Sunday, February 19, 2006

Weekend gerunds

Carter's post the other day reminded me that it's been a loooong time since I did a gerunds post, especially since I invented the damn thing. And the way this weekend has gone, it's a good way to round up my activities.

Mourning: The fact that I did not win the Powerball drawing last night. (Some lucky soul in Nebraska did.) I have never before in my life bought lottery tickets, but I was entranced by the $365 million jackpot, particularly because the morning announcer on public radio kept repeating the total this week, sounding pretty entranced himself. And, hell, when NPR (or, really, MPR) gives you permission to buy lottery tickets, you take it. I was also motivated by a certain feeling of constriction about money that's floating around our house these days. In part that's because I haven't gotten paid yet for a couple freelance gigs, but that money is supposed to be going straight into savings anyway... so, yes, the new lifestyle here is frugal. FRUGAL. And winning the lottery certainly would have helped that. My first splurge, after a new car for Darren, was going to be a raft of stylish maternity clothes from the chi-chi boutique downtown. Extravagant, huh?

Cleaning: The basement. Yesterday we filled up three giant bags of trash, and three paper bags of stuff for Goodwill. We broke up about a dozen cardboard boxes that we were keeping for no reason whatsoever, and found a few things to sell on eBay (I was going to do it myself, which would be crossing a new frontier, but decided that instead I'll take the stuff to the local storefront that does it for you -- whatever we make from this stuff is found money anyway, so since the likelihood of me ever selling much is slim, it doesn't make sense to waste time figuring out how to do it well.), and a few things to give away via Freecycle. Speaking of which:

Appreciating: Freecycle. We have gotten rid of So. Much. Stuff. on Freecycle in the last few weeks. It's amazing. I post a note to the message board, put the stuff on our front porch, and within a few days someone comes to take it. I don't even have to talk to them. Yes, there's a little bit of hassle involved; the rug I am trying to get rid of, which elicited more interest than anything else I've posted, has turned into something of an albatross -- I have now offered it to a third person, since the first two never showed up. But that's relatively unusual. I love the fact that other people are getting good use for this stuff, I don't have to pay to get rid of it -- and, just the other day, I happened to check my email in time to get an Ethan Allen headboard for our bed. We've wanted a headboard for so long, but given the bambina's needs it is at the bottom of a loooong list of priorities. So finding one for free -- assuming all goes well when we pick it up tomorrow -- is the best.

Obsessing: Over eBay. Until Friday, I had never bought anything on the site; always found it too daunting to deal with. But then I started browsing the maternity clothes -- I've gotta get some warm-weather stuff for next month's Puerto Rico trip; see above re: financial woes -- and ended up winning a totally cute (I think) sleeveless dress. (We'll see what it looks like once it arrives.) Then I realized that it's much easier to shop on eBay when you're looking for something really specific. So I undertook a search for a replacement for the boiled wool, rubber soled slippers that I wear for many hours every day. These beauties retail for something like $65, which I have an awfully hard time justifying, despite the fact that my current pair has served me well 10 months a year since 1999. Given the fact that the rubber soles now have large holes, causing wet feet when putting the dogs out in our soggy backyard, they clearly need to be replaced... and $65 is not an unreasonable price to pay for approximately 1,800 days of wear (approximately 3.6 cents a day). So, anyway, I found some on eBay for $20-$30 less than retail, and am currently crossing my fingers that I win them. This could be the start of a dangerous habit.

Loathing: Am@zon's baby registry. As far as I can tell, you can't add items that are outside of the specified "baby" area to your registry. I suspect this has something to do with the alliance between Am@zon and the Evil Baby Superstore, and it really irks me. For instance -- books. I would love to have a huge library of children's books, and one would think that an Am@zon registry would be a great place to have them, since the damn thing started out as a bookstore. But no. You can not register for books -- at least any of the ones I've tried -- or hipster diaper bags like the Dash model from these guys (thanks, Kate, for the coupon code, which I promptly sent my mother!) or a beach cabana that isn't made by a baby products manufacturer. Grrrrr. I hate the process of registering to begin with, and this is making it that much worse.

Wondering: Why a restaurant that purports to offer "fine dining" (and that has prices that follow suit) would think that a chilled (and mealy) plum tomato filled with risotto makes sense as an appetizer in Maine in February. And why it follows that with a salad of tired-looking romaine and iceberg with black beans, corn and a lime-cilantro dressing, and follows that with cream of mushroom soup. Did they create the (fixed) menu by spinning a wheel and randomly combining dishes? Luckily for our bank account, I was checking this place out for work and will be reimbursed for the seriously underwhelming meal. Unluckily for my schedule, I need to find a different restaurant to cover in the issue after next.

Remembering: That despite the frigid air and gusty winds, it does a body -- and mind -- good to get out of the house on the weekends, especially now that I work at home most of the week.

Loving: Feeling the bambina kick, roll, tap dance or whatever else it is that she's doing in there.