I am a child of the world

Listen to my fears

Listen to my heart

Listen to ME

 

Let me know I’m important

to someone

 

If I can’t say it

Say it for me

 

Let me know I’m

not alone in the world

 

Give my life meaning

Give me an opportunity

to be heard.

Give me a voice.

 

 

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For further information on becoming a CASA volunteer or to make a donation:  http://casagalveston.org/

 

 

 

Memory by association and other tricks to screw up your head

I couldn’t remember the name of an Elton John song that played continuously throughout my entire tenure at my first job in State College, PA. It must’ve been the only song management allowed, liked or would afford. I asked a lifelong friend of mine to assist in helping me to recall this ditty that had my gutchies in such a bunch, so many decades ago.

I told her my mind keeps going to “Alligator Rap:”. She immediately yelled, “Crocodile Rock“. She obviously is aware of my twisted brain wiring,

A common memory trick is to remember important stuff by associating it with a conjoint word or a word starting with the same first letter. Corporate ice-breakers are famous for starting a meeting with introductions such as, Julie/the Jew, Buffy/Big Boobs, Candy/Cake, Pete/Polish, Seymour/See More, Hank/Hawk, on and on. Every friend of my youngest son, has a name beginning with a “J” – Jason, Jacqueline, Jeremy, Jessica, JacobMemory by association, Jasmine, etc. Hell, no normal person could differentiate that troupe. I called them, “the “J People”. This son’s name is “Joe”. It all seemed appropriate in my head.

Working outside sales also presented the mitzvah of remembering a manifold of names and titles of clients. The use of association to the vertical or market sector sometimes worked but would get jumbled like the “Alligator Rap” did. A CEO, physically small in stature (my purse weighed more than he did) owned a ginormous collection agency. He drove a pick-up truck so huge it exceeded the size of the elementary school building, I attended. It even had a cattle guard on the front. You could fit a scout troop in this thing. His first name was Dick. You figure out how I remembered his name.

These tricks are not always foolproof. While walking around Kennywood Park, in the ‘Burgh,  with my sister, a couple walked up to me with the excitement of a teenager seeing a Beatle in person, and literally engulfed me with enthusiastic accolades of joy. They knew my sister, the names of my children and knew the fact that I had moved to Texas a very long time ago. These people even knew my grandmother! To save face, this is a dangerous tactic, I went along with it. After mysteriously galloping down memory lane with these folks, we escaped to Noah’s Ark. I turned to my sister and asked, “Who the hell were those people?” She said, “Are you shitting me?” I told her, “I never saw those people before in my whole life.” She said, “They were longtime neighbors of yours.” So help me, I don’t have any recollection of knowing them. Usually, you have a brain fart and a week later you slap your forehead or wake up in the middle of the night and say to yourself, “How could I not have recognized them.” The truth of this situation – I still don’t remember those people. Obviously, I made a positive impression on them or they remember my ex-husband sliding sideways down the snow filled driveway and landing in Roy Rogers parking lot after doing a few 180’s.

 

A negative association experience can also stick with you for a lifetime. Due to a broken sprinkler head, my office in a high rise office building, flooded. My boss called building management and asked for wet vacs to be brought in the help dry the mess up. A few minutes later, an extremely handsome man was standing in front of me with a horrified expression on his face. He asked who called for “Wet Backs” to be brought in here. At the time, I didn’t know or had never heard the expression, “Wet Back”. To this day, every time a wet vac is mentioned, this situation pops into my brain. By the way, I didn’t know it at the time – I would end up marrying the extremely handsome man with the horrified expression seeking clarification for the request made.

 

©Write In Space – all rights reserved.

 

 

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 Match.com, 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.

 

 

 

Rescue dogs

The most intelligent dogs I’ve had the privilege of living with have been mixed breed rescue dogs. This is not to say that the pedigreed dogs were stupid. It is a comparative observation. It doesn’t lessen the love. The mixed breed dogs were quick to learn commands and would do anything to please. There were a lot less health issues as well as being a lot less maintenance. Rescue dogs are capable of having as much high heart value as an expensive, paper’d, pedigreed dog.
The CockaDocker and Beagle-Basset were not the dogs mustering attention during long walks. The Dachshund and Cocker Spaniel were always the relatable dogs. “Oh, we had a dog just like that.” The Cockapoo was always mistaken to be a Terrier and the CockaDocker was always thought to be a baby Lab, Most of the time, there were multiple dogs in our household. When one dog garners attention, it was as if to say, one child is beautiful and the other two are homely! Just like a jury of your peers, we did work hard at creating personality for the quiet puppy or the one with an “up front” personality.
Texi, our Beagle-Basset was a notorious bitch, to say the least. At the time, she was the lone female with two male cohorts. She was amicable and well behaved but did like laying on her duck rug in the corner of the breakfast room. I made her a red lace dress out of fabric printed with a young Elvis Presley on it, for Halloween. This was almost an exercise of desperation to liven this young lady up. Believe me, with an active young family and a couple of jobs, I was lucky to pluck an eyebrow let alone make a dog dress! Femininity blossomed from her spirit when I gave her a middle name, Texi Anne. A resident Diva Dog with a bark like a Basset Hound was akin to an unattractive, diamond decorated aunt who always brought candy but bitched about the entrée served for dinner. This precious rescue dog ended up being a savior when someone, uninvited, entered our home. Texi Anne took a mega bite out of the intruder. She came to us, on ‘Go Texan Day” from a friend who witnessed Texi being thrown from a car on FM 1960 in Houston, Texas, one sleety, rainy night. We had her for 12 years. She is still missed.

 

Harley

Harley

Harley, a pure bred mini Dachshund, was delivered to our door by a neighbor. He was a puppy, as big as my hand. This dog had been bred to be sold, as in money making profit product. We were the last chance to take him because the families he had previously been sold to brought him back because he kept crying. Being the runt, the breeder family didn’t want to deal with him. Mr. Runt was obviously cutting into the bottom line. It was either we take him or he was going to the pound.
Harley possessed an uncanny and comical personality. He’d do laps in the bathtub and take the king size comforter off of our bed and drag it through the house. His legs were exactly one inch long and at his heaviest, he weighed 10 pounds. Har was an alpha dog with the management style of a Harvard Business School graduate. If the doorbell rang, Harley would lie in his dog bed and bark for one of the other dogs to rush the front door to announce the visitor or dinner delivery. This dog would come when he was called and show up at meal time. That was the extent of his disciplines. He ran our home like a drill sergeant and we willingly fell for his every whim. He was happy being carried around and loved on constantly. We didn’t have favorites but Harley was a remarkable treasure of the heart.
Our smartest rescue dog is a Schnauzer mix. Vincent Star (Vinnie) is addicted to television. His favorite show is “Lucky Dog” and anything on Animal Planet is a strong substitute. If allowed, he’d monopolize the TV with his programming and forfeit PupCorn, his favorite treat, at the instant he hears Brandon McMillon’s voice on Saturday mornings. Vinnie is extremely disciplined and rarely misses a command. His life purpose is to please and be loved. Except for lying on a freshly painted baseboard, I can’t remember any other instance of him being subjected to dog jail. Vinnie is the poster puppy for play, performance and pleasure. Approximately 12 years ago, a neighbor rescued Vinnie from the local animal shelter. The neighbor died 2 weeks later. Instead of returning the 12 week old puppy to the shelter, Vincent became the third Musketeer of our gaggle of dogs.
I read an article in The Dallas Morning News, Sunday, August 5, 2012 in reference to a photographer in Taiwan, making a social statement by photographing dogs immediately before they are euthanized. The article prompted me to write the blog entry, Dogs to advocate for 4 legged furry friends. Again, if you are unable to give a home to one of God’s innocent creatures, please advocate for them.

The things our children’s father did that pissed me off

Happy Fathers Day, PawPaw xx

Happy Fathers Day, PawPaw xx

I’m trying to use some humor here. I loved my kid’s Dad with all my heart, even his faults. It made up all the pieces of his gracious heart and loving disposition. We laughed a lot.

The things our children’s father did that pissed me off:

Lover would take apart the boat, the jeep and parts of the house to remodel, restore and to repair, all at the same time. He was excellent at tearing stuff apart. His schedule to put things back together was not the same as my schedule.

Lover refused to call a contractor to make a household repair. In his defense, they always did a half assed job and he would end up doing it over himself. A fine example is the Hurricane Ike damage to the dining room ceiling that started to disintegrate on Christmas Eve.Hours before we had invited guests to arrive, a great talent, Lover artistically cut the mess out and restored it perfectly. That said, it took 9 months to finish laying the ceramic tile flooring through out the entire house.

Lover never took time to find something. He would just go out and purchase 10+ more! I am now the proud owner of 8 coolers, a guzillion grinding wheels, countless cans of spray paint (lots of the same colors), dozens of pairs of work gloves, tons of nails and screws and every girl’s dream – multiple gas cans and containers.

More is so much better than less. If Lover was sent to the grocery store with a short list, you can bet the farm he would return with 15 bags of salami’s, cheese, beer, hot peppers and a piece of meat I’d never heard of . When I’d ask where the list items were, he would tell me pastrami cost $7.95/pound and he forgot the list in the truck!

Though his pagers, cell phones, Bluetooth, etc., were usually attached to him with some kind of case or clip, Lover always failed to be able to locate them at 5:30am each morning when exiting the house. They were usually found underneath the seat in his truck. The truck keys were usually on the lost list when the panic attack started. One time the entire truck was stolen from a work site with the personal cell phone, checkbook, wallet with credit cards, pager, a very expensive loaded toolbox, 15 pair of Levi’s that had just been picked up from the cleaners and his Whataburger lunch. That was the last time I told him to keep all of his things in the truck where he could find them!

Lover was extremely experienced at driving on the Houston freeways, during rush hour, while talking on the phone, taking notes on his famous steno pad, smoking a cigarette, drinking coffee and steering with his knees as he swore out the window at some moron who had just cut him off. I sometimes was the witness to the “moron holler”. The kids wonder why I’m high strung and nervous!

Lover was very particular how his Levi 501’s had to be creased. When holding the jeans upside down, the side seams are matched from top to bottom with the pockets equal distance apart  from the center creases. I screwed up, before we were married, and didn’t fold and press the Levi’s to spec. I did it once. For over twenty years, Violet, at the dry cleaners on Eldridge Road, Sugar Land, Texas, became Lover’s Levi angel. She had those Levi’s starched, pressed and hanger folded to Lover’s exact requirements.

When the Sunday Houston Chronicle was left all over the ceramic tile floor, the room became a slippery health hazard

Too many times, one of the pickup trucks were overloaded. I’d be told, “Don’t worry about it. It will be okay. You worry too much”. We, at times, resembled the Beverly Hillbillies.

I worked from home during the majority of our marriage. If he was home, the rule was not to swear at the dogs while I was on a conference call. Harley, our dachshund, never failed to pee on the floor when Lover was home. He would step in it and proceed to swear in his beautiful booming voice as I was trying to wind down a million dollar commitment with 7 programmers on the speakerphone in my home office.

The boat was always a bone of contention. It was like Lover’s lover. It always needed something that cost bucks. It had to have pricey accommodations. If there was a weather alert, extreme strides were taken to go to the beach and bring it to our primary residence. The HOA would be typing the violation letter as it was being parked in front of the house. The motor, boat and trailer had to have registrations at three different state agencies. “Someone” was always taking it through an oyster bed or trying to sink it off the Gulf Coast. (You’re supposed to put the plugs back in it before it is launched!) God only knows how much he enjoyed being out to sea and running out of gas as a Carnival Cruise ship was coming straight at us! Taking that walk on the wild side.

Happy Fathers Day, Lover

The father of my children has been gone for two Fathers Days. Last Fathers Day, I didn’t even know what was going on. I was lost and it was the first day I was totally alone since his death on June 1. I transplanted a tree in the backyard. It quickly died within weeks. I took it as a sign that there was no hope in the world. Through a lot of trials and tribulations this past year, a grip on my life, as it is now, has taken a lot of turns.

I miss my husband. Our kids miss their father.

What I would give for him to leave his dirty socks on the living room floor or empty beer cans on the table on the back porch. It would thrill me to see a broken carburetor on the glass top dining room table or to hear him singing a George Jones song from the garage.

Hold your Dads close. Tell them now how much you love them and appreciate them – everyday. We did.

 

Fascinated by home seller presentations

When my siblings and I were teenagers and ready to sell our first cars, Dad taught us a clean car sells fast. I’m not talking about running it through the $1.98 car wash. Cotton swab, white glove inspection clean to be specific. The engines were steam cleaned. The inside of the bumpers were spotless, graduation tassels removed and all Exxon tiger tails retired. There was enough Rain Dance and Armor All used to buff a Carnival Cruise Liner. The vehicles always sold fast and for the asking price.

The same can be said about listing a home for sale. I am presently searching for a home along the Texas gulf coast. The houses I’ve viewed have kept me awake and freaked out at night. A prospective buyer does not want to see cabinet doors hanging from bent hinges or your foundation garments hanging from a door knob. At least hang the pretty bras out – not the dingy ones. If you don’t own a vacuum cleaner, it would be wise to borrow, rent or steal one. Improvement would be evident if some of the carpets were swept with a broom.

Depersonalizing the home is as integral to cleanliness. Walls of family photos are important to the owners but not to potential buyers. I am haunted by a professional photograph of an older woman with a crown, like Queen Elizabeth’s, on her head. She may be some type of royalty but the home was no castle. I would rather see the hideous red velvet wallpaper than a wall full of hundreds of family photos. Yes, the dog is cute and the babies are adorable but I want to see what type of dynamite it is going to take to remodel the room.

Knickknacks, tchotchkes, trinkets, miniatures, collections and doodads all need to be put in a box and removed from the home. Statues, glass collections, paper weights, CD/DVDs, magazines, newspapers minimize the size of a room. I was afraid to turn around, with my handbag on my shoulder, for fear of knocking something off of a side table. By the way, there were multitudes of small tables in a few homes.  There were enough ducks, geese, eagles and cardinals displayed to represent the Audubon Society. Dead wildlife suspended above every doorway, fireplace and portal are, especially in the wild west, trophies of achievement to a specific fan club. Your prospective buyer may be a member of PETA. A neutral environment will enable a buyer to picture themselves living in your house. A Disney theme with Mickey, Goofy and “It’s a small world” piped in throughout the casa will not cut it.

As a home buyer, when I exit your home, I should have zero knowledge of your:

  • College affiliation
  • Religion
  • Pet preference – unless you have a built in wall aquarium or a farm/ranch property
  • Political views
  • Hoarding
  • Collection passion – e.g.: antique dolls, weapons, porn anything, dead plants, etc.
  • Smoking

“Know your selling audience” is an understatement. Your private abode will become a public forum when your home is listed. Remember, photos tell all. Understand your communities tolerance for stripper poles, trophies from the Swingers Club, bondage equipment, etc. If applicable, it would be best to put all of your toys away!

Less really is best. Fewer pieces of furniture and a minimum number of items displayed allow the seller/home owner to maintain a super clean environment with ease. It is an arduous task to ready a home, you and your family are currently living in, for a real estate viewing.

You probably don’t live in a model home. Model homes are staged environments. There isn’t anyone dropping butter bread on the carpet or leaving wet towels on the floors. Trash is virtually non-existent. Mold will not grow on a shower curtain or glass door if the home is uninhabited. Real folks live in resale homes. Develop a routine when the house is posted to the MLS.

Instead of frying fish and cabbage, keep the food smells to an infinitesimal amount. Cereal and salad usually have no smell. If you need more than two hours notice to take Barkinowski and Miss Kitty Lion for an outing and remove all pet hair in the process, pet accommodation can be included with Agent Remarks for the listing. My dog was sent on sabbatical to a relative’s home to sell our residence. Our home had multiple contracts within seven days. Alleviate any circumstance for a potential buyer to say, “no”.

Bribe the kids. Cajole your spouse/partner/roommate/other half/better half/significant other/soul mate/lover into being on your team. Be detail oriented. Mow and edge the lawn.

Curb appeal is as important as interior presentation when selling your home.

Curb appeal is as important as interior presentation when selling your home.

Pick up tripping hazards. Dust the ceiling fans and chandeliers – including the light bulbs. Keep laundry to an extreme minimum. There is no joy in dirty sock smells.  If you can pluck your eyebrows while peering intently into the kitchen sink faucet – you are on the right track.

(Please don’t steal a vacuum. This article was written with a hint of humor by an active Realtor®. Examples and experiences are real.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Realtors want you to call them

Never think you are interrupting a Realtor when you call with a question. Believe it or not, they are waiting by the telephone like a crazed teenage girl waiting for some over-sexed teenage boy to call them. This is a true fact. A Realtor depends on each and every telephone call to make their living. Too bad, if your call comes in when the Ellen show is on or they’re waiting in the Escalade, in line in front of the elementary school. (Why they drive one block from their home to wait in a line of cars and SUV’s, an hour in advance, to drive their child home is beyond my comprehension. Do they know how to walk down there and walk back?)

No question is mundane. Even if you are just being nebby and want to know information on a neighbor’s listing, a Realtor always has time to speak with you. Each and every conversation leads to a networking opportunity and a means of marketing. If a Realtor does not return your call, almost immediately – Call another Realtor. Real estate agents conducting their business in a professional manner will have a high interest in speaking to anyone interested in listing or buying a property. If you are just “thinking” about listing your property, call an agent for a comparative market analysis. Most agents will create this report for you at no cost. If an agent wants to charge you for the initial CMA, call another agent!

Call a Realtor to ask them what needs arranged in your home for a quick sale. Ask a Realtor how fast homes are selling in an area you’re thinking of purchasing in. A Realtor can calculate the monthly payment for financing your future residence. A real estate agent will know the interior and exterior paint colors in your area which dominate most sales. Call a real estate agent and ask! No real estate professional ever starved to death because they answered their phone during lunch or dinner. We actually understand that not every customer works 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday! Calls are expected before and beyond “standard business hours”.

A Realtor worth their paycheck will be forthright and up front when telling you to pack up the nick-knacks and paint the fluorescent orange den a neutral color. Factual information will be provided to assist you when making an offer on a future home. A real estate expert representing you will be working for you. Don’t apologize for calling them. They are waiting, with baited breath, for you to call them!

A casual conversation with a Realtor allows insight into new avenues when you will be ready to move. Rapid changes in the real estate vertical have created different tools, creative outlooks and economic turns which may be very different than the last real estate transaction you may have participated in. The world is spinning faster. Changes within the industry are constant.

The value gained by calling a real estate professional can make a difference in thousands of dollars in your pocket. Take advantage of their expertise.

 

Complaint-Lamar County Tax Assessor/Collector office

Recently, I went to the Lamar County courthouse in Paris, Texas to conduct changes on vehicle titles. I also had a registration that had expired in November 2013. The reason this specific registration had not been updated was due to Haskell Maroney – I take it is the person as the named Lamar County Tax Assessor-Collector, returned my check to me because the bank or credit union does not appear on their list as being “local”.

I asked the “representative” behind the counter, what specifically constitutes a local bank. Said “representative” told me if the bank wasn’t on their list, they could not accept the check. I asked how this policy or rule got instituted. She informed me the county lawyer made the rule because he was unable to collect on bounced out-of-town checks.

I think an attorney who knows how to collect bounced out-of-town checks needs to replace an attorney who does not know how to collect on insufficient out-of-town checks. For pennies per item, the checks can also be validated at the counter from an out sourced system. So, to save this “attorney” from conducting due diligence, the citizens of this county are subjected to being treated like a deadbeat. The assumption is every check not written on a local bank is bad.

If you use a debit or credit card, you are charged an extra percentage above the transaction. Without being privy to their merchant agreements, I don’t know if this percentage exceeds the amount the financial institution is charging. There are not any disclosures displayed at the counters.

Your choices for paying for the vehicle registrations are:

1. Get back into your car, find an ATM and obtain cash to pay the registration transaction.

2. Use your debit or credit card and pay an additional fee.

3. Get back into your car and drive to a bank, listed as a “local bank”, open an account, drive back to the courthouse, and wait to see if the bank is still on the local list and your check is accepted.

I did #3. When the local check was presented for the registration, I was then asked how many tickets did I receive for driving a vehicle with an expired registration. I informed the “representative” that the vehicle had not been driven with an expired registration. I had just paid her for title changes on two other vehicles with current registrations. Again, being treated like a deadbeat.

One of the title changes I requested was for an antique plate. The original antique plate registration was paid for in March 2013. This plate was good for 5 years. The “representative” told me it was expired. I informed her it was less than a year old and expires in 2018. She told me it was too late, she had already entered into the system to reissue a new one in my name only. The previous owner was my deceased husband. Because she read the expiration date as 2013 instead of 2018, it cost me more money to issue the new antique plate. When I questioned the transaction, I was immediately dismissed, again with “it’s too late, I already put it in the system”.Auto Registration 01-2014

There seemed to be little to no interest in looking at the insurance verification I presented at the window. It makes me wonder who is insured around here and who isn’t.

Word to the wise – don’t change the titles until the registration expires. Know who your elected officials are and what they won’t do when you go to the polls. Mail your “local bank check” to the Lamar County, Texas Tax Assessor/Collector so you don’t feel like a common thief, deadbeat, low life when doing it in person.

Customer service is non-existent when there is no competition. It takes training, common sense and effort to convey respect and “delight” to serve from behind the counter of a public office. Even if the policies were made by someone uneducated in the means to create fair and non-discriminating practices to the majority, the message could be relayed in a professional and positive manner. I’ve goggled this specific office and have found this situation is not new or recent. The solution to the problem is someone speaking up, providing the information necessary to rectify the adverse actions and implementing the personnel willing to practice the golden rule.

I have volunteered at a local food pantry. The clients utilizing the services of the food pantry are treated with higher regard and respect than at the courthouse where we pay all of the salaries.

 

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.