Thursday, August 31, 2006

"Catch Up", Part Five - Back to School

Ah yes - - school time.

Kids in the hallway - - some returning and familiar with the place - - some so lost they are just totally confused.

I like to work the Help Desk the first week of school during the 7:30-8:30 a.m. slot, espeically the first day. You get some good ones!

The hallways are packed with new faces - - some a little "stranger" than others, such as the one with lip piercings (yes, plural!) and green hair, but hey, I was young once and did stuff to get attention, although dying my hair green was never one of those things, and I hate needles so I would never get a piercing or tattoo (heck, getting my ears pierced was traumatic enough!)

It's kinda neat to drive up and see the parking lot full and know that classes are in full swing. It also means it is again time for me to park WAYYYYYYY out in the North 40 to keep my Jeep from being smacked by other car doors! Oh well - - good exercise for me!


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"Catch Up", Part Four - Nothing to Celebrate

For the past 21 years, the first full weekend of August always brings the Decatur Celebration to our fair city. It's a street festival that is billed as the "World's Fair of the Prairie", encompassing 22 blocks of downtown, with 12 music stages, over 60 food vendors, over 100 arts & crafts vendors, roving entertainers, a huge carnival for the kiddies . . . and attracts approximately 300,000 people during its three-day run.

Dear Hubby and I have worked stages for the Celebration for 18 of those 21 years now, and have stories about some of the entertainers that would curl your hair. We have never - - NEVER - - missed working a performance on our stage, regardless of weather, scheduling, anything.

Until now.

Our perfect record has been broken.

This year, we became victims of food poisoning. I don't remember when we have ever been this sick!

Dear Hubby and I decided to do a bit of a "walk-about" right after the parade finished Saturday morning, to see what all was there this year. One of the things on the agenda was to grab a bite to eat before heading back to our Stage, because it was anybody's guess when we would have our next chance to eat. As we were walking around, we saw a booth for Smoked Pork Loin. We LOVE us some good smoked pork! So we decided to stop there and have a sandwich.

Tasted good at the time, but - -

But that evening, I was sick and had horrible stomach cramps. I told Hubby I needed to go home. Since he drove, he gave me his keys and told me he would get a ride home from one of the stage hands who lived out by us.

That was a rough trip home. From the time I left the Stage to the time I pulled in to the driveway was only about 20 minutes, but I was PRAYING THE WHOLE WAY that I would not have to pull over somewhere and get sick!

When Hubby got home, he told me I had not even been gone 10 minutes when it hit him also. By the time he was finally able to make it home, he was in just as bad of shape as I was. (Thank goodness for a house with 2 bathrooms!)

We called Kurt, our Stage Manager, the next morning and told him what was going on. We were too weak the whole day to get out of bed other than go to the bathroom, and even that took all our energy.

The following day (Monday), we were both on vacation from work, but it was spent - - you guessed it - - in bed, still very weak, still not able to eat anything but some crackers and possibly sip som Sprite.

Tuesday we both made it to work. Hubby was still pretty shaky, but he made it through the day with lots of breaks. He told his boss what had happened, who told him to take it easy.

I, on the other hand, was not so lucky. By 11:00 a.m., I was back home and in bed.

Basically, it was the next Friday - - nearly a full week from when it all started - - that we were finally feeling halfway human and weren't scared to try to eat!

What a ride. And we do NOT care to experience again soon!

Monday, August 28, 2006

"Catch Up" Part Three - Something Old, Something "Odd" . . .

Dear Hubby Steve and I love going to antique shops, and make a point of stopping at them wherever our travels may take us. It's always a kick to go to some little "spot in the road" town in the middle of nowhere, find a small antique shop, and walk out with a "treasure" that you would never find anywhere else.

We had also been kicking around the idea of renting booth space in an antique shop for at least a couple of years. I have a lot of antiques from both sides of the families, plus TONS of "stuff" from Dad's basement that has been down there for at least 50 years - - in fact, some of it was probably already there before he and Mom bought the house almost 55 years ago! A lot of the antiques I have are treasured family heirlooms, and will NEVER be sold in my lifetime. They were very special to my grandmother, or my Mom, and they stay. Period. NO amount of money would make me part with them. So take your wallet and GET OUT.

But then I have so many other things just stored away in large plastic totes - - around 9 totes at last count, I think . . . plus more "stuff" to get out of Dad's basement this coming weekend . . .

SO - - one Saturday in mid-July, we got on the road and made the rounds of antique shops in the area to see what booth space cost, and what was available.

Talk about an eye-opener!

Some shops charge so darned much for booth rent, you would be selling your antiques and collectibles to just be able to pay your rent!

WELLLLL - - excuse me, but I'm no dummy - - I want to sell my "treasures" for fun, and of course a little profit on the side, thank you very much!

One shop we went to is on Interstate 55, and gets LOTS of traffic. We started there, thinking that would be a good location. It is, but you pay dearly for all that traffic . . . $140/month, plus you have to work a minimum of 2 days a month in the shop; if you don't want to work the 2 days, they charge you an extra $40/month.

That's ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY DOLLARS a month, folks - - because this place was too far away for me to be able to make it over there to work 2 days every month.

I don't think so!

So it was off to another place, closer to home - - which was $180/month.

THIS was getting frustrating!!!

Finally, we went to Tuscola, which is abot 35 miles from home, and with all the Amish crafts and businesses in the area, AND with Arcola, the home of Raggedy Ann and Andy, just down the road, AND having a HUGE Outlet Mall, AND being right off Interstate 55 - - it seemed like a possibility.

I walked in to Paddy Wagon Antiques . . . and felt like I had come home.

I had been in the shop before, when it was under the previous owners, and was not real happy with the place. But it had changed hands, so we decided to check it out. I am so glad we did! The booth rental is very reasonable, you are not required to work in the shop any days during the month, and Sandy, the owner, is a total jewel.

So Dear Hubby Steve and I spent lots of time getting displays painted and ready to set up, and sorting and pricing some of my antiques and collectibles. Then one Saturday in July, we headed up to Tuscola, with BOTH trucks loaded down to the max, and got moved in. I have been back quite a few times since, arranging, re-arranging, adding, sorting, checking price guides to help find values for some of my "stuff" . . .

It's a lot of work, but I'm enjoying myself immensely.

I am SO happy to be there!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

"Catch Up", Part Two - You Call THIS a Vacation????

Summer was a BUSY time for us this year. We are still working at getting things in and around the house fixed up and made "pretty" in anticipation of being to put it on the market next Spring or Summer.

The biggest project was the driveway. FORTY-EIGHT TON of white rock was delivered mid-July. That was our "vacation" - - leveling out FORTY-EIGHT TON of white rock. Here's a pic of Dear Hubby Steve riding the bucking bronco (a.k.a. "Toro Wheel Horse":

Unfortunately - -this was also the week we had the "Horrendous Heat Wave of 2006" . . .

It was HOT. We are talking heat index of 110 plus.

The only reason we did the rock was because previous arrangements had been made. SO - - We took lots of breaks, drank lots of water, and finally got it finished.

But the heat wave prevented us from doing anything else outdoors, so all of the projects we had planned to do that week were put on hold. *sigh*

The driveway looks GREAT, though! :-)

"Catch Up", Part One - Alma Mater Time

The end of June brought my Class Reunion. Our class has maneged to have one every five years. I know a lot of people don't like going to these things, but it's kinda fun to see all the people you knew from First Grade through Graduation, and how the years have treated them.

Our Reunion consists of a two-day deal. Friday evening is a Social Hour at the Country Club. It's a pretty relaxed, informal time, with lots of "catch-up" and good conversation. Saturday morning is a Golf Outing for those who are into "Pasture Pool" (Dear Hubby and I are not), and Saturday evening is the dinner and dance, which is sometimes held at the Elks Club, and sometimes at the Country Club.

Here is a picture of Dear Hubby and I, taken at Dad's house as we were getting ready to leave for the Dinner Saturday night:

It was a fun time! :-)

"Catch Up", The Series

Now that I am FINALLY back on track - - well, maybe just a little - - I will be writing a series of posts as to what all has been happening this summer. It may not seem like a lot, because I will be making them pretty brief . . . if I typed everything that happened to us the past few months, my poor little fingers would fall off!

Stay tuned - - more to follow . . .

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Yes, it has been a LONG time since I have been on here. Summer has been - - umm - - "strange" to say the least.

In the next couple of days, I will be doing lots of "catch-up" to update everyone on what has been going on.

Stay tuned - - I am back . . . :-)