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WHAT family!?

October 25, 2011 by , under Close Encounters.


This one deserves repeating:



October 3, 2001:

The weather today was the finest of the entire year. It’s a double edged sword for someone like me who loves dry, sunny, breezy weather.  Why?  GOOD weather translates into fewer buying customers.  Why?  They go to the beach, out boating, to their gardens… that sort of thing.  People go “antiquing” mainly on BAD weather weekends.  So, I found myself with more time on my hands than I wanted, sitting outside in superb weather, on my “I’M OPEN” sidewalk chair, LOVING the physical experience – and regretting the lack of earned income. Trust me, if it’s just a matter of SITTING, I’d rather be sitting roofless in my Miata sports car zipping along curvy country roads.


So, it was within this context that The Charming Lady and her Passive Family pulled up to the curb…   (I don’t know about YOU, but people who are all smiles and full of artificial sweetener cause my Suspicion Gland to secrete gallons of Caution Juice.  And boy was she smilin’.)


“I just LOVE that color of {raggedy} t-shirt on you!” she crooned.  You get the point.

“Are you the owner of this store?”
“Yes, I am.”
“I have some antiques I’d like to sell.”
“Okay, let’s have a look.”

(This sort of thing happens everyday and I’m grateful for it. Some people really DO understand what I’m doing with FUTURES, and their keeping me in mind is a compliment.)

Smiley Woman’s  husband and two children sat passively in the Jeep, staring quietly towards the front as she opened the rear hatch door to exhibit her offerings to me. I immediately knew her items were older than my usual perimeters, but she went ahead with the pitch. (It’s not like I had anything else to do at the moment anyhow…).


“This large, handcolored photograph is of my family, and is in the original oval frame with curved glass. They are on the porch of their first home, in 1912.”

I said “You don’t want to sell this.”

“Yes, I do. Cash, right now.”

“I won’t buy something like this that holds so much value for your family.”

“It doesn’t matter to me. I just want to sell it.”


…Okay, so I’m thinking “Hey, her KIDS are listening to her… this is just sick”, and I restated my thought so the kids would hear it:

“I can’t buy something that you should be keeping. Go home, stash it away, whatever… but pass it on to your kids. Let them know who these people are.”

“Well, how much do you think it’s worth?”

“I don’t think I can help you.”

“Who could I take these things to?”

“I don’t know.”

She closed the hatch, was now less perky and sweet, and they drove off.


Ed, my next door store neighbor, was also sitting outside. He asked “What did she have?” so I repeated the conversation.  “That’s kind of sad,” he pondered, and then asked “How much do you think she could’ve gotten for it?”

“Enough to buy burgers and fries for all four of them this afternoon… which by tomorrow would be crap flushed down the toilette… leaving them with nothing’, I said.

Ed added, “You just taught her to leave the “Family” part OUT of her next sales pitch.”


“Damnit, Ed.  You’re right,” I sighed.