Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Anniversary Trip Part III

Now we were on our way downtown hunting for the Elliston Place Soda Shop circa 1939! We passed Vanderbilt University and ended up in a cute little part of town where lots of students were wandering the streets...it was your typical university area! We found the little soda shop and it was pretty cool! We ordered sandwiches and the manager was so nice that I ended up interviewing her for a future Vintage Indie article! Turns out that Hank Williams Jr. even did an album cover there and they showed it to us! How fun is that?

Now that we had some nourishment we were ready to tackle finding the Goodwill Outlet Center again! Little did we know just how frustrating that would be! We drove in circles trying to find 8th and 9th streets which had somehow gotten renamed plus I simply cannot read a map. Hands down, not a map reader. I always get turned around and roads end for no reason that are on the map, well, you get the idea.

We saw the Parthenon on the way. FINALLY we find the Goodwill. Hidden around a corner from the Dollar General store. We had exactly one hour to dive into the biggest cardboard boxes of books I'd ever seen in my life. It was worth it though. I found some great stuff for my etsy shop and especially for ephemera packs!

Now, they do get the award for the absolute worst bathroom! One of the very worst I've ever visited and let me tell ya, I've been to a lot worldwide. It was so bad I took a picture of it.

I was having a ball diggin' through those boxes (hard to explain but Chrys will understand!) and we made it to the register right at closing. They were so nice though and the cashier said we should come back the next day because they'll put like FOUR more boxes of books out in the morning! Hmmmmmm....

So guess what we did Wednesday morning after checking out of Opryland? Yep! We went back to the Goodwill Outlet Center for 3 hours!! We had the boxes of books to ourselves for quite awhile and then the other book hunters came in. It was pretty funny, we were all kind of helping each other out, like oh, here's a math book, here's a dictionary, here's an anatomy book....I mean when you are literally emptying out such a huge, deep box you might as well make it worthwhile for everyone's sake! They did finally bring some more boxes out and it got a little crazy! More books came home with us!

We went across the street and had lunch at the Farmer's Market which was under renovation but it was still okay. Then on to more antique malls! We arrived in Goodlettsville, TN to find one of the best antique malls for country store items I'd seen in a long time! Heaven! We couldn't believe what we had found hiding in this little town north of Nashville! We went to three other little shops which paled in comparison! One had free refreshments though- cookies yum! We still had a long drive ahead of us to Paducah so we opted not to go out of the way to Cross Plains. Maybe another time. We arrived in Grand Rivers as darkness was approaching and we were hungry so we ate at the infamous Patti's Settlement mom had told us about. Highly overrated. Very commercial. Tim's Hot Brown was tasty but my salad was just that. The flower pot of bread was cute but completely tasteless. Oh well, at least mom got a cookbook out of the stop, Tim got some Horehound candy and we saw a lot of cats. And then the next hotel nightmare began...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Anniversary Trip Part II

So continuing on....we arrived at Opryland and did the usual resort check in stuff such as flagging down the bellhop and having him lug our mound of luggage. Now, that was nice.

But here's the first clue that we were in for lots of little problems and issues the whole trip....when I booked us for two nights I was told that they didn't have any king beds in the traditional rooms but to ask when we checked in as they would put a request in the reservation. So I checked. None. And none in the Premium rooms either. I was bummed. The best they could do was offer us an upgrade to a King Suite for the Premium room rate. I asked if that really was the best they could do. The girl went and asked and came back with both nights for the same price (Tues was going to be more because of occupancy....they sure can get you) and a voucher for two free breakfast buffets. I was okay with that. Plus the girl who booked me in the morning gave us complimentary parking which saved us $36. Gotta love that. Why they are charging $18 a day to begin with for a concrete space behind the hotel is beyond me but apparently they are.

I just have to stop and say right now that the Opryland Resort is highly overrated. It really is. Sure it's pretty, they have little cute shops and several restaurants and waterfalls but our fancy King Suite was pretty plain. The AZ resorts were nicer. Maybe I was just missing the cactus and palm trees....

Okay, here's what got us $50 more off our room upon check out. The telephone didn't work. So Tim had to trot 5 floors down to request a blanket and 2 more pillows. We had no ice bucket. So, Tim had to fill up two little glasses with some ice. We had one coffee mug but fortunately we aren't coffee drinkers. But if we had been....And finally we had one washcloth. Which I discovered as I was getting ready to take a shower the next morning. So, no washcloth for me, just a bar of fancy soap.

So, with customer satisfaction and all they promptly adjusted our bill after I discussed these issues with them. You would think a nice resort like that would not make mistakes such as those!

And then there was Franklin, TN. Our day trip on Tuesday. Unless you are big into chipped painted furniture and rusty metal don't go there. Sure, there are several antiques shops and malls but again, the whole chipped painted furniture/rusty metal thing....there was a bird in one mall that trotted around the counter. He even climbed up on my arm and Tim's back. That was different.

Oh, and there was still no gas in Nashville or around Nashville. I had heard as much from a friend who had gone down the week prior. But I thought they had surely solved that problem. Well, they hadn't. We were prepared though and had filled up in Franklin, KY but Tim was worried all morning about getting more gas. Every station we passed was closed or had bags over the pumps. It was eerie. We finally stumbled upon a Swifty with not much of a line and filled up. It only took 4 gallons but it was still $18! We hit a Goodwill, got ice cream at Baskin Robbins and went to antique shop after antique shop hoping the next one would be better!

Upon our return to Nashville, we attempted to find the Goodwill Outlet Store. I had heard so much about these from a friend in CA (hi Chrys!!!) and just had to experience one for myself! Well, we drove in circles forever and finally went to an old Fort that Tim wanted to visit. I was okay with that and sat outside in a chair and talked on my cell phone and read a Nicholas Sparks novel. Tim looked at rocks for an hour and a half. He had fun. Then we were starving having only eaten ice cream and our big breakfast all day! The lady at the Fort recommended a little soda fountain near Vanderbilt University so off we went with specific directions in hand!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Where Do I Begin Or How I Ended Up In A Box Of Books On Our Anniversary Trip

I'm not really sure where to start on this one! It's probably going to be more than one post for starters. There's definitely the Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the Annoying!

We always go somewhere for our anniversary. This year, we couldn't decide where to go. After three years out west, twice in Arizona and twice in Vegas, a side trip to Bedrock City and the Grand Canyon, a three hour drive on Rt. 66 and a tour of the Neon Museum/Boneyard (a resting place for old neon signs) how do you top that? We first thought of going to Minnesota and Wisconsin for a change. Well, timing didn't work out for an antiques market we wanted to attend in the area so we nixed that idea.

After more deliberation we decided on Nashville (well, antiquing around the entire area to and from), Memphis (a visit to kitschy Graceland) and Paducah, KY (more antiquing)/Metropolis, IL (home of the Superman Museum). Closer to home, we could take our own car and see a lot of TN which I had never really been to (now I know why). So, the first problem arose when I was sick for over a week with I don't know what. IBS attack? Gallbladder surgery residuals? The reoccuring knives stabbing at my right side were at it again. I also seemed to be having side effects from an antibiotic I was on (it only took me a week to realize the connection). I was so sick that we couldn't even leave last Fri as planned. So, fast forward to a week ago (Sunday night) and we are all packed and ready to leave first thing Monday morning. I very innocently got online to mapquest the drive to Memphis as by now we had cancelled going to Nashville since we were three days short. I happened upon a tripadvisor.com sight pertaining to our hotel in Memphis and was suddenly reading about Murder Row, beds that were too short, unclean rooms, airport noise, etc, etc. It didn't sound good. I immediately called the hotel in Memphis who put me on to central res. who tried to assure me that no one had ever called back after staying at the Thousand Oaks Hampton Inn location with a complaint. I was really worried and called the non-emergency police no. and found out that I, the former travel agent, had booked us in a high crime area! Nice huh?

See, when I asked central res. to connect me back to the actual hotel and I voiced my concern to someone there, he kept trying to stress that no one has actually been murdered around there lately but that it was Memphis and he wasn't going to lie about car thefts. They did happen. A lot. It was Memphis after all. The Car Theft Capital of the Nation according to Mr. Front Desk Guy. It was Memphis you know.

So, at 11:00 pm we cancelled Memphis. I checked flights to Tampa and Vegas and there were no "last minute good deals" on my computer.

I worried and fretted all night, got about 5 1/2 hrs of sleep and booked us at the Gaylord Opryland first thing Monday morning for two nights. What the heck. I decided to splurge after the Memphis fiasco and the fact that we didn't have to have hotel rooms for three extra nights.

Off we went after a quick trip to the post office to mail last minute etsy orders!

The drive down was nice. We stopped at Dinosaur World in Cave City, KY. We were given free admission in exchange for my doing an article on Vintage Indie! It was kitschy. It was fun. It was so us. Fiberglass dinos galore.

We hit some antique shops in town and ate lunch at a Mexican restaurant that was yummy!

We arrived in Franklin, KY before dark and went to Bright's Antique World. YUMMO! I was beside myself when I found the booth packed full of vintage 1950s baking playsets from a personal collection. Merry Christmas to me from the Best Husband in the Whole World Universe as we like to say!

Last stop for the night and on to Opryland.

More tomorrow.....

Monday, September 22, 2008

7 Years Ago Today....

It was 7 years ago that Tim and I were married at the Howard Steamboat Museum in Jeffersonville, IN, almost in the very spot where we met two years and 4 months earlier. It was a beautiful September day- perfect for an outdoor wedding! Our friends and family surrounded us. I was never nervous, just very excited and happy! It's so hard to believe that 7 years have already gone by, it still seems very much like yesterday.

After a lot of hurdles the past few days, we are finally celebrating out anniversary! Here's to more beautiful days to come in the coming years!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Life in Juniorland

Here it is folks, life in Juniorland....this is where poor Junior (and I overnight) have spent almost the last two weeks! His feet are FINALLY much better after all the setbacks from the front declawing. A week ago Friday he was still bleeding and opening up his incisions so we ended up boarding him for the weekend. After the storm hit last Sunday, I couldn't reach the vet's by phone Monday and decided to just drive on over to see if he could come home. It was quite the drive to and from with most of the stoplights out, an accident happening in front of me at one busy intersection and a rude driver screaming at me to go at a four way stop (I was being on the cautious side having just witnessed the accident at the previous stop...geez!)

Anyway, Junior has been a trooper and stayed in the guest room most of the week, with a few short visits to the rest of the upstairs here and there along with two long naps on my lap yesterday while I sat at the computer! He is such a sweet lap kitty!

I've had a heck of a week with that horrendous knife like pain in my side coming back Wednesday, nausea, a UTI and some other things I'll spare you the details on! Slowly but surely I'm getting better though.

And so is Junior and come Monday he's free to take over the house again!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mom's Mess and the Town Is Running Out Of Gas

Here is mom's downed weeping willow tree. Uprooted and laying on her porch roof. It wasn't a pretty sight at all. So sad to see. It was such a pretty tree. It now almost looks like her own personal jungle out there. The wind also picked up one of her wooden rocking chairs and threw it out in the yard but fortunately it didn't break. Two glass table tops broke and some artificial flowers were knocked over and out of their container. The other rocking chair was toppled over and she has quite a few shingles off the roof. There were four other houses with roof damage that I saw nearby.

There's a run on gas too. I went to join the fill up crowd and there was no gas to be had at Kroger. I went to another station and waited in line. Earlier in the afternoon Meijer had a line and when I was leaving there after grocery shopping, they had closed down due to running out of gas (apparently they can't spell either). Tim went and filled up his PT Cruiser and a gas can and had to buy premium....supposedly they were out of the others. There's not a gallon of water to be had. There are still 24 packs available but almost everyone had multiples in their carts.

Lots of chain saws were whirring today, clean up crews everywhere, stoplights still out in most of Jeffersonville (which I had to drive through to get Junior), I saw an accident at one intersection there while waiting my turn and many people still without power.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Remnants of Hurricane Ike Hit Southern IN

We knew it was going to be windy today but as the morning progressed it got worse and worse until we had sustained winds of 50 mph with gusts up to 75 mph. The worst hit between 2:00 and 3:00 pm. We were supposed to have our Main St. Picnic today and that got called off when the set up crew arrived at 1pm and found the tent wrapped around a tree on the grounds of the Culbertson Mansion. One guy was standing under a tree there and decided to move. One minute later, the tree fell down in that exact spot.

Early on, there was a transformer that blew after a tree fell two houses behind us taking a power line with it. That produced a bit of smoke and I called 911. The wind blew the fire out, fortunately.

Then this afternoon we had a big scare. A limb had fallen next to our neighbor's house and taken a power line with it and was leaning against his roof. All was okay until our power went back on, having been out for about 3 or 4 hours, and ignited that tree limb. His next door neighbor happened to be outside and smelled it and called 911. They arrived and said nothing could be done, they couldn't even put the fire out if it became full force. It was really scary. I started packing up the scrapbooks and cds of pictures just in case we had to evacuate as they couldn't guarantee it wouldn't spread to our house!

Fortunately, it blew the transformer with another very loud kaboom and they were then able to extinguish the smoke with water. Meanwhile, we were getting very hungry having just had some cheese and crackers for lunch since there was no power! I called around and eventually reached KFC and they said the lines were to the back of the dining room and around the building in the drive thru! Many places were closed. We never did make it out especially when Tim discovered the scroll on the tv advising no one but emergency personnel to be out and if they were they could be ticketed! I finally gave in and made a casserole and some cookies. I took some over to my neighbor who was still without power.

Tim and I went out to survey our area tonight and man, it was not good! We had heard talk of the St. Mary's Catholic Church steeple leaning and the bells falling in to the lobby, a tree hitting the carriage house of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, awnings damaged downtown at businesses and we saw it all. It wasn't pretty. Many trees are down, uprooted, etc. Huge old trees. The only damage we had were two potted plants that blew off and the pots broke...sigh....but we are very thankful that was the extent of it.

Sadly, mom found out from her neighbor, as she was here with us, that her beautiful weeping willow in the back yard was uprooted and had landed on her porch roof. He said a few shingles were blown off too. He couldn't really tell if the tree had hit her house roof too or just the porch roof. So, she has to face that soon but couldn't go today with the driving restrictions and no traffic lights working on the main roads to her house. He did mention gutter damage and glass broken from tables on the porch. Sigh....

I haven't experienced such winds and weather (it never really did rain) since 1978 when a tornado came directly through our street back in VA. This was pretty scary today. The weather people finally admitted that they had only been predicting 25 mph winds and they did hit hurricane force (Category 1) today, as well as what a tropical storm and tornado would yield. There are power outages to over 450,000customers in Louisville and So IN, the hospitals in downtown L'ville have no power and are using generators and they don't expect it to be fully restored for at least a week. Many schools are closed tomorrow. State of emergencies have been declared all over.

I am glad today is over and that we are all safe and well. We have a lot to be thankful for that is for sure.