Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Yes, it has been well over two months since my last post. But I am pregnant. Which means I am tired. And nauseated. And cranky. Did I mention cranky?

The crankiness is not so bueno for my mood to go hunting for used stuff. Ugh. I just wanna throw my hands in the air and go buy a bunch of STUFF from Target. So I have sometimes. I have cheated big time on my own rules. Oh well. Things I have bought whilst cheating: new pregnancy jeans. I did look at goodwill, no dice. A coupla books from Barnes and Nobles. There, I said it. And it will probably happen again. Some birthday presents for people. I should have looked on ebay, or etsy, but have I mentioned I am a procrastinator?

Oh well. And to be fair, I will admit that new things will be bought for Christmas. I really want to get the babe a train set, but I have looked over and over at Once Upon a Child, and they NEVER have it. And also we'll probably end up getting some new stuff for our family. But we are going to be getting items that donate a percentage to charity. There's a lot of cool stuff out there that does this- google it, people. And lastly, we pick a needy person or two off the tree at church every year, and I am not going to give this person or child something used. I think it's important to give something they themselves could not go out and get.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

smug karma

So in a rare expedition without the baby, I went to the mall last week to enjoy one of my favorite pastimes. Drinking coffee and reading magazines and books without buying them at Barnes & Nobles. I know, it's not totally kosher, but I do purchase a coffee, right? I don't know what it is about that place, but I could spend hours there. Anyhoo, I really made this an out-of-the-house event and went so far as to put on a new/used pair of jeans from Goodwill with the smug satisfaction of paying $8 for a $60 pair of Gap jeans. Well, my smugness wore off as I walked into Barnes and Nobles. I set off the alarms walking INTO the store. The guy behind the counter looked me up and down and said "Are you wearing new jeans?" I blushed, and said no. He held out a pair of scissors and said "Go to the bathroom and cut out the tag, I bet your jeans are new." Oh boy was I embarrassed. I thought about explaining that no, they aren't new, they are new/used, but that would be rambling, which is also embarrassing. I hung my head and took the scissors. Sure enough, their previous owner apparently never walked through those store detector thingies, cause there it was, the security tag. Oy.

Here's the real kicker. That was the first AND last time I'll ever wear those jeans. I gathered up about 6 bags of clothing, shoes, and purses to give to the Salvation Army. Well, of course I didn't get the bags out the night before, so the morning they were coming to pick up the stuff I was scrambling to get it all out on the curb before 7:30 am. If you haven't guessed by now, I put my new/used favorite jeans out. How? I don't know. I don't remember doing it, but I must have stuffed them in a bag last minute somehow. I guess my inner gloating over such a great find really came around to bite me in the ass!! Who knew there was smug karma???
p.s. here is a picture of the jeans. obviously NOT on me :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

onesie is the loneliest number

So it didn't seem that long ago that everyone was getting married. We were going to about 3 or 4 weddings a year, and I don't even want to talk about the bridal showers. Now everyone is having babies!! I mean EVERYONE. It's getting ridiculous. Wait, let me count out the new babies in my family/friends lives for the past year... 8 new babies, and about 5 current pregnancies. That I know of. And the only thing worse than a bridal shower is- you guessed it- a baby shower!! They are wretched parties, and I hate them. Of course everyone loves their own party, but going to other people's showers is a terrible way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The games, the terrible finger sandwiches, the lack of booze, and then the oooing and awwwing over package after package of receiving blankets and onesies. Bleh. But I digress.

In light of this huge baby boom, I had to come up with something to give people that followed the "rules." This is hard because people generally don't enjoy the combination of new baby and used stuff. I totally understand this. My solution was to go to Once Upon a Child, buy a bunch of barely used baby onesies, and embroider the names of the babies on them! They turned out so cute and got such a good reception, that I decided to branch out and do a bunch for a craft fair this past weekend. My very awesome cousin, Laura, sent me a humungeous box of onesies (some brand new!) that I made great use of. I made about 20 girl/boy/unisex to put out, and optimistically printed out 50 order forms for people who would like to customize.

What an utter failure. The day started out with a downpour, which quickly turned into blazing humid heat, accompanied with winds that could rip yer panties right off. There were maybe 10 people who blew past my booth. Of those 10, maybe around 3 took an order form. Of those 3, ONE person bought a onesie. Yes, I sold a grand total of one onesie. Sigh.

My next move is to sell them online. Sometime this week I'll set up a store on and see how it goes. In the meantime, does anyone need a onesie?

Monday, July 13, 2009

bathtub poo

The baby had his first poo incident while being bathed. I'm seriously considering a new bathtub. Because who knows who may have pooed in a used one? It may have been waaaay worse than vaguely innocent toddler poo. I say vaguely innocent because he may have eaten some dog food yesterday, I'm never certain. Anyway, so maybe a new bathtub is in order.

Just kidding, folks! We have a house built in 1865 with the original tub. That means generations of babies probably pooed in it. Which gives it character, when you really think about it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Half Time!

So it's been about 6 months into our life experiment! Yay, half-way done with the year. And June just flew by. It was a busy month and I can't believe we're wading into the deeper end of July. My workload increased so we hired a part-time nanny, which just makes me feel old saying that. It doesn't seem that long ago that I was the babysitter.

Our baby turn ONE YEAR OLD!! Unbelievable. I feel like we *just* had a newborn, and now we have a toddler. Well, a pseudo-toddler since he refuses to do any unaided toddling. We had an awesome birthday party with awesome friends and family. We asked on the invitation for people to consider bringing imperishables for the local food pantry instead of presents. (Poor baby- but he doesn't know any better yet!) He still got quite a few gifts, but our food pantry donation idea was a success! This was our little way to force some of our rules on friends and family, who apparently like to watch us do it, but don't like to participate in general.

To review the last 6 months, I think we've stuck to our rules pretty well. I will admit I may have wandered too close to the dollar bins at Target (they sing a siren song to me...) and we have on occasion bent a rule to fit in something we needed. Grill cover? Sure, that's "something for the upkeep of the house." New dog bed? Well, where the heck do you find a decent used one?? Gross. Storage containers? I did look online. No luck! And how else do I store all the baby clothes? I won't even begin on the amount of new stuff bought to rebuild our deck (again, upkeep of the house, right?). And we totally went off our rule book for our trip to Japan. So maybe we could have done better, but we could have done a heck of a lot worse. We have not purchased new clothes, new books, new movies, new home decor, etc. We have borrowed, found, fixed, and bought used a lot of things that last year we would have bought new. So half-way through I say not too shabby! I just need to be prepared for 6 more months.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

cheater, cheater, sushi eater!

So I'm back from Japan, and just letting you all know... we cheated! But it was scheduled, planned cheating, and pretty much a necessary evil. We had to bring back presents for our nieces and nephew, moms and dads, brothers and sister-in-laws. Well, we didn't HAVE to I suppose, but it's always good to bring back a little something so everyone knows they were being thought of from across the world.

We also had to get something for baby and for... US! I haven't bought anything new in so long, and I forgot that shopping "high" that I get. Not pretty. It's that edge of greedy, greedy, mine, mine, mine feeling that lasts until you unload the bags from your car. I have to say I didn't miss that feeling. I do love the feeling I get when I pick out gifts for other people, though. That's a fun one. Because you get to feel the pleasure of trying to choose something you think they'd enjoy, and then the pleasure of giving it to them. We kept the souvenirs for ourselves to a minimum, and chose to take a ton of pictures instead. We got a wall hanging that we are planning to put over the bed, and we got husband and baby matching happi coats, which are festival wear. Just in time for baby's first birthday!

But I think that will be the end of new things bought for us for quite a while. I have to go get baby some toys for his first birthday- Once Upon a Child style.

p.s. the pictures above include one of the busiest shopping areas in Tokyo, and a couple of beautiful gardens, which I preferred to be honest.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

foot note

So this whole endeavor has me overthinking every purchase I make. I am going on a trip to Japan next week, and according to everything I read, I will be taking my shoes off everywhere I go. That's fine, I lived in Korea for a while, so I know the drill. But unlike Korea, the peeps of Japan seem to be sticklers for the details. In other words, no holey socks. This is a problem since I haven't bought new socks since the Clinton era. Just kidding, but barely. My theory is, you wear them INSIDE your shoes, so who cares about the holiness of your socks? And I just double up if the hole is somewhere a toe might pop out. (Geez, I sound like a hobo, but I'm not, I swear!) Long story longer, I need new socks. And no, I am so very very sorry, but I am not wearing used socks. But I really did have to think twice about whether I could buy new socks!! I went with my parents to Target and as we were checking out, my mother says to me: Maybe I should buy your socks and underwear (didn't have to think about that one, people!) so you don't break your rules. That is a direct quote from my mother. Please! I need a little leeway here. I have to be able to buy socks with a clear conscience!

p.s. aren't these socks cute?

p.p.s. don't judge me for buying underwear from Target. cause i know that some of you do. you know who you are.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

forever in blue jeans, babe... well, not yet.

So the masses have been clamoring for a new post. Here ya go. I'm just going to warn all of you that this is a very controversial post. You have been warned.

The controversy is this: I don't like jeans on babies. I know, I know. People are passionate about this one way or another. I don't mean to stir up trouble, so I apologize in advance for those of you I may offend. And for those of you out there scoffing, you obviously aren't a mom.

Here is my defense- babies that don't walk yet should not wear jeans. ESPECIALLY not overalls, for God's sake!! It just looks so incredibly uncomfortable, I cannot explain the personal pain it brings me to see a poor little 3 month old all scrunched up in stiff overalls stuck in their car seat. UGH!!!! So I didn't put my baby in jeans. At least not until recently. He is not walking independently quite yet, but is cruising (walking while holding onto something for you parental neophytes) so I have conceded to let him wear one pair- one very soft comfy looking pair (see pic). And that is it!! When he is walking independently, he can wear them all the frickin' time for all I care.

Where does this fit into our rules? Well, let me just tell you that all those people who I know (and love despite their wrongness) are pro-babyjeans bought our baby jeans. And so our poor little babe had about 20 pairs of jeans and overalls size 0-9 mo that he never wore. I sold them! That is the point of my story. Just more STUFF that we had to get rid of.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

tax day b-day

So my husband has the unfortunate birth date of April 15. Yes, tax day. Usually we wait until the last minute to do our taxes, but this year we had a new baby and were excited to see what that child would rake in for us! It was a decent amount, but I don't think it even covered 2 months worth of diapers. Oh well.

To keep on point with our rules, I had to think of something to get my husband that would be used or consummable. He is currently rebuilding our deck, and to go with the deck, I thought we could use a "new" grill. We currently have this little crappy webber grill that has one broken wheel. It is sad. Burgers just slide right off the side with the missing wheel. Our dog loves it. What makes it worse is that when we moved our STUFF out of storage, this little strange grill showed up INSTEAD of my husband's golf clubs. So I spent a lot of time looking on Craigslist for a new grill, but that was boring. And I don't know anything about grills. Really, there's a whole different language for grill talk. Long story short, I told my husband to look for himself and get the one he likes. I know, I know. A cop out. Instead, I took the consummable route.

As you can see from the photo above, a good bottle of bourbon was the best idea. Yes, this picture was taken just a week after his birthday. For the record, I also got him a bottle of wine. No, my husband is not an alcoholic, but he does like his booze. And a good bottle of bourbon lasts in this house about as long as cake lasts around a fat kid.

Friday, April 10, 2009

goodwill hunting

So back in high school, my favorite store was Goodwill. Now, this was back when the whole grunge scene was going strong. And I thought it was really cool to dress like a homeless person. I bought lots of flannel, old man sweaters, and corduroy pants with random holes. Yes, an occasional hole in the crotch did nothing to deter me. And all of these for about $1 a piece! Such a steal to buy used clothes some stinky old man used to wear! I will give the caveat that I made sure to WASH these clothes. I may have wanted to look homeless, but I didn't want to smell homeless. And while I wore these awesomely fashionable clothes, I still did my hair and makeup, and bathed every day, so I can't say I was a "true" follower of the grunge movement. My mother actually told me that I would "look so butch" if it weren't for my "pretty face." Whatever mom. Okay, so she was right as it turns out. So to sum it up, I loved Goodwill and pretty much shopped there at least once a month. But I stopped going once I graduated from high school and haven't been back.

Until recently, that is. With our new rules firmly in place, and feeling not so new anymore, I realized I could really use a new pair of jeans. I won't even mention my post-baby body, but let's just say the old jeans just aren't as comfy. There is a brand new Goodwill right down the road so I decided to check it out. Let me just say that this store is miles away from what I remember in high school. Gone is the acrid smell of smoke, cats, and old man. The clothes smell fresh, and apparently they are laundered on site. The store is arranged in a very easy to navigate fashion, and sizes are clearly marked. I started perusing the racks and found a gold mine. I found a gap shirt, old navy jeans for me AND my husband, a couple of summery tops, and a cute shirt from new york & company with the tags still on (see picture)! I also got a couple of brand new jewelry sets (still in the box) as presents for the future. All of this for.... $50. It's true. And there was a lot more I could have talked myself into buying. I could not believe some of the name brands - if you are interested in that sort of thing. Seeing as how I shop at Target a lot, it really doesn't make a difference to me. But it's amazing the amount of clothing I came across that still had the original tags. Unbelievable!

On the other side of the store were racks upon racks of STUFF. I stayed away, I promise.

p.s. Oh, also, I still have my old man Izod sweater cardigan that I bought at Goodwill when I was 16. And yes, I still wear it all the time. And yes, it is back in fashion again. And no, it no longer smells like old man.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Black Velvet and that Little Boy's... oh never mind.

So my husband is a bit of a clothes horse. He doesn't own an extravagant amount of clothes, but he does like nicely made clothing. He has suits that were tailored for him in Korea, and I don't know anyone who owns more really nice kilts (don't ask). He does dress well, and has a really good wardrobe. But once in a while, a doozy slips past. When we started dating, he owned a shirt we refer to as his "Jesus shirt." It literally had Jesus all over it. And the Virgin Mary. And the Sacred Heart. Did I mention it was made of silk? When he wore it, it looked like he belonged in some weird underground gay Latin club. Which is fine, but he's not Latin, even a little, and he's not gay. I think he "lost" that shirt, sadly.

In our attempt to purge our STUFF that we have sitting around, we looked at our clothes that we don't wear. And there it was. One of the doozies. I am partly to blame for this particular article of clothing, though. Let me explain. My husband and I were visiting Stratford, Ontario for the Shakespeare festival a few years back. If you've never heard of it, it's a great place to visit and see some shows. There are all these really unique shops in the town, and we love poking around all of them when we're there. This particular day, we had perhaps a few too many beers at the Boar's Head Pub, and were feeling happy. We wandered into a speciality clothing shop where this really wackado woman hand made all the clothes she sold. The clothes were a cross between a renaissance faire (with an "e" please note) and a "Hot Topic." My husband found this velvet jacket with a fleur de lis embroidered on it. Well, just check out the picture. Nuf' said. At the time we both thought it was a great idea. It seemed the perfect length for his kilts, and it was black and it was velvet, yeah! Ok, maybe we were flat out drunk, I'm not sure. Long story short, we bought it for an unseemly sum.

So onto where this fits in with my blog. After maybe 2 or 3 wearings, we both came to the conclusion that the jacket looked a little, well, renaissancy gay. This was confirmed by one of our gay friends, so our minds were made up. We put the jacket up on ebay. It sat there for 10 days, with no one paying any attention. We knocked off 25 bucks, and put it back up. Another 10 days go by. Where are all the renaissance faire loving gay men? And so the jacket is still sitting in our closet. So much for our first try of getting rid of our STUFF.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

consumable birthday

So last month was my birthday. As my husband says, I turned 29 for the 3rd time. Now, my husband really enjoys buying extravagant gifts for me. I am not unashamed to say I have gotten more than one gift in the "little blue box." And don't get me wrong, I enjoy receiving them. But you know, we have our "rules." I reminded him gently of our "rules" a couple of weeks before my birthday, and he assured me he had it under control.

The week before my birthday, I was talking to my sister-in-law who mentioned something about my in-laws coming to stay the weekend with us so that we could go out for my birthday. Uh-oh. Alarm bells went off because this was the first I had heard about it. Sure enough, surprise spoiled! Oh well. It was still an awesome present. We had not been out together without baby since he was born back in June!! We got all fancy, ate at the local Italian restaurant, and went to our first movie in the theater since the day I went into labor (it's true- I went into labor watching Sex and the City). It was just so amazing to be out again.

On top of all this, my husband brought me flowers (hmmm, they were new technically, but are they consumable?) and an ice-cream cake! My favorite. Oh, and extra points for my husband because my birthday weekend also was Valentine's day and he had reservations lined up well in advance. So I think he successfully pulled off my birthday AND followed all our rules! And I didn't even miss the little blue box.

Monday, March 9, 2009

yes, I'm THAT kind of aunt

So the first gift I had to give once we decided to go through with this endeavor was to my 8 year old niece for her birthday. This was a problem. For one thing, due to family discord, I haven't seen her since she was 2! So I basically don't know her, don't know her likes or dislikes, or obsessions as 8 year olds tend to have. On top of all of this, I have to give her something used, recycled, or consumable? This is going to head right back into family discord!

And then... I remembered a gift card I had gotten at Christmas!! Would this be cheating? I deliberated, and decided, NO! And it just so happens that the gift card is to Barnes and Noble. And it just so happens that my husband and I are notorious book-givers to children. I know, I know. They want toys. But that's what everyone else gets them, we rationalize! And we're both English majors, so it feels like it's our civic duty or something. So I do decide it's not cheating, because it's like recycling another gift.

As I walk down the aisles of the bookstore, I realize I have no idea what an 8 year old reads. I try to think back, but let's face it, those memories are all but gone. I have vague recollections of Sounder, Old Yeller, Bridge to Teribithia... soooo depressing. I stop in front of a Hanna Montana rack of stuff. There are pens there that when you press a button, it sings like Hanna Montana. I figure this is golden. It sings a song called Rock Star or something like that and I grab it! Ok, so it was a moment of weakness, but I want her to have something fun. Now on to books. I wander around aimlessly until I find someone to ask. What do 8 year olds like to read? She points me to Junie B books. I have never heard of these books, but I take her advice and pick up a boxed set. I feel relief, satisfaction, and cheerful that I have gotten her something I know she'll enjoy, and something I hope she'll enjoy.

Last report: she liked the books fine, but the pen was so cool! So that wasn't so bad. Next up is my birthday... wonder how my husband will handle that.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

where we begin

So this decision came about as my husband and I looked around the house and realized how much STUFF we have. We added a baby to the mix last summer, and the STUFF just exploded. Who knew that one little person needed so much STUFF? So as we were bumping into our overstuffed couch while avoiding the baby jumparoo, we said enough was enough. We made ground rules.

But first a little background. I love to shop. I mean, it is my therapy and did I mention I love it? It doesn't really matter what I'm shopping for, I just love it. The object of most of my love is Target. Target is my happy place, meditative zone, and basically where I can find anything I want. My closet is overflowing with clothes I haven't worn in over a year (maternity clothes, and then stopped working in an office...). And don't get me started on my shoes. I actually own shoes with tags still on them. Ugh. Pathetic. And then there are the nicknacks. I am not guilty here (mostly) and neither is my husband. My mom is a nicknack buyer. Kitchen nicknacks ,(what do I need with a zester anyway?) living room nicknacks (we're supposed to hang THAT picture in our livingroom?) etc. Ok, so I'm shuffling blame, but it's true. My husband owns every tool that you would ever need, but yet needs more on a continual basis. Any new job around the house demands a new tool to match. And with a baby, it just never ends what must be bought.

The ground rules:
  1. We will not buy anything new for a year.
  2. Exceptions to the first rule: consumables (like food, beverages, diapers) and necessities for the upkeep of our home.
  3. To maintain this rule, we will buy only used or recycled non-consumables (clothes, gifts, books).
  4. We will either sell or give away all the extras sitting around the house.

So wish me luck. We have already run into problems and I've had some tantrums, and baby is getting sick of hand me downs (ok, so he doesn't notice, but I do!). But that will wait for the next post.