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What To Do?

I got the runners I’d intended to use for the stairs, yesterday. The pieces visible thru the clear plastic they were shipped in didn’t resemble what I thought I’d ordered. Looked like stripes instead of checks. I opened one.

The jute in at least one place was dark and unattractive, but the piece was sound, and striped. DH and I talked about it. It was cheap. What to do? We decided to return it. If the image had resembled what’s here, I never would have ordered it. I cannot imagine using striped anything on a staircase, good way to set yourself up to fall. I do NOT want an optical illusion on my staircase or anything which might confuse us about where the edges are.

During the talk with their customer service person I said it wasn’t defective, it isn’t, it’s whole and sound. Looks like hell, but it’s sound. They wanted $33+ (on a $60 order) to return the 3 pieces. I arranged, finally, to pay to ship the things back to them, without them charging me 1/2 of the cost in a shipping charge. (Shipping had been free.)

So, after all of this, I am feeling rather like I’ve just been ripped off. The image, although it’s the right colors and materials and says it’s the right line, only vaguely looks like what arrived. Because of the conversation about the  insane shipping return fee, I went looking for reviews.

What has happened to me has happened to others. Apparently, they are a thinly veiled bait & switch company. They buy up goods from other companies, sell the best stuff, and the worst they don’t change the image, and make it difficult/impossible to return.

When I got up this  morning, I had all but resolved not to return the stuff, as I can probably get about 1/3- 1/2 of my $ back selling them thru the booth. But I have since decided against that too. Even if they charge me for the package I opened with the dark jute (arrived that way, as I said, I had the package open < 1 hour before I asked for a return authorization), it’s $20. If they try to charge me for the 2 packages I never opened? The easy answer for that is to take pictures, lots of pictures, before I ship the return, today.

Is it worth it? At this point, the way I feel is that either:1) they’re a legit company and they’ll do it right or 2)they’re creeps and even if I only get $20 back, I do, and it will cost them more to process it and deal with me and 3)Whether I get all my $ back or none of it, I will tell my friends, however it works out. I know how retail and mail order work and are supposed to work. I ran a mail order business for 10 years. I will make noise, a lot of it, file a complaint with the BBB, etc.

They sent me a customer service survey right after I talked to whoever to get the authorization. I won’t fill it out until I find out what they’re going to do.

First time I’ve really regretted closing my FB account. Having 500 “friends” online to post about this might just have guaranteed my getting all the $ back.

We’ll see. Continue reading


Stuff & Minimalism

If you can have a “capsule” wardrobe, stripped down to only the most basic items, can  you do the same for your home?

Why not?

The first answer which popped into my head was that you do more in your home than you do in a given piece of clothing, functionally anyway. Clothes you wear — that’s it. A home you sleep, read, eat, prepare food, garden, play, etc. If you take only 10 pieces of clothing (excluding underwear and outerwear) as your “limit” or 20 if you have winter like we do, then why not 10 items per verb in the list I just made?

So what do you need, minimum to sleep? (static: bed)  changing pieces: sheets (2) pillow, pillow case and blanket. Absolute minimum = 5 for one person, 1 pillow, for 2 people and two pillows, add 2 or 7. With real seasons, double it = 14

What do you need, minimum to read? A book or tablet, ideally, you don’t have to own any of these you can rent them or take them out of the library.

What do you need, minimum to eat? Food and utensils, as needed. If you think about it, you don’t need anything to eat a banana, but eating stew without utensils would be difficult! So, the answer for this one is that “it varies.” Not very successful in terms of trying to be minimalist.

I’m going to mull this notion over a bit.

I’m helping someone learn English. In doing so, I’ve been trying to find the language “short cuts” first. There aren’t many things in English which are always true, but some are. This is a working adult person, not a kid.

The living and stuff thing needs a similar approach. What are the things which are always true, that you always need? Do that FIRST.

We’ll see how it works out with stuff, here.

It seems to me that a beginning can be made by using Maslow’s heirarchy of needs, again. This:


The bottom layer is what your home is about.

Food/eating, water/drinking, warmth and rest are at least some of those basics, so is security and safety. When you add the psychological needs things get more complex.

So, I’m going to make some assumptions:

  1. I’m only talking about STUFF here.
  2. That emotional reactions to STUFF aren’t part of the equation.
  3. The security here is physical security only.

Given those parameters, I’m off to write some notes and thoughts.




Why It’s So Hard

Nov 21, 2016: I wrote this about a year ago. I don’t remember what prompted it. I don’t remember what it was about at all. But I’ve had conversations lately about PTSD. And I keep running into the idea from others with it, that because I cope pretty well I don’t have complex PTSD, or I have a mild case. In both instances my response is: NOT! But I don’t show this stuff or talk about it much, or haven’t in the past. So, the post below is about my PTSD and what I do you may or may not know. This isn’t the more obvious bits like avoiding the news or even the struggle with the house. This is the part that made me scared I was crazy for many,many years.

Just so you know, my “whining” about how hard dealing with all and sundry includes things you probably don’t know about or see.

I’m not going to talk about the pain that goes with PTSD, because that at least I mostly have under control, but it lurks around the corner all the time. It may not be front and center any more, but it’s there.

Almost always when I look off a bridge, cliff, or such, I think about jumping, for an instant. At least once a day, EVERY day, something about suicide floats through my mind. I’d love dearly for it not to be so, but it is.

Also, at least once daily, for an instant I think about something like screaming, smashing my car into a wall, pounding my head into a bloody pulp somewhere, like concrete.

None of this do I do, or hardly ever since I was in my 20s. But this occurs, day in and day out. When folks tell me to get over it, give it to God, or just think about something else, they’re thinking about the big stuff, the PTSD the abuse, etc. because that makes sense to them. But these things flit in and out of my head. Every. Single. Day. If you know a way to make it stop, I’d love to hear it! Especially if  it isn’t an addiction to a set of beliefs, drugs or behaviors. I’ve never found anything that works.

I ignore it, every day. Maybe Shrink-1 was right and I am borderline schizophrenic. I don’t know. I just know this takes effort and energy and you almost certainly never see this.

But it’s there. Do you know what it’s like to be really scared of yourself? Probably not. Aren’t you lucky?

Don’t give me your pat answers. Don’t tell me how “easy” it is with the right attitude. I fight battles and monsters every day you probably don’t know, don’t see, and can’t comprehend. I repeat: Aren’t you lucky?

The Week. . .

I’ve had weeks from hell before. I had a week where I was hosting 7 authors and 20 attendees for a writer’s “workshop” at the store. Had a car crash about 4 days before this event I’d spent 3 weeks frantically planning. My car was totalled and my ankle sprained. I got the last of the chores done with my desk chair zooming around the store.

Had the event. It was a success. Great. Three days (two?) later, a challenged person, with a minder comes in my store and wants books like Robert Jordan’s, but not his. Took quite some time, finally found him some books — then the guy has an epiletic seizure and collapses. His minder dealt with most of it, but not the vomit soaked paper towels. The bag of those I put in the dumpster, to be yelled at by the guy who owned the dumpster and threatened to have my shop removed from the center.

That was pretty bad.

I had a few times when I caught my current guy with someone else — always in April. Why was it always in April? That happened like 3 years in a row, 3 different men — all before DH.

This week hasn’t been that bad, but it hasn’t been easy.

Osteo arthitis.

Dead Fridge.

Scratched Cornea.

I have a dentist appointment tomorrow. I’m afraid. I’m very afraid! But I guess I have to go anyway.



Weird Day

  • We bought some necessary (and expensive) things, about 1/2 off, thru promo gift cards and a sale today.
  • We were invited to a party I wanted to go to, in the not-quite local big city today — but the invite was emailed yesterday — and we had made plans to do this and that necessary chore, so we didn’t go.
  • A good friend of mine is in a lot of pain. I didn’t find out about it until late tonight, because we were gone most of the day.
  • One of my favorite people associated with the gallery we’re involved with died today.
  • A pic of my friend/previous employer (who I haven’t seen in about 4 years) was on FB today.
  • The feral cat who was climbing in our laps two days ago today decided we are evil and to be run away from (although our food is mostly still okay).
  • Someone posted a list of passive aggressive phrases, like, “No worries,” which I use all the time, trying to be polite.

The world is just weird today.Weird in that things are not what it seems they should be. We did better than I’d expected on the items we bought. I’d concluded the party wasn’t going to happpen (or we hadn’t been invited) when I didn’t hear anything a week or two ago, etc.

Just weird.


There’s a line

“…my life is changing so fast now. . . .”

There will be a 2nd book. I think I’ve finished the emotional work so the memoir can be done. The new cleaning thing works, but isn’t fool proof (or at least not yet). Our cat (our kid) is probably dying. My family supported me in a completely unexpected way. I found out the abuser’s daughter had died.

Almost all of that has happened in the past month. I am reeling.

I feel as if I had gone through/am going through the aftermath of a major bomb attack — where the dust just hangs in the air for a long time.

Numb, disbelieving, with a wait and see attitude — that’s where I am right now. Which makes sense, at least to me. The pain thing that stopped what two weeks ago? has been a part of my life for over 50 years. Its removal isn’t just BIG but shakes the very foundations.

As I said, it will take a while for the dust to settle.


Old Housekeeping and new washcloths?

I have a lot of old housewifery books. One unexpected benefit of the major cleanup and move around we’re doing is that I’ve found one or two of them. This includes Economies of the Household – Andrews, Macmillan, 1929 which is full of interesting data.

Food at one point was 32-62% of a family’s budget? Even 50% appears to be average in this book, and this is only 84 years ago!

The same questions of economy we face today are discussed: How much money is spent on food, shelter, clothing, etc.? What’s the best way to reduce the expenditures and/or use money most effectively?

Unlike modern frugal living books, this book and others like it discuss the time savings vs money spent on “new-fangled” modernizations: electricity, vacuum cleaners, commercially produced foodstuffs, clothing, and domestic help. There are a lot of things that are now not in question in most parts of this country, but the fundamentals still apply to things like convection ovens, sub-zero refrigerators, and even washcloths.

The book talks about the monetary value of home making, and like all books of its type in this era also talks about the woman’s role as the provider of comfort, being the moral leader of the family, as well as the manager of the home. Having grown up during the feminist era and the modern economic need for women to work, and then choosing to not be in the work force, I have opinions about these ideas.

  1. The idea of a woman as the only or main moral compass in a family is WRONG and was used to get her to keep being the overworked, underpaid, and under  appreciated soul she was. I have no problem with a woman being a part of the moral compass but I don’t buy the attitude that “men are beastial” that accompanies this. I think ALL people are potentially beastial or moral and decide how to act. Except insanity or illness, which I hold as being out of your control, I think in most cases you choose and are responsible for your choices.
  2. Equally, I don’t think it is only the woman’s job to run the house, do the errands, make the foodstuffs and the man’s to provide the money. There’s no difference between then and now, despite feminism, woman in the workforce are usually paid less than their male counterparts. If there truly was equal pay for equal work, then I think you’d see more house husbands, although I do know a few!

Finally, I find the budgetary percentages in the book fascinating. There’s the food budget mentioned above, but another complete “ideal” budget (from 1900): food 25%, rent/housing 20%, clothing 15%, household operation 15%, and higher life (life insurance, church tithe, donations to charity, etc) 25%.
But that was the ideal and as far as I can tell from reading the book with food being so high, I wonder if it was possible?

There’s the “American minimum budget”:

43.1% food, 17.7% shelter, 13.2% clothing, fuel/light 5.6%, sundries 20.4%

I was surprised that food was so high as I said, but equally surprised that housing was so low. My overall response to this is that the people who sell you  necessities will find a way to get as much of your money as they can, as will anyone I suppose? If one category is lessened,  it seems someone else will find a way to get that piece of your available income.

There’s a discussion about “trickle down” economics, why it does or doesn’t work. I had no idea the concept was so old. Also, it talks about the rich being patterns of style emulated by others in the culture.

I don’t know if that’s true in my home? I keep wanting to drop out. We don’t have a television, amongst other things many think are “necesities.” I have no problem having “old tech,” although some of the new stuff is pretty nice. I really prefer to buy durable goods used rather than new and see that as one way to keep my dollars at home. Another way is to buy in bulk or wholesale, when appropriate.

We need washcloths, for example. Macy’s is having a sale, my towels were bought years ago at Macy’s, well the first batch was. The second batch came from a thrift shop, with the labels cut off.  Anyway, we need washcloths. Macy’s are $7.99 each. Well, that’s too much for me, whether it will match my towels or not. So I looked for DIY washcloths and terry by the yard at Joann’s. Terry by the yard is $9.99 a yard. So how big are washcloths? What could I get for approx $10 in fabric as opposed to $8 each??? The Macy’s washcloths are 12 x 13. Okay, so you use 1′ square instead of the screwy measure and add 1/4″ all around, you’d get at least 4 washcloths from the fabric, but you have to make them.

Is there a wholesaler with a better deal? Aha, there is! The cloths are only available in white, but who cares? I can buy 12 cloths for $2.95 ea (plus postage) or 50 for $29.95 (plus postage). The cheapest ones are seconds, but the others are not. I can get 6 cloths for about $17, roughly the cost of 2 at Macy’s. This doesn’t include postage, but the Macy’s price doesn’t include driving to Macy’s either!

So, the cheapest to most expensive way to get these (and the downsides of each) are:

50 wholesale cloths, factory seconds, ($29.95+ postage+ waste from unusable cloths)

1′ fabric from Joann’s ($10, have to make the washcloths) yields  4 (or more) + waste+gas to get to store

$2.95 each plus postage (white only, not factory seconds) amount not set

$7.99 each plus gas to get to Macy’s

Seems like an obvious choice to me! A deal breaker might be if the shipping fee is insane.

Cheapest yet might be to get some used towels at a thrift shop or rummage sale and cut them down, but again there’s gas and you have to do the work.

That’s true even if I decide to cut up towels I already own, no gas, no expense, except my time. I have old towels, but we use them, regularly, to wash the car and for the cat’s bedding. I have enough for a week, and that’s it.

It’s nice now and then to do this type of figuring, but it just makes me see that the same basic economic problem still exists: not enough money, too much to do, storage & quality need to be considered as well.