Buying stuff

I was broke, too broke to go to the thrift store, after my trip. My bills were paid, Porkchop and I had food but all I had in my purse was twenty cents til payday. Then like sunrise payday came and I breathed again. I also started spending money again. 

The first thing I bought was this Vera Bradley bag on shopgoodwill.com. A virtual thrift store, cheaper than ebay but shipping is high, usually more than the item you buy. The first Vera bag I bought was a Villager in Twirly Birds pink, this pattern. I think this is a Metropolitan, a small carryon with a laptop pocket. It was 7.99. 

Then I hit the most amazing estate sale this morning on my way to Wal-Mart. Most estate sales have better quality stuff than garage sales but higher prices. They also tend to have, well, boring stuff. Old people things, outdated electronics and the like. This started out that way, one of the first things I saw was a collection of giant rodeo belt buckles. Enticing to some but not my thing. I went on in and was glad I did. This is what I found.

Porkchop making himself comfortable on my loot.

Andy Warhol messenger bag, by LootNYC. My cost, $3.00. There’s a pink smudge on lower right Andy’s face but otherwise pristine. I plan to rock this bag at work on Monday. 

Kipling bag, from Fergie line a couple years ago. I saw this, then the Kipling tag and started hoping that woman looking at the pillows next to it would not pick it up. Please, dear lady, ignore it and move away. Soon as she did I swooped in on it and felt a little giddy. I really felt it when I saw it was 5.00. Has the tags and monkey. 

I nearly bought this because it looks like ‘SOD’ as in “sod off.” I chose it because it was .50 and a pretty box with notepaper inside but there was another bonus.

Victoria And Albert Museum. London, people. I’m an anglophile from way back and still hope to visit London and as much of England as possible. This is one less souvenir I’ll need to buy. There was a matching set of note paper and envelopes for $2. I may go back tomorrow when it’s half price and see if it’s still there.

From right to left: blank notes on silvery paper, Marcel Schurman Christmas cards I remember from my Borders days and cute dog and cat Christmas cards. $1 for each. I collect stationery and yes I might have a problem. 

Beautiful detailed book by the late Kevyn Aucoin, Louisiana boy who was a great makeup artist and full of great pictures. Published in 1997, it’s gorgeous and even someone who doesn’t spend a lot of time doing her own face can appreciate this book. $2.00. 

Kitty cat frame, I plan to put a picture of Porkchop in it and send to my son in Saigon. Porkchop had to check it out first. $1.00
 

Bubble wrap. No tag. Today’s total was 15.71

I’m back

I spent an extra day and uncomfortable night at Inchon airport in Seoul because I missed my connection to home. I ‘m still wired, on Saigon time so here are some pictures.  My sister Kandi picked me up at the airport and I gave her some highlights. More highlights below

I got hooked watching this, it’s really commercials for designer clothes but has some great, off the wall “what the heck did I watch?” moments.

www.fashiontvplus.com 

click on “fashion films”

The dreaded black egg. It takes 4 months to do this, it’s a delicacy. It tastes like a gummy egg, but I didn’t go for seconds

This was my room, the first night. Upgrade

My real room. Ptetty good, it had a mini fridge

From breakfast buffet

Good but no syrup

What I really came for

Tiger and Bear, Korean version

I think that’s spam but don’t quote me

Don’t know what it says but looks impressive Inchon airport

Book store, that says it all. Unfortunately no English language books

Welcome home, cart rental $4. Free at every other airport I’ve seen but in OKC?  Nooo. I schlepped my bags instead

I’m here

I came to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) for my son’s wedding. It’s been worth it. I listened to my Wings lose to the Rangers, with ice cream flavored oreos in a nice hotel room instead of at home with plain oreos.

Traveling was rough, no matter how well planned when there’s a 13 hr nonstop flight in the mix. I have a flat Indian butt, like the Princess in Princess and the Pea, I can feel it no matter what. I squirmed and shifted in my seat over several countries and the International date line. It took me nearly 2 days to adjust to the time difference, climate and the idea my child was going to be somebody’s husband. 

There was a lot going on, manoeuvring not just me but his 3 friends from OK. 2 of them have never traveled outside the US and none of us speak Vietnamese. When he took us out for bun bo hue (like pho) we recreated the cover of the Abbey Road album, all in line following Bear across the streets. He looked like a mama duck with 4 confused and slightly terrified baby ducks behind.

Tokyo Narita airport 

Saigon jewelry store, took this before security told me I couldn’t take pictures 

Indoor market stalls. 

Oanh told me Bear got his hair cut here, blue sign with gold scissors.

The church Nha Tho Nguyen Duy Kang

Some of Bear’s friends, including the Oklahoma Three

On the road to the bride’s village 

Food was good 

Karaoke list. 

Views from rooftop cafe and from my balcony 

Getting ready 

I’m flying to Saigon in 2 days. I’ve planned for this, had those plans changed, thwarted and planned again. 

I’ve learned how much can be stuffed into a suitcase and been amazed. I learned that suitcase is heavy as heck and might need to be emptied a little so I can move it. The wheel really is the greatest human invention, especially those tiny ones. It’s up there with spandex. 

I’m going to see my son and attend his wedding. There’s a lot of emotion in that sentence. I know his dad would be proud and thrilled and anxious. Bear admitted he can hear his dad’s voice in his head sometimes, and remembers little things he used to say. He also admitted he doesn’t think about his dad every day like he used to, but he misses him especially now.

I’m bringing stuff from home, things Bear can’t find in Vietnam. Most of the stuff he asked for is American food like grits and my suitcase has a substantial grocery section. 

Family members are sending gifts, small ones fortunately. I’m also taking a few presents for my future in-laws. I was able to tuck most of them into the suitcase and make it fit somehow; it looks like Tetris.

My clothes and personal stuff are in the 2 carryons. It’s interesting how a pair of jeans can fold down to a tight little cube. Also how that cube can explode and nearly hit you in the eye when you open that bag to stuff in a pair of socks.

Since most of this stuff is staying there I’ll have room for souvenirs. A couple of co-workers collect shot glasses and I promised to bring some back. But the main space is going to be full of strawberry, blueberry and coconut oreos. 

There are a few things to do before I leave. I still have a load of laundry, a trip to the bank to let them know any charges coming from Vietnam will be legit and to let them go through. I also need to have at least one more diet cherry limeade from Sonic. My sister is going to look after Porkchop and the house, because Porkchop can’t open cans. Yet. 

Another thing I’m taking with me is family pictures, old ones I’ve found in photo albums and saved on my phone and a USB. 

Thrift score and dead mouse

I had 2 surprises today, one good and one smelly. First the good one then the other one.

This morning I took my car in for a winter checkup and when I got there found 2 sales guys, no techs. They apologized and promised to reschedule me for next Friday. So while on my way home I somehow found myself at a thrift store.

My favorite thrift, they have discounts on tags, and today yellow tags were half off. I’ve been looking for another hoodie for work, a pullover with pockets. I haven’t really found any I like or that are cheap enough. I found cheap but cheap is lightweight and feels rough.

So I  wandered around the store, looking for gloves but nope. Then while looking at sweaters this bright green catches my eye. The name sounds familiar and after a quick Wikipedia search I am convinced this was put here for me. The half off yellow tag confirmed it.

According to Wikipedia,  the Minnesota North Stars hockey team relocated to Dallas in 1993. So this hoodie has probably been in somebody’s closet a long time. I am a fickle Stars fan, I watched them play back in the days we had cable. Mostly I liked the hoodie,  it’s warm, just big enough and it was 2.50. It looks almost new too.

 

Surprise #2 was a peculiar and familiar smell in the living room. Dead rodent, I recognized it from the years I had hamsters and when they met tragic ends behind the refrigerator. Stuff was scattered on the floor and Porkchop looked smug.

I ignored it as long as I could but finally psyched myself up to move the couch. The smell was the strongest there. I moved furniture, took off the pillows and had a trash can standing nearby. I managed to flip the couch over and looked. Nothing. An old kleenex but no dead animal.  The smell was strong and I poked the bottom of the couch with my foot.  There was a small hole in the fabric but nothing fell out. Apparently the darn mouse used the last of his strength to crawl into my couch and die.

I was partly relieved I didn’t have to deal with the tiny corpse but the smell was getting worse. I had the option of tearing the bottom lining of my couch to look for the dead mouse, and discover who knew what else or flip the couch back and spray a lot of air freshener. I chose option 2 and preserved the couch. That’s my solution, for now.Since there was nothing to see but some old kleenex there’s no picture. 

Accomplishments

I accomplished a few things today. I know they won’t change the world but it’s a small start.

I managed an hour and half walk at the river today. I saw very few people, which was nice. Weather was good, and though my feet were a little sore I felt better after. 

I put out some stuff for Big Dump Day. A wooden bar belonging to my sister, a round clothes rack, 2 portable toilet chairs and a bath chair,  from the garage. They were all gone by late afternoon. I hope they will be happy in their new homes.

I dug out the DVD player and after an embarrasingly long time managed to hook it up to the TV. I  just watched Love  Actually and each time I watch it there’s something new. This time I sympathized more with Carl and despised Alan Rickman even more for what he did to poor Emma Thompson. He could have stepped back anytime, knew he was being a prat but noooo, went ahead anyway. I still feel lousy for Laura Linney. However I am glad I’m no longer dependant on having to use my crap laptop to watch DVDs. I  can start doing yoga again now too.

That’s a VCR player on the left, DVD on the right. Ancient electronics rock. 

Ending

Sedated at the hospital.

Last Sunday my lovely Olive was sick. She spent the night before on the floor instead of hogging my blanket and resting her little hairy butt in my face. 

She was lethargic but suddenly she began whimpering and thrashing about. She began frothing at the mouth and twitching. I tried to talk to her but she didn’t seem to hear me. The twitching stopped and she lay there. 

I managed to get her to the animal emergency hospital. It didn’t stop. The nurse asked me some questions but the only thing for certain was my dog was having seizures and no one knew why. 

She stayed at the hospital for 3 days, and they treated her with gentleness. They had to sedate her, the only way they could temporarily stop the seizures. She did not seem to hurt and she slept while I held her. I could feel her little body shake. She would wake up, lifting her head and seeming to chew for a few minutes before falling asleep again. The seizures never stopped, only slowed. The vets said there were tests they could run but they would only diagnose the cause, there was no guarantee she would get better.

When I left Tuesday night I had decided Wednesday would be her last day. No more seizures, no fear, no more wondering what was happening to her. I told Porkchop and neither of us slept much that night. 

I got Porkchop into the cat carrier and we went to say goodbye to Olive. I took him out of the carrier and he looked at her before he jumped off the table and hid under a chair. I admit I was disappointed and thought he would stay near her. 

The vet tech took her back to insert a new IV, brought her back and then injected her with a large syringe. It took 2 seconds for my girl’s spirit to leave her body. 

Some random events happened next, I took Porkchop home and drove 60 miles to Stillwater to my friend Lucy’s parents’s house. They offered to let me bury her on their land. 

Lucy’s dad dug the grave. The rest is still hard to explain, I watched and understood what happened but felt numb, like I was a camera recording the events without knowing whether it was real or not. 

They took care of me, a rare and wonderful experience. The thought of it overwhelms me, being allowed to do nothing, and letting someone else take charge. It’s foreign to me. I can never thank them enough. 

I miss my girl. Even though I still have Porkchop it’s incomplete. I have been through loss before, far worse than this, so I know I will be okay.  I also know it will take time.