Buyer and Seller Beware!

Shopping on Craigslist should come with a “Buyer and Seller Beware!” warning.  Or does it, already?  Maybe now that I’m writing this I should go back to make sure I didn’t miss something.  I sometimes do that…

In any case, a consumer looking for a decent deal on a used futon, funky vintage chair with green velvet, an old table to refinish, or whatever else her bargain-hunting heart fancies, can easily find it at a steal of a price on Craig’s good ol’ list.

I think he (Craig, or at least I hope that’s his name, because if his name is Frank, then why isn’t he calling his site Frankslist, or whatever?) truly had the best of intentions with the creation of his online classifieds, but in all honesty how good of a deal is a buyer really getting?

Say there’s this seller who has a STEAL of a recliner for $50.  It’s “barely used, comes from a smoke and pet-free home” and the seller, Steve, “just doesn’t have room for it anymore.”

Well, my guess is that chair has more than one dirty little secret lurking around.

Like maybe an angry pet left her mark on the armrest.  Or maybe Steve, AKA Two-Pack-a-Day-Steve, used to sit there munching away on potato chips with one greasy hand, wiping his salty fingers on the seat like it was a built-in napkin, all the while never putting down his smokes.  Maybe it’s just plain-old broken.  There could be a hundred, no a thousand, different things wrong with this steal of a recliner.

But anyway, say Steve finds himself a buyer.  We’ll call our bargain-hunting Diva, Steve’s buyer, Rhonda.

Woo-hoo!  Now he can unload his crap onto some unsuspecting stranger.  And maybe Rhonda won’t give a sh*t that this chair has more tales to tell than Hugh Hefner.

Or maybe, just maybe, she will.

So with the sale, comes the face-to-face meeting.  Dear God, the meeting.  Whether it’s a pick-up from the seller, a drop-off to the buyer, or a meet-up at a public place, these money/product Craigslist exchanges are the most uncomfortable thing since shoulder-pads in blazers.

They’re just all wrong.

If the meeting is held in a public place, (the preferred meet-up method for most Listers and Buyers) then all parties feel like they might just get robbed and because of that they rush through the transaction missing things like that awful stain or making sure they received the correct amount of funds.  Drop-offs and pick-ups are even worse, because no-one likes inviting strangers that they just met on the Internet into their driveways, much less their living rooms.

So, to continue on, Two-Pack-a-Day-Steve decides to meet Rhonda at the local Walmart parking lot.  Rhonda likes a good bargain and when she meets Steve she tells him how she must have miscounted her money and only has $35 instead of the agreed upon $50.

How convenient of her.

Steve agrees to take less because the old, greasy, smoky recliner is already loaded into her SUV and he’s so close to closing the deal.

A look of proud accomplishment spreads across her face as he shakes her hand.  Both parties win, sort of, and both parties lose.

In my personal and (not so professional) opinion, I think that there are a lot of dishonest weirdos out there and sometimes it’s best to have a third party to help negotiate transactions.  Sometimes it’s best to just buy it new.

Photo courtesy of Ryan McGuire on StockSnap.io

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One Little Birdie

It was an ordinary spring day; full of sunshine, puffy clouds, and a light breeze that smelled faintly of flowers. My window was down and my short, dark hair was snapping back and forth, lightly stinging my freckled cheeks. Tortoise colored sunglasses covered half my face and kept the sun’s rays from reaching my blue eyes and the smile on my face touched my ears; a sign that all was right and beautiful in the world.

The black leather on my minivan’s seat was getting just enough sun to be warm to the touch, radiating heat onto my bare shoulders. It reminded me of the sticky humidity that comes with summer. My girls, one and five, were giggling happily as I sang along to the 90’s hip-hop song drifting from the speakers.

I knew each word with precision, of course.

I signaled to switch lanes, cautious that I was clear, and checked my blind spot. As I turned my head back to facing front, a small, shiny Civic darted across three lanes like a silver bullet and cut my black swagger wagon off.

On instinct, I gasped, whaled on my horn, and slammed on my brakes sending freshly bought produce sailing through my vehicle, now coming to an abrupt stop. A bottle of delicious red wine rolled all the way to the console, still wearing the white plastic bag and somehow brand new baby wipes ended up in my lap.

My eye’s rushed up to the rear-view and thankfully my girls were still smiling. “Are you alright?” I asked Reagan.

“Yep,” Reagan answered. They barely even noticed. Knowing we were fine and dandy with all limbs in tact, the New-York-angry-driver in me took over.

I cautiously pulled my black-on-black Dodge next to the Civic and offered my biggest grin to the driver, a girl wearing obnoxiously massive hoop earrings. This woman and her stupid choice could have easily turned my good day sideways, but thankfully she didn’t.

I passed her and, still providing a full smile, I gave that idiot the bird.

Reagan saw my finger and asked, “was that the sign language for ‘no’, Momma?”  Her voice pure and sweet with innocence.

I laughed and responded, “it was something like that.”

It was still an ordinary Spring day; full of sunshine, puffy clouds, and a light breeze that smelled faintly of flowers.

By the grace of something greater, all was still right in the world.

Photo courtesy of Lily Lvnatikk on StockSnap.io

Thrift Store Finds #1

Yesterday I had a brilliant idea to start a new series on my blog titled, “Thrift Store Finds,” about fun, useful or otherwise amazing things that I happened to find at thrift stores.

Okay, I lied.  Maybe it’s less of a brilliant idea and more of an excuse to shop (and buy) things more frequently.  Maybe it’s just another way for me to put words on paper.  But in any case, here we are at Thrift Store Finds #1.  I love thrift stores and the bargains you can find there, if you know how and when to hunt.  I guess it’s one trait that I happened to pick up from my wise mom.

Yesterday I was perusing the aisles at my local Goodwill and came across this little gem:

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What is this amazing contraption, you ask?  Well, of course it’s a bike pedal for those of us who like to multitask, and boy do I love to multitask!

Lately I’ve been trying to find ways to squeeze in my cardio, but with writing and reading so much I just haven’t managed to get it done.  Well, yesterday my prayers were answered and now, as I type, I’m also peddling away like a fool.  (Paint that pretty picture in your mind; it’s a funny one!)

Will it work?  Who knows!  Will I keep doing it?  Sure!  Is it fun?  Sort of… I guess.  I can tell you one thing: my abs are on fire and my heart rate is up plus I just finished a blog, so that’s a win in my book.

Have fun everyone!

Baseball Season

12901507_10153565454738753_5633057455976832025_oPopcorn making;

Bats Breaking.

It must be that time of year.

 

Hot dog eating;

Bleacher seating.

Ten dollars for the smallest beer.

 

Players striking;

Coach disliking.

The team may lose, is what he fears.

 

Ball cap wearing;

Sun is glaring.

The day is beautiful and clear.

 

Third base stealing;

Such a feeling,

When the crowd begins to cheer.

 

Outfield sunning;

Home base running.

Baseball season is finally here!

 

Random Thought on Music.

Music has a way of bringing me, and probably most people, back to a specific moment, much like the sense of smell. Certain songs take me back to my wedding day or a high school dance with my best friends, and some other songs take me back to completely random moments that were tucked deep away in my memory, almost forgotten.

For the last couple of days I have been missing my mom very much. I’ve been reaching for the phone to call her, just to hear her voice, but then I stop short and realize I can’t. I’ve been wishing for one last bit of motherly advice, one last hug or even, at the very least, one last good laugh with her. Thoughts like this come and go and, even after more than two years, I have bad days.

Yesterday was a particularly crumby day. I was in a strange place, emotionally, and once my daughter was napping and I had nothing to drown out my thoughts, except the pounding rain on the window, my sadness seemed to magnify. It was so quiet in my house without the sound of my daughter’s voice filling the empty space like tiny little bells chiming happily, so I was left feeling very alone.

I turned on the radio, trying to get rid of the noise in my head, while prepping dinner. While I was standing there, browning the beef for my homemade sloppy joe sauce, the song, “I wanna Dance with Somebody,” started playing. Instantly, I was reminded of my mom when she was young, beautiful and vibrant. Whitney Houston’s pitch-perfect voice transported me back to the late 1980’s. I was standing in my little kitchen on Custer Drive in Toledo and my mom was there, at the stove. She was dancing and snapping her fingers while singing off-key into a big, black plastic spoon as she, too, was making dinner. The song was crackling out of her cassette-playing boom-box despite the antenna being stretched up and out as far as it would go.

I looked at her, in awe of her effortless, simple beauty. Her long wavy hair was pulled back into a ponytail that was swinging back and forth as she danced. She had on high-waisted stone-washed jeans and a faded Florida t-shirt. She was happy and carefree.

Back in my kitchen, I could feel a smile tugging at my resistant lips. My mood was lifting, despite the heaviness in my heart. I no longer felt alone, but instead could feel her life and her love all around me. I couldn’t help but to reach for my big wooden spoon to sing along, just like my mom did more than twenty years ago.

I am completely amazed that music can do this; can change a mood instantly, brighten even the darkest of days and conjure up old memories that were once completely forgotten. It is a truly remarkable gift that we shouldn’t take for granted.

Until Next time.

Danielle.

Su-Su-Summer time.

Ahh.  It’s finally here and I couldn’t be happier.  Summer.  A time for warm weather, short shorts, cold drinks, crystal clear pools, shady umbrellas, bottles upon bottles of sunblock and laughter.

So.Much.Laughter.

Growing up I always liked the hazy, lazy days of summer, but mostly just for the much needed break from classwork.  I did, however, enjoy laying out on my parents deck and listening to the radio on my battery operated boom box as I soaked up the sun, my pale body drenched in tanning lotion and my hair full of Sun-in.  I tried so hard to be sun-kissed from head to toe, but I really only ended up with burnt, painful skin and orange hair.  It was dreadful, but for some reason I did it year after year.

My mom would lay out there with me, smoking her cigarettes or painting her nails and just being so beautifully bronze.  She was effortlessly gorgeous in those days, with long dark hair, a thin, curvy waist and her black two-piece bathing suit.  I wanted to be just like her.

The deck would be so hot that if you stepped on it with a bare foot your skin would get scorched, so we always wore flip-flops.  The only time we would go barefoot was on our way from our fold-out tanning chair to the pool and each time we’d do a dance, only letting our toes briefly touch the fiery wood.  My mom would watch my sister and I  as we swam around in the pool, goofing off.  She would laugh at our lame head stand attempts and games of Marco-Polo, only jumping in, herself, occasionally to cool off.  She spent most of the day slathering on fresh coats of tanning lotion and relaxing as she glistened in the sun.

I can still smell her Hawaiian Tropic SPF 5 if I close my eyes.

Today, though, summers are so different for me.  Now they are days at the wading pool with big beach hats and SPF 50.  They are days meant for water balloon fights and finding a shady spot to cool off with Roxy.  They are cool nights on the back deck with a glass of wine as we watch the fireflies blink on and off in the back yard.  They are full of love, much like before, but somehow it means more to me today.  Somehow these summer days make me reflect on everything I have, who I have become, as a woman, and how happy I have become in life.

So much has changed since the days on my parents deck, but one thing is definitely still certain:

Summer is awesome.