Month: August 2012

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.


Surviving Mamaland: Best Piece of Advice

Being a mom means that you are a magnet for unsolicited advice.  And we all know it starts long before you are schlepping the baby around in a car seat.  Strangers, family members, friends, everyone wants to know…If you will be going back to work or staying home?  Breastfeeding or bottle-feeding?   Preschool or Threeschool?  Bumper or no bumper?  Pacifier or thumb?   Dr. Sears or BabyWise?  Loving your child or not?  (okay that might be a little outlandish, but the questions these people ask sometimes do make you wonder!)  And then they all have an opinion, story, or justification of what they, their daughter, or their best friend did (guilty!).

Truthfully, I don’t mind this advice.  I kind of looked at it as I was a new initiate into this club and all of the members were watching out for me.  Plus, I consider myself pretty independently minded.  So the opinion of Sal at the grocery store had little affect on whether or not MG would continue sucking her thumb.  And on the other hand, I carefully weigh the stories and opinions from all those important to me and felt like I made more informed decisions because of it.

So do you want to know out of all of the unsolicited comments and questions, the implications and wisdom,  my favorite piece of advice?

It came from a family doctor that attends our church.  We met him when we studied under him in a class and I was in the last stages of pregnancy.  After MG was born, and we finally felt comfortable taking her out in public, we ran into him at church.

He stopped us, gave the appropriate compliments, and then asked us, of course, how we were doing.  At the end, he said, “You know, often new moms are made to feel guilty because they are told to ‘enjoy this time while you can!’ {at this point, he had my full attention, this was something I constantly struggled with in the early days, trying to soak in and remember every single moment and detail and feeling it slipping away too fast} and then he continued, “But this is what I like to tell moms: ‘just be sure that you are taking pictures and videos and then someday you will be able to look back and enjoy those little moments over and over and you will have them forever.’  It takes away the guilt of not being able to enjoy every moment now and it allows you to enjoy those moments indefinitely later.”

And with that I was free.

I took his advice (which was easy for me because I love taking pictures and videos anyway) and it is so true:  Those memories are so precious to me and  the best part is I will be able to enjoy them forever.

Later, I was in MOPS with his wife and she continued his advice, adding in: “By taking pictures and especially videos of your children, you are manipulating their memories.  They’ll look back at home videos and remember how fun that was!  and how golden my childhood was!  Just keep a video camera laying around in easy to access places and take videos of the everyday things and conversations.  Those are always the most fun to look back and watch.{like infamous capture of 3 year-old me holding my brand new baby sister and my parents saying, “We’ll get to keep her forever!”  and my face just falling into infinite disappointment}”

I just love that.

One day, my dear MG, we will watch all the early accounts of your life together.  The first giggles and smiles, the nude laps around the house after your bath, the sloppy dinners, the first steps, and all of moments in between.  And I won’t remind you about the tantrums and sleepless nights and battle of wills.  Those will stay my little secret until one day when it’s your turn.  But until, just know that I will be in the process of creating a beautiful childhood for you to remember.


MG’s Birth Stoy: The Pregnancy

My pregnancy with MG was very routine, and for that I am grateful.

I battled nausea, vomiting, food aversions/cravings the first trimester.  And I learned that something the size of a blueberry can make an indelible impact on your life.  Up until the pregnancy (and especially the 6 months prior), I had eaten very healthfully, completely sworn off gluten, had little need for medicine, and maintained a strong pride in my active lifestyle.  Then along came the beautiful pink lines and all of a sudden I was unrecognizable.  Thank goodness for the meds that kept me from vomiting hour after hour.  Thank goodness for the hot dogs that I allowed myself when literally nothing else sounded palatable.  Thank goodness for the Saltines (filled with gluten) that sometimes substituted as dinner. Thank goodness that God began humbling me through a tiny, unknown creature.

The second trimester was blissful.  Gone were the sleepless nights and the odd food relationship.  I gained back my lost first trimester pounds with joy + more.  We found out we were having a girl.  That’s when the fun truly began.

Because that little tiny creature began to take shape as a real human being.  A girl.  Our daughter.

Oh what a novel thought.

Day and night I was consumed with thoughts about her.  Her flutters in my belly brought flutters to my heart.  I dreamt about her, talked about her, prayed for her, shopped for her, could not wait to meet her.

I woke up every morning with a smile on my face and a round belly to keep me company.  I quizzed friends over must-haves, reveled in baby shower bliss, and took pictures and notes to document every bit of this incredible journey.

 {guessing game over the size of my ginormous belly at a shower}
But right along with all of the joy, happiness and bliss came something very dark as well: anxiety.  I’ve always been very careful and controlled, but that control took a turn for the worse during one of the happiest times of my life.  I wrestled with vivid nightmares, new fears, and even concerned myself to the point of tears over whether or not to take a prescribed medication to heal up an infection.  I partially blame the miscarriage for putting a dark cloud over my joy, but I also know that it is partially my nature too.  Unfortunately, this anxiety did not disappear after she was born, it only intensified.  And I found myself seeking out advice from many other seasoned moms and a counselor in order not to spiral.  That, along with a lovely little book, “The Power of a Praying Mom” by Stormie O’Maritan, helped me to realize that my fears were completely out of my control (scary, but true).  And that God loved my MG even more than I did and was watching over her even when I could not.  So I rested in that, even when I found myself not believing it.  And today I am at a much healthier place with all of it.
That being said, during the third trimester, my mind was all over the place.   Often between great joy, day dreaming about the future, and sometimes playing the fearful game of “what if?”  And in some ways, I attempted to gain control by preparing everything I could possibly think of in advance.  We built her crib, readied her room, took Lamaze class, finished up our meetings with Julie, stocked our pantry and made freezer meals, and I nested the house within an inch of it’s life.  And then I waited.

N would be up and out of the house before my feet hit the floor every morning and I would come downstairs to find my daily “to-do” list in my planner had some added items.  Laundry, Gro store, clean carpets, CONTRACT.  He was as ready as I was to meet MG.

There is, however, nothing like getting the stomach flu at 39 weeks to take your mind off of everything.  And so that’s where I found myself at the end of my pregnancy.   The doctor very chipperly told me, “Well sometimes vomiting will induce labor!”  And I found myself praying that the first chapter of my birth story would not begin with me in the fetal position on the bathroom floor.  Do I regret praying that?  Sometimes.  Because that began what would be the longest wait of our lives.  Waiting for labor to begin.

And since turnabout’s fair play, I’m going to keep you waiting to find out what happens next.

Until then,


part VI