Those drawers full of jewelry

I remember her two bedroom, one bathroom apartment. Looking back I am horrified that she lived there. Old linoleum and cabinets, even older carpeting, and I will not even start on the yellow bathtub and red carpeting in the bathroom — who puts carpeting in a bathroom, let alone a rental apartment? She lived there for at least ten years if not longer. All of her furniture was given to her by family over the years, and she cherished every piece she owned. Right down to the costume jewelry she owned.

I can remember sitting at her dressing table (that was used as a desk and was never used as a dressing table). There were three drawers on each side, and a narrow, long drawer in the middle. She kept each necklace and bracelet and pair of earrings in their own separate box. You know, the kind that you purchased the jewelry in. She kept the cotton filler intact, and stored each piece in that box, which often told you where the purchase was made. I would often adventure to the table and want to try each piece on and play with alternating the fake pearls with the gaudy earrings. She did not have her ears pierced, they were all clip on earrings (and I thought they hurt horribly) but put them on anyways.

It was not that she hated my trying it all on, I think she just wanted to keep everything in its proper place and well I was a fast little one and she could not keep up. I sensed her hesitation and I also always felt like I should not even ask to try it on. It was all fake costume jewelry so what was her hesitation? Today, I am not a fan of costume jewelry. I prefer the one-of-a-kind version, where almost no one has that piece that I do. Maybe the few times I played with her costume jewelry got the desire for it out of my system.

Over the weekend, I finished reading: “What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir” by Abigail Thomas. A memoir where the author is aging and she talks about her husbands, growing old, her kids, and grandkids. This portion made me think of my grandma, her apartment, costume jewelry, and how different she lived than I do today.

“Somehow it is more interesting to find something beat-up and handled than to get it new. My bureau drawers are stuffed with god knows what, and my daughters always go through them when they are here. It is a compulsion. My theory is that they are looking for the secret, the answer, the explanation for everything.” Page 72

Did those drawers hold any secrets or answers? Did I wonder if I would ever have such drawers and if I would allow my grandkids to unearth the treasures to see what they might hold in their eyes of wonder? Maybe.

Has service died?

Frustrated. I work in a job that is one of service to others. I highly respect those companies and individuals that believe in service, and I get highly disappointed by those that do not honor service. I was raised in a way that living by principle matters. I take a strong stand for that principle. That means I might have a harder time letting a situation go if I feel that someone is taken advantage of or being mistreated.

My situation: I purchased a pair of eyeglasses at the outlet location of a local eyeglass store: Reynolds Optical. It is a great deal, a pair of frames and lenses for $150. Due to my crazy blind prescription, I always have to pay $100 to make the lens thinner. $250 is still a great deal. I think they can give these prices because the frames themselves are floor models from other locations. Fine with me – they can be cleaned, and I always check them for nicks or scratches. I was to receive them in two weeks. Two weeks go by and no phone call that they have arrived. We call, and find out they are there waiting. We pick them up and bring them home. The lenses are massive. I have never purchased a pair with such thick lenses.

I immediately think that they did not make them extra thin, and I paid an extra $100 for that. We take them back an hour later, and the guy says oh, I will send them back and they can put new lenses in. We later find out he is the owner’s kid. The guy agreed with us that they should be thinner. We wait 2 weeks, again no phone calls, we finally learn after multiple phone calls that the glasses are waiting. Bring them home and compare and again they look the same as the first round.

Chris takes them back and meets the owner. He tells Chris that the frames that were selected are not good for my prescription and they should never have been sent back. Chris lets him know that the guy never told us that, and that he is the one suggested that we send them back to be fixed. The owner says we do not do refunds, but I want your wife to be happy, and to have me come back in a pick new frames. We do. Same guy is working and he says yes I think that those frames will work. This time it should only take a week to fix. I receive a phone call a few days later that they are almost done and I owe them money. I lose it on the phone with her, telling her what a horrible experience it has been and I am not paying more money. If more money was needed it should have been agreed upon before work was ever done. I immediately call Chris and he calls the owner.

Owner and Chris get into yelling match on the phone. This is odd. Chris is patient, composed, and never yells. Does that tell you what a horrible man the owner is? Owner does not give in and unless I pay more money I will not have any pair of glasses at all. I am beyond angry. Remember, I am all about principle. How are these people even allowed to still be in business? We decide to pay the extra money and pick up the glasses knowing that we can be done with the situation, never go back there again, and share our experience online to protect others from being duped. Maybe the experience has tainted my brain, but I actually think the prescription in this new pair is not right. I’m wearing old glasses again until I can have my normal eye doctor look at them.

I then decide to read reviews on Reynolds online. There are quite a few of them. Merchant Circle, and City Search for a start. Here’s a recap and reasons why this was horrible service in more ways than one — plus I still do not know if I can wear the glasses:

  1. Poor or lack of returned phone calls through the entire ordeal.
  2. No service or help in the glasses selection process.
  3. Clueless about how lenses should show up in frames. Son should never work in optical shop.
  4. Owner gets involved, lies.
  5. Owner yells at customer, demands more money after work was done.
  6. Reynolds loses customer for good.

Just get ‘er done

I am a get-shit-done-now kind of woman. I blogged recently about how it is hard for me to sometimes be artistic and creative (which I love doing) if there is not order in my home and my mind. I have to clear out the clutter, organize, and make space for new ideas to grow and flourish. In the coming weeks, Chris and I have a list of home projects and tasks to embark on. One is to make space in a few closets and find ways to build shelves within the closets to truly maximize the space. Not the most fun project in the world, but I have a hunch that as we do it, and we truly go through the items stacked away we will find that purging and organizing will be therapeutic.

Which is why I loved this idea from a recent Daily Om:

“Most of us have had the experience of tackling some dreaded task only to come out the other side feeling invigorated, filled with a new sense of confidence and strength. The funny thing is, most of the time when we do them, we come out on the other side changed and often wondering what we were so worried about or why it took us so long. We may even begin to look for other tasks we’ve been avoiding so that we can feel that same heady mix of excitement and completion.”

Not that cleaning out a closet is a daunting task, my point is more that sometimes when we talk about something we need to just shut up and do it. And, stop talking about it! Your list itself might be painful to look at because you think: “How am I ever going to do all this?” Instead of wallowing in all you have to do, just get started.

Maybe your dreaded task is actually a conversation. It might be one you have tried to have many times before with that person and you never truly get out what you want to get across. Or, maybe you have had the conversation multiple times, but the other person does not get it. You dread it, but know that being transparent, open, and direct with your thoughts and feedback allows you to get it off your chest leaving you feeling free and stronger.

Whatever the project, my hope is that you start, work through it, get ‘er done, and move on. You will feel lighter. You will.

Random recipe: Six Ingredient Sausage Potato Pie

My favorite meal of the day is breakfast. I could have it any time of day. So, yes, I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Often instead of going on a date night, we do a date brunch. A meal we love, it is easy, quick and since it is on the weekend, I am more rested and focused on Chris. A win-win all around. Typically one weekend morning we go out to brunch and Chris makes something at home on the other weekend morning (or often afternoon by the time we get to brunch).

Which is why we constantly are on the lookout for yummy and different options to make for breakfast. This is by far one of the best recipes we have made in months. It has a little bit of everything. Eggs, sausage, hash browns, kale, cheese. What more can you ask for? I could not stop at one piece. The sausage is I believe what makes this recipe. I am not usually a big fan of sausage, and you will usually never see me eat a sausage patty, but crumbled up pieces in this dish is heavenly. It just will not be the same if you remove the sausage. If you do not like kale, do not leave it out, you do not even know it is there.

SIX INGREDIENT SAUSAGE POTATO PIE [Pinch of Yum]

Serves: 6-8 (nutrition info is for 1 of 8 servings)

INGREDIENTS
  • 12 ounces ground sausage
  • 6-8 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1½ teaspoons Herbes de Provence
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound raw shredded potatoes (we just bought refrigerated uncooked hashbrowns)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (we used a combo of Swiss and Gruyère)
  • 2 cups shredded kale

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a pan with oil.
  2. Brown the sausage until completely cooked and crumbled. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  3. Whisk the eggs, milk, herbes de provence, and salt and pepper.
  4. Add the hash browns, ⅔ cup cheese, kale, and sausage from step one. Mix it all together.
  5. Transfer to the pie pan and top with remaining cheese. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until set. Remove foil, turn heat to 400 or 450, and bake an additional 10 minutes until golden brown on top. Let stand for 10 minutes to allow excess moisture absorb. Slice and serve.

Grandmas, Daycares, and Nursing Homes

Growing up I was addicted to my grandma. For some reason we had a special bond when I was little. Maybe it was because I was the youngest, or maybe I just spent the most time with her, but I had a way of getting her to laugh, smirk, and end her sentence with: “Oh, Tami.” Usually because I was doing something that she would have thought girls should not do or talk about, and yet I had to be different and try to do what I could to “shock her.” I was a good girl, yes, but she was easy to shock.

While in some ways my sister and I had the strangest relationship with my grandma (she was not always there for us in ways she should have been) but she also was sometimes there in ways we would not have expected. Part of it was her upbringing, part of it was that I do not think she knew how to handle us. Since my mom died when we were quite young, my grandma was our stand in. That does not mean she became mother/grandma, it just means she is the only maternal family figure we had left. Which meant she handled us in the way she knew, and the way she was comfortable with — which mostly meant let us figure it out for ourselves. Maybe that is why I am this way — “I will do it on my own, in my way, and do not get in my way.” I did not have much choice.

I am trying to remember how often I saw little kiddos around my grandma. I think she might have cooed a bit when she saw them. I think she smiled and warmed up a bit, but I’m not sure she got goose bumps and maternal around them. So when I saw this viral article about “What Happens When You Put a Daycare in a Nursing Home? Magic” I thought, “Would that have made her softer, happier? Would she have come out of her shell?” I learned a lot about what I would and would not do from my grandma. It was hard to know where you stood with her. Her expression of love was, well, different. This video brings a smile to my face and tears to my eyes of the possibilities of love that get passed from these little ones in daycare to those in the nursing home and vice versa. It is getting made into a documentary called: “Present Perfect.”