bold because I enjoy strong coffee and also because I buy other Newman brands and have never been disappointed.  Besides they donate all proceeds/profits to worthwhile charities.
Today is a meeting with the realtor and a discussion of whether or not we can winterize the home or if we will have to return again  late October to shut off water, etc.  Regardless I am looking forward to a good month at home.  Things could be far worse, this area is not in the path of Irene. 

We had dinner at the local Anchor Inn last night which was just as busy as ever.  It is time for me to go home as I just could not decide what to eat, I was feeling picky and settled on a  grilled chicken salad while Jerry had a big heaping  open faced meatloaf sandwich with mashed potatoes, etc. However they do make delicious pies and yesterday's was coconut cream a favorite of mine which I never make because Jerry does not like coconut.  But I did  get a slice to bring back to the motor home and had a taste last night later.  It is sweeter than I like and enough for  3 servings, kind of the size that Marge's in La Crosse, WI serves.  Which brings me to my last  comment, why serve so much food.  I never finish mine  and really with the obesity problems in this country, serving sizes need to be smaller.   I can understand why there are so many heavy people especially if they eat out all the time and consume it all.  Really other than those who do hard physical work all day, nobody needs that much food.  Now I know I am channelling my Aunt Jinx, skinny all her life who could eat with the best of them, but who always noticed when an overly large person was eating a lot. I guess some people only think they get their money's worth with huge portions.  I should think a smaller portion at a lower price would be preferable, but that's just my opinion.  And what do I know, I immediately  think an old man at the door has dementia.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another step on the road to selling the house

Yesterday, Teresa, the Lower Burrell occupancy inspector called, came to the house, looked things over and passed it fully for the home inspection.  The only  repair she suggested but for which she did not fail the inspection was to  continue the handrail along the open side down the cellar stairs. Jerry will pick up some lumber today to do that.  And here I had "worried for nothing."  I was so  concerned we'd have to change out the  cellar door from the garage into a metal fire safe, but when she saw the garage under the porch and how it was all steel and cement she was not concerned.  Actually she was not concerned about anything. We are not complaining!

We were very pleased.  I talked to her quite a bit about things, and  though she is young enough to be my daughter, she grew up in the same hood as I did in New Ken.  Maybe that helped.  Hers was the last class to go through Jr. High at our  old Ridge Ave School; she lived off Catalpa (my Street) on  Ridge Ave.  Her aunt who passed away from cancer graduated in 1963 and likely I might have known her but I did not have my Taleoken with me to  look.   Evidently Teresa is a single Mom with a  10 year old  daughter and lives in Lower Burrell.  And she does not go to any class reunions.  I asked her why because I am curious why locals don't attend, and she explained that their class really doesn't have reunions and further she did not like most of her classmates, she sees who she sees and has no interest in the others.  I am learning that later classes are not like our class of  1962; perhaps we were the lucky ones, we lived in the area in the best of times, most of us hoofed or biked and so school and the community were our social focus.  Today with  everyone having an automobile it is different and the closeness no longer exists.  How sad, I think, no memories to anchor nor to reminisce about.

After talking about the estate sale, she mentioned that she goes to all local estate and garage sales and then realized she had been to ours. Turns out  she bought the easel and several paint brushes and boxes of pencils and pastels for her daughter.  I am happy that the artist supplies went to a young person who loves art.  She said her daughter was thrilled because she loves to paint.

Have to confess that our idea of a home inspector was not Teresa, we expected an engineer type and she is only a high school graduate.  She has a piece of paper which lists so many things and she merely signed them off.  I also learned she has no computer when we  talked about linking up with classmates on Facebook, etc.  I asked her in amazement how she does her job.  And she replies as though I were not quite bright, "I use this piece of paper and take it back to the office and someone else can do the computer.  I don't know anything about that."    Astonishing to me that here she is working for local government, one of two inspectors and no computer skills.  So it goes.

So we celebrated last night back in the motor home by finishing off the ice cream.  Oh we live it up! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August 24, seven years ago

Hard to believe it has already been seven years since Mom died in 2004 on this very date.  Still harder to believe that here we are back at the old home grounds in PA.  I'll make a quick visit to the cemetery today when we go over to finish up at the house today.  She had an Alzheimer's diagnosis and died of a sudden heart attack soon after that diagnosis at  80, the baby of the  family of siblings.  I have said before that her death was a blessing as the years ahead were not going to be  good.

Well the work goes on, yesterday Jerry & I worked like doggies trimming hedges, etc. at Uncle's house so that it  is all neat and pretty outside. I love working outside, but at my leisure not task driven as we are.  I still have one small side  along the house to clear of grasses amongst the lilies.  I had trusted nephew to do this through his company of lawn and landscaping,  mistake.  Well we are done now.  A realtor from Howard Hanna, the  real estate company that we have is on  TV now touting the great  real estate market in Pittsburgh; I wonder what planet she lives on, because on the outskirts  17 miles away as we are the market is very depressed. 
Rumblings yesterday with the earthquake  from DC all the way up to New York.  Some claimed to feel tremors near by but we felt naught in Lower Burrell.  And I know earth quakes after living 40+ years in California.  I think that it  hit DC is a sign that our founding fathers are rolling  seriously in their graves at the state of affairs in our country today! 

Raining and windy  here at Mt Top where we park our  motor home.  Sigh, we left hedge trimmings, ivy, etc in piles yesterday to pick up today.  This rain is a day early proving as usual Mother Nature is unpredictable.  We were just too tired out after a full day working to clean up the clippings.  I did have one small sack which I took to the local city run recycle center.   That was when I stopped back into the city office to inquire about the inspector whose call I am still awaiting.  We would like to go home on Monday as we planned but we need to have their inspection done; so far there are no interested buyers but it cannot be sold  without a city inspection.  PA government and worse as it is up to local boroughs and municipalities.   I want to be ready just in case some buyer appears and I do not want to have to hold up the process.  I know this is very wishful thinking with the real estate situation here.

I find that I get remorseful at the house....I should have and I shouldn't haves  plague me.  I realize that what is done is done and yet when we need something that was there and is now gone along with all house contents, I regret my decisions. At the time I kept asking Jerry if we should save more tools, implements and he too said, "no what for.."   I did not face this predicament with aunt's home in 2009 as that  house sold fast and we were not back and forth so much.  In fact we managed that long distance with email, fax and the realtor.  Now that's nostalgia,  wanting this to go the same way.  No more whining.  No more shoulding onto myself!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It is the little things that get ya' everytime

So yesterday I paid the plumber for the inspection and dye test required by the city of Lower Burrell; he has to turn in the paperwork to the city and  now to get the inspectors out.  Of course I paid that fee to the city as well last week and still no word on when they might find time in their schedule to check out the house.  I will stop into city hall this morning on our way to the house and try to find out something. This is a perfect example of government make work.  Even Allegheny County  across the river does not have this requirement; well I suppose in the city of Pittsburgh itself there is a similar happening. 

Jerry mowed the entire lawn the long hard way with the old mower which thankfully we kept.  It looks far better than the way the  lawn mowers had left it.  I tried calling several lawn and landscaping services yesterday that advertise in the local paper and not a one of them come to Lower Burrell; I wonder why do they advertise in the local paper then? 

Yesterday, Jerry was reminiscing about how precise Uncle Carl was in designing shelves, fitting things together and how detailed Carl's vision and engineering were.  Of course a craftsman like Jerry would appreciate that.  Today many would be clueless.  Jerry also mentioned how  he hated to see all the tools gone and the man cave basement empty.  I miss the old wooden porch swing that belonged to my grandparents.  We saw nothing in the estate sale receipts  to document tool sales.  This leads us to suspect  a fast one by the woman and husband team who did the sale for us.  If I had it to do over, and I realize that I don't I would have waited.  But this is looking  through that marvelous 20/20 hind sight.  At the time the realtor encouraged clearing the place and I realize it had to be done.  But perhaps we could have deferred on the basement contents.   Jerry said he would have towed the trailer back here and loaded it up now that we made  zippo on all that.  Ah well,  regrets do no good and tasks  aplenty await us still onward and forward.

But it is the little things that cause the pangs of regret.  Jerry had placed a very small box of small tools and an old hunting knife that he left on the shelf above the washing machine in the basement which was fully and clearly  marked, "Not for Sale" " Do Not Sell."  The estate woman had  covered over the ironing board and iron atop the washer and dryer & marked it all "Not for Sale"   Well, damned didn't someone go out of their way to steal that small box of metal tape measure, screw drivers', and the knife.  Someone had to work at taking that and we assume it was taken.  Same thing happened with a metal industrial dust pan which we had set aside with the mower and a bucket.  The country western song, says it all,   "God is great, beer is good and people are crazy....."  Small things in the grand scheme and yet it is the little things......These are the things that get ya; when you are honest as we think we are, it is a difficult truth to  reconcile that others do not share the same values. 

After meeting with my friend and attorney yesterday and lamenting that we did not keep the hedge shears and the nephew has not  done what he said he would do, trim the hedges, etc.  Rich, the attorney proved himself to be full service.  Last night we had a reunion planning meeting for our 50th High School event next year.  Rich brought his electric hedge clippers and a long extension cord to loan to us, that's the royal "us" because  Jerry, will use them.  Once again it is good to have friends.  Another friend gave me the name of her lawn mower and I will call him today. 

I laughed at the reunion meeting when people asked me if I came home just for the meeting.  Carlie knows differently as does Rich, but the others?  I joked that since  the last time I had been to one was the  10th I didn't want to be left out.  Rich teased, "We tried to keep her away...."  I have another mission/task now which is to ensure that out of our graduating class of about 360 with about 40 already dead and gone, we have at least 100 at our 50th. Rich has bet me $20 that we will be lucky to have 70 there.  I say surely if we cannot get 100 of us we are the sorriest group to ever graduate from Ken Hi in the Glory Days.   There are so many of our classmates who live locally and yet do not come to the reunions for whatever reasons.  Perhaps if you live in the same place where you grew up there is not a whit of nostalgia?   Still a  50th!  Surely they will come out of  curiosity.  We have planned a very informal beer/pizza gathering for Friday night and a banquet for Saturday night with a live band to play our hits.  People will likely complain about the cost and some will not come because of that, but don't you think that given a year's notice they can save the $50 to attend?  So being someone who hates to lose a bet, I will campaign on Facebookc'mon people, your excuses are well ridiculously small, "I don't know anyone"  I don't have anyone to dance with"  "I need to lose weight" and yet those excuses  are what can take you under.  Get over yourself and come out and enjoy the  50th.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Return to PA and estate tasks

So here we are and all is relatively well.  Our stop in Decatur Indiana accomplished the installation of the new awning replacing that destroyed  in July in the storm here.  However Jerry says we will be unlikely to do further business with Sullivan RV in Decatur.  Their rates are the same as the factory $90 per hour and they did  the work needed however  this was an insurance claim, to which they really racked up the ancillary charges.  We had a $500 deductible but when we reviewed the full list of charges, Jerry was  not amused. There was a disposal fee of $8 and he has the old awning at home, they took a break dragging out the installation time that morning although they were not busy.  Because he knows this business he said it was a 20 minute maximum job and they charged for  1.5 hours, running up the tab.  Our GMAC insurance approved the charges, but Jerry is disgusted.  Honesty and fairness were his keys to success in the auto repair business all those years.  He heard horror stories from customer and now when he experiences these he finds it most annoying.  So he has asked me to write something to our Good Sam RV Lifestyle website to let others know to beware.  Further he claims he would not recommend them to anyone else in our RV circle.

Things can always be worse, this I know.  We met a man in Decatur at the Fleetwood lot where we  stayed overnight. Although his coach and vehicle were registered in Texas, he is a wanna be to leave CA but while he has a business to sell there he is.  He and wife had attended the Family Motor Coach Rally in Madison, WI and while journeying thru  Chicago he went through an underpass that was not tall enough to accomodate his Revolution coach and he suffered the unpleasant experience of shearing off the roof mounted air conditioner and generator.  Fortunately he did not damage the roof.    The facotory could not fit him in for 2 weeks so he was on his way to Ohio where the repair could be done, an insurance claim  to the tune of $7000 to $10,000.   He said he was watching his GPS, but too late and it happened.   This is why we are so very very careful on the routes we take with this Excursion.  And Jerry is very hesitant on some country back roads if there is a bridge underpass.   

But on to PA and here we are once again.  Somehow the hoopla to returning "home" has diminished.  It's like here I am again and I do enjoy  my friends but there is work to be done. Much of this work is phone calls trying to arrange services and this is not an easy task.   The estate sale accomplished the clearing of  Uncle's house, but we made no profit.  I am disappointed in how Sandy  the estate sale contractor did this sale, I realize now she is inexperienced with man cave items and tools and while the local economy is not the best, I just  believe it could have been better promoted.  We were disappointed with reports from the neighbors about the conduct of the sale, the low level of attention paid to customers and the lack of advertising.  I had discussed with her when we were here in July that I disagreed with her  decision to hold the estate sale at Uncle's home on Thursday and Friday with only 1/2 day Saturday, also the reduction of eveything to 1/2 price on Saturday.  When I contracted with her in 2009 for the sale at aunt's she was open on Sunday.  It seems she has decided to do less, her fee is 30% of the proceeds + expenses which is handsome for her and a minimum of $799.  In addition I or seller  pay all haul away costs.  Well she  did call me in MN to let me know that the furniture had not sold.  Instead of leaving it, I elected to allow the vultures to clear out whatever was not sold.  I know now that I should have told her to bid the job, again my trust was misplaced.  It seems that when I trust these people they do not merit that trust.  Oh well, the house is cleared.  The neighbor told me that they left the front door open all night one evening while they were clearing the place.  That  upset me too.  But I must put this all behind me, the home is cleared.

Nephew who has a landscaping and lawn service did not perform tasks expected either.  None of the shrubs or hedges were trimmed and his workers are doing a shoddy job on the lawn.  I called him and he assured me he would send someone out last week or the next.  Well, I must find someone else to do the work to keep the outside looking decent.  I would really appreciate someone saying they are just oo busy to do the job and be done with it, instead of being  well,  less than half assed.

I have been arranging the  inspections and paying the fees,  for the plumbing dye test and for the local city inspector to come in and perform the occupancy standard analysis.  Of the $300 profit  on the estate sale, $100 went for city fees and $175 to the plumber for his testing (compare that to $50 that I paid in 2009 at my aunt's)   $225 at Lowes for repairs Jerry can do to pass the inspections, smoke alarms, cement for the drains that go into old septics, on and on.  No profit on the entire houseful.  Well, it is done and it is what it is.  I could  not endure anymore than I had in July when we were cleaning out. 

My realtor has featured the home as the spotlight home on their website.  Two other homes in this beautiful quiet  neighborhood have sold in the past weeks. We are hopeful, but the market here has tanked, thanks to all those who voted for and elected the Obysmal one as president, the effects of the slump are being felt.  The real estate here was never inflated as in CA where it had to level off, but now, it has become ridiculous. 

I don't think that anyone who has not gone through settling an estate, especially long distance has any concept of what happens, of the excruciating frustration.  Such is the life of an heiress here in Western PA. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Networked Blogger

One reason I started this blog was to share our travels in the RV, motor home, coach; as our travel mode has expanded so has my blogging to writing about antiques that now share our home, or family memories and photos ala Sepia Saturday or whatever flits through my mind to the keyboard when there is time to sit at the 'puter. 

Lately there has been little time to write; so busy back and forth to PA, load, unload, phone calls, estate paperwork, attorney calls, realtor calls, fretting, dealing and on and on.  But today as it is showering off and on and most of what will go with us this trip to PA is loaded up, I caught up on some Facebook Invites and thanks to Kat Mortenson, I discovered Networked Blogs. 

I thought that a good way to spread the word around the cyber space about my words that I share here.  I have a dear  friend, Sandy, who has so encouraged me to write almost to the point of nagging; well sometimes well past the point of nagging.  Sandy has problems with computers, this is nothing new because Sandy has that history from days at work and she  is not technologically adroit, more like challenged.  For a time I was able to email her my posts but after her recent  viral infection Blogger would no longer accept her email, it kept rejecting it as " infected."  She had the same type hacking or virus that other friends in CA experienced and to be safe they changed their emails, but not Sandy.  She has not changed her email although that's what I advised her to do, instead she believes all is well, or as well as it is ever to be with Sandy at a computer.  She also doesn't want to notify all of the whoevers that email her about a change, although most ISP's do so easily using their prompts.  But I've already shared that Sandy  at a computer is  akin to the perils of Pauline. I shuddered when she purchased a Kindle, thinking, in a couple months she will have that thing sideways, but so far so good.   Finally I have been able to reenter her email so she gets a direct post, but  really that is not the most convenient for me.  I so prefer comments right onto the blog.  Nevertheless she has been without reading my blog for over a month now.

 Which gets me back to why I started this rambling paragraph---after Kat's invites and my very delayed follow through, I am now Networked Blogger.  This means my blog posts should begin to pop up onto Facebook, something I have noticed others like Bob Scotney and Kat do. 

I have been on Facebook since 2008 when Carlie enticed me with my great reluctance; I thought it was only for college kids.  I am long past that.  I quickly adapted though and it has  been a true link to friends in the hometown and all over, friends from the past with whom there would be no other contact.    Now I check in daily and have it linked into my Blackberry so I get updates on what's up with who.  When you know people all over the country and world as I do, it is a great way to stay in touch.  With a few keystrokes you can converse openly with everyone you know, that is if they are on Facebook.  My friend Sandy, not so much, she had some  flip flops on Facebook too.  Well then we will not even talk about my childhood friend from the hometown 'hood, Kathy Z who prides herself on not using a computer.  She is a retired school teacher and claims to not know how to type.  We wonder how she did her college term papers?  Well but that is another entire story. Then there is Tom, the exception, whom we teased about his dinosaur 'puter who recently replaced the Dino with his new whiz bang that keeps him in touch too and he meets new folks all the time as I have on Facebook. 

That's the downside, for people who stagnate, they miss out.  It is also a bit annoying to  repeat to them individually what everyone already knows by the cyber world, to repeat what is already yesterdays news in life. Such is the challenge in knowing those who allow themselves to fall behind.  This is something I truly strive not to ever let happen--my 94 year old  MIL is a testament to what happens to those who fall behind, live in the past, their minds let them stay there where they may be comfortable but the world passes them by and they no longer participate.  MIL is stuck somewhere in 1930's and has been even though she plodded through life.

Can you believe all this from just getting my Blogger Networked.  That's what I mean about words, my words, sometimes they just keep on coming.   Life it is movement if nothing else.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Like a hole in the head

"You need that like a hole in the head" is what  Mom and Aunt Jinx would tell me when I set  my brown eyes on something they felt unnecessary, it was their way of saying "no"; I'd not thought about that until yesterday when I snapped photos of our new to us, antique side tables that we acquired at Kensington Court in PA.  Jerry spotted these two side tables while we were browsing; yes they are quite nice but did we need them, well like a hole in the head, right, Mom.  Does anybody say that anymore?  And what does that mean, absolutely not....think of it, who wants a hole in their head? But then, holes for mouth and ears are a good thing.

The price was more than right, at $60 for both side tables, unbelievable. On the bottom is the marking Weiman Heirloom Quality Tables which I've googled and find they are likely from the  1930"s maybe the 1940"s and can  go for much higher prices.  So the tables journeyed from PA to MN and their new home. 

The photo preceding is of just one corner in Kensington Court;  there is a massive array of any and everything to be found.  I"d heard about Kensington Court on Barnes St. in New Ken and in July we stopped in after the People's Library book sale.   I sure hope those guys make it because they have a wonderful array of antiques from many vendors all displaying quality items. 

Different font here as the Arial doesn't quite work.   Their website   In addition to antiques one vendor had a armoire filled with high quality name brand purses; that's where I acquired my new to me Dooney Bourke bag, something else I needed another purse like a hole in the head but at $25 who could resist?  Even if it is a knock off and I don't think so, it is a high quality replica that has fooled me. 

Whilst buying these tables, I said, "we are here to have my uncle's home cleared and arrange the estate sale.  I am selling stuff, why am I buying stuff?"  The pair are each  20 1/2 inches across the widest part of the scalloped top, the shelf is 15 inches off the  ground and the full height is 25 1/2".  I speculated that if they had been attached as one it would have been perfect for the flat screen TV which is in the living room, to my ever annoyance.  We were not thinking too far ahead when we moved here; no one watches TV in the formal living room, it is a place to visit.  But to move the primary hook ups for Cable to the entire house would be an expense that we need, well like a hole in the head.  And here  cable is  a necessity else there is no TV reception, blocked by those Mississippi River Bluffs.  We have a small table that holds the TV, Bose, and accouterments; it's something we acquired to make do.  So far we cannot find a replacement and it does get on my nerves.  I would really prefer not to have this in the living room and Jerry keeps assuring me that when we find the right table/armoire or something that can be re-engineered it will be OK.  Well, that does give us a reason to look at antique malls, estate sales.

Jerrys table
This one is Jerry"s because it is beside his chair and it is the one that had a  custom beveled  protective glass top.  I am familiar with glass tops,  my family always had glass protecting the better tables,. etc.  We will get another made for my table once we settle down from PA trips...Underneath the glass is an exquisite doily that my grandmother made; I was surprised when Jerry asked for one of my "lacies" or frou-frous as he calls them.  He said it would keep the glass in place and must be  very fine; he approved immediately of this selection.

This shows the marvelous gold leaf and the inlay scallops.  Such fine craftsmanship; this is why we prefer seasoned furniture to the new mass produced of today.  This is my table, without the glass and you may be able to see some of the slight crazing, which is to be expected  of vintage.   Well the tables did  need some very serious cleaning which involved the use of Black Wax, and lots of  elbow grease, which is superb for restoring finishes.  If these tables could talk, what tales they might share of events and gatherings they have seen.  I can see a gentleman with his brandy snifter and cigar sitting.  The shelf on my table took an extra dose of cleaning, calling for Murphy's Oil Soap; there was a gritty residue.  But now it is in fine shape. 

I wanted to call attention to the leg, with the bronze  metal finish and the tiny caster roller wheel that is sunk into the carpet. It is engraved resembling a tiny paw above the wheel,  which does not show in the photo.   This type of finish was our  first hint about the age of these vintage twins.  How long has it been since such finishing was done?

You can see one of the minor  dings on the leg, but again, at their age, these tables are entitled to show a bit of wear. 

My only complaint is that they are about  two inches too tall; Jerry teased that he could shorten them but they would never be the same.  I am sure.

Blogger is being difficult in posting photos, so I will conclude the post and go on to other tasks...there has been so little time to write these last two weeks.  I can't expect it will be much different for a time now.  Another trip to PA begins on Sunday.  Well, we can stop in at Kensington Court again.   

Thursday, August 4, 2011

More vintage advertisements

This continues my previous post about neat vintage advertisements  rescued from the trash  at Uncle Carl's while clearing the place.  This treasure is  from Polack Furniture, a store I do not recall in New Kensington however it may well have been before my time as on the back someone wrote, "Antique 1937"    I am skeptical of that date because the phone is an EDison prefix, something from the  1950"s. LIkely during my growing up years I had less than no interest in furniture stores.  The Sun Drug soda counter or its  racks of comic books or the GCMurphy which was catty cornered across the street were my downtown haunts.   I  do recall seeing these types of  framed photos/thermometer advertisements while I was growing up.  A long way from today's digital thermometers.  What is perhaps even more amazing is that this thing works, the temperature reflects rather accurately.It is a wooden frame with glass, two photos and the thermometer.    Jerry rescued this from a pole in the basement. The colors in the print are vibrant.

Somebody's Sweetheart

While clearing my aunt's home in 2009  there were a couple of similar advertisement photo/thermometers from what was Eger's Jewelers in New Kensington.  I gave those to a friend who revels in all vintage and historical things from town.  I spotted one in the Kensington Court Antique Mall this last trip for sale at $55!  Wow, nice gift to Sam and it was not even his birthday.   Now that I have renewed contact with Harvey Eger, I wish I had that to display on Facebook. 

This second one, a silhouette photo which is painted on the back of the glass in the frame is unusual.  I have it in the motor home near the dining table as a comparison of the times; we travel in a house on wheels, using a microwave and convection oven while the era this reflects  cooking by fireplace.  We are a long way past that.  This silhouette photo is also from the same furniture company, according to the  labeling on the back of the frame.  Notice the long rifle above the fireplace and candlestick holders on the mantle.  This portrays a colonial or early settler  hearth in rust and beige tones..   
Silhouette advertisement
Both prints are about the same size, 5 inches  by 7 inches.  Blogger is giving me the runaround tonight, so I will sign off and leave these memories  of a time when merchants relied not on  TV or the Internet, but good old fashioned customer contact.  It was a time when keeping the name of the merchant in the mind of the customer was as easy as providing a trinket of these sorts.