Sunday, October 23, 2011

Heating Pad (free)

I’m fostering three black kittens for Austin Pets Alive, just in time for Halloween. I have named them after witches, but I made sure the names were obscure so as not to deter superstitious people more than necessary. I am calling them Millie (for Mildred from The Worst Witch), Timmy (for Tim Curry, who also starred in The Worst Witch, see video below), and Serafina (for Serafina Pekkala from the His Dark Materials trilogy).

If you don’t know The Worst Witch, it was a made for TV movie from the 80s starring Fairuza Balk (Return to Oz era). And if you don’t know that much, than you certainly haven’t seen this video:

Ahem. So. Anyway. I have foster kittens.

There was a cold snap last week, and Andy stayed up all night worrying that the kittens were cold. You see, our new house has almost no insulation, which is absolutely ridiculous in Austin. We’re hopefully putting some in next weekend.

I found an electric blanket on Craigslist for $5, but when I went on Freecycle to get a heating pad for the kittens, three people wrote to me almost immediately. One woman fostered for the Siamese Rescue and wanted to have coffee some time. Another offered a heating pad that would need a cover; I was excited with the prospect of a simple yet satisfying sewing project, but she didn’t write back until too late. The third person to write offered a porch pick up, which is always easiest.

Andy and I drove to a street called Robin Hood Lane, which seemed mildly fitting, given that the houses were most likely about twice what we could ever afford, and we were pilfering a free item from one of the homes’ inhabitants.

The house was on a corner and somehow looked haunted. Spooky! Or maybe it was just because they hadn’t raked their lawn and it looked abandoned. There were also three bags on the porch that looked like forgotten newspaper deliveries, but which turned out to be porch pick-up items. I don’t know what was in the other two bags (I was tempted to snoop), but my bag had my name, and I took it. Inside was a lovely heating pad, perfectly sized for three tiny kittens.

We had been going to go pick up some garden tools as well, but Andy balked because we didn’t need most of them. It would have been a good deal, though—rakes, shovels, hoe, caulk gun, and a few other things for just $12. I had also wanted to go to the Hill Country Galleria in Bee Cave for the “Dogadillo Howl-oween Rescue Spooktacular,” despite the name having far too many puns than is in good taste. Last year I took my foster puppy Grady (Austin Dog Alliance), already a 50 pound Australian shepherd / border collie mix, to a similar event. He wore a bandanna around his neck and was generally the cutest thing you ever saw.

Andy said I wasn’t allowed to fall in love with any of the dogs, so I decided it was better to go back home instead. So we went home and I took a nap and then finally got to work on my Halloween costume.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Yet More Gray Fabric ($4) and cookie tin (free giveaway)

I’m like a magpie for gray fabric! I think I feel like because I haven’t actually started making the costume yet, I’m at least accomplishing something by getting more and more fabric. But it’s getting ridiculous. I'm adding pictures to the other entries, by the way. I’m going to try to remember to take pictures of these things. That would make it more interesting, don’t you feel?

I found a woman who had a listing for several fabrics, and it looked like some of them were gray. So I wrote and asked. Her name was Libertie, and she indeed had some gray scraps. We agreed it was easiest to meet at her work down south.

Simultaneously, I had listed a large cookie tin on the Free section of Craigslist. Mark was interested, and we finally got our schedules together, and he would meet me at Libertie’s work, too.

Despite my GPS not working, the directions were simple enough that I didn’t get lost. I was even able to give Mark directions well enough that he didn’t get lost either (this is a big deal for me)!

The parking lot was almost deserted because it was 7. It was also kind of dark. I guess it was a sketchy, now that I think about it, but I usually don’t think about that kind of thing. I go with my gut. And my gut said these were two nice people and this would go well.

Mark showed up before Libertie was done closing up the building. I gave him the cookie tin. We joked about whether it was worth all the trouble—it had been a weeklong saga of working out our schedules, and both of us were a bit out of our way. He said he was going to use the tins to keep seeds because it keeps bugs out well. He took it back a little and said “Well, not ants. And they’re the worst.” So I was amused that it didn’t really do its job, but I was pleased with the cookie tin’s next incarnation as a gardening tool. My boss had given me cookies in it last Christmas, and it seemed too nice to throw out, so it had just been taking up room for a year.

Libertie came out a minute later and we went to her blue Yaris, just about the only other car in the lot. She had brought a few other fabrics she thought I might be interested in. They were all Halloween themed. I guess I’d told her the cloth was for a costume, but didn’t mention what it was. It was really nice of her to bring them, though.

The fabric she brought was a perfect color for the primary flight feathers (see diagram).
Yep, I'm doing research.

I wanted to give her more than $4 (I know, the opposite of a Craigslist deal), but she said no. I could see she must have gotten them in a bargain bin herself because there were price tags on the scraps. I was getting a deep discount on a discount, so I was very happy.

Desk $95

I had been using Andy’s old desk, which was pretty small and didn’t really utilize the space I had very efficiently. Finding furniture on Craigslist can be tricky. First off, I only search the “By Owner” section. But there are so many hits on almost any search, it’s hard to narrow down, especially when the descriptions are often vague, you could easily miss what you're actually looking for. I can’t set up an ongoing notification for it because I would get dozens of hits a day, which is annoying. It usually ends up being me going through each post. I tried a few more specific searches (“L-shaped desk” and “long desk”), but those weren’t much help. The first because I realized after I looked at the space that an L-shaped desk wouldn’t work at all, and the latter because “long” is just as often used when they’re giving dimensions, whether the desk is arguably long or not.

So it was after the tedium of reading through about 200 posts and calling/emailing with a few people that I found a desk I thought would work. Plus he could deliver it, which is excellent because I have no way to pick up non-collapsible furniture. I offered him $20 extra for the delivery since he was so far from me, which brought the total to $95. I would normally be a little more wary of spending that much money, especially site unseen, but it really seemed like exactly what I was looking for.

Terence delivered the desk while I was at work—Andy was working at home. I could abbreviate Andy’s name on this blog to “A—“ for anonymity’s sake, but you might start thinking it stood for Angel after reading enough of my posts.

Andy said he would try to remember as many things about the transaction as he could for the blog. He said Terence was an older man who used to have a delivery business. He helped get the desk in place, as Andy had already moved all my crap off the old desk and dismantled it.

So when I came home, there was a desk, more perfect than I had hoped, waiting in my nook. It closely matched the flooring and molding around the doors, and it had a ton of surface area and storage. I got to work organizing stuff, and unpacked at least two boxes that had still been packed from the move in July.
I found my terabyte hard drive, which houses my home video project.
Click picture to read more details in this diagram.

Two years ago, I transferred all my family’s tapes to digital format, which of course took up a massive amount of space on my hard drive. I’ve been intending to create a masterpiece with these and with the photographs from the span of the 20th century that I’ve scanned in. So, that hasn’t happened yet. But I did get the hard drive set up and made Andy watch some of the videos.

We laughed and laughed. Not so much at antics of my 5-year-old self, but at how enamored my dad was with the camera. We were on a hike in Arkansas, and there were like, no lie, 5-minute (at least) shots of waterfalls and such. And of course, this is 1980s era VHS quality, so there was no point whatsoever to having this much tape taken up with things Ansel Adams has recorded in much better detail. I can hear myself off camera saying “Daddy, daddy look!” and he says “Yeah, OK” and keeps filming a rock. I wonder what I was showing him? We’ll never know. I love my family, I really do. We’re all so predictably random. I’m trying to find a good clip to upload…it’s between the 25 minutes of table hockey, or my first memory of snow. I think the latter has withstood the test of time a bit better. The test of “was this, or was this not, a retarded thing to videotape?”

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I have started blogging again...just not here

Hi! If you still check my blog after more than a year of no posts, you are a good friend indeed. So I will let you know that I did start blogging recently, here:

The blog is vaguely centered around Craigslist transactions. Since I have so many, and they have to do with my life, I'm hoping it'll be a good focal point and remind me to update periodically. I'm also going to try to proof read the entries a bit better than I did for the 10 years of this and previous blogs.

You can sign up to get the posts emailed to you, too! Convenient!

Mom, do this--copy this text (highlight the text then click Ctrl and "c" at the same time):
If you are in Internet Explorer, go to the top of the screen and click "Tools" then click on "Internet Options" in the menu that opens. In the "General" tab, which I think is the first one, click in the box that is asking for the "Address" of your home page, then paste (Ctrl and "v" at the same time). Click OK.