Infomercial Intrigue

Jeff and I shared the desire to own our own business. Since we both had jobs, we often talked about what we’d like to do, together, someday. And since Jeff was up late at night a lot, he was the one who saw the Tom Bosely, Specialty Merchandise Corporation infomercial. He told me about it in the morning on our way to work. That evening we crammed into our tiny office in the Tecumseh townhouse, fired up the computer and read everything there was to read on the SMC website.

We started off with a standard website and sent out a dozen business inquiries. We thought we should start small. We received one response from a tattoo shop in Tecumseh, set up a meeting and sold a few things. We sent out another dozen, but nothing came of those.

Jeff came up with another idea, though. Jeff used to sell trading cards at expos and we both loved flea markets, so we decided to try those route. The hardest thing about retail is trying to gauge what buyers want. We set out to see what was missing from the local weekend markets, and decided it was garden décor and birdhouses. I also included some of my fabric flower pins, just to see what would happen.

We did well enough our first show to earn back our table fee and recoup half of our purchase money. It didn’t come close to breaking even for us, especially with the program buy-in fee. I took the catalogues into work and made a few sales that way. What was left was taken to another flea. That’s where we learned (which we should have already known) that the same buyers go many places to see what is different. Of course, we should have known that, because that’s why we went to many places, as well.

After spring and summer, comes winter and no markets. We had quite a bit of stock left, and our enthusiasm for dragging around merchandise, setting up and tearing down displays every weekend kinda fizzled. It came up in conversation one day with friends who had a retail space in a mall that currently had some open spaces available.

“What good would a store be?” I asked Jeff. “You can’t just have a store open on weekends…”

“Well, why not? Sure ya can.” He replied, quickly adding, “Let’s just go look…”

Quote for the Week:

2017 09 05 Ive learned a lot from infomercials jakorte

How to flea market: Flea Market Facts

Flea Markets Today: A Little More Sophisticated

Pure Michigan: MI Flea Market Map

 

Leaps and Bounding

Sadie continue to tall-up. She was adorable and sweet and fun, just different. Maybe not so smart, but sometimes smarter than us. We solved the litter-box raids by putting up a baby gate at the door to the laundry room. For the first few days, she’d do a double-take whenever she passed it.

A few days later Sadie seemed to realize what she was missing. She’d stop and sit, stare longingly into the laundry room for a few seconds, huff and then hoof it. She was also obsessed with the red ball.

She really loved that cheap dollar-store firm foam orb. As far as toys go, Sadie never touched the kong. Squeaky toys were instantly dismantled; pieces strewn about were discarded. Somehow, she always managed to hide the squeaker part somewhere obscure. We’d look for them, but never once found one. There’d suddenly be a squeeze frenzy days later. Many times, while one of us was on the phone and often after we’d been asleep for a bit.

Jeff discovered he could keep her entertained longer by sending her on longer indoor fetches. He had perfected a double bounce that would propel the ball into the dining room. He achieved that by launching the ball toward the right wall of the hallway, where it angle-bounced to the left wall. From there it flew it into the dining room and if Jeff and Sadie were lucky, the ball would deflect off a chair and travel toward the living room.

That worked well until the day Sadie bounded after her red ball as it bounced off the hall wall into the laundry room. I watched in fascinated dread as it seemed she would easily clear our brilliant barrier. Sadie flew after it, naturally jumping right over our stop-gap.

“Sadie! No!” I cried out. But my sudden loud outburst hadn’t slowed her down at all. When she didn’t reappear, I slammed the recliner footrest down, stumbling away from a startled Jeff.  He hadn’t quite processed what was going on, partly because he couldn’t see around the corner and mostly because I hadn’t filled him in.

“Oh, no! No, no, no no no!” I wailed in dismay. By the time I arrived at the entry door, Sadie was snout deep in Miss Fred’s refuse.

Jeff was halfway out of his chair with alarm, yelling back, “What? What?”

Sadie smiled happily at me, picked up her ball, took a running start and just as easily re-cleared the gate on her way back to Jeff.

“You bounced the ball into the laundry!” I huffed. “She jumped the gate and got into the litter again.”

“Oh, that’s no big deal,” Jeff poo-poo’ed me. “That’s what dogs do.”

“Just now!” I emphasized. “Right before she picked up that … that ball with her POTTY mouth and gave it to you.”

Jeff looked down at his hand. “Arrrgghhhh!” His situational assessment was shortly followed by “EEWWWWWWW!” and a forceful arm catapult as the ball went whizzing by my head.

Quote for the week:

2017 08 22 The fancier the plan, the more can jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Fancy Doggie: Gates

Patent Baby: Gate

Safety: Gates

Leaps & Unexpected Bounds

I learned that runt meant Sadie was just behind the doggie curve… not destined to remain inherently mellow.

Miss Fred learned she could hide under the wooden rocking chair, shoot her left paw out and slap Sadie’s face as our tireless pup ran by in pursuit of her red ball.

We doggedly tried to get that on video tape, sure we could with $10,000 on America’s Funniest Videos. Back then video meant a large clunky machine with a blinding light near the lens. It didn’t help that it needed to be retrieved from the office closet, either. We left it out on the dining room table for a very long time. Freddie never cooperated.

Jeff learned something, too. “Hmm,” he said self-quizzically one day, after Sadie got into what Jeff humorously named the “no-bake doggie buffet.” She’d root around in Fred’s box and stealthily eat the crunch-coated brown stuff. The thing is she wasn’t as stealth as she thought, but by the time we saw the cat litter impacted in her nostrils, the deed had already been done. “Ya know,” he said thoughtfully. “I don’t think I’d ever heard you yell – before we got a dog.”

At about 6 months old Sadie had appropriately doubled her width, but something wasn’t quite right.

As she grew, her legs grew to twice the expected height. She wasn’t quite sure what to do with her long limbs, either. Instead of a low-to-the-ground JR scoot, Sadie pranced around like Bambi.

I said to Jeff, “I don’t think she’s normal.” Jeff glanced over at me and asked, “What do you mean?”

“I mean… her legs, and her tail…” I pointed to where Sadie stood smiling. “She shouldn’t be that tall. She’s like a Jack Russell on stilts! And her tail? Is it supposed to be that long….?”

 Jeff tilted his head to that doggie-don’t-understand angle. After a beat, he peered over his glasses at me. “I told ya she looked different and probably wouldn’t get adopted…”

I tilted my head to an unnatural angle even for a dog and said, “What?”

“Yeah,” he said shrugging his shoulders. “She didn’t look like the other ones…. and her tail didn’t get docked because she was too tiny and weak.”

I struggled with this news. “She was weak?” I asked. “Sickly?” I asked. “We got a defective dog?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Jeff said eyeballing me cautiously. He gnawed on his bottom lip, took a big breath and sighed. Looking at the floor, he pressed his lips together like he was trying to come up with the just right thing to say. Nodding once to himself, he looked up and continued on patiently, “That’s what runt means.…”

Quote for the Week:

2017 08 14 you should always know the meaning jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

The First: Dictionary

Word of The: Day

Definitions: Runt

 

 

Once a Week

As near as I can tell, I began my first on-line blog in February 2008. The only semi-proofs I have are a binder-clipped, wrinkled paper table of contents printed on December 27, 2013, and an entry dated November 10, 2009 that indicates I’d been at it for 89 weeks.

The announcement that the University of Michigan library would be offering a free movable type publishing platform arrived in a daily news email. Known as ‘mblog’ the site hosted my weekly entries until December 2013.

I eased into blogging by rolling away from a previous weekly publishing. What started as a weekly email to 37 people turned into a way to update family, friends and coworkers on a 2007 mission trip.  I called the original email newsletter, “Midweek Encouragement” and it offered just that. The standard header on each weekly Word document read, “One Page, Once A Week for the Promotion of Learning and Love.”

When mblog ended, I had to find a new way to keep sharing. I researched a bit and ended up on WordPress. The reviews indicated it was an easy-to-use site, the yearly fee was reasonable and instead of having to email a link directly to my readers, the link could be auto-sent to any subscriber.

The subscriber thing didn’t exactly take. The direct email list is now 64 participants, and the WordPress subscriber list has stalled at 58. Exposure on Facebook and Twitter is auto-linked and between the two, there are at least 250 potential exposures.

February must be an historically slow month for me because that’s the month I chose to enter the Instagram world in 2016. I’m hovering around 175 followers there.  To be honest my average weekly WP stats show about 25 average views per week.

The most read week I ever had was October 4, 2016 with 131 views, not so coincidentally the near 10th year anniversary of my husband Jeff’s  passing. This isn’t a pity party. It’s just me contemplating my strange dedication to maybe being heard, at least once a week.

Here’s what I do know, though. 484 weeks in, the answer to the hard and frequent question addressed in that November 2009 passage hasn’t changed much.

Quote for the Week:

2017 06 06 Its been said to take a minimum of 3 weeks jakorte

 

 

Broth – no ‘el’

Nannee went back and forth a few times, but eventually settled into an extended stay with us.

That was precipitated by a very bad flu. She had terrible coughing fits, trouble keeping anything down, and was reluctant to eat. Through badgering, I finally got Nannee to agree to try some beef broth and crackers.

When I brought them to her, she looked up at me tiredly and apologized ‘for being such a burden.’ “You shouldn’t be taking care of me,” she said. “You should be doing what young people do…”

“What do young people do?” I laughed, as I set down the tray. “Nannee,” I told her. “We want you here with us. The only time we feel you’re safe is when you’re here.”

What I meant was if she was with us, we weren’t worrying about her at home alone. It didn’t come out that way, of course. She distastefully screwed up her face, looked at me sidewise, and said she was going to rest.

“Ok,” I replied, backing out, well aware I’d managed to insult her again. This time by inferring she was incompetent and couldn’t take care of herself.

I didn’t get a chance to explain it all to Jeff when he came home because he stopped in Nannee’s room first.

After a while, he came into the kitchen and gave me a look of complete unfathomableness.

“Why,” he asked, extending his arm and thrusting out his pointer finger, “did you tell Nannee the only time we have sex is when she’s here?”

“That’s not what I said!” I protested.  “What I said was – the only time we feel you’re safe is when you’re here!”

Jeff let out an uproarious laugh. Then, the doorbell rang. Pastor David had come to give Nannee communion at her request. Jeff ushered him into the guest room and within 30 seconds, I heard more uproarious laughter coming from that end of the house.

Of course, I was mortified. First, because I would have never said what she thought I said. Second, because now the pastor was in on this situation. Third, because Jeff’s brother Eric was also in on it, as well.

After communion, and after Pastor and Eric left, I slid by Jeff. “Nannee,” I sat on the edge of the bed, “I didn’t say that!” “Jeff told me,” she smiled widely, patting my hand with hers.  Jeff started laughing, again, which made me laugh. That set Nannee off into a combo laughing/coughing fit.

When we all calmed down a bit, I noticed she hadn’t eaten anything. I took the tray off the nightstand and told her I was going to warm up the broth, again.

On my way to the kitchen, I heard Jeff laughing again. Although I saw the amusement in the situation, it just wasn’t funny enough to keep carrying on like that. It didn’t last long, so I guessed it was finally over.

I came back in with the reheated cup. Jeff took one look at me and doubled over. He was laughing and sweating and slapping his knee and trying to breathe. “Nannee thought,” he wheezed out.

“Oh, Jeff – don’t… ’” Nannee interrupted him.

“Nannee thought,” he continued after a deep breath.

“Jeeehhhff!” Nannee squawked.

Jeff was determined. “Nannee said…” He straightened up a bit and another deep breath.

“She said,” he hiccupped like a broken record. “She said – ‘Did she say something about a brothel?!’”

Quote for the week:

 

2017 05 30 Speak softly jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

For: softly

Against:  softly

Musically:  killing me softly

Furnished, Part 3.

The house in Adrian, was our first test of wills… as in “will we or won’t we?”

I said “yes” to Jeff a lot. I also said “no,” a lot. I said yes to some strange things and no to some very normal others. That was my young marriage my version of “give and take.”

Three bedrooms became an obvious master, a guest room and an office. Jeff preferred to turn the room closest to the guest bath into the office. I said, “No.” Explaining that the guest bedroom was situated in a small alcove and the bathroom was in that alcove, as well. Therefore, it made more sense to do it my way.

Jeff just shrugged and started lugging boxes to the right rooms. Truly, he didn’t really care which room would be what. Once the office was set-up he noted that the now office was really a bit bigger than the other room, received more natural light and said with a smile, “You were right.”

We were generously gifted a slightly used dark wood bedroom suite: bed base, bureau and mirrored dresser, which we loved.

My travelling bed, (the simple metal frame, box spring and mattress my parents made me buy), landed in the guest room

There was den on the backside of the house, and an awkward formal or semi-formal living room space inside the front door. The reclining couch went to the den. The slate tile tables originally went there, as well, but we quickly got tired of heaving the heavy rock coffee table out of the way each time we wanted to put our feet up.

For a while, our living room oddly consisted only of a coffee table and two end tables.

Prefab houses come pre-decorated. With the exception of the kitchen and what became the guest bathroom, the entire thing was carpeted in a shade of red that reminded me of the congealed mess after the first “Don’t be alarmed,” vein popping experience.

We chuckled that was our good fortune should there be any future incidences, but I really disliked it. I also disliked the maroon and various shades of blue wall papering, chair rails and curtains, and the only slightly matching pinkish and light-blue linoleum in the kitchen and the guest bathroom. The master bath was also wall-to-wall carpeted; same color.

I swore I would dislike that color scheme, forever. “Nah,” Jeff said. “You’ll get used to it, and then you won’t even notice anymore.” I was predictably skeptical.

Quote for the Week:

2017 03 07 decor disasters you will get used to it jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Bathrooms: Carpet, No

Noticing: Or, Not

Color: What Goes

Sometimes the Story

Sometimes the story just won’t tell itself.

 

There are times when I have nothing to say, but this isn’t one of them.

 

I know where the story goes from here, but tonight is not the night.

 

This night is distracted, blocked; a tumultuous time crying out the truth in tears,

howling high over the whorl-winds, this crucial point:

I cannot avoid the storm, because I am the storm.

When it’s over, again, I won’t feel the same, again,

and that’s ok: I’ve been a storm long enough.

 

2017-02-28-sometimes-the-story-just-wont-tell-itself-jakorte