Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.


Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

(Typos ahoy! It's late. I'm tired.)

Wow, it's been busy. Got up this morning, read some disturbing news, put out a couple of fires, took off for coffee, tried to put out another while at coffee, took Chris on an errand, then came home to discover that this is the tax-free weekend.


Perhaps I'd better slow down. First, Karen discovered rather abruptly yesterday that she was out of a job. We'd spoken on the phone for the first time in years over the weekend, and she discussed her job a bit, but there was no clue of any problems. Apparently there were no clues. I'm sure that came as quite a shock. My thoughts are with her.

There are almost always small fires for me to put out, so that was sort of typical. Since I had so much to do we just spent a short time at coffee. Still, it was nice to get out and see somewhere that wasn't the home office.

I'd promised to take Chris by a new Asian market in town, and today was the day. Well, he took me, but I paid for everything. He bought a couple of bottles of Ramune (a Japanese soft drink) and I got some wasabi peas and mixed nuts (I love those things) and we picked up some spicy pot noodles for lunch.

I fully intended to get town to work when we got home, but I had to glance at the paper. I thought tax-free weekend was NEXT weekend. Oops. I guess several states do this, but Texas generally does theirs a couple of weeks before most school distrcts get started. Clothing and shoes up to $100 and many school supplies are free from sales tax. So, what's the big deal about saving 8.25%? It's much more than that. The stores all have huge sales. This is like those pre-Christmas sales, when some stores have deals only at certain parts of the day, so in order to get the best prices you have to plan.

I hate crowds, but I love a bargain. One store had some deals that expired at 1:00, so Chris and I hopped in the car and tore down the street to the store so we could take a look. The place was packed, and the deal we wanted (some jeans) wasn't available in his size. I did end up with a pair of denim shorts for $5, so I guess I can't complain on that front. This particular store also had a huge clearance sale going, and the aisles were packed with women fighting each other for the bargains - plus their out-of-control kids. It was headache-inducing, to say the least. I also checked out some bedding bargains. I'd have paid sales tax, but the prices were right - had the styles and sizes been right. Oh, well.

Tonight Paul and I went across town to another store in the chain. I guess they stock some clothing according to neighborhood or something. They had a different selection. We found jeans for Chris. Paul bought a couple of shirts, and I bought some jeans and a shirt that I didn't see at the other store. I'd have snatched them up had I seen them. The jeans were half price and the shirt about 2/3 of retail. The crowds at night were generally more sedate as well.

We went back across town and each of us picked up a pair of shoes at the other local store in the chain. Half price is always good. Again, these were items that weren't in stock at the other store. Very odd. One one hand I hate spending the kind of money on tennis shoes that I do (even on sale), but on the other I have such bad knees that I need something that fits my feet well and cushions my knees when I walk. I suppose the extra is better than what I'd spend on doctor visits because I got too cheap on the shoes.

More rain today. We're picking up the remnants of tropical storm Eri, which means bands of rain punctuated with clouds and humidity. Still, it beats the 104F temps we had the other day. No complaints.

It's almost 11 and I'm waiting for the last bit of laundry to finish up.The I plan to crawl into bed and work on the Heinlein novel I'm reading. Don't know how long I'll stay awake. I'd love to get some sleep tonight. Hopefully the neighbor who has been working on his car for the last few nights will give it a rest so the rest of us can rest. Or something like that.

Thanks for stopping in, and have a good weekend.


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