Chickens in the Basement

I love to write and I love to laugh. When I write, I get to the point quick. My stories would fit on the back of a postcard. They usually make me chuckle. And you know what they say, "It's all about me!"

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Shut Up, Anna

Tonight, I went to an auction by myself. Ususally, Susie goes with me. She often acts as my filter. She pointed out that people thought we were a couple because I would say something to embarrass myself and would lean over and hide my face in her shoulder. We have been known to cause a room to go dead quiet at a party when one of us would say, "Let me introduce you to my partner." We learned to add business in front of partner which eliminated explanations that we were married, but not to each other.

But I digress...When I arrived at the auction, Mr. Hamm, the 70-something year-old man who goes to auctions for entertainment the way most folks go to the movies, was sitting next to the chair with my name on it. Like always, he handed me a piece of peppermint candy. He always banters and since I never know when to shut up, I give back as good as I get. Throughout the auction, Mr. Hamm told me stories about the things he and his wife have built, what he has bought and stored in one of the many sheds in his yard, and how his wife crochets two blankets every week to send to the soldiers in Iraq.

After his purchase of a metal desk/filing cabinet/safe for $2 and my purchase of a cute wood and punched tin jelly cupboard ($25) and vintage cashmere and mink coat, pink dress and blue shoes ($1), I paid and went over to tell Mr. Hamm goodnight. He asked if I was going to take the dress and shoes that came with the coat. I told him they weren't really my style, but he was welcome to them since they would look very cute on him. He said, "You'd be surprised at what I could wear." I said, "I bet I could pull off the outfit you are wearing better than you could pull off the one in the box." Where is Susie when I need her? Anna, stop talking! Just shut up! I made a quick exit after getting strange looks from folks sitting nearby. They thought I was telling Mr. Hamm that I would pull his clothes off! Nothing like a 43 year-old woman sounding like she is threatening to undress a 70 year-old man in the middle of an auction!

No more auctions by myself, and no more sitting next to Mr. Hamm!

Friday, January 30, 2009

One Era Ends, Another Begins

Today was my last official work day at SuzAnna's Antiques. I was surprised by the folks who came by to say good-bye. Oddly enough, many also asked would I continue to write. Yes! My hope is that I will find time to do more writing, although, without the newsletters, I am in search of subject matter.

I could write pages about chickens. My Skippy Chick has moved out of the house and into the garage. He spends days playing beside the other chickens, but not really joining in. It is like watching a 3 year old play beside his older brother's group of friends. Just being near the others is enough for now. When I got home from work this afternoon, Skippy had put himself in the garage for the evening. Yea, Skippy! This was a huge improvement for him. Two days ago, we had one of those hard and fast rain storms. When it kicked in, I looked out the window to see Skippy pacing back and forth under the bird feeder. By the time I found an umbrella and got out there to rescue him, he was standing still with his eyes closed. I think I detect a bit of ostrich in my Skippy! Inside and dry, I have faith that he will do better during the next storm.

I could fill a page with questions about getting wayward children to do homework! How does the computer create such obsession in a 12 year old? Why avoid homework? How do you study for a test on bones? What in the hell is an exponent? When will he ever use it in his REAL life? Why can't you just do it because the teacher said so? What do I have to do to get him to write down his assignments and do them without me standing over his shoulder and cheering him on? How much longer until graduation?

I can tell funny stories about the folks I meet throughout the day. For those of you who haven't met me, there is something about me that inspires folks to confess things to me. Today, I was standing in line at the local Goodwill when the woman in front of me told me about her arthritis acting up in her hip and knee. She then chastised the woman with the crying baby. According to her, the baby wasn't crying but just screaming for attention. This was a mild encounter. I do love meeting new people and am often amazed at how open folks will be.

I keep hoping I will be inspired by a subject or 12 and will be able to create a book from it. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 23, 2009

SuzAnna's Newsletter...My second to last one!

Hey Ya'll!

We all survived the snow. I have laughed at some of our northern-transplant friends who have said, "That wasn't snow! It was only 4 inches!" Welcome to North Carolina...the land of the quick! buy-milk-and-bread-shut-everything-down-and-stay-at-home-it's-going-to-snow-state!

Even though we were closed two days this week, lots has been happening. Linda officially has her own booth. You will quite easily be able to pick out her unique, quirky style. Gary and Teresa have moved to a larger booth in the back. They arrived before we opened and were still at the shop when I left. It was looking really good. I can't wait to see the final results. Make sure you see the white chimney cupboard with fruit decoupaged on the front. It's my favorite! Lynn has re-done her booth, too. New furniture and new smalls can be found. Very pretty! And Jeannie was hard at work when I left. The things I saw coming out of her van were very girly and pretty. In the office, we have a new dealer. There is only one way to describe his hand towels...SMART-ASS! (pardon my language) You are guaranteed a laugh and find the perfect gift for a friend!

There are a couple of sales this weekend, too. Any chairs belonging to SuzAnna's are 25% off. This includes those found inside and out. Also, you know those pretty metal chandeliers with hand-painted flowers? They were $199. They can be yours for $175 each. I'm ready to change the lighting in every room in my house! Ya'll want to see my husband have a melt-down?

We have lots of farm tables, each with their own unique style. The obvious use for these would be in the kitchen. But, think bigger! A smaller one could be your computer desk. The one in my living room had it's legs shortened so it could be a coffee table. Use one on your back deck as a potting table. Put one in the play room for board games, puzzles and crafts. I have a pretty black one in my basement waiting for space in the shop and Nancy has one in her garage. If you want to see either one, let me know and I'll e-mail photos.

Check out our blog! If you can tell me the subject matter of this weeks For Sale Friday, you'll get your choice of dip for FREE while supplies last! Just add cream cheese and butter. Just click here... This is the easiest contest you will ever win! Jenny has done another wonderful job on creating and maintaining this blog.

Linda still has room on her schedule to help you with any projects around the house. Organization, re-decoration or re-creation...she can do it all! Plus, Linda's own style of therapy comes along with it. One thing I learned from her is this song that is sung to the tune of If You're Happy and You Know It...If you don't love it, want it, need it, let it go. There is more to it, but I'll let her sing it to you. Call the shop to get on her calendar...844-2652.

As you guys know, I will be leaving SuzAnna's at the end of the month. This is my last weekend at SuzAnna's (until Susie needs me to fill in so she can go on vacation!). Come by and chat if you have a few minutes. The hardest part of making this decision was knowing that I won't regularly see all of the wonderful people I have met over the last 3 years. SuzAnna's has been one of the best things I've had the pleasure of being involved in. Thank ya'll for making SuzAnna's the cutest, funnest antique shop in Raleigh. Susie is going to keep the fun going!

Looking forward to seeing you all this weekend.

Anna and Susie


SuzAnna's Antiques
9300 Durant Road
Raleigh, NC 27614
(919) 844-2652

The cutest dang shop in Raleigh!

Shoe Fettish

This morning, my Skippy Chick had a little romance with my fur-covered snow boot. Wonder what that means? He's an equal-opportunist when it comes to shoes! The closet will be off limits to the feathery fellow.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Another Sex Story

In November, I became the mother of a baby chick. He follows me from room to room, hangs out with me in the basement (hence, the name of my blog) and is trying to make friends with the bigger chickens in the yard. From the beginning, I referred to him as a boy. He just acted like one. Today I got confirmation.

The Victim

This morning, Skippy was playing around in the bathroom while I was getting dressed. My husband had left his bedroom slippers on the floor. The strings on them have always intrigued Skippy, but this morning, it was different.

He walked up to the slipper, somehow grabbed it with his beak and flipped it over. The feathers around his neck came forward, he held on with his claws, and he had his way with the slipper. Once I recovered from my hysteria, I told Tony about the activity. He says his slipper feels so violated! Of course, I tried to get him to recreate the scenario while I had my camera in hand. By then, he just wanted to snuggle.

Skippy and his love!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The List

My first post on this blog was a partial list of all the things I want to complete. I have checked one off the list...sort of. "Paint my son's room blue" was changed to "paint my son's room green." After we purchased two gallons of bright blue paint, Rick decided it would be too dark in his room. If you have ever tried to cover up dark paint, you know how difficult that is. So, we swallowed the expense of the blue paint, promised to find furniture that will look good in bright blue, and purchased two more gallons of!

Yesterday, I pulled all of the furniture to the middle of the room, piled books and STUFF into boxes, taped off the doors and woodwork and got it done. After getting two green spots on the ceiling, I decided to leave the upper two inches for Tony to paint. He has a much steadier hand than I do.

It feels great to check chores off of my list of things to do! Yea, me!

Letter to the President

Dear President Obama,

Today, you will officially become our president. Our nation is in crisis mode and we have entrusted you with the daunting job of stabilizing our country and returning the United States to the respected world power we once were.

In my lifetime, you are the first President who looks like me. I'm not black. I'm not even male. However, I am a parent of two children who are facing a very unstable future. With the War in Iraq, the search for Osama in Afghanistan and the unrest between Israel and Gaza, I fear that our children will be forced to fight these battles.

Should they decide to pursue higher education instead of a military career, will our family be able to afford to send them? Will they spend the rest of their lives paying back loans? Will there be jobs for them if they do graduate? Will they be safe in these pursuits?

Another similarity between us is how we grew up. My parents were divorced and my grandmother was an influential part of my childhood on into my adulthood. I am in a supportive, loving marriage with the father of my children. We want to raise well-rounded, socially conscious, independent boys.

My husband and I don't always agree. He even plans to drop his Australian citizenship and become a US citizen so he can cancel my vote. To his dismay, I voted for you instead of John McCain. His largest concern is that taxes will be so dramatically increased that his commercial construction company will not be able to support the families that rely on the company for their livelihood. With the economy in such upheaval, the closing signs in so many shop windows, the uncertainty of financial institutions and the huge drops in the stock market, will we be able to pay off our home, keep our heads above water and retire with dignity?

I believe you have the ability to pull all of us together and lead us toward the goal of creating a better, safer, more respected, healthier and wealthier nation. Your plan to encourage all citizens to volunteer is wonderful. I'm sorry it has to be something we must be asked to do. But with this reminder, I have challenged my children to choose something close to their hearts to volunteer their time. We will be spending our summer working in an animal shelter.

Unfortunately, I cannot offer solutions because the problems are too huge and beyond my realm of thinking. However, I can provide support, and I will act. I do know CHANGE CAN AND WILL HAPPEN!

Most sincerely,

Anna Martin

Friday, January 16, 2009

More Blond

So, you know your in trouble when you go to the hairdresser and she touches your hair then cringes, makes a face and says "EEEEEWWW!" at the same time. I knew my hair was in bad shape, but assumed I had grabbed another bottle of shampoo that leaves wax on my hair which really shows up after a session with the curling iron.

After shampooing and TWO conditionings, my shoulder length hair and I hit the chair. Valerie, the best hairdresser in the world (Tanas at Falls River Shopping Center in Raleigh 848-1884), picked up her scissors and cut a huge chunk of hair off my head.

We started talking about what I had been doing different with my hair. I told her about the new curling iron I had purchased.

Val: It's not a gold one?

Me: Yes it is!

Val: They tend to run very hot and will fry hair.

Another chunk of my hair falls to the floor.

Me: I used it on high.

Val: Turn it down.

Me: Well, it goes up to 30.

Val: WHAT?! YOU KEEP IT ON 30? It will burn your hair off of your head!

This sends Valerie off to gather other hairdressers and tell them about me using my curling iron on a 30 setting. I get disappointed and shocked looks from them all. Who knew? I have always turned it on high and curled quick. No more, or my next haircut will render me bald.

I promise Valarie (at least 8 times) I will turn down the heat to 20 and vow to call my mother and tell her to turn down the temperature on her new curing iron that I bought her, too. I pay and leave with a sassy haircut that barely grazes my collar.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Chickens have attitudes and personalities. Until May of 2007, I never would have known this! However, since falling in love with these feathery creatures, I have learned many things…

Fred and the Girls
Chickens are shipped through the US Mail on the day they are born. The mailman won’t deliver baby chicks to your house. Chickens can jump up and pluck a lightning bug out of the air. Chickens can chase squirrels away from bird feeders. Chickens cannot peck red nails off your toes. Chickens can sit for 3 ½ weeks on a pile of eggs. Chickens aren’t happy when you make them get off of their nest.

Shakira, the good mother

Chickens are very protective of their babies. A hen can carry an egg in her beak (I’ve seen it)! Roosters sound like adolescent boys when they first crow. White chickens are seen easier by predators. Chickens cannot out-fox a fox.

Fred vs. Fox
RIP Fred

Chickens will teach your dog to BACK OFF. Chickens will follow you around the yard and inspect every weed you pull. Chickens will follow you to your rose bed, but they will not eat the Japanese beetles you had planned for them to devour. However, if you put the beetles in a cup of diet Coke, and pour it on the ground in front of them, the chickens will pull up to the buffet. Chickens will perch on porch railings, window sills, tree branches, truck tailgates, and bird baths. Nine fairly large chicks can fit under one fairly small hen. Dangly things on roosters’ heads are warm. All hens are NOT maternal.

Cora Bell...
Not the baby's

Chickens cannot remove diamonds from your ring (yet). Chickens can eat rocks. Chickens are not afraid of water. A hen stops being maternal when nine heads appear in the whole she just dug, and eat all the grubs inside.

Chickens know how to aerate the lawn. Chickens know how to relocate the mulch you spent hours spreading. Chickens don’t like lawn mowers. Young chicks moving quickly remind dogs of squeaky toys. Dogs don’t like feathers in their mouths. Chickens will wait for you to put them to bed at night. Roosters will wake you up very early in the morning regardless of what day it is. Blackout shades on windows of the henhouse don’t keep roosters from crowing at 5 am. Chickens will eat corn from your hand and sit in your lap. Chickens will poop on your lap.

Booger the chick

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Blond Moment

When I was a kid, my hair was blond. When I was 29 and got pregnant for the first time , my hair changed from blond to very, very dark brown. (My feet grew three sizes, too.) By then, I was already used to being a blond...and acting like one, too. Now, I have no idea what color my hair is naturally because for many years, I have dumped bucket loads of L'Oreal dark blond on my head. I love to blame my dingy moments on being blond! Fortunately, I have many events that can only be described as "duh, blond!" They make me laugh!

The Latest Blond Moment:

On Friday, my cell phone rang. It was plugged in to the charger, so I unhooked it, flipped it open, and watched as it cut itself off because the battery was low. I figured I hadn't plugged it in correctly, so I hooked it back up for more juice.

Saturday, still no battery. I told Tony about this problem and that I would need him to take the phone back to Alltel for repairs, batteries, whatever would fix it. (Tony has to do this kind of thing because I am always talked into upgrading, paying for repairs, etc. He gets what he wants and never has to pay!)

Over dinner on Sunday night, I asked Tony if he would take the phone with him to work on Monday and get it fixed. When he and my oldest looked at me with that look that says, "Aw, my poor dingy mom/wife. You just have to love her," I knew I had done something stupid but had no idea what. I had checked several times to make sure I was plugging the charger into the correct hole in the phone. Will said, "Mo-o-o-m (you know, it sounds like yodeling), you have to plug the charger into the socket!" It never occurred to me to check that end of the cord!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mood Lifter

You can't be in a bad mood when, on your way home from work, you spot your neighbors' two miniature donkeys in the throes of passion. You will never look at those two donkeys in the same way again, no matter how innocent the activity is. I know I can't drive by without looking!

You wanna...

Can I watch?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Wonderful Weekend in Wilmington

We made it until midnight on New Year's Eve and slept in on New Year's Day. Once we all got moving, we loaded the car, took Skippy the chick next door for a sleep-over and headed east to Wilmington. With I-40, we are only two hours away from the beach. Unfortunately, I-40 is the most boring road you could ever travel and seems to take twice as long!

But once I-40 ended, our vacation began! Wilmington is a beautiful town with many ornate churches throughout. The downtown area has a big city feel with an artsy flair. There is a Port City Java on every corner (to keep Starbuck's out of town according to one of the locals). All of the shops back on to the Cape Fear River. The feel of the town is a cross between San Francisco and New Orleans. It's a happy place!

When we arrived at our hotel, I was surprised that our room didn't have a number but a name. We were staying at a Best Western for goodness sakes! What Best Western names a room? The Coastline in Wilmington, that's who!

To get to the Tower Room, you take the elevator to the 4th floor. When you enter the door to the Tower Room, you immediately climb a set of stairs. At the top, a living area is to the right with a flat screen TV and a small kitchen area.

To the right is a large bathroom with a bathtub and a shower. Another flat screen TV adorns the wall. Back in the living area, the far side is lanked with another staircase that leads to a king size bedroom. There are windows in every direction. From the bedroom, we overlooked the River, several beautiful bridges and the USS North Carolina.

To the east, the view is the walkway along the river with a Coast Guard ship docked along the shore. The Cotton Exchange backs onto the river. Great shopping! Towards the front of the hotel is a train museum with several cars parked out front.

The four of us were more than comfortable. The boys pulled out the couch in the living room, flipped on the tube and relaxed. In the morning, our continental breakfast was brought to our room. A phone call from the front desk let us know it was on the way up.

If you have mobility issues, this is not the room for you. I would also be wary if my children were younger. With two teenagers and strong legs, it's perfect!

What to do? We drove to Wrightsville for a quick walk on the beach. On the first day of January, several guys in wetsuits were surfing. What a way to bring in the new year. We fell into the "watchers" category.

After some poses from the kids, we were off for lunch in the Mayfair shopping center. All of your favorite shops can be found here. Back towards the hotel, we stopped by the Coast Guard ship for a quick tour.

A bit of trivia...the paintings on the side of the ship tell the story of their conquests. This ship had thwarted 30 marijuana shipments and 5 cocaine deliveries. The ship seemed awfully small to house 80 people when they are out at sea. Make sure you allow plenty of time to roam in the locally-owned shops downtown. You'll find trendy, vintage, kitschy, books, clothes, skateboards, coffee, coffee, and coffee!

Just so you know, staying at the Coastline was WAAAYYY better than staying at the...

Now, I will attempt to load photos!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


New Year's Eve is a good time to reflect, learn from mistakes, plan for the future, start a blog and stay up until midnight! I plan on doing all of these!

Reflecting...The last two and a half years of my life have been focused on opening SuzAnna's Antiques, keeping it running, making it bigger and better, meeting new friends and learning new tricks. I have loved every minute of it! SuzAnna's is, without a doubt, the best antique shop in the Raleigh Durham area. The folks that work there are very friendly and knowledgable. You will never feel the cold chill of upscale antique stores when you walk in this shop. If you leave without smiling or laughing, you are in the minority. Need help with design, just ask. Want to know how to create the distressed look on your furniture, just ask. Looking for a unique lighting source, just ask. You get the picture.

Learning from mistakes...As much fun as I have had, I must admit I have made some mistakes, too. My focus has been so intensly geared towards SuzAnna's Antiques that I have let family and home fall behind. Surprisingly enough, when I made the decision to leave SuzAnna's, I felt huge relief. It wasn't an easy decision to make and was mostly battled in my head during the hours I was supposed to be asleep. When I told my husband and children that I had made this decision, I was surprised at their reaction. They were stunned and worried about my feelings. Would I miss working there? Absolutely! It was the best job ever. So?Planning for the future...There is a huge list of things I want to do with my family and in my home. I want to spend a week at the Pamlico River with the boys without feeling my self-imposed guilt for not being at SuzAnna's. I want to write a book. I want to organize my basement into the perfect workshop! I want to walk around Falls Lake. I want to go to auctions with Susie and watch her shop! I want to paint my son's bedroom blue. I want to go on field trips with my boys before they wish for me to vanish from the face of the earth. I want to embarrass the crap out of them when they wish I would vanish from the face of the earth. I want to create beautiful things with my husband (NOTE: I did not say children!). I want to get my dog in healthy shape. I want to come up with creative ideas and see them through. I want to survive my children learning how to drive without screaming or smacking them. I want to learn how to tow a trailer behind my truck. I want to travel by myself. I want to travel with my family. I want to spend time with my niece so I can learn how to be around young girls. I want to laugh so hard that I snort at least once a day. I want to sit on my porch and read. I want to finish all of the quilts I started. I want to...this list could easily go on forever!

Start a blog...This is it! I have officially started. This was way easier than I expected. Now, all I have to do is stay up until midnight and I will have successfully completed the list at the top of this page! Yea, Me!