now open: sycamore & stone

So yesterday I did a thing. I went and checked out the new Sycamore & Stone on 401!

Jeff Devlin‘s new property is one I am familiar with, because I used to patronize the antique store that was once in this barn. I love this property and was sad when it went up for sale because I was afraid some developers would snatch up the property and the beautiful barns and house would disappear. However when Jeff announced he had purchased this property I was totally psyched because I knew it was going to be saved, preserved, and wonderful!

Along with the barn which has the store there will be other things available to do on this property including the house becoming a fabulous Airbnb.

This is the kind of preservation in real time and adaptive reuse that Chester County needs more of! I will note that I first came to know Jeff and his fiancée Janelle, through our mutual friend Meg Veno, proprietress of Life’s Patina at Willowbrook Farm and the soon to be opened Mechantile at the Jenny Lind House in Historic Yellow Springs Village.

I will note that both the Mercantile/Jenny Lind and Jeff’s Sycamore & Stone are both located in West Pikeland Township. West Pikeland is a treasure trove of amazing historic properties. I hope that Township realizes how fortunate and blessed they are that they have people willing to come in and do these amazing adaptive resources that are viable on historic properties.

Jeff’s store is a feast for the eyes and there is all sorts of fun stuff! It has a great Americana country vibe. It’s a lovely space and shoppers feel relaxed in it. It is almost like welcoming someone into a great big farmhouse and not just a hands down super amazing barn. I gravitate to places that are warm and welcoming. And their staff is equally warm and welcoming!

One of the things I liked best are the reproduction hog scraper candlesticks he has available for sale. I collect the actual vintage/antique variety, so these are a real favorite with me! If Jeff Devlin had a wish list for customers mine would be to carry hand dipped taper candles that fit into hog scrapers because that is the right shape for them!

I look forward to this property further coming back to life and it is such a joy to see the work occurring on it every time I drive by. Jeff is a quality craftsman, and such a nice guy so I am glad he found his spot here on this property. My only lament is I don’t have a super old farmhouse for him to help me restore!

Anyway Sycamore & Stone is yet another reason to shop local! Enjoy the photos!

Sycamore & Stone is located at 1251 Conestoga Road, Chester Springs, PA. Right now the hours are WEDNESDAY-FRIDAY 12PM-7PM, SATURDAY 10AM-7PM, SUNDAY 10AM-4PM.

I will note that I have not been compensated in any way, shape, or form to write this post. I’m merely visited the store and I am now a happy customer: I like to shop local and support the businesses of people I know.

#shoplocal #shopsmall #stonehouserevival #schoolhousewoodworking #home

dealing with lost mail is filled with platitudes and inefficiency

Who does USPS work for? Not really sure. Are you? Waiting for a package is about as fun as sticking needles in one’s eyes.

So a friend sent me a little package from England. A gift. Royal Mail got it to the United States in TWO days. My package arrived in New York March 21st at 3:36 A.M. The next log in the sad and pathetic tracking tale is March 22 at 6:57 it arrives in Jamaica, NY (Queens) “International Distribution Center”. It zips through customs at 9:13 PM on March 22. It goes BACK to Jamaica, NY (Queens) March 23, 5:32 AM. Next it arrives in Jersey City, NJ at 8:32 AM, and leaves Jersey City, NJ at 10:28 AM.

OK at this point, my package should have come to Philadelphia. But oh no, it went to Chicago, IL. Yes, apparently someone must’ve wanted Chicago deep dish. It arrives at Chicago, IL “Logistics Center”, then travels to St. Louis, MO. Steak and BBQ in St. Louis perhaps?

After it leaves St. Louis on March 25th, my package entered a parcel witness protection program apparently…between March 29, 2022 and April 4th, 2022 my package was “in transit to next facility” then it magically re-appears in Memphis, TN. I guess someone wanted Memphis BBQ?

It is now in Jacksonville, FL. FLORIDA, let that sink in. CRAZY right? Spring break or something?

Fear not, there is more in this twisted tale of USPS. I finally waded through the cumbersome USPS website and opened a case. They closed said case without resolving a god damn thing and sent me a survey. I felt like I was in the USPS Twilight Zone.

So the United States Postal Service sent me a survey to see how they did resolving my issue, right? Only they did not resolve my issue. They didn’t call, they didn’t e-mail, they did exactly zip, ziltch, zero, NADA, NOTHING.

I would think this was just happening to me, except hit up social media and USPS issues abound. And in most cases it is NOT issues with our local post offices, the problem is how the handle everything.

Wait and then there is whose packages USPS actually delivers….drug dealers….file under you just can’t make this stuff up. Hat tip to Vinny Vella at the Philadelphia Inquirer for this:

A drug ring that moved more than 800 pounds of crystal methamphetamine from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, then spread the narcotic throughout the Mid-Atlantic, has been shut down, Montgomery County authorities said Tuesday.

In what officials described as one of the largest drug busts in county history, authorities arrested five men and seized drugs with a street value estimated at between $2.6 million and $3.7 million….The ring was first identified last March, when an undercover police officer in Lower Merion bought two pounds of meth from a local drug dealer and learned of the larger organization, which had been supplying that dealer and others.

~ Vinny Vella Philadelphia Inquirer 4/5/22

Now in the middle of all this, I called my Congresswoman’s office. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan to be precise. Now I have no issue with Chrissy and her staff is among the nicest outside of former Rep. Jim Gerlach’s staff. And when you call other Washington DC Representatives (i.e. Senators Toomey and Casey 95% of the time you get voicemail, and the 5% of the time they do actually answer the phone you can tell they have zero desire to speak to constituents and it’s their job, but hey who is counting on that? Lord I remember the back in the day visit friends made to then Senator Arlen Spector’s Washington DC office and when they went in the staff was playing with a Karoke Machine. Yup, true story.

But back to the present day….

Congresswoman Houlahan’s staffer was incredibly nice, and they always all are. The woman I spoke with was polite and empathetic. But sometimes you want more than platitudes. Yes I know the Congresswoman supports USPS and some postal service reform act, BUT I wanted to someone actually say “How can we help you.” Again, I like them and Chrissy, but Jim Gerlach’s staff used to do more than listen, they did try to find a solution. I think part of the problem is everyone is so overwhelmed post -COVID and exhausted from the political slog that is Washington DC and the district represented.

I got off the phone with Houlahan’s office and decided to just get someone on the phone from USPS (damn it). And I did. Very nice and actually sounded appalled as to how my package wasn’t here yet and where it had gone. She made the comment about my packaging visiting more states than she has. Uhhh huh.

So I also pointed out that part of the problem in general with mail from my part of Chester County goes back to when Joe Biden was Vice President. We used to go through Southeastern for a hub or whatever you want to call it. He took it all away from there and we clear through Wilmington, DE. If we mail Christmas cards to our neighbors, for example, the cards go to Wilimington, DE before returning to Chester County, PA. It’s true. Not all of Chester County, but a good bit of it. It makes NO SENSE.

And I also remarked that EVERY time you have a problem with USPS outside of your local area they ask you from national if you have spoken to your local post office. That is SO FRUSTRATING when the issue has nothing to do with the locals who deliver your mail. It’s maddening. And you practically need an Act of Congress to even find where you can submit a complaint on their convoluted and staggeringly ridiculously ineffective and just bad website.

Oh and I think Biden could get rid of the current board of governors of the United States Postal Service, get a 100% new board, and THEY could ditch DeJoy. (Or at least that is what I think.)

Anyway, the other complaint I have with this whole process are the USPS social media people especially on Twitter. Maybe they are bots. Maybe they are outsourced to a country outside the US would be my other thought. Some are borderline OK and others? Just snide and rude and they are supposedly there to “help”.

I was going to end the post right here, but since I started raising hell this afternoon there has been an interesting development: like magic my missing package traveled at the speed of sound from Jacksonville, FL and arrived in Philadelphia at 6:04 PM. It miraculously departed Philadelphia at 7:28 PM and has arrived in Wilmington, DE as of 8:39 PM. It will come to Chester County from Wilmington. Now I don’t know when. But isn’t it just so interesting when you really start to complain, missing packages sometimes appear?

But why should customers have to expend so much energy just to get their own damn mail? The answer is we shouldn’t. And now while Congress is chasing their tails arguing over whether or not USPS should get electric cars how about actually fixing the broken system of mail delivery? And that doesn’t mean putting more tracking on postal workers delivering locally – don’t know what to call it but it’s a gadget they have in their signature device that is kind of Amazoning them – probably to try and increase productivity by electronically hounding the delivery folks so more quit.

And a word about electric cars: they have giant batteries. Batteries require specific recycling so electric cars may not be a complete environmental answer after all. And if you get the USPS electric trucks etc, how many charging stations will have to be installed and at what cost to taxpayers. Oh and the battery components don’t just grow on trees do they?

Anyway….here’s hoping I see my package soon. And #FireDeJoy

Enjoy my last word. An actual tweet sent by USPS on Twitter today with a Bridgerton reference. They thought they were being clever. Bless their hearts.

you will want to check out this sale – which won’t be repeated!

Tonight I went to my friend’s studio for a prop house sale. And another friend facilitated the sale. I realized tonight how long it had been since we all just had fun. Like pre-COVID fun.

We were invited to the sale preview, and it was amazing. The space is fabulous and there were nibbles and laughter….and a giant space full of new, vintage, antiques, and everything in between. China, crystal, glassware, pottery, fabric, mirrors, linens, furniture, art, rugs, Dansk Kobenstyle Dutch ovens, and more!

Even better? It was this amazing well lit space that was filled with light and had high ceilings. Maybe it’s just me because I always love to see how loft spaces are interpreted.

The regular open days of the Maximalist Studios Prop House Sale are tomorrow and Saturday, March 25 and 26 10 AM to 2 PM each day. 501 W. Washington Street in Norristown. You can find out more information on the Sales By Helen website.

happy monday, sounds like a scam dinner….at red lobster

So we got this postcard in the mail. It was a no obligation event limited to a select group of timeshare owners. Only one problem, we’re not timeshare owners. No one in our family is a timeshare owner.

I love a good scam, don’t you?

It did not list company and we all get these postcards in the mail all the time for insurance, brokerage, money managers and so on. It’s a come on to sell you something. It’s Marketing 101. So I wanted to know what company was doing this. And yes, I am that consumer who will call and say Whatcha’ Talkin’ ‘Bout ‘Willis.

So I called the phone number which is 1-800-245-8993. Here’s the first woman (give it listen, very entertaining):

She was special, yes?

So she says they are calling on behalf of Molfetta Law in Langhorne, PA. There is not Molfetta Law in Langhorne PA. There is one in California. So I called. They didn’t know what I was talking about.

So I called Red Lobster in King of Prussia. Poor kid who answered phone was just confused by what I was asking. Couldn’t find any large reservations for the dates and times on the post card. She was kind enough to give me the number of Red Lobster Corporate. So I called. They could find any large reservations in their system so they said if was probably a scam.

I found another post card on the internet listed as a scam:

Then I did a little Facebook searching. Found another one:

So I do not know what the thing is using Red Lobster, but it seems to be the fake timeshare dinner of choice.

So I called back number on post card. Here is call #2:

IMS in Scranton is some marketing place. So how whomever found these people to call and send out a coupon escapes me.

I found a video from yesterday about this someplace else, again at a Red Lobster:

The toll free number when you put it into Google says it is a scam. That is 1-800-245-8993. Of course, it all comes back to one small detail: we don’t time share and no one in our family or extended family does.

So happy Monday, this is your scam entertainment for the week.

Is there a scamalot song? And they are cheap scammers. Red Lobster is all they can do?

when will hate have no home in chester county?

So if it is not making a scene at school board meetings over masks, shots, book lists and whatever else, these people are also all about hassling local businesses? Really?

I thought I had run out of Welcome to Crazier Town posts, but no, no apparently not.

A slightly related aside before I dive in.

Historically, the Republican party was about supporting, not destroying business. But enter the age of Trumpublicanism. All of a sudden, January 6th, 2021 as per the G.O.P. otherwise known as the attack on the US Capitol, which left people dead and injured as well as terrified, was “legitimate political discourse.”

Take Trumpublican politics to the new heights of groups defending “freedom” and “patriotism” where THEIR rights supersede everyone else’s. They have inalienable rights, ours do not matter. It’s their constitution, not anyone else’s.

You go against them and you are vile and horrible. Everyone who disagrees with them are terrible people. Just ask me I get comments ALL of the time. And yes, these are the people that made me decide once again that leaving the Republican party after being a Republican since I was old enough to vote was the right decision. I am not overly liberal. I would be what you call fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I am in truth, a moderate. Of course, that doesn’t matter in this post, it’s just part of my thought process.

So enter groups like Stepford Wives for Totalitarianism (and their man-servants.) They are the avenging angels (in their little minds) of truth, justice, and the American way. They are the avenging whatever the hell they think they are of saving us all from whatever their pea brains think up that week. Except they aren’t saving any of us, they are just trying to control how everyone else thinks. They are bullies. When we were in middle school they were taking over lunch tables and calling you out for fights behind the gym. It appears they haven’t evolved much. Hence, why they are the future handmaids of the totalitarianism point of view.

to·tal·i·tar·i·an·ism

/tōˌtaləˈterēəˌnizəm/

noun — a system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state.”democratic countries were fighting against totalitarianism”

What is another term for totalitarianism?

(also tsarism or tzarism), despotism, dictatorship, totalism, tyranny.

Synonyms for totalitarianism

absolutism, autarchy, authoritarianism, autocracy, Caesarism, czarism (also tsarism or tzarism), despotism, dictatorship, totalism, tyranny
Words Related to totalitarianism

monarchism, monarchy, monocracy
Big Brother, Big Brotherism, Communism, fascism, Nazism
domination, oppression

So yea. That. Wearing his Trump shirt proudly (which is his right), this guy goes and hassles a small business employee over their masking policies (which is not his right.) The Downingtown Rock Gym. With his little kids in tow. Yes the video is grainy. Took it off of social media.

But this is wrong. Small businesses have had it hard enough since BEFORE COVID-19 hit, and this is this guy’s town and this is how he supports local businesses? By harassing employees doing their jobs?

So what if say, people went to another local Downingtown business like Creekside Antiques Downingtown on the Brandywine and did a similar thing? What if they went in and said they were horrible people that didn’t care about their community because no one has to wear masks? Do you think that would be right? I don’t.

Why am I choosing this other store (which I love, by the way)? Because that is a store that I know does NOT require masks to enter, so again what if someone was upset by that and went in and harassed their front desk and took a video and posted it? After all they went through getting reopened after Hurricane Ida wouldn’t you think that was awful? I would. Just like I think it was awful for that guy to do that to the front desk guy at Downingtown Rock Gym.

Look if you don’t like the business policy on masking or anything else, you DO NOT, I repeat, you DO NOT have to go inside. But right now whether it is WEAR a mask or DON’T WEAR a mask, that is up to the business, it is not up to the rest of us. They are doing what they feel is best for their customers, employees, and business.

That grainy video is a HORRIBLE example of how to treat ANY small business during this time. First we all had lockdown, and all of these small businesses had to close for a while. Then they had to get creative opening up and adjusting like the rest of us to the new normal. And they had to try to pay their rent, mortgage, employees, and survive. Now we are in the in between where some things are masks required (hospitals, medical offices as two examples), some things will be masks for a little while longer (schools), and then there are small businesses who have to do what THEY feel is best for their business, employees, customers.

DO NOT TARGET a small business because you don’t want to wear a mask. CHOOSE another business you are more comfortable with.

Personally, I know how hard the pandemic has been on businesses like this rock gym, so I APPLAUD them for the courage of their convictions. It is EASY to do NOTHING, it takes COURAGE to act in what you feel is the best direction for your employees, your customers, your business.

I am also appalled that a grown man took his small children to watch him essentially yell at this poor employee of the Downingtown Rock Gym. To each their own on parenting, but I also kind of think that was mean to the kids.

We can’t even say Hate Has No Home Right now because I feel (right or wrong) that this world is so crazy, we can’t say it. That makes me sad.

For the love of anything you believe that is holy, people, just stop this crap. Respect the decisions of these small businesses. If you don’t agree with them, go someplace more to your comfort level. But if they want us to wear a mask for a little while longer, so what? Masks aren’t forever, even if they are for now.

christmas is ON at frazer antiques!

Frazer Antiques located at 351 Lancaster Ave in Frazer/Malvern is ready for your visit! They also have a 15% off sale until December 31, 2021!

Look at this gorgeous platter!

Frazer Antiques is one of my favorite haunts all times of the year, but there is something magical about an antique store at Christmas! There are so many great vintage ornaments and they are reasonably priced. There are also all sorts of little things to tempt you and catch your eye!

Here is something I found yesterday which is happy in my house now:

Isn’t that little crèche amazing? It’s vintage Oberammergau made in Germany! I was psyched to find it!

Frazer Antiques has friendly staff who are also among the many antiques dealers who fill the store with delightful treasures. As a matter fact I found out yesterday that one of the dealers is someone I went to high school with that I did not know had a stall there !

I hope all of you will take a minute to patronize another local business here in Chester County that’s really lovely.

Frazer Antiques is open pretty much every day 10 AM to 5 PM. 351 Lancaster Avenue Malvern/Frazer. Plenty of free parking in the front and then behind the shop! (610)-651-8299

They ask that the unvaccinated to please be considerate and wear a mask inside. And they have plenty of hand sanitizer right as you walk in the door.

Please note, I was not asked to create this post or take photos, nor was I compensated in any way, shape, or form. I love this local business and merely believe in #ShopSmall #ShopLocal #PayItForward

magnolia cottage shop in malvern is looking magical and holiday bright!

Last year none of us were out much because of COVID19. This year we are taking baby steps. It is sometimes disconcerting being out because face it, we are not used to it. I think that’s why I appreciate the small businesses in our area even more.

One of my favorites, Magnolia Cottage Shop is all decked out for Christmas and Kathy the owner has gone out of her way to make it so wonderful and welcoming. The shop is full of so many fun things right now, I could have stayed far longer than I did!

I found a few things I loved including this little vintage Annalee white elf. I don’t know much about these Christmas collectibles, I have a couple of friends that love them so I have gotten a few here and there over the years and I think this one is a Frosty! He looks really cute on my tree!

Magnolia Cottage Shop has something for everyone and one of my other favorite things were the vintage Pimpernel Santa placemats:

Magnolia Cottage Shop is located at 288 Lancaster Avenue Frazer/Malvern PA 19355. They are closed Mondays. See website and Facebook and Instagram for more!

poseidon on paoli pike is fabulous!

My friends have been speaking about Poseidon Asian Cuisine & Sushi Bar since they opened. We finally got there this weekend and it was fabulous!

The restaurant is super clean and the staff is so nice. And the food? One word: FABULOUS. It was all amazing, and their dumplings and dim sum are sublime. The sushi is so fresh it practically melts in your mouth.

They also serve wonderful green tea in nice pots at the table. That’s a little detail that is important to me because a lot of restaurants have stopped giving individual pots of tea to each table, and if you like tea you don’t want to keep flagging down your waiter or waitress, you want to be able to just pour it yourself at the table. Oh also this restaurant is BYOB.

We will be going back soon and I just thought I would tell everyone how much we enjoyed it. It is like night and day inside as well when compared to what was there prior to them, which was Redhound Grill before they went under.

Poseidon’s hours are as follows:

Monday – Thursday 11am – 9:30pm
Friday – Saturday 11am – 10pm
Sunday 12:00 pm – 9:30pm

Poseidan is located at 128 Paoli Pike, Paoli, PA (610)-812-3333. You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram.

Five star food and many more “Yums.”

I was not asked to write this post, nor was I compensated. We just really enjoyed our meal.

Thanks for stopping by.

let’s talk about cvs (follow-up)

I wrote about CVS on November 5th, 2021. I also contacted corporate…all of the way up the food chain to the big kahunas like Karen Lynch and Shawn Guertin. As a matter of fact, here are the email addresses so anyone can write to them:

Karen.Lynch@cvshealth.com

Neela.Montgomery@CVSHealth.com

Michelle.Peluso@cvshealth.com

ExecutiveOffice@cvshealth.com

Jared.Tancrelle@cvshealth.com

Teresa.Carter@cvshealth.com

Matthew.Blanchette@cvshealth.com

Shawn.Guertin@CVSHealth.com

At first the email set off a flurry of corporate responses including from Michelle Peluso who apparently just got a giant promotion as per CVS spin doctors:

Prem Shah has been named to the newly created role of Chief Pharmacy Officer and will oversee the omnichannel pharmacy strategy, effective immediately. On January 1, 2022, Shah and Michelle Peluso will become Co-Presidents of CVS Health’s retail business, with Peluso overseeing front-store strategy and operations. Shah joined CVS Health in 2013 and is currently Executive Vice President, Specialty Pharmacy and Product Innovation. Peluso joined CVS Health in 2021 as Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer.

~ CVS 11/18/21

Michelle Peluso is one of the ones who responded to my initial email. Assured me everything would be ok. Here is what she said:

Hi – I’m Michelle Peluso, our Chief Customer Officer, and clearly, your experiences are not at all in line with the service we aim to provide. You have my sincerest apologies. Our senior care team will reach out to make sure we quickly resolve your and your husband’s medications, and equally, our head of Store Operations, Jared, also copied, will look into what is going on in those stores and how we fast improve. I will stay close to this until we get this resolved.

~ email reply November 5, 2021

Ok so I am trying to be patient, we are all trying to be patient. They have a new District Manager who is working her tail off. Customers are being terrible to her, CVS employees locally are not being much better. Our store in Frazer, PA is closed because they have to fix a broken system and bring in new pharmacists. It’s a shit show. I don’t like cursing on my blog but it is time to call a spade a shovel here.

Adding to this problem is although it should be easy peasy to move a prescription unless narcotics or a very specific list of meds, but it’s not. My husband (for example) tried doing it via the CVS website, and gave up in frustration after an hour. He needs refills within a couple of days. His prescriptions was what started me down this rabbit hole in the first place. That and my inability to get my prescriptions filled and they are supposed to be on automatic refill.

Well today, I did a pill count for my prescriptions and looked at the calendar. I have received only text messages from CVS as of November 10th that my store was closed. So I called to refill my prescriptions. First I get the message my prescriptions will be refilled automatically on November 21. That was at 5:45 PM today…,November 21st. I don’t even know where my prescriptions are, and shouldn’t I be able to choose where my prescriptions go? It’s super freaking frustrating.

Once again a WTF moment, CVS. And Ms. Peluso are you staying close? Have you been down here to our neck of the woods or are you just there in the Woonsocket, Rhode Island gilded corporate tower counting the additional shekels that you will undoubtedly receive with your promotion? Well, we the consumers are watching and all we see is the news on CVS.

CVS is closing 900 stores, and the big winner is Dollar General
By Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN Business November 19, 2021

INC: CVS Isn’t Closing Its Doors–It’s Becoming The Company It Set Out To Be Nearly 60 Years AgoThe death of the pharmacy’s retail stores as we know them is the birth of a whole new business
BY KELLY MAIN, WRITER/ADVISER
@THEKELLYMAIN

CVS had every advantage, but it lost the pandemic. Here’s what happened
By Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN Business
Updated 2:10 PM ET, Sat November 20, 2021

I spoke to another friend who is out of her meds and she’s super worried about her husband’s meds, because they are diabetes related and well if you screw with those, someone could die right?

A woman in West Chester posted this evening on Facebook a simple question: “Are there ANY CVS stores with a functioning pharmacy?”

I can’t disagree.

Another friend tried registering for a COVID test in advance of Thanksgiving travel, and the CVS’ COVID test scheduler was apparently hacked.

Oh yeah, I have screenshots CVS, including from Twitter where the CVS hate is real. Many people do NOT have a choice as to where they can get prescriptions filled, and many can’t get prescriptions mailed which of course lends itself to the topic of how bad USPS is could you trust the prescriptions to make it to you?

Personally I think part of the problem here is the Aetna and CVS love err corporate connection which makes them joined at the proverbial hip. Aetna sucks. Had Aetna for years for health insurance and went through breast cancer with Aetna not wanting to pay for quite a bit. You have a lot of Aetna fat cats who are still on CVS payroll.

CVS we are TRYING a to be patient here, but I think things are so bad that y’all need to get your corporate asses down from Woonsocket and into these local stores here and everywhere. You need to support your employees, including the district and regional managers. You need to support your customers. We need more than polite platitudes. We need to be able to just get our prescriptions without having to keep raising unholy hell to do so.

CVS I will keep writing until this broken system of yours is fixed.