Monday, November 26, 2012

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

On Thanksgiving, Ella announced that she wanted to go shopping on Black Friday.  I said go for it.  Oh, wait, she wanted me to drive her.  While I tend to get up early, I had no intention of getting up early, braving the cold and the long lines just to save a few bucks on something/anything that we probably didn’t need.

So, we compromised.  In order to get my beauty sleep on Friday, I had to take her to Wal-Mart on Turkey Day.  A fair trade, I thought, and dutifully drove her to Wally World around 7:45 on  Thursday night.  Now, Wal-Mart has a huge parking lot, and it was full, totally full. I dropped Ella off at the door, and parked at the IHOP, about as far as you can get from Wal-Mart, and not be in the middle of busy Watson Boulevard.

Apparently, Wal-Mart was doing some tiered sales, with the first one starting at 8 p.m.  As I walked in, Ella was nowhere to be found among the mass of humanity, most of which was just standing around.  At 8 p.m., however, it became a madhouse.  People running around, laughing, and generally having a good time, I suppose, as they grabbed, fought, kicked, and screamed for the bounty that lay before them.

Sorry for the blurry picture. I was trying to take the picture with one hand
while holding Ella's DVDs in my other  hand
Since I had no desire to participate, I found a post, put my back to it, and just watched. I finally saw Ella as she made a beeline toward the media sale. It was amazing that people, including Ella, would actually push and shove for a discount DVD.  OK, maybe Ella didn’t push and shove, but she darted in and out like a madwoman until she found what she wanted.

Luckily, with DVDs in hand, Ella was done shopping, and we quickly checked out (kudos to Wal-Mart for such speedy service).

I actually spent Black Friday, as well as Saturday and Sunday, listing in preparation, hopefully, for a big Cyber Monday. I’ve had three nice Ebay sales so far this morning, so maybe my hard work will pay off.

Even though the Christmas selling season has just begun in earnest, we need to be mindful of post office shipping deadlines.  December 3, which is just a week away, is the last day to send Priority Mail International for Christmas arrival, and the Express Mail International deadline is just a week after that.  Domestic Parcel Post deadline is December 15, First Class deadline is December 20, Priority deadline is December 21, and Express deadline is December 22.

Of course, after December 22, we can all rest, right?

Have a great selling week.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Let's talk turkey

Thanksgiving already?  Time sure flies when you are thrifting.

By now, hopefully, everyone will have everything listed in anticipation of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and can concentrate on preparing that ridiculously large meal on Thursday.  It’s just me and Ella this year, so we probably will eat out instead of me spending all day in the kitchen for a meal that takes all of 20 minutes to eat.

Yes, I said me.  Ella can whip up a mean dessert, but I handle most of the culinary action in our household.  Granted, most of my meals are fairly simple, but occasionally I like to tackle something bigger, like, say, a turkey.  It’s usually a recipe for disaster, with the bird over done or under done, but two years ago, my turkey ineptitude reached new bounds when I almost broke our oven.

I had big plans for the fowl after watching a video of Alton Brown on make it look so easy.  In anticipation, I purchased a digital meat thermometer and a large roasting pan, and followed the recipe precisely, or not.  OK, I didn’t have all the proper ingredients, but I improvised, and after brining the bird for 24 hours, I was ready for roasting.

I hate messes, and I’ve never cooked a large piece of meat without getting drippings in the bottom of the oven. So, even though we have a self-cleaning oven, I lined the bottom with aluminum foil to catch the drips.  I know some of you are shaking your heads already, but, in my defense, it seemed reasonable enough at the time.  After all, I use aluminum foil in the oven all the time, and never, ever had a problem.

Of course, I didn’t take into account the recipe calling for cooking the bird at 500 degrees for 30 minutes.  Yes, much to my chagrin, the aluminum foil melted and stuck to the bottom of the oven.  I didn’t notice it at first because I was too busy dealing with hungry relatives and the big bird, which, paradoxically, was both overcooked and undercooked at the same time.

When it was time to clean up, I was pleased to see that my aluminum foil had indeed caught the drippings.  I congratulated myself for being so smart, but quickly started cursing myself for being so dumb, when the foil and drippings could not be removed.

Not knowing what to do, I turned to the Internet for advice, and was only marginally pleased to see that I wasn’t the only one who had made such a stupid mistake.  After much research, I discovered that a product called Naval Jelly could be used to remove the melted metal.  So, I spread and scraped, spread and scraped.  Eventually, I got most of it off, and vowed never again to be such an idiot, or to cook another turkey.

I must admit that I have tried to cook a turkey since then, but haven’t had much luck.  This year, Ella found a recipe for a turkey breast prepared in the crockpot.  It was so simple, with only three ingredients (turkey, onion soup mix, and cranberry sauce), that even I couldn’t mess it up.  I tried it a week ago, sort of a Thanksgiving test run, and I must admit, it was pretty good.  So, if I ever get talked into fixing a turkey dinner for family and/or friends, this will be my go-to recipe.

I hope everyone has a great Turkey Day, and a great start to the Christmas selling season.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Musings - Baby, It's Cold Outside

It was 30-something degrees on Saturday morning as I visited my first yard sale of the day, and, as I often do, I posed a simple question to the bundled-up folks taking the money:

Who’s sillier … the person who runs a yard sale when it’s 30 degrees, or the person who attends the yard sale when it’s 30 degrees?

Usually, I think it’s me, but given what some of the “huge” sales had to offer, I now think it’s the proprietors who brave the cold weather to sell what can only be charitably called junk.

Fortunately, the morning warmed up nicely; unfortunately, most sales still offered only junk. 


Jimmy, Ella’s brother, went thrifting with us recently, and paid $5 for a Polaroid camera.  Now, $5 is a lot of money for Jimmy, who works only sporadically as a construction worker.  I asked him why he wasted so much money on that old camera. He replied that he wanted to take some pictures (duh!).  I then broke the news to him that he couldn’t buy film for the camera any more.  He didn’t, and still doesn’t believe me, and told me later that K-Mart said that they probably would get some film in soon.



Speaking of Jimmy, I wrote/bragged that he found a new in box Disney Fairy TV/DVD Combo for $20.  Well, I wrote too soon.  He was watching a DVD, and the unit just died.  Jimmy wasn’t too heartbroken over the loss of the TV, but he wanted his Scooby Doo DVD back.  After we pried the DVD tray open, the DVD was nowhere to be found.  We are both at a loss, literally and figuratively.


I finally found a Betty Crocker cookbook with the red pie cover.  Of course, I wouldn’t have known to look for it had it not been for all you wonderful bloggers out there.


Buyer Feedback:  I received this item promptly but the tape is not in a condition where you can play it without first tapping on the sides of the tape because the tape keeps getting caught in the VCR. I know it is not my VCR because I have other VHS tapes and they do not get caught in the VCR player. I give it 3 stars because of prompt delivery and the ability to view the tape after manipulating it.

My Response: I'm sorry you are having issues. However, the tape tested perfectly in my VCR without "tapping the sides."

Maybe I should start tapping all my VHS tapes.


Two local radio stations have started playing Christmas music 24/7.  Isn’t it still a little early? 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dragged, Kicking and Screaming

You can’t make me, you can’t make me.

I thought those words over and over this past Friday as Ella tried to convince me to go thrifting on Saturday morning.  My storage area was at near capacity (a good problem), my cash flow was low due to poor sales (a bad problem), and, honestly, I was feeling burnt out on the whole shebang.  I wanted to sleep late, list some items, maybe attend a local fall festival, and then watch Georgia play football.  In short, I wanted a semi-normal Saturday.

Yet, Ella really wanted to go to the half-price sale at the local historical society flea market.  She had seen an 8-track player (remember those?) two weeks ago at their main sale, and hoped it would still be there for half price (a whopping $7).  Apparently, she has some old 8-track tapes that she wants to record to CD.

So, reluctantly, I agreed.  Of course, the sale didn’t start until 9 a.m., so Ella decided we had time to attend a couple of early sales, including a church bazaar.  And since we were going to be in Macon for the flea market, we could attend some sales in the area afterward as well.

After all was said and done, we thrifted from 7 a.m. until around 1 p.m., and my dream of the normal Saturday slowly slipped away.  Pretty much as soon as we got home, it was time to go to the community fall festival at a local church.   I figured we could stay for an hour or so, then make it back home for most of the 3:30 p.m. football game.   Wrong.  Between the free lunch, continuous cake walking (Ella finally won a cake), and waiting for the door prizes (you must be present to win … and win I did … a pound of pecans), we didn’t get back to the house until around 6 p.m.  After getting the dogs fed, and settling in for the evening, the game was over (Georgia won), and I was just too tired to list Ebay items.  I then dozed through the movie that Ella put on, and wound up in bed before 9:30 p.m.

Despite my whining, I grudgingly did manage to find some good items, including a whole copier paper-sized box of guitar strings for $3; a Nespresso D290 Concept Espresso and Coffeemaker with five or six boxes of individual coffees for $20; and assorted odds and ends.

On Sunday, after packing my sold items, I managed to list all my tacky Christmas sweaters/shirts, and then got dragged out of the house again by Ella, who wanted to go to a local flea market to see a wooden wishing well that a vendor was selling.   Fortunately for my wallet, it was too small for Ella’s tastes.  It was then on to Lowe’s for some rocks for Ella’s garden, and then to Wal-Mart for routine stuff.  I did find some clearance items there, including half price Mario costumes, and assorted toys to send to Amazon’s FBA program.

I can’t complain about what I found to sell over the weekend, although at this point, it just adds to the clutter in our storage area.  I won’t even complain about missing the football game on Saturday.  I will complain, though, the next time Ella looks at me, looks at the clutter in the storage area, and then utters the phrase the I’ve come to know and hate:

“Why don’t you get this stuff listed?”