Monday, September 28, 2009

a bad internet sort of day

This is definitely not the sort of news you should be delivered via e-mail and I intend to take that up with the adoption agency when I'm a little more rational than right now.

Because we've gotten so much support from so many people, I posted an update on Facebook today that the birth mother had changed her mind and this child would no longer be available for adoption. Believe me when I tell you that I am happy for the birth mother and the child because I would never want to feel like I had made a mother child-less just so I could have another child.

Someone - an adoptive mother, no less - wrote back and said that she was sorry but she hoped it was some consolation that we hadn't grown attached to the child yet. W-H-A-T???? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? CAN SHE BE SERIOUS? (And yes, I am screaming and yelling via the internet).

Let me set the record straight for any of you that may not know what to say in these circumstances. You DO NOT say "at least you didn't grow attached". As a woman who miscarried a baby at 14 weeks, I had grown attached to a fetus and the loss was devastating. As a potential adoptive mother a year ago, I grew attached to the baby that the Brazilian woman was carrying that Brazilian law would ultimately not allow us to adopt that I had only seen in an ultrasound. As a potential adoptive mother on the second go-round, I had grown attached to a little boy that we'd laid claim to a few weeks ago. I might have only seen photos and video of him, but you may rest assured I considered him mine as much as I considered the miscarried baby mine as much as I consider Mac mine.

Forgive my rant. It's been a tough afternoon.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

thank God I'm a country boy

Today after church, I dragged Mac and took a willing niece Hayley to see "Fame", the movie that's derived from the beloved tv show of my adolescense of the same name. Hayley is my "Fame" kindred spirit (when she got home, Charlotte could hear her in her room "taking it from the top") while Mac, after about half the movie, alternated between asking when it would be over and whether he could play the hunting video game in the lobby when we left.

The movie finally ended and we departed (without playing the video game). I hoped that "Fame" would inspire Mac to go home and practice the piano, but he wanted to go to Gigi's farm to play. So we went and he practiced his newest skill: driving a golf cart that my mom's friends have let us borrow for a few days. He drove me around the hay ride path and then practiced doing donuts in a big grassy field. He is 100% Berkeley County country boy!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

more random musings...

1. Jimmy's camera was mysteriously returned to his desk. The military higher-ups with whom he works were really upset about the theft and after the promise of turning people's possessions upside down to find the camera, what was once "lost" now became "found".

2. I never thought I was a car snob, but car envy is stirred in me when I drive to Mac's school in our little Toyota Corolla that rattles, and 90% of the student parking lot is filled with way nicer cars than what I drive.

3. Mac has his third football game today. He played quarterback some and I'm not sure that's his forte. He threw one interception and dropped the ball at least once before the runningback could get it from him. Fortunately, these things are water off a duck's back for him and these errors haven't bothered him a bit.

4. Mac decided that we needed to start shopping for Jimmy's birthday present immediately so we can celebrate the birthday early while Jimmy's home in October. I said that would be fine and did he have anything in mind. He suggested we go to the outlet mall tomorrow after church. Again, I said that would be fine, but what did he have in mind that we'd buy. He thought a suit would be nice. A suit? Between that and him pointing out the "nice fabric" to Bubby on a recent pajama-buying trip, this kid is doomed to end up on Project Runway. (And Jimmy, you are not getting a suit from us for your birthday!).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

random musings

1. I had lunch with an old Moncks Corner friend who visited us in Mozambique when she was in the Peace Corps in Cape Verde. Mac was a young 6 month-old baby when Liz and her Peace Corps friend visited. We reminisced about that visit (I'd totally forgotten that she learned how to drive stick shift in our big Land Rover while we were in Kruger National Park so I could get in the back seat to tend to a fussy baby) and caught up on life in general, but the real highlight for me was meeting Liz's very own perfect baby who turned 8 weeks old today. This kid is destined to be an NBA star. He was born over 22 inches long and I can tell you that I've never seen an 8 week-old baby who takes up so much length in a carseat. He's going to have to work on his bad-boy image if he intends to make it big in the NBA, though. During our 2 hours together, he never made a peep!

2. I hear and believe all these great stories of heroism and bravery and sacrifice on the part of the soldiers Jimmy's working with in Afghanistan. But somebody stole Jimmy's camera today. Clearly these soldiers need to make more money if they're stealing $200 cameras.

3. Mac drank the Kool-Aid tonight and is now officially a Tiger Cub Scout. His largest concerns at the moment? When do we go to the Scout store to buy the uniform and does he have to eat the fish they catch when they go fishing? When I answered "soon" and "no", he was happy as a clam.

4. The second piano lesson was today. Mac announced at dinner that he thought he needed to give up piano lessons because they're "boring". He's still stuck on black keys but he learned half and quarter notes today, so we're moving forward. And no, he's not quitting piano lessons after the second lesson. We just got the piano tuned, so he's got to take for a bunch longer than that to justify that poor piano tuner's time for so little money doing such HARD work. You have no idea how bad that piano sounded before!!

how a Cub Scout leader sets the hook in young boys

He comes into the cafeteria while they're eating lunch, in nothing less than his fancy uniform. He tells them they can have a uniform like his, and he promises they'll shoot BB guns, go fishing and camping, and shoot bows and arrows.

That's the stuff of Mac's best dreams. We're definitely off to the organizational meeting tonight.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

welcome to the fat farm

When you're alone, driving stakes into the ground in a middle of a 6-acre corn maze, you have a lot of time to think. Possibly too much time to think.

Today as I was sweating under a hot, blazing sun wondering where the rain that we were supposed to be getting was, I came up with what is surely a brilliant idea.

We are on year 5 of the corn maze and for all these years, I have referenced the "corn maze diet". The diet isn't really about food; it's more about exercise, which I get entirely too little of during most of the year.

And then those few weeks before the corn maze come around, and I put in a lot of hours of sweaty physical labor. The year's accumulated weight falls off and I can see my clothes loosening their tight grip.

I know the Corn Maze Diet works because last year, I didn't come home until after the corn maze started, thereby missing those pre-opening weeks that are crucial to the success of the Corn Maze Diet and I didn't lose any weight at all.

This provides - for me anyway - the empirical, scientific evidence that the pre-opening weeks and the physical labor attached to them are the key. The food part of the diet takes care of itself. You're either too tired to eat or your metabolism is working so well from the exertion that you can eat what you want and there's no gain.

So here's where the brilliance comes in. We could run a fat farm for 2-3 weeks every September. If you were looking to lose weight, you come to West Farm and we help you take it off. It might not be pretty and there will be a lot of dirt involved. You'll sweat more than any class at the Y; the hours will be long and arduous; you'll sleep well without the assistence of Tylenol PM (except you might need it to dull the muscle aches); you'll do weight training, resistance training, interval training without even realizing you're doing it; and everything will hurt, be blistered, bleeding, nicked, or cut at some point during those few weeks. BUT your shorts will be loose after just two short weeks.

Best of all? You don't even have to pay for this boot camp. We'll let you come for free.

Is this not brilliant? We get our corn maze prep work done and you (that's a royal you, not a "you" you) get the fat farm for free.

Of course, the drawback is that we (and that's the "we" we and not the royal we) get fatter and lazier and our pants get tighter.

Clearly, I need to spend more time in the corn maze alone....

when a lightweight does heavyweight work

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

another week in Story-land

I wish I had something terribly exciting to report. I don't. So I'm just typing. Because I don't want you to go away and not come back to The Story Tales.

If "mundanity" isn't a word, it should be. Mundanity: n. (picture of Mac and me) the art of living life in a mundane fashion with no drama or hijinks.

That's our life right now.

Mac goes to school. I do corn maze or other work. We come home. We do homework (which - not MUNDANITY - involves chapter books now! WOW!!). We go to football practice on Tuesday afternoons. We go to piano lessons on Thursday afternoons. We wait for the piano tuner to find time to tune our very out-of-tune piano (hopefully tomorrow!). We might start Cub Scouts after the organizational meeting on Thursday night so we think about buying the uniform (which is the only reason Mac is even considering joining). We go to flag football games on Saturday mornings. We figure out if we can possibly eat chicken nuggets and french fries one more time before my guilty conscience kicks in and I insist on something green. We give thanks that Chic-Fil-A is having a Pinewood Prep fundraiser night tomorrow night because it would be un-American or something not to eat more chicken nuggets and yummy waffle fries in support of Mac's school. We make A LOT of PB&J sandwiches because Pinewood lunch just isn't the same as Chapel! We count down days until Jimmy's first R&R in early October (NOT mundanity!). We play lots of Star Wars because Mac got a new Star Wars Lego kit. We count down days until Mac's November 20th birthday (it's about 59, more or less). We debate the merits of a Lego-themed birthday party and plan for the carrot cake birthday cake we'll have shaped like a Lego. We wonder if a platypus is a mammal (are marsupials mammals? This is why I could never homeschool!). We go to Gigi's farm and ride the four-wheeler and look for deer tracks. We come up with ideas for the children's hay bale maze at the corn maze. We debate whether we like the "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" book or movie better (book wins at our house). We read about knights and castles and talk about the castles we might see on our Christmas vacation in England. We hope for snow on our Christmas vacation in England. We learn interesting things from reading about knights, like mottes and moats and keeps and battering rams and coats of arms. We wonder whether the fishing worms are still alive in the fridge in the Zaxby's cup with a hole in the lid, but we're too afraid to check.

You get the picture. The beat goes on.

It's not so exciting, but it's life and it's ours and we are enjoying it. Mac loves football and he loves playing the black keys on the piano (those are the only ones he learned in his first piano lesson last Thursday and he's really taking that "practice 5 days a week" thing seriously so I hear A LOT of the black keys on an out-of-tune piano). He loves school and learning and his friends and his teachers.

Mundanity can be good.

Monday, September 14, 2009

how do I know the corn maze opening is just around the corner?

When I come home from a morning of work, take off my socks and tennis shoes, and still find this much grime under those two protective layers:

October 2 is our opening day of the 2009 season. If you're in the area, please come out to see us!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

we're all footballed out

I am happy to report that the long dry spell of no live football for residents of Casa Story is over. We have gone full throttle these last few days. On Thursday evening, we went to see cousin Josh play Berkeley B Team ball at Stratford. On Friday evening, we went to see cousin Trent play South Florence varsity ball in Sumter. And today, we had Mac's long-awaited (for 2 weeks anyway) first flag football game as a Husky.

Now in the Upward program, there's no score-keeping in this age bracket so there are no winners and losers, but between you and me, I think the Huskies won. And Mac scored a touchdown so he is as happy as can be.
Mac's personal cheering section

Running through the tunnel pre-game

Ready for action

A high-five for a job well done

Jackson, I agree: it was a HOT morning!

Friday, September 11, 2009

my entry in the coupon game

I have always been a coupon clipper (sale papers and coupon inserts have always been my favorite part of the Sunday paper), but I always forgot to use them or I didn't use them before they expired. But I've heard a lot of people talking about coupons since I've been home so I decided to enter the game.

If you don't know this, I LOVE a good deal and once you learn how to do these coupons right, you can always find a good deal.

This week was my first attempt at using This deal-searching woman puts together this website so you can just go to one place, click on whatever grocery stores or drugstores you use and bam! She tells you all the great deals of the week PLUS she tells you which coupons from which week's coupon insert to use PLUS she finds all the coupons that you can print out to save even more. Triple whammy right there!

So on Wednesday morning when the grocery store sale papers came out, I looked through them but then decided I should just go straight to the expert at because she would tell me exactly what was a good deal and what was not.

And you will not believe my savings this week. Granted, I wasn't doing big shopping because I already had food figured out for the week. I only bought nonperishable stuff I normally use (as opposed to just buying what's on sale even if you don't normally use that brand or whatever). And I didn't buy bulk like you're supposed to if you "do" coupons the right way. Also, I didn't have all those coupon inserts from the Sunday paper from the last couple months so I couldn't "stack" coupons like you're supposed to.

I shopped at Publix on Wednesday and spent $15.99 including tax but saved $24.18. Oh my goodness. Now Jimmy normally points out to me that I really didn't "save" that money but in this case I did. I would've bought these things anyway, just at full price and not necessarily with coupons and I certainly wouldn't have waited for a BOGO sale.

Today I went to Bi-Lo and spent $11.31 including tax but saved $13.80. I was thrilled with the savings, but then I remembered that had I not bought my splurge item (latest issue of "Vanity Fair"), I would have actually only spent $6.11. I bought two bottles of good extra virgin olive oil and 2 bags of Chex Mix for $6.11. The normal price for one bottle of olive oil is $7.29. Unbelievable. Are you as exhilirated as I am?

I am fully in the game now.

(And my apologies for not doing a more serious posting on 9-11. I promise I've reflected on it more this year than any past anniversary given that Jimmy is now working in a country because of 9-11.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

my first visit to the Berkeley County Airport

Today I went to the Berkeley County Airport to take a little plane ride with a local pilot so I could take the aerial photo of the corn maze.

For our first four years of operation, our friend and pilot Randy Bales took our photo from his plane. But you may recall that last year during our corn maze season, Randy was hit and killed by an unlicensed driver while riding his motorcycle to work. Sadly, we were forced this year to find someone else.

The corn maze has given me lots of opportunities to do things I would never have done before. Like cold-calling the Berkeley County Airport and explaining what we needed done and asking if they could recommend a pilot who might be interested. And then having to cold-call a pilot and explaining what we needed done and asking him if we could hire him.

Randy always took the photos while piloting his plane, so we just got the end product. The pilot that I contacted said that one of us could go up in the plane and take the photos. Ummm. That's a lot of responsibility that I never realized was on Randy's shoulders. He had to take THE perfect photo, all while piloting a plane 2000 feet in the air!

When I saw Steven and Charlotte this weekend, I told them of the plan and that we needed to draw straws to see who would go up. I was secretly hoping it would be me because I've always wanted to see the corn maze from the air. Charlotte immediately said she was out of the contest because she doesn't do small planes. Steven said he was working and so I won! YEA!

Except that I started wondering how safe this really was. After all, I am the mother of one, hopefully soon-to-be two boys. My husband's in Afghanistan. And my most favorite blogs in the whole world are written by two irreverent but deeply Mormon sisters in Utah, one of whom suffered burns over 85% of her body a year ago in a terrible plane crash. Was this worth it? Our only other choice was Mom, and quite frankly, Mom, you were never really an option because we've seen the photos you've attempted to take in the past.

So I went to the Berkeley County Airport today for our 4:30pm flight. I thought I saw very ominous clouds on the horizon so I commented on this in my most meteorological expert-sounding voice, but the pilot told me it was a beautiful day for flying. Whatever.

And then I looked for a nice big sort of jet-looking plane and only saw these little propeller planes. Where were the bigger-ish planes? You know the ones where you don't have to fold yourself up to get in? The ones that don't look like they require a rubberband to get the prop going?

The fuel man filling up the plane before we took off. Now is not the time to try and save a buck. FILL IT UP!

But what was I going to do? Chicken out?

Funny I should mention chickens because while I was in the airport terminal (and yes, that's what they called it), two men came in in their very official University of South Carolina-logoed gear. I didn't think much of it because my pilot was telling me it was time to go.

We climbed into this little baby and after going through pages of pre-flight safety stuff, we got to the end of taxiing and stopped. I heard all this chatter on my headset but didn't know what any of it meant until the pilot pointed to a plane that was coming in and said that as soon as that plane landed, we'd take off. This is when I realized that I could never be a pilot: I never even saw that plane coming.

So the plane landed and it was a sleek little jet, all black with a big old Gamecock logo painted on the tail. Very cool. Mac would have loved to see that. So I guess these guys were recruiting down here and heaven forbid they have to drive the whole 1.5 hours back to Columbia in a car. You might not know this but we tried to get the rights to do a Clemson-Carolina theme at the corn maze a couple years ago. We had to go through both schools' athletic department attorneys and the collegiate licensing board (or whatever it's called) and they decided we were going to have to pay both universities royalties plus a fee to use their logos. At the time, I thought "this is ridiculous, we're a small family farm just trying to do an interesting and relevant corn maze theme, we've paid lots of money to both these schools for tuition and booster clubs and athletic events, etc." Well today I thought "this is still ridiculous but I understand better why they wanted our relatively paltry bit of money. It takes A LOT of money to fly that sweet little plane around to recruit players."

Back to the flight. So we took off; we headed out to the corn maze; I took photos; he changed elevation and I took more photos; we toured around the lake, the locks, downtown Moncks Corner, the Cane Bay area, etc. It was all very enjoyable and I do believe that everybody should take a flight around their hometown every once in awhile. But I will be the first to tell you that I was glad to get back on terra firma.

Now I just need to figure out how to be a Gamecock recruiter...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

a Tuesday to beat the band

Today started out as any ordinary Tuesday. If an ordinary Tuesday involves getting a crown put a tooth. And now that I write this, that means this was an extraordinary Tuesday because never in 38 years, 5 months, and 8 days, have I ever had a crown put on.

Two hours and $750 later, I left the dentist's office and called Jimmy's mom to catch up with her on my drive back to Summerville. As we chatted, my cell phone beeped, but I didn't recognize the number as Mac's school, which would be the only reason I would ever cut a phone call short.

As soon as I got off the phone, I checked my voice mail and listened to a message from the adoption agency we're using. She told me they had news and needed to speak with me. Between you and me, I had a little meltdown with another woman at the agency last week because I was getting the runaround on having our home study update done. So I was sort of expecting this woman to tell me that upon closer look, they had decided I was crazy and not worthy of adoption.

But I called back.

And she said they had a referral.

Now I must tell you that I didn't know what she was talking about. A referral for a child was supposed to be months down the road. What did she mean by "referral"? Did she mean they'd gotten a reference for me to prove I wasn't crazy after all? So I said "really?" I've learned that little maneuver from living in foreign countries. When you have no idea what's being said, you just learn how to say "really" in that appropriate language, say it at regular intervals, and everybody thinks you're following.

So I said "really" with a slight intonation to indicate a question. And she proceeded to tell me about a little boy who's around 4 years old who is available for adoption in one of their orphanages in Ethiopia.

I sputtered out "how can this be?, we haven't filed our dossier yet, our updated home study isn't done, etc, etc, etc". She said that we were the only family on their waiting list who wants this age little boy and so they wanted to give us the chance of a referral. (And she assured me that everything would progress as long as we got the dossier done as quickly as possible but within 4 months of the referral).

I was hysterical on the phone. You hear adoption stories of people waiting and waiting and waiting for their referral and every time the phone rings, they jump, hoping it's their case worker. We never got to that stage so it was more of the stereotypical husband who panics at the time the wife says it's time to go the hospital because labor has begun. I could not focus and I'm a very good focus-er. I told the lady I thought I was going to vomit and then I thought I was going to cry. She just kept saying yes, yes, yes, yes. She gave me some basic information and then asked if I'd like her to send some photos.


I kept telling her to hit send, send, send right then. Then I told her I was hanging up to go check email. But wait, did she have anything else to tell me? No. Good. Hit send and I'm going to check email now.

We got 14 photos of this little boy and he is GORGEOUS! I like signs from God and I think I clearly got a lightning bolt sign when I found out what this little boy's name was. It gives me goosebumps to think about it.

In another sign from God, I was able to share the news with Jimmy immediately, which is a miracle.

I can't share any photos or details with you yet but will as soon as we are legally able. We have two weeks to make a decision as to whether to accept the referral. Which way do you think we're leaning? :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

the longest hours of a sickness for a mom...

...have to be those 24 hours after the fever has broken but during which the child cannot go to school. I understand the 24-hour fever-free rule, but I really, really don't like it!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

a day with my sick puppy

If I needed proof that it's okay to be a stay-at-home mom right now, it came today. After Mac had been asleep for a couple hours last night, he woke up with a fever of 103. So I dosed him up with some medicine to get through the night but secretly hoped that he'd wake up miraculously cured of the fever because I had a breakfast engagement and a dentist appointment. No dice.

If I were still working, I would be in Washington, DC this week and would not have been able to take care of my sick baby. Instead we spent a really quiet day together at home and going to the doctor, who assured us it was just a run-of-the-mill bug and not the dreaded swine flu.

The fever continues when the medication wears off so it's another day home tomorrow. And of course we have the long Labor Day weekend to recover so that's good.

Just now as I was putting Mac to bed, we were reading a really long book on Star Wars (54 pages but who's counting). Mac was so quiet and cuddly. We finished the book and said prayers and then he broke the spell by telling me that the way I was laying on the bed, I had all these lines on my neck. I asked whatever did he mean. He told me in no uncertain terms that they were wrinkles and that it would be best if I held my neck backwards at a very awkward angle because the wrinkles would be stretched taut.

That little ingrate.

can I tell you something I really hate?

I know "hate" is a strong word, but I hate when I call to do something as simple as change the address on my son's college investment plan and I'm told that I can't do that because I'm the account holder's successor and not the account holder. (WHAT?) I hate that when I call our health insurance company to change the address, I'm told I can't because I'm not the policy holder. I hate when I call to cancel our ADT service on our sold Baltimore house and I'm told I can't because I'm not the primary account person listed.


Don't they know who does all the bookkeeping/accounting garbage/tax stuff for all this nonsense? (Answer would NOT be the account holder but rather his successor.) Do they think that the policy holder even knows whether the health insurance claims are coming to our house or that they're being sent to the consulate in Sao Paulo which then forwards them to me here in SC? Do they think he even cares? I can assure them the answer is a resounding NO for the last 2 questions. And do they think I'm really going to ask him to call up Blue Cross Blue Shield from a war zone so his wife can get her dental insurance claims in a more timely manner? You can guess what you think the answer is.

[Note to self: everything that we ever do ever again, any new account, any new service, etc is going to be placed in both of our names if not mine alone.]

This makes me CRAZY.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

the finish line

From the September issue of Charleston's SKIRT magazine:
I loved this today and wanted to share it with you in hopes that it'll give you as much food for thought as it did me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

first night of flag football practice

With one remaining practice before the first game - that would make a grand total of two practices before the first game next Saturday - I cannot see how a game will be played with any sort of structure or finesse.

Mac's team, the Huskies, is composed of eight boys who are in kindergarten through 2nd grade. It's a bit like herding cats when the cats are more interested in digging the dirt out of their cleats and taking water breaks. The good news for me was that practice was only one hour long and Mac was exhausted when we got home so he quickly showered and went to bed without argument.

I'll keep you posted on any Heisman potential that may be lurking under the weed-picking player that I saw tonight.

I must be losing my mind

I did something very uncharacteristic of a nitpicky clean freak.

I bought used upholstered furniture off of craigslist yesterday. I know. It's disgusting. I had no idea who had used it, if it had bugs in it, if it was mildewy or whatever. Trust me when I tell you that this kept me up worrying last night.

We have a very teeny-tiny little living room, but our two chairs and ottoman from the Baltimore house weren't cutting it. We had 7 dinner guests over on Saturday night and I realized that we needed more seating.

A full-sized couch was out of the question because of space, but a love seat would work. So I checked furniture companies and new love seats seem to cost a lot of money to me when I know that we're going to use it for one year and then it'll go into storage for who knows how long.

So I decided to check craigslist. The very first listing was in Summerville and while the plaid love seat was ugly, it looked to be in good shape, the owner said he could deliver it and the price was $40. Yes, you read that correctly. Forty smackeroos. What a deal. The owner told me that he was moving back to Colorado next week and just needed to get rid of it, that it was fairly new-ish, that it was in fact in decent shape and that he could deliver it to my house tomorrow.

Sold, I said.

For $40, I figured even if it was awful when he got here, I'd just pay him the $40 and tell him to drive a mile down the road to the dump where he could leave it at the swap shop. I also consoled myself with the fact that we use used upholstered furniture at every overseas posting when we get assigned embassy furniture. We have no idea who has used it before us, and that's sort of gross now that I think about it.

But then I started thinking that this guy could be some freako murderer who preys on stay-at-home moms by selling cheap love seats that he offers to deliver to their homes. So I asked my sister-in-law if she could come over as backup because surely two of us could take him down if he tried anything funny.

But just to be safe, I hid my pocketbook out-of-sight and put a hammer in the kitchen (seriously) in case I needed a weapon.

Charlotte and I had nothing to worry about. He was a nice young man whose dad was in the Navy and they were all moving back to Colorado. So for $40, I have my "new" love seat and I didn't need to wield my weapon.

I have used a ridiculous amount of Lysol on the love seat just to make sure that I kill 99.9% of germs as the Lysol label promises, and tomorrow I'm buying a new slipcover since I sent to storage all our slipcovers that we use on that government-owned, pre-used furniture overseas! After tomorrow, there will not be such a good-looking $40 love seat anywhere else!