Posted in Travel, Vacation

Vacation Foe: Food Poisoning

Day 4 of our vacation to SW South Dakota

Do you remember  a 1950’s B-Rated Film Noir where a wife lures her husband to South Dakota for a vacation and tries several different ways to kill him?  She tried leaving him in the Badlands, pushing him off a mountain in the Black Hills, poisoning him in Keystone but he always survived?
Hold that thought while I tell you about yesterday.
Hotel Roy and the Merchantile now have running water!  Lynn, the owner, worked on it while we were gone and greated us with the great news.  she also invited us next door to her gorgeous  cabin to sit on the porch.  We knew about the story of Hotel Roy and the Merchantile, but what she showed us made it come alive and made it even more meaningful
When her husband was a small boy, he was given a train set with hand made buildings.  He became a home builder as well as a craftsman and decided to build full size replicas of them for when the family came.  He began this work of love and had it fully completed around 6 years ago.
Three years ago, he died unexpectedly and suddenly, leaving a family to grieve but this monument of love.  The widower decided to make her husband’s labor of love available for road weary travelers.  It is very remote.  I have not heard a vehicle besides our own, since we arrived.  Time passes very quickly as you look onto the vast mountainous horizon, hear only the birds and the needles of the trees sway back and forth.
We left early in the morning and headed to McDonald’s for free WiFi and breakfast before touring the Badlands.  It was a perfect day to go because it was so clear, and hot enough to keep the rattlesnakes in their holes.  It also slowed the prairie dogs down a bit so you could get better pictures.  You might say that as you ‘drive the loop’ around, that all there are is a bunch of rock formations.  However, not one is the same as they vary in colors, shape and size.  They do all have in common the horizontal lines that are from water levels over thousands of years.  Please note that takes a few hours to finish the loop around and there are only 2 bathroom stalls in one location.  Don’t blink or you will miss it.
We then headed to Keystone to zipline.  Yes, at 52 and 59 we are not swayed from doing things that are made more for the younger generation.  When we arrived, the only people we saw that were our age, had cameras in their hand and two feet firmly on the ground.  We bought a deal through Groupon for the steepest and longest available (800 ft) and in the end it was totally worth it.  It was exhilarating and wow, what a rush of adrenaline!! We purchased T-shirts proclaiming our feat and took pictures for proof.
After doing some research and debating, we decided on a German American restaurant in Hill City before driving the hour home.  There are only two items on the menu, an extensive German beer selection and several German deserts. I choose the spaetzel and he chose the steak.  All were delicious.  Since the restaurant is on the Main drag, we walked through some shops before the trek back home.
We tried to get to bed as early as we could since we were going on a tour the entire day and needed to leave by 6:00 am.  Unfortunately, my poor husband has been ‘double bucketing’ since 2am.  Today’s plans have changed, but I left a day open for unforceen events.
It is noon, my husband is able to keep some water down.  I contacted the tour company and they switched it to tomorrow.  I called the owner of the restaurant, as a courtesy, and she sounded very uninterested.  I have called the health department to register a complaint.  I realized today is Amazon Prime Day, I am reading a good book and looking at the gorgeous view.
It beats trying to remember the name of that movie starring Jane Mansfield.
Posted in Travel, Vacation

Driving from Iowa to The Black Hills

Good Morning!

As I posted late last night, we safely reached our destination.  It took us about 9 hours of actual driving from Osage, Iowa to Deadwood, South Dakota.  We stopped along the way and it was a very relaxed 11 hour trip.
I was up early due to the time change and the plan was to take early morning pictures of God’s majestic beauty that is the Black Hills of South Dakota.
I was here around 50 years ago and have virtually no memory of the vacation however, many of the historical places have not changed and I am almost sure nature has not, either.
Strangely as I sit here smelling the air, listening to the quiet movement of needles and watching the wildlife scamper around with breakfast, I am reminded of something else.  The mountains of Colorado where my father’s family gathered in the summers during the 1970’s.
Yesterday, we travelled through the 3 states of Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota.  Once we crossed the border into South Dakota is when everything seemed to change.  Interstate 90 lacked semi’s and had transformed to just campers, pick up trucks, vans and SUV’s.  The rest areas were manned information centers, free brochures and travel books along with a museum or historical artifact.  Signs were not for gas, food and lodging; but, family friendly tours and things to do.  The landscape went from flat, to foothills that looked like table tops and finally the mountains.
We stopped at the Missouri river crossing, Wall Drugstore, ate our first buffalo burger, drove through downtown Deadwood, before reaching Madsen’s Mountain.
We were so glad that the owner came to meet us and tell about the bitter sweet history of the place we are staying in (next blog)
The only hitch?  The cistern ran dry earlier in the day, they had water delivered but it is not pumping to our place.  I think I heard them in the middle of the night bringing in another load of water.  The result is that as of this morning, we have water trickling from the kitchen sink, which we can pour into the toilet.  The poor owner is so embarrassed and apologetic.  We have told her that we are totally fine.  We will be gone all day in the Badlands and she has someone coming to fix the problem.
P.S. It reached 107F as a high yesterday.  At least it was 65 degrees last night.  UGH!
Where everything is fit for a Queen
Priced for the Pauper
Posted in Travel, Vacation

Need to get away?


Day 2 of this fun, old fashioned, couple vacation and we have so many great memories to add.

Last night, we reached Osage, Iowa. The town, as well as the AirBnB we reserved is off the beaten path. Anyone can stay at the Holiday Inn and eat at Howard Johnson’s…..wait, I mean you could have 50 years ago. I digress.

Can you say that you have spent the night in a refinished country church from 1890 and eaten the best BBQ in the State of Iowa? We can now cross this off our bucket list.

Elliott’s Burr Oak Church is about 5 minutes from Osage and was totally refurbished in 2006. It was originally a Baptist Church and much the original elements were saved. It boasts two separate lofts with a queen and twin bed, a half and a 3/4 bath, kitchen with an island and an open concept dining/family/living room. It was perfect for us, but you could also bring the family along as the couch folds out.

The family has obviously taken a lot of time to furnish and decorate. The converted gas chandeliers were the first in the county. The quilts were a mixture of period, handmade and modern. The wood throughout is all reclaimed in a simple shaker style and absolutely gorgeous. The wood floor shows the cut nails along with the wear of the rollers from the huge divider doors.

While there were the modern amenities like 300 channels of TV and Wi-Fi, I read a book and kept looking around.

We took a break and headed to town for dinner. I had used TripAdvisor to help us choose. Osage my be small but it’s Main Street is vibrant and the people are friendly. We decided on Piggyback Shack and I am so glad we did.

We both ordered the assorted meat plate with a side and cornbread. I had the brisket and shredded pork while my husband ordered the turkey and pork loin. They brought bottles of 8 different kinds of homemade BBQ sauce that had ingredients such as blue berries, raspberries and avocados. I was almost relieved when they served it on a lipped metal baking tray with a pile of napkins and wet wipes…and I did not wear white.

All the meat was nicely smoked, had smoke ring and was very tender. The smoked macaroni & cheese as well the potatoes were both rich and creamy. Nothing could top the cornbread! It was dense and moist served with honeyspun butter.

This restaurant is also known for it’s pies that are made fresh daily. I knew this before ordering dinner, but didn’t save room for dessert.

The only thing I can complain about, sans the 105F degree heat is the spotty cell phone reception. We know when we have reception when our phones suddenly make sounds in rapid succession, but we can’t get messages answered quick enough before we lose reception again. So, if I haven’t answered your email, text, IM, DM, etc, I am not mad at you, nor am I ignoring you.

Upload in 3.2.1 ( while I have WiFi)

Posted in Uncategorized, Vacation

Vacation…All I Ever Wanted…Vacation…Had To Get Away

Those that have followed me are probably wondering what I need a vacation for.  After all, I have been home a total of 12 days in the past 4 weeks.  Now it will be 12 days in 5 weeks.  My husband has not been with me, this is not work related and we need a vacation!

This trip has been talked about and planned for over a year.  It began after I sadly chose bedroom carpet and wood floors in 4 rooms over that year’s vacation.


I was blessed with parents who chose vacation.  I was also well-trained for vacation, I can fall asleep in a car immediately after the engine starts.  I love picnic lunches and purchasing postcards and trinkets at tourist traps.  I have genetic wander-lust!

My husband’s family did not do much of this while growing up and unfortunately we did do this at all with our kids.

Therefore, I am on a mission to take a week’s vacation, with my husband, to some of the places I went to as a child.

Today is Day One and the destination is Mount Rushmore.  Yes, 15 hours by car to see 4 past presidents chiselled in stone.  It does sound like Clark’s quest to see Marty Moose.  We did rent an SUV, but I will still be on the look out for Christy driving a fancy red sports car.

I am also keeping a look out fun attractions as we make our way to an AirBnB in Osage, Iowa and looking forward to dinner at a smokehouse that has had great reviews.


Where every item is fit for a Queen


Priced for a Pauper

Posted in Uncategorized

This is My Temporary Home

Rarely do I blog about something such as this.  I do believe that other resellers can relate to this story.  If not, it might make for an interesting read.

I have been staying with my best friend for almost a week now, going through several years of accumulated memories.  I took a break from estimating prices to drive to the neighborhood I lived in during my senior year of high school.  This is the house I lived in at the time.  It looks very different from the day I moved out 32 years ago.

I have many of these “temporary homes.”  I went to 13 schools before graduating from High School.  I also lived in 13 homes before I graduated from High School.  I remember when my parents made the decision to sell this home and move to a downsized rented apartment.  I don’t remember it particularly because of the way I felt, but because of the way my siblings felt.

My siblings are 13 and 17 years younger than me.  This house was the house they grey w up in,  When people ask them where they are from, it is this location that they point to.  It was a heart wrenching experience for them when the house was sold.

When people ask me where I am from, I simply answer “everywhere.”  I don’t have a family home, neighborhood, town or state to point to.  This is also the way I look at items in my home.

It may sound strange but, I sincerely have no attachment to my couch.  However, I will never let go, at any price, my grandparents’ bedroom set.  I have no attachment to my dishwasher, but no one will have my great grandmother’s china or grandmother’s silver.

I understand you can’t take the items with you.  It is all about the memories. When I use my mother’s Tupperware celery crisper, I think of Christmas because it is where we always stored the cookies.  When I feel the need for comfort food, I have my grandmother’s box of recipe’s in her handwriting.

When I am sourcing in Thrift Stores, my heart breaks at the sight of old family photographs that have been discarded along with their home and furniture.  Baptismal and Wedding certificates, graduation pictures, Grandma’s favorite recipe book, dumped off to strangers without a second thought.

Was it because living in the same house, accumulating items for years, simply overwhelmed the family?  I often believe this is the case. While my family purged each time they moved, my mother literally boxed each report card, handmade cards, school reports for each child.

I digress. What was the point of this blog today?

It was a reminder that every home is temporary until we breathe our last breath.  It doesn’t matter how many you’ve had.  It’s a reminder to cherish the memories you have, even if it means you have to bring a ragged tuna fish can out to remember Christmas’ long ago.  It is also a reminder to rid yourself of items that do not matter or be ready to let go without putting too much thought into it.

Last, take a break, take a drive, take a nap, quit thinking about tomorrow and spend some time thinking about yesterday.


Where everything is fit for a Queen.


Priced for the Pauper.

Posted in Uncategorized

Matchbooks Tell a Story

The saga of the ‘Great Clean out of my Best Friend’s,’ house continues.

Part of the day, we were going through her own memorabilia.  So much of her treasures come from her grandmothers.  We are so much the same, because I too have treasures from my grandmothers.  However, she had something I’ve never had before.

Lo and behold, she opened an airtight container that held her very own collection of matchbooks.  I’ve known this woman for over 35 years and had no idea she had collected these.

We had such a good time going through them.  Some were from restaurants and bars we frequented during our college days.  One matchbook, on the inside had a space for your name, phone number and if you were available!  Most of these places have closed down but the matchbooks made if feel as if we were 21 again.

She had a great collection from the location of her first job, working in California.  Imagine that Disney passed out matchbooks?  Who knew!  Sea World?  This would never happen today.

She also had some from their vacations as a couple and as a family, but those were far and few between, as matchbooks simply aren’t given out anymore.

She was ready to sell all of them on Ebay, except a select few.  I honestly thought it would be those from our college days but they weren’t at all.

When her Step-Dad and Mother were dating, they would always bring the kids along.  He would take them to these beautiful and lavish supper clubs.  She had never told me this story before, but the matchbooks put it together perfectly.

She decided to keep these very special matchbooks and place them into a shadow box.  Instead of keeping them all in a sealed box and thinking about them from time to time, she can look at that shadow box and remember a very happy time in her childhood.

If you are at all curious, the matchbooks she has are selling between $3.99 and $150 with $2.49 shipping.  I was surprised to see such an active market for these items.  Nothing at all like fidget spinners, we could only wish for that!




Posted in Inventory, New Year, Social Media, Sourcing, Time Management

Honor, Courage and Commitment

One of the things I love the most when helping a family declutter and combine homes.  Mom moves in with Son-in-Law and Daughter, the items that are gone through produce not only memories but snippets of stories from long ago.

We’ve all heard stories of young men going off to fight in WWII.  It was one of the few times that our country was totally behind our boys and willing to ration what they had to keep the war effort alive.  This war story is unlike anything I’ve ever heard before.

It began with my friend bringing down a WWII Navy Uniform.  It is in PERFECT shape.  In fact, it appeared it had never been worn.  As far as we know, it was never worn in active service.  Curious?  I sure was.

Wayne and Marion were a young couple in the summer of 1944.  He was a butcher for a local grocery chain.  Marion stayed at home with their 3 children and that fall to have their 4th child.

One day in the summer of 1944, The draft board informed Wayne that his name and number had come up and to report to the local armory.   He must have passed his physical with flying colors because he was given his military required clothing (including the dress blues) and given a date to report.

I cannot imagine how Marion must have felt.  We hadn’t reached the 2 year anniversary of Pearl Harbor.  They had 3 young children at home.  The 4th might very well be born with her husband overseas.

In a strange turn of events, the War Department realized after a review of his Draft Card that they had made a mistake.  Wayne should have been given a III-B deferment.  Deferred because of dependents and engaged in work necessary to the national defense.

Needless to say, the formal blues were never worn by him.  His wife carefully stored the uniform and passed it on to her daughter who did the same.  Today it remains in perfect condition without any flaws – as if it were a piece waiting for a museum.

At this point, the family does not want to part with this proud piece of history.  I have not been able to find an actual comp for this uniform.  They’ve been worn, have names and awards attached, and have not been stored with the level of care this has.

This uniform really is the definition of “priceless.”