Tuesday, May 27, 2014

An Awesome Find at The Arc

I live just outside of my country hick town, I don't think even a mile from it. Several months back, an ARC store opened. The Arc is an organization to help people with intellectual and development disabilities work.

This store sells used products, mostly clothes that have been donated. It is similar to Goodwill except different missions, I think.

Years ago my ex and I visited Goodwill in the bigger city to find computer parts. He would build computers from these parts. What struck me when I entered was the smell of cigarette smoke. It was disgusting. I never went back. He once bought a suit jacket from there and I could not get the smell out for anything. Thereafter, I refused to buy anything from there and avoided the place except to drop off items for donation through the drive-thru.

 Coming back to the present, every time I go into the little town to go to the local grocery store, church, post office or pay the water bill,  etc I see racks of clothes outside occasionally,

I need clothes and shoes but I hate every aspect of shopping for them so I immensely procrastinate. I haven't gone shopping for clothes in years, like 20. I'll pick up a shirt here and there. I've had my jeans for so long they are start to tear apart.

Every time I passed, I'd think or say to Hubby when he was with me, "I need to go check them out."

I finally did last week.

I checked out the rack outside which I found a couple of shirts I liked but no price. A pet peeve of mine is when I can't find the price of something.

When I entered the store, I noticed there was no smell. There were a male and two females with obvious disabilities. They just stared at me when I smiled and said hi. An instant later, I heard a voice and when I stretched my neck behind a clothes rack I saw a lady behind the counter. We exchanged greetings and she asked if I needed anything.

I told her I was just browsing. She informed me they were having an $1 sale. She said the rack outside and two racks inside were the $1 racks. As I was looking I still didn't see any prices on the other items. As I walked around, I finally noticed a board behind the lady at the counter with the prices. I thought, 'Ooh I could go for these prices!'I noticed also they only took cash and checks.

When I went to the counter and she told me the total. I told her I didn't wan to write a check and I was on my way to Russell's Food Center so I would go there and get the cash and come back. That's what I did.

Here is what I bought:

You can tell I'm not a photographer but I bought a pair of American Eagle Jeans, and 3 shirts for a total of $6 and they all look brand new!

I wish they had more small sizes but that's my problem in every store.

There were racks of clothes for medium, large and extra-large. There was jeans, shorts, shirts, dresses, socks and shoes. There was a sign for pajamas but I didn't see any. They also sell dinnerware, books, computers, knick knacks etc.

They also have dressing rooms.

Another customer had come in while I was in the dressing room. Evidently, she was a regular. She and the lady behind the counter was talking when I came out of the dressing room. I only heard the end of their conversation. The lady behind the counter was saying some of the sales were going to another store near by. I didn't catch the name but I thought what a shame.

I for sure will be a regular customer!

I have a challenge for you. Next time you see an Arc Store, stop in. You may just find an awesome deal!

If you have been in Goodwill or The Arc, share your experiences and bargains.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Different Journey Begins

From yesterday's post, you learned my BabyGirl graduated college. 

 I asked God to allow me to live until she graduated high school from the day she was born.

He has blessed me with much more. I was able to watch her receive her college degree!

She has more to go for her Master's after a well needed and deserved hiatus from school. It's been a long 4 years for BabyGirl. She worked a full time job PLUS went to college full time. She was in honors with a 3.216 average. She majored in Liberal Arts (Psychology and Criminal Justice). Before her college years she had all honor classes which was just like going to college in high school. 

I prayed as I watched her stress with work, school and life in between such as two vehicle accidents.

Thankfully, she had the strength and determination to plunge through it all. I am sure more college students were like her. But you know, we have tunnel vision when it comes to our own child.

On Facebook, I continuously posted for a week that MyBabygirl was graduating college.  I was beaming so bright I probably blinded people. Although I had many likers, encouraging words, support and compliments, I am sure some are happy it ended!

Her real life begins while part of mine ends. Maybe that is not the right phrase to use. Through the years I think we both changed.

The financial cord is cut. Yes, I will help her if she ever needs help but my financial obligations as far as her education is over. She had already been on living on her own and paying her own bills.

I was a Mom who wanted to know everything she did, everywhere she went, who she was with etc. At one point, I had this irrational idea that since I helped her with college tuition she owed me those answers. Luckily, I came to my senses.  I realized I was grasping for something that was no longer mine..her life.

I drove myself crazy at first because I was worried and honestly I missed her. Yes, she was gone a few years before college because she wanted to move in with her stepmother (Note I didn't say Father) but we had our visits together. I knew college was going to take her more away from me even more.

I just read what I wrote and it sounds so selfish.


I have learned to step back and let her come to me with whatever she wanted to share. It was so hard to do and so many times I had to stop and talk myself out of asking. I have not been disappointed.

She called and cried her heart out at times of despair. 

She called with joy of her accomplishments. 

Just like when she was living with me in the past.

She told me her grades. She had even given me her online college account information so I can check for myself her grades, classes, financial stuff. I am proud to say I only used it once and that was only a few weeks ago because I wanted to know how many credits she had. 

She gave me time for lunch dates when she could. (I expect this to continue always!)

She called to tell me she loved me and missed me.

She let me hug and kiss on her more.  She gave me bigger hugs when we saw each other.

As I watched her go down the aisle to her seat at graduation I cried. Tears just flowed. 

Tears of joy. Tears of pride. Tears of relief. Tears of love.

For 21 years I was on a journey with her. It is time for me to step off the journey and watch her go on her own journey being the best adult she can be. I know she is fully capable and will.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

My 2014 College Graduate

Announcing..My 2014 UL College Graduate of Psychology and Criminal Justice:

                                                                  2014 UL Graduate
Part of My Family -My Sister (Graduate's Nanny), Hubby, My Father and Mother, BabyGirl and I.
BabyGirl's Graduation Cake: From Russell's Food Center. We all agreed that they did a fantastic job!

BabyGirl and her Boyfriend

The awesome meal once again from Russells Food Center: Chicken and sausage fettuccini, jalapeño sausage cheese bread and Veggie tray.

BabyGirl, Hubby and I

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Don't Buy Those Tire and Service Warranties!

I was without my car for 1-1/2 weeks. Ask me if I was going insane!

Mind you, I am not a person to be on the go all of the time. However, it is nice to have my car within reach when I DO decide to venture out. Also, I was in the process of planning BabyGirl's college graduation after party and couldn't do anything productive because no car. 

One Saturday, Hubby and I decided to go to a different church for Mass because our town was having a festival and we knew there would be parking wars. This church is only 10 miles the opposite way of the church we regularly attend. 

Not even a mile from our driveway, we start hearing a flapping sound. Hubby had been telling me I needed to get my car aligned because it was drifting to the right side. I procrastinated. I know. My Bad!

But wait!

Hubby stopped and one of my tires were splitting. We turned around, came home, switched cars and went to Mass. God knows we needed it.

When we returned, Hubby went to put the spare tire on but it didn't have any air. 

Ahh! It's the way our life is. 

We made a plan. After work Monday, Hubby was going to go to our tire guy. He sells used tires that are just like new. His price of thirty-eight dollars per tire is not bad either! 

When Hubby got there that Monday, the guy said they didn't make the size we needed anymore. The guy seemed confused and said those tires weren't supposed to be on the car. To make a long story short, we learned the dealership (JPT) sold us the car with the wrong size tires. Our suspicion of the car salesman who sold us the car as being shady was confirmed.

TireGuy also said the reason my tire was split was not because it needed alignment but the tire inside was dry rotting and something about stripping the tire belt and metal. I am sorry I don't understand all the technology. 

Whew! I'm off the hook! It wasn't because of the alignment! YAY ME!

The next day I called every tire store just to make sure Tire Guy was saying the truth. After all, people we put trust in lately, has been screwing us and we needed to make sure. 

I called just about every tire store there was in the area. The responses I received were:"There is no such thing" or "What?" I had to repeat and they asked if I was sure. Gawd, I hate men who question women like they are stupid. I would respond, "I have it written right here from my husband." One said he could order them for $240.


We had gone look at a car in the middle of this chaos which is another story but they gave us a payment sheet of the car we were looking at.  We saw tire and service warranties that would equal to $1400! 

While we pondered that night, Hubby remembered we had tire warranties and service warranties that we paid for when we bought the car. We dug them out and read the very little fine print that was confusing. Here's food for thought next time you buy a car. Make sure you read all of the costs when you buy the car. The salesperson will just glide over the cost and act like it is standard and required. Both dealerships did it. It must be a sales thing. I

We spent $498 for a tire warranty and another $498 for service warranty for naught. They don't cover squat! We won't be paying for warranties when we buy another car. It's long page of small fine print of BS.

The next day, Hubby attempted to call the salesman who sold us the car thinking he could tell us whether the warranty would include this problem. The guy was obnoxious and denied he sold us anything and rudely hung up on Hubby.

Yea!  That's right. Such professionalism! NOT! He was all nice and sweet when he sold us the car. But now he didn't know us.

I had bought from this dealership years back and vowed I never would again but Hubby reminded me that things could have changed. So I had reluctantly agreed. 

And then there we were. I vowed again I will never go back to this dealership and will not. I will stand my ground on this one. 

Hubby went back to our Tire Guy. He knew we were in process of looking for a better car and trading this one in. He said we could just change the split one and the other front one to make it even, it might look a little weird but it would work for what we need. 

He didn't have any so we had to wait until his delivery came through the next day and the next.

In the meantime, I found JPT Facebook page and saw all these "I am so happy" "Thanks JPT for a wonderful car" but I did find some negative responses as well. I added my negative comment calling out the salesperson by name. I was waiting for it be removed but it is still there. Isn't social media just great for times like these?

It took us a few days to finally get the tires because Hubby could only get one at a time as I only have one spare and he didn't want to leave my car on blocks. 

A few days after I wrote the comment on Facebook, Hubby received a voice message from the manager. Hubby returned the call and left him a voice message. Haven't heard from them again.

I am on the road again hoping nothing else goes wrong before I get to trade it in. 

I advise you to look at your contract very closely and make sure you really want to buy those worthless warranties

Monday, May 12, 2014

I Must Look Lost

Every time I am alone in a store searching for something on a shelf or passing the aisles looking at the signs or even just browsing I am asked if I need help.

It does not happen when I am with someone.

So I wonder, is it that they see my disability and assume I need help or I just look that LOST?

It's probably that I just look lost!

What do you think? Have you had same experience?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Positive Update

I am happy to report that I am out of that deep black hole I was in when I wrote my last post.

First, thank you so much for all of your love, prayers, support and kindness. Some of you opened your hearts to me and I so appreciate it. 

None of us are alone. We are lucky to have our loved ones supporting and loving us just the way we are. 

And we have each other. Sometimes we need each other because we can relate to each other's situation, regardless if we have the same ailment. We understand better than our loved ones who don't have any medical woes. 

I do pray for each and every one of you. 

So now the updates, which is better.

My depression has lifted. I am no longer in the black hole although I see it waiting for me. It is probably always around the corner. But I my best to ignore it. I do think the Prednisone had something to do with the depression because after my last dose, I've felt it subsiding.

The excitement of BabyGirl's upcoming college graduation is keeping my spirits up. I am so proud I can burst. It is May 17th and I think I am more excited than she is in a way. Another milestone will be behind us. 

I am planning a small get-together for the day after, because she is going to her father and stepmother's after graduation. Of course, what was supposed to be a simple feat has turned into a challenging one, mostly because I haven't had my car to get to where I need to go to prepare and plan. My car issues are another post for another day.  But I know it'll all come together and everything will be fine.

My pinched nerves seems to be okay. I have to be careful the way I move so it won't be pinched again but that is pretty much resolved.

The skin rash on my foot is a continuous battle. It's just one foot. It gets better and dries like another skin so I peel the skin then it becomes raw. So this time I haven't peeled it but it is so stiff and hurts when I walk on it so that continues to be a mystery. It doesn't itch though. Thank God. But now I'm getting small versions of it on my hands, arms and neck. It's little raised bumps that turns into scabs. They itch but not so much that I feel like I am going insane. I've been using the cortisone cream Doc gave me and I guess it is keeping it stabilized. I guess if it gets worse or doesn't go away, my next step would be a dermatologist.

My friend Jeff was supposed to have surgery but his lab work was abnormal so it was postponed. He needs more of your prayers and I thank you beforehand.

I've been trying more gluten-free products but obviously it is a slow process.

My friends, that's my updates for now. It's spring weather and hasn't affected my breathing so much yet. Love the sunshine and coolness.

I hope you are having an awesome day!