Freecycling

I subscribe to a mailing list called Wachusett Regional MA Freecycling where people can post things they would like to give away. It’s a really useful list especially if you’re cleaning out a basement or trying to declutter your life. Have an old coffee table that you never use and is taking up space? Post it and someone will want it.

Sometimes I post items myself and get great responses from people who are happy to drive to my door to pick up what I’m offering for free. The only effort needed is posting the item, sending the interested party directions to my house and placing the stuff outside near my mailbox for pickup. Easy Peasy. I come home at the end of the day and my stuff has gone to someone who can use it more than I can.

But I’ve noticed that as the popularity of this list has increased–so have the annoying posts from people looking for a handout. Someone will post, “Unwed pregnant daughter needs diapers” or “Son wants to take drum lessons-anyone have a nice set of drums I could have?” Regardless of the hardluck stories, I always think to myself that these people can’t be hurting too badly when they can afford the cost of an internet connection and many have AOL email addresses. I don’t feel too badly when someone asked for a “laptop-must be WI-FI compatible”.

What sparked my blog today was this post: “Wanted-someone to install my car CD stereo I bought at a yard sale. I live in holden and have a 1989 cavalier Z24. Can anyone help?” Is this person for real? C’mon. Posting something like that on a freecycle list takes a lot of nerve. Hell, maybe I’m just resentful that I don’t have the guts to post stuff like that. I can think of a few things I need in the way of services:

  • Wanted-someone to tear down an old wooden fence on the side of my yard and put up a new one. You can have the old wood if you can haul it.
  • Wanted-someone to install my XM Satellite radio that I bought for a good deal at Best Buy (but I just can’t afford the installation charge…but I was smart enough to buy a service plan!)
  • Wanted-someone to paint my iron railing on the back entrance of my house. I have the scrubber brush, steel wool pads and black paint.
  • Wanted-someone to make a nice pine octagonal picnic table for my backyard
  • Wanted-someone to install my new pool.

I know my fictional wanted list is strictly to make a point, but I think these people who post things like asking for a service need to go to Craigslist or some other place to share their hardluck stories.

The person looking for someone to install a car stereo shouldn’t have bought the stereo unless he/she knew how to install it. The person looking for diapers should have bought a condom and the mother wanting a drum set for her son should go to Kurlan Music to rent one. Enough already!

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Lawn Party

I live minutes away from my old elementary school. I pass by it several times a week and I always experience that pang of nostalgia because some of my happiest childhood memories came from going to school there.

Recently they added a spiffy new marquee sign on the front lawn which has announcements like, “Happy Memorial Day” or “Don’t forget to Read!” To me, the sign looks really out of place given it’s newness set against the backdrop of a school that hasn’t had many structural changes over the past 25 years. (I wouldn’t be surprised to find that old bird’s nest still tucked away near the recess bell if I cared to look more closely…)

But yesterday I experienced a change of heart because it said simply, “Lawn Party” and suddenly I was flooded with all the great memories of my six years spent at Lincoln Street School.

Lawn Party’s were my favorite part of school aside from the White Elephant Tables during Christmas! Lawn Party Day was great simply for the sheer anticipation of what you could do with your friends outside once classes ended.

Mother’s would make trays of carefully decorated cup cakes and we could gorge ourselves on penny candy, slices of watermelon, fruit punch and hot dogs. It was the ONLY time the school allowed us to play with silly abandon on the huge side lawn rather than the blacktop out back with the line dividing the boys from the girls.

For me, Lawn Party was about hanging out all day with my best friend Lisa. We didn’t spend our time on lawn games or other silly things that would amuse most kids. Lisa was the type of friend who took delight in making me laugh so hard that milk would painfully shoot out my nose. Her dad worked as the janitor of the school and somehow I remember that she was cooler because of it.

But since all good parties must come to an end-Lawn Party signified the end of the school year and the beginning of summer vacation.

If you were in 5th grade, Lawn Party was the day you could let it all hang out because you were officially in 6th grade next year. This meant no one could boss you around. 6th grade meant our time had finally come to lord over the entire student body and we still had a whole year to worry about taking showers with the big kids once we hit middle school.

I love that I live so close to Lincoln Street School. Seeing that old brick building reminds me of how far I’ve come in life since being a big sixth grader on Lawn Party Day.

Parking Lot Blues

Last night I had to wait in the parking lot after work for 15 minutes while my windshield melted because I forgot my scraper. I did, however, have a state-of-the-art foam snow brum (European Design…doncha know) with a telescoping handle that when extended could reach across to Southboro. It kicks butt for cleaning off your car in heavy snow, but is no match for ice. Duh! So I stocked up the car this morning with a scraper, brush, windshield wiper fluid that can sustain arctic temps and wore my little Nanook of the North head-dress that covers my entire head and nearly all of my face. It’s not fashionable. But it is warm and that’s all that counts. If you can picture the character of Kenny on South Park (the little boy with his entire head covered with an orange hood so that only his bulbous eyes pop out)–that’s me now. I looked very cute this morning in an Alaskan sort of way, but alas I’m no snow bunny.

My Experience at the Polls

I voted last night after work and there was a tremendous amount of people at the polls. I stood in line for about 15 minutes as I was fortunate to leave work early because I had my Powerpoint class at 6:30. But upon exiting the polls I noticed there was a line of people snaking outside the school so I arrived at just the right time.

A lady struck up a conversation with me while standing in line and was appalled that I was voting Libertarian. So I jokingly replied that Archie Bunker would call me a ‘meathead’, but she didn’t get the joke. May I ask once again why people don’t get me? Then again, I really didn’t stop and think: What Would Debbie Do? If only I could get that through my thick socially-challenged head, I would do much better interacting within the public.

Later on in the eveing, I was in my Powerpoint class and my teacher begain our class by asking if anyone had already voted and did we notice who the first candidate was listed on the ballot? (Mind you, he had quite the smirk on his face which I didn’t appreciate.) So to irritate him, I raised my hand and said, “Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik” I think I totally floored him and the other 5 people in the class because (a) I knew the answer and (b) I could pronounce his name correctly.

Even though I’m disappointed that I didn’t get a personalized telephone call from P. Diddy asking me to Vote or Die, I am pleased that I saw such an amazing turn out-especially the youngsters.

Now that the Presidential election is over, I’ve unsubscribed myself to the ‘Rock the Vote’ mailing list and plan on redirecting my attention to the pending release of ‘Bridget Jones-Beyond the Edge of Reason.’ It’s good to have my focus back on what’s really important to me – the guilty pleasure of watching Colin Firth’s brooding, sexy face. I’ve seen enough of both candidates these past few months and I deserve a treat, don’t I?

Batman!

Spencer told me tonight that there was a bat in our kitchen. I was watching a movie high on Nyquil so it took me a few beats to completely grasp that we had a live bat in our kitchen.

I crept quietly into the kitchen and the bat was hanging upside down near our Tiffany lamp apparently sleeping. (Spencer later said he first thought it was one of my toy’s hanging up there)

I phoned the Worcester Police, but they couldn’t help me because they said an officer was already on a bat call across town on Salisbury Street. Great. So now what am I supposed to do? He suggested I call Animal Control.

Animal Control at least answered their phone, but happily told me that I was out of luck because they didn’t provide emergency response service in the evening which leads me to wonder if all animal emergencies happen during the daytime? They were useless and essentially told me to keep the doors open in house so that perhaps the bat would fly out. But my bat is sleeping!

I opened the Yellow Pages and turned to the ‘Pest’ headings. I called the first four companies with the largest ads and all of them had answering machines. The fourth call was to a guy with an Auburn telephone number with a company name of Critter Control. Wayne answered his phone and I explained my dilemma.

He said, “Are you alone?” I’m thinking why does he need to know that? Have I somehow managed to contact a professional pervert? “No,” I reply. “My husbands home with me and our dog.” (Why I mentioned the dog was beyond me, but remember–I had great doses of Niquil in my system) “So why doesn’t he take care of the bat?” asks Wayne of Critter Control. “I don’t want my husband to get bitten by the bat.” “Oh, so it’s ok if ‘ole Wayne gets bit then?” he laughs.

Without missing a beat, “Look Wayne, I’m paying you good money to come out to my house tonight to get this bat out of my kitchen so I guess that’s the risk you gotta take.”

Wayne shows up a half hour later in the batmobile. Seriously. His white pick-up truck had a bug guard with the saying, “Batman” stenciled across it. He walked in with a pair of leather gloves that our nations American Eagle could land on, an empty bottle of Gatorade and a big flashlight.

It took Wayne all of 5 seconds to pick the bat off the wall and deftly deposit the squeaking rodent into the empty bottle. Cost of service? Now get ready because this blows my mind.

$135.00

I was so freaked out by the whole experience that I wrote him the check for $1, 350.00. “Wow, that’s some tip.” jokes Wayne. Huh? I’m not tipping this guy for 5 seconds of bat wrangling. He hands the check back to me and it sinks in that I wrote the check out incorrectly. So my bat guy was honest, too. What a superhero.

Aside from not having a butterfly net and all this 20/20 hindsight, next time there’s a bat in my house I’m taking my friend Deb’s advice and putting a paperbag over it. At least that’s the plan.

Just Whistle

Right this very instant my next door neighbor is standing across the street from his house whistling for something. I noticed him doing it while I was sweeping my driveway. (It’s my little way of physically recovering from mowing the lawn. Sweeping a broom in a repetitious manner really just helps me decompress from the physical exertion required to mow.)

Anyways…He’s still out there doing it. It’s like he’s calling for someone in the neighborhood and I just know it’s not his dogs because they’re chained up out back. So the only conclusion I can draw is that he’s calling for that young girl I see him with every so often. The blonde skinny one with the dead stare and the cigarettes. And this makes we wonder what kind of girl would come running beckoned by a man’s whistle? Where’s her dignity? Doesn’t women’s liberation mean anything to her generation? It’s one thing to be whistled at, but quite another to be whistled for. It lets the man be in the one-up position and it’s like the girl must supplicate herself to his whistle. Shameful.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so cynical. Maybe…just maybe they’re secret lovers. Yes, that feels better, doesn’t it? He’s older, she’s younger. Maybe her parents don’t approve so they secretly came up with this caveman-like way to communicate. Or maybe they just want to get together to smoke pot and make out. Who can tell?

Oh! He just stopped whistling. By my watch, that was just about 8 minutes of whistling. I wonder. Did she every show up? I have no idea, but it’s social observances like these that make me think I’ve got to get back to watching General Hospital rather than watching my neighbors.