Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Holiday Ho Ho Whoa

Hey all! How have your holidays been so far? Great, I hope! Here we are on New Year's Eve. Is it just me or as we get older, do they seem closer and closer together?

We're kind of confused and irritated here at the ranch because we didn't get to have Christmas with our families this year. Well, we had every intention to but here is how it went down:

Everything was going perfectly and Christmas was busting out all over! The halls were decked and festooned and fa-la-la'd:

The Mister and I dressed up in our holiday finest and went Christmas shopping:

Here I am in my cute red skirt suit that's just perfect for Christmas. Yes, I've had some work done.

Mr. Kitsch started wearing his pants really, really high. 

I made this kitschy little snowman out of a bleach bottle.

The tissue paper was flowing like rivers!

It even snowed! It was a holiday miracle!

The world rejoiced…..

And then THIS happened: 


 Mister Kitsch injured his back and ended up at the hospital. Whomp. Whomp. 

Okay, so if you've never been to the emergency room, you simply must at some point - but only to visit, I assure you. The waiting room is usually quite the petri dish of both interesting characters and well, life threatening flesh eating germs. There's usually  at least one small child eating Cheetos and licking their fingers after touching the nasty plastic chairs that have been sat in by thousands of people. If you go to the bathroom, you're going to find that someone before you has taken the time to craft a giant toilet paper nest upon the top of the toilet seat and then finding it unworthy, peed in the floor instead. And you're going to get at least three people who want to stare into your eyes even though emergency room waiting room protocol strongly advises against it. 

 We learned that around the final week of the year, the number of patients coming through the ER pretty much doubles because people want to get things done under their insurance before those copays start fresh. Great. Let's just say that it was two seconds short of a mob scene. People coughing on each other and cursing the nurses. The well-stocked "Sneeze Station" sat untouched. It was simply too far to walk and we were all going to die anyway. The lady across from us was clutching a barf bag as if it was her final dollar and waved it around way too loosely for those around her who weren't quite sure if it was empty or full. Every time that she stood up and careened around, I just *knew* that I was going to end my 2013 with a complete stranger's barf on my head. If it can happen to anyone, it will happen to me. Trust.  

 Somewhere about halfway through, a very suave looking gentleman came in with a beautiful rockabilly coif of dark hair and pencil legged trousers, starched shirt and vest. Since it was Nashville, he also brought his guitar case. He looked like he'd stepped right out of Johnny Cash's backup band from long ago in the day. And then all of a sudden, he cut loose talking to himself - I mean really, really talking to himself - and half of what he must have been saying were jokes because he was cracking himself up. Then he launched into song, right there in the middle of the slithering snake pit of a waiting room. He sang and sang at the top of his lungs and giggled between verses. The two quite-possible gangbangers next to him looked way perturbed and nervously scratched the prison tats on their necks. With the exception of the lady next to me who was nearly sleeping on my shoulder, everyone seemed perched to see what would happen next.  

 Suddenly, a hispanic man stumbled into the room behind a sweaty, sick brow and collapsed into a chair and squeezed shut his bloodshot eyes. This was all that the songbird needed and just like a needle had been dropped on a record, he began to wail "Noche de Paz" in the best Jose Feliciano impression ever. I sat up like the air had been suddenly starched and wanted to yelp with joy but instead, I stared at the partly full urine sample cup that rolled back and forth beneath the facing row of chairs. Mister Kitsch unexpectedly jolted from time while wailing in pain as if he was in the electric chair. Nobody even noticed. As time wore on, I wondered why the sneeze station wasn't instead a cyanide station. I also wondered what stomach bug I'd have to thank the room for later. The news anchor on TV acted way too excited over her guest's hummingbird cake creation.  Grasping at any straw that resembled the outside world, I took out my phone and made a note that said "Make Hummingbird Cake". 

 About seven hours later, we finally gasped out into the streets and swore that we'd die in our home before we'd ever go back to that place.  

The Mister has been in some monster pain, let me tell you. There will be no long distance traveling for Christmas this year. We scheduled the trip twice and canceled it twice and are just now starting to resolve ourselves that we won't get to see our family this year. Boy, are we bummed! To ease the pain, we've eaten monster amounts of queso dip. As you can expect, queso dip is not an adequate substitute for the hugs and laughter of family.  We spent Christmas day saying, "It just doesn't feel like Christmas…" and it didn't. I watched stupid Lifetime movies and the Mister enjoyed the effects of strong meds and just like that, Christmas was done. 

 But let me tell you, we are really whooping it up for New Year's Eve! I went out and bought myself some fancy treats:

My first bottle of wrinkle cream. Sparkling Grape Juice. Three new pairs of socks.

I also bought this really stupid "As Seen on TV" twenty dollar cat toy that my kitties would rather pee on than to discuss. 

Ain't no party like an Eartha Kitsch party 'cause an Eartha Kitsch party don't stop. 

I want to wish every one of you a great New Year's Eve. Be safe and have fun and above all, be reflective of what this year has been - be it good or bad. On top of those wishes, I hope that 2014 is the best year yet for you. 

If you'd like something peppy to wash away the slow agony that was this post, be sure and go on over to "No Pattern Required" and see my column today on decorating your New Year's Eve party with tinfoil.


Until next time,
x's and o's,

Monday, December 9, 2013

Like Buttah

By the looks of the butter stock in the fridge, it's either holiday baking season here at the ranch or someone is on a suicide mission.

Either way, I'm being monitored. 

What are you all up to? 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Six weeks of "Hey Now"

How have you all been since I saw you last? Super fine, I hope! I haven't blogged in six weeks. Holy moly. Thank you to those of you who left kind notes and sent emails trying to find out if I'd fallen into a hole. I'm still kickin' but so much has happened around here. We did finally put our gasping house search out of its misery and Fall has given way to dead-on Winter sooner than it's really supposed to. The nights are so cold at the ranch and now I'm wondering why I poo-pooed the houses with brand new energy efficient windows. Vintage-schmintage! Who should have to wear a coat in the house!?

I was in the hospital for a little while for a heart procedure and that was the worst. Uggh. I can't even let myself go over it in my mind because it sucked so badly. Here is a photo of me in the hospital:

Okay, not really but I'm sure I looked just like that. The only good things that came from the experience were:

 1.) They did verify that I actually have a heart.

 2.) It appears that they fixed what was glitchy in there and

 3.) I died for a bit and went over to see Jesus. No, you silly...I really did!

Now, I don't know if everyone's Heaven is the same so don't hold me to this if you get over there and yours is different, but in my Heaven there were a lot of grassy green hills and beautiful Autumn trees and thousands of dogs running and playing as far as the eye could see. It strikes me now that along with Heaven being stunning, it is also an allergy sufferer's worst nightmare! My Heaven looked like a Claritin commercial.

Mr. Kitsch made this super cute photo collage of me arriving in Heaven.

Hee! Less Teletubbies and more puppies - just the way that I like it. 

I also go to experience firsthand the warm, soothing light that all near-deathers seem to talk about. I'll never forget the experience as long as I live. I remember being really upset when I got jerked back to the living world and had to leave. I had always hoped and guessed that pets get to go with us to the other side but you know, it was good to actually get to see a preview with my own eyes. Mr. Kitsch said that I also told him while I was coming out of the drugged state in recovery that I got to spend time with my kitties who had passed away throughout the years. I don't remember that part but it makes me pretty happy to know that I did.  Someone remind me of these perks when those medical bills start rolling in!

While recovering, I've had to be on strict bed rest which I accomplish about like I would swimming the English Channel. I am ridiculously cranky and I'm really not sure how my nurse (Mr. Kitsch) has put up with me. I've watched more Lifetime holiday themed movies than I care to admit. Sometimes when I'm feeling really drained in the head, they comfort me. That's the only way that I can explain it. I can totally predict the plots in the first ten minutes but I always seem to stay on board anyway. I like how during the holidays, the network switches gears from their usual two formats (women who fall in love with men who turn bad and try to kill them - and - teenagers who do the sex) and offer lighter fare with pleasant holiday music and usually a female lead who has been hurt in the past but learns to love again at Christmas. Call me a romantic. Or a simpleton. It's up to you.

I also did several hours with "The Pioneer Woman" who irks me to no end. Mister Kitsch has been exposed to my exasperated groans and finally asked me why I watch her show if she disturbs me so much. The only way that I can explain it is that I like to yell at her from across the room as she grins and cooks in her boho smocks. I don't know if you've ever watched her show but yesterday, she said, "We like to call meringue 'calf slobber' here at the ranch." It's those kinds of moments that keep me hanging on. Those and the montages where they'll go from footage of her making a big pot of chili to that of her husband and kids wrestling cows to the ground to cut their balls off. You're leaning towards calling me a "romantic"now, aren't you? I thought so.

The Pioneer Woman is way more romantic than me though. Yesterday, she made a fancy lunch so that they could have a light repast while watching themselves burn down their own barn.

Oh! I have to tell you this because I'll forget and never do it. Before I went into the hospital, I was at the grocery store one morning. I usually try to go super early before it gets packed but that day, I had forgotten that it was Senior Citizen Day. The store was completely jammed. Now, I am a nut for senior citizens so I was pretty okay with it, even though on that morning I had already been there two hours and still wasn't done. Senior citizens like to block aisles and think about the products that they purchase. So it goes. We'll all get old one day. Anyway, I was standing there with my cart and there was a little lady in front of me with hers. She was taking her own sweet time and as I do, I pretended to stare at something on the shelf in front of me so that she wouldn't know that I wanted to pass. I don't like to rush the seniors. So, she turns and looks at me and I smiled nicely. She then screeched, "WHY DON'T YOU JUST RUN ALL OVER ME!?!?" and I said, "Oh, don't worry. I won't." I was puzzled at her volume but figured that she might be hard of hearing. She then screamed even louder, "YOU JUST DID! YOU RAN OVER MY HEELS TWICE ALREADY! GET AWAY FROM ME!!"

So, okay. I was literally parked a few feet behind her and had gone nowhere near close enough to hit her and besides, the way that the carts are made, it's virtually impossible to run over someone's heels unless they've fallen on the floor and rolled prone under the cart's wheels. I was stumped and mortified. All around me, other senior citizens had stopped to gape at me and were giving me that look that says, "You young people today are trash!"

Oh my God, y'all...it was AWFUL. And I was trapped there because she was in front of me, screaming bloody murder and behind me, a logjam had occurred because everyone wanted to see the monster who was running down Granny Apple Pucker. So, I had to just stand there, feeling their accusatory eyes upon me until she was done with her product picking so that I could escape the aisle and my public shaming. Then once I did, I later passed her in the fancy cheeses aisle and would you know, she tried to start up with me again?! It took everything that I had not to yell out what I was thinking. Okay, or to sucker punch her.

I think that was my worst grocery store experience ever to date. I called Mr. Kitsch from the parking lot and told him that I was never grocery shopping again. I think I also went into some profanity laced spiel about how nobody has respect for anyone in this world anymore. I felt like my world had flipped upside down. I try to have old timey approaches to things and am guilty of sometimes saying, "Once senior citizens die, nobody will have respect for anyone anymore" and this little lady had just done me in. If you can't trust the little old ladies of the world, who can you trust? I sat there for a while, eating brown and serve rolls raw from their package and waiting for the heat to leave my face.

Also, I found a bunch of abandoned kittens in a park. See!

Some a-hole left them in the freezing cold in a milk crate. I mean...really. And no, I didn't get to keep one. Saaaaad! I always forget how kittens make that amazing rumble jumble purr when you hold them close. Oh, kittens.

Aaaaaaand, I think that catches us up to date! I'll catch y'all later on the flip side and heavens to Betsy, I hope to read up on some of your blogs as well when I can. I don't know what anyone is doing besides me and the Pioneer Woman and well, that ain't pretty.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Therapeutic Nuances of Granny Crafts and Baking

How have you all been? Great, I'm hoping! It seems like forever and a day since I've been able to sit down at Ranch Dressing. I've missed it. Life has been bazonkers and I've had one hell of a week. Yesterday, I woke up on top of my bed covers,  in my street clothes after pulling a near-all-nighter (animal rescue...not doing beer bongs, I assure you) and soon found myself in the kitchen, eating straight out of the breadbox while saying out loud to nobody at all "I love ciabatta bread...desperately."

It's when you're romantically talking to a hunk of bread torn straight from the loaf while standing in yesterday's rumpled clothes and smeared makeup that a person realizes that it's time for a little "me time".  I had seriously burned out....simply crashed and exploded. Thankfully, Mister Kitsch took me out for a little kindness that included tomato soup and a fat grilled cheese and then the great suggestion that we stop at a church rummage and bake sale. I'm usually up for anything that goes down near grannies but I was so tired that I resisted a little at first. It was soooo worth pushing through the exhaustion though. The yard sale wasn't much but as we were walking away, a woman said to us, "There are little ladies selling large pies downstairs."

The next thing I knew, we were in the basement of the church, completely flanked by senior citizens.  A whole recreation hall full of them. Hello, Heaven. We bought a ginormous homemade apple pie and then stepped over to the craft table. At first, I thought that maybe the children of the church had made the items which would have made them precious enough - but then I learned that the senior lady manning the booth had made them herself. A woman after my own heart! She had pinecone turkeys with pipe cleaner gobblers and googly eyes as well as yo-yos made out of painted balloons filled with water. Bookmarks made out of felt and rick-rack and several other similar old-school crafts filled her table, each one more precious than the next - and each a buck apiece. Even puffy paint was represented. Who remembers puffy paint? Sigh. She had it in spades.

It took me a few minutes to choose but I decided upon a clucking chicken made out of a Solo cup with a felt beak and pom-pom rooster comb on top. The lady had affixed a string and a moist square of sponge onto the cup and she delighted us by making the cup cluck. I was all in. "Give me a hundred and fifty of them!" I wanted to shout. Instead, I left with one. He's now on display in the glass craft cabinet, beside the little googly eyed owl that my friend Rosy made for me from a toilet paper tube. They will be fast friends, no doubt and perhaps may find that they have relatives in common.

We bypassed the door prize registration booth as we reasoned that it was only a clever ruse to get our phone number and that deacons would call us every week to invite us to church. Not that it would be a bad thing, but having grown up Southern Baptist in a church where they guilt-called everyone like crazy on a Monday for missing a single Sunday, I don't want to go back there. I'm not handing out my phone number - even for the promise of winning a free hand-detailed car wash and wax. Even if that church is bringing Solo cup chickens and apple pie. Even if a large percentage of the ladies in the congregation smell nostalgically like lavender powder and Final Net hairspray.

As we were leaving the sale, Mister Kitsch noticed an old faux woodgrain answering machine on the edge of the yard sale section (so heavy that it took two hands to pick it up - "a bludgeoner" I'd call it) and once he saw that it had the cassette tapes still in it, he decided to buy it for two bucks just on the oft chance that there were still messages recorded on them.  That's the kind of thing that we live for -  snippets of anonymous folks' lives. We hit pay-dirt too. There were several messages on the machine.

The first was from a debt collection company (saaaaad) but the next several in a row were from a little old lady who sounded increasingly nervous that her calls were being left unanswered.  I told Mr. Kitsch that we should plug the machine in and play it every time that we come home so that we'll feel like our grandmothers are still around, just clamoring to talk to us. I can remember getting messages like those back during the good ole answering machine days. Those were the pre-cellphone decades so callers didn't expect a person to answer instantaneously.  I don't know if you all remember but back then, we left our phones at home when we left the house. I know! Crazy, right? I wish that I'd kept the old tapes with my grandparents' messages on them. Those would be soooo sweet to have.

I'll leave you with a video of Mr. Solo Cup Chicken. I know that you're probably totally riveted.

I hope that the rest of your weekend goes great! "The Walking Dead" starts back tonight! Eeeeee! 

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Friday, October 4, 2013

Deck's Glassware Got A Feature!

You may remember that I did a couple of posts a while back about our epic visit to Deck's Glassware in Chattanooga. Sometimes I still have fevered dreams about that place where I am sorting through stack after stack of dishes, searching for treasures.

Well, the local online newspaper Nooga.com decided to do a story on Deck's (yay!) and used my photos.

I'm so glad that Deck's and Chester are getting some attention. That gives me a smile a good mile wide. And gosh, I think I'd better get back there quick. That place is going to be swamped before long!

Click here to see the article. You can go here and here for my previous posts about Deck's.

Have a great weekend y'all!

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Monday, September 30, 2013

House Number One (That Got Away)

Hey all! How is your week going so far? Mine was going pretty well until I discovered a snake in the garage. I'd let our cat Mishka out there to relax (she thinks it's her own personal sweat lodge) and when I went back to get her, I found her batting around a snake which was coiled up and returning the love. At first, I screamed which is totally lame but that said, I'm always glad to see that I can scream in urgent situations as in my nightmares I never can. In my nightmares I always just run around mute, "letting the flies in" as my Grandmother would have said.

I kept yelling for Mishka to come away from the snake but she wouldn't so I had to run over and swoop her up with the snake just inches away. I ran into the house and plopped her down and ran to find boots. I'm a skirt girl and well, I'm not about to go doing snake battle with bare legs. By the time that I actually found boots and got back into the garage, the snake had slithered under something. So there he remains....wherever there is. That said, it's been an excellent excuse for not doing that big pile of laundry as our laundry room is out in the far corner of the garage /cat sweat lodge /snake pit of doom.

I don't mind snakes in general. I mean, I don't bother them if they don't bother me. One time, I was sitting in the grass, languidly weeding under a bush when a large black racer snake slithered right up beside me and just sat there (wait...do snakes sit?) as if to say, "Nice Sssssspring day, isssssssn't it?" I remember jumping up in a way that I never knew that my legs could move. We ended up naming the snake and he'd come through from time to time to sun in the grass. It was an excellent excuse for no more weeding until a neighbor decided to come onto the front lawn and kill him with a big rock while we were gone one day. Rest in peace, Cecil.

As you can probably tell, I'll gladly use visits by snake as fodder for procrastination. I am the worst when it comes to procrastinating. If the life of a human or animal isn't at stake, man alive but I'm so good at putting things off. It's one of my less-than-redeeming qualities. Which brings me to comments! Thank you so much for all of your great comments on my posts. I read each one and never stop getting excited when I see one pop up in my reader. I always take them to heart. I laugh at the funny ones. And furrow my brow at the sad ones. I really, really REALLY love reading your comments! That said, I totally suck at answering comments. I do well when people email me directly from the blog but as for individually answering comments, I am the world's worst and I apologize for that. Just know that I love them and I read them and that I'm stoked to get them! I'm going to try to work on that as soon as I'm out of the weeds of this backlogged life. If you've ever said that I totally suck for not answering comments, well...you'd be right. But do know that I love them and you. (Unless you're one of the people who have left ugly comments and then, I wish you into the snake pit / cat sweat lodge for all eternity! )

Oh! So now on to houses! I had promised that I'd share some of the houses that we considered on the search. The day after we got a call from our agent about the folks wanting to buy our house, we went and saw this home. Well, we couldn't get in but it was vacant so we crawled all over that thing. I wanted this house soooo badly. This was before we realized how urgent the market is here and that it was already being bought out from under us. Anyway, here is house number one which we call "The White House on The Hill".

Sigh, y'all. 

Don't you just love those bushes? It was so gracious looking up there on the top of that hill. I kept screaming "It's my Graceland! It's my Graceland!" as I was running in circles all around it - and trust me, I am not a runner. Mr. Kitsch remained calm and cool which I always hate because if I'm frenzied, I like everyone to be frenzied. He admits now that "everything about that house felt right".

Here is a shot from the front porch.  

And here is the cute little porch. Isn't the ironwork sweet? That's a planter there to the left. 

I just loved the mint trim and how the brick sometimes looked white.. but sometimes pink.

It still had the starburst doorbell which I rang and rang shouting, "It sounds like a mansion!" 

Here you can see the big back patio:

..with Nutone intercom system. 

The house was all original on the inside. Here you can see the kitchen: 

You can just barely see the slate foyer tile there in the background.

Here is the big Den that looked out onto the patio:

I love the big window seat, fireplace and bookshelves. And you can see the intercom system there in the kitchen that connects to the one on the patio. I could just see me out there on the back veranda shrieking "More sweet tea!" to the Mister in the kitchen. And he wouldn't care because the cuteness of our house would make him docile. 

I can also imagine sitting in that big front window and looking over that huge green lawn. And the kitties too. That was one cool thing about the house - all of the major windows looked out across the front lawn, even the kitchen. 

Here is the Dining Room with view to the back yard. 

We couldn't get photos of the bathrooms but it wasn't from lack of trying. The Mister jumped up and down with the camera but couldn't get them. He did say that they were original tile though.  Same thing with the bedrooms but I'm sure they were perfect. This house was totally original. I'm talking never-been-molested-by-the-nineteen-eighties like so many period houses here have been. 

I think we'll always remember the house as "the one that got away". Since we were only on day one of our search, we didn't know it yet but now we really mourn that house. To make matters worse, it only went for $155,000 which would have been a great price. I'm talking waaaay cheap for this town. 

On the flip side, it was pretty close to the interstate retaining wall - not right up against it but close enough to mention. When we were on the back patio, we could hear the traffic. I'd already decided that the noise wouldn't stop us though as when we were in the front yard, we couldn't even hear it, and I know that inside of the house would have been the same. And I'd used my usual "We'll just pretend like it's the ocean that we hear!" that I bring out when a house is near the interstate's roar. To make himself feel better, Mr. Kitsch is still using the "We would have gotten lung cancer from the car emissions" but admittedly, he has pangs of sadness from missing out on this one. 

So, there you have it. The White House On The Hill. My unattained Graceland. Come back next time when I show you the next house that never was. 

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Well, the house hunt is finished. It's been seven weeks of excitement and exhaustion. "Wait...what just happened?" has become the general tone of the search. In the end, we're staying at the ranch. It's not so bad as we really do love our house. Our entire reasoning behind looking for a new house was that:

(a)  We had buyers who showed up out of the blue wanting to buy our house, meaning that we wouldn't have to list or show our house and..

(b) There was the possibility of making good money and having no mortgage - or if nothing else, a much smaller one. I mean, who doesn't dream of having no mortgage? Only the people who already have no mortgage, that's who! 

(c) We want a new neighborhood. 

Those dreams are now defunct as our buyers have just signed a contract on another house. 

So it seems that our house was their "dream house" but in the end, maybe everyone has more than one dream house? Or at least our buyers did. Sigh....

 Oh lord, I'm tired. Not even normal tired but illogically tired. For instance, earlier today I decided that I wanted to make a box of chocolate pudding but then looking at the instructions, decided that it was too much for me. You know...the whole "add pudding mix to milk and stir for three minutes" thing?

Totally too much. 

My plan back on August 1st when this all started was to show you our potential houses as we went along -  but between seeking out houses to view, actually looking at those houses and trying to keep our house in tip-top condition for the inspections, I haven't had enough time for the play-by-play. Even so, I can't wait to show you some of the houses that we've considered and some of the great features in upcoming posts. Like I've said before, I'm not going to slam any of the houses that weren't right but thankfully, we saw enough good things that you all might enjoy seeing. I have a folder full of over seven hundred photos to choose from! 

Before I start those posts though, I'll give you a bit of a run-down of how the final ten days of the search went. I'm going to number the details so that if you need to take a long break in the middle for a swig of whiskey or a nap, it will be easy to come back later and continue.
1. While we were looking for a new house, our buyers got a contract on their house. We were told that they were going to rent month-by-month from a friend and didn't mind waiting on our house as we looked for our next house. Yay!

2. We continued to look at houses and saw one that we were really considering making an offer on. We'll call that house " The Awesome Fireplace House". We wanted to look just a tad more because it had some updating that we'd want to reverse, thus cutting down on the savings.

3. Since the search had been going on for well over a month, our buyers asked us to sign a contract saying that if they found another house that they were interested in, they could abandon our contract within 24 hours. We figured that was fair as it was taking us quite a while in Nashville's frenzied market to find a house. And since the market is so horrible and they were also looking for an all-original Mid-Century house, we felt sure that they wouldn't find anything that would make them move on since we'd already seen what was on the market. And since they'd said that they'd "wait forever" to get our house, we felt secure. 

At the beginning of the search, I decided that I was going to take a photo of myself in the bathroom mirrors of every house that we looked at. This was my final one. I decided that I was looking more and more ragged at every house and documenting that? Torture. 

This bathroom was sort of a "woodsy meets rococo" style and even though it did nothing for my complexion, it intrigued me. 

4. A friend came across a for-sale-by-owner  in our dream target area. Thanks to her, we got the scoop before it even hit the market. We went over and met with the owner, a daughter who was selling her family home. The meeting went great! We loved the house. She liked us. We liked her. She said that if we wanted the house, she would consider our offer first before letting anyone else see the house. Three cheers! It was a pretty little time capsule with a vaulted brick sunroom and a nice yard full of trees - one owner home and very well kept. Oh, and did I mention that it was painted soft aqua and had a hand-built brick barbecue on the patio? 

 When we decided to make an offer the next morning, the owner wouldn't even look at our offer because she didn't think it was enough. She subsequently priced the house about $70,000 over market value for the neighborhood, completely knocking us (and anyone but flippers)  out of the running. We know that she's never going to get that price which makes that one even harder to swallow. And she stopped returning our phone calls. It was obvious that she felt insulted which totally sucks because we liked her. In the end though, you can't price a house on memories. You have to go by market value and what it will appraise for. 

5. The Mister then said that we should call our agent and go see The Awesome Fireplace House for a second time.  We find out that very same day that lo and behold our buyers had just put in an offer on....hello, The Awesome Fireplace House. I'm totally not joking. That was it. Done.

6. Of course, it was then that we found our DREAM HOUSE. I'm talking a day or two later. It was gorgeous and 100% original. Knotty pine kitchen, aqua countertops and original bathrooms. The yard was so pretty. The neighborhood? Super nice and ten minutes from the Mister's office. We called our agent and asked her to show it to us (because it was so amazing that even without our buyers, we were going to find a way to own it) and as luck would have it, she told us that her buyers were second guessing their contract because The Awesome Fireplace House also had an Awesome Water Drainage Issue. Kapow! We might have our buyers back! 

Figuring it must be fate, we made an appointment to see that house later in the day. We drove across town and were five minutes from the showing appointment when our agent called and said that the house was in a flood zone. Now, to put this all into perspective, in 2010 Nashville had what is called a "thousand year flood". Many houses, businesses and lives were lost.  It came out of nowhere and caught residents by surprise and before we all knew it, devastation. People died in their homes, cars and yards. So we all respect the power of something as simple as rain now.  As luck (or lack of luck) would have it, this home had a small stream that snaked close by and on the flood maps, it was marked a bright florescent green which couldn't be a good sign. 

7. Even still, we decided that we wanted to pursue this house and find out from the experts what the odds were and what flood plain designation this house was under. It turned out that the flood insurance alone on the house kicked us out of the running because we can't afford that on top of the mortgage payment. So...it....goes..

8. We then found out that our buyers had indeed gone ahead and decided to buy The Awesome Fireplace House so we once again had no buyers - and with no buyers, our bargaining power upon finding a new house would be considerably less. We looked at a couple more houses but knew in the backs of our minds that we no longer had a fighting chance in this market where houses are sold the first day (and sometimes the day before) they hit the market. We looked at our final one last night - a cute little ranch with wagon wheel ceiling light and orange countertops. Even with those perks, we knew that it wasn't the one to fight for...and with that, we realized that we don't have the fight left in us. So we ate a bunch of donuts at bedtime and called the whole house search done. 

So, it's back to the ranch for us. We've decided to stay put unless the most perfect house in the history of the world comes up for sale. Of course, there are caveats: It has to be in our price range AND in our dream neighborhood. In the meantime, we're going to try and keep our house as spiffed-up as we can so that if we have to put it on the market overnight, we'll be able to do so. That means I've got to clean out closets and the garage again and look at our house with the critical eyes of a buyer. There was something very special about having buyers who seemed to love our ranch as much as we do...so maybe someone like that will come along again. Only time will tell. 

And THAT is how we've spent the largest amount of our time lately. In my next few posts, I'll show you some of the houses that we looked at along the way! I mean, something good has to come out of all of this right? And sooner or later, I'll show you the vacation photos from Ireland - a trip that I can't even remember now because my mind is so scattered from this house search. 

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Yaaaaaay! for the first day of Fall!  Thank goodness. It seems like we usually only get three weeks of Fall before the leaves are gone and it's dark, bleak Winter but I always enjoy this season the most. I'm about to make so much soup that it's not even funny. Here are some first day of Fall shots for you.

I hope that you all have a great Sunday! We're going over to visit a friend's chickens and I'm unreasonably excited about it. And the chocolate cake that I'm going to bake with those fresh eggs.

And I'll leave you with this beautiful dog who might love Fall even more than me.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

I want to thank everyone for your kind and very supportive words on my last post about how things go down on the internet. I'm happy to say that your taking time to comment has restored my faith in the internet. Three cheers!  I love y'all. Every one of you. And I'm so happy to see that there are some new folks who've decided to follow Ranch Dressing. That makes me happy too! I should probably use this opportunity (what with new readers and all) to stay classy and try to impress, but today is a special kind of day. It's the day when I clean out a little folder on my desktop that says "Find A Way To Fit This Into A Blog Post". Hell to the yeah. You know what that means. It means that I never found a way to do that so I'll fit them all into one post that will come across as completely bonkers.

Bonkers it is. Let's get ready to rumble!!

I think that it's important that you know that the entire time that I am compiling this post, I will be listening to a little hit from 1996 called "No Diggity" by Blackstreet on repeat. Yep, it's completely throw-back and shows my age about as much as my fallen arches do, but when I do my happiest writing, I always put that song on repeat. And let me tell you, poor Mister Kitsch is down the hall trying to work on a very grownup proposal for work so I know that he wants to come down the hall and rip the speakers out of my computer. Thank God that he's a pacifist.

Cartier wooded frames sported by my shortie
As for me, icy gleaming pinky diamond ring
We be's the baddest clique up on the scene
Ain't you getting bored with these fake ass broads...

I'm pretty sure that it's mortifying to see a woman my age talking about rap lyrics from seventeen years ago, right? So, let's get on with the purge. Kick it off, shorty: 

An old cookbook illustration from my shelf. 
Make up your own jokes about that one.

For those of you who are on Facebook, you know how the super computer spying brain tries to give you ads tailor-made to what it thinks your interests are. This pretty much sums up my ads:

Facebook knows that I'm all about the chicks. 

In related fashion, I get email spam nonstop from this site:

Um, call me back-in-the-day innocent but in my time, sluts were called "sluts" because of how free the access was. I don't need any help. Even if I was interested in finding a whole pack of them. Maybe things have changed since high school but you know.... I doubt it.

Wow, this post is probably getting even more uncomfortable than a forty three year old lady loving antiquated rap. You can probably see why I couldn't make an entire post off of these things, right?

Bump like acne, no doubt
I put it down, never slouch
As long as my credit can vouch. 

In the same vein, I did not get this free-to-first-taker bonanza offered on Craigslist recently:

I was watching this one and you have no idea how fast this free lot was snatched up. There is a joke in there somewhere. See if you can find it. Other things on Craigslist that I didn't go for include:

And they were giving it away for free!  Okay, it wasn't because I didn't want it. I completely did. It was because it was too far away and I'm pretty sure that a mechanical bull won't fit into the trunk of my car. Can you imagine inviting people over for a party and then unveiling the mechanical bull? I'd be the talk of the society page, dagnabit. 

"The hostess may have been a tad too obsessive about the drink coasters but she totally knocked it out of the park with the Gilley's atmosphere in the great room! "

I also didn't purchase these hot little items:

A rusty scaffolding system advertised as a dining table

A baby cage! 

Thanks to Lisa for recommending those both to me. She knows my taste, as you can see. I do have to admit that the kiddie koop interests me a little. We live fairly close to our vet's office and if I were to put some wheels on that thing, I could get all of the cats to the vet at once.

Rollin' with the fatness
You don't even know what the half is
You got to pay to play
Just for shorty bang-bang to look your way. 

I like they way you work it
Trumped tight, all day, ever day
You're blowing my mind, maybe in time
Baby, I can get you in my ride. 

I should really consider that one. I could even take other peoples' cats to the vet as a part-time job. Hmm.....

I'm down with O.P.P.
Yeah, you know me! 

Okay, totally different song but that fit in sooooo good. Finally, I'll leave you with this one:

My man has the good gravel and if you even so much as ask him to bring it to you, someone is going postal. Having dealt with more than my fair share of Craigslist free-stuff seekers (I'm talking to you crazy guy who took our free dog kennel but not before getting all sweaty and bloody and telling us how you like to slaughter turkeys), I have to say that I can't blame gravel guy for laying it down. 

I like the way you work it
No diggity
I got to bag it up. 

One time, the Mister and I posted a rug on Craigslist and two young sorority sisters came to check it out for their dorm room. As they were looking at it, one of the girls lifted it up to her nose and said behind a sneer, "Um....Meghannnnn....It smells like cat spraaaaaaaaay...."  Obviously, they didn't buy the rug. They high-tailed it out of our garage as if cat urine was a communicable disease.  And for the record,  it did not smell like cat pee. Just for that rug snub, I hope that Meghan and her little friend ended up buying another rug - a haunted rug which they placed between their matching twin beds and that haunted them every night until they looked old and tired like me. Yeah, I'll wish that on them. 

Some good came out of it however as whenever the Mister and I are in a thrift store and come across something particular cagey smelling, I can't help but use that quote. Most bad situations are worth it if you get a good joke out of them. 

And that will wrap up this edition. I hope that you all are having a great weekend! I've got so much work to do that I can barely even think straight. However, talking to you all and playing my favorite song at least forty times (or fifty three if you ask the Mister) and being able to clean out that overstuffed folder of madness has made me feel as happy as a lark! Play on, playette. We out. We out. 

Until next time,
x's and o's,

p.s. Congrats to Lisa and her beau, Matthew on getting hitched today! Married people say "yeaaaaah!"

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Internet And The Culture of Mean

If you can't stand the posts where I get on my soapbox and jump around a bit, just let this one pass you by. This has been knocking around in my brain for a while and this last week has made me realize that I should just put it all out there. I can tell even in the midst of paragraph one that this is going to be long.

We've been looking at a lot of houses lately and through that process, I've seen some pretty crazy decor choices. Being a person who documents everything, I have quite the hefty folder on my computer full of those photos. Even though it's killing me not to post them all on the blog, after a long study on these photos, I realized that I just can't do it, because people just like me made these choices - and they liked them. I can't bash other peoples' houses anymore. I might share these photos with close friends and we'll discuss them and their quirks but I'm not going to add to the culture of mean. I have some pretty great material but if it goes anywhere, it's not going on the internet. On the internet, things live forever.

I have a serious love-hate relationship with the internet. Though it obviously helps us reach out to and share ourselves with people all over the world, I think it also makes it too easy to be mean. I'm sure that like me, most of you have read the horrible comments that people hiding behind anonymous monikers make on news and entertainment sites. And I won't let myself go within ten feet of YouTube comments because they make me sad for the way that they make our world look like it's going. Since I'm in animal rescue, I see horrible things every day with no way to escape them. I know what horrors there are in our world and when I retreat to the internet, I try to make sure that I feel better about this world that we're spinning around on once I'm done. There are a lot of people on the other side of this screen that I care about.

Recently, my home was featured on a blog that I like a lot. The response was friendly and kind. Soon after, without permission those photos of my home were featured on another blog. To be fair, they weren't shared in a malicious way. The owner of the blog seemed to like what we have going on over here at the ranch. But of course, there had to be one comment where someone had to pick apart my decor taste and one of the original features in our house. Without submitting myself or my home for anyone's approval on that site, I got it anyway.  I try not to let stuff like that get to me as well, we all have our own personal taste. That said, I think that the internet makes it way too easy to pick apart peoples' personal choices - whether they be decor choices, lifestyle choices,  fashion choices or any range of self expression or thought - and it seems like we all feel like someone has given us the right to openly judge others and that's hard for me to swallow. What gives us the right?

This week, it was brought to my attention that Ranch Dressing has been mentioned on a popular site  where people discuss blogs and bloggers, often times quite cruelly. I won't even mention its name here because yeah, whatever. I'm not about to give it traffic from my site because I'd rather dig my own eyes out with a spoon. I'd known about this site for a while but had only seen it once. That one brief visit quite honestly felt like spending time with the very bullies that I had hid in tears from in junior high and high school.  I had the distinct feeling that the girls who lobbed volleyballs into the back of my permed head back in the day were lurking there somewhere and I got out quick with a very sour burn in my stomach.

On the flip side, there is a section on the site where people can recommend blogs that they actually like (hallelujah for that reprieve) and a reader of Ranch Dressing said this:

This is such a great little blog. She's funny, low-key, and finds the weirdest things (internet things and estate sale things). Vintage without the twee. Her latest post (The Santa Claus Smackdown of 1977) is gold. 

Pretty nice, huh? To whoever wrote this, if you're out there - thanks! Obviously, my blog is still too under the radar for anyone to recognize so nobody was familiar with it enough to comment. Only one other person commented and though they had never seen my blog, upon reading the above review, came over to spend some time:

Thanks for this recommendation. I've just spent the last hour or so going through. I love the crazy stuff she finds and her writing is very entertaining! I love 50s/60s retro style, especially during the holidays, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside because it reminds me of my mom and grandparents. 

Very sweet, right? I like it! But then, this was next:

But theres's something a little weird I can't put my finger on. She obviously has a fondness for the aesthetic, but sometimes it comes across like they're the kind of people who think they were born in the wrong decade, or like they would totally talk to each other in Dick Tracey accents while doing the nasty. Maybe she's just playing it up for the blog though. 

So, well....

Okay, so I'd like to pretend like I'm a better person than this but those statements made me really mad. I swore like a sailor and walked around in tense circles, scaring the cats. Being someone who tries to blog as a reflection of who I actually am in real life, it felt like a personal slam against me. And my husband. I consider myself a very down-to-Earth person and what you see here is what you get. Sure, I might be more shy in real life - many of we bloggers are - but Eartha Kitsch is me. The way I talk on Ranch Dressing? That's me. In. Real. Life. I'll "hee haw heck!" you to death and go absolutely apeshit over a dirty old cookbook. And you see my antiquated blog template? That probably represents me too. Read 'em and openly weep. But that's okay with me. That only means that if you like my blog, you'll probably like me. And pretending to be someone that I'm not takes way more energy than I intend to spend.

And you know what, I DO wish that I was born in a different decade and Mister Kitsch does too. A decade before people believed that it's okay to be mean for the sake of snark. We live in a society of snark and it pisses me off. I've never "played anything up" in my life. This is who I am. And whether my husband and I act out every era from prehistoric man to a mere week ago in the bedroom? Totally nobody's business.  They finished their comment up with "They seem to be over the moon with each other and their life, and they're good to animals so more power to them!" but my friends, the damage was already done in my mind. That last sentence is akin to a little thing that Southerners do where we end gossip about someone with "Bless their heart!" It's the meat that matters. You can smooth over it all that you want.

When sharing the comment with my closest friends, I was told that I should consider myself lucky that I didn't get any worse than that, and I guess that it's true. But I don't feel like I deserve even that. We all just need to shut up and get out of each others' business. While I do realize that blogging is inviting other people into our business, I personally believe that if you don't like a blogger or can't believe in what they're dealing out, just move on. There are about a trillion other blogs out there to choose from.

While we might like to believe in the anonymity of the internet, it's not true. Even if we're not the kind of people who google ourselves constantly, we're still exposed to what other people think of us. In neither of these cases was I looking to read smack talk about anything in my life. In both cases, someone else found the comments and showed them to me. Hear me again when I say this: What you say on the internet does not disappear into the thin air like mist. It stays and it stays forever. After reading that comment about myself, the Mister and my blog (all three that I care a lot about), I couldn't sleep. And what did I do? The worst possible thing that I could do. I spent hours on that very same site looking up every blogger that I know to see if they were safe and well and unmentioned. Many of them were but some were not. I read really ugly comments there about people that I consider myself friends with - but also people who I only know on a surface level from reading their blogs.

On one particular comment thread that was pages long, commenters had blown up a photo that one particular blogger posted and were deeply analyzing whether she had photoshopped space between her legs to make herself look thinner. It went on and on and on....and it got meaner and meaner as the pages passed, not excluding her husband or even her innocent children from the melee. In my mind, I couldn't help but scream "Who the hell cares??!" There are worthy causes out there that could use all of this energy put towards them, y'all. In the time that it took to analyze the thighs of someone that they didn't know, I shudder to think about how much volunteer time could have been put towards helping a family get out of the cycle of poverty or by helping shield a total stranger or defenseless animal in their neck of the woods (or on the other side of the world ) from fear, abuse or death. That right there is time that can't be retrieved.  When I think of how many hours were spent collectively critiquing a close-up photo of another blogger's thighs, I want to throw up.

WHO THE HELL CARES? I read other posts about fashion bloggers whose sites that I read and all of the catty mean girl comments were just too much for me. They even critiqued a blogger who had just had a baby, going on and on about how wrinkled her clothes were and how fat she looked! Don't even get me started. At one point, one of the local Nashville bloggers actually came on to defend herself against the onslaught of commenters. That poor girl also had pages and pages of comments about her. With my husband asleep beside me (worn out from our Dick Tracy roleplaying earlier in the evening), I silently lifted my arm and cheered against the glow of my laptop screen.

The blogger in me as well as the long-tortured school kid really just wants us all to stop being so mean and so judgmental and so well, entitled to share our opinions on everyone else and how they live their lives. As adults, we're quick to support the anti-bullying campaigns aimed towards children and teens, and rightly so. I just don't think that a lot of people realize that leaving mean comments on the internet about people - whether you believe that your target will ever see them or not - is the exact. same. thing. It's bullying. We might not all be jammed into the same humid, stinky locker rooms together anymore but the internet? It's one big locker room that we're forced to share. There are still mean kids and hurt kids, it's just that now, we're bigger and we like to pretend that we know better.

We can not let the supposed anonymity of the internet allow us to be anything other than we'd want others to be towards us. We just can't. I just ask that we all consider if we have a right to say what we're saying and if we'd still say it if our targets were standing right in front of us. And if our answer to that is still "Yes" then consider what that possibly says about where we are headed.

Each generation before us has remarked how our world is going to Hell because of the actions of those within it. That's not new at all. But collectively, each generation is right. With each generation, we lose a tad more kindness and civility and empathy. And you know what? If that makes me want to live in the past, then the person who commented about me, the Mister and my blog is right. Maybe it's a good thing that we appear to some like we'd like to live in another era. Maybe I shouldn't be so pissed about that singling-out but instead, proud. I don't WANT to be included in the current internet culture. Count me out.

I challenge all of us to take the time that we spend critiquing celebrities, strangers and yes, other bloggers and instead use it to help a cause that is important to us. I don't care what it is. Just that there is that something that we care about. I think that it's our kind moments that define us. They are also the only chance at canceling out our cruelness. The internet brings us closer but in an even bigger way, it's forcing us apart.

With this post, I'm not inviting anyone to defend me or Ranch Dressing. I'm not asking for snark towards people who have snarked against me. I don't want things to go there. I'm just asking us all to think before we type. Once it's out there, it's out there and it can't be taken back.

None of us know what's laying heavy on the hearts of others. Those who blog and look like they have their lives unfathomably together? They have pain and sadness and worry. They have self-doubt and financial troubles and struggles just like the rest of us do. Even if they never choose to put that out there in the public forum, they're just like us. And they might read what we write on the internet. And that one sentence that we put out into the world might make their loads so heavy that they can never be the same. Just because we have the forums available to us for cruelty doesn't mean that we have to use them.

Lastly, if the person who said that about my family and blog has decided to stick around and follow Ranch Dressing for the past months since that comment, I hope that you're reading this and that you believe now that I'm just a real person who isn't putting on airs. If you ever want to hang out in person and squeal over old wallpaper at estate sales, look me up. I'm pretty sure that the Mister will drive us and if I ask him nicely, he won't talk like Dick Tracy, at least for the day.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Shortest Blog Post Ever

Today, I went to the salon to have my hair done. After getting one of those fancy sleek blow-outs that only a stylist can do, I remarked to her "Wow, my hair looks too good for how exhausted I look."

She replied: "Aww! You just need to get your makeup on, that's all!"

Yep, you guessed it. I was already wearing makeup.

Whomp! Whomp!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Remembrance of "Pink"

Thanks to Amber for sharing this amazing obiturary of an an even more amazing woman. I'm going to strive to have an obit like her when I pass one day and I wish that I could have known her. I'm pretty sure that I'd been behind her all of the way. You can read her full obituary here:

You can see a really cool news story about her here as well. I think it's great that this story has inspired that news station to do a running series of stories about people who help others. We have to strive to remember that it's not how rich we are or how much stuff we own when we die (even if that stuff is amazing kitsch and vintage floor wax) that will make people remember us. It's how many lives we touch with our actions. Let's make "Pink" proud. 

Have a great weekend y'all!

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Hunt

Well, we're still on the house hunt. We went to two open houses this weekend. The first was at a house that we were pretty excited about but the realtor decided not to show up.  Simply hilarious! We peeked through the windows and the Mister walked through an enormous spider web. Then I tripped in a hole in the backyard. It was perfect.

We also had hopes for the second house as it was moderately priced and in a neighborhood with little ranches and ramblers. Pulling up to the house, we felt encouraged. It was quite cute and the neighbors didn't look sketchy. There were big trees in the front yard and we could hear crickets in the woods behind the house. "It could be the one!" we thought, as we always think. Unfortunately,  once the realtor swept us up the walk and through the front door we knew that it wasn't for us right away.  It's interesting how I never have to look at the Mister but always have a sense that he's also thinking "No way in Hell would I live here." He was walking behind me but I could feel his disappointment.

The realtor was seriously out for commission. She didn't even let us get two steps into the house before she was treating us like we were on a paid home tour. We kept trying to make a break for it but she just kept going and going and going.  No matter how many times we told her that we didn't like it, she just kept encouraging us and trying to sell each part of the house as if we'd suddenly change our minds. It was beyond overkill. Plus, we were the only potential buyers there so all of the attention was on us.

When we got to the kitchen, we saw that it had once been completely knotty pine (you know that's my weakness) however they had ripped out the cabinets and put new dark wood ones up on top of the knotty pine paneling. I was completely ill. I'm just so tired of seeing "ghost houses". And by that I mean little 50's, 60's and 70's houses that you can look at and just see what they used to be. You can tell that if you'd gotten there sooner, you would be running to write out a contract on them. So many beautiful little homes have been completely jacked up in the name of "renovation" when in the end, it just makes these dear little houses seem schizophrenic.

While the agent was bragging about how great it was that it had pantry space,  I was staring forlorn at the homeowner's framed wall photo of a very young and tan Yul Brynner and wishing that I could just run down the street. Since the Mister and I hadn't decided on that escape strategy beforehand, I guessed it might be rude to leave him there and just kept trudging along. We've remedied that now and have since discussed and agreed upon what will be our "Yul Brynner Sprint" if the correct hand signal is given at future open houses.

She overzealously steered us into the two kids' rooms (one blue and one pink of course) even though I told her that I'm as barren as an old log. She made us go inside of each room as if suddenly, just smelling the rooms of children might awaken some kind of maternal urge in me. I think that she hoped that those tiny pastel rooms would make me ask the Mister to impregnate me right on the spot so that we'd actually want the house. Or at least in the car next to the open house sign.

She tried to convince us that the dark little Master bedroom was great,  though the only thing interesting about it was the tiny vintage tiled bath that had somehow been left unscathed during the renovations. It seemed to me like the lone survivor of a mass murder, huddled back there at the end of the house and practically gasping for air...for someone to save it.

Then she made us tour the basement which was a big maze of other peoples' clothes and too-low ceilings before we finally washed out into the back room where her husband was watching football on the owners' big screen TV. We tried to escape through the basement door but as luck would have it, it was locked. We were forced to go back upstairs where strangely enough, she started the tour again! As if we were a totally different couple than the one that she'd seen moments before, descending hunched-shouldered and bored into the basement.

How many ways can you tell a person that you hate a house? We tried them all, trust me. Outside of lighting a match and throwing it on the couch, we did everything that we could to tell her that we would not live there even if someone paid us.

After she finally started to realize that I wasn't hankering to put down roots there (as I was the more vocal of the Kitsch family and kept skittering toward the front door like a house dog that had to go out to pee) , she tried to appeal to the Mister's manly side and in one last gasp, extolled the virtues of the huge parking pad and carport. She actually forced us to go and look. "It will be a great place for your boat!" she said as we stared uninterested at a big slab of concrete.

We don't have a boat nor do we want a boat. Even though I'm a lady person and the husband is a man person, we do not want children OR boats.

In the end, we had to get pretty pushy to get out of there. And still, she kept telling us to have our realtor call her so that we could come back for a second showing. It was really weird. And such a waste of an entire afternoon. Last weekend, we went to an open house that was billed as "a picnic" where all of the signs leading to the house were white styrofoam plates with arrows written on them in sharpie marker. When we got there, the "picnic" was an additional styrofoam plate filled with knock-off Oreo cookies. That was the entire picnic. Sometimes house hunting feels the same way. You get lured in with the hopes of pimento cheese sandwiches and potato salad and once you get inside of a house, it's all stale sandwich cookies.

I have such mixed emotions while looking at houses. It's a very big deal to put your house on the market and have the public traipsing through with all of your personal items and decor taste on display. Every time that I don't like a house, I telepathically sense the disappointment that the owners will have when their agents tell them that we just weren't their buyers. It totally sucks. And it sucks even more when you know that even in this frenzied market with very little inventory, some houses just aren't going to sell. It's interesting to me that I don't get sad feelings from estate sales but I do get them from failed house viewings. Like this one where as we arrived, the little lady who owned the house was driving away with her dog. We felt hopeful. She probably felt hopeful. We absolutely loved the house but in the end, found that her back yard was nothing but power lines and transformers.

"Can you feel it? It's electric... Boogie woogie, woogie."

And the next door neighbors had a rusty above-ground pool with rotting water. I should probably wrap up this post before I compare house hunting to jumping from a tetanus-threatening diving board into a pool of fuzzy water, right?  Right.

I remember while we were standing there we saw a lone brown horse standing under the power lines, munching on grass. The Mister tried to cheer me up by saying, "But look...there's a horse! You'd have a horse as a neighbor! " Bless his heart. He knows that I love horses. All that I could do was wonder aloud if the poor horse was suffering from cancer from living in a field of transformers and power lines. The Mister = glass half full. Me = somebody spilled the damned glass on my nice rug and Mama ain't happy.

Anyhoo, I hope that you all are having a great week so far. Have any interesting house viewing stories? Please share them with me if you do. Sometimes you've got to laugh to keep from crying, right?

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Happy Birthday Patsy

Today our patron saint at the ranch  Patsy Cline would have been eighty one years old. As we always do, we'll celebrate her with much enthusiasm!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Our Visit to Deck's Glassware - Part 2

Thanks to everyone for your kind and enthusiastic comments about the post yesterday on Deck's Glassware. Special thanks to Pam with "Retro Renovation" for sharing the word on Facebook as well. It's good to hear that some of you are close enough to visit him and plan on doing so. I'm sure he'll be excited to see you! I promised to share some of the dishes that we brought home with us from our visit there so here goes!

But first, I forgot to mention the number one find while in Chattanooga:

Of course. Because those of you who know me best realize that I can't even leave the house without finding a lot pet. Even in other cities. We found this rascal pants right before we got to Deck's. We stopped at a rest area and saw a couple out front, watering a very exhausted dog. Something didn't seem quite right and I knew right away that he wasn't their dog. I have some kind of radar, much to the chagrin of Mister Kitsch, I'm sure. I met their eyes and of course they said, "You want a dog?" Oh lordy. The rescuer in me knew that offering free dogs to random strangers at rest stops could not end well. We learned that he had been running in and out of heavy interstate traffic and the couple had fortunately caught him before he was a fatality. 

The next thing we knew this guy was riding shotgun in the back of the car with my Mom, who named him "Camper".  Long story short but the next few hours were spent going to the vet for a microchip check and then to the humane society (where we all cried after surrendering him). His owner never did show up for him but fortunately, I was able to drum up some interest in him and before long, they had adopters standing in line to try and make him a family member. We here at the ranch wish him the best in his new life, hopefully never to dodge in and out of interstate traffic again!

Okay, so back to Deck's. We got there reaaaaally late even though we'd meant to be there at his 10:00 opening time. Looking back now, I think that we might have even stayed past the 2:00 closing time. I hadn't realized what his hours were until yesterday when writing my piece about the place. Wow, do I feel like a heel! At least we bought some stuff, I guess. 

Mister Kitsch asked me yesterday if I'd fully gotten across how dirty parts of the back warehouse of the store can be. I think? that I did but just in case:

Super glamorous dishes-in-the-driveway shot! Kapow! 

Now, Mr. Deck cleans up a decent stock of items and brings them to the front of the store, just to be clear. It's not like he expects for everyone to go back and bring up the most buried dishes in the place. There is plenty of nice, economical shopping to be had in the front part of the warehouse. It's just that since we want the oldest and the hardest-to-come-by, we are the people who like to scrounge. And he seemed cool with our doing so.

Here is my personal favorite:

Nobody but me thought that it was going to come clean. Stay tuned to see if it did!

We put a big ole washtub full of boiling water and soap out in the driveway and let them sit in the sun and then Mister Kitsch washed them. We fought over who got to wash them, believe it or not. We loooove bringing things back to their glory. Honestly, that wash in the driveway made them look as good as new. The hot water melted most of the grunge away. We still put them in the dishwasher on the hottest, longest wash possible though just to deep clean them. I haven't counted how many we came up with but we had an entire dishwasher packed full and we paid less than forty bucks for the lot of them. 

Here is the dish, saucer and platter portion of the show. 

We concentrated most of our search on saucers because we have more room for them. 

And of course cups because those are kind of our weakness. I have cup hooks under the kitchen cabinets so it's fun to switch out the different patterns from time to time.

I love that we found some in great colors that we didn't have. 

Here is the very filthy dish from the teaser at the beginning! Good as new! 

The one with the sweet little green bow is marked "Sample" on the bottom. 

This little vase is a "second" but I'd never seen a vase and was stoked to find it! 

This one is Mister Kitsch's favorite set.  Cute! 

I actually dreamed about Deck's last night after posting yesterday. There I was in my sleep, rummaging through piles and piles of dishes with pigeons cooing in the background. That place kind of gets into a person's blood! Once again, if you'd like to visit Decks Glassware, it's located at: 

4118 Dodds Avenue
Chattanooga, TN 37407
(423) 867-9352

And there is a Facebook page though it isn't updated too often. 

He has posted hours but call ahead just to confirm. 

Happy hunting y'all!

Well, I've got to go meet the Mister to look at a house. Wish us luck! We have ten days left before the possible deal with our buyers expires. Will we stay at the ranch? Move on to a new place? It's anybody's guess at this point! 

And be sure and watch "No Pattern Required" for this Sunday's posted house find from Kansas City, Missouri. It's super cute and the bathrooms? To die for. I love a big fancy mid-century modern home but the more modest vintage family homes are what I love best. 

Also thanks to all who visited Thrift Core and for your kind words on my interview with Van! I had a blast doing it and the house enjoyed finally being dusted for the occasion.  

Have a great weekend, y'all! 

Until next time,
x's and o's,