A New Landscape

Unfortunately Kuochun was not feeling any better and had gotten to the point where he had no appetite or get up and go. This is similar to what I experienced in Tucson except I had a runny nose and sinus headache too. I fought it off and was feeling better in a week. Since Kuochun has underlying conditions, we both thought it was best to be sure there was nothing more seriously wrong with him.

His primary care doctor also has a walk-in clinic attached but the doctor confirmed that his symptoms were beyond what they could handle there and suggested a trip to the ER. We went to the closest ER on Tuesday which is only 8 minutes away, near Old Town Scottsdale. I was a little skeptical because only 24% of people had given it a thumbs up online but I thought it is convenient plus it is a very nice area so we gave it a try.

It was nothing but a wonderful experience from beginning to end. All of the staff was so lovely and kind. Kuochun ended up staying overnight in the hospital portion of the facility for observation. The ER nurse was so nice and heated up a blanket for him. The man who transported him from the ER room to the hospital room said the food was good and Kuochun was able to eat a dinner and a lunch which was way more than he had been eating. The cardiologist said his heart looked good which was a relief. His room happened to be at the end of the hall, right next to an exit door which was next to the main entrance so it was easy for him to leave his room and get right to the car. After a few days of intense rest, he is doing a lot better now. A home health nurse came to follow up on Saturday evening at 8:00 PM. Now that is dedication! He is almost eating normally now and should be able to start exercising again next week.

Mother was feeling a little neglected in the midst of all this so I offered to take her to the grocery store and for a quick bite on Wednesday. Her favorite weekly store is the Safeway which is located in the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix, which is a nice area just adjacent to where we are. Inside the same shopping center I had been noticing a brunch spot called Over Easy. I looked it up and found the menu was created by Aaron May, who is a celebrity chef and great friend of Guy Fieri. Mother watches the Food Network a lot and immediately knew who he was. Over Easy is a local chain and has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. There are a lot of healthy choices on the menu but I went with the Waffle Dogs. They are like corn dogs but with waffle batter and breakfast sausage. They were served with real maple syrup and fresh strawberries. This dish was highlighted on TLC's The Best Thing I Ever Ate and I can see why. The batter had a fragrant vanilla flavor which took it over the top. I heard the server mention that the protein pancakes were popular, I was considering this dish as well. Next time I would like to bring Kuochun there and try the pancakes.

We have had a lot of rain in the Phoenix area over the winter and I recently read that it has been the coolest winter in 25 years. For we die-hard Chicagoans, this is nothing but locals think it is freezing! As a result of all the rain, I ended up with tons of weeds, especially in the front yard. With no notice, the landscaper I was using for maintenance decided not to offer every other week service anymore and wanted to come every week for triple the price. As a result, there had been no maintenance since the end of 2022. I had saved the business card of a landscaper who someone had recommended in one of the Facebook groups I belong to. The card listed all of the services we were interested in, including every other week service. I was hesitant to call because we have had a lot of bad experiences with service providers but Kuochun made the call for me. The landscaper, Filemon, came out to check out the job and give us a quote. There was a lot of pruning that needed to be done in addition to the weeding and debris pickup in the front yard. My next door neighbor has two pretty trees in front but they shed thousands of tiny leaves on my property. They need to be picked up on a regular basis. I did not know this my first summer and they clogged the drain in the driveway, causing the garage to flood. I lost nearly everything and will make sure that will never happen again. I explained everything I was looking for and Filemon's quote was reasonable. He was able to come out and do the initial clean up job Thursday. He had a woman on his crew which I thought was awesome! They did an amazing job and he did not forget to do one thing I requested which never happens. I was so impressed. It will be $40 less per month and the quality of the job is like night and day. I should have taken a before picture. The other landscaper's solution was for me to spend another $9,500 to change around and replace plants, basically to see what will work. Well all it needed was proper pruning. I would like to thank that company for dumping me as we now have a keeper!

I was in need of an office chair for my first floor desk setup and stumbled across this vintage Steelcase chair on Facebook Marketplace. Orange is a good match for the room because there are touches of orange in the artwork and lamp. I also liked that it was not too tall. I had originally moved my office chair with the tall back down from my bedroom office but it is the wrong color and blocked too much of what was behind it. This chair was located on the far side of Mesa which was about 40 minutes each way. It was getting to be traffic time so I originally offered to come Friday but the seller said someone else was coming so if I wanted it I would have to come before him. I made the trip on my own because I was not sure if it was going to fit in the back on the car but it ended up fitting with no problem. The chair does not swivel which is a drawback and is a little low but with a cushion the height is OK. I will use it for now. My favorite chair is the 1970s office chair I had reupholstered and is in my office at home, it is so comfortable.

When I returned home Mother was in the mood for a burger. This area is burger central but a lot of the places were closed. She had never tried Five Guys so I thought this might be a choice. However when we arrived at the shopping center where Five Guys was located (which we go to a lot because Costco is there) she noticed Schlotzsky's Deli. I remember this from many years ago in Wisconsin. I think I was there once but it was not memorable. I am not a huge burger fan so it was OK with me to switch to Schlotzsky's. We both really enjoyed what we ordered. I like the chicken bacon ranch on flatbread at Subway and later found out that this is one of the healthiest options to order there. Schlotzsky's has their version which blows Subway's away. It was huge, the size of a calzone. I brought half back to Kuochun and although it would not have been his first choice, he really liked it. I looked up Illinois locations and there is only one in Naperville. Kuochun enjoys McAllister's Deli and I think he will like Schlotzsky's even more. Another one to put on the list for a quick bite!

Saturday we had some errands to run and everyone was in the mood for lunch. I searched for restaurants near me and stumbled across Merci French Cafe. I knew Mother would love it and it was less than a mile from where we were so we gave it a shot. The place was cute with framed fashion pictures all over the walls. The food on everyone's plates looked plentiful and delicious. I wanted to love it but did not have a good experience with the food. We ordered fries for the table and they were cold. I ordered quiche lorraine with a side salad. I took one bite of the quiche and it was warm enough but not hot. But the second bite was cold as ice and instead of chopped up ham inside it was thick slabs of ham. To try to eat this cold was very unappetizing.

I never send food back at restaurants and was going to take it home and heat it up in the oven but Mother was not having it. They do not have table service but a girl was wiping down tables nearby. We asked her if the quiche was supposed to be cold. Her response was HUH????? like why are you talking to me? Then after we repeated ourselves she said no and took the plate away. They heated the quiche up and then put it back on the same plate with my salad. The hot juice from the quiche wilted the lettuce and the whole thing tasted terrible.

I have never worked in a restaurant but I think that was handled incorrectly. I think the meal should have been replaced. Luckily I did not get sick because who knows what they did with my plate of salad while the quiche was heating up. I would think that is cross contamination to bring a plate of food I ate from back into their prep area.

They also originally brought our food to the wrong table and kept bringing the wrong food to our table. This happened to everyone in the restaurant. The runner accused all of us of switching tables. That was crazy because no one switched tables! Kuochun liked his salmon crepe but I will not be back. It was expensive and there are just too many other good places to go. We had a much better experience at the French cafe on the north side of town.

As far as jewelry is concerned, I did ship a package out on Monday evening. This package included the Studs & Strands costume jewelry as well as other odds and ends. It is getting more and more difficult to keep up with the weekly schedule of preparing enough jewelry to fill a box so I am going to take a week off and try to prepare two boxes to send the following week. This will be to gear up for our big sale in Kildeer which starts April 20. Above is another photo of the Kildeer home as a reminder. This is the largest home we have ever done!

I did not post any lots of jewelry online but instead worked on posting individual items. My monthly Vendoo deadline was Sunday and I tried to at least set up basic listings that I could then cross post. This worked for a while but I was running out of time so I ended up individually copying the last listing I set up until I reached my limit so I would not lose listings again. I also cut the monthly plan down from 250 to 125 listings. This will still be a lot but I will analyze things again in a month to see if I was able to keep up or if I have to downgrade the plan again. The cost per listing goes way up if I downgrade so I hope I will not have to do that.

I was able to finally wrap up the vintage Native American cuff bracelets project. They are all online except for a few that are not yet on Shopify due to their glitch with Vendoo. They are also lined up on the EstateSales.net online sale ad I started to build. I am hoping to launch the online sale April 13. I posted quite a few high-end necklaces online as well. The rest are all set up but I need to shoot some more photos.

So far I have not had tremendous luck shooting outdoor photos. The sharpness and vibrancy of color does not look as good as shooting inside the light box. I had heard that it is better to shoot outdoor photos when it is overcast and in the golden hour - the hour before the sun sets. I bought a white crocheted shirt on Poshmark and put a white knit shirt under it. I shot some photos but I do not love them. I am going to try again with a colored shirt underneath to coordinate with the jewelry. I also decided to purchase a fancier lace shirt to use with the very best pieces. The photo is below:

I hesitated on this one at first and went with the other one because of the price and the standup collar. I thought maybe the necklaces would not sit well on it. However the seller kept sending me lower and lower offers until she made an offer I could not refuse, almost 50% off and reduced shipping cost. If I have trouble with the collar, maybe I can fold it under and out of the way. People really want to see how the jewelry looks on for scale and I cannot model it so this the next best thing that I can do, buy size Small clothing for my mannequin.

That is all the news for this week, until next time!