Tag Archives: irritants

Don’t answer

Thinking it might be the person I’d just spoken to, I made the mistake of answering the phone. No Caller ID here and while the supposed National Do Not Call list initially worked for awhile, it stopped being helpful years ago when the phone peddlers realized there’d be no repercussions.

Me: Hello?


I was about to hang up when I thought I heard something.

Me: Hello?

Girl: You are so hard to reach!! And I have short arms!

Me: [ Ā  Ā  Ā  Ā  ] Not recognizing the voice and thinking who the hell this is saying stupid things in such an overly familiar way.

Girl: This is Anna with the Children’s Fund…

Then I reached through the phone and cracked Anna across the head. That felt good so I beat her with the receiver. She stopped making bad jokes and trying to trick me into thinking I knew her.



A story of a new (bargain) shirt

I like clothes. Always have. I’m not high-end, mostly favoring thrift stores. I want the savings, yes, but I also feel this country is obscenely awash in clothes. I don’t want to add to the problem.

It wasn’t like this when I was growing up. Now, I can’t believe how swamped we are in clothes. Not only is there an abundance of new things, thrift stores, church sales, and private yard sales almost always feature piles & piles of clothes.
The value of clothes, save designer and other “desirable” labels, has plummeted. I know a lot of these clothes – perfectly decent things – must end up in the dump. At a point, even charities are saturated. I try to be mindful of this when shopping.

I want to show you a recent store-bought find.


Isn’t that beautiful? It’s just my type. Awesome colors, flattering, and the sleeves are long enough.

But look at this!

49 cents?!? I almost wondered why they didn’t just give it to me! Clearly they wanted it gone! Usually if something in a store starts at $16.99, and ends up at 49 cents, there are several stops along the way, a series of increasingly lower stickers stacked on top of one another; $14.99, $11.99, $6.99, and so on. This had no stack. Just one swift price cut. (Sometimes, this means a close examination of the garment at hand will reveal a big tear in the seam or a mystery stain, for examples, but I saw nothing wrong with this shirt).

My time in retail was brief and did not extend beyond my teenage years; I’ve no idea how these things work. And I’d imagine things have changed anyway. It makes me wonder, though, if this shirt hadn’t sold at this price, where would it go next? (They don’t have a “free” pile in the store – nor have I ever seen such a thing.) Out of curiosity I just googled “where do clothes that don’t sell go“. Oh this is nice. Destroyed so they can’t be worn and tossed into the garbage, at least in some instances. Why am I not surprised. Some unwanted clothes get sold en masse, i.e., by the pound, to Africa, which is also where a lot of donated second-hand clothes go, apparently.

I also learned why labels are often cut out of clothing that turns up in marked-down or thrift stores. The fancy label people don’t want their good name tarnished by having it worn by the likes of poor people who couldn’t afford it new! Hahaha! That’s good [sarcasm]. It’s like saying, “I’ll help you out, but you can’t tell anyone you know me.” Oh, I like that [more sarcasm]. What if you were a homeless person and got some designer hand-out with the label cut out, so you made a big cardboard sign with the designerā€˜s name crudely written on it and wore it around your neck while walking about your city? Now that, that would be good!

I am starting to feel better about my 49 cent shirt, given all this. A little anyway. Buying new clothes may be perpetuating a problem, yet on the other hand, I possibly saved this shirt from the garbage.

I want to show you the label that came with it.

Huh? What's this now?

Huh? What’s this now?

I’ve kept this label and read it several times. This is just the sort of thing that bothers and preoccupies me. What on earth does it mean?? Clearly, the brand went to a bit of trouble, maybe even hired a writer, to come up with this. But it doesn’t make any sense. How do “unique artworks” and “fond memories” come together with my “personal style?” How, I ask you, how?! Whose fond memories?? Mine? Theirs? I don’t know the people at Vintage Suzie. This is the first I’ve ever heard of the name, so their fond memories really aren’t of much interest.

And what about this albeit pretty shirt reflects “beautiful eras” and “exotic places?” Lord, they aren’t talking about the 60’s and 70’s are they? And the admonition that I “be beautiful, live differently, and dress Vintage Suzie?” If I was going to “live differently,” I doubt buying and wearing clothes would have much to do with it. Don’t people who “live differently” tend to do things like set up homesteading in the woods? Or start themselves a scary cult? Or insist on being called Sir Lancelot the Eighteenth, or some such? Buying fashions, cute, “vintage,” or not, aren’t usually high on the priorities.

Lest you think, as I initially did, that the copy was written by someone not overly familiar with English – and I am being unfair in mocking it – let me end by showing you this.

Yep, USA.

Yep, USA.

Short Thought 104 (“youthful” women)

I care about my appearance and want to look good, but I cannot stand the incessant marketing to women of products and procedures to make them appear younger (because the way they are couldn’t possibly be good enough – how dare they up and get OLD?! – made richer by the fact of having been encouraged & prodded all their years to live longer!!). I was perusing the coupons in the Sunday paper and noticed a line for skin care, L’oreal Youth CodeĀ©. I swear, if somebody would make a product for women and call it Old Bat Code or Old Bat Serum, to “bring out the Old Bat in you!” I’d seriously consider buying it.

A medium-sized story about saving things for “good”

There are 3 pieces to understand as background before I launch into the rest of the tale.

1) I am the sort of person who tries to pay attention and learn things from my life. Some things I have learned, othersĀ have taken me an abysmally long time to learn, and still more, I clearly haven’t gotten yet.

2) I was raised on the school that says there are everyday things, and then there are “good” things which are to be stored away and rarely, if ever used. This way of thinking was thoroughly drilled into me. “Good enough,” patched, and mediocre described the stuff that should make up everyday living. It’s taken me a very long time to challenge and replace these beliefs, and it continues.

3) I am wild about popcorn and eat a lot of stove-popped corn. My favorite popper for many years has been Wabash Valley Farms Whirley PopĀ©. These poppers have traditionally not been cheap, and I was fortunate to initially receive one as a gift. I wore that thing into the ground. I replaced that with a second and at some level noticed it wasn’t quite the same. It still madeĀ brilliant popcorn but the pan dented more easily and looked shabby sooner.

The Main Story:

A few (3?) years ago I had what I considered the magnificent fortune to land Ā an unused Whirley Pop fromĀ Freecycle. I carefully put it away to “save” it. I wasn’t going to hop onto a brand new one just because I had it, no sir. I needed to get full use out of the one I had first.

So comes the day recently when I decided it was time for the new one. I put the old one out in recycling and away it went. I was going to use the nice one saved for “good!” I deserved the new one now, I told myself.

First thing I noticed when I removed the popper pan from the bag it was stored in, was that one of the little wood knobs on the lid was cracked. How had I not noticed this before? Had it happened while it as in storage? Cracked wood usually suggests cheap wood to me. The wood parts on my old poppers had always been fine, as had the basic turn-crank mechanisms. And then there was that; I started using my popper but something seemed amiss. The popcorn wasn’t as good. I examined the popper and one of the two metal wires that spin the popcorn wasn’t even close to the bottom of the pan. Surely it was just traveling over the top of the kernels. Scorching on the bottom of my nice, new pan seemed to indicate the same. Inferior was the word that kept coming to mind.

Then the cracked wood knob broke completely in two and fell off. It could not be repaired nor did I see a simple way to jury-rig a replacement. This knob is how you open the lid when the popping is done without giving yourself second-degree burns on the hot pan. I tried to work without it but its absence irritated me.

The new popper with its missing wood knob

The new popper with its missing wood knob

I went online and looked at recent reviews of the popper. Many people wrote of a change in quality from earlier versions they’d owned. They said the popper was flimsier (some mentioned “aluminum foil”) and dented more easily. They said the turning gears broke. Hmmm. Sometimes I can be a little slow to grasp points like this; I think something represented as a product, sold as the same thing, is just the same as it’s always been, even in face of evidence to the contrary. Ā My mind will even make strange, compensatory leaps to account for failings in an item. (I even briefly blamed my poor, innocent, great-as-always Jolly TimeĀ© popcorn, even though I was still popping kernels from the same bag that had been fine with the dearly departed popper.)

Boy, did I feel gypped! Here I had carefully saved the fresh, unused popper for “good” and unbeknownst to me it was junky. Just sitting there quietly waiting to be junky. Now, I’m not saying ALL the Whirley PopĀ© poppers must be this way but I’m certain this one is not as good as the first one I ever owned. And it’s not as good as the one IĀ sent off to the recycling graveyard.Ā And THAT was another mistake. Never get rid of the old but still serviceable Ā thing till you try out the new thing. I know this! I SHOULD know this!! Why don’t I know this?!

So. If this isn’t a good kick in the head to reconsider my saving-for-good philosophy – a solidly direct message that supposedly good things aren’t even necessarily so or if they were, may turn to crud while they wile away the years unused – I’m not sure what is. And should I ever let go of a serviceable item before making sure its replacement is okay, I expect I’ll deserve whatever results. And my popping situation? I bought a new popper, a different brand. It was time. We will see. Lesson(s) learned. Oh I hope so.