Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Goodbye 2010 Hello Twenty Eleven

Another year is gone and now we start all over. So this blog is assorted stuff that happened this year. Some of it will relate to clothes but some of it is just plain strange. So allow me to let you in to that portion of my brain that finds this stuff amusing.

Words. yes, you read that right -words. For some reason each year about this time - some one feels the need to let us know there are new words, popular words and the word of the year. Hence, the twenty eleven in the title of this blog. Apparently that is what we will all be calling the next year. According to the Global Language Monitor ( can you believe that group exists? I think it's a guy in his undies typing on his computer but ....he and or they made Reuters) the world has " moved away from disagreement over how to pronounce the first years of the decade"( did you know there was a disagreement? I feel foolish - I didn't) But next year is twenty eleven. So get with the program and start saying it right - no need to continue the disagreement. ( Don't we have better things to fight over?) And the top words - Obama -mess and Palinism. But here's an irionic twist - the word of the year is a Palinism - refudiate.

And once again, this time of year brings out the best careers for next year. Yeah, like we are all going to suddenly be able to get one of these jobs. This list comes from the Labor Department and Challenger, Gray and Christmas. And to quote Gomer Pyle " surprise ,surprise , surprise" dry cleaner is not on the list. But here are some of the best careers for 2011: Accountant ( not so shocking since we don't know the taxes for next year)meeting planner, commercial pilot, curator, heating,air conditioning and refrigeration technician, athletetic trainer,school psychologist, emergency management specialist, urban planner, firefighter, hydrologist, meteorologist,and biomedical engineer. See, like we can all just go on over to the airport and say -"hey I'm applying for the pilot job " or head over to fire department and yell " hand me the hose boys ". So here's my thinking the best job for 2011 - is the one you've got.

Speaking of jobs - did you know how hard a clown works? Well, performers in New York's traveling Bindlestiff Family Circus protested in October against the political language referring to Washington D.C. Kinko the Clown was upset about referring to D.C. as a circus and said " Before you call anyone in Washington a clown, consider how hard a clown works."( I cannot improve on that one - I mean when clowns are insulted by us for comparing them to politicians - what could I possibly say to improve on that) And clowns = politician . Yep, Grumpy, a professional clown was elected by a resounding vote to the Brazilian Congress from Sao Paulo in October. Grumpy's slogan was "It Can't Get Any Worse". So don't call politicians clowns unless they really are ,in fact, clowns.

The $110 billion dollar new $100. What? Well, the Federal Reserve ( Ron Paul will love this) designed a new high -tech $100. To combat counterfeiting the bill had a 3-D secruity ribbon. Sounds good right? However, the bills crease during printing leaving blank places on the new bill. Needless, to say they cannot be use - so now $110 billion of $100's are in quarantine ( their words not mine). So the notes cannot be put in circulation but are sitting in lockup in Fort Worth and Washington D.C. How much was QE-2 supposed to inject into the economy? Maybe this is God's way of saying " Ben Bernanke - Do not print money you don't have" Oh , Ron Paul , next year will be oodles fun for you.

The FBI has issued a "cyber crime alert" for Barbie. No, this is not a joke - Barbie is on the FBI list. "Barbie Video Girl" could be a possible child pornography production method. The $49.99 Barbie was nominated for 2011 Toy of Year. Barbie has a video camers built in her. So girls can record video from dolls -eye view and then watch it on the LCD screen on Barbie's back or upload the video to a computer. Has Barbie been used for child porn - nope. Steve Dupre from the FBI Sacremento field office said " there have been no incidents of this doll being used as anything other than its intent. So why the alert? I guess poor Barbie with her outrageously curvy body that gives young girls unrealistic expectations and body dismorphia is now really a porno queen. My thought - I had a Barbie and I still have a realistic view of my body - ( chubby and as I grow older things are moving south much like the U.S. population) So why give creeps and idea that they surely would have never thought of themselves. Sometimes, Barbie is just a Barbie and she always just a doll.

Green news ..... Want a cheap way to keep that Christmas tree lit? Get an eel. Yes, an eco -friendly electric eel can light your tree. In Kamakura, Japan an electric eel at the aquarium has been lighting the tree for 5 years. Each time the eel moves, two aluminum panels gather enough electricity to light up the 6 foot tall tree. Visitor Sumie Chibe found it fascinating but questioned the practicality of eel eregy for domestic use. A big DUH !!!!!! to that ,Ms. Chiba.

And now fashion news and other icky things to do with clothes and clothing care. In an aticle on "Sneaky Reasons You Get Zits" one sneaky reason was your pillowcase and towel. Your face lies on that pillowcase for hours and if it's not clean you are pressing in dead skin and bacteria onto your skin. GROSS! If your towel is dirty (even if you are shower -clean) you're wiping germs on your face. So , the International Dermal Institute, suggests changing your pillowcases once or twice a week and changing your towel daily. ( I feel it necessary to interject - we clean and press those pillowcases and kill all those nasty germs and bacteria .And because we use products you cannot and press them at a higher temperature that you can at home - well if I was doing your Pillowcases you could cross this off the Zit list)

Do you use fabric softeners and dryer sheets? Also on the the sneaky zit list. Why? The stuff that makes your clothes softer is tallow. And what is tallow? Tallow is ....... ANIMAL FAT. So needless to say wiping animal fat all over your face is not a great idea. Oh, let's be honest who in the hell wants to sleep with or wear animal fat?

The answer to Who wants to wear animal fat is ........ Lady Gaga . Ok but not not just fat - real meat. Yes, apparently Lady Gaga wore a meat dress to the VMAs. By meat dress ,I mean real meat like at the butcher case in the grocery. When asked why she said " Well, it is certainly no disprect to anyone that is vegan or vegetarian. As you know, I am the most judgement-free human being on the earth. However, it has many interpreatations but for me this evening. If we don't 't fight for our rights, pretty soon we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones. And, I am not a peice of meat." If none of that made sense to you - well join the club. So , I wonder if meat and produce dresses will catch on. I ponder this because I know some damn idiot will pay $5000 for a carrot top dress and then bring it to me for cleaning. ( you knew I couldn't end the year with out mentioning care labels) So can you imagine what that must have smelled like under all those lights? I guess the care label would read "BBQ after use." So I guess hats off ( yes, she had a meat hat, purse and shoes) to Lady Gaga for the tastiest dress and raw talent.

Under the oooh!ICK! file. Ghana plans to enforce a ban on the sale of second- hand underwear. Remember the song Second Hand Rose - well doesn't this put new meaning to that? In Accra, the capital of Ghanna street vendors sell second -hand undies. Believe it or not, vendors are upset by the enforceement of the 1994 ban. "People patronise my goods because they are not expensive as compared to the new ones in the market,"said Kwesi QAmin. "The government must consider the plight of the poor and change their decision." O.k. - what more can one say other than Ick !!!

And now on to the TSA. Since the introduction of the nudie scanners or the TSA feel-up, we have seen fly-wear. Yep, (maybe that should be on the list of 2010 words) scantily dressed folks with nothing left covered to conceal anything. You've seen the pictures of the lady wearing a bra and panties in her wheel chair or guys in the fruit of looms. So maybe there should be a seperate line at airport for folks wearing fly-wear. If you wear someting that ,as my mama used to say, leaves nothing to the imagination , maybe the TSA should just send you on through. Just a thought. But for those of us whose bikini days are long behind us ( because our long behind would frighten other passengers), there are scanner -proof undies. Yep if you are worried about those new security scanners filming your privates - there are new anti-radiation underwear. Colorado company, Rocky Flats Gear, sells undies with a fig leaf over your sensitvie areas. The fig leaves block natural and man - made radiation. According to the company web site www.rockyflatsgear.com " The technology insures privacy of medical and body scanner images". So, if you don't want any one touching your "junk" - you can wear nothing but your skivvies or you can wear scanner-proof skivvies.

And that friends, is the crazy corner of mind. As we end 2010 - this is the weird, wild and wacky stuff that caught my attention. So before this becomes and Obama-mess and I am forced to refudiate all of the above nuttiness - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year .

Monday, November 22, 2010

Let's Talk Turkey (and gravy and cranberry stains)

O.K. Let's talk turkey. Where did that come from ? What the heck did they mean by talking turkey- Gobbling? Nope! Actually it originally meant a nice chat similar to the ones around the dinner table at Thanksgiving. But like most phrases over time it changed to skip the niceties and get on with the important stuff. So let's skip the pleasantries and get on with the turkey talk.

Most of you know, Ben Franklin wanted the turkey as the national symbol.He also thought the rattlesnake would make a good symbol. He felt the rattlesnake was an appropriate symbol or "the temper and conduct of America". ( after the last election and the revolt at the airports of the naked scanners and the grope - he may have been right.)So now I will digress - heard a great joke about the TSA-can't see London can't see France unless I see your underpants. O.K. just one more no shirt - no shoes - no problem. But back to Ben and the turkey. He was talking about a wild turkey and not the inbred butterball. He thought the turkey to be "a true original Native of America." "Though a little vain and silly, a bird of courage."Poor Ben, little did he know we would be eating them every Thanksgiving.

So some fun turkey facts. The turkey is the only native poultry breed of the Western Hemisphere. Turkeys have great hearing skills but no ears. Turkeys can see in colors( how they know this is beyond me) have excellent visual acuity and their fields of vision spans about 270 degrees. Turkeys have poor sense of smell but a great sense of taste.Wild turkeys can fly at a speed of 55 miles per hour over short distances and can run 25 miles per hour. Domestic turkeys ( the butterballs) are so sensitive that they can drown by looking up while it is raining and can have heart attacks due to sudden shocks. I don't know about you but those last two facts make me feel less guilty about eating mine on Thursday.

Now let's say while you are eating the turkey,gravy,cranberries etc. - some spills down your shirt or on the tablecloth. Just remember turkey and gravy have oil based stains and don't just wash these. (oil and water don't mix) The stain will wash out but not the oil and that will leave a darker spot on the clothes where the turkey or gravy stain once was. Cranberry makes a great red dye.( many old and antique quilts were dyed with natural fruits, vegetables, and herbs) So be sure and treat cranberry like a dye. But most of all , don't worry about any of those stains - we can get them out.

So eat ,drink and enjoy your family. I love Thanksgiving. I love a holiday that requires nothing more than family and good food. So enjoy your Thanksgiving. Watch the parade, the football games and be glad that you can spend the day with the people you love. I know - we will. Have a safe , delicious and great Thanksgiving. While this may have been a trying year ( economy and all) it is nice to spend a day remembering what we should be really thankful for - this country, our family and friends, and pumpkin pie. ( I know some days we may think that the pie should lead the list but that's great thing about Thanksgiving - everything is put in prespective) Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sleep tight, Don't let the bed bugs bite

Remember that saying? I do but never had a clue what a bed bug was or if there were in fact, bed bugs. But alas, bed bugs are not the invention of the Brothers Grimm or Rod Serling, but real blood sucking creepy bugs that are damn hard to kill. As long as we are mentioning creepy icky bugs - there is the harmless ( except for allergies) dust mite. Then there are those friends of your clothes - the silverfish, moth and carpet beetle ( they love to eat those natural fibers).So what's the poor human to do when surrounded by all these creepy crawlers?

Let's start like the old horror movies - with the least scary first. Then we and the organ music will work our way up to the crescendo of terror - the Freddie Krueger of bugs - the bed bug! So silverfish,moths and carpet beetles - what to do? What to do? OK, they stink something awful and remind you of old ladies but the best deterrent is the good old fashioned moth ball. ( also good for the garden to keep away unwanted pests and the neighbors cat that uses your yard for a litter box)Yep, when putting away those summer or winter clothes a moth ball or two in the drawer or closet will keep away the bugs. But, then there is that smell and yes it is hard to get rid of that smell. So, while very effective it's very stinky ( unless you like that smell - but I have yet to meet the person who does). So let's say you want to protect your clothes and you want to use the moth ball - how do you get rid of the smell so you don't smell like your great -grandma? Expect to take about a month to fully get rid of the smell. DO NOT WASH THE CLOTHES. Yep, you read right - no water - water binds with the chemicals in moth balls and then it's stinko for way longer. HEAT!!!! If your clothes can take a hot iron - iron away. Then put the garment outside to air ( not too long at a time or the sun will bleach the item) and do this for about a month. Also, put a few pieces of charcoal in a metal pan and place in the drawer or closet. If the item is dry clean only or cool iron - ask your dry cleaner if they have an ozone room. About one week in the ozone room and then cleaning will remove the moth ball smell. So you are now thinking " uh too much work - maybe I'll let the little buggers dine on my clothes." No, No, Nannette ( only funny if you are into musicals) there are some other less offensive ( also less effective) remedies. These will work but not on every bug or all the time - but cedar and lavender are also good bug deterrents. You can use cedar planks, cedar bags, or cedar or lavender sachets.Remember, it is the oils in all these products that contain the smell - so don't let them actually touch your garments. But when pulling out your seasonal garments. just air for a few days and heck cedar and lavender actually smell nice.

(Inset organ music here) Yes, I'm asking you to imagine a loud Dum-dum -dum!!!! Dust mites, harmless yet creepy.Dust mites DO NOT CARRY DISEASES. They live primarily on dead skin cells regularly shed from human and their animal pets. OK - here's the obligatory warning - this part may be disturbing to some it contains descriptions of icky stuff!!!!!Beds are the primary habitat of dust mites. A typical mattress may have anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million mites inside.Ten percent of the weight of a two year old pillow can be composed of dead mites and their feces. ICK!!!! Mites prefer warm,moist surroundings like the inside of a mattress when someone is on it. Their favorite food - dander ( both yours and your doggies and kitties skin flakes). humans shed about 1/5 ounce of dander (dead skin) each week. about 80% of those little particles floating in sunbeams is ------not fairy dust but skin flakes. (inert EECK! EECK! EECK! here). So you folks with allergies may be allergic to the dust mites and the most potent allergy dust mite feces. GROSS!!! So what to do? What to do? Vacuum your carpets regularly. Steam clean those carpets annually. For those of you with allergies consider tile or wood flooring. take those throw rugs and area carpets to the cleaners. ( you really don't want that dust mite poo in your carpet) Get your comforters, bed spreads and bed linens cleaned at least twice a year.( if you are allergic to dust mites more monthly would be a good idea) Don't forget your drapes - yep even your drapes and curtains need an annual dust mite cleaning. wash your sheets and pillow cases in hot water. The water need to at 130-140 degrees. Most home hot water heaters are set at 12o - so you can raise the temperature of your hot water heater. Or you can bring me your sheets and pillowcases - we wash and press those sheets killing the mites. And you get freshly pressed sheets without the hassle of trying to figure out how to fold those idiotic fitted ones that usually end up in a giant sheet ball in your closet. So there ya go - No more Mitey Morphine Power Rangers.

And Now ( Insert the hair-raising scream from the beautiful blonde co-ed and Dum Dum Dum)bed bugs. While some folks may have considered Dracula sexy - the vampiric bed bug is just plain disgusting. No stake through their hearts will work and they don't freak out if your crucifix has no effect. These nasty bugs require professional help. CALL THE EXTERMINATOR!!!!! But here's some things you can do - never put new clothes directly into your closet. WHY? No matter what the label or price almost all clothes are from foreign countries - China, Indonesia,etc. These clothes may have bed bugs in them. So put your those clothes in the dryer for at least 20 minutes. The heat will kill the bed bugs and their eggs. If the clothes are dry clean only - clean them first. Make sure your cleaners is actually a dry cleaner and not a green cleaners using cold water. COLD WATER WILL NOT KILL BED BUGS. if you find yourself with a bed bug problem - seal your bedding and clothes in air proof bag. Let your dry cleaners know you have bed bugs on those items. They will require special care. Once again, hot water 140 degrees will kill those bed bugs. Sheets and pillow cases need to washed in HOT WATER. Bed Bugs are nasty and bad but you need net be embarrassed - just be careful with newly purchased items. And don't be too embarrassed to call an exterminator and tell your dry cleaner - that's our job.

SO, ( insert rainbow and happy survivors walking into the sunset with sappy violin music) no Love Bugs here, just the creepy kind. But with a few precautions you will survive the horror show and the bed bugs won't bite.

P.S. Since I totally creeped myself out - I decided to give you some help getting rid of those Jeepers Creepers - until Nov 9th - I'm giving you 25% off all household items. that's 25% off sheets and pillow cases, bedspreads, comforters, blankets, rugs and drapes. I couldn't just leave you there all grossed out. DUM DUM DUM!

Monday, September 27, 2010

What's black and white and bled all over ?

OK- so that's not the usual start for the joke. But unlike the usual answers of newspaper or sunburned zebra - my query doesn't have a witty response. So what is black and white and bled all over? Pretty much any garment with black and white.

While these garments may look good at the store - one wash or dry cleaning will have the black all over the white. Why? Simple - the black dye isn't colorfast. If this was just happening occasionally -I would not write this blog. But in the last two years it has become predictable - ANY BLACK AND WHITE GARMENT WILL FADE.

What do you do? The simple answer is do not buy black and white garments. If the stores start to notice that people aren't purchasing black and white, the big retailers will have two choices. Stop buying black and white from designers or demand that the designers set the black dye. If you still think that black and white is the bomb ( and honestly - so do I) then make clear to the store that you are aware of this problem and you want them to stand behind this garment. Get the store to put in writing that should the garment bleed - they will immediately take it back.

Why are the dyes not set? Well that is simple. The final stage of the dying process is a saline solution bath. So no salt bath - no set dye. You have been to the grocery lately, how expensive was salt? A whole 29 cents? So why not do this - I don't know. Why send all the clothing manufacturing to China? Cheap labor - Cheap cloth -Cheap -Cheap Cheap!!!!

So does a $2000 black and white dress hold up better that a $20 black and white dress? NO!!!! Unfortunately. every designer has their clothes and fabrics made in China. While I could rant about the failure of our government, unions and clothing designers to retain those jobs here- well I guess i just did. But I think we would all be willing to pay a few bucks more for garments that can be dry cleaned or washed without being ruined. I think we would be prefer to have clothes that last. I do not pretend to know the cost of garment from design to retail sale, but we want to get what we pay for.

So, I guess I am hoping we can buy American made clothing. Keep the manufacturing jobs here. Produce a better garment. But hoping isn't getting. So for now. buyer beware. Avoid black and white garments unless the store can positively assure that the black will not bleed unto the white or will accept the garment for return when the black dye fails.

So now, what's black and white and red all over? The same black and white garment that you refused to buy with the big red discounts all over the sales tags.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cry Me a River and Sweat Me an Ocean

My favorite all time song "Cry Me A River." Heck, there isn't a girl alive who didn't want to tell an ex-boyfriend "Cry me a River." Particularly ,when he broke her heart. Sadly, few us of ever get the chance. So we end up crying the river. And that leads to mascara rolling down our face and stinging our eyes.

I can't help with eye stinging but removing the mascara and make -up from your clothes-That I can handle. Just remember , even though the make up is easily removed from your skin with soap and water it isn't so easy from clothes. Make-up has oils and we all know oil and water don't mix. So before throwing any garment with make-up in the wash - you must remove it first. If your make-up and mascara are water-proof - don't add water to remove. That will require a professional.

Now sweat me an ocean- yep here in South Texas we all sweat an ocean. August is always the hottest month. So while you are uncomfortable and pouring out oceans - your clothes are also taking a beating. What? Isn't it bad enough that you are a walking salt lick? But that salt also damages your clothing.

So,my wet and wild friends what kind of damage can your bodily ocean do to clothes ? Lots!

Sometimes yellow,tan, or brown stains ,streaks or rings appear after dry cleaning ,laundering or just after a period of time in use or storage. They appear in areas that may become damp with perspiration during wear( underarms, neck, back and waistband - and since this is South Texas dang near all over). OK here is the gross part - all perspiration ( oh let's just call it sweat) contains fats ,oils ,cholesterol , and other substances exuded from the glands onto the skin. YUCK!!!! All these substances oxidize over time and turn fabric yellow or brown. So while the sweat is fresh it needs to be removed. Let your dry cleaner know if the garment is dry clean only ... dry cleaning alone will not remove perspiration.

Cellulose will develop weak areas and tears. Cellulose fibers are cotton,ramie,rayon, and linen ( to name a few). Sometimes, but not always, staining is noted in the weak area. This is usually underarm areas of shirts. You may notice a ring,streak,splotch, or light area. This means the fibers are already damaged and will weaken sooner than it should. Antiperspirants that remain on the fabric for a period of time cause this damage. Antiperspirants are acid -based chemicals and may also contain aluminum chlorides. These chemicals can form hydro cellulose (chemical degradation) on garments contain cellulose fibers). many times the damage is noted until the agitation of cleaning separates and tears the weakened fibers. So, am i saying don't use antiperspirant? HEAVENS -NO!!!! Sorry but let's face it - no one likes the stinky guy. So what do you do? Have the garment cleaned as soon as you can after contact. Try switching to a pH neutral deodorant instead of an acidic antiperspirant.

Silk -lovely delicate silk. Silk can develop yellow or rust colored stains. Silk may just develop holes or tears. Why? Well , chloride salts of any type will progressively weaken silk yarns. Chloride salts are found in perspiration and deodorant. Chloride salts are also found in many foods,beverages,skin lotions and medicines. Even table salt and salt water are chloride salts. ICKY- but you know that you are $5 of chemicals and loads of salt. So when the liquid (your sweat) dries, the moisture evaporates but the salt residue remains in the fabric and begins the chemical degradation of the silk. So what do you do? Clean immediately to remove the chloride salt. If you want most fabric stores sell dress shields to prevent the moisture from reaching the silk. Just remember, the longer the salts remain on the fabric, the greater the chance of garment damage.

So now you know- you are one of your clothes worst enemies. Yep, so while you sweat an ocean and complain about the heat don't forget the poor shirt on your back. Otherwise, you'll be crying a river over lots of damaged garments.

Friday, July 2, 2010

July 4 ,1776

"When in the course of human events..." Those are the words that started a revolution. Not just a physical revolt against tyranny but an ideological revolt. An idea that became us - you and me and this country.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident:That all men are created equal;that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights;that among these are life,liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights,governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends,it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it,and to institute a new government,laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its power in such form ,as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

Do you read those words and not feel amazed? It is clear to me that this country was truly blessed by God - how else could all these brilliant men have been together in this country at the same time ?Can you imagine no Jefferson , Washington , Adams ,or Franklin? What a difference there would have been without any one of these men? But ultimately, that these men believed that you and I have God-given rights that no man or government can take away. They had faith in us that they would create this republic and we would keep it. They knew when they wrote and signed this document that this was for themselves and for generations to come.

"And for the support of this declaration,with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, ans our sacred honor."And each of these men from the 13 colonies signed. They signed knowing that they could lose everything. Who were these men?

Well we all know John Hancock. His is the first and the largest signature. John Hancock was the president of the Continental Congress during the debate and signing of the Declaration Of Independence.He was one of the wealthiest men in the thirteen colonies and served as Governor of Massachusetts for many years.

New Hampshire was represented by Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple And Matthew Thornton.

Josiah Bartlett was a doctor. He held various political offices before and after the American Revolution. His house was burned to the ground by British loyalists in 1774. He was the first person to vote for independence on July2,1776. He was the first to sign his name on the Declaration after John Hancock. He became the first Governor of New Hampshire.

William Whipple was a former sea captain who became a successful merchant in Portsmouth. He served as a brigadier general in New Hampshire and led four brigades in the Battle of Saratoga. The Battle of Saratoga defeated General John Burgoyne's British army, a major turning point for the American's in the war for independence.

Matthew Thornton was a doctor from Londonderry, New Hampshire. He served mostly in New Hampshire politics.He held the highest offices in the state. He was not appointed to the Continental Congress until November 1776, but was still allowed to place his signature on the Declaration of Independence. His signature is on the bottom because there wasn't enough room to write beneath the other New Hampshire signers.

Massachusetts was represented by (at this point one could interject that they have never been as well represented since but I won't ..... ok I did) John Hancock, Samuel Adams ( not the beer),John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, and Elbridge Gerry.

Samuel Adams was largely responsible for uniting the colonies in their war for independence. He was a fiery leader. His aggressive views toward the British even alarmed some of his fellow patriot leaders. He became well known in America and England for his writings denouncing British policies and politicians. He became Lieutenant Governor and then Governor of Massachusetts. ( so lets get a Sam Adams this week-end and thank the Sam Adams who the beer was named for)

John Adams was called the "Atlas Of American Independence" by fellow signer Richard Stockton. He was one of the most active and loyal men in the fight for independence. He was a diplomat, Vice President and President of the United States. He lived to see his son John Quincy Adams become the the sixth President of the U.S.

Robert Treat Paine was a clergyman who later became a lawyer. He was an early member of the inner circle of Massachusetts rebel leaders, being a good friend of John Adams and John Hancock. He gained national prominence as one of the prosecuting attorneys of British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre.

Elbridge Gerry was a prosperous merchant. He served as a leader in raising troops and supplies for the revolution. He barely escaped British soldiers the night of April 18,1775 as they marched to Lexington and Concord. He became Vice President under James Madison.

Rhode Island was represented by Stephen Hopkins and William Ellery.

Stephen Hopkins was the second oldest signer of the Declaration. His shaky hand is noticeable in his signature. He held numerous political offices and was Governor ten times before the revolution. During the war, he served on the committee that created the Continental Navy. His brother Esek was the commander in chief of the navy.

William Ellery was unlike the other signers. He had never held any other significant political office other than being a delegate to the Continental Congress. He served as a customs officer in his home of Newport. His home and property were destroyed in the British invasion of Newport and he never fully recovered financially. He died at age 92.

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington,Oliver Woolcut, and William Williams represented Connecticut.

Roger Sherman started out following in his father's footsteps ( or shoes) as a cobbler.But ,like American stories to come, he worked his way up to one of the most powerful political offices of the land, He served n the Committee of Five that wrote the Declaration of Independence. Hi is only one of two Founding Fathers who signed all three major documents of A merican Independence, The Declaration, The articles of Confederation,and the Constitution. He introduced the Connecticut Compromise which broke the deadlock between large and small states at the Constitutional Convention.

Samuel Huntington was a cooper ( barrel maker in early life. He then became a lawyer, judge and politician. He was the Kin's Attorney in Connecticut for a decade but resigned in 1774 to join the Revolutionaries. Samuel Huntington served as the president of the Congress, Chief Justice of the Connecticut Superior Court and Governor after the revolution.

William Williams ( don't you love a mom with a sense of humor ) was a prominent merchant who married a daughter of Royal Governor John Trumbull. He raised money and gave his own money for the war effort and was a colonel in the Connecticut militia.

Oliver Woolcut was a lawyer. He was a sheriff,legislator, judge and colonel before the Revolutionary War. He served as a brigadier general in the New York campaigns that eventually lead to the surrender of British General John Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga. He was also a major general defending the Connecticut seacoast from the raids of British royal Governor William Tyron.

Delaware was represented by Caesar Rodney, George Read and Thomas McKean.

Caesar Rodney served in various public offices in Delaware and was one of the leading figures for independence in the state. He is best known for riding through the night in the rain in order to sign the Declaration of Independence on July 2,1776.

George Read was a lawyer and was married to the sister of fellow signer George Ross. George Read was the only signer who voted against independence on July 2,1776. He became Governor of Delaware led his state to ratify the Constitution. Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution.

Thomas Mckean held various public offices including high sheriff of Kent County,militia captain, customs collector, and judge. He became president of the Continental Congress,Governor of Delaware, and Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Samuel Chase, Wiliam Paca, Thomas Stone and Charles Carroll represented Maryland.

Samuel Chase was a lawyer who was involved in the public destruction of British stamps in Annapolis during the "Stamp Act". He was appointed to the Supreme Court by George Washington but was impeached during Thomas Jefferson's administration.

William Paca was a mayor and councilman of Annapolis. He was a delegate to the General Assembly of Maryland.

Thomas Stone was a lawyer and plantation owner.He served on the committee that wrote the Articles of Confederation which was the ruling federal document from 1777 to the creation of the Constitution in 1787. He died suddenly in 1787 at the age of 45.

Charles Caroll of Carollton ( yes that is how he signed it) was the wealthiest man in the 13 colonies. he owned a ten thousand acre plantation in Frederick County. He was the only Catholic signer of the declaration. He was a strong supporter of religious freedom due to persecution of catholics in England. Charles Carroll lived longer than any other signer. He died at the age of 94 in 1832.

Virginia was represented by George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson Jr, Francis Lightfoot Lee, and Carter Braxton.

George Wythe was a wealthy lawyer. He trained many lawyers ,his most famous student was Thomas Jefferson. He became the Professor of Law at William and Mary College making him the first professor of law in America.

Richard Henry Lee was born into wealth and never had to work to sustain himself. He was involved in politics and was an early supporter of the rights of all Americans. He led a group that publically burned British stamps during the "Stamp Act". He is credited with proposing the final dissolution of all ties with Great Britain.

Thomas Jefferson is one of the most well-known of the Founding Fathers and signers of The Declaration of Independence. Jefferson wrote the original draft of the Declaration. He was Governor of Virginia, Secretary of State, Vice President and President of the United States. His home was Monticello.

Benjamin Harrison was born into a long line of politicians. His son William Henry was the 9th president of the United States and his great -grandson Benjamin was the 23rd President. Benjamin Harrison led the discussions in the Continental Congress leading up to the signing of the Declaration.

Francis Lightfoot Lee was Richard Henry lee's brother.He served in the Continental Congress and served for many years in the Virginia Legislature.

Carter Braxton was a wealthy land owner and merchant. At first, he did not support independence but later joined the patriots and signed the Declaration of Independence. Carter Braxton lost most of his wealth during he war. His ships were captured by the British and his lands were pillaged.

William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis and Leis Morris signed for New York.

William Floyd was a wealthy landowner from Long Island.When the British invaded Long Island in 1776 he and his family were forced to flee to Connecticut and were in exile there for 7 years. His wife died during the exile in 1781.When he and his children finally returned to Long Island he found his trees and fields destroyed and his home badly damaged. It was used as barracks for the British army.

Philip Livingston was a wealthy landowner and merchant. After the defeat at the Battle of Long Island, George Washington and his officers met at Livingston's Brooklyn Heights mansion and decided to evacuate the island. When the British invaded Manhattan they confiscated Livingston's mansion and used it as a naval hospital. He died unexpectedly during the war when Congress fled Philadelphia to York to avoid the approaching British army.

Francis Lewis was a wealthy merchant. He suffered the most of any of the signers. When the British invaded Long Island , his estate was destroyed and his wife was captured. She remained in terrible conditions during her captivity and became very ill . She was eventually released but never fully recovered and died in 1779.

Lewis Morris was the owner of Morrisania Estate.He gave much of his wealth to the war effort. The British wrecked Morrisania during the war. He served as a brigadier general in Westchester County during 1776. Three of his sons served under George Washington.

Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, and Abraham Clark represented New Jersey.

Richard Stockton was a lawyer and early supporter of independence. When the British invaded New Jersey in late 1776 Stockton hurried home . Local loyalist informed the British of his whereabouts and he was captured. He was treated very badly and was eventually released but he never recovered his health. His estate was destroyed and due to the treatment during captivity he died in 1781.

John Witherspoon was a minister and was president of the Presbyterian College of New Jersey ( now Princeton University - so ivy league professors were always radicals ) His son James was killed at the Battle of Germantown during the war. The college was wrecked by the British during the war and he spent the years after the war rebuilding the school.

Francis Hopkinson was a lawyer and a judge. He was known for his poems, drawings and songs. He is considered on of the first homegrown American writers and composers.

John Hart owned farms and mills. when the British invaded New Jersey in 1776, they destroyed his farms and mills. He escaped into hiding in he local hills. When he returned home, he found his wife who had been ill during the invasion died. He became ill shortly after and died in 1779.

Abraham Clark was a surveyor and farmer.During the war, he served in the Continental Congress. Two of his sons were captured during the war and held prisoner on the notorious prison ship, Jersey.

Pennsylvania was represented by Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush , Bejamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, And George Ross.

Robert Morris was one of only two Founding Fathers to sign all three major founding documents.Robert Morris was a very wealthy Philadelphia merchant who became the chief importer of arms and ammunition during the war. Without his efforts, George Washington would have never succeeded. Robert Morris died bankrupt and spent several years in debtor prison at the end of his life.

Benjamin Rush was a doctor. He signed the declaration at age 30. He was surgeon general in Washington's army. He became a strong advocate for for prison reform, the mentally ill and teaching the Bible in public schools to promote virtue after the war.

Benjamin Franklin was the oldest member to sign both the Declaration and the Constitution. He was a printer, author, philosopher, scientist, and inventor.He created the first public library and fire station.He became a diplomat to Europe and his last public act was to sign a memoranda to Congress recommending the abolition of slavery.

John Morton was a surveyor, farmer and politician.He served 18 years n the Pennsylvania colonial and state senate. He became a county justice of the peace, a county sheriff and a justice on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.One of Morton's most important votes was changing form no to yes on July 2,1776 in support of the Declaration. Ensuring Pennsylvania's vote for independence.

George Clymer was orphaned ant a young age. He was raised by a wealthy uncle who taught him business. He became a wealthy merchant. It was his knowledge of finances that helped the Continental Congress in its financial affairs.His family hid in nearby woods while the British army ransacked his house during the Revolution.

James Smith was a not so successful lawyer- so he became a politician ( not unlike today). He was elected to the Continental Congress after July 2,1776 but arrived in time to sign the document on August 2,1776.

George Taylor came to America from Ireland as an indentured servant. He worked in the iron forges and married the widow of the owner of Coventry Forge where he worked. He became a prosperous iron seller.He supplied iron equipment and ammunition during the war.

James Wilson studied law under fellow signer John Dickerson. he was a successful lawyer. At first he did not support independene. During the war a mob ttacked his home because he did not support some parts of the Pennsylvania patriots' ideas. Several people died before the city militia put an end to it.

George Ross was the son of an Angelican clergyman.He had a successful law practise. He had loyalist leanings but decided to go with the revolutionists. He was not yet elected by the vote on July2,1776 but was in place by the signing of the parchment on August 2.

Willaim Hooper, James Hewes, and John Penn were there from North Carolina.

William Hooper's father was a loyalist who disowned him for supporting the Revolution.William Hooper was once dragged through the streets for supporting North Carolina's colonial governor.

Joseph Hewes was a wealthy merchant. He created the U.S. Navy. He appointed John Paul Jones. He never married after his fiance died. He died from over exertion during the war.

John Penn was a self -taught lawyer. During the war he kept North Carolina militia supplied. His efforts helped the continental army drive back Lord Cornwallis's army in retreat in 1780.

South Carolina sent Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward Jr., Thomas Lynch Jr. and Arthur Middleton.

Edward Rutledge was the youngest signer at age 26. He strongly opposed independence, but ultimately encouraged the other representatives from South Carolina to vote for independence on July 2,1776 for the sake of unity with their colonial brothers.

Thomas Heyward Jr.was the son of a rich planter. He was 30 when he signed the Declaration.He was captured by the British during the battle of Charleston. He spent a year in a prison camp in St. Augustine ,Florida before the war ended.

Thomas Lych Jr. was the captain of the South Carolina militia when the Revolutionary War started. He contracted swamp fever that left him sickly for the rest of his life. During the middle of the war he and his wife left for France in hopes the weather there would be better for his health. They were never seen or heard of again and were presumed to have been lost at sea.

Artur Middleton was a very wealthy planter in Charleston. His father, Henry,was the first president of the Continental Congress.Despite knowingtheir wealth would be in jeopardy if they supported revolution, they both put freedom ahead of their own personal prosperity. Their plantation was reansacked during the Battle of Charleston and both spent nearly a year in prison camps.

And lastly Georgia sent Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, and George Walton.

Button Gwinnett was he first governor of Georgia.He was killed in duel a year after signing the Declaration.

Lyman Hall was a doctor. He was from a fiercely anti- British area of Georgia. During the war he supplied food and medicine for the Continental Army.

George Walton was 26 when he signed the Declaration.He was appointed a Colonel in the Continental Army. He was seriously wounded and captured by the British during the Battle for Savanah.

So these are the men we owe our gratitude for this country. These are the men who risked their fortunes and lives for us. So while you grill those burgers and dogs -take a moment to think of them. They were young and old. They were ardent believers in independence and some who just went along to maintain harmony. But ultimately they all believed in freedom. They believed in us- yes you and me. They believed we would preserve this freedom , that we would appreciate their sacrifice and we would keep this freedom. These men believed out rights were given by God and no man, no government ,no country can take them away. We may be foolish enough to give them away but they are ours to keep. So this 4th of July - please think of these men and say a prayer of thanks. It was a miracle they were all here on this earth at the same time ,in the same place,and we are the benefincairies of God's grace. If you are ever in doubt - read more about these brave and brilliant men and you will know - really know - God has blessed America.
Happy 4th of July.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

One is the loneliest number

So if one is loneliest number - is that why pants are pairs? No, Three Dog Night fans. So why are pants pairs and a shirt just a shirt? If you were thinking pants have two legs - wrong. Shirts have two arms and still - just a shirt. And now the history of pants - everything you ever wanted to know about the nether coverings - and yes the answer to why pants are pairs.

Around 1760 men began to wear breeches. These gents, were a tight garment worn from the waist to the knee with stockings covering the rest of the leg. Picture yourself in that delightful garment. Breeches eventually evolved ( like the English language always does) into britches. Before the breeches or britches you guys wore skirts and dresses. ( OK kilts and caftans but does it really matter what you call them your legs were hanging out)

Pantaloons ( which the word pants come from) were made popular in 1812 by George Bryan "Beau " Brummell. He added a foot strap to keep his pants tight and avoid wrinkles.Beau Brummel was the male fashion icon of his time. He gave fashion tips ( even to the king) and stressed cleanliness. I know stressing cleanliness seems strange but that really wasn't much of a priority then and people had some strange ideas about baths causing colds and illnesses. Think of how it must of smelled at those big social gatherings. Icky. Aren't you glad you live in this century?

In 1789 the French revolution was not just a political revolt but a fashion revolt. Breeches were too upper class - so enter the trouser. The country French peasants wore looser fitting garment called trousers meaning drawers. With the revolution came trousers for every man. ( nope ladies we were still in stays and hoops).

Sir Harry Lumsden was commanding the English troops in Punjab, India in 1846. The English troops wore bright white pants and red wool jackets ( think the movie Zulu and Michael Caine). Well, good old Harry was pretty darn hot in India being from England and all - so he trades in his bright white pants for p.j.s . Yes, Sir Harry wore pajama bottoms. To disguise the fact that he was wearing p.j.s - Harry dyed them with a native plant - mazari. The color of the p.js was now the color of dust which the Hindu word for dust is khaki. Thus the birth of the khaki. So now guys - when you wear your khaki's - thank Sir Harry and his p.j.s.

Well, we Americans , not to be outdone, liked those khakis. They became the standard for the military in WWII. So while stationed in the Pacific khakis were duplicated ( for less) in China. That's how we got chinos. So I guess it started with khaki knock-offs and now we have Chinese knock-offs of everything. Who knew khakis would start the whole sending manufacturing off to China?

So ladies - here come the bloomers. Elizabeth Smith Miller invented pants for ladies. Can you imagine the scandal? The pants consisted of a skirt with baggy trousers underneath that gathered at the ankle. So Amelia Jenks Bloomer of Homer, New York takes a look at those and decides to be rebel and wear them int he 1850's. The bicycle craze and the suffragettes embraced the bloomers and there you go. Somehow bloomers sound better than millers ?

In the 1890's Oscar Wilde tried to reintroduce breeches. Thank goodness the man could write because he did not succeed at fashion trends. So over the years pant legs got wider then smaller with each generation of rebellious youth. Think Zoot suits and bell bottoms.

And then good old American advertising introduced pants to be worn between work and sports. The pant was called a "slack" for your slack time. So slacks were invented by Haggar and the folks in the advertising department. Amazing to think Santa Claus and slacks - advertising that stuck.

And that leaves us with the American icon of pants. Let me give you some hints and see if you know what pant this I'm talking about. James Dean wore them in the 1955 movie "Rebel Without A Cause ". American teenagers decided to join the rebellion and rushed to buy these pants. In 1853 in San Francisco Loeb Strauss from Bavaria sold these pants to miners. Regular pants weren't strong enough for the rigors of mining - so he invented these. ( I know hard to believe Mr. Straus and Nancy Pelosi from the same place - one creates something you wear and one wears on you). In 1873 Strauss meets Jacob Davis the inventor of the rivet. And together they created a pant with rivets on the stress points of the pants. Have you guessed? Loeb changed his name to Levi and this is story of the blue jean.

And now the answer to the question why are pants pairs but a shirt just a shirt? If you said because there are two legs - wrong! After all shirts have two arms - so why ? You know how English has the little quirks like i before e etc. - this is one. In English there is a class of objects that are thought to consist of two independent but connected parts, usually identical or similar to each other. So not only are pants and trousers pairs, but there are eyeglasses, scissors,pliers, earrings, and tweezers. These objects are always in the plural form and the usage of a plural form goes all the way back 1297 AD. (of course back then it was a pair of hose or "a peire of hosen"). The implication is that these two parts are separable. So trousers are pairs but a shirt is solo because it covered the entire torso. At one time compass and nutcracker was referred to as a pair ( can you imagine asking for a pair of nutcracker - some many quips running through my mind on that one - but this is G-rated column). That folks is why pants, trousers, slacks and jeans are a pair. I know panties and undies have no legs but they are pairs too. Mainly that is just an extension of the pant pair rule.

And for those of you wondering if I just made this stuff up - the answer is - I wish I were so imaginative. I actually had some help .The history of pants came from Andy Gilchrist's "The Complete Contents of A Man's Life." Cecil Adams from "The Chicago Reader" is my source for the evolution of the English language. If you are interested in more weird facts ( and I know some you are) I recommend reading Cecil Adams' column "The Straight Dope".

So, I have been writing this blog for about six months. I decided this month to give those of you who have been reading a gift. I figure if you are willing to sit at your computer reading my rants on care labels and clothes - you ought to get some thing more than just a giggle ( I am hoping you did giggle, chuckle or at the very least groan). So this is for you - if you come in any Cowboy Cleaners before July 4 - I will clean a pair of pants for you for free. I mean since you are now a pants historian and know that a pair of pants is really just one - you should be rewarded for being so smart. So come in - say I read Vicky's blog - and I'll clean your pair of pants for FREE.
Those of you who are thinking " I'm getting something for nothing?" - no you're not - you had to read all this to get your gift. Some are saying " but I like reading this"( yeah!!! and thanks) and others are saying " Torture - this blog is torture" ( you will still get the free cleaning and the torture). But this is my way of saying thanks for reading and to quote "Three Dog Night" - "Celebrate".

Friday, May 7, 2010

oh shirt 2 or the end of the iron age ?

So gents , you have just purchased a wrinkle -free or wrinkle resistant shirt.....it's the end of the iron age right? well ....let's talk about this..

Remember I said as any lady knows , getting rid of wrinkles requires a lot of chemicals. Same for your shirt.There are 9 different resins used to make shirts wrinkle -free. Most of those resins have formaldehyde. And yes some the formaldehyde is released from the material during wear and the lifetime of the shirt. I don't know about you ,but anything the frogs in bio - lab was pickled in isn't going on my back. But that's just me.

You should also know these shirts are guaranteed wrinkle-free for 25- 30 washings. After that the resin has disappated and the shirt is no longer wrinkle -free. So what ? Well here in south Texas that means in 6 months - back to the iron age. Only one small problem - there is a glue in collar that when heated turns dark and looks like dirt on the collar tips. Not all shirts have this poblem and not all brands have the problem. But your problem is - you won't know if your shirt does until you actually use a hot iron on it. ( can't tell by looking - sorry guys - a pretty shirt is like a pretty girl - you can't see what's inside)

So - do you spend money on those teeth whiteners? Think white teeth are important? How about a white shirt? Well the resins used in those wrinkle -free shirts resist optical brightners."So what does that mean to me and what the heck is an optical brightner?"Optical brightners are in most home and all commercial detergents to help keep white shirts bright white. So by resisting the optical brightner the wrinkle -free shirt will not look as white as a pure-finished shirt. Ok think of it this way - no resin -whiter shirt. Optical brightner basically crest white strips for your shirts.

Remember those ads "ring around the collar "? Ring around the collar is not a sign of poor hygiene. Let's be honest - we sweat when we get hot. And yucky as this may sound we are kinda oily folks. Those ring around the collar stains are oily stains . Now don't start thinking we are walking human salad dresssings. But if it wasn't for those oils in our skin - we would have dried up and blown away in the dark ages. The resins in wrinkle -free shirts end to retain oily stains. And do not use chlorine bleach on these shirts.Never ever- you can turn your shirt yellow or lose strength in the material. So if you are washing these shirts at home - sorry but you will need to scrub those collars.

These shirts also tend to suffer from abrasion because they are stiffer due to the resins. What this means is areas that tend to get more wear ,the back of the collar and cuffs will show signs of wear faster than untreated shirts. The resin treated shirts will probably feel stiffer than non-treated shirts.

So how do you know if your shirt is wrinkle -free or wrinkle resistant? Most shirts will have a label on collar saying it is. But it is not mandatory. It is not required by the care label law. But ......if you read the ........yep you got it ....the care label you will know. The care label will read machine wash,tumble dry, and remove promptly. The label may allow for cool or cold iron. (good luck with that one ) But those washing instructions mean your shirt was treated with wrinkle-free resins.

So is it the end of the iron age ? If you want a whiter shirt - no. If you want starch - no. If you think a great laundered shirt makes you look and feel better - no. So I guess if you want to move on to the bronze age - you could always get a bronze tie.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

oh shirt

Remember the song from Mr.Ed - "a horse is a horse of course ". Unless the horse was Mr. Ed. ( got ya singing that one all day long). So what does Mr Ed have to do with shirts. Well - a shirt is a shirt of course unless it's Mr. Silk Shirt, Mr. Rayon shirt, or Mr. Wrinkle -free shirt. So like the amazing Mr. Ed ( who we all remember talked) your shirt that isn't a shirt also talks.

How does a shirt talk? Ok - I'll give a few minutes to think about it. The shirt doesn't talk aloud- so don't go into your closet and think those shirts are talking behind your back when light is out. Those of you who read this blog - you got the answer- yep it's talking on the ....... wait for it........care label. (ha - and you thought i'd finally finished my care label diatribe).

So let's talk shirts. Oh shirts- those bastians of maleness. The indesputable foundation of every mans closet. Let's talk about those regular everyday everyman man shirt. These come in cotton or cotton/ polyester blend. Aside from differences in color, sleeve size and neck size - they are pretty much all the same. And that my male friends is why you're shirts are the least expensive item to clean. It is the one gament that we have machines that with a well trained operator will allow faster production. ( some cleaners will stop there - but we make sure each shirt is touched up by hand after production to remove any and all wrinkles). Starch ? No starch? Which is better ? Honestly, I could make some testostorone laden comment about real men use ..... but the truth is - What do you like? It is really up to you. ( however, I will say that starched blue jeans - kinda like a denim girdle - so always a good way to hide those extra lbs - maybe that's a woman thing)

Now, let's take a trip to say ... the Bahamas? How was that for subtle? Those shirts are made of silk. Most will say drycleaning recommended or dryclean only. So could they concievable be done like your everyman shirt? No. The dyes on that shirt can not be washed, starched and pressed wet. That shirt will shrink with high heat. That shirt, gentleman, requires special care. So buy them if you understand they need to be drycleaned and the dyes are sensitive. But do not buy these type shirts if you don't want to pay the drycleaning bill. Don't get me wrong - these are great shirts. My son loves them ( but his mom owns the cleaners). All I'm saying is these shirts are going to be more expensive to maintain. So its kinda like buying a Lexus or a Ford. Both good cars but one is more nicely equipped and it will cost more to maintain. So if you choose to go to the Bahamas in your shirt buying - remember it's a Lexus.

So guys - here's the deal . When you buy a shirt .. think ... do I want to spend the money to maintain it? Why buy a Lexus to never change the oil and let it fall apart? Why go the shirt Bahamas - spend all that money on a seriously fine looking shirt - to wash into the junk yard?So a shirt is a shirt of course unless it's ...

Next week Oh shirt part 2 - so what the deal with wrinkle free? ( ask any woman - no shirt or face is ever wrinkle free with out a heck of a lot of chemicals)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Take it off

Yes, I know it sounds like that old song from the Joe Namath shaving cream ad ( how old am I to remember Joe Namath much less that ad) But it is time to take off - take it all off. What , you asking, my clothes? No ! (unless you are Tom Selleck - but chances are darn good you are not- so leave the clothes on) So what am I talking about?

Now, inside some of your clothes (Ann Taylor for sure) is a tag that is sewn into the seam that says " remove before washing or wearing". This tag is for inventory control. But you need to know - they really do need to come out. Inside that tag is a dye pack. So just like the ones put in the bank bags during a robbery - that tag is the mini version.

So what can happen if you don't remove the inventory control tag. Well , you wont have it explode on your face or hands like a bank robber but it can explode. If you ever had a load of laundry come out with purple, red , or blue tinge - the unremoved inventory control tag could be the problem. If it leaks while you're wearing it - well it could get on you and that will take a while to come off. You will need a lot of baby oil for that one.

So check those new clothes carefully.They are in blouses, pants, and skirts. Usually , they are near the - ( ok by now you should know this ) THE CARE LABEL. So snip those control tags out to prevent damage to the garment and a very weird tattoo for you . Careful, don't snip your gament. But if you are a little wary of snipping these out - come on by and we will be happy to take care of it for you.

So once again - I managed to get care label into another blog. So now I want you to not only read that care label but get those inventory control tags out before washing or wearing.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Sequel

Ever wonder if any one in Hollywood has a new idea? I mean how many Rockys, Terminators, Pirates , and Alvins can they posssibly make? Then we have old tv shows like the Brady Bunch, Starky and Hutch and The Addams Family made into movies. While enjoyable in my youth - I really peferred to just remember those with my rose colored glasses that made me think they were great. And lets not even talk about Bewitched.... oh poor Elizabeth Montgomery must have been twitching her nose in heaven hoping to make that disaster disappear. And who in the right mind ever thought that remaking classics like The Day the Earth Stood Still or War of the Worlds was a good idea? Ok - no one in Hollywood has a right mind - so what was I thinking!! But I say here and now - any one touches The Thin Man - well that is when I toss my popcorn and never spend another $9.50 for a movie again. No one can beat William Powell and Myrna Loy. No one else could possibly be Nick and Nora Charles or heck no other dog could be Asta.

So now you say - why is she ranting about sequels? Well because this is a sequel.... but I think it's a good one. Of course maybe it's just that I'm seriously serious about care labels. By now you know what care labels look like and how important to look for them before you buy. But this is the sequel .... what if you did all that and still you have The Nightmare on Elm Street happen?

So here's the nightmare - your black and white shirt has machine wash cold tumble dry. Since you are now a care label reader you do exactly what the label says and like the disaster movie the black fades all over the white.( are you hearing the music from Psycho in your head right now?) Or ( keep that music going) you take a matching khaki blouse and skirt that says dry clean only to the cleaners and it comes back not matching - the blouse is khaki and the skirt is green. What happened. Like the audience that says to the beautiful blonde - run. Run back to the store where you bought it.

How does stuff like that happen? How often does that happen?

Ok how does it happen - well it can be mislabeled. Sometimes when a manufacturer is making thousands of garments some one picks up the wrong box of labels and sews them in the garments. Sometimes like in the white and black example the dye was not properly set. That is fairly common and oh so simple to do. But to save a few pennies - it does not get done. And the now mismatched khaki - well the skirt was originally green and once again to save money the manufacturer over -dyed the skirt. That means the dyed a green skirt khaki to match the blouse.

How often does this happen - well we have a book chock full of stuff like this. But mercifully for all of us - only about 10% of garments have problems. Even high priced garments like Tommy Hilfiger shirts have had problems. Tommy Hillfiger in the 1990's was the Creature from the Black Lagoon of problem shirts. His were so bad that the Federal Trade Commission fined his company and made Tommy put a 1-800 number in the shirts for problems. And thus Tommy learned his lesson and spent the few pennies extra to set the dyes. But it took hundreds of drycleaners sending shirts for analysis to get this done.

So if you go back to the store where you bought the problem garment and they are no help. Do not give up - you can do more. You can call the manufacturer. Hey its not hard to do. I've done it and believe me so can you. In every garment is a RN number. ( gotta be there by law) That number is registered with the FTC for each manufacturer. So you can call me and I can help. Yep I have a big book of RN numbers. When you call - have the offending garment in your hands. That way you can accurately describe it and if asked can give the lot numbers or style numbers if they are in the garment. Then you explain what happened and most of the time the manufacturer will help you return the garment.

But if all this fails ..... you are still not done. Yep you are like those zombies that just keep on coming. You can ask your drycleaner to have the garment analyzied. Or you can be like Dracula and go for the jugular - write the FTC. (Federal Trade Commission c/o Correspondence Branch , Washington D.C. 20580)

Most drycleaners and most manufacturers do a good job. But if you have a problem with a garment - do not just let it go. If the store won't help( though most good stores will) keep going. It is important that you get what you paid for - a good garment that can be cleaned. ( because none of you bought spot clean only right?).

So now will care labels keep popping up in this blog like Alfred Hitchcock in his movies? Probably. But for now - I'll be moving on to other subjects. But hey if Indiana Jones can come back and Star Wars can have a prequel - so can care labels.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Years Resolution You Can Keep

Every year we are assaulted right about now with New Year resolutions. The morning news folks bring on experts to tell us how to actually do the things we say we want to do. Yep, we can shed those extra pounds, learn to quit cussing, quit smoking or just do the things we say we want to do without fizzing out in two weeks or being complete jerks to our friends and families before we fizzle out.

So did you make a resolution? It's been 5 days - how's that working for you? Well for me - the shed those extra pounds came to a roaring halt when I made Paula Deen's " Not Your Mama's Banana Pudding". If you are a lose weight resolution person skip this paragraph. You absolutely do not want to read this. This banana pudding will change your life. Bananas taste really good - even if you haven't eaten a banana since the Gerber jar. The pudding is creamy, fluffy and rich. Instead of the old vanila wafer that turns into a gluey goo - you use a cookie. And sad to say this makes a huge 9x13 pan of yummy heaven. To make this really depressingly awful - it's super easy to make. So go to Food Network's web site - get the recipe and forget the shedding pounds. Of course we could exercise and still eat the pudding. But hey - that's too much work and it's really cold outside. I don't want to walk in the cold and then before you know it it's really hot outside and then - well you see the problem. So another year of chubby Vicky. Another resolution bites the dust.

But wait - there is a resolution we can all keep. "What?" you say. Yes, there is a resolution that is easy , requires no work, no exercise, no giving things up , and takes about 1 minute. How perfect is that? And when your friends ask you can say "yes I made a resolution." Because you know if you say " no I never make resolutions." you just sound like a lame loser with no willpower. And when asked later in the year "how's that resolution going?" You can say "going great."

So here it - before you buy any clothes this year resolve to read the care labels. EASY! So repeat after me - I resolve to read the care label before I buy any garment. ( see you're no lame loser without willpower) You are empowered. You will know exactly what you are buying and will not waste your money on over-priced clothes that cannot be cleaned. ( what would be the point of reading the label and still buying over-priced stuff that can't be cleaned just for the designer label)You can do this. And in the next few months - you will still have the willpower to continue. By December 2010 - you will have been one of the few who did it. Made a resolution and kept it.

So while you are keeping your resolution - yes you empowered resolution winner - think of me. I cannot make this my resolution - that would be well stupid. What kind of drycleaner would I be if I didn't already read the care labels? Heck , I even read yours when your clothes come here. So I am care label reader. I cannot resolve to read care labels ( lucky you and pity me).

So I will resolve to to lose weight - good bye Paula Deen. I will try to excercise - guess I should get off my tushie now and walk around the block. I will try to get into my skinny jeans - hello Special K. So while I am eating lawn and cardboard ( no -it will just taste that way) .You will be reading care labels. You will keep your resolution and me - well we'll talk next December.