We're in the process of giving one of our rooms a make-over.

All we want to do is paint and rearrange furniture. I thought it would be best to start with a clean slate so we took everything out of the room to start from scratch.

Oy vey.

We piled stuff in our bedroom. We loaded up the dining room table. The old futon is blocking another corner of the dining room and the living room looks like it should have a yellow tape across it, preventing anyone from entering a disaster zone.

I cannot believe everything that was in that room!

How do we end up acquiring so much stuff?

It won't take long to paint, but it may take years to go through everything to decide what to keep and what to put on a tractor trailer to cart off to the Salvation Army Thrift Store.

We had to empty a bookcase to take it out of the room that held our World Book Encyclopedia set.

I can remember when we bought it. Becky was in third grade in 1985. It was a lot of money at that time. We paid for it on the installment plan. But we felt she would need this amazing source of worldwide information for when she had to do school reports or to answer questions she might have that we didn't have answers for (which was about 99.9 percent of everything she asked.)

She liked looking at them even when she didn't have to do a report.

My sister and I used the set our parents bought in the 60s a lot. It still sits on my mom's bookcase. There is no doubt it will remain there until Mom is no longer with us.

But our set is looking for a new home. Which is difficult to find because, who uses encyclopedias today? Everyone has a computer or access to one. Anything and everything can be found on the World-Wide Web. Including the facts that the World Book Encyclopedia's first edition was sold in 1917, with new editions printed every year except 1920, 1924 and 1932. And if you don't want to clutter up valuable living space, World Book publishes a digital version for your computer.

I contacted two libraries, a used book store, the Salvation Army Thrift Store and none accept donations of encyclopedias. I called a church district conference office to ask if they knew of any place like in Appalachia or a Native American reservation that would like it and I was told the high cost of shipping or mailing a set to someplace that could use them was prohibitive.

One library suggested cutting off all the front and back covers and then take the paper content to a recycling center.

Boy. That solution hurts.

It's very sad when you can't even give away stuff.

On Saturday we went to Allentown. Us and about 10 million other people. Traffic...HORRENDOUS! Parking lots...HORRENDOUS! Malls and stores...CROWDED!

We were mattress shopping. We went with a budget in mind. The first place we stopped was an eye-opener. After settling on one, the salesman wanted to write us up. I told him I wasn't prepared to buy just yet. I wanted to shop around. He asked us to wait a moment, got on the phone, hung up and said he talked to his manager and asked, "What were you prepared to spend today?" OK. I'm naive. I told him. His response was, "We don't want you to take your business elsewhere." And he gave us a price that was below our budgeted amount. So of course Harry leans over and whispers, "We should have told him less."

Well yeah, but who knew you could haggle over a mattress like you could a car?

We had a late breakfast, decided to skip lunch so we could have an early dinner. Years ago we learned that if we tried to eat at Red Lobster around dinner time, we had to wait an hour or more. So if we want to eat there or at one of the other popular chain restaurants, we opt for a late lunch/early dinner.

We heard so much about the new Golden Corral that opened in Whitehall, we thought we'd try that. HAH! At 2:50 p.m. there was a waiting line all the way out into the parking lot! We tried Red Lobster and it was going to be a 45-minute wait. Since Harry was about to start gnawing on my arm, we took the first place we could walk in without waiting, which turned out to be Chili's. We chose wisely. Delish!

Nobody stays home on a Saturday. Everyone wants to eat out. Everybody else figured out our late lunch/early dinner tactic.

Here's Linda's Lopsided Look at Life ... It's a nutty world out there.

The cost of everything today is astronomical ... gas, medical insurance, mortgages, groceries, cars, you name it. But you can't give anything away because nobody wants your excess baggage when they have enough of their own. When you visit a place like Allentown on a Saturday afternoon, every restaurant has waiting lines. The malls are packed full of shoppers.

I have to ask, this is an economic crisis?