Friday, January 20, 2012

Not a good beginning.....

Well, a bad beginning is a good least that is what my mother always said, and I'm sure hoping that is true. My 4 year old grandson spent a week in the hospital with something no one seems to be able to diagnose. We thought he had some sort of flu, as everyone else had already caught it from him and we thought it was just circling back around....however, he never got better, had a high temperature and a swollen tongue and his head hurt. He wouldn't eat because his tongue hurt and he just wasn't getting any better and after 2 visits to his doctor with no decline in his temperature which was around was decided to take him to the emergency room. So we were all on high alert and taking over Izzie duty (the almost 2 year old) who wanted no parts of any of us....of course. Thankfully for 2 days he went to daycare, but that was only 2 days so Sara was put on duty while I opened the shop. Back to Solomon...apparently he had 3 of the 5 symptoms for Kawasaki disease ( never heard of this before) so that's what they treated him for. Of course Solomon was scared to death, couldn't sleep in the hospital since the friggin machines went off everytime he moved...and if he got some sleep they woke him up to take his temperature...oh, my it wasn't pretty. He rallied and then his temp spiked again, so they put his medication back up to a higher dose and finally sent him home with a "if the temperature goes back up rush back." He was thrilled to have all tubes disconnected and to come back home, where he is being watched like a hawk. Mary must take him in for EKG's on a regular basis, but aside from that he should be able to return to play and school. And as long as Mary has his heart checked regularly we're hoping and praying this is behind us. Other than that....things are pretty normal. I've had a few issues I was dying to tell you about because this is really a public service. Right before Christmas I made the mistake of ordering yarn bowls from Cats Paws Pottery and while that wasn't the mistake, having them shipped by USPS was the mistake. As you know I use the Post Office all the time and have had very few issues, but then most of my shipments don't contain breakable objects. The potter has a place in Chincoteague, but I didn't know that so I had her ship them. Actually this started December 2nd. They arrived through the Post Office and when I opened the carton 4 out of the 6 bowls were broken. Normally anything like this would be handed off to one of the girls, but since Sara had the nerve to go to Jamaica for 10 days and leave me to handle this kind of crap. I figured I could handle this....oh, God, what made me think that. MaryLou had sent me the insurance slip so I hauled the double carton (she had packed them with bubble wrap and popcorn in one box and then put that box in a bigger box filled with popcorn), to the Post Office, stood in line and when it was my turn the gentlemen said, "Oh you need to mail that?" To which I said, "no I need someone to inspect this as there is breakage! And he said, "is it liquid?" Like what the hell difference does that make...but I remained a lady (and believe me it wasn't easy) and I informed him that it arrived with 4 out of 6 bowls broken. He then asks, "was it insured?" I mean he really didn't want to deal with this I was starting to notice, but I remained calm and stated that it was and I had all the information. By now 5 minutes had passed and then he says, "Well, I'm afraid the news isn't good for you. We don't do inspections here.... you have to take it to the other branch" (which is on about 70th street...I was standing in the 6th street branch). Then he informed me that there was only 1 person who inspected, but she is not in every day so I should call them and ask when she will be there. So I hauled the box back out and decided to just leave it in the car until I was able to connect with the inspector. The next day I was going to go Christmas shopping with Mary in Salisbury. She was running late so I decided with 20 minutes to spare I'd run up to the uptown Post Office and see what I could find out. So I go into that office...left the carton in the car....and announced to that clerk that I needed the postal inspector. He asked why would anyone need the inspector...and I explained the problem and after asking a few more stupid you have proof of insurance....etc., he informed me that the woman who inspects the packages is out and won't be back until after the holidays as she's had an operation. (and we wonder why things are going downhill at the post office). Apparently while there is only one person in Ocean City that is capable of inspecting a box, you also have a time limit to put in the claim. This was just not going well for me, but did I give up...hell no....I kept it up. I asked for forms or whatever would have to be filled out so I could be ahead of the game. But apparently he was never given the key to the forms box...So he went in the back to speak with "Chuck" who apparently held the position at one time but no more. He came back and said I'd have to wait 15 minutes as Chuck was speaking with the carriers and Chuck was the only one who could download the forms. (my this must be the most important job in the post office...) So I told him I'd have to come back as I would be late for my very important appointment (he didn't have to know the truth). So we're in Salisbury trying to shop with Izzy since Brian wasn't feeling well and couldn't take care of him. So I knew it would be a short day and after spending 5 hours shopping I ran over to the Post Office in Salisbury to try this once again. I go into the clerk (there were actually 3 in there) and lay on the counter and started my tale of woe. I explained that this was my 3rd post office in 2 days and I needed help with inspecting a package. To which this angel of mercy said, "Oh honey, you just do that yourself on line." I looked like a deer in headlights as I said, "are you serious...I've been in 2 other post offices and they never told me that. So I haul the carton back home, go online, where I entered the information from the insurance slip, downloaded pictures of the broken bowls, and in 2 weeks I had the money. Now, while that was almost too easy...I have to say, when you pay for insurance for something....if they break 4 out of 6, I do think there should be some reimbursement on the breakage as far as the insurance goes. After all, it costs with shipping and postage around 18 dollars....for 6 bowls. Since there were 2 bowls delivered I think they should have paid back a percentage of the postage and insurance, don't you? Well, they didn't, but MaryLou and I decided that we would both be better off if she just drives them over the next time she's in Chincoteague. But the 2 bowls we got are pretty and Sara is already using one as she knits, and loves it's a win here. When my postal carrier Mike came into the shop don't think he didn't hear about my issue though. While he sympathied with me he said, "Sally, that he didn't know that behind the counter tells you that we have had nothing break before so that's a good average." I told him I didn't give a damn and he was to take a message back to the clerks on 6th street for me...which he did so if you have to declare breakage there now at least they know what the hell to do with it. Good luck to us all!Christmas was the usual hubbub for me. Without Sara here for most of the time before Christmas I was just going nuts. She is on altar duty with me in December so that left me alone, plus shopping alone except when Mary helped out a couple of times, and the shop...well it's just to much for me to be honest. Especially with my feet issues, etc. I'm pooped in just a couple of hours...but I was determined, used the internet as much as possible and somehow got things done. My sister was coming down with my niece so that was pressure. She has managed to screw up 2 Thanksgivings and 2010's Christmas so I wasn't really up for another mess, so I was dreading the visit especially since she was bringing a gentlemen friend (she's in the middle of a very nasty divorce) and my niece was bringing her boyfriend. My sister is like having a tornado around and when she twirls back out you are left wondering how you survived. But this year, with a gentlemen friend in tow, she arrived early evening Christmas Eve and left 1 hour later for the casino. We didn't lay eyes on her again until dinner time Christmas Day and she left right after was the best Christmas I've had with her in years. Since I had 14 people for dinner this year there was so much noise and confusion...dinner and opening of gifts, I barely had time for anyone. In the middle of things Sara and Mary delivered their gift to me....a new sofa with the end sections which recline all the way back and it's electric so it's really easy to move. Wonderful. That was only one gift, they showered me with all kinds of wonderful things. I had a wonderful Christmas....all my family, plenty of food, and on the 26th a day of rest. I did experience my usual trauma on Christmas day while preparing the dinner. Since Izzy is allergic to glutin and dairy I decided to do 2 turkeys as I love a turkey basted with butter and I still stuff my turkeys. So Izzy's turkey was basted with veg.oil and his had no stuffing, which the 2nd turkey had everything. I was determined to get things done myself and on time this year so I started a couple of days in advance. I made the New York Cheesecake and the Dulce de Leche cheesecake along with the Chocolate Pecan pie 2 days ahead of time, as well as my pickled beets and peaches. I actually made the pickled peaches so far in advance I kept eating them and had to do a second batch, still done in advance. I did the coleslaw dressing a day ahead and got my yeast bread made and made into cinnamon rolls a day ahead. Oh, yes I was large and in charge. After the stuffed turkey had been in about an hour I went to baste it it looked finished. So I called Sara and said, "I think I have an issue with the oven. The top oven seems fine, but the bottom oven is going to burn my turkey." She said, "Mom, what temperature do you have the oven on?" I said, "don't be an idiot, I look it up every year since I can't seem to remember from one year to the next and I set it to 450 degrees." She said, "Mom, I'll be right have that oven too high." I pull out the cookbook and low and behold I had read the wrong temperature (obviously) I immediately turned down the oven and foiled the turkey and prayed. Izzie's turkey seemed fine and not overdone, which I can't explain, but thank you Jesus! And I have to say, everyone said both turkeys were good so I guess it worked out fine. Anyway, it was a wonderful day with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes (with both butter and cream cheese...yummo), picked beets, picked peaches (another yummo), sauerkraut, my mother's special cinnamon yeast rolls, cranberry muffins, brussel sprouts au gratin, a new asparagus/puff pasty dish that was yummo and will be served at one of the events and new this year, frozen applesauce (I use to love this as a child and my grandchildren loved it so much it was one of the only things Solomon would eat while he's been sick). And for the first time in years, well perhaps ever, I stitched like a maniac and made many of my gifts. It was a source of great pride for me. As I finished each one I was so busy patting myself on the back I could barely get anything else done. I absolutely loved giving them to those I stitched for. I wish I could stitch for really was fun. I finally stitched the Sampler Doll for Renee. She thought she was getting it for her birthday in June, but I didn't get the doll torso ordered in time. In fact I have to say, I was late again and didn't order it until the first of November and was informed that once again I probably waited too long. So I started working on another piece for Renee and was moving right along when the company called and said they were shipping out the doll torso. So I stopped working on the sampler and started on the sampler doll and it went together. If you are thinking of stitching this I have to tell you, the people I ordered the torso from were wonderful. They have a web site and you can go and pick out which torso you want and they will paint the dress, head piece, whatever, the color to match the DMC you are using. They did a wonderful job. Good prices and great job and delivered in wonderful packaging. It was a wonderful stitch.
I had a problem understanding the directions for putting it together, but in the end realized it was just a stand up like so many others I had done so I stopped stressing over that and just finished it my way. I loved it and hated to part with it, but knew Renee would love her also. I then stitched the over one on 40 ct. gauze "Be Merry" once of the Erica Michaels designs. I just love stitching these gauze pieces. They are so much easier than stitching on 40 ct. linen and so cute. Anyway I stitched it for our Pat Weker who works for the shop. She doesn't really enjoy all the needlework hanging around her house (she stitches all over ones beautifully so I don't understand it, but love the fact that she stitches for me)...anyway, I decided to stitch her an ornament for her tree because she does have handmade ornaments out every Christmas. I opened her gift before she opened the gift from me so I was astonished and really amused to see that she stitched the same thing for me only framed it. I couldn't wait to see her expression when she opened the box with her
ornament in it. This was a first for me. No one has ev
ery given me the same thing I gave them in stitching. It's given us both a chuckle for weeks. I used metallic wrapped wire to make the hanger so it would look glitzy....loved the finished product....and I show the back so you can see I've learned to put the info on the back. Lots of fun....I'll try to write more tomorrow as I have more pictures but my back is killing me as I'm all bent over doing this.