Friday, June 29, 2012

Auntie Em! Auntie Em!

Columbus got slammed with 80-100 mph winds this evening.  Tree limbs down - everywhere.   Power out.

Fuck!

Charm City Confidential: Why-O-Why, Ohio


Well, that was a weekend of house hunting in the Charm City.  Temperatures in the 100's and plenty of houses that don't have central air conditioning.  How the hell, in the 21st century can you have a house in the mid atlantic region without air conditioning? 

Anyhow, we are back in Ohio and its a busy week.  Stucco repair is finally under way.  the trim on the exterior is painted.  The packers arrive Thursday and the movers take it away on Friday.  Our first "showing" is Friday at 5PM when a couple who are dying to move into the neighborhood tour the house before it officially goes on the multi-list.

Then on Saturday, we start to primp the house so the realtor can pimp the house.   Now if we could only find a house on the other end.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I told you so: Ann Curry

Having lost a job last year - a job where I worked for the world's biggest prick - I hate seeing anyone pushed out of a job.

But Ann Curry on the Today show?  I called this a year ago.

I'm sure that Ann Curry is a wonderful person, in person.  But there has always been something about her that has made me feel like she was trying to hard to be genuine.  Maybe, its because she tried too damn hard to empathize with people who were going through "stuff" in the studio.

And then there the moments when she would over talk her Today show comrades.  It was constant.  She always had to be there with a quip, an answer or the insight.  She would cut Al off, Matt off and she would also cut Martha Stewart off.  And no one cuts off Martha, because like all prison bitches, she will cut ya.

When Curry went to Marion, Ohio a few years ago to cover a story, she made a huge positive impression on many people that I know and trust.

Still, I always felt like she was trying too damn hard.  And we know what happens when people try too hard, they often fail.

And this is what happened to Curry, and she cemented this for me today when she went on air and lost her professionalism and began apologizing.

No one in their right mind, wants to see anyone fail at their job.  But when you put the wrong person in the wrong job for the wrong reasons, this is what happens.   Its what happened to me in my former job. It's what happened to Curry.

And I also blame NBC for what happened to Curry, because this is what happened to Deborah Norvell, the last person to move from the news reader position to the co-host seat.  And they set her up to fail just as Curry was set up to fail.

To Ann, I say, put on your big girl panties, dry your eyes and thank your lucky stars that you have a contract with the network that they are bending over for on your behalf.   To Today, I ask that you NOT put that ding dong Savannah Guthery in Curry's place.  But thats what they appear to be heading towards.

Some people never learn.  Other's never learn to grab the brass ring when its offered.  And me?  I'll just sit wagging my finger and telling you, I told you so.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bummer: What would you miss most?

Cookie is bumming tonight.

Nora Ephron is dead and Cookie feels as if he has lost a beacon of sanity in this world, albeit in the make believe world of movies.   Still, this is a serious bumming.

In her last book, Ephron wrote a bit about the things she would miss most in life.  So, in her honor, I have been thinking, what would I miss:

1) The feeling of knowing that you are alive - Seems kinda self evident, but there is this amazing feeling that comes over me a couple times of day that where I see something, or hear something or I touch something and I marvel that "I can do this because I am alive, at this moment, in this place."

2) My husband - I am with the worlds greatest man. He's not a perfect man, mind you, but he's greatest.  Not many people get a month with a person like him - I've had fifteen years of everyday and it makes life joyful.

3) Ballreich's potato chips - Cookies loves me some Ruffles, but Ballreich's just seem to hit the spot - especially in winter when they remind of those sunny days in my high school years when the world was at peace around me.

4) My dogs.  Not that they are less important than potato chips, mind you.  I love me my dogs, Rocky and Kevin.

5) The smell of wet soil in spring, freshly cut grass in summer, and that smell of ozone that drifts in just before a rain shower.

6) A good pizza.

7) Laughing.

8) Downton Abbey.

So it is to you, dear reader - what would you miss most?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What this means

As of today we are fourteen days out from when our home hits the market, and stops being our home; the house officially becomes a commodity.

That meant that today, the carpenters were in to sister two rafter tails and patch them so they look nice and will pass inspection.

This means In that fourteen days, we will move 80% of our possessions into storage, paint three rooms, and then selectively stage all eight rooms to lure in buyers like a spider lures in their prey.

This means that tomorrow the electrician arrives to add two switches and one outlet. This means that stucco people should be here tomorrow to patch an area of cracked stucco.

This means that once said stucco is dried, I will need to climb a ladder and paint said patch. >This means staging two of the bedrooms to look like they are - ugh - children's bedrooms.

This means, I will travel 850 miles, round trip, for ONE DAY of house hunting.

This means we will throw away copious amounts of stuff that didn't qualify for the yard sale, and the stuff that got overlooked from the yard sale will go to Goodwill.

This means I hope to receive phone calls that give me at least a two hour window in which to neaten up.

This means I hope never to get the following call: "An agent with Coldwell Banker is parked outside your house with clients and would like to see your house now.  Is that possible?"  As of July 12, 2011 we will no longer have a home, we will just own a house.






Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bust A Moving Sale

Today was our impromptu moving sale and it started bright and early at 1AM when The Husband and I climbed into bed.

We spent last evening pricing all the piddly-assed little shit that we had no intention of moving, and pricing it all to MOVE at bargain prices that would have made Wal-Mart blush.   And thus we found the theme of our moving sale: BUST A MOVING SALE.

We have a system, that under normal conditions works really well.  We have a mess (a mess is ten or more) of purple RubberMaid tubs with lids.  As household goods are retired from daily use, they go into a tub with a price sticker on them.  When the tubs are full, its Yard Sale time.  You carry the tubs up, lay everything out on tables, have your sale, and then use the tubs to cart the left overs to the VOA or Goodwill.

This sale was different.  This sale was all about going through stored stuff, going through old boxes, looking on shelves and finding items that we really didn't want to move, at all.

Old knives, old records, books, books, books.  Doodads, pickle grabbers, books, books, books and more books.  Old VCR recorders, VCR tapes of G, PG and R rated movies.  And did I mention that we sold a boatload of books?

Anyhow, we were pricing things through 1AM, then we went to bed, then we were up at 6AM to get the signs out, get the dogs walked, get the tables up and the stuff set out to make it time for the 8AM shoppers who see a sign with an arrow and follow it even though the sale doesn't start until 9AM.

Since we never advertise our yard sales, we count on our signs on street corners.

And this is our gimmick:

'Go and look for bargains at greatly reduced prices, you filthy capitalist pigs.' 

We tell people to look for the "Tasteful Nude".

Stops traffic every time.

"If she were alive, she would be French," commented Pot Smoking Phil.  "She has that look of disdain of the bourgeois.  'Go and look for bargains at greatly reduced prices, you filthy capitalist pigs.'" We actually found her against a Campus area dumpster - someone's art project that failed to morph into masterpiece.   She'll make the move with us.

"That sure is some sign you got there," a toothless grit noted with combing through out books.  "Is it legal for you to show her 'dairies' in public?"

"Dairies?" Bob Wolf asked while thumbing through some architectural books we were selling, he face scrunched up like he smelled a skunk.

"Teats!  Titties!  Is that legal?" the grit wanted to know.

"Breasts," replied Bob Wolfe, "are allowable under Columbus law."  He was trying no to look at the man who had just called breasts "dairies" with booth revulsion and hysterics.

We sold everything save for about twenty non-book items, and four tubs of books.  So while the husband cleaned up the everything else, I took the tubs to a local Goodwill Store where hopefully, they can be sold and have the money do some good for someone.

 Total haul from out Bust-A-Moving Sale was $160.00.  Not a lot, but when you consider that 90% of the stuff was .25¢, and nothing was priced over $5 (and only four or five things were that high) we moved a lot of stuff on to better homes and out of our basement.

 At 4PM, I crashed and slept for an hour.

A nap well earned. So remember, next summer if you are in the Baltimore region and you see signs that say "Look For the Tasteful Nude" stop in and feel free to make our stuff, your stuff, and at greatly reduced prices.

 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Charm City Confidential: Good news!


What does this have to do with anything?  Nothing.  Made you look.

We have updates, and they are all good news!

1) We've fired the old man real estate agent that the relocation company found for us.  Why?  Because there wasn't, how shall we say, a Love Connection.  God love that man but he didn't understand us, and he couldn't think universally.  He kept bringing us the same old shitty houses but in different neighborhoods.  So, he's going away.

2) We've hired a queer real estate professional.  This guy gets us and we're geeked about the house hunt, now.

3) The husband has flown home for the weekend.  Now he can walk the dogs 16 times a day.

4) I reached down - deep down - managed to charm the moving company woman.  They start packing our most of stuff on July 5th, and will store said stuff (14,500 pounds of it) until we sell the house. This means...

5) The house can get staged, and listed by July 20th.  Between July 6th and July 20th I'm repainting the bedrooms, and the house addition.

6) This means we get to go house shopping for REAL!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A warning...



I found this over on Cubby's Blog and fell in love with it, because its so true.

The happiest aspect about myself in this past year of change has been learning to embrace my inner introvert self.

While I can be loud, brash and quick with a quip, I get exhausted thinking about dealing with large groups of people and upcoming events and trips.  Once I'm underway, I'm fine.  But after its over, I need my "me" time to be quiet and be "Cookielike"

So after years of wanting myself to be an extrovert, I am happiest being my introverted self.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Well here's a shocker!

So the lab reports came back from ER visit that the husband insisted that I go to on Saturday Night and it turns out that I didn't have Diverticulitis attack after all!

"How was your back two weeks ago?" Doctor Bill asked over the phone.

"It was OK except for one afternoon when it felt like someone sent 220 current through right lower back."

"On a scale of one to ten, how would you have described that pain?" he asked.

I asked him if he meant before or after I crumpled to the floor.

"During."

"It was like a million.  Hurt like nobodies business. I felt like I had plugged myself into an electrical socket."

That's when Doctor Bill told me on the phone that it was a KIDNEY STONE of all things!

A kidney stone? WTF?

He thinks that most of the diverticulitis attacks may have Kidney Stone attacks.  "When even a small stone lodges in the urethra as it nears the prostate, it can wreck all sorts of havoc.  And if your dick isn't working, your ass will go on strike too."

He told me that they found evidence of the stone in my urine.

"Be thankful it wasn't a 'spiny' stone, those hurt even worse," he gleefully told me.  "When you pee'd the last of that nasty thing out, which was probably Sunday night, you got better, real fast.  That's a Kidney stone attack."

So I'm to increase my iron intake, cut out my vitamin C intake, and I get to go to the urologist.  AND the next time it happens I'm to go to the ER immediatly.  "They take you right in with a Kidney Stone."  Weee!

Anyhow, to take a page from Peenee  , I'm throwing in a picture of a half naked guy - this time it's James West (aka Robert Conrad).



I know, he's only 4'11", but he's a magnificent beast.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Updates: Different types of moving experiences



Dispatches from the Cookie Household:

UPDATE 1: Cookie is happy to report that at 11AM yesterday, the antibiotics had done enough of their job to get the peristaltic function up and and working.  Pain decreased all day (that would be a reduction in inflamation) and by last night my appetite returned, with great abandon.  And as of 8am today, I am no longer full of shit ("thank you for sharing", right?)

UPDATE 2: Cookie's husband hauled his ass up out of bed at 4AM to catch a 6AM flight to Baltimore.  Today is the first day on the NEW job.


Peenee and Norma at work in the good old days



Whats coming up for Monday, June 18th? 

1. We hope to hear from the Miss Gorgon at the moving company about how they can help us.  However we're sure that it will be more like "This is our busiest time of year..."

2. We get find out who our real estate agent is in Columbus

3. We start pricing our stuff for our yard sale on Saturday - and - 

4. Cookie gets his belly thumped by hottie Doctor Bill.




Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cookie's condition

Well, it seems like everything is going great guns afire and then you get sidelined at the WORST possible moment.

Cookie has diverticulitis.  I have had it for about ten years and average about two attacks per year, even after following every diet guideline known to God and mankind.  And it is amazingly painful, as it is every time we have an attack. And as we do every time we have an attack we started ourselves on the stockpile of Cipro that Cookie's doctor makes possible. I'm scheduled to see him on Monday, so unless something really awful happens (peritonitis, etc., which I doubt) I'll just sit here wincing in pain.

It's a horrible disease.  It kills your appetite, stops the peristaltic function (ask your doctor) and makes you feel icky.  It even ruins your sleep cycle and gives you terribly odd dreams.

Like this one:


Last night I dreamed that the Kenwood Courier tried to bring me blankets.  Who is the Kenwood Courier?  It was an advertising device dreamt up by Madison Avenue.  Kenwood blankets were so luxurious that they were fit for Royalty, hence the fey young man in the velvet slippers and breeches.   I mean look at him.  I just want to smack him.

Anyhow my Aunt Nan used to think that the Kenwood Courier was just tits.  She'd see these ads and she would just think that she had died and gone to heaven that this little prince would deliver a blanket to anyone.  And she'd threaten me by saying that she'd get a costume like this and outfit me in it, and it was be so adorable.  

Anyway, the Courier came to me in my dreams last night and kept trying to give me a blanket.  It was so disturbing that I awoke at 3am and couldn't go back to sleep. 

So think of me, a MILLION things need done, and here I am in pain, haunted by the Kenwood Courier, the pussy.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Committee of the Center of the Street, TWARTED?



It is indeed a sad day on our street, and not because the Cookie's have given notice on our impending move.

The Committee of the Center of the Street was almost thwarted in its mission to gossip about everyone on the block and thus solve the problems of the world.  The villains are the two evil Les-boxes, Frigid and Frigita who moved in our neighborhood recently.

The Committee attempted to form last night upon the return of Helicopter Sandy who has been in Oklahoma with her aging parents.  Helicopter Sandy saw us on the front porch with the two Bob Wolf(e)'s and waved us over.

"So what's been happening for the past couple weeks?" she asked.

The husband told her how the two evil Les-boxes called the police on us for shoo'ing their overly friendly cat out of our yard, and Sandy, who is a retired helicopter cop was stunned.

"They did what?"

"They called the cops because they didn't want that mangy cat in their yard," said Bob Wolfe.

"It walked into our house and gave Mr. Peepers an almost heart attack!" said Bob Wolf.

Mr. Peepers is their older Newfoundland, a sweet beast who tips the scales at well over 90 pounds.

"Did the officer tell them to go pound sand?" asked Helicopter Sandy.

"Pretty much," confirmed my husband, who loves everyone, but not the evil Les-boxes.

"That cat, craps in my yard."  We looked at the overgrown grass in her yard.

Just then we heard a door close and we all spun around to see Frigid and Frigida on their front porch, then coming down their stairs and heading for us like Hitler headed into Poland.

"Is there something that the neighborhood needs to know?" asked Frigida, the more malevolent of the two wanted to know.

"No, there's nothing going on, why?" asked Sandy.  Poor Sandy, she did not know what kind of Hellish buzzsaw she was about to walk into.

Frigid, who is Norweigan, and has all the charm of an ice cube, spoke: "Well, you are standing in front of our house, and people are talking and periodically look at our house, which in a non-verbal sense indicates that you are talking about us.  And we don't appreciate being watched, and we don't appreciate the non-supportive community around us."

The Bob Wolf(e)'s were ill at ease, and their fists clenching.  A couple weeks ago Frigid, in her off putting manner, had taken the two to task for grilling outside because the "fumes from your charcoal fire pollute the air and they make Torsten's asthma activate. That causes Torsten the pain.  You would be more healthy if you took up a raw vegetable diet."  

"We aren't in front," said Bob Wolf.

"Of your house," finished Bob Wolfe.

Sandy - never for want of words -  responded to Frigid by saying "Who are you?"

In fact, the two are known as the "two anti-social women" on our street.  Neighbor's have tried in vain to invite them to their homes for dinner or drinks when they first moved here, but the extension of the hand of friendship was slapped away.   Then, about a year ago, the two began to become pains in our sides.  Frigida is brittle and prone to perseveration.  Frigid, is the more quiet, less hysterical, puppet master type.  Frigida also speaks in an unsettling accent - a monotone that is a disconnect from her beautiful, but facial features.

Frigid and Frigida introduced themselves and their son Torsten, a turkey baster baby who the husband and think is going to have some expensive therapy in his adult years.  He is at once the Golden Child of the neighborhood, and the bane of our existence.

"Now if there is nothing of importance, then you should disband," commanded Frigida.

The five of us looked stunned.

"Well, what are these looks for," she said as a comment, not a question.  "If there is nothing of importance, then you disband.  Scatter to your houses."  She made a shoo'ing gesture, much like I had tried to shoo their cat.  "This is a public street and you impede the traffic when you stand out here and tell tales."

We started to talk again, about ourselves and the two women, and Torsten, didn't budge.

"We are not leaving to our own house until this party disbands," stated Frigida, her voice beginning to escalate as she dug in her heels.

One of the lessons in life that I have learned is that you can't deal rationally with irrational minds.  So we ended the meeting of the Committee of the Middle of the Street and then promptly called a meeting of the Sub-Committee of the Cookie's Front Porch, where beer and cheese doodles would be served.

Another of the key lessons in life is that you have to know how to pick your battles.  And moving our little get together wasn't so much of a retreat as it was different approach.  In the middle of the street, they can be a nuisance.  If they dare mount our front stairs, then its called trespassing, and I'll call the police on the Quisling's.

So while we enjoyed ourselves with our neighbors, Torsten was fed a tit from one of his Mom's while the other glowered at us.

We won't miss Frigid and Frigda.  But we most certainly will talk about them.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Charm City Confidential: Two Tons of Fun.

It really is a viscous cycle.


The number one question on the minds of the Realtor's and our friends has been: "When are you moving?"

I wish we knew.

Today I hosted Florence, the moving company estimator.  It is Florence's job to look at everything we own and decide how much crap we have and how we move it to Baltimore.  She doesn't work for our moving company, but works for the Columbus affiliate.

She arrived on time and over the yaps of small dog's introduced herself as "Flahnce".  I thought her teeth slipped, but she assured me that while it's spelled FLORENCE, it's always been pronounced as "Flah-nce".

Our house is a hair over 1,400 square feet and I have owned it since 1992 and its jam packed with stuff, quite literally.

After an hour of walking, talking and pointing what we need to keep, and what we need to store, Flahnce announced that that we would be moving a staggering 10 tons of stuff to the new house.  Twelve if we owned the Weather Girls CD "Two Tons of Fun", which she said was a little moving industry humor (SNORT!)

"Did I hear you right?  Are you saying we have 20,000 pounds of stuff?" I asked.

"When you bring it in it comes in piece by piece.  You have no way of knowing how much your stuff weighs until something like this happens.  And think about this - your mattress came into the house weighing it's production weight, but I can guarantee you that its leaving at least 25 lbs. heavier in dust mites and dead skin cells."

Ewwww!

"And look at me!  I used to me a 98 lbs. chick on the dance floor of the disco in the 1970s.  Now double the weight and I didn't pack it on in one night.  It's a spoon full of sugar here, a taco there and over 30 years it all adds up."

There was a consolation prize, though.

"You're getting, with your Oldsmobile," which is shipping in the van, using a '53 foot trailer, so you stuff gets it's own 18-wheeler!  That makes the actual move simpler because we don't piggyback with anyone else."

And the cherry on top was "If you were just doing this yourself there would be moving companies tripping over themselves to get this gravy train.  A 10 ton move is so much easier than a seven ton move."  Easier for her to say than it was for me to comprehend.

Then she dropped the question that we all dread: "Now, when are you moving?"

Honestly, everyone wants to know this but I have no idea.   The answer is complicated, but its all predicated on the moving company, which is the piece of this puzzle that refuses to cooperate.

In order to move the following HAS to happen:

1. Moving company comes in and spends two days packing and moving 75% our of stuff out of here.

2. Painting of two upstairs bedrooms happens.  Then the bedrooms are "staged" and the house gets listed.

3. Once the house is listed on the MLS, THEN and ONLY THEN, we start looking for a new home in Baltimore.

4. The house offer in Baltimore is predicated on the house in Columbus going into contract - OR - getting a bridge loan.

5. Once the house in Columbus sells, THEN we finalize the move to Baltimore.

But without that bitch in Chicago cooperating in scheduling the move the packing of our stuff for local storage so we can get the house listed, then we can't do anything.

SO the moving thing really has become a Chicken and Egg kinda thing.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Dispatchs: We've been pre-approved...

...for a mortgage in Maryland with a jaw dropping amount.  We're stunned.

Being frugal, however, we're not shopping anywhere near that amount.

Towson and Owings Mills have taking the lead, Catonsville is falling back.

Found one house that we liked, but it had a scummy in ground pool that we'd like to back fill.

More house hunting to come.

No word from the movers.

It's always sunny in Paradise, as they say!

Cookie

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Charm City Confidential: Snatch This Pebble From My Hands



OK, so we are now working with the "relocation firm" that is managing our move.  It's their job to control the cost of our move and make sure we get settled in our new house - when we buy it - in Charm City.

Within the first twenty-four hours after our contact with the relocation company, the listing agents, buyer's brokers and moving companies were all supposed to be in contact with us.

We're in process of interviewing Realtor's who are bidding to sell our house, and its going as smoothly as possible.  So that gets a big check off.

The Realtor in Baltimore is sending us possible houses to consider, and we'll be meeting with him shortly.  He knows that we won't bid on a house there until the house here gets listed.  So that's been taken care of.  Check.

And there's the catch.

The catch is that moving company (Blackhawk) representative is a total cunt.

See, we can't list the house here until we clean out about sixty percent of the junk here.  That includes, for the most part, books, files, off season clothing, family stuff and extra furniture that isn't needed to stage a house for good quick sale.  So we need to - and out of our pocket we understand - have the movers come in, pack up the extra, and poke it into their storage facility.  They have to pack it because they insure the contents of what they pack.

So guess who the last possible person is to contact us?

We'll call her "Lila", and Lila is a total cunt.

"I understand that you want to get this done on your schedule, but this is our busiest time of the year..." Lila informs me right out of the gate.

And then that when Lila starts playing the game of "Snatch This Pebble From My Hand".

She suggests that we pack up our own stuff and store it ourselves.  I ask if we can do that, and Lila responds that we can, BUT, "Our Columbus affiliate won't move the boxes to your selected storage facility because they didn't pack them."

What about having them pack them and store them at their Columbus storage facility?  "They could do that but its awfully expensive."


Go ahead, just try to....

SNATCH THIS PEBBLE FROM MY HAND!

How expensive?  "I don't know because the representative has to come out and estimate the gross weight of the move."

Then how can you tell me how expensive this is if you have no idea? "Well, this is a our busiest time of the year."  WTF?

So I ask Lila what the packing is and she says, "I don't know, you'll have to speak with the local Representative, but, "he's very busy right now with other families, so its important to get your move scheduled now to make sure we can get you items to Baltimore in time to move into your new house."

I explain that we haven't bought a house, so we aren't in a hurry to make a move.  "Well, it is our busiest time of year..."

Lila is a cunt.

I understand that contracts with relocation firms are less lucrative than families who just decide that they are going to up and move, and then pay retail, PLUS.  But for Christ sake, do your fucking job and stop the BS.

So I ask Lila when I can expect to hear from the local company's Representative.

"I would guess in 24-48 hours," says she.

So I should hear from him on Monday, correct?

"No, I wouldn't expect to hear from him until Wednesday at the earliest," says the Oracle.

True, Wednesday was 48 BUSINESS hours away, but why not say: "Four Business Days"?

Again: SNATCH THIS PEBBLE FROM MY HAND.

I'm willing to cut anyone some slack, but she is just making me feel that she is bothered by me.   And since we HAVE to use Blackhawk, the relocation company has to manage this for us.

But I never cared for Kung Fu - it was just too above me when I was a kid.  So these types of mind games don't mean jack shot to me, other than they piss me off.

Still, Lila is more like Kunt Fu.  No, make that a passive aggressive Kunt Fu at that.




Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Charm City Confidential: If it comes with the couch, we'll pass

So I've been in touch with the Realtor in Charm City who the relocation people hooked us up with and he seems like a nice enough guy.  We talked about what we liked (two story, story-and a half) in a house and what we refused to go into (bi-levels and splits), and what we might consider (ranch) IF the place was amazing.

Bi-level houses are a mystery to us, especially when they are placed on flat lots.   They look like the house is sinking, and then there is the lonely front door that belongs to neither the first or second floor.

"Some people love them," sayeth the Realtor.  "What if I find a great one, why not just look at it?"

"Trust me, neither of us are bi-level curious," we respond.

We also aren't impressed by "tray ceilings" or tons of granite counter tops.  Nor do we need a master bath so large it could swallow a chaise lounge.  We also frown upon clothes closets that are accessible only through the bathroom.  What goes on in the bathroom needs to exit through the plumbing, or the fan. It doesn't need to lurk in our closets, too.  Vaulted ceiling great rooms.  That isn't going to make us swoon, either.

Of the first batch of houses he passes our way, five of the ten are contenders, three of the houses could work IF we can get the price down - in one case way, way, down, and in two of the houses we see nightmares. One is too large, and the other is just awful.  Actually, to quote Dorothy Parker, its just not plain awful, it's fancy awful.  Awful with raisins in it awful.

But the house that is too big?  Well, lets go back to that, because it had one feature that amazed us in the over-sized family room:


The worlds longest sofa.

The wagon wheel above the fireplace is something, as if the shelf way up yon.  But the King Family sized sofa takes the cake.

The husband was appalled.  "What the hell is that?"  After the shock wore off he said it reminded him of an object in a Dali painting.

"Dali never worked in plaids," I said.

"No, how it goes on forever... into the vanishing point," said he.  "I've heard of couch potatoes, but never a couch potato field."

While we haven't set our first trip to Charm City to officially shop for a house at the moment, if this house is still for sale in early July, we'll go look at it.

Says my six foot three husband: "I just want to stretch out on that couch."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What happens next...

When I was a kid in Shaker Heights, one of the hazards of making friends was that you could lose your friend if their father was "being transferred" by his employer to another city.   Its something that we all experienced because many of our friends were the children of executives with Eaton Corporation, TRW, Diamond Shamrock, Ford, General Motors, the Federal Reserve, Sohio (BP), NASA or "the rubbers" - Goodyear, Goodrich, Firestone, et. al.  Even the kids whose fathers were partners in enormous law firms with offices in major cities could get called up.

Those of us with fathers who were attorney's, business owners, doctors and the like were always left behind; the promise of having something exotic happening to us - like being whisked off to Atlanta, Luxembourg or Brazil because Coca Cola, IBM or Diplomatic Corps needed "father" to head up the "new office" - never was bestowed upon us.  No fresh new beginnings.  We were trapped, spending our youths outside of Cleveland and that meant doing hard time in Shaker Heights without the chance of a parole to someplace better.

Now, we are the family that is moving with a transfer, and frankly it is as exciting as it is ominous.

First the bad news: the company is refusing to buy our house because husband is a level "three" and not a level "four" employee.  This means we have to sell it all ourselves.  It also means we could end up with a bridge loan if we find our new house before we sell this one.

The good news is the move is being handled by a relocation company.   They coordinate everything.  They pack everything.  But we can't act on anything until "they" call us.  Still, they will do it all, and they will ship the Oldsmobile AND they will help me find a new job.

So we wait.  And that is killing us, at the moment, because we are full of exhaustive nervous energy - like small children who have been up too long.

So what happens next? We'll see...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Lizzie Borden Took An Axe...But not on that settee


On a hot August day, after being fed hot and cold mutton for three meals a day, three days in a row, a terrible thing happened at the Borden family home in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Someone killed Abbie Borden, and her husband Andrew.  And they just didn't kill them.  Whoever killed the miserly Andrew Borden and his corpulent wife did a real number on them.   Andrew Borden's daughter, Lizzie - not Elizabeth, just Lizzie - was the chief suspect for the crimes.


Victoria Lincoln, author of A Private Disgrace: Lizzie Borden By Daylight, has written what is generally considered one of the best accounts of the events leading up to the murders - and it was the WASP event of the era.  Lincoln, a Fall River native, knew many people and families involved in the whole affair, save Andrew and Abbie Borden.  And it is Lincoln who surmised that it was the steady diet of fetid mutton and rotting pears from the back yard of the Borden house (fertilized with the contents of the families slop pails) that lead to the murders.

The Borden's dysfunction had gotten to the point where Lizzie was suspected of stealing from her father's bedroom.  To shame her, and a send a message, Andrew and Abbie Borden took to locking their bedroom doors, but left the key on the mantle, as no run of the mill burglar would search the house for a key.  This story the tour guide told us.

But what the guide failed to tell us was at the same time, in an act tantamount to firing a shot across the bow of HRMS Borden, his daughters, whose bedrooms were accessed together through the same main door, locked that door and placed the key on the mantle as well, as if to tell their father and stepmother that "we suspect you could have been the burglar as well and perhaps you are the ones who are suspect."  Oh, what a cathartic release that must have been.

Things were brewing in the Borden house, and people were bound to snap.

Abbie met her end in an upstairs bedroom.  Several hours later, Andrew Borden arrived home, took the key to his rooms on the second floor of the home on Second Street, came down stairs and laid down on the sitting room settee for a quick nap.

Then someone hacked his skull to bits with a hatchet much in the same manner as his second wife Abbie met her end. 


So my "On this spot" shows the location of Andrew Borden's murder, it does not show the actual settee.  So George W. Tush was almost correct, but not quite.

How so?

While they may have resented their father's miserly ways, the Borden daughters were still their father's daughters.  So after Lizzie was found not guilty of the crimes, she bought a new house for sister Emma and herself, and moved ALL of the furniture from the house on Second Street to their new home, "Maplecroft", including the infamous settee where daddy lost his head.

The sisters had the settee reupholstered and continued to use it until 1) Emma moved out after having it up to her chin with Lizzie and her antics, and 2) Lizzie died in the early 1920s.  At some point, the settee was placed in a storage warehouse, and was lost a couple of years later with most of Lizzie Andrew Borden's other possessions.

So while the spot is where Andrew met a violent end, the settee is just a reproduction.

If you are interested in another take on the Borden murder, well written, in a shorter format than Lincoln's book, then I recommend the chapter from Florence King's book, WASP Where Is Thy Sting entitled, "The Ties That Bind."


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Ladies Who Do

We interrupt the excitement of our exciting news to bring you a film, "Ladies Who Do".


This is one of may favorite British Comedies of the 1960s. Not laugh out loud funny, but funny in a sweet daffy kinda of way.  If you loved Make Mine Mink, then you will love "Ladies Who Do."

Saturday, June 2, 2012