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Just a spot to share some wisdom from God's Word for women of all ages...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Life As I Know It….. Shopping at Wal-Mart – Home Away from Home.

Going to Wal-Mart is a necessary evil.  They are the premier store for just about anything you would need.  Underwear, got it.  Dishes, 43 different sets await you.  Denture cream? Aisle two.  Frozen pizza?... head to grocery.  There is a reason that one builds a super store and sells its products at rather reasonable prices.  I don’t even know why a community builds anything other than a super Wal-Mart.  The smaller stores do not carry anything.  In one small community, to fill up counter space, they had rows and rows of Styrofoam coolers.  Now unless there is a run on Salmon swimming upstream in Sometown, Georgia, I find it difficult to fathom the reasoning behind this.  The smaller stores have a grocery, but they are terribly lacking in carrying the 10,000 brands of deodorant we have all grown accustom to sorting through.

Although I need to make purchases from Wal-Mart, I physically and emotionally dread going there.  Just maneuvering a cart through 3,000 people for 10 hours is draining.  Many stores have gone through a re-organization process so nothing is where it used to be, and it is rare, now, to find any two laid out the same way.  If you frequent a couple of stores in neighboring towns you have to remember where items are in each store.  The result is that you can spend literally hours or days wandering through the store trying to locate what you want.  Are the cleaning products in with grocery in this store or in a separate section near gardening?  Logically you will find pet products right next to wrapping paper and greeting cards.  You can whip right from light bulbs directly into auto.  The housewares department is four blocks long and did you know that nobody sells plastic butter dishes anymore?  Shocking.

There is a method to the madness at Wal-Mart.  As you wind from aisle to aisle you always see something you need, but didn’t know it before you left the house.  There is no getting out of Wal-Mart for under $100.  I go in for hair spray, a fan and a quart of soymilk.  Those three alone come to $25.  However, I leave with a garden hose, a watch, three new tops, two birthday gifts, two cards and wrapping paper, plums, nectarines and apples (I passed produce), a new toilet cleaner, two gallons of paint and an SD card for my camera.  I passed up the clock radio because it would have pushed my total to over $200.

Now it is time to check out.  Joy.  Never mind that the store is laid out with 28 check out registers for clerks and eight kiosks for self check out. You will only find 4 registers open with a clerk and lines stretched back to baby goods, or lingerie if you’re lucky…then you can pick out some pj’s to sleep in while waiting to pay.  You can actually find everything you need for the overnight check out at the store…. Futon, pillows, jammies, TV, movies and snacks.  You can even get a magazine and read about “Ten Ways to Fix Your Hair.”  If it’s an especially long wait, some stores have hair salons and nail techs so you aren’t wasting time.  If you plan properly, you can get an eye check up and order new glasses in less than 40 minutes. 

On one of my recent trips I got in an extremely short line, there were only two people ahead of me.  I thought I had hit pay dirt, only six hours till I could leave.  Wrong.  The first person made it out relatively unscathed.  The next lady was purchasing plastic storage bins with lids.  Maybe I could get lucky and make it out in three.  The woman in front of me decided the price was incorrect and now a store employee had to go check it out.  I was thinking of heading over to shoes for a fresh pair of flip flops, but decided I needed to watch the spectacle in front of me.  The woman’s grandson had a Dasani water and proceeded to pour part of it on the conveyer belt for store products.  I just knew it would malfunction and I would be there for an overnight while we waited on a repair man.  There is really no sense in switching lanes once you’ve unloaded.  People always stare when you reload your cart.  Finally the price was determined and the purchase was rung up. Now the lady had to count out every individual dollar for payment.  When I made it to the register the clerk had the nerve to ask me which of my purchases was leaking.  If I had actually put something from the frozen food department on the belt, wouldn’t it stand to reason it would thaw in 6 hours?  I haven’t quite figured out why they don’t have microwaves at the checkout so that you can buy a dinner and prepare it for your family while you wait in line.

We really are blessed here in America…. We have lots of choices with thousands of breakfast cereals, a multitude of toothpaste options and cleansers for every imaginable stain.  Actually I get quite overwhelmed with the choices and sometimes frequent much smaller store chains with fewer options with the hope of checking out in less than an hour.  Don’t be offended if your gift came from the Dollar Store, it could be the difference between getting it on time versus two months late.

This next week I’m sure I’ll have a serious anxiety attack though, I have to make a couple of returns, where else but Wal-Mart?  This is July; I should be back around Thanksgiving.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Life As I Know It - The Perfect Hostess

If you have ever hosted an event in your home you know full well all the details involved in preparation, cooking and planning for guests to arrive.  It’s unusual these days to find families with the time to have folks over for evening get together.  We are all so rushed and hurried and at best an event is mostly casual, I mean, who really cares what the house looks like?  It’s typically women that get together in homes, and these often involve a hostess party to sell one’s product line.  These informal gatherings are usually held in the living room and rarely require a tremendous amount of effort. 

When I was growing up my parents would have people over from our church.  Many times this would include the Pastor and his wife and a few other close friends.  Back in my day this meant an all out event that included a meal and a time of fellowship.  My Mom is an over achiever when it comes to organization and cleaning and a dinner event at our home meant she would turn into a Martha Stewart version of the Hulk.  She would turn multiple shades of green and her small 5’2” frame would take on a form I’d rather not put into words.  She gave new meaning to the naval terminology “all hands on deck!”

Although I enjoyed the company of our guests when they visited, I severely dreaded the all out panic that evoked our house prior to their arrival.  Everything had to be cleaned.  EVERYTHING.  You remember Martha in the Bible?  Well one thing, my Mom’s name is Martha and secondly, the Biblical Martha had nothing on my Mom.  Busy is an understatement.

Before the guests arrived it was determined that everything in the house was dirty and needed to be cleaned.  Even the curtains were taken down for washing, no kidding.  Knickknacks were dusted and possibly washed by hand.  The kitchen floor was cleaned and waxed (this was before no wax floor coverings). Furniture was moved and the floor was vacuumed underneath.  All furnishings were dusted and the bathroom tiles were sprayed and cleaned with a toothbrush so no dirt or mold was visible.  Shower curtains were washed and bathrooms cleaned until they sparkled.  We were not even allowed to go to the bathroom for 3 hours prior to guests arriving so there no stains in the toilet. (Just kidding, she’ll read this and refute it!!!)  All dishware was prepared for service and a beautiful table would be set the tablecloth ironed three times so there were no wrinkles.  Oh, and the regular laundry had to be washed, dried and put up so nothing was visible in the hamper.  I think we even re-potted some plants.  I haven’t even touched on making up the beds and cleaning closets, but I think you get the picture.  When we were done, our house would glow from the inside out.  Did I mention sweeping and hosing down the front porch and all the cars washed?  Never mind…..

Typically we would host an event on a Saturday night, so that meant all the preparation would start as soon as possible on Friday and be ongoing right up until the guests arrived. 
Finally my Mom would stop the insane frenzy, shrink down to her normal size, the glazed look would turn into an exhausted stare and she would open the door to our home to our unsuspecting visitors.  I was sure they could smell the Lysol Pine cleaner lingering in the toilet bowls.  We would have a lovely time with everyone, hoping they didn’t notice the toothpicks that were holding our eyes open from 24 hour non-stop cleaning bonanza.

My Mom was a perfect hostess, making sure everyone was comfortable and had plenty to eat.  The conversation was always lively as my Dad would recount a golf story or tell about his hernia surgery.  The Pastor’s that visited always had plenty to talk about.

Finally our honored guests would depart and we would call 911 and have them bring an IV to mainline to my Mom so that she wouldn’t pass out.  I mean, we did have to do the dishes after everyone left.

Later as a teenager I attended such an event at the home of one of my parent’s friends.  I was alarmed to see they had newspapers and magazines stacked on the fireplace and the TV had not even been dusted, yet everyone was having a good time.  I grabbed my Mom and took her over to the TV set.  I ask her if she had checked to see if it had been dusted.  She said, “heavens no!”  I said, “no one does at your house either.”  I followed her later to the bathroom and when she exited I ask her if she had checked behind the shower curtain to see if they had cleaned the tub.  She was horrified I even suggested such a thing.  Again, I said, “no one does at your house either.”

Most of what I learned about cleaning and managing a home I learned from my Mom and for that I’m really grateful.  I used to be almost as nutty as her about the up keep of the house (my preference was tidy versus museum style), yet I will say we’ve both mellowed out a bit as we’ve aged.  I do have it on good authority that she has replaced all the bathroom shower curtains and towels and do-dahs prior to a guest arriving where they live now so everything will be fresh, but I guess she can do what makes her happy once you are her age (a very YOUNG 70+)!

If you come visit me, however, please remember that dog hair is a considered a condiment and you will leave with fuzzy pants.