Saturday, June 25, 2016

HODGES GARDENS, PART III

Heidy-Ho, Blogging Buddies!

Yes, there are even more photos from Hodges Gardens.  I have shown you a few areas of disrepair.  Sad.  But there are some areas where folks are trying to keep up.  While small, they are delightful.  So... just want to offer you a few shots of some really great places within Hodges Gardens.









We still have tomorrow to look at so don't give up yet!  There are a few fun things yet to come.  It was our last day there and the "hunt" was on.  Stay tuned for that!

One of the fun things was the telescope that pointed to Texas!  I remember it as a child and begging my parents to stop and let me look through it.  I wanted to "see" Texas!!  Unfortunately, it is no longer functional... but remains as a reminder of a time long, long ago... before satellites and Google Earth allowed everyone the ability to "see" the planet from above.




So... just a slow drive around the Gardens will reveal a whole lot of things going on.  Amazing how it seems so quiet and remote but yet is managed by concerned individuals.  I can appreciate that.

If you are tired of the Hodges Gardens revue, know that there is only one more post to finish it.  :)  I hope you can stay with me for it.

Until next post...

Monday, June 20, 2016

HODGES GARDENS, PART II

Heidy-Ho, Blogging Pals!!

So, there are just so many beautiful things about Hodges Gardens, I wanted to share some more photos with you.  I will try to select the very best to limit the number!  I hope you can enjoy the feeling of peace and serenity there.

Without further introduction (as it is not needed):





Unfortunately, among the beauty are the hidden areas where neglect has wrought havoc.  :(  Very sad.  But it's the old "good with the bad" situation.





Well, we enjoy the parts we can and hope things will improve for the park.

After the first "visitors" our first evening there, we had an even larger group arrive for the second evening!!  What?!?  Did a memo go out?!?  :)  I didn't even know these little guys could RUN!!!




So... I hope you have a little better feel for the park.  I have some more photos for you in the next update on Hodges Gardens!  Even while there is some deterioration, there are those who persevere in making the park a place to enjoy and learn.

Until next post...

Monday, June 13, 2016

HODGES GARDENS, PART I

Heidy-Ho, Blogging Pals!!  Welcome back!

So... the spousal-unit figured I needed a little break last month.  He had heard about Hodges Gardens State Park from some folks and checked it out online.  He rented a cabin for two nights.  Our adventure began with checking in and finding our cabin!




First things first.  Unload and check out the cabin.  That done, relax on the back deck with a refreshing adult beverage and enjoy the lake view.  That's when the first "guests" arrived.


So... we talked to them... they honked at us... there was a mutual unstated agreement we would remain on our deck and they would remain on the ground below.  They eventually waddled off back to the lake.

We did some driving around that afternoon.  I had visited Hodges Gardens many years ago with my family when the Gardens were privately owned.  I remember how gorgeous they were then.  Unfortunately, having been donated to the State and with funds becoming difficult to get, a lot of it has gone into a state of disrepair that is sad to see.  There were still some very nice areas that we visited on a drive around the park.

A few pictures to give you an idea of the place.  There will be more posts about this trip as I have a LOT of pictures but don't want to post all of them at once!  Overload!
Our First Wildlife meeting... along the edge of the road on the way to the cabin

We drove to the Visitor Center/Gift Shop... but they were closed as we were there during the week.  Still pretty to see.







Alrighty!  You have seen a few of many photos.  More will be coming in the next few days.

Bottom line:  We had a great time!  It was a little toasty but there was nearly always a breeze.  Going during the week meant very few other visitors there with us so we really had the run of the place!  Very enjoyable.

Stay tuned!!

Until next post...

Friday, May 27, 2016

FINALLY A RAVE!!

Heidy-Ho, Blogging Buddies!

I know.  I have been lax in posting.  The good news is I have had several things lately that I consider "blog-worthy" so there are at least 2 or 3 new posts coming soon... with pictures!!

However, I am most pleased to have a RAVE to post today.  Seems like many of my experiences are negative so you have to read my rants (The Running Store most recently)... and I hate that since I much prefer excellence in my experiences!

So... I am happy to tell you all about an online shopping experience I had recently.


My aunt was in need of some new sheets for her bed.  She has been completely bedridden for four years and it is important to have good sheets to help avoid skin breakdowns.  I am cautious to shop for a high thread count Egyptian Cotton product.  I went to Amazon to see what was out there.

After some shopping and checking, I placed an order through Amazon.  The product was fulfilled through eLuxury Supply.  I was pleased with the items and went to that firm's web site to see what other products they offer.  It was then things got a little shaky.

I found the exact same product I had ordered through Amazon at a lower price on the eLuxury Supply web site.  Hmmmmm?  That's odd.  eLuxury offers free shipping so that didn't explain a pricing difference.  You all know me pretty well so you already know I fired off an email to the Customer Service Manager (whose card with full contact information was included in my order!) to figure out why there was a difference.

Blogging Pals... I am here to tell you I received a nearly immediate reply.  There was an apology for the pricing difference along with a couple of potential reasons for it.  The key thing here... there was notice that a refund had already been issued for the price difference (I didn't ask for one) along with the invitation to check back with him if there were any problems with the product down the road.  What?!?  A real live person concerned with customer satisfaction?!?  It's like sighting a unicorn!!

What I am telling you all is to please check out eluxurysupply.com the next time you are seeking linens.  They also have other products including beds/mattresses, bath products (towels, bathrobes, etc.), furniture (indoor & outdoor) and home accessories, as well as some pet furniture.  Check them out.  Are they the "cheapest?"  No.  Do the products have value to account for the pricing?  I can only speak to the sheets but have to say "yes" to that. What is more important to me is a USA company providing excellence in Customer Service.

So... remember to check out eLuxury Supply the next time you have a need for these types of items.  I can only highly recommend them... something that is rare for me to do.  :)

Until next post...

Monday, May 9, 2016

WALK AWAY FROM THE RUNNING STORE!!!

Heidy-Ho, Blogging Buddies!

In the interest of providing a public service, I want to make you aware of some things about The Running Store in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The store was originally established as Tri-Running.  A friend of mine suggested we go there as they offered great service.  The employees were educated about how to determine one's gait to establish whether one had a neutral walk or something else.  (There is discussion that this is not important in determining the best shoe for walking or running.  You make the call.)

At any rate, we visited there, received a lot of good information from the employees, and purchased walking shoes we liked.  While the pricing at Tri-Running was slightly above Zappo's and other online retailers, plus we had to pay tax, it wasn't significant enough to cause any concern.  We made that decision consciously.  And we have recommended the store (Tri-Running) to a lot of folks we know, some of whom we know for certain have been there.

This past week, we both had a need for a new pair of walking shoes.  We went back to the store where we had had success in the past.  We were surprised to find the name changed and the store space cut by more than half!!  The two young men there were very nice... but they offered no actual "services" other than asking about our size and if we had any preference of brand.  Hmmmm.  This should have clued us in that things had changed... and not necessarily for the better.  However... in the interest of shopping locally, we moved forward with trying on some shoes.

After finding a pair we liked (we both liked the same pair!), we checked out at the register.  We left the store thinking the price of the shoes was rather high.  Later on, we decided to check Zappo's for the pricing there.  While Zappo's is not a discount store, they do offer good and typical pricing.  Surprise!  The Running Store charged full MSRP for the shoes, a substantial $30 more than Zappo's (and a huge number of other online retailers including Nordstrom's!).  This was a 25% higher price.  Hold on!!  We're all about supporting a local business... but this is not acceptable.


So... I took both pair back to The Running Store in Lake Charles a day-and-a-half later.  Neither pair had done anything but ride in my vehicle.  They had not been touched.  I was very surprised and confused when the young man there told me they did not issue refunds on shoes.  They would only issue store credit.  What?!?  Other than a clearance sale, who doesn't refund on unused items?  I am typing below the exact wording printed on the credit card receipt.  Bear in mind, there was absolutely NO posted signage within the store indicating there were no refunds on shoes.  I guess one had to purchase a non-refundable item before finding out it was non-refundable?  Hmmmmm.

Printed on the receipt (exact words although in much larger print than is on the receipt!):


"Exchange Policy.
Shoes:  If after several test runs you find your runs painful as a result of the shoe, please exchange them within 30 days of purchase and we will apply your exchange toward another product.  Special orders for styles/sizes/colors not in stock are subject to a $10 shipping fee.
Other items:  Refunds are granted only when exchange item is unused (with tags or packaging) and within 30 days of purchase with receipt.  Electronics may only be exchanged if unused and in unopened packaging."

Alright.  After you have read it, how do you interpret it?  It appears to me that if I USE the shoes, I can only exchange the shoes.  That's fair.  One cannot sell used shoes as new!  I get it.  If I return used shoes, I should not expect a refund.  However... the policy stated does not seem to address returning NEW, UNUSED shoes?  In fact, the "Shoe" section clearly only addresses shoes that have been used.  That's my take.  Wonder what the legal eagles would say about it?  Hmmmmm.

At any rate, the young man reached out to the "new" owner (now we have confirmed the store was sold).  He spoke with me on the phone.  I asked him to either refund the price and I would leave the shoes... or at least refund the price difference and I would keep them.  At this point, the new owner made it quite clear (implicitly) his interest was strictly in profit and customers were not important.  While he tried to tell me he had to pay shipping to receive the shoes and he couldn't not charge tax, I simply responded that Zappo's (and other onine retailers) actually paid the shipping to get the product as well as to ship it out to customers!  Zappo's even pays return shipping if the product isn't satisfactory... for ANY reason!  I knew I would pay tax purchasing locally.  He continued that he had overhead that Zappo's didn't have.  Uh... I wonder if Zappo's is aware they have such little overhead!  *chuckle*  They might argue that point.

Let's just say this about all that.  If you don't mind paying full MSRP for something you can get a lot of other places for at least 20% less, overnight in some cases, without paying taxes or shipping, please feel free to give The Running Store your business.  If you believe that fair pricing and customer service are important, I suggest you simply walk away from The Running Store.

Until next post...