Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Monday, July 18, 2016

Good from Wood Not so Good! Buyer Beware!

 So I really had what I thought would be an idea for the ages.  Rather than buy a headboard, I wanted to design a headboard that would incorporate barn doors on the wall and still allow for a painting of a mural on the wall.  I did some research and found a website called  A couple in Indiana who totes themselves as Marty the wood expert and his wife Chelsea was the brains behind the organization. Many testimonials helped me overcome my fear to buy a product online from another state.

As with most new custom designs, there were many emails going back and forth as expected and we decided, albeit expensive, that $400 per door and $100 shipping.  TWO doors total $1000 and just made of pine, no windows, and no varnish, actually pretty high priced for a 40 x 80 door made of pine.  To my surprise when we picked it up from Fedex, we found they had only made and sent one! That one door was damaged.  Before I understood that there was only one door, we refused it because there was damage.  We didn't realize they had sent one as the double layer of pine looked like two doors from the unopened torn package.  So we put in a claim with Fedex for the balance of $1000.

Then to my surprise after finding out they only made one, they said, well you only paid for 1.  We had agreed that I would pay 50% before and after photos were taken and then I would pay the other $500.   This was a complete nightmare.  I started the negotiations in February, and now in July I finally have two doors and it was NOT by them! I had to hire a local guy to finish the second door and boy am I so glad I didn't finish with them. You can judge for yourself by the before and after photos how "professional" or "unprofessional "they are depending on your view.

My issues with them were many as follows:
1) They don't have any records and I lost so much time trying to locate emails luckily I had to prove that the issue and questions were already answered and addressed and not made note of and followed  through on.
2) They have not records, zilch, nada, nothing, they only work via paypal. One has to wonder...are they even claiming taxes and profits without any records? After this blog my next course of action is the Better Business Bureau.
3) They then tried to send me an invoice for the second door of $700.  They tried to gain more money than the original agreement! Again to which they had no record.

4) They said they shipped the door via Fedex and Fedex had tried to contact me. Goodfromwood  never told me it was shipped, so how  I was I to know to look for it. Fedex NEVER called me, so I had to again do all the work and request the fedex tracking number, then rented a van for $60 only to find when arriving that the door was damaged. This money was a total loss for me never to be recouped. We rejected the door and returned it for them to "fix"
5) Their emails were always nice but incompetent, I've blogged before about this issue.  Is Nice but incompetent really nice? NO! Its unprofessional.
6) This is a buyer beware, I would NOT endorse this company and in fact am warning you NOT to purchase from them.  There are NO records nor are they paying taxes on these cash transfers.  This is a federal crime.
7) We also agreed on a Z on the bottom with a Z backward on the adjacent door.  As you can see in the photos, it arrived with a V.  I even drew an illustration but THAT must have gotten lost too.

Here are the photos...judge for yourself.  DO NOT purchase barn doors from these people.  They were told I would blog about this, however failed to believe I would.  I do what I say and take my word seriously and keep very good records. Thank God I did as if I hadn't I'm not sure my local guy would have been able to match the original door. He not only did this, he made the original better! He torched the wood to age it like a real barn door and put the stain and color together to make it look as I had intended, he fixed the first door without pay and the second door was less than $500!  As he said, the door made by Good From Wood looked like it was made by a Kindergartner....I agree with the real professional.

And now when the plan comes together!!!!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Trail M*A*G*I*C

**A note to Baywatch, you asked for a ride and offered gas money, not only did I give you and Alfalfa a ride up to the Pilot to take a shower, which you two did not shower, I gave you a ride back to the exact place on the trail.  You at that time did NOT give me any money nor did you offer.  I just wanted you to know that as a Trail Angel, we keep our words. I would have declined the money, however I need to point out that your word means nothing to me.  And the people you are hiking with should know this about you.  If you choose to make this right and apologize, I will take this down. Let this be a lesson that if you give someone your word, and say something, you should follow through.  People do remember! And you need to be held accountable. Hikers need to know that they can trust the words other hikers say.  This was deplorable in my opinion.  The fact that the circumstances worked out for both of us, does not give you permission to take advantage of the kindness of a Trail Angel.
The mountains of Western North Carolina are filled with mystery, mystique and awesome wonder.  The fact that I live here still is an experience of great awe and I have to keep pinching myself to make sure I am truly living my dream!  I am....

I always wondered what goes on at the mountain peaks, surely nobody  lives at each mountain peak because not only are there so many but they also have no roads to get there.  I recently found out that the Appalachian Trail runs very close to me and also my mother in Pennsylvania. The fact that thousands of determined souls beat up their bodies to hike this wonderful and treacherous trail for reasons only known to themselves, and are so close to civilization and they are so close to us, yet we don't know it, is a mystery to me. How can we be so interconnected but yet disconnected at the same time?  The local library is putting on six weeks of movies about the Appalachian Trail and discussions each Thursday.  I was able to attend this weeks and learned a great deal.

I learned terms like GAME or MEGA and SOBO or NOBO.  GAME is Georgia to Maine or NOBO/north bounders,  and MEGA is Main to Georgia or SOBO/south bounders.  The people who hike the entire trail are called thru-hikers and there is such a think as slack packing where you catch a ride ahead, leave your backpack at a shelter, then hike back to see the part you skipped, then get another ride back to your gear.  I'm told you can do this up and back and see the people behind you and ahead of you.  Kind of like a time warp, I imagine.

I wanted to feel a part of this community of camaraderie and was told there are people who go to the trails and give the hikers much needed food.  As they can't carry all that much hiking 20 miles a day but need it as they burn 5000 calories a day.  The people who do this are called Trail Angels and the stop is called Trail Magic. I looked at the map and found that I could do this within less than an hour from my home, and Sams Gap is where I wanted to go, the trail literally comes by the parking lot.  No hiking for me, just go and setup the M*A*G*I*C!  My dog Mattie recently has been  having seizures and they are becoming so frequent, I felt it would be a good trip for her and I to do together.  I realized her days are literally numbered.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day so first my apology to my mother as my card for her is going to be late.  And in honor of my mother, I took a few cards up for the hikers who couldn't believe they were able to address the card and write a note to their Mom as I would send them off with a stamp when I returned home.  Its hard to keep track of days when your brain is deprived of food and energy!  So to all the Moms of the hikers I saw today...they're doing just fine and you'd be very proud of them! No room for self-pity, get up and go, make those mountains move, they are on their way to the destination of their choosing and better for the physical punishment.  No pain, no gain!

The hikers were treated with a little of our North Carolina Southern Fried Chicken, some had only heard of it, and others had been craving it!  Some of the SOBO hikers had descended 2000 feet today coming from snow, where they threw snowballs at each other to where I encountered them with 77 degree heat in the hot sun,  just a gorgeous day.  The elements can change that drastically literally in an hour, so preparation is key.  When each hiker approached the Trail Magic Station, I asked, "Are you hungry?"  Not one person said no!  I could only imagine!

Each hiker acquires a trail name, I met Storm, Corn, Squish, Bear, GOT (Game of Thrones), Small, (3 name  yet to be chosen), (some name started with a P that was like stars, can't remember sorry), Weather -or-Knot, etc.  They pick or are assigned a name based on some story.  Its kind of cool to get that knick name and have a unique identity during this journey.  At one point we had a party there were so many of them! And the dog...he kept his real name Riley.  Oh and the man with the kilt and his hiking partner, I'm sorry I didn't catch the names (from Wilmington NC), that was just cool.  How many people have YOU ever seen hiking in a Kilt?

I will continue to do this, as the hikers are good-hearted people.  Everyone tries to help each other as long as there is no detriment to themselves.  It truly is its own community. They will some day pay it forward I'm sure knowing what it meant to them to be "right on time" for them.  I truly want to do this some day but know I'll have to have new knees, after refereeing NCAA for ten  years, and four knee surgeries, the only way I could do it is with the knee replacements.  I'm hoping that I can do this with my granddaughter when I retire.  Lawd knows my son's don't have the mental determination to do this.  I may be wrong....but most likely I'm right on that one.  I was surprised today at the ratio of men to women, more men than women do this I see.

Trail Magic Day 2 photos:  Carry On (my wayward sun, there'll be peace when you are done), Hazel, and ThreeQuarter (75 year old thru hiker)

Carry On  is on his own journey to peace.  Hazel didn't tell me but I found out later, she was hiking in honor of her daughter who committed suicide.  My 27 year old nephew just did the same, father of three very young kids. They tell us to look in the mirror and continually repeat, "Its not your fault."   Notice the baby shoes on her backpack.  There'll be peace we hope when you finish the hike as well Hazel.  And it was a first for me to help come up with a name, since Dan was 75, and hadn't picked a name yet, we named him Three Quarter for 3/4 of a century.  I hope I can do this some day!  And Realm 4, I don't know how I forgot to take your photo!  I apologize.   I guess I was just so fascinated with your story. 

Hazel's daughters baby shoes
Carry On and Hazel
Carry On
Dissident and parents
Hostel in Hot Springs

Three Quarter

 The best part for me was the gratitude.  EVERY SINGLE hiker thanked me. The right thing to do to get people to do more of the behavior you want to see, is to thank them.  To each and everyone of you that crossed paths with me today, I want to say thank YOU for the stories, I was reminded of how important we are to each other.  Not only on the trail, or in communities, but in life.  The paths we cross all have a message, its ours to listen for it.  I BELIEVE you were meant to be at Sams Gap today.  I BELIEVE in YOU! Keep up the good work!

*** 2017 April/May  went to the Indiantown Gap to do Trail Magic and met Hawk, Broose and Homer (whom I renamed Brooser and Weekender, you can't use your real name!!!, Sam and his brother, then when driving back from PA stopped at Sams Gap to see the TWELTH Annual Trail May 1 Magic. There was a bad storm going through so the hikers were hiding up under the underpass! Thanks for you May 1 Trail Angels that meant the world to them I'm sure!!

Mox in NC Sams Gap, from PA! going NOBO

Indiantown Gap, just missed three people from Europe!!

Weekender and Brooser

Hawk 24th NOBO 2017, left Feb 12 from GA, hauling ass!  Enjoying a beer with his trail angel!

Sams Gap annual May 1 Trail Magic

Moonshine and Chipmunk

Hiding from the brutal wind up under the underpass
J and Pitstop
Dorie and ?? (I forgot!) SOBO flip floppin'

BJ and Redbeard

UK (I forgot!) Old English, and Dance Hiker


BJ and my neighbor from NC, who knew we'd meet in PA!  Nemophilist

CA (I forgot!) and Frog, I think he should be Frog Puffer as he smokes!

Oh Well

Sunday, April 10, 2016

51 was a Very good Year!

51 was a very good year, not the date 1951, but my year of living 51.  Next week I will be 52 and I repeatedly told people for some odd reason I was 52.  I guess at some point senility creeps in and we imagine we are older or younger than we really are.  I do the math and correct myself after the fact but continue to do this for some odd reason.  I digress.  As you know I've continued to check of the list of things I've always wanted to do this year such as the following:

Ride on a train (Mississippi Valley had a 3 mile track, that allowed this to be done easily)
See a waterfall underground (Ruby Falls, Chattanooga TN)

Go to my favorite Presidents home Monticello (Charlottesville VA)
Paint watercolor (granted only once, but I'm getting there)
Sold a piece of art
Was given a donation from a friend for a piece I sent her (thank you, you know who you are)
Planned a trip to CUBA (next month! Which included two bucket list items, taking a cruise and traveling out of the US)
Going to see Broadway shows (Something Rotten, Book of Mormon, and Incident of the Curious Dog)

Watch the sunrise on the Blue Ridge Parkway on New Years Day
Earn a spot as a top Senior Advisor at my place of employment after being promoted and relearning my job!
Got an iphone/smart phone (yes yes I know waaay too long for that given my line of IT employment)
Volunteer teaching at-risk-youth Cultural Diversity
Learn how to make wine glasses for gifts with a flair

Tried Yorkshire pudding (UK folks, this is interesting like a starch filler for dinners)
Bought my first home
Painted a mural on the wall
Ordered La-z-Boy Leather Furniture (used to sell it and never had the money to buy the leather!)
Put up wallpaper over a mirror and have a wine bar, LOTS of wine, taking wine classes to learn about how to appreciate each of the tastes/flavors

Have a grandchild, be a grandmother (I did nothing to facilitate this LOL)
See both of my sons make very tough decisions that were involving the morals and ethics of doing the right thing, this was a very good year!!!

Monday, January 11, 2016

I'm a GRANDMAWWE with a Halo! or do I have Horns? Depends on who you ask, I suppose!

So it is a new year, 2016, and with a new year, brings new hope!  One of my dreams has come true by being blessed with my first grandchild! What a great event, a new title! GRANDMAWWE.  No pressure, no worries, just pure joy and love. The parents can keep all the stress, as we did when we were parents.  Life is a cycle and goes through stages.  The important part in my opinion is to always be open to new discoveries regardless of what stage or cycle of life we are.  This can keep us youthful in age, mind and spirit. Age is just a number. 

I recently ran into a a situation where a person in the family who shall remain nameless only because they are older than I am and although this person in my opinion doesn’t deserve my respect as a result of recent actions, I’m going to do the right thing and not mention who they are here and our relationship.  So the stages we go through in life in my opinion, should always reflect continual self improvement.  Some of which as I’ve discussed before in this blog are the ability to recognize when words have caused others pain and to apologize for causing that pain.  So although the words inflicted upon me, by this "senior person" were the insinuation that since I am not able to see my grandchild again in less than a year, I was “less than” a GREAT grandmother.  The exact wording was, “If you were any kind of grandmother you would see her before that. I simply don't believe you won't see your granddaughter within a year from now.”

To say the least, these were very offensive and hurtful words.  Due to having to work for living,  as I am not independently wealthy, and having adult children who have to work and can’t afford to take time off due to the child being in neonatal Intensive Care, this simply isn't an option. We take great use of technology and although my granddaughter is in the hospital, I probably have more photos and videos in her first two months than other grandparents did with old photographs back in the day!

Facetime and Skype are two great technological advances that secure the ability to interact with the family as well and see her progress. Along with “live photos.”.These are photos that are taken on iPhones that show the second before and the second after a photograph, so you get see your grandchild moving! Its so Harry Potter like and cool!

I took off work, and flew down the day after she was here, the reality was that I was unable to touch, hold or kiss Anastasia as she was in very serious condition.  The germs that could have been passed although scrubbing before entering the unit, are insurmountable in this vulnerable state. She is still not home yet, so I am unable to hold touch or kiss her now even if I did live closer to her. 

I attempted to resolve this conflict by trying to call this person, the call went to voice mail and was not returned.  I then was sent an email that stated this person didn’t feel they should have to apologize for those mean, hurtful words.  So there were two choices I had to make that go back to those days of therapy! 1) Did this person ever act in a manner that was adult like and respectful to me, really no, so why was I hoping she would and we could work it out? This was my false sense of hopefulness.  It has been eight years!  2)  Would it be advantageous to try to work this out and apologize.  I did apologize on the voice mail only to be told if I didn't do anything wrong why did I feel the need to apologize.  So as I say, it was like pissing up a rope.  I had nothing to gain anymore from this constant trying to please this person only to be treated with disrespect.
I've come to realize that there is a name for this type of processing of the things I do and things the people "close and blood related" do.  Its called the horns and hallo effect.  I have fulfilled the "horns" category for this person and there is absolutely nothing I can do that can change this until that person realizes their irrational thoughts and changes.  Ultimately I severed the relationship. It works for me.

Horns and Halo Effect
1. (Psychology) a tendency to allow one's judgement of another person, esp in a job interview, to be unduly influenced by an unfavourable (horns) or favourable (halo) first impression based on appearances. As Joshua Kennon discusses on his website:

One of the most powerful, and potentially harmful, mental models you will encounter in your life is known as the horns effect and halo effect.  It can cloud your judgment, and because it is closely related to the mere association mental model, has the power to cause you to make sub-standard decisions or hold irrational beliefs.  You must train yourself to actively fight against it.

What is the horns effect and halo effect?  It is a cognitive bias that causes you to allow one trait, either good (halo) or bad (horns), to overshadow other traits, behaviors, actions, or beliefs.

The best way to protect ourselves from this is as he states: is to always adhere to one rule:

Every idea must stand on its own merit regardless of who proposes it. He continues: A good idea is a good idea even if it is proposed by the town drunk.  A bad idea is a bad idea, even if it is proposed by the town hero.  Never forget that and act accordingly.  This is one of the reasons that mature thinkers don’t take offense when someone attacks their positions or ideas – they are not extensions of the person, but rather must stand on their own. 

There is nothing I enjoy more than assaulting my own beliefs from all sides to see if it can withstand the force.  That approach is why I get more and more rational with each passing year, and my real-world results reflect that.  There is nothing original in this approach.  Anyone is free to adopt it.

I hope this year, that I can do this with everyone, as there may come a point where even my beloved granddaughter will look into my eyes and do something non halo like!  My judgement would be clouded by this halo effect, I would never want to think she may be less than totally honest with me, however I must as a rational person be able to understand this may be a possibility.  I also should be able to as a wiser, older, adult be able to allow people who have ideas and concerns that I may not agree with, be able to carry an adult conversation and be able to hear when I have hurt that person and grow from this event.

Its too bad this person in my “former life” can’t grow mentally or emotionally. I had warned this person a year ago, that if the behavior continued, I would sever the relationship.  I know I’m better for eliminating them, as I never want to have this happen within a family. I do realize however until adults can be mindful and take accountability for their actions and words, this relationship is unhealthy.  We should want to be able to apologize for the sake of the relationship, regardless of my age. Too often our elders need to be reminded, they can also cause more pain than most as people look up to them.  And its really a shame to see our elders act like this.  It is down right embarrassing.

The golden rule, is grandmothers don't attack other grandmothers for their ability to grandparent!