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Gift from Hil Part 2 - 2014-12-30
A Gift from Hil - 2014-12-28
There was A LOT of turkey. - 2014-12-04
Can we just jump to January please? - 2014-11-14
A (don't kick the) Bucket List - 2014-10-28

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8:38 p.m. - 2013-07-01

Whenever I see a sign saying, 'House For Sale By Owner' I think this, "Too cheap to pay a professional realtor? What else have you cheaped out on over the years, you tightwad? How many duct tape 'repairs' because you were too tight-fisted to pay a real plumber/contractor/electrician? How many handyman DIY specials waiting to spring leaks and/or burn the place down? How much mold is in your cellar? Yuck, yuck, yuck!"

Obviously I have strong feelings about this. I never sold real estate but I've sold just about everything else (legal) and am a firm believer in letting the pros do their jobs and that they are worth their commissions. A good realtor will not only sell your house faster and for a better price than doing it yourself, but a good realtor will also help with everything from making sure your place shows properly by decluttering and doing some inexpensive cosmetics to walking you through the closing paperwork. They'll advise on bringing your house up to code. Realtors do all kinds of helpful stuff which the cheap-asses miss out on and usually get their tightwad butts in a bind over somewhere along the line. All because they are too blinded by the 'terrible' pain of handing over 3-6% of the selling price. GAH!

This peculiar passion of mine spills over into other areas. Tipping at restaurants. A server who is on the ball and advises about the specials and keeps my drink topped off as well as bringing my meal can expect a tip in the 20% + range. Especially breakfast servers, I've spoken of this before. Serving breakfast is a whole lot more hassle for a whole lot less money. Other places? I absolutely refuse to use self-check-out lanes. There's somebody out there who could really use that job. A warm body running a register, bagging my stuff, and thanking me for my purchase isn't too much to ask from a retailer. And yeah, maybe I got a skewed view of retail as a kid because back then 'shopping' meant going to Lord and Taylor's third floor, sitting in an uncomfortable Louis XIV gilded chair next to my Chanel grandmother while the floor manager and her bevy of salesgirls brought us things to consider- outfits with complementing shoes and hats, dresses with the appropriate undergarments and hosiery, etc. Might have been over the top and totally not the norm, but I learned the value of knowledgeable service. Later on when the tables turned and I was the one on the other side of the order pad/register I carried that experience with me and did my darnedest to offer up the best service I could.

I dunno. 'Service' in my mind has never equaled 'lowly' or 'unskilled'. Service work is often seen as such, mostly because there's no expensive college degree attached to qualify for hiring, but this doesn't mean it's not difficult to do well or that just anybody can do it.

Perhaps it's excellence I appreciate so much. A well-executed card trick, a furious guitar riff, someone on the other end of the help line who truly knows their product and walks me through a complicated computer repair, whatever, I'm grateful. So all you folks who answer phones or prepare taxes or schlep bagels or mow lawns or like today, gave me an outstanding pedicure, thanks.

And you, the honker with the 'House For Sale By Owner' sign? Hire a realtor. Now.

So, LA, when you're not on your soapbox whatcha been up to?

This. That. The other thing.

Shopping. Groceries, mostly. Have I mentioned how much I love my shopping bags? I've been adding to my collection and now have an even dozen of some wonderful totes from Sam's Club. (I tried making a hot link but the code isn't working.) Anyhoodle, the bags are large rectangular beauties with a sturdy flat bottom and two sets of handles. Short ones for gripping like a suitcase and longer ones so you can sling the bag on your shoulder. The totes are tested to 50lbs and hold boodles of stuff. Makes bringing things in from the car a breeze with a week's worth of food tucked into only four or five bags. I used one to haul my crap to Deb's a couple weeks ago and it worked just fine as a weekender. Because they're all of a size and are assorted geometric prints in stark black and white the totes are also quite sharp looking. Something that got me cranky and envious looks from my fellow shoppers at Shoprite yesterday. What can I say? Even when I'm eco-friendly I do it with style. And really would you expect less from the woman with the exact right pashmina/scarf/earrings for any and every occasion? Uh huh, I thought not.

Also did a bit of clothes shopping. I've truly gotten too fat to fit in my former summer clothing with any comfort. Okay, the booty shorts and old grungy t-shirts I slop around the house in are still fine, but to be covered decently when in public I was in serious trouble. I was down to a single pair of jeans and a short khaki skirt. My collection of gauzy tie-dyed dresses is still okay too, but just a bit too swashy for daily wear. I needed tops and I needed them fast. Hence a spree at The Avenue the other day where I got three lovely embroidered hippy/gypsy blouses and some lightweight slacks that I need to take in at the waist. Bulgy or not, I'm still an hourglass. And my ass is still narrower than my shoulders. Whew! Today I burned through the Old Navy gift card MIL gave me for Mother's Day. T-shirts, plain in all the essential colors- black, white, grey, and navy. I have an ankle-length denim skirt around here somewhere but I'm dipped if I can find the stupid thing. Throw that into the mix and I'm good until fall when I can go back to my beloved (and oh so flattering) blazers and boots. My loathing for summer isn't just because I sweat and flounder and gasp for air like a beached orca...the clothes suck.

On my desk is a fabulous spray of daisies and mums- some naturally white, some dyed red and blue. A gift to honor the Fourth from Mick as an acknowledgment of my unquenchable patriotism. Mick the cynic and consummate conspiracy theorist is down on this country. All countries, actually, and all governments, and pretty much everything else about people too, but he gives way when faced with my blazing belief. I love this country. Do I think we're right about everything? Not hardly. I love people. Do I think we as a species get it right even most of the time? Nope.

But...(and it's a big BUT) we have Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein, Isabel Allende, Judy Garland. We've whomped up Dick Butkus, Stephen Hawking, Nora Ephron, Jonas Salk, and Dr Seuss. We have Stephen King, Man Ray, and Joan Jett. A species that can produce Edith Piaf, Edith Wharton, and Edith Bunker cannot be worthless. Or entirely wrong.

So. I believe. I believe in service. I believe in a job well done. I believe in excellence. I believe in something despite the flubs and the flaws and the mistakes and the deliberate ignorance and cruelty.

And that, my friends, is enough for anyone. ~LA

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