Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Small, Small World

Do you have a small world story? Most of us do. Today the husband and I took a drive, looking at houses for sale. Many of you may recall that we have our albatross/McMansion with its king-sized mortgage on the market. 

No, it hasn’t sold, but local home sales seem to be taking a slight! turn for the better. So we were doing a bit of dreaming as we drove around the area, checking for a Tiny-Baby-Pseudo-Mansion. What a relief it will be to finally sell and downsize. 

A cute little house caught our eye. I had seen it online and knew it was a vacant foreclosure. We boldly pulled in the driveway to get a closer look. We were enchanted by the live oak trees, and just had to take a walk around the house to check out the sweet shady back yard.

It’s okay, don’t panic. It was a bright afternoon, and we weren’t carrying crowbars.  Here in the South if you’re middle-aged, wear glasses, have recently had a shower, and drive a minivan, people don’t generally call the cops on you for walking around a house with a for sale sign.

The retired neighbor man next door was out mulching his azaleas. He met us at the fence and we chatted about the house. It turned out that we all were originally from the same area in another part of our state, the Outer Banks. We knew a lot of the same people, and were practically related. We talked for an hour over the chain link fence, and when we parted, he kindly said he hoped we’d be his new neighbors.

What’s more, he told us the neighbor lady’s name on the other side of the little house. Hubs and I stared at each other, eyes wide. We knew her parents from the old hometown, hundreds of miles away.

Is that just a little freaky? Or is it truly a small, small world?

What’s your small world story?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Quitting the Q: Goodbye, Home Shopping

I’m coming out of the closet as a former viewer of QVC. Sadly, I can’t stomach it anymore. Yes, the astronomical prices of gold and silver have taken a little zest from my life. Goodbye, QVC.

For those of you who are sane, reasonable people who don’t watch television shopping, QVC is the biggest shopping network. On TV for over 20 years now, the company got its hold over cuckoo Americans like me by hawking gold and silver jewelry. Oh, and of course cubic zirconias, the diamond look-alikes that once sparkled in my ears.

Like many, I was turned on to the gateway drug of QVC by a girlfriend wearing a pretty gold ring. It was back about 1990 when she shyly told me she’d purchased it from TV. From TV! I was shocked, amazed, and I admit it, titillated. I wanted a pretty gold ring, too, by golly, and soon I had one. Set with pretty peridots and juicy-colored amethysts.

Oh, I was hooked.

I was living alone at that time, lonely and bored. The QVC “hosts” as they’re called, talked to me as if I was one of the girls. They worked to create “relationships” with viewers, and after all, there’s a 30 day unconditional money-back guarantee! They were there for my viewing pleasure, 24-7, always perky, showing me shiny stuff. I do like shiny stuff. Oh, those were heady years, way back before the internet, you sweet youngsters.

Only my cautious nature about spending money saved me from certain ruin. I liked gold, but after all, it was $200.00 an ounce! So I limited myself to one or two gold items a year (or every other year), and a sprinkling of sterling silver and gems here and there. I even tried a few of the cubic zirconias, but only if they were small enough to be possibly be mistaken for “real.” Oh, I was sly.

But then came the rise, seemingly overnight, in gold prices. QVC executives could not have imagined what nearly $2,000 an ounce gold would do to their programing, once so heavy with gold jewelry shows. 

Bracelets that once sold for $200.00 on their network now priced at a staggering $1,000 retail. Even sterling jewelry pieces today commonly go for over $100.00, a price that impulse buyers (is there any other kind of buyer for TV shopping?) found harder to justify.

What was a shopping channel to do? The Q started pushing designer handbags, such as Dooney and Bourke, pricey cosmetics from Philosophy and Bare Minerals, costume jewelry by Joan Rivers and Nolan Miller, fashions by Bob Mackie and Issac Mizrahi.

Eh. I tried a few cosmetics, but it just wasn’t the same rush.

What broke me of television shopping once and for all were the vacuum cleaners. When the best my on-air buddies could do was try to strong-arm me into buying a Dyson or an Oreck, I knew we were through.

A vacuum cleaner does not make my selfish, materialistic heart flutter like a 14 kt. gold bauble. No. Not nearly shiny enough. Maybe they could try embedding some cubic zirconias in the vac handles? Maybe not. 


Goodbye, QVC. It was fun while it lasted. Yet another former guilty pleasure gone. Sob.

P.S. I sold a pile of my old jewelry recently, and you know what? I wish I had bought more back in 1990. If only I had loaded up on the stuff, I’d be able to finance a Mediterranean cruise on the proceeds. Who’d a thunk my dirty little secret buying habits would have proved so profitable? I’m still astonished.

You’ll never get that kind of return on a pet-hair attachment super-suction vac.

Friday, May 11, 2012

End of Semester: Knocked-out (Knock-out roses)

Survived another semester. I love you, my readers. I shall live to blog another day, but for now, rest and recovery is needed. Summer semester begins in less than a week.
Happy Mother's Day and Happy Spring to all!