Carded

Remember how I’ve mentioned, more than a few times, the key to a good relationship is notes?

I mean, love notes, silly notes, random unexpected notes.

We both loved notes: handwritten, typed, sticky, email, text, added to a homemade or store-bought card. On a scrap of paper, a bank deposit slip – in any way or shape or form. A few words, a smiley face; maybe just a heart. Little reminders that we were part of a wonderful “We.”

I have a lot of “first” cards. First card ever. First Valentine’s Day.

My first birthday. A card Jeff gave to me the first time I shared his birthday with him.

First Valentine’s Day and birthday as “Wife.”

All these little sweet and silly stories hold a wealth of history and such huge feelings.

Quote for the Week: (contributed by my editor. ;-))

“Even though post-it notes are removable and can be moved from place to place, somehow, the post-it notes written by loved ones stick forever.”

2019 01 22 carded 3 jakorte2019 01 22 carded 2 jakorte

2019 01 22 carded jakorte

 

Tah Dah! (and other love notes)

We weren’t lighting the world, the state or even the city up, but the Michigan Hot Sauce Club was our baby. If we sold one or two of something, we’d order one or two more, plus a new product or two until we’d reach free shipping status. Jeff had long and real conversations with our suppliers. I came across many of them while going through his email after he passed away.

I also have a good number of interesting and humorous exchanges between us. At first, I held onto them accidentally. Clearing out email wasn’t even something I’d ever considered doing, for which I am thankful. I’ve held onto them for a long time, now, considering most of them are 12-15 years old. I haven’t shared them before, but now seems like a good time.  So, keeping in mind we were married in 2001, went through deaths of multiple family members and Jeff’s health was failing, here comes a small sampling of some of the best support we offered each other.

05/06/2004 Re; hello?

Me: I love you!

Jeff: wooo hooo!!!! can ya see me do the snoopy dance? ? ? you love me!!! and I love you!!!

05/10/2004 Re: ok… so…

Me: I love you more than the never-ending blue sky that is always around when you are. kisses. me.

Jeff: I think you just made my day … my week… my month… my life… I love youuuuuuuu

09/16/2004 Re: Christmas cards

Me: We have blank card stock, so we need envelopes, but here is my idea [for MHSC]…. Happy Jala-Days!

Jeff: sometimes I think I would like to crawl inside your head, just to see how you think up all your great ideas.

01/05/2005

Jeff: I can’t remember if I told you that I loved you this morning… so just to make sure…. I LOVE YOU! Jeff

01/19/2005 Re: American Idol

Jeff: Well shoot. We missed American Idol last night. But I really enjoyed snuggling up together and reading last night. I love you. Bubba

02/09/2005 Re: nothing but trouble

Jeff: You are the GREATEST wife in the world. I don’t know what I would be doing without you. Probably be locked in the basement at Gary & Mom’s is my guess. I’m so glad you came into my life. I hate it when I get short and grumpy at you. I feel like such a heel when I let myself do that. I think for Lent I will give up arguing with you. Oh, did I tell you lately that I love you? Well, just in case I haven’t…. I LOVE YOUUUUU!! If I could get up on the roof of OUR house, I would shout it from the rooftops for all to know and hear! Will you be my Valentine??

03/07/2005

Jeff: We can get schmaltz from the mustard guy

07/01/2005

Me: Almost quitting time. Looking forward to our long weekend! Do you know when the fireworks start?

Jeff: I’m hoping tonight when you get home. 😉

02/14/2006

Jeff: Gappy Valentine’s Day! oxoxox. I LOVE YOU!! TAH DAH! (He was missing a front tooth.)

06/27/2006

Jeff: it’s raining cats & dogs. I just stepped in a poodle!

08/31/2006

Jeff: I LOVE YOU!! TAH DAH!

09/22/2006

Jeff: Seasonings Affective Disorder = the need 2 kick things up a notch when they taste fine the way they are.

Quote for the Week:

2018 04 10 the secret to any good relationship sticky notes jakorte 04 10 2018

I Wish You Could Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Link:

Unfortunately, I’ve spent about an hour and a half searching for the source of our “Tah Dah!” It came from a TV program Jeff and I watched one night featuring a humorous inspirational blonde woman speaker; I believe from Australia. Her two key phrases and matching gestures were “Get Over It!” and “Tah Dah!”

Tah Dah.

Dream-Talk

In the few days before lease signing, we checked to see if there was another hot sauce store anywhere in our vicinity. There wasn’t. That was good.

We needed a license, but first we needed a name. I thought there was an advantage to having a Tecumseh store address and that Tecumseh should part of the name.

Tecumseh Hot Sauce Company and Tecumseh Hot House were contenders, but boring. We tried to find something that rhymed with our last name and made sense with what we would be trying to sell. That didn’t go well. It was impossible.

Jeff suggested Jeff & Jodi’s Joint. I debated whether or not that could be misconstrued for a bar or a head-shop. It also didn’t say anything about what we were trying to sell. For example, The Chocolate Vault in Tecumseh obviously sold chocolate. They sold other stuff too, of course, but at least it was specific enough.

We decided to keep working on the name game, after dinner. Over Jeff’s homemade tomato sauce and pasta, we dream-talked about what would make our store wonderful. A frequent buyer card, taste testing, grand opening mailing list, a good variety of product.

It was also important to get a solid idea of what kind of up-front cash we would need.

In retrospect, I don’t suppose it matters what type of retail space you have, if it’s only 10 x 10.

There are many advantages to limited size: cheap rent, not a lot of room for fixtures, limited stock space, and one person can cover the whole store by themselves. I know some of these don’t seem like good things, but when you have small, your expenses are small.

Sure, only 2-3 other people could fit in there at a time, but that was good for conversation, which Jeff was very good at. Because I’d worked in retail in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York City, I happily declared that this would prevent shop-lifting stock loss.

“But,” Jeff tsk-ed.,“…this… is… Tecumseh…” he finished with obvious hometown pride.

Clearing the table, I pitched another possible store name. “Hey, how about Jeff & Jodi’s Hot Spot?” I proposed. “Boy,” he exclaimed on a burst of laughter, “I don’t think of hot sauce when I hear that …. sounds like you’re talkin’ ’bout your lady parts!”

“Eek!” I giggled. “Fine,” I volleyed back. “How about just Jeff’s Hot Spot, then?”

“Nah,” Jeff said. “I don’t like that. We’re doing this together.”

Quote for the Week:

2017 10 10 where you come from effects how you feel about where you are

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Choosing a Business Name: Don’t

Choosing a Business Name: Do

Choosing a Business Name: Licensing

 

 

 

4 Hour Assembly, Required

If you’ve ever put together a do-it-yourself anything, you’ll know it’s never as easy as it seems.

Our new to-be wardrobe-turned-cabinet was no exception. Assembly began in the living room. We’d agreed that the laundry room would be too tight to try it there, and we might damage the linoleum or the cabinet finish. Working on the carpet, did us no favors, though. It was hard to even off the sections and perfectly align the frame.

With the intention of continuing to work in the kitchen, I lay down a top sheet while Jeff moved all the unattached parts.  Back in the living room, we stood what we’d put together upright to keep its integrity together. Then, we ran into a minor obstacle.

The cabinet was taller than the door frame between the dining room, the off-shoot kitchen and the hallway to the den. My many moving experiences came in handy just then. We just needed to angle it down a few degrees to pass below the threshold. It went through easily.

Getting ready to move. “Wait a minute. Wait a miiiinute,” Jeff said setting his side down. I followed suit. Jeff peered around me into the kitchen. Then peered into the hallway, and said, “We’re gonna have the same problem gettin’ it in there.”  ‘In there’ meant the laundry room.

“That’s ok,” I answered, “we’ll just angle it again.”

“Well…” Jeff stalled, scratching his beard. “Yeah, I think that door way is narrower and after puttin’ it together, it’s gonna be really heavy and hard to tilt.”

“Oh,” I said, immediately envisioned us tilting too much, dropping it on the floor and ruining the cabinet before we ever used it.

“Yeah,” he answered. “We’re gonna have to build it in there.” I didn’t think it was going to be possible for both of us to get in there with the darn thing and work on it.

“Well… Jeff shrugged. “We gotta try it….” So, we slid the flimsy shell down the short hall, angled it once again and set it upright where we thought it might go best. Unfortunately, leaving it there would mean never being able to open the side door fully.

Jeff thought that would be alright. I didn’t. I worried about damaging the door, damaging the cabinet and how we’d even move it if we had to bring something through that side door. “How about over there?” I suggested.

Jeff sighed and nodded. He pushed, I pulled and we kept it together enough to place it closer to the laundry room entrance. There was more of a corner wall to be tucked in nicely, which also kept the door from banging the front. It was a good spot. We lowered the framed structure down to the floor again, which again, sounds easier than it was.

The very tight fit left only room for one. Since Jeff was on the far end of the cabinet, he was more-or-less stuck in the laundry room. He wouldn’t be able to get out without stepping onto the thin backboard or leaving the house entirely through the side door and come in the front door.

Jeff took a floor seat and undid some of the work he had already done in order to square it up, re-tighten bolts and ensure the construction was as solid as it could be. I transported all of the parts from the kitchen to the hallway.  That left me in charge of relaying the instructions after I identified which part was which and what went next. That led to a few tense moments.

From start to finish, moving and moving and moving it, unassembling and reassembling, and a few step-aside moments, took about 3 hours. By the time we stood the behemoth up, anchored it to the wall, attached the doors and crankily debated the proper shelf spacing, another hour had gone by.

Standing back to admire our handiwork, I thoughtfully considered our success. “You know…” I offered, “We could really  go get another one and put it right next to this one…”

“The only thing we’re gonna to get tonight is a pizza,” Jeff replied picking up the phone. “And,” he added, continuing to search  speed dial for The Pizza Bucket, “We’ve got enough cabinets. We’ve got more than enough cabinets. We’re never gonna need another cabinet…. ever.”

Bringing the phone to his ear, he said “Hi … I’d like to place an order…”

Quote for the Week:

2017 03 21 For a long time, I_ve suspected pizza collusion jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Pizza Delivery:  All You Need to Know

Pizza Crust:  Make Your Own

Sauder: Assembly Required

 

 

Good Measure

When I picture our couples decision-making conversations, I realize I did a lot of pulling.

Carpet Outlet Plus was just down the road from our new home. We’d first gone in to look at possibly replacing the blood red carpet. Realizing it wasn’t going to be immediately affordable, Jeff was still convinced I’d grow out of my dislike.

Jeff got sidetracked in the carpet-tile section by an enter-to-win opportunity. He never missed an opportunity to enter a raffle.  If there was a box to put your name in, he’d put his name in. “You can’t win if you don’t enter,” he’d say. He’d also happily field the predictable sales calls that usually followed.

We wandered around a little on the way out just to be sure we hadn’t missed something, and we had. A small section of the warehouse displayed a few all assembly required Sauder line samples.

I had been thinking maybe a book shelf or two would solve the laundry room’s no-cabinets dilemma. There weren’t any book cases, but there was an armoire that seemed even better because it had doors to hide the supplies behind. We knew it would be a discount flooring warehouse with

Picturing it, I immediately had my heart set on a white one. Jeff preferred the wood faux-finish. Of course, there were only light and dark wooden finishes in the size I thought would fit. “It just looks nicer,” he said, politely trying to sway me. “Oh,” I responded, bluntly. “I think the fake stuff looks cheap.” “Oh.” he said. “Hmmm.”

Around the next bend there was a much larger, white double cabinet.  “Hey, look! It’s white!” Jeff smiled, assuring me that it would fit where it needed to fit. I didn’t think so. I argued that it would stick out too far into the doorway and crowd the space. We realized we’d have to go home to measure.

On the way out, my chicken radar activated. My swiveling eyes locked on a chicken clock. It was a rather large, regular round clock with a chicken feed motif, metal movements and an antique finish. It was $52 dollars, though, which was about half the cost of the large cabinet.  We considered that, then, left empty-handed with a “maybe someday” agreement.

Off we went to Lowe’s. They didn’t have what we wanted, either. But, as long as we were there, we went in search of lampshades for the bedside lamps that came along with the bedroom suite. It’s funny now that we didn’t know we’d need to know what size shade we needed. We didn’t have a clue, so we gave up shopping, went home and measured for both items.

The following week, Jeff received a call from the carpet store, informing him that he had the won the weekly drawing. The prize was a gift certificate. We took our measurements with us and came to the conclusion that the larger cabinet would fit nicely, giving us more storage space.

As we were completing the sale at the cashier desk, I pointed out to Jeff that the chicken clock was no longer where it had been.  “The chicken clock?” the woman behind the desk asked. “Yes,” I said. “It was hanging in that space right behind you.”

“Oh,” she pointed. “You mean that chicken clock over there? That’s the last one and it’s been marked down.”  Jeff asked me if I wanted it. I replied, “I don’t know…” “Well, how much is it?” he asked. It was $28 dollars.

Jeff nodded his head and told the lady we’d take it. “We will?” I squeaked. “Yeah.” He went on to  adamantly explain, “We were gonna buy a cabinet anyway, so we’ll just use the gift certificate for it. It’s like a little bonus!”

We stood in the parking lot a moment shaking and scratching our heads. Somehow, we stuffed the flat-boxed armoire and the chicken clock into the Neon, and headed home.

Quote for the Week:

2017 03 14 lucky enough to enter jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Furniture:  Good Measure

Carpet :  Good Measure

Carpet Outlet Plus:  A Very Good Measure