Garage sale observations

Each region of the USA has a garage sale aptitude. Previous experience did not seem to make a bit of difference with the rhythm and dance of each community from Florida to Pennsylvania and different locations in Texas. We all know Texas is like it’s own country. What happens in Brownsville is foreign to Fort Worth.

Advertising plays a huge part in the prospective customer’s expectations. An estate sale will conjure up the customer seeking the Antique Road Show treasure they can retire with. We did make sure there were no $100.00 bills stuffed into book pages or rolled into a pair of socks. A yard sale banks on a casual customer and those flying the nest with tighter budgets or the presumption you are willing to all but give away the merchandise. The famous garage sale fires up the trepidation that there may be further entrance into the home or higher end assets must be protected from the elements. Multiple times we had offers to purchase the home or property. I don’t feel the inquiries were sincere. It was more or less the human need for further information. Not all sales are out of desperation, foreclosure or a move out.Garage sale observations

Pennsylvania sale attendees seem to be aggressive prior to opening day. They knock on the front door and ask if they can see the forthcoming riches. It doesn’t concern them that it is dawn and you’re in your robe with bed head and lion breath. It doesn’t faze them to bang on the doorbell after dark when man and beast is already butt up on the couch. They are non-apologetic and even act a little ticked that you won’t let them traipse through your home.If I didn’t know any better, they camp down at the stop sign until “Sale is On”. I even had a woman ask me what I was going to do with the valuable jewelry and glass! I informed her there wasn’t any valuable jewelry or glass. She said, “Honey, we know all the relatives strip everything bare before the garage sale!” I informed her that it was my junk. I’m very much alive at age 27 and I didn’t have any of that stuff!

The Quaker State buyers snatch and grab. They don’t even examine the items. It is as though they are on a game show and the clock is ticking. A favorite and common comment – after accumulating all of the highest priced items, is to offer you $8.00 for the entire mountain of merchandise. Itemization may total $482.50 and they are ready with the shocked and disgusted garage sale face. The attitude is they are there to do you a favor and you are an ingrate. I favored the patron feigning  to be deaf and waiving the $8.00 at me because they were stroking out because you are telling them, “no” to their cheap ass offer.

Florida had the most polite and gracious group imaginable! During multiple garage sales, they would line up in a formation similar to the Metro bus riders in downtown Houston. It was fascinating. Hail and tropical storms did not hither this assembly. It reminded me of the affluent bunch politely scouring the shoe sale at Nieman Marcus in Dallas. Their hearts are beating wildly but you can not appear to be uncouth. To our knowledge there was neither theft or breakage at the Florida sales. Offers were reasonable. No one asked me to deliver a furniture item to their 36th floor condo, 84 miles down the coast. I still shake my head at the man who purchased the pile of debris that was swept into a pile in the middle of the garage floor at the closing of a sale. What on earth was he going to do with wood chips and a very small piece of chain?

Oh, Texas, my Texas! Garage sales in a Houston subdivision are civil and non-eventful. It was the quintessential block party. You may have lived next door to the engineer from Exxon and his Junior League wife for 4 years and didn’t know them. Stick a Weber grill in the driveway with a table full of your kid’s Transformer underpants and it’s old home week. You would’ve thought we were joined at the hip. I wouldn’t have know these people if I ran into them at the corner dry cleaners. It was a discovery of we golf at the same club and share the same arm pit specialist. They pay what is posted and notice that the satchel you pack their new belongings into is from Ann Taylor. You pick and choose who to give your prized shopping bags to.Some of these egos can’t tolerate a Walmart plastic bag. A bag from Barneys will actually yield an additional sale because they think you’re a regular shopper at a place that has extremely overpriced pants.

Garage sales in the paradise of Paris, Texas let you know you are a real person among good people, except for the family dropping “F” bombs on each other. During my short tenure at country living, in the bible belt, this behavior was, as my grandmother would say, “rather unbecoming”! “Yeah, baby”, every character type, cowboy, farmer, Hispanic, MeeMaws, ranchers, city folk, single parents, widows and widowers marched through at a consistent stream. This group didn’t do “the line-up”. A large number of them stopped by the house the day before the sale to observe the setup! In fact, the first customer didn’t appear until a half hour after opening. Country folk like to visit. I had 7 gentleman tell me they lived alone and some even told me how big their house was – 4 bedroom, 3 baths! Instead of, I guess they see who is available at garage sales! I did try to introduce a few to each other but I don’t know if there were any hook ups! Over a 2 day period, almost everything got sold, even an old bicycle seat.

True and experienced garage sale buyers, eager to be the first customer, fancy themselves on presenting a $100.00 bill for an item priced at $.25. They know it will wipe out your cash fund, if you have that much in your cash fund. They are banking on you to say, “just take it”.

Garage sales are social events and a way of clearing out the closets and out buildings. My favorite part is watching the eager and ecstatic people so pleased with their new treasures.




Building a dream house – Plans and planning

Plans & Planning

Plans & Planning

It took a long time to plan the move to the Paris area. Years of fretting over how to leave a city life behind. The decision actually fell into place with frustrating 2 hour commutes, road rage incidents,employment incidents, turning neighborhoods and the world we knew changing – as we changed.

There have been a great number of sacrifices, including leaving the locale of where our grown children live. Reality kicked in full blast with the lack of retail access to items we took for granted. It was beyond comprehension a convenience store would close at 9:00 pm before moving to Northeast Texas. The sidewalks roll up early here. If you want a Hostess fried pie – you’d better get your ass in the car before 8:45 pm.

We tried to buy a house here. It didn’t work for me. We bought our property before we were sure what to even do with it. Countless hours were spent searching the internet and home plan sites. We made the final choice of house plans about 4 times. The size of the house and how much bucks it would take to build it were the most prevalent factors. Sure I could pick out plans for a huge mausoleum but who was going to clean and maintain it. How could we afford a gazillion doors? With a few bottles of wine and endless conversation, we came to the conclusion, this new house would have to take care of us when we are unable to care for ourselves. Just as our first house raised our children and created the suburban dream.

Your house is never truly yours. I always wanted to create a fantasy world in my home. I didn’t want to be like my parents – which were the epitome of “The Wonder Years”. I didn’t want that but that is exactly what we created. We are – what we know. We did keep a bicycle in the vestibule and had huge acrylic abstract paintings on the walls but it was a mainstream house. The new house was initially going to be like an urban modern loft type of joint. Then I realized no one in Paris, Texas would want to purchase it when we truly needed a buyer. The taste of most homeowners in the Northeast Texas area points more toward kikker cowboy western motifs. So, we will be traveling the middle of the road type of hacienda.

The outside will be beautiful garden-variety by the home plans we purchased and will be to the liking of many. We have become minimalist in the sense we are tired of cleaning and packing and kicking around chachkis.  I enjoy them at other people’s homes but not in ours. The interior will be easily switched to unexceptional and standard when we are ready to exit the premises permanently. I am tired of painting everything country white, white-white and beige by all the names – eg: Swiss Coffee. Paint is easy to change.

We’re not going to go crazy and hang the Jeep Scrambler from the ceiling. It will be uncrowded, modern and artsy-fartsy. Less is best. It is not what has been planned, but rather what is disliked, discarded and eliminated. We now know what we don’t want.

The last of the brush and stumps on the house site.

The last of the brush and stumps on the house site.

The wood on the lot is actually still smoldering. It smolders slower in the rain. It hasn’t rained here for months until we needed to get ride of a bunch of debris. The extra dirt needs brought in. The next step will be to sit and watch it settle!

We are in need of a truss builder, either on-site or off-site. There are a lack of them listed in the vicinity. Hardly any craftsman have websites. It may be the lack of internet access. Still planning and researching where to find materials and construction experts. There is no sense of urgency among the masses here. I guess they’re waiting for a bigger job to come along – like cousin Eddy.

Technologically illiterate

There is a general assumption sitting out there conveying the idea people over 40 are technologically illiterate. I thought this was extreme bias until I moved to a small Northeast Texas town. It appears to be rampant in major metropolises as well as rural areas.

My sister is, let me think how old my sister is, 55 years old. She is an event planner in a small suburbia outside of Pittsburgh. This family owned company still writes all appointments down on a large wall calendar and manually maintains all accounting in a ledger book. She does not utilize email, text or electronic communication with any vendors. She still calls and visits the local bakeries for cakes and pastries, often carrying photos of what the customer wants. She is unable to switch employers because she is technologically illiterate. Her boss is a control freak and wants no changes to the system. My lovely sister does not want to learn how to access the internet, nor does she have any interest in doing so. For her occupation and stage of life, it is socially acceptable for her bliss to continue. Keeping staff uneducated and in the dark seems to work for entrepreneurs.

The few people I have met in Paris, Texas seem to have the same lack of communication skills. I still have a Houston area code telephone number. When sharing my phone number, I am often informed, they are unable to place a long distance call to me from home or work. Either their employer does not allow (control and being cheap) long distance calls or their mobile phones have extremely limited regional service. It is more often than not, they inform me they do not know how to text nor do they have the capability. These are not retired or stay at home housewives. These are “business people”.

I interviewed for a professional position, a few years back, with a snot nosed twenty something. During the interview, he held up a Blackberry and informed me everyone employed there is required to keep their appointments electronically. He also went on to say the learning curve for programs they used, MS Office Suite, would take time to learn. When he finished making his assumptions and was arrogantly quiet, I told him to hand me his laptop so I could take it apart, reprogram the hard drive and put it back together. He seemed kind of shocked. He went on to explain his mother didn’t know anything about computers. While he was blabbering, my Blackberry was vibrating. I took it out of my purse, checked it and put it back – in the middle of an interview. I never would have done this if I wanted the position. I told him his mother never taught 60 people how to convert manual files to an electronic system in the 70’s either. His mother didn’t convert a financial institution from a manual accounting system to a zero paper system in 4 days, which included placing a PC on every desk and personally training everyone the fabulous benefits of every MS Office program available, including PowerPoint presentations. I am quite sure his mother had “other” talents. By the way, the interviewer and his company went bankrupt within the year. One of my friends got the job I interviewed for and she is still unemployed to this day.

Back off with embracing the idea, old people don’t know what to do with a PC, tablet or any other “hand-held device”. My father was in his 70’s and was more PC savvy than most people I have done business with. After he died, and I figured out his password, I brought his PC up to see eagles flying, flags waving and hearing the Marine Corps hymn playing full blast on his computer. He thrived on researching ship manifests for immigrant relatives, replaced drives in his CPU and conducted all business electronically on the PC. I still miss his emails and humor and most especially him-very dearly.

People do not like change. It is easier to be oblivious. Their world will remain ever so small without the advantages of world-wide access. It also cost a few bucks to be connected to cyber space. I view it as a necessary utility fee, like electricity!  Don’t get me started with how we are all being gouged for fees. I remember paying $.25/minute cell phone service. My boss would imitate how fast we would convey information when calling him. When the cost changed to the plans we have now, everyone relaxed and spoke in full sentences.

I am too nebby not to know what is going on out there. I am so afraid of missing something. The sad thing is – a lot of people still don’t know – they don’t know.




Cosmetic counter encounters

I am working a temporary/seasonal position which encounters a multitude of characters each day. It has become a game to size them up and figure out their personalities within a few seconds. I have been around quite a few blocks in my life and am proud to say my feelings are getting confirmed with a few minutes of conversation with each counter encounter.

There are a lot of lonely souls in the world. Either that or I appear to be shrink like, mother like or generic enough for people to “really tell me how they really feel”. An elderly gentleman, one who has fought in the Korean conflict, very patiently explained to me the entire world was headed for disaster because the Democrats were in power and the rich were now going to lose everything they ever worked for. His concerns were real. His purchase was Estee Lauder bath powder for his wife’s Christmas present. He’s afraid of the “fiscal cliff”, has a few bucks and certainly doesn’t spend if on his wife.

The next contestant for story of the hour was Mary. She, too, remembers when bread was a few pennies a loaf. Her day job is caring for an “elderly” person. She takes extreme pride in her position and speaks softly and lovingly of her charge. Mary’s demeanor is so compassionate, I’d swear she was a saint in her previous life. She is the epitome of proper corporate etiquette. She introduced herself and her daughter to me and continually called me by my name during our appointment. Either that or she was pounded with Emily Post since childhood, as was I. Subsequent visits were repeated with the same familiarity and she never missed a beat of our previous conversations. Mary always purchases hundreds of dollars of high ticket fragrances for gift giving. Mary will be standing on the right hand side of St. Peter on judgment day. I wish she lived next door to me.

Then there is the shim who tells me all products are overpriced and stink. Shim is an old term, most definitely politically incorrect, which refers to a person whom you can not immediately identify which sex they are. It becomes difficult in addressing them so as not to offend. If you call them “sir” and they are a “ma’am”, it becomes awkward to say the least. I then try to differentiate by behavior. They act like a rude man by speaking really loud in a lowered voice, slamming all products in order to get a lower price or to exclaim the disdain for the product in general, or they girly pantywaist with the decision making. “Can I smell this one and this one and this one and this one?” For what I get an hour, the last thing I want to do is incite a riot at the cosmetic counter of a small town department store. I always save my instigation for larger and more prominent forums – like Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh! This she-he person will show no satisfaction for anything shown to them because they are unhappy with themselves.

Next up, is the family unit. This can include multiple generations. An infirm grandma, needing assistance to walk and a reminder of where she is. The husband, getting constant reprimand because he keeps saying they can’t afford whatever it is the wife wants. Of course, we can’t forget the very little children, some who have been trained to professionally lick the glass of the display counters. The six year old to 12 year old siblings are busy spraying each other with fragrance testers containing offensively overpriced “parfum” on each other or dropping the bottles on the tile floor below. This crew always falls for the “instant credit” so they can purchase more stuff to put in their too small of a home because it is crowded with things they don’t need. I can bet the Ponderosa the credit line will be very small because they are so overextended, they have to take the last two dollars from Grandma’s purse, for gas to get home. God forbid, they would use the money set aside for Fat and Greasy Fried Chicken on the return journey back to the homestead. If they are approved for a credit line of $200.00, it is guaranteed they will spend $199.99 on shimmer eye shadow, florescent pink nail polish and a manly scented “stink no more” for the husband. This family appears to be typical in the local culture.

My ultimate favorite cosmetic counter encounter is the pair of bitches who speak to me as if I just stole their booze money. They have absolutely no intention of purchasing anything. They want free fragrance samples. They insist on having me bend over thirty to forty times to spritz cards of every bottle in the display cases – because I don’t give them the free fragrance samples. Then, they want a make over so they can complain I didn’t make them look like Julia Roberts. Sorry, but I can’t correct the “rode hard and put up wet” appearance with a sit down. Both of them are trying to outdo each other slamming every product and actually accusing me of having a bad attitude when I inform them of the prices. One such duo even insulted one of my patiently waiting customers because she politely asked if she should shop first and when should she return to be assisted. The bitch duo told her to wait her turn because they were there first. I knew they would not cough up a dime for anything. Their appearances told me it was the first time they had seen sober daylight in months. I didn’t have a cosmetic in the place for low light dive enhancement.

Cosmetic counter encounter 12-27-2012








New Age vs Old Age Employmemt Challenges

Unemployment is difficult enough. If your previous employment spanned many, many years – the process is similar to getting a divorce after the silver anniversary. The interview process is in the same category as “What do I wear on the post-divorce first date and am I expected to sleep with them?”

Without going into the world viewing youth as intelligence and aging as demented, crazy and invisible, the interview process is arduous, at best. Interviewers are getting younger as you age in the lobby, surrounded by people your kid’s ages. Especially for the first five or six interview outings, you are most likely over dressed and lacking a nose ring. Your wrinkles and graying hair are secondary to the archaic briefcase or portfolio under your arm. Shoes with buckles and shoestrings are passe’. A good pair of flip-flops or any shoes made of rubber and dirty toenails are available for viewing. The employment opportunities for this scenario are not blue-collar. They are actually professional sales, financial and technological positions.

I had been laid off, for the first time in my long-term professional life, after the age of 40. One interviewer, who appeared to have just rolled out of couch, held his Blackberry up in front of me and asked, “Do you know what this is?” Another wiseass asked if I knew how to turn a laptop on. I informed him that I had the capability of not only turning it on, but take it apart, put it back together and re-program the entire thing. I guess he didn’t like my response because “Tiffany Cleavage” in the lobby, got the job. One of my friends, a current employee with this up and coming executive, was seeking new employment but was in desperate financial straits and stuck. She was also ten years younger than I was.

Being a bit outspoken, follow-up to an interview, always yielded jolly propaganda. I always asked what my deficits may have been. The ones who didn’t blow smoke gave me some true insight such as:

  • You look like a banker
  • I couldn’t picture you unloading product from an 18 wheeler – (This was not in the job description or mentioned during the interview!)
  • You would have my job in a day or two and I couldn’t risk hiring you.

One employment opportunity resulted in four interviews. The first three “show and tells”  allowed the escalation of executives a chance to increase expenses by flying into Houston from Boston – otherwise, they would have flown me and/or the other candidates to Boston! The position, up for grabs, was highly compensated and possessed an upper echelon profile. An assessment after Interview #2 yielded that I had an “extreme sense of urgency”! During the process, the company recruiter would telephone me and discuss the previous appointment and inform me of the “going forward” recommendation for yet another go around. A Don Draper, Mad Men type conducted interview #4.  He was the epitome of a well upholstered “suit”. Five minutes into the engagement, he mocked my responses which included one of my hand gestures. Looking back, I wished it had been one of my other hand gestures. He challenged each one of my replies to his questions in a most derogatory and demeaning manner. Fifteen minutes later, as the hair on the back of my neck stood up, I backed my way to the conference room exit while he continued to prattle. I ended the interview.

The recruiter called a few hours later. She asked why I exited the interview early. I gave her the generic response that I was not the right candidate for the position. She informed me that my competition for the job was only one other person. Again, I told her it was not a “good fit”. A few days later, she called me again. She was insistent in knowing why I left the interview. Was it my place to inform her Mr. Suit intuitively appeared a predator, woman-hater, wife beater and general asshole? Yea, Baby, I could just imagine a cross-country travel rendezvous business trip with him as my vice-president! The telephone conversation created the instantaneous response reflex of:

  • Do I assassinate his character and risk a lawsuit?
  • What are the benefits of telling the recruiter something she already knew?
  • Did she really want to hear my conclusions based on life experience, knowing of a bunch of gems like him and intuition?

I made a business quick wit and allowed the recruiter to conclude the outcome with the results of the process. A lot of time, money, travel, and dry cleaning expense to have a qualified candidate turn them down when the horses were coming around the bend and headed for the straight a way. They’re smart people. I think this may have been a déjà vu.

Appropriately, each of us knows when we are qualified and age was a non-hire condition. My personal experience with the hiring process yields the following direction with the interview process:

  •  Do not use Old Spice or Youth-Dew fragrances.
  • Do not be late – Especially a whole day.
  •  Do not have your significant other drive you and wait with the kids in the reception area.
  • Keep the cocktail wear for bar mitzvahs, wedding receptions, glamour shots and family portraits –  Send a photo to the Ellen Show.
  • Stay awake and sober for the interview.
  • Be yourself.
  • Be true to yourself.



Cable Cut – Dish Cut – Cost Cut

Extensive research has revealed there are a lot of people cutting the cable and disconnecting the satellite dish. The numbers vary depending on the data source. It is a huge decision because it changes your routine, habits, lifestyle and psyche.

When our children were young, we moved into a new home. A demanding job did not allow me the luxury of making an appointment to have the cable company set up service immediately. You would have thought someone ripped our 9-year-old’s heart out without an anesthetic. The cable company would not give a specific appointment time. It was a block of time which spanned morning or afternoon. I had been a previous victim. Taking a day off of work for a no-show technician did nothing but set me off like Sputnik. Our 9 year old did not receive the “luxury” of cable/satellite, again until he was 14 years old. The only reason he then received the gift of hundreds of channels was because his older brother was on a ship in a war zone and we became extreme news junkies.

By the way, when the satellite was installed, I had to call the billing department every month for years because the billing was incorrect. A credit would be issued, but the problem persisted. Every time it rained or the wind picked up, the service was “iffy”. I called customer service so many times, I eventually could re-program and re-position the satellite dish, with someone on the roof to scream instruction to,  without their assistance. Hurricane Ike blew the satellite off of the roof. My relationship with the satellite dish was starting to fray.

When you have a satellite/cable service – the family takes it for granted. The majority of the viewing, to my observation, were channels we were able to access at no charge with a homemade antenna created from leftover ceiling grid in our attic. The billing statement reflected a fee for HD access. When the televisions were on the antenna, we had HD at no charge. The satellite provider scrambled the HD and we were paying them a fee for HD to be accessible through their service. We were also paying to access local programming for which we were able to access “FREE” on the antenna. For an outrageous total charge per month, we could watch repetitious commercials, a whole lot of shopping channels, MTV that wasn’t the MTV I had loved and every single time I turned HBO on, they were showing “Somewhere in Time” starring Christopher Reeves. It didn’t matter what day or what time – that movie was on. Christopher will always be Superman to me – and dearly missed.

The 14-year-old grew up and graduated from college. A decision was made to stop the tv service madness. At the time, we lived outside of Houston. There were 54 channels available through the antenna. Now, some were in languages I had always intended to learn and a few were extremely religious. Most were in HD and reception was crystal clear. The same can’t be said for living outside of beautiful Paris, TX. Our antenna access amounts to CBS, Fox and 2 limited Oklahoma PBS channels. If anyone with money is in Oklahoma reading this – please contribute to your PBS station. The programs showing now were seen in Houston a long time ago. That said, my interest lies in access to local weather which can be seen on the CBS channel.

Any television viewing is now accomplished by switching over to Roku. World news, national news, Pandora, Netflix, HuluPlus, etc are here to entertain, educate and teach me how to make my own creme fraiche. Netflix is better at less or no commercial interruptions than HuluPlus. It was a fantastic to watch 4 seasons of Mad Men without any commercials. Continuous story line and actual use of the 18 minutes, average, time in my life to do something constructive – instead of multiple and redundant commercials to stop hemmoroid itching or to lose weight. By the way, we didn’t do the Mad Men marathon where you start the gig at 10:00 am, in your night clothes and watch continuously for 20 hours at a time! No, we watched the episodes in the evening over a period of weeks!

Instead of watching mindless prattle available for a fee, we are now able to choose exactly what we want to watch and when we want to watch it. It was not a hard habit to break. Think of how many hours your children and family members are glued to the tv out of habit. Ask them when they last saw a movie or program on a premium channel and discuss the subject matter. You will be amazed by the feedback.

If you subscribe to Netflix, HuluPlus and assorted other programs accessible through the internet, your savings can amount to over $1,000.00 per year by cutting the cable/satellite service. This depends on your current expenditure and your future decisions. The most valued benefit we have received is time.



Adjustment –

Initial Observations

I just moved from the 4th largest city in the USA to a town north of Paris, Texas.  “Visiting” and “living” in a place can be quite different. The area is beautiful with lakes, lots of trees and green space is the specialty. There are no commuter incidents – there are few commuters! The stars at night are magnified just because there is no conflict from billboards, mega dealerships, malls, 12 lane freeways or marketing competitions. It’s quiet, too. The change, I feel, is like I was previously riding a rocket without a helmet and now I am waiting for a bus with a parasol  – on a rural route.

Your creative spirit epitomizes when you don’t have what you need at your whim. We tried purchasing towel bars the other day. The 2 or 3 stores selling this item have very few choices and even on a compromise of style – the required sizes were unavailable. In the meantime, wet towels are hung over the shower rod! Patience will be the foundation of this transition.

In another vein – there are multiple non-franchise eateries to choose from. Someone in the back is actually cooking food! It is not “nuked”, flash frozen re-thawed, or kit produced. Most produce is a lot fresher – the source is close at hand. What the big cities announce as organic is usual fare here.The one deficit, at this early stage of being here, is there is no “fine dining” experience available. I will have to save those for road trips to Dallas or Houston. Learning to cook what I haven’t been able to find has had a few trials and tribulations – I can’t find fresh bean sprouts or snow peas. The ethnic ingredient availability is limited or non-existent – unless you’re making barbecue (cowboy food) or covered dishes for a church supper.

The bakeries are out of this world. Creative and delightful pieces of heaven handed to you in a little white box. This alone will keep my ass happy. When I die – I want a cookie in one hand and a donut in the other. There are two candy stores I have patronized. Neither sells candy by the pound. They are priced per piece. One shop had no air conditioning (the outside temp was 105 degrees that day) and the candies were itty-bitty. The other shop had a congenial shop keeper with huge chunks of chocolate ecstasy priced the same, per piece, as the other shop. Guess where I will become a loyal fan?

Three weeks in – I barely know the neighbors. I can find my way to a grocery store and the post office. I am 1,000 square feet short on living space until we build a home – try finding anything of any importance when you have space bags and boxes stacked as high as you are tall! The pillow cases are not matching and the flat ware has gone on leave, but I am happy to finally be here.