In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff


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Nevermind the Haitians

I am still down here in Florida and although we are supposed to depart on Wednesday the 27th, it’s not looking too good as of today.  Serious storm Debby is hovering around wreaking havoc on our area with high winds, tornadic activity and lots of intermittent monsoon downpours.  I think the television said tornado warning 423 yesterday and the kids just about had heart attacks. I am on Pine Island where there are no storm signals so we are on a strict watch and listen type of deal here.  It’s all good.  We are not flooded out, we have everything we need and we know it won’t last forever.  But when this lasts for days, it feels like forever.

My sister is busy packing up her e-bay boxes and preparing for a pick up because we are not going out in this crap today.  She’s been unemployed for quite some time now.  I can totally write about her work this time while I’m here.  I learned a tough lesson last time I was here and I mentioned her previous employer in a blog post.  I didn’t say anything bad.  But she almost lost her job over that deal, so you never really know who might be reading your blog.

Since she’s pretty much self-employed I am not too worried this time.  She sells massive amounts of name brand merchandise online.  She’s doing what a lot of people are doing here.  She’s going to garage sales, estate sales and thrift markets and doing some serious online reselling.  She’s in a perfect area for it as this state has been hit hard with people who had money and then all of a sudden don’t have it anymore.  Lots of folks just close up their house, put their crap out front and drive off.  It’s unreal.

The Goodwills here are amazing.  We’ve shopped them for personal merchandise for years.  I’ve found several good things everytime I visit here.  My sister started looking for name brand stuff, shoes and handbags in particular.  Another great thing to find are wooden hangers with writing.  Those go for some serious bucks, especially if they say Flamingo Hotel from Las Vegas.

Goodwill has a store called Bargain Barn here.  I think Bargain Barn gets their stuff from Goodwilll after it’s sat on the shelf for awhile.  They sell the clothes by the pound, everything is tossed into bins and frankly, it’s a real pain in the ass to shop there.  The stuff can be dirty but you never know what you might find.  I went with my sister to Sarasota to the Bargain Barn there the other day.  We dropped mom and the kids off at Mote Marine.  My sister told me to get ready to fight the Haitians and I responded with a classic “whatever.”  We entered the store and headed towards the long bins of shoes, about 30 feet in length.  Half of the spaces were empty because they took the bins away and were preparing to bring out new shoes.  In a long rectangle surrounding the spots where the bins were to be replaced stood about 30 Haitians, my sister and one other white chick.  I was like whoa, what’s going down now?

The new bins were then wheeled into position and a whistle was blown and all hell pretty much broke lose!  Everyone started pushing and shoving (well the Haitians did) and loading up shopping carts with shoes.  The Haitians grab whatever they can and toss it into a cart and take it away.  They sort through it and then toss back whatever they don’t want.  This is sort of good because the Haitians tossed back a pair of Merrell’s and a pair of Ferragamo’s.  Score!  Some of the Haitians wear bags around their necks and just load up, walk off, sort and toss back.  One lady had a zip up mattress cover and pretty much just loaded that thing up until the zipper was about to bust open.  And then, she started her sorting.   Some of the ladies were really pretty and wore colorful turbans on their heads.  One lady sang a song, really loud, in Haitian (I guess) as she sorted her wares.  Soon enough they announced new clothing bins were being released so my sister and I decided it was time to shop for more shoes – in peace.

So the question to myself was this.  Are there no shoes in Haiti?  Are these Haitians citizens, illegals or just visting?  Why the push and shove for a pair of tennis shoes?  My dad recently returned from Peru where he spent some time in a very poverished area.  He said one would have to work for about 2 months to purchase one pair of shoes and that would only be if you didn’t buy anything else.  I realize folks are poor and need help, but how about playing fair?  But then I told myself perhaps they don’t know any better, maybe this is how they’ve always had to live.  To fight for anything, I just don’t know.  Maybe they should donate all the leftover shoes to Haiti.  I think that would be a great idea.  Perhaps after I finish this I shall do some research on Haiti and the people there.

So far my sister has sold shoes by Ferragamo, Pliner, Chanel, J. Crew, Teva, Shoeman Lau (handmade crocodile shoes) Cydwoq, Stewart Weitzman and then some.  We found a gorgeous pair of Chanel heels the other day.  They are patent leather with a gold, Chanel penny in the tongue, like a penny loafer.  Oh, did I mention that shoes of any kind at the Bargain Barn cost $2?  Well, they do!  The Chanel shoes fit me perfectly and were actually quite comfortable and I’m not into heels.  After she cleaned them up, I wore them around the house with my shorts until the heel cap broke off and I am now no longer allowed to model any of the shoes again.  I think her exact words were, “Kirsten, don’t touch anything!”

One pair of pretty heels we found are made of suede with a pattern.  They fit me too, but I didn’t walk around in them.  They were made by Tokio Kumagai, a Japanese designer who is now deceased but several pairs of his shoes are actually on display in a museum.  She has also sold a vintage baby alligator purse and a small purse, called a camera bag by Chanel.  Totally cool.

I have looked for merchandise of this caliber where I live, but found pretty much nothing of this nature.  I too, have sold several items on e-bay.  It’s really fun to do.  The search though can be exhausting and if you’ve ever done it, you know what I mean.  It’s pretty time consuming.  Once you’ve made your purchase and you’re not sure of what it is, that inital research can kill some serious time as well.  And of course if you bought something that needs cleaning that’s time consuming too.  I am really thankful that folks here ditch so much great stuff because if they didn’t, my sister and her family would be in some serious financial trouble.  My sister also sells things for lots of other people.  One of her friends actually worked at Chanel in NYC.  She has several clothing items with price tags still intact.  I just checked them out in her closet.  Pretty fun to look at.  And no.  I didn’t try anything on.

Guess I’ll go down some more coffee and watch the wind.  Speaking of coffee.  My sister scored a Nespresso C190 for $5.  Only because she worked at that fancy kitchen store that I blogged about year before last year did she know what this was.  All of the pieces were strewn about in separate bins and she took the time to find every last piece.  It works perfectly.  We’ve already steamed and frothed but we don’t have any Nespresso coffee capsules.  That fancy kitchen store won’t sell you any as you have to be in the Nespresso club and order them.

A pine tree just bent pretty low and the wind about sucked open the french door that opens to the outdoors.  The kids are still asleep.  We were supposed to head back to mom’s today, but I think we might have to wait until tomorrow.  I suppose there are worse places that I could be stuck.  We had several great days on the boat and on the beach and in the pool.

If you want to check out my sister’s wares on ebay, her store name is Material Green Design.

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This And That

*Updated the appearance of this blog, used my own garden photo.  Perhaps I’ll start up a website with header photos that I’ve taken.  Do I need another business?

*Sister update.  The job offer never happened.  Just from that lack of communication, I told her that she most likely does not want to work there anyways.  Easy for me to say as I’m not the one without a job.  Her mortgage modification has not gone through yet, so this is looking bleak.  I hate it.

*Getting ready to break from MSU yoga!  Nice to have a bit more free time.  To do what?  Clean my house.

*Our son will turn 16 on March 8.  He purchased his first vehicle, a 1987 Dodge Dakota.  It’s a real lemon.  My husband can rebuild and loves any small engine repair.  He’s never overhauled a vehicle before.  But guess what?  He has now!  In our backyard he self taught himself how to change bearings and an oil pump in a vehicle engine.  In the cold weather at that. 

*I wish my kitchen was a small engine.

*When you own a truck, everyone wants your help.  When you can fix stuff, everyone wants your help.

*It’s sunny today and I am really glad.  Tomorrow it’s supposed to be in the 70’s.

*I have an infection of some sort on my eyelids.  Make-up, bacteria, viral or an allergy?  I don’t know.  It’s been a week and it’s not all the way gone.  I’m thinking about checking out the new walk-in clinic at Wal-Mart.  They take our insurance.  Now if they just had a post office!

*We sold our ugly loveseat on Craig’s List for $30 in less than 24 hours.

*We also got rid of our ginormous blue, velour sectional. 

*We inherited a sofa (below) that my sister purchased from Burdine’s. It will be slipcovered soon as we cannot have anything that light of a color in our house!  We also inherited a barrel chair from the house I grew up in, a cool white end table from Pottery Barn and a leather ottoman/coffee table.

*On the way to Pier 1 to check out a  $375 chair, I stopped at a flea market and found two chairs for $129.  Totally awesome.  I’m not into antiques, but I think they’re from the 30’s or 40’s and man, are they comfortable!  They do look cool and they’re in great condition.

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*The round glass coffee table is a split tree trunk and my sister made it.  I’m keeping it, but taking it apart and using the trunks for extra seating or something.  We’ve had it a long time and it went great with our sectional.

*Anyone need a huge piece of super heavy, circular glass? 

*Ignore the floor as it will be refinished and of course, doesn’t everyone keep sheet rock in their hallway!  We’ve been consumed by a 1987 Dodge Dakota!

 *I’m painting the frontroom and hallway blue. 

*You can park for 30 minutes at MSU for a quarter!  Perfect for dropping off paper work.  Beats an $18 ticket!

*Things that are marked “Dresden” and “Nippon” are great items to put on e-bay!

*I am so ready for the grass to turn green!


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I HEART Ebay

I love ebay and we just made quite the haul.  Lauren has a lot of toys.  We were gifted an older Fisher Price Loving Family dollhouse when she was 5 or 6.  It had no furniture, so I browsed thrift shops for stuff that would go with it.  Of course, some was purchased brand new, but the majority of it came from the junk stores.  We just unloaded all of it, for $244.98 and to think I was going to send this back with my mom to Florida for my neice!  We did let her have the dollhouse, didn’t want to try and ship that sucker!  Someone paid $51 for this camper, the tent, the bicycles and a couple of boats.  So if you’re out at a garge sale or Goodwill, Fisher Price Loving Family, old or new is not a bad investment!

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I used to sell a lot of dishes.  I scoured flea markets and second hand shops for dishes with unique stamps on the back.  I had a guide book I’d take with me.  Though sometimes, you could just pick up a basic piece of china and make good money off it because someone out there had broken a piece or just simply wanted an extra.  The second hand shops have since wised up.  Goodwill in Ft. Myers actually has it’s own auction service now, as I’m sure lots of other Goodwill’s do too.  When I finally sold off what I could sell, I got rid of what I could in the garage sale and took the rest back where I got them.  It was fun while it lasted, to purchase a plate for a quarter and sell it for $10 or more. 

My sister has recently jumped on the e-bay bandwagon as well.  They are having financial difficulties and the thought of losing a beautiful home is not very pretty.  Everything she owns in the way of clothing is J. Jill, Prada, Banana Republic, and brands that I’m sure I don’t know of.  She’s doing really well with it and realizing that you really don’t need 37 pairs of shoes.  I don’t have any high dollar clothing to resell, but I’m also not in a bad financial situation so at times, I’m thankful for my low grade and probably bad taste.  I do trade a lot of my yoga stuff on e-bay as I get sick of wearing the same stuff all the time.  I also find brands like Lululemon, Ebb & Flow or Be Present, none of which are available at stores in our areas.  They still aren’t cheap, but 1/2 or a tad more of what you’d pay in the stores.  Most of it comes to me new with tags! 

The most fun my sister and I had on e-bay was selling off our childhood toys.  We had a massive Dawn Doll collection that brought huge bucks!  We also had these cool little dolls, that smelled good and were packaged in perfume bottles.  I can’t remember what they were called.  One of those alone, brought $80.  We had lots of Barbie stuff and dealing Barbie can be fun if you know what to look for.  I used to buy big lots of clothes at the junk stores or even on e-bay just because I recognized one piece in there that was worth bucks.  One time, I bought a paper bag of Barbie clothes on ebay.  Inside, was the original Pan American circa 1966  flight jacket for Barbie.  I cleaned it and sold it online for $60.

Vintage Barbie Pan American Airways Stewardess

Another great outfit I found complete was Barbie’s Lamb & Leather outfit, circa 1970.Vintage Barbie Lamb 'n Leather   You have to be careful now as most of these outfits are being reproduced.

It was all white and it came to me totally trashed.  One safe and good way to clean old fabrics of a lighter color is to soak them in Polident.  Be sure to use a glass bowl, cold water, and one or two Polident tablets.  Let them soak overnight.  Rinse in cool water and let them dry flat on a towel.  The results are amazing, crisp, clean color!  I never pressed any of my older Barbies clothes for fear of disentegration, but steam will work well.  I ended up receving $90 for this outift in 2001, complete minus the gloves! 

You can use Polident for all different colors as well.  Just be sure to do a batch of red by itself, blue by itself, do not mix colors!

I haven’t sold any Barbie stuff for a very long time.  I do have a wonderful old Barbie case, complete with a couple of vintage dolls and a bunch of the theater costumes, a wedding dress, an original bathing suit and a bunch of accessories.  I scored most of that on ebay as well, got sidetracked and have never sold it.  OK.  Maybe I got a bit attached to that, but it’s probably time for it to go. 

The holidays, yep that’s when I’ll get it outta here!

The weirdest thing I ever sold was an old pair of tennis shoes.  Someone made a joke to me that I should put them on ebay, in the adult section.  The adult section?  Ebay has an adult section?  Why yes, yes they do.  I got a secondary ebay identity and I started the auction out of curiosity.  I sold them, for $52 and the guy also asked me if I would throw in a pair of socks, that were not washed.  I got creeped out but I did it and mailed them with no return address. 

Someone I know, knows someone that’s living in Japan.  She puts her underwear in vending machines there.  Really, not kidding.  She sells them for around $60 U.S. What in the hell is up with that? 

I know.  You’re probably wondering what kind of people I know……….and I just mentioned Fisher Price and underwear in vending machines in the same post…….

I’m going to go and finish my book now!


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Sex & and the City

Saw it today!  Was not disappointed, went by quickly, loved it!  Predictable?  Yes.  Did I care?  No.  Do I hope they make a sequel?  Yes.  Something to be said for a mozarella and tomato salad for lunch, great conversation and a little shopping topped off with entertainment!  Saturdays like this are far and few.  Our theater was sweltering.  We’ve had a ton of rain, so it’s super humid here in the Midwest.  We complained.  Score for us.  We each received a free movie ticket!  We’ll be back.  Perhaps to see the new Luke Wilson flick.  The name of the film has left me.  Anyhow, an image of Jesus appears on the side of Luke Wilson’s stucco home.  Just what we all need right?  If it happens to me, you can bet, I’ll be cashing in on it!  Just like that image of Jesus that appeared on that grilled cheese sandwich that showed up on ebay.  Check back tomorrow.  Perhaps the mold on the North side of our house is a diety in the making!