Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Square Dance Mother Load

Lisa and I went to an estate sale in our neck of the woods several weeks ago that promised to be chock-full of old Western and square dance items. The ad for the sale showed vintage dresses, crinolines,  string ties and all sorts of goodies that were going to be right up our alley. Of course, since we didn't get there before the doors opened, by the time that we did arrive an hour later, most everything had been sweeped clean. We enjoyed looking at the house and it wasn't a total wash as I found an album and Lisa picked up some pretty ties and a camera. We also saw this guy:

We didn't stop to offer him assistance so in retrospect I hope that he was fake and not under some kind of duress. I don't know about Lisa but I obviously was never a girl scout. I had my eyes on some unseen prize and was willing to forego the humanitarian mantra of "no man left behind".  Besides, I've learned from my true crime shows that once they're bloated like that, they've done gone home to be with Jesus. Once they bloat, that's all she wrote. 

We were only there about ten minutes but before leaving, we went down to check out two small sheds on the property. In one shed, there seemed to be a lot of competition over a lawn mower and weed eater. Thankfully, that's not our bag. What is our bag?

Danger, baby. 

Now Lisa looks as safe as a swaddled lamb in this photo but right after I snapped it, a big honkin' wasp landed right on her forehead. Swarms of wasps continued to buzz around us as we investigated this shed with piles of unopened cardboard boxes and plastic Christmas garlands strewn inside. 

We knew that at any second, we could be knocked down by the wasps and become the stuff of whispered tales of warning between estate sale goers for decades to come. Did that stop us? Heck to the no. Lisa was digging on some old curtains and I love anything hidden in a filthy cardboard box that hasn't seen the light of day for decades. This was that kind of shed. It had been handed over to the wasp gods years ago. And probably quite a few spider gods. No woman should tread there but yet...we soldiered on. 

When Lisa suddenly pointed out an enormous box of magazines and I saw what was in there, well I almost stroked out like the guy in the rocking chair. I bring you...

Kapow! and Dosey Doe! 

Over three hundred square dance magazines from the 60's and 70's!   I was a bit worried that I'd never be able to afford them as a single magazine of the same kind was marked fifty cents inside of the house. Even though I suck at math, the numbers that rang up in my head had this score going way up towards the $150 range. I was worried but after showing the cashier the boxes in the shed (where she didn't want to step foot into), I got an "oh god, just get those nasty things out of that nasty shed and don't make me ever think about them again" deal at $30 for the whole lot of them as well as the record that I'd found.  I wonder if this sounds like a lot? But I don't think so because square dancing memorabilia is one of my favorite  And since they were fifty to sixty cents per issue back in the day, I figure I got them on "discount". 

Thanks to Lisa who helped me drag that filthy weighty cardboard box full of magazines out of the shed, up the driveway and finally somehow into the trunk of her car (with wasps still trying to make a nest in her braid)  - and later for helping me get it out of the same trunk and onto my porch where it eventually fell apart, spilling out magazines like a musty piƱata. I've only begun to barely look at them but here are some sneak peeks at the splendor:

Each page, article and ad within these magazines delight me to no end. Even the letters to the editor are fascinating as you will see with this one about a poodle called "Flip" who has been named after a couple's favorite square dance caller:

Aww! at him! 

I can't wait to have a big chunk of time to go through them all! On a related note, if you hear me talking about buying a "smaller house" and "downsizing" just slap me. I'm pretty sure that the Mister wishes that I'd collect something small like say, stamps.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Linky Dinky Doo

I have lots of links for you today that I hope that you'll like!

First up, I wanted to tell you about a wonderful e-book that Ranch Dressing friend Katie Mullaly has has written. It's called:

I took a copy of it to Ireland with me and could not stop laughing on the plane because it's so hilarious. In fact, it may be one of the few things that helped me survive that flight. And to make it even better, it's about something that most of us love: treasure hunting in thrifts, yard sales and junk shops. Mixed in with the hilarious stories and anecdotes, Katie also gives tips on how to make the big scores while out on the hunt and how to roll them into profit if you're not a hoarder like me. Here is the official description:

 If you have ever found hidden treasure while digging through a yard sale, rummaging through an estate sale, or hanging right in front of you at a thrift store, then you are not alone. Fueled by her passion and prowess for finding hidden gems, author Katie Mullaly has turned her second-hand addiction into a gift for thrift. From bongs to burial urns, she has seen more than her fair share of ridiculousness and it is high time that she told the world! Through her compendium of personal experience, you will learn to navigate the murky waters of yard saling and emerge victorious. Using equal parts humor and good sense, Katie gives the uninitiated a crash-course in come-ups and the experienced thrifter a good laugh!

At this point, it's in the Kindle version and you can buy it here on Amazon for a paltry $2.99 and read it for yourself. You can check out Katie's website here. Oh, I forgot to mention that she's a really cool chick and also a paranormal investigator!

Next up, Holly Hall from over at Sweetheartville and her hubby Jeremy make up a great little musical and singing duo called Welcome Little Stranger  and they recently put out a video that I just love. It's spooky beautiful with a real old timey twist.

I met Holly years ago through Flickr and she and her family are good people. She's got a really great eye for vintage too with a special interest in antique beauty supplies and implements, as you can probably tell from the props in the video.

Also, here are a couple of videos that I love for Pal's restaurant, a chain out of Tennessee and Virginia.

Next up, my sister girl Lisa who I used to mud wrestle with back in my hometown (yes, a dainty flower like me!) posted this beautiful story this morning.  These tales about love and loss really get to me and this gentleman definitely loved his wife. Visit here to see the story about 96 year old Frank and the song that he wrote in remembrance of her.

And finally, a little self-promotion. I have a new post up today on "No Pattern Required" about fantastic faux themed Etsy finds. You can see it here.

I hope that you all are having a great week so far! We're still plugging away with only mere glimpses of sanity here at the ranch.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Monday, August 26, 2013

Etc. and Stuff

Things have reached epic crazy-daisy proportions here at the ranch. We still have the dogs that we found on our porch and thanks to pellibaby's recent comment, we now call them "The Bumpus Hounds" and scream "Bumpussssesssss!" as they drag us around the yard. I'm not joking about the dragging part. Forget your stupid treadmills. Get yourself some Bumpus hounds. Or better yet, get mine. Anyone want to adopt the most gorgeous pair of dogs in human history? For your approval:

Oh my stars, those smiles! Seriously, if any of my local folks happen to know some amazing person or family who would be great for these guys, please let me know as they are scheduled to go to Nashville Humane tomorrow where they'll unfortunately be split up. And let me tell you, one of these guys without the other is like Johnny Carson with no Ed McMahon. A lot less laughs. 

Since we don't have a fenced yard, someone asked me why we don't take them to the dog park. That's simple. There are actual dog parents there who know what the heck they're doing. We'd be the biggest comedy troupe to ever hit that park. We'd have the parents and other dogs in stitches with the way that we get tangled in leashes and lose our shoes while the dogs walk us. We're cat parents masquerading as dog parents and we're about as evident as Miley Cyrus at the Video Music Awards. 


Did y'all watch it? Please tell me that you watched it. If not, go watch it. I'm pretty sure that Miley's tongue wants its own manager after that performance. The foam finger still hasn't made a comment to the media but reports are that it has gone into the witness protection program. As have the back-up dancers. And every teddy bear in the history of the world.   I never thought I'd say this but I want Hannah Montana back.  I haven't been so discouraged about our future  since I read that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are trying to buy Graceland. Totally not joking. They are.

I have to admit that the Video Music Awards make me feel really old. I remember the good ole days with Prince in his ass-less pants. I don't even know who a lot of the performers are any more. What makes me old though? The fact that I don't even care. They interviewed some people on the red carpet pre-show last night that had me shouting at the TV like an old grandma "Who are you? Does anyone even know who you are???" I remember the very first Video Music Awards in 1984. That's how old I am. I remember Madonna when she was still a newbie, dressed like a slutty bride and slithering out of a giant wedding cake. 

I sound like a complete curmudgeon who thinks that the future is going to hell in a hand basket. Thank goodness for this link that Jamie shared last night on Facebook about the coolest, kindest ladies in the history of the world:

That story had me crying like I'd slammed my hand in a door. We need more Nanas in the world. Those Nanas would have sent Miley to bed without any supper. Not even poundcake. 

Well folks, it's Monday and I'm rambling on like it's a Saturday. Time to start the week. I hope that you all have a great one! 

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Sunday, August 25, 2013

How Damned Fool Punks Killed The Real Estate Dream

Come on over to "No Pattern Required" to see my newest featured home.  It's a real stunner and unfortunately, one quick visit to Crime Mapping killed the dream of living there.

Behold one month's worth of crimes around the property: 

This used to be an incredible area when it was in its heyday of construction in the sixties and seventies and it's chock-full of original masterpiece homes. I'm talking the "looks like day one" kind. Never before have I wished that I was an action-movie vigilante so that I could go in there and restore the neighborhood to it's original splendor and solitude. I remember muttering "damned fool punks spoiling my American dream!" like some kind of drunken Clint Eastwood when this map came up.

We looked at a couple of houses yesterday. One that looked waaaay worse than the photos so we didn't even look at the whole house, which is totally strange for me because I love snooping around houses. The other home is a little dream between walls so we've got until six o'clock tonight to decide whether we make an offer or not. Talk about no time to think it over. That one promises to be a buyer feeding frenzy. Will we be sharks? Minnows? Bystanders on the shore? Only time will tell. Time that is ticking down fast. 

Last night, the real estate search got on my last frazzled nerve so I had to go to my happy place. No, not McDonalds, you sillies! (though my cardiologist would probably call me a liar) Nobody but my friend Sara knows that my "happy place" is listening to the same Adele songs over and over and over, like dozens of times. She is a total bad-ass and brings me strength. Not to worry, I have plugged in the earphones so that the Mister doesn't have to hear it, even though it would be a great way to pay him back for all those repeated playings of that old "Slap Her Down Again, Pa" 78 record in his collection.

In the words of Adele:

"Should I give up...or should I just keep chasing pavements...even if it leads nowhere?"

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Friday, August 23, 2013

You've Got That Right, Carolyn

I think that Carolyn here fully expresses how our house hunt is going.

Or maybe she looks too happy. Last night before we went to bed, a house suddenly came on the market. Oh, it was a dream of a house in a dream of a neighborhood! We rubbed our weary eyes and realized that no, it had not been a dream after all. We called our agent to set up a showing.  I didn't sleep a wink all night, excited about how we were going to be the first ones through the doors this morning to snag the house. I was placing furniture in my mind and picturing myself humming while drying dishes at the cute kitchen window and the Mister in the den...I don't know, smoking a pipe. 

Unfortunately, it just didn't look as great in person as it did in pictures. And it had a basement that was essentially a fourteen hundred square foot murder shack. I actually got lost down there in the dark maze of paneled rooms and the neighbors could probably hear me shrieking, trying to find my husband. The house even has an elevator that doubles as a panic room. I almost needed it for the latter.

Tomorrow we are looking at two more. Send good vibes!  Oh, and yes, I am taking photos of every single house so that at least, I will be able to show you all and we can have long talks about the bad and good parts. 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New Writing Gigs - and my life has gone to the dogs

Hey y'all! Thanks for all of your truly great advice on the house situation. We are looking at homes just in case something strikes our fancy - but being very cautious. We looked at a house yesterday that we had high hopes for but unfortunately, it didn't work for us. I did take photos of all of the best parts and will share those with you as soon as I can. Man alive, it had the best pool. I can't even talk about it without feeling a little sad that I'll never be that pool's Esther Williams.

After the house looky-loo, we found two dogs who for all intents and purposes should have an owner looking for them but alas, they have not shown up. This morning's lowlight was when the dogs jimmied the back porch door open and ran through our house. Now, we're a four cat house. Three of which have never seen a dog in their lives. All of a sudden, we hear a huge commotion and realize that there are large dogs running through our house - and cats flying everywhere! Poor little Pip got the worst of it. We think she's okay but she looks like she saw a monster. We're just glad that she wasn't killed. One of the dogs had started chasing her like prey and she ran under the sideboard out of his reach.

I need a vacation. I know. I had a vacation. I need another vacation.

In other news, I've started two new writing gigs. Both for the "No Pattern Required" vintage blog. It's a great place and I love the ladies over there. I'll be doing their time capsule real estate listings and also their Etsy roundups. I've done one of each so far and you can find them here if you want to follow along with my new jobs!

I hope that you all are having a great week so far!

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Be It Ever So Humble....

...there's no place like home.

Right after we got back from Ireland, I got a call from our real estate agent. "You're never going to believe this..." she said. I immediately knew. Someone wanted to buy our house. I could tell by the surprise in her voice. She never understood why we wanted a house like ours to begin with. I could tell that very curious lightning had just struck her twice and she was completely boggled, her hair in flames.

No, our house isn't on the market. A couple who is selling their house came to her and told her that our house is the house that they want as their house. They told her that the ranch is their "dream home" and that they've been driving past it for years, hoping that it will go up for sale. Now that they are selling their home, they wanted to see if they could make the next step that final step into our home.

Some of you might remember that this is very similar to what happened when we bought the ranch four years ago. We had been driving past it for years and dreamt about living here. There are very few ranches in our area of cottages and tudors and salt boxes. But it wasn't just the shortage of ranches that drew us to the house. We could just tell that it was wonderful inside and that it was where we were supposed to be. And once we got to see inside, it was proven to be true. It had everything that we wanted and more.

I always wondered what it was like for the Sellers then. They were just living their lives. They weren't expecting to sell their home and then all of a sudden a couple shows up and asks if they would have any interest in doing so. "It's our dream home!" we said to anyone who would listen. And now, the very same thing is happening to us. It's disconcerting and confusing and I'd like to go back in time and buy our Sellers a drink. Or four.

Of course you're probably saying, "Just tell them no!" but here is the sticky bit - if we sell it to them, we can make a nice profit. Enough to possibly roll into another home and have very little or no mortgage. Who among us doesn't dream of having no mortgage? I mean, we're not rolling in dough and aren't going to have kids to take care of us when we're old. Would we be crazy not to take this opportunity and run with it? And another big part of this equation is that this couple has always wanted a 1950's home that is all-original. They want to move in and never change a thing. To me, living in an all-original ranch feels a bit like you're curating a museum piece. You love it because it looks like it did on day one - and you want with all of your heart for it to stay that way.

All-original mid-century homes are hard to come by in Nashville. Something happened in the eighties where people just remodeled like wildfire and let me tell you, some incredible homes have had the very marrow sucked from their bones due to that movement. Someone promising not to change a thing in your beloved home is a pretty sweet promise indeed.We live in a home-gut happy society, my friends. Don't even get me started on the huge role that HGTV plays in this with their commercials and their sing-song "You've got tear it on make it beautiful!" TV jingle.

Stick your sledgehammers where the sun don't shine, HGTV.

So, we've been dipping our toes in the real estate pool and seeing if there is a house out there that gives us that old feeling again. It feels like we're cheating on our ranch. We drive away from it and go to other neighborhoods, some of them near and some of them far. Our heads and hearts stray as we climb across porches and peek into windows of vacant real estate and wonder what it would be like to live there. "We could put our sofa there..." and "The kitties would love this big window" come out of our mouths with no thought of our dream house waiting for us at home faithfully. Then we drive into our driveway and the good old ranch greets us with a pair of kitties in the front window and trees full of squirrels and that probably-too-neon front door that I've always wondered if we should change.

We walk inside and are met with the features that have always been there and the changes that we've made and it feels like home. I don't know what we'll end up doing. I guess it depends on if we find a house cheap enough that we think could feel like home again. I have a hard time imagining packing up and driving away from the ranch for the last time but is there something out there that could make the sting easier? It's hard to say. It's really just so hard to say. And I know that I've mentioned at least a hundred times that Patsy Cline used to hang out here. That's some provenance right there, folks. Oh and yes, I've checked. Her ranch house DID go on the market not too long ago but it's been sold to folks who are lovingly retaining it's charm.

I wanted to share all of this with you so that you'll understand why I'm scattered. If nothing else, I can bring you on the journey with us. You like looking at houses, right? The real estate market is crazy in Nashville right now. Every single house that we've been the least bit interested in has been sucked right out from under us. Some have sold before hitting the market and some on the very first day. We talk about nothing but real estate....real estate....real estate. Mister Kitsch has been in Brazil for the past week and what did we Skype about? The beautiful scenery there? The incredible meals that he's eating? How the Brazilian wax got it's name? No. Real estate.

We'll see how all of this plays out. Hopefully, I'll still have a ranch of some kind to go with my "Dressing" when it's done! What about you? What would you do if someone showed up on your doorstep and wanted to move into your home? Would you take the money and run? Or would you close your eyes, swallow hard and behind closed shades, hope that they go away? Do tell.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Holy Smoke-aroonies

Hello! How the heck have y'all been?!

Things around the ranch have been INSANE. I have so much to tell you.

Ranch Dressing has been down for a bit and unfortunately, Blogger doesn't let a person post a "Be Back Soon!" note but instead makes it look like I've started some private club that I'm not inviting anyone to. Thanks to all who emailed to check on me. It meant the world to me!  I'm fine - and if you happened to read my last (now deleted) post before things went black, you'll know that I've got some stuff going on in regards to my volunteer efforts that made me have to go under the table (and take my blog with me) for a bit. If you didn't read it, then you're probably thinking I'm being terribly vague. Just ignore the whole thing and we'll get on to business as usual, shall we?

Anyhoo, I'm sorry to those who tried to visit Ranch Dressing only to find Blogger's "You? Oh're not invited" style note. It looks like I've lost six readers due to it. Sigh. I hope that they come back. I'm not much of an exclusive type person so I'd never start a "members only" blog.

Like I said, I've got a ton of things that I want to tell you all about as soon as I can. But for now, I couldn't stand the idea of Ranch Dressing being lights-out for another day.

I hope that y'all are doing great and I can't wait to catch up!

Until next time,
x's and o's,