One of the things we wanted to add to our new house was a playset for the girls.  This house doesn’t have a playground within strolling distance like our last two 🙁 🙁 and I knew having a hang out in the back yard would be a useful addition for many summers to come!


I began scoping out our options on Craigslist, convinced we could beat the price of conventional play grounds as long as we were willing to put in a few blood, sweat, and tears (we were.  we just didn’t realize how much blood, sweat, and tears would be required).  I spent a few days playing the CL game….frantically emailing/texting, waiting in line, bidding and negotiating.  It was only a matter of time before we found one that really struck our interest, was within our driving range, and priced just right.  We won the bid and made plans to pick it up a few weekends ago.


We knew this was going to be a big project but we had no idea how to quantify it.  We both thought N would have to disassemble the entire thing and then carefully attempt to reassemble it at our house.  Thankfully it came apart in only three manageable sections but that meant two, hour and a half trips out there, two different size trailers, and some much needed help from both our neighbors and some boys from the college.

After a long day of driving and hauling, N made it home for a quick bite of dinner before bee-lining it to the yard to put it in place before losing the remaining daylight.  He had three boys on hand to help him and the first thing they did was get the trailer stuck in a muddy ditch in our front yard.  Next thing we knew, one of our neighbors was driving his tractor over in a, “hey it looks like you might need some help” kind of way and rescuing them from the ditch.  He stayed to see the entire project through and even brought over some new hooks for our swing.  Meanwhile, I got a phone call from our other neighbor saying, “hey, do y’all need some help?”  (think we must have looked a little pathetic??!!).  “I was driving by and couldn’t stop in the moment but I’d be happy to run over now!” Just a few minutes later they victoriously finished the set with just enough daylight for MG to get a few celebratory slides in before bed.


N and I were almost brought to tears by the willingness of our little community to help.  This has definitely been a season of reliance on others.  We’ve had to suck in our pride a little bit and accept help, advice, and even shelter from our friends and family.  In some cases we’ve had NOTHING to offer in return. Literally nothing other than a sincere thank you.  I don’t know how much longer this season will last but I am feeling myself being changed through it.  For that, I guess, I am grateful.


The day we sold our camera to a character from Lord of the Rings (or, Our Craigslist tale)

Earlier this summer, we purchased a new and upgraded camera.   To justify that purchase, we decided to sell our old one.

Our BIL and SIL (who are much cooler and hipper than us) suggested we go the Craigslist route.  We were intrigued but intimidated.  While we have been on the purchasing end of many Craigslist transactions, we had never been on the selling.  And besides, haven’t you ever seen any Lifetime specials?  People get murdered over this kind of thing.

So, cautiously, we listed it on Craigslist, and also told our friends and family we were selling.  We secretly hoped that it would sell to someone we knew.  1) so we would know that our beloved camera was going into good hands and 2) because we hoped to avoid the whole Craigslist hassle. Or should I say hustle?

Anyway, we really had no idea what to expect, but within hours of posting, it began to garner lots of attention.

We began receiving text messages at all times of the day and night similar to the following:

Y r u selling this?  Would b my first DSLR.  Appropriate for me?” (b cause we bot a new 1)

“Hi you have camera?” (hello I have camera)
“Hello du you still have the camera?” (yes, I duuu)

And after courteous responses, only about 50% of the time would we even receive feedback.

Or sometimes, we would receive feedback like this:

“Oh I’m sorry I text the wrong person.”  (Sorry, then I TEXT the wrong person too)

And then we had this little transaction.  I’ll call this guy the Deep-Discounter (note: all texts have remained unaltered):
Texter: I was writing about the camera.  Is it still available?
Me: Yes it is.  What questions do you have?
Texter: Sorry if it’s late.  Does it work.  For starters.  {sorry IF it’s late??!  Last time I checked, midnight was considered late on all accounts.  Also, why would we ask $280 for a broken camera??)
Me: Yes….works great.  We are only selling it because we decided to upgrade.
Texter: What’s the lowest you would take for cash on Friday night?
Me: $250. What side of town would you be coming from?
Texter: Would you take $200?
Me: $200 is too low.   We live about 20 minutes from you.  We could meet you at ____ if you want it.
Texter: I’m sorry.  But I seen some online for $200 & lower.  I just looked them up.  I couldn’t pay more than that.  But thanks anyway.
You want me to take 25% off of my asking price??  Um, no.
They did come back later on virtual hands and knees, but by then it was already sold.  Sorry!
And this lovely little exchange happened a few days later. I’ll call it the Non-Negotiator:
T: Do you still have Nikon D50?
M:Yes I do.  Would you be interested in making an offer?
T: How much were you going to sell it for?
M: $280 in cash.  What side of town do you live on?
T: I live ____.  Is the price final?
M: (duh, if you are going to ask that, then yes it is.  Even though the ad said OBO) Yes.  We are going to be near there tomorrow.  We could either meet then or you could come out by us later this week. What would work better for you?
T: I will think about it and tell you
M: No problem.  We do have one other person interested so let me know soon if you want it.


T: Did the other person buy the camera?
M: No
T: I have work right now…

(long virtual pause)

T: If you adjust the price a little more, I will think about it.  But for 280, I dont think I want it.  Sorry.
M: So what is your offer then?  <>
T: What is the highest offer you got? <>
M:  We’ve had two offers at asking price if it is still around by the end of the month.  What are you willing to pay for it?

T: <>

And then we received the strangest email of all:

From: Random letters and numbers  Usually one would not even open these types of emails if they happen to get past their spam filter.  But we went against our better judgment as it did have Nikon D50 in the subject line.
I’ll give you 3 if you hold it till next Friday 🙂

Wait $3?  Or $300?  What kind of email is this?


We live (on the complete opposite side of town) but can drive to you, no problem.  Oh and did you say it was functioning?  It is a gift for my mom so just want to make sure!!

Lots of extra punctuation completed our following transactions:

I get home after 4 so anytime after that’s okay.  thank you so much youre awesome!!

He even told me exactly how long it would take to get there and that he would call if he hit traffic (!!)

I told N that this was either the nicest person in the world, or a scam.  I mean, he offered us 10% over asking price.  He was willing to drive to us, no questions asked.  And his name was a persona.   In fact, the more I thought about it, the more of that Lifetime special I was beginning to remember…

We communicated with (we’ll call him) E off and on for the next 10 days.  He continued to let us know he was interested and we continued to fend off people like this:

Can u sell Nikon D50?

Finally, it was Friday….Craigslist encounter day.  N and I  both were a bit apprehensive and to kill (inappropriate word usage??) time we played the Craigslist profiler game.  We both guessed how old he/she was, what he/she looked like and what he/she would be using the camera for.  I envisioned a nerdy, white college student who needed the camera for a mild interest hobby photography class.

I was wrong.

E communicated with us when he was leaving and how long he thought it might take to arrive at our designated meeting location (no way were we doing this at the house).  N gathered the camera, an unloaded, non-functioning gun (hey, you never can be too sure {and he has a concealed weapons permit}), and gave me a kiss goodbye.  I think we exchanged parting words similar to, “if you never see me again” and he was off.

And back in half and hour.

Well, E turned out to be a  middle-aged man in a pickup truck with two kids in tow (apparently some of the emails had been in communication with one of these children, hence the overabundance of punctuation).  Seeing as how it was pouring rain (add to the creepiness factor), N decided to move the designated meeting spot from a bank parking lot (security cameras) to the inside of a grocery store.  He gave E a quick camera tutorial and cash was exchanged.  N gave him back the extra $20 he offered us to hold it for him (take that, Mr. Deep-Discounter!) and then E told us it was a birthday present for his wife (who is really into martial arts) and that she was going to be so excited (!!).

And so concludes our Craigslist tale.  One filled with adventure, unlikely characters and unnecessary weapons.  And while this story has a happy ending, don’t think for a moment that we will be doing it again in the near future.

That was enough late night/early morning/over-excitement to last us for quite a while.