Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jumpin' Outta My Skin!

If any of y'all have ever been to the Big Shows, you know first hand how hard it is to find decent accommodations.  We have stayed for years at what I lovingly refer to as the La Grange Hilton.  It's clean, has a microwave, fridge, running water and it's relatively cheap....all things I hold dear.

Trust me...not every motel is clean!  Oh the horror stories I could tell!
This time I needed and wanted more.  With our children coming with their families for Cat Daddy's birthday bash, I wanted us to all stay together.

Now as much as I love my kids...there is such a thing as too much togetherness.  I knew our motel room would never work...not unless we threw down a coupla Baptist pallets and hung the two little Trashettes from some nails on the walls.

So I just did what I always do when I need help...I prayed.
I started by looking online for cabins or cottages to rent.  I found one I just loved and thought would be perfect for us, but it was already booked.  No surprise there.  Things book six months in advance...even the La Grange Hilton.

Shelley suggested I contact the Round Top Chamber of Commerce.  (BTW...if you're looking for a cottage/cabin/B&B to rent in the spring...this is a great place to start.)

E-mails started coming in, but unfortunately...my pocket book had gone out.  We decided it wasn't going to happen...at least not for this show.
Why would anyone ever question the power of God...including me?

The evening before we were set to leave, I received an e-mail.

Are you waiting for it?


The e-mail was from Sue...the first cabin I had inquired about.



They had received a cancellation and the cabin was ours for the full two weeks if we wanted it.  Did we still want it?

Did we?

Not just yeppers...but Heck Yeah Yeppers!

The best part?

The cost for two weeks was the same as one week at the LGH!

He knew my heart's desire and He fulfilled it...just as He does every day.  God never ceases to amaze me His wonders to perform...down to the smallest of details like our budget.

This cabin was perfect.  A cozy living room, two bedrooms,a complete kitchen...and indoor plumbing!  The only thing missing was a television and while I thought that might be a deal breaker for Cat Daddy....turned out...he couldn't have cared less.  He knew we were being given a gift and he was not about to thumb his nose at such a blessing.
Sue and Al were wonderful and so was their little cabin.  Charming is the only word to describe it.

Rustic, cozy and sitting in the middle of silence...just what we needed to unwind.  After a hot, hard day at the fields, it was so nice to come home to.
All the kids got to stay at least one night with us and loved it...although they were a little taken aback when we first led them to the back of the woods with only the light of the silvery moon to guide us.  I'm pretty sure I saw Misty leaving a trail of bread crumbs to find her way back to the real world!  I ain't gonna lie...it was a tad spooky at night.
Under different circumstances, it could have been like a second honeymoon.  Fact is...we were so tired by the end of each day...moonin' and spoonin' was the last thought on our minds...or at least mine anyways!  Him...he was so busy snoring, I'm not sure he had a thought or if he did...he fell asleep before he had a chance to give it a second one.
We did have a couple of stray kittens (the two-legged kind) come and stay a night with us....again complete with...ahem...redundant witty remarks about serial killers, Lost, Salem's Lot, etc. etc.

  The back deck overlooks a very wooded creek bank.  'Course there was no water in this branch, but it still was a gorgeous view during the day.  At night...let's just say it was more than just a scoch scary.

Kristi (my first little hobo-ette) and I were sitting out on the deck late one night and the subject of Sasquatch sitings came up.  Now while I did see a huge raccoon the size of a Chow dog one night (and may I add...I scurried inside quickly upon said siting!) and a possum who made a habit of a regular nightly stroll...Big Foot had not been seen....not that I was lookin' mind ya.

We kept laughing and talking about ol' Mr. Sasquatch when I swear up and down...we saw yellow eyes in the woods.  All of a sudden...we were really tired and thought we better take ourselves on indoors where the light...and Cat Daddy, our big ol' he-man...was! 

Not that we scared ourselves silly...by no means.  We really were tired.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

See...not scary at all!

Then a certain little red-headed Red.Neck (my second little hobo-ette) came and stayed on Friday night.  She and I were sitting out on the deck talking...'cause that's what we do ya know and I was telling her about how goofy Kristi and I had been about Sasquatch.

(I just love saying Sasquatch.  Has a nice ring to it...wouldn't you agree?)

Anyhoo...she starts talking about Yeti.  Now I know for certain there are no Yetis in Texas.

 (Yettas, yes...Yetis, no...it's too dang hot!)

I thoughtlessly mentioned I didn't know if there were any Jasons or Smoke Monsters running around in the woods.

Oh yeah...one thing led to another...when suddenly...she and I decided we were really tired and needed to go indoors where the light...and C.D...was.

I'd like to add if (and I'm only saying if) I needed to change my britches after either of these nights, it was from all the laughing you understand...not that I was scared pea green.

And again...that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Somehow two attack cats didn't seem like quite enough protection against things that go bump in the night.  We needed our resident big, strong, manly-man to go out and see if there was anything or anyone lurking just beyond the light.  Plus we figured if IT got him...he would keep IT busy just long enough for us to make a fast get-a-way...and double plus...I knew IT would let him go as soon as daylight hit!
In spite of the heat and being bone dead tired at the end of each day, we were happy for two weeks in our cool, little cabin...even with Sasquatch breathing down our necks.

I want to say thank you to Sue and Al for sharing their "Little Hut In The Woods" with us.  Having it made our show more endurable and certainly more memorable.  It provided not only shelter, but the opportunity to be with dear friends and family, to create memories that will keep us warm and laughing for a long time...all without having to sleep like stacked cord wood.

Before I close this fish tale, I would like to thank Robelyn for sharing her photos and allowing me to share them with y'all.
(Aren't her photography skills Fab U Lous?)

Now I think I better go check the trailer to make sure no hoboes in the form of Sasquatch followed us home!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jumping Outta My Seat Saying Encore, Encore!

Y'all know how much I love my Zapp Hall family and you also know how much I love talking.  Seems like the two are a match made in heaven, so I thought it only fittin' to share a coupla made in heaven marriages with y'all today.  Let's call it a fairy tale within a fairy tale...what'd ya say?

Once upon a time (as legend has it), a handsome, little, long-legged boy from Arkansas met a pretty, little, curly-headed girl from Texas.  The years pass and the little boy and girl get married.  From this union, they produced two offsprings that were the light of their lives.  Little did they know, these two baby girls would grow up to be famous or that the celebrity these little girls would achieve would be a result of the best kind of upbringing.  All the values they held as naturally as breathing would be instilled in their daughters with their positive outlook on life, love, and work being the compass to the little girls' adult lives.  To dream big, believe in yourself, have faith, laugh, and work hard...really hard...really, really hard...would be the traits they passed on...not just curly hair or long legs. 

(I could put "and they lived happily ever after" in right about now, but that would be just half the story...besides...I ain't outta words...yet!)

The years continue to pass and what starts out as a small family business in junking, keeps getting bigger and bigger, eclipsing even Janie and the girls' dreams of what could be.  Their name and look becomes synonymous with rowdiness while tapping into the secret yearning residing  in all of us to be gypsies.  Wild, untamed and totally rebels with a cause...'cause the Gypsys said we could fly if we dared!  In going about their business while minding their own, they redefined style while defying the rules.
(HGTV tent at Zapp Hall)

It was only a matter of time before the powers-that-be realized this family was a goldmine tailored made for television.  Lucky HGTV for spotting this opportunity and grabbing it...and smart.

This union between HGTV and The Junk Gypsys will be a new reality series debuting in March 2012.


Finally...a real show about real junkers doing it for real...complete with dirt, bruises, and heart!

(Please make a note of how one is supposed to wear shorts with boots when junking.  Also pay close attention to the work gloves.  These two aren't sissies or fools.)


I've known this family a long, long time.  I've seen first hand the work and hours they put in.  I've seen 'em clean and dolled up...and I've seen 'em dirty, sweaty and looking like the rest of us...only somehow much prettier.  I know they work from sun-up 'til sundown.  Whatever it takes to get it done...they do.  If one is down for the count, someone in the family is there to pick up the slack. 

Nothing worth having in this life comes easy and if you're thinking it did for them...wrong!  They've been busy plowing their fields to be ready when God said it's time to plant...and now they are about to enjoy a bountiful harvest from the fruits of their labors.

If you're also thinking I'm guilty of name dropping...you are so right.  Junk Gypsy is a name I'll gladly drop over and over...not because of the fame attached to it...but because of  the friendship we share.  I want everyone to know of their new success because it represents the success of every one who takes pride in what they do, having the faith to dream, and for not sitting on one's duff waiting for things to happen.

It's for never stepping on others to reach a goal, but mainly it's for never forgetting what matters most in life...family.

As Jolie so aptly put it...for never losing your soul in the process and for knowing that it and family are the two most prized (and sometimes coveted) possessions.

To my way of thinking...this is gonna be a landmark show.  Real people doing real work and smiling not at the cameras, but at life...theirs.

They will be taking all the lessons learned at their mom and dad's knees and passing it on to their own little ones...continuing the family tradition.  How on earth could America not fall in love with this family?

(In the interest of full disclosure...I shamelessly stole borrowed all but one of these photos from the Gypsyville blog....with their kind permission...of course!)

There's nothing contrived about this family.  They do love junk...they do love each other...and they do love what they do.  In doing so honestly and humbly...life has no choice but to love them back...abundantly!

Janie and Phillip proudly own the bragging rights to their girls, but heck...we at Zapp are pretty darn proud of 'em too!  In fact...most of us at the greatest show on dirt think of them as our girls as well.
I've We at Zapp have been privileged to have a front row seat to watch as the legend grew, beginning in 1987 and with that first prom way back in 2004.

We've seen the crowd go from a few to thousands.  We've seen the Today show filming it.  We've seen the press and magazine articles.  We've seen 'em go from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye...never losing their passion or drive. 
We've seen them add to the family tree and to think it all started with a little, long-legged, Arkansas boy and a little, curly headed Texas girl!

So I think I need to say thank you to HGTV for seeing what we've been saying all along.  These girls were born to be stars...big ol' Texas stars!

Is this marriage of the century?  It may just be!

Will y'all have to wait until March 2012 to find out?

No...just set your DVR (or yourself in a comfy chair) for a sneak peek November 27th and then let me know.

One thing I already know.

And they lived happily ever after!

JOLIE and AMIE proving...

The End?

Not hardly!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hey Diddle Diddle, Trash Loves to Piddle and the Cat Jumped Over the Moon

I know by now you've read and seen all the photos of the Greatest Show On Dirt...or as I came to call it...Hellzapoppin'!

Yes...it was hotter than a pepper sprout, but we survived...barely!
(Tell me...how can one sit in a sauna day after day...and still manage to gain weight?)

Yes...the crowds were thin, but those who came...brought cash.
(I'm talking hard core, serious shoppers who braved the heat.  No turkey leg chompers in this crowd!)

Yes...in true carny fashion, the Show will and did go on.
(AND...we did it without a safety net!) 

In spite of things not being exactly how we planned, the big guy's birthday bash went on too.  So some of my appetizers didn't make it to the field, the wine glasses were a tad dusty, and I happened to look like one hot mess in every photo.  So what?

Instead of worrying about what didn't get done, I chose to focus on what did...a good time for him in his own personal Neverland. 

Family:  a group of people united by certain convictions or a common affliction addiction affiliation.

To me..family is more about sharing a lifeline rather than a bloodline.

Family are those who get me and mine...and still choose to love us...thus becoming our lifeblood.

In my life, the common denominators that define family are a raucous sense of humor, a joy for life...and laughter...with just a little junking spirit thrown in for good measure.

Family are those folks we welcome with open arms into our lives.  They bring the much needed spice to add the BAM-M-M into the olio of our existence.

Not because we're related by birth...but by choice...mine...and theirs.

Imagine if the only flavors to pick from were butter brickle and vanilla...or worse still...no choice at all...just vanilla.
I'm not sure why we say family AND friends, 'cause in my home (whether it's the Casita de Trash or the CaTillac Heights) it's one and the same.  The minute you show up at the door with a smile...you're practically family.

If you can laugh at yourself as well...oh law...consider yourself one of our crazy family members.  Y'all know which ones I'm talking about...those lucky few we put on the front porch for all the world to see.

Now just try and disown me...if you can!  I double-dog dare ya!
A special thank you to all our family (all 100+ of you) who dropped by for Cat Daddy's 60 at 6-ish B-Day.

By the end of the day, with all those perfumes lingering on his shirt...it did waft a bit with the scent of a woman/women.  Can you say Cat House instead of Cat Daddy?
In taking the time to come by, hug his neck, shower him with attention and goofy gifts, thereby making his day...you've endeared yourselves to me in ways you'll never know.
He and I have been blessed to be doing something we love and in doing so...be loved back.

Our workplace is a cow pasture...our cubicle...a 20x30 tent.  Our co-workers come from all over the U.S. and for nine days, twice a year...it's Old Home Week at the Funny Farm.

Our little Ring-Mistress at Zapp, along with her crew, work steadfastly to provide the best work environment possible with her main goal being a successful show for us.  Cheryl is the only CEO I know who wants us to be one big ol' happy family and does her best to make it happen.

How many big corporations can boast that?

That...my friends...is a family business and one I consider myself fortunate to be a part of.

(No...this isn't the ring-mistress.  This is just my pride showing!  Thanks for the loan of the photos, Robelyn and the props Mal.)

(In case you're wondering if the Big Cat was happy at the end of the show...the Cheshire Cat smile says it all.)

Once again, I failed to take a lot of photos capturing the feel and look of the show.  I didn't even get photos of all who dropped by during the week to say "Happy Birthday".  I know...bad, bad...really bad Trash, but trust me...it was fantastic....and just too darn hot for me to get up for my camera. 
(Even though Jenn, Roby, and Bella had to leave, I couldn't resist putting in a little teaser of what's coming later.  I also want to say thank you for all the comments and prayers for Brandon.  This is what makes you a huge part of our family too.)
Ya know y'all...it takes a mighty self-confident man to wear a tiara (thanks Darla) emblazoned with rhinestones, but I do believe he managed to carry it off.


Laughter and a smile are the best accessories a sharp-dressed man....and his family can wear.

Just like freckles.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

We're home and it feels so good to be back in the Casita de Trash...even with the mountain of laundry I've yet to scale.  This trip was different and I'll be trying to explain what I mean by that in future posts.  I will tell y'all I came home with a renewed appreciation and love for my family and friends.
I'm sure I've mentioned in my past writings of how when Jenn married Roby, we were blessed not only with a wonderful son-in-law, but with a doll baby in the guise of a 7 year old grandson as a bonus, courtesy of Roby and his ex-wife, Susan.
Brandon is a big part of our lives even though I don't get to see him as much as the girls.  He's talented, smart as a whip, and can do just about anything he puts his hands..or mind...to.  He's been raised not to fear defeat, but to accept all challenges life throws at him head on.
I'm sharing all this with y'all for a purpose.

Brandon has been thrown the worst challenge a young man can face and needs all the prayers and support he can get.
Jenn and Roby had came to Zapp for the birthday party, but on Saturday received word Susan had been in a motorcycle accident in Oklahoma.  After making several phone calls, Roby learned she had been killed while on a group ride...the details of which don't really matter.  All that mattered was she was gone at 44 and Roby had to be the one to break the news to her mother...and Brandon.
They immediately did a turn around and headed back to Roanoke, Susan's mother, Donna, and to Brandon.
In the meantime, the Roanoke Police Department came to Donna's home and I have to say praise God for sending such caring individuals.  They remained with Donna and Brandon, providing comfort until Jenn and Roby could get there.  After receiving Roby's permission, one of the officers told Brandon what had happened and held the two of them when the reality of this nightmare hit them.
Brandon is an amazing young man who is doing the best he can to try and understand the whys...of which no one can answer nor explain.  He made the statement to his dad that at least she was doing something she loved.  Such intuitiveness for one so young makes my heart swell with love and pride.

~Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, yes I will help you.
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.~Isaiah 41:10

Everyone wants to try and take care of Brandon...he only wants to take care of his grandmother.  My heart is breaking for him, but at the same time I am so proud of him.  Losing a parent, especially a mother, is one of the hardest things in the world to experience, but to lose one at the age of 15...there just aren't words.  Even though he won't be 16 until next month he is already showing the man he will become.  He is strong, full of grace under pressure and such a testament to his mother's love and care.  Susan has left a living legacy of what a beautiful, caring woman and mother she was in this remarkable young man.  No words carved in concrete on a man-made marker could ever say as much about her life while on this earth as this child's face reveals.
I ask simply for your prayers to help him continue in this walk he is on and for the future that lays ahead of him without her.  Even though she is gone, I pray he feels her love surrounding him and strengthening him every day of every month of every year.

Thank you.

~When you pass through the water, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.~Isaiah 43:2