Thursday, July 16, 2009

Shopping madness

Kilowatt's computer quit working in a puff of smoke this week as the video card failed dramatically. It is covered under an extended warranty (I always buy, and use, the extended warranty on computers) so I had to run down to the really big mall to drop it off for repair.

The really big malls are only 40 minutes south, but they have different stores than we do. Generally more unique higher end stores like Godiva and my new favorite, Teavana. And that computer store I won't name, but it kind of follows with the food and beverage theme of the other stores.

I told Diva she could invite a friend to go along and they could do a little preliminary back to school shopping. First, taking two pre-teen females shopping probably wasn't my smartest move ever. Because together, that teen mentality of 'branding' takes over. They must have the 'hot' brands of clothing. I didn't realize how old I was until I stepped into the first store that they assured me was a requirement of preteen fashion.

The loud music and heavy perfume, coupled with pictures of half-naked people on the walls, made it clear that they aren't really selling clothes there. It's kind of the same way that Starbucks isn't really selling just coffee. It is the whole atmosphere thing. It gave me a headache. It also made it obvious this was not a preteen store despite attempts to convince me otherwise. I later found this particular store actually has two locations in the mall, the 2nd one is the preteen one - no half naked people, softer music, same clothes.

We went to the next store - a decided improvement as the loud music wasn't quite so bad (or maybe my hearing wasn't as good by then) and the pictures were of beaches instead of people. I was almost eager to get my gold card out after comparing this store to the prior one. And yes, I do realize they are both owned by the same company. But what's with this darkness thing - I felt like I needed to pull out my cell phone to light my way through the labyrinth that made up this store. And what's with all these separate rooms?

Then came test number 1 - Diva and friend wanted to try on some clothes. I left my trail of breadcrumbs so I could find my way back to the girls, and dutifully went in search of a worker. I searched, and I searched, and I searched. Other than the one behind the cash register, there were none to be found. Ah! Finally, a worker. Is she really old enough to work?

I asked about fitting rooms, and worker grimaces slightly and says "I have to unlock those." She then proceeds to unlock two, plus one for the couple (yes, a male/female couple) that want to go in one together. I really don't want to know.

I then ask about a certain type of sweater that Diva is looking for. Nice eye-roll from worker. Obviously customer service isn't what I'm paying for here either.

The girls make their selections and head to the counter. They have one of those automated credit card machines where you sign the screen. Someone decided to put a bunch of perfume bottles on display on the counter immediately in front of the screen, so that you have to be a tall contortionist to reach over and sign your charge. Anyone under 5' 9" isn't going to reach that keypad. And trying to swipe your own card is a guaranteed perfume spill. What were they thinking?

So let's just say that I understand why retailers are doing so poorly right now, and I'm not convinced it is totally the economy that is sinking them. But next time, I think we'll go virtual shopping. And then wait for UPS to deliver.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fun Monday - Lazy Hazy Days of Summer

School often gets in the way of fun, and I can't recall the last time I was able to participate in a Fun Monday. I just couldn't resist trying to join in the fun once again, and our hostess Jan has come up with a topic that doesn't require research and has easy to follow instructions (see comment on school above to understand why this is important to me). Her instructions to us:

Since the Lazy Hazy Days of summer are upon us now, tell us what activities you enjoy doing outside and how do you stay cool. Share some photos of both if you wish.

When we bought our house, it came with a pool. I have to admit that having an outdoor pool in Northern New England is kind of like having an outdoor ice skating rink in the Mid-South; there are years where it just doesn't get a lot of use. Like 2009. However, today the temp did hit 80, it hasn't rained (yet) and our pool is above 75 degrees, so things are looking up.

When we first saw our house, the first words out of my mouth were "gee, this looks like a great party house." So we like to have friends over in the summer to enjoy the pool and our toys.

It's hard to tell from the photo, but Diva's swing set is about 10 feet tall, and will easily accommodate two average sized adults along with a boatload of kids. I still love to swing! In the background is the famous treehouse, and one of our horseshoe pits. We also have a tetherball set up and a basketball goal. When company comes we add badminton and croquet, and sometimes volleyball to the mix. And of course we eat and drink around the patio table:

Finally, my new outdoor activity (other than drying the laundry on a clothesline to save energy, and I'm not showing you a picture of that) is attempting to do a little gardening.

Don't laugh at my puny lettuce and spinach! Remember, the growing season here is short; and this year promises to be shorter than usual.

So I hope you've enjoyed a glimpse into the life of my family in NH - now click on over and see what the other Fun Monday folks do to stay cool!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Indoor Sunshine

We may not have been having much bright and sunny weather in NH this summer, but one look at these eyes and the inside of my house seems to be filled with sunshine:

My foster care kittens are now 3 weeks old, and eager to explore the world outside of the 'queening box' that has been their home so far. They are shuffling along, unsteady as a toddler learning to walk, but with the added challenge of four feet, and in two cases, extra toes:

I don't think these gals and guys will have a hard time finding a home. Just look at this face:

I'm a bit more worried about Mama Cat, who is little more than a kitten herself. She has all of the kitten behaviors that are so endearing in an eight week old kitten, annoying in a fully grown cat. We've about got her broken of her play-biting habit, and she has learned when she sees the water pistol that she needs to jump down off of whatever she is climbing on that she's not supposed to be on (like the kitchen cabinets.) But she has now grown comfortable enough in our home to attempt to sneak out of it (she really does remind me of a wild teenager, not that I was ever one myself.) And a closed door is just a challenge to her - she'll lie in wait patiently until it opens and slip herself through faster than the eye can see.

She is a good Mother:

And yep, that big bruiser there is almost as big as she is. He's going to be one big cat, and he's got the extra toe thing going on too.

I'll hate to give these guys back when it's time for them to be adopted out...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Enough, already

I'm sure somewhere there is a website that will gladly tell me how many consecutive days of rain we've 'enjoyed' here in the Granite State. I don't need anyone to tell me, I know the answer: too #&^% many.

This seems a bit unreal when I talk to my friends down south, who complain about the heat and humidity. Our high today might hit 65 if we get lucky, and we are under a flood watch. Again.

Here's the view out my back door:

The observant among you will note that the solar cover on our pool is very high. That's because we haven't drained the pool today, yet. We have to drain an average of two inches out of the pool every other day to keep it from overflowing. The water temperature is up to a balmy 73 degrees now. Needless to say, Diva is the only one young enough to get in that water.

How about the view out my front door:
Here you see the small river running down each side of the street. You may also notice how green the grass is. Lucky for us, it occasionally stops raining long enough to run out and cut the lawn.

Q: How do you know someone is from NH?
A1: They have recent Googled "how do you build an ark?"
A2: They can tell you 10 different ways to remove mold from bark mulch (ickkk.)
A3: When the sun comes out, they run out the door regardless of state of dress.
A4: Misting is considered 'not raining.'
A5: They have seen at least five movies since school ended - a week ago.