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Hot under the collar at the consignment shop

Consignment fashions are hot stuff these days, especially when the mercury outside tops 100 degrees (F). But do folks really have to be so steamed about a few choice items?

Even the weatherman couldn’t have predicted this perfect storm.

After weeks of nagging from a certain someone (who happens to share my closet), I finally mustered the motivation to weed out several stale items. I gathered up the shoes that hurt my feet, the blouses that don’t button, and the shorts that are simply too short for a woman of my vintage.

Who wouldn’t be lucky to pick up such treasures? I mused.


I phoned a friend, who tackled the same project in her own closet.

We loaded our seasoned fashion gems into the trunk of her car and cruised to a consignment shop in a tourist town nearby. We counted ourselves savvy consignors, as we circled the block in traffic. The high season is clearly underway, if the sidewalk shuffle is any indicator. The Fourth of July Weekend is just around the corner. 

Surely our closet rejects (er, lovely fashion items) would sell in a flash.

Finally finding a parking spot, we huffed and puffed and loaded ourselves up with armfuls of neatly washed, ironed, and hangered items.

We trudged along the sidewalk, jostling past Skinny Minnies in teeny bikinis, red-faced matrons in tropical print muumuus, and sweaty seniors in plaid Bermuda shorts.

I nearly tripped over a grey poodle on a leash, as I juggled an oversized shopping bag to open the door to the shop. Three sundresses and a pair of cropped chinos fell to the ground. I gathered the goodies and went into the consignment store.


Then the storm began.

“Oh, no!” the saleslady behind the counter groaned, before the jingling bells on the door stopped ringing. “You’re not bringing us stuff to sell, are you?”

My friend and I stashed our stuff on the garment rack labeled “Incoming Items” and stopped to catch a breath.

“We are simply too busy to look through consignment items today,” announced the pinch-faced consignment lady. (Actually, her name is Fran. We’ve dealt with her before.) “I’m here alone today, and I can’t stop to check in your things.”

As if on cue, a younger woman stepped behind the counter, pulled a key from her pocket and unlocked the jewelry case to show a customer a silver necklace.

Fran raised a precisely plucked eyebrow and clucked a bit.

“If you’d like to donate, that’s fine," she said with a second-hand smile. "Or you can leave them on the rack in back,and we'll get to them when we get to them. But we can’t count consignments until next week. We’ve changed our policy on incoming goods, and we only take things on Mondays through Wednesdays.”

Gee, we must not have seen the memo-that-never-was, I thought. This was Thursday. I wondered whether Fran had ever been a kindergarten teacher, as she seemed to be scolding us like a couple of naughty five year olds.

Just then, a real five year old approached the counter, holding a red lace tank top. “Do you have this in a smaller size?” she chirped. Fran stopped pecking at the keys on the cash register and bent across the glass display, nearly knocking down an easeled tray of enameled brooches.

“Sorry, sweetie,” she purred. “Everything we have is one-of-a-kind.”

How right she is, I decided, grimacing at my cohort in crime. She's one-of-a-kind for sure.

Here we were, bringing in free merchandise for the shop to sell. Sure, they’d pay us a small percentage of sales, but they’d make a handy profit as well. But, instead of greeting us, as we schlepped our still-stylish duds into the store, the snippy staffer essentially alienated us instead.
OK, maybe Fran was having a rough day, as we all do. Perhaps she faced an inordinate amount of stress at home. Possibly, her gerbil had the flu. Who knows? Still, we found ourselves sorry we'd stopped in her store. 
We went to leave, and the passive-aggressive saleslady called out to us.

“Did you want to look around a bit before you go?” By then, we were on the sidewalk.

“You bet we wanna look around,” chimed my quick-comeback comrade, as we approached the car. “We want to look around for a new consignment shop.”

But that’s not the end of the story.

Remember Fran, the passive-aggressive saleslady, who said they wouldn’t even check in consignment items on a Thursday? She called me less than an hour later. Apparently, she’d already sorted our wares.

In her “You’ve been naughty” tone, Fran explained how she would only accept four of the 34 items I had offered and just a few of my friend’s fashion finds as well. She went on to reiterate that anything we didn’t collect within one week would become the store’s own property.

Did she, or did she not, want our chic cast-offs?

But we’d already cast off. And the next time we clean out our closets, we’re hauling our best wares elsewhere.


Sorting Out Garments for Consignment
Photo by Linda Ann Nickerson – Nickers and Ink Creative Communications

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Is it pricey to put the pooch in the pool?

Our pampered pooch loves to swim. The pretty and peppy Border Collie/Labrador mix dog-paddles like nobody’s business.

Lately, we’ve discovered that dog swimming pools are big business.    

Here are some examples:

My daughter splurged a bit (or so we thought) and bought a molded plastic kiddy pool for about ten bucks. At first, I thought it was a silly purchase, picking up a swimming pool for the dog.

Sure, she knew enough to skip those cheap inflatable pools. After all, doggy’s got claws. But did the pup need her own pool?

“Can’t she just pick a puddle?” I asked.

“When was the last time it rained, Mom?” my pet-lover replied.

She was right. We haven’t had a super soaking rain in weeks. It's been hotter than blazes around here.

Plus, the kid ought to know about a dog’s recreational and hydration needs. Her current career is based on pet care. She’s a licensed pet care expert, with a framed certificate wall. She works with dogs every day.

We grabbed the garden hose and filled up the little pool. The dog joyfully jumped in. She rolled and splashed and shook all over.

Then the mail arrived, and my daughter’s dime-store purchase suddenly became a bargain.

Wanna know why?

Have you paged through the fanciest pet product catalogs lately?

In a move reminiscent of the perennially pricey Nieman Marcus or Bloomingdale’s Christmas catalog wish-list excesses, we recently received a direct mail catalog offering a “Canine Splash Pool.” Retailing at $139.95, this PVC pool measures 47” across and is 12” deep. 

Yes, this collapsible-sided pool has a handy drain, but is that worth draining our family resources?

Our happy dog is more than content with her $10 plastic pool, which even sports cute and colorful little fish on the bottom. The Canine Splash Pool does not. It’s plain and boring, as if my dog would care.

We can buy a lot of kibbles for $130 (the cost difference between the pools). That doesn’t include shipping costs, either.

I think my wallet is laughing.

NOTE:  This blogger has no affiliation with any product/s or companies mentioned in this post and received no remuneration from the manufacturer/s or product promoter/s for this post.
Dog in Kiddy Pool by Leif Skoogforsfor FEMA
US Government photo – Public Domain

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Movie trailer remix begs the question: Who's afraid of Mrs. Doubtfire?

Have you seen the popular video remix, proposing a movie trailer for “Mrs. Doubtfire” as a horror flick?

Favorite and familiar scenes flash by in a strategically scattered manner, accompanied by a scary soundtrack. Even Chuckie and Freddy Krueger might cringe at the thought of such a story.

Take a look at the “Mrs. Doubtfire” remix, created by Peter Javidpour on Vimeo.


What’s so scary about Mrs. Doubtfire?

OK, so she’s actually an adult man, who answers a child care ad in the newspaper by offering a false identity. Then he puts on stage makeup and a mask, pretending to be a female nanny with a lifetime of babysitting experience, so the woman placing the ad will agree to leave him alone with her children.

Oh, wait. Those are his own kids. Does that make it alright?

This, of course, happens after a judge limits the man's access to his children. The verdict follows the father’s hosting of a raucous party in the family home, complete with loud music and noisy farm animals.

In the actual 1993 20th Century Fox film, this character lobs a piece of fruit at Pierce Brosnan, while leering at a young woman in a bikini. In his male form, he also plays with toy dinosaurs, talking to the plastic figurines and himself. Later, in his nanny get-up, s/he offers personal advice to children in his/her own TV show.

But, c’mon. we all know it’s Robin Williams, so we accept it in fun.

Even the weird, cartoonish latex mask, flattened by a city bus, makes us chortle. We’re in on the joke, after all.

Maybe the new horror film remix is scarier than the original story. Maybe not.

Actually, I loved the original film. I can’t even count the number of times we’ve watched “Mrs. Doubtfire,” on cable or DVD. And we were never scared, except perhaps at the raucous laughter of those watching it with us … or ourselves.

Who’s scared now?

So maybe Javidpour had a little fun with the footage. Why not?
“Mrs. Doubtfire” – movie screenshot
Fair Use

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French latrine cleaning turns up royal artifact

It’s a royal flush, thanks to Catherine de Medici!

Antique restoration experts in Paris recently struck it rich, so to speak, while cleaning up an ancient toilet. Apparently, the crew unplugged the old potty and found a fancy old hair accessory, which they believe belonged to Catherine de Medici, 16th Century French Queen consort to King Henry II.
The 3.5-inch hair clip sports the royal green and white colors of Catherine de Medici, as well as the “C” monogram of the French/Italian noblewoman and grand-niece of Pope Leo X, who eventually became the Queen Mother of France.

The latrine rehab project quickly took a hairpin turn, or so they say.

Why would the fancy French royal stoop to use a shared toilet, rather than the private throne (ahem) in the regal abode? Granted, the communal commode was part of Fontaineblue Palace, but such a queenly sort would be wont to squat in secret. 




Surely the aristocratic dame would perform her daily ablutions in high style, rather than a lowly lavatory.

According to French lore, Catherine of Medici kept several secluded cupboards in the castle, where she stored items of particular value. It surely seems odd that she would carelessly drop one of her baubles in the bathroom.

How did the Queen consort’s coiffeur clip end up in a public privy?

Was the Catherine de Medici’s hairpin simply swiped and then swished? Or did the Queen misplace her hairpin while spying on Diane de Poitiers, the King’s main mistress?

No one seems to know, although muckrakers are digging around.

Historical researchers are plumbing the depths of such details.

As the story of Catherine de Medici’s mysteriously misplaced hair clip unfolds, we commoners are scratching our heads. Clearly, the Queen could not trust her own tresses … or perhaps her personal staff.

Perhaps this paradoxical turn of events offers hope to any who have lost items of value.

Finally, we can stop blaming our dogs for eating our homework, our neighbors for stealing our newspapers, the dryer monster for swiping our socks, and many other supposed culprits of countless such unsolved crimes.

Are you still searching for something that’s gone missing?

Maybe the chambermaid flushed it in the chamber. Or, just possibly, the Queen dropped it during her own ministrations.

Where’s your homework? It’s in the can with the Queen’s barrette. Of course it is! 

Mais oui! Oui! Oui! Oui!

Pardon my French, but it may be time to clean my toilets. You just never know what one might find in there.

Catherine de Medici by Francois Clouet
Henry II and Catherine de Medici by Vasari
Public Domain/Wikipedia Commons Photos



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Can anybody wake up this security guy?

A friend and I happened to drive past a behemoth corporate headquarters complex today, returning from a weekend jaunt. We had to stop and stare and snap a quick photo.

I’ve heard of artificial intelligence, of course, but this is something else altogether.

Just inside the gateway of the sprawling self-enclosed city of enterprise stands a very official looking guardhouse. And look who’s manning the controls. This guy is scary indeed.

Go ahead. See for yourself.

Give him a nudge, and see what happens. C’mon, I dare you.

Pull out the plastic, or you won’t get in!

Wearing the corporate logo boldly on his polo shirt, this guy stands as still as a member of the Queen’s Guard. I’d be willing to wager no visitor could make this stoic sentry crack a smile, either.

Take a closer look.

Of course, I cannot tell you where this guy is stationed. It’s classified.

If I told you, we’d probably both have to disappear for a while.

Let’s just say this Southeastern Wisconsin company has security all wrapped up, along with the rest of their business.

After all, they’re no dummies.

Hey, they hired a model employee to staff the security booth at their main entrance, didn’t they? And his job security is obviously intact, as he’s unlikely to badger the bosses for raises.

But who gave this guy his job references for the human resources department, Buzz Lightyear and Barbie?

Don’t you just wonder what the ladies in the steno pool have to say about this shiny-clean guard? Perhaps they think he’s a living doll. Maybe they’ve already ordered action figures in his likeness for the company Christmas party.
I’d have taken a few more shots, but that little camera eye began following me, as I stood outside my still-running vehicle to catch the right angle. And it’s a fair bet someone is already documenting my license plate numbers.

Let’s just hope I don’t end up actually producing license plates, just for clicking a few shots of the preppy corporate version of G.I. Joe on the job.

Photos by Linda Ann Nickerson – Nickers and Ink

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Leapin' Lapin and Rabbit Robbery

Varmint, begone!

As a hankering horticulturalist, I love puttering away in my garden. For years, I’ve nursed my favorite perennials, dividing and replanting beloved flowers in well-tended beds. I’ve swapped out shade, part-sun and full-sun seedlings and mature plants.

But a sinister someone has worked against me.

An unidentified interloper has snatched my bulbs, stolen my strawberries, toppled by vine-ripened tomatoes, and basically wreaked havoc on my harvests.

At last, the culprit has been spotted.

All it took was a bird’s eye view.

I’m not pointing any fingers, but someone used my bathroom overnight, along with way too much toilet paper. That same someone didn’t bother to plunge, as I noticed when I climbed out of bed and went in to brush my teeth.

Grabbing the plunger, I went to work. I cleared the clog. Then I stopped for a moment to open the window. (Don't ask.)

Here's the view from the upstairs window, taken through the screen.
That’s when I saw the garden thief.

“Yep, that’s what I thought,” I muttered to myself. I left the plunger in the pot and raced down the stairs and out into the yard. Still in my pajamas, I plodded across the still-damp grass in my moccasins.

The tulip-taker didn’t even flinch.

He just sat there in the grass, soaking up the sun. Honestly, he was adorable, even if guilty.

After a few moments, the bunny hopped boldly across the lawn and began helping himself to the annual flowers planted under my peonies by the garden shed.

Silly me! I thought I planted a garden, not a private salad bar.
 The snacker … and the slacker

I turned and glanced at the glass patio door, where ninja kitty snoozed in the sun, oblivious to the trespasser in the grass. Apparently, she punched out early. Or maybe she was simply too overstuffed with fish treats to care about wild game in the yard. 

Either way, the sentry was caught off-guard.

Someone would rather siesta than supervise.
Suddenly, I heard a roar from the second floor window. “Who left the plunger in the upstairs bathroom?”

The bunny must have heard the outburst as well, because he bolted under the shed. Clearly, my freshly painted outbuilding has become Mr. Bunny's own private rabbit hutch.

After taking a quick inventory of my last remaining ripening strawberries, I headed for the back door, only to find it had locked behind me. 

I wondered if my backyard neighbors, the yard sale moguls, spotted me in my flimsy summer PJs. Maybe they'd be even more scared than the sprinting bunny.

Score two points for the rabbit this time.

Photos by Linda Ann Nickerson – Nickers and Ink

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