The Perils of Craigslist: Dealing with the Crazies

Don’t worry, I didn’t get solicited by any creepy predators or anything – just ripped off. A little. It’s one of the hazards of buying any used product, but you always hope that the seller is of the honest variety.

In anticipation of baby numero dos, I’ve been compiling all of the necessary double-capacity items that I think I’ll need in a few months: a double BOB stroller (purchased from a friend by my friends and family), a double bike trailer in case I ever figure out how to leave the house with two littles, and a sit-n-stand stroller for high-occupancy places (because that BOB is not exactly space-efficient).

When I found an ad for a newer Schwinn bike trailer on Craigslist, I jumped on it and made an appointment to see it. The lady seemed nice enough, and even though it was an older model than in the picture (a Craigslist faux-pas if you ask me), it was still in pretty good shape and not a bad price – $60. Not to mention it was about 95 degrees, I had driven 20 minutes to see it, and I didn’t really want to leave empty-handed.

A nice trailer. They go for anywhere from $65 - $100 (usually with the stroller wheel, which this one doesn't have) online.

A nice trailer. They go for anywhere from $65 – $100 (usually with the stroller wheel, which this one doesn’t have) online.

Here’s the conversation we had, since I’ve never bought a bike trailer before:

Me: “And it has all the parts to attach it?”

Her: “Yeah. You attach it with the strap. It just hooks onto the bar of your bike. You can buy a plastic piece…”

Me: “Okay.”

So I bought it.

Notice that she said I “could” buy a plastic piece – denoting ‘optional’. Then I took it home and tried to attach it. No dice. The thing was obviously missing something. So I downloaded the instruction manual off the internet (ahh, internet, I love you). Yep, missing the ‘coupling attachment’ (not made of plastic, mind you) that is necessary. It’s not that you “can” buy it, you “have to” buy it if you want your bike to attach safely to the trailer and not with just the strap – which is only a safety precaution so you don’t leave your kids in an intersection if the coupler ever fails.

Missing something...unless you don't mind using duct-tape and a prayer to secure your kids to your bike.

Missing something…unless you don’t mind using duct-tape and a prayer to secure your kids to your bike.

I called her to politely ask if she had the piece so I wouldn’t have to spend an additional $20 getting it online and / or refund me $20 because I hadn’t anticipated spending that much on the trailer. I explained that the strap is just for safety and I can’t very well put two small children in a trailer that isn’t properly attached. I love them – even the unborn one. And when I reminded her that she had told me all the pieces were there, she said, “Yeah, you can attach it with the strap. I said you could buy the plastic piece. Don’t call me telling me you got ripped off.”

And then she hung up on me. A grown woman hung up on me. I am proud of myself for at least trying to explain myself to a woman who clearly didn’t know what she was talking about. (Don’t you hate it when people are so adamant, even when they’re wrong?) And it’s not worth the fight or the stress for a $20 piece of metal. Plus, she cra-zy, and crazy people scare me.

Thrifting / garage sailing isn’t always bad. Just check out this adorable trike that I bought for Buddy (currently $40 in stores) for only $8 the other day. Why pay five times as much when kids don’t care a bit if it’s missing a streamer?

He'll love it (and break it) as much as the last kid.

He’ll love it (and break it) as much as the last kid.

After losing a little sleep over the matter (getting yelled at always makes me upset, no matter when the situation), friends told me about other used-goods debaucles. One friend bought a nearly-new couch, only to bring it home and discover that it had been in a flooded home and the bottom was almost completely rotted out. Her handy husband rebuilt the frame and it was as good as new – and she loves the couch because it reminds her of how understanding and hard-working her husband is. And I will love my trailer because it will safely carry my children and remind me of the day I stood up for myself.

Lessons learned:

  1. Always carefully research an item before buying it on Craigslist – including the specific make and model.
  2. Print out the ad and bring it with you to the sale.
  3. If you show up and the item is already different than the add / picture – abort mission.
  4. Don’t stress over a few extra bucks if you do lose out – you’ll make it up in the next sale anyhow. (Like that sweet antique mason jar collection that you get for only $5 because Granny didn’t know it was awe-some!)
  5. Meet in a public place so that the crazies never find out where you live. (Glad I did this.)
  6. Pay in cash so that they don’t have any record of your existence should you complain / have a problem.

Staycation: Summit County, CO

I am fortunate to have parents who dabble in the real estate market – buying, selling, and renting properties all over the West. One particular condo is near Silverthorne, CO, which is a paltry (unless Blaine is crying, then it’s an eternity) 2.5 hour drive from our house.

When I asked my dear sweet husband if we could please get out of town for a day or so to avoid one or more of us going stir crazy, he consented to drive up to Summit County to stay for two (what? unheard of!) nights. So we did a little budget vacationing like rich people. Staycation!

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We stayed in my parents’ condo overlooking Lake Dillon. The wildflowers were unbelievable! Our dogs were so happy to be outside when it wasn’t 98 degrees – such is life in the higher altitudes.

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We rode the (free!) gondola up to Breckenridge’s Peak 8 fun park. (“Fun” is reserved for the non-pregnant and over-five crowd, so we made our own amusement.)

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Blaine played in the little creeks and got suitably muddy. As usual. I did impress my husband, though, by whipping out a new pair of shorts and a diaper, stripping Blaine down, and having him dressed and refreshed in under 40 seconds. (Yes, I timed it in my head. I’m competitive like that.)

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We also took him to the worlds most amazing playground in Silverthorne. It is big and colorful and he just wanted to play in the wood shavings. Go figure.

I’m not going to lie, though, vacationing with a little one is a whole different ball game. The sleeping / napping scenario can get ugly. “What do you want to do now?” my husband would ask innocently. “Um, drive back to the condo so the Captain can get a good nap in…not in the stroller,” I would reply tersely as if any idiot would know that a 20-minute nap in the stroller on the streets of Breckenridge would be detrimental to any possible good mood later in the day. (Poor husband.)  So back up the hill (a good 20 minute drive) we would go. And then there was the night he was scared by something at 2:00 in the morning and we had to regress six months and sleep in the same twin bed for the rest of the (sleepless) night. Ah, such is life on the road. It was a beautiful trip, but it was honestly nice to get back to our routine after two days. I am such a wimp.

Summertime Cravings: Womb Service

I’m linking up with Katrina at ‘Cedars and Tiny Flowers’ for a post on pregnancy cravings. When I was pregnant with Blaine in the winter (he was born in March), I craved butternut squash soup like you wouldn’t believe. Sometimes I’d have it for lunch, then come home and have a little bowl as a snack. Then I started craving red foods, like strawberries and tomatoes.

This time around, summer is in full swing and the heat is a little bit of an appetite suppressant. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still manage to gain enough weight to stay on the high end of this little mathematical beauty:

The result. I always seem to be on the upper side of uh-oh.

I blame carbs; they are my weakness. My craving, though? It’s rhubarb pie. I could eat it all day long. Mind you, I’m not a “pie” person. I would usually rather eat chocolate in any form – ice cream, candy bar, piece of Dove that I found in my glove box…you name it. But I am all about the pie lately. I’ve made three pies in the last few months and have even perfected my own recipe. In case you would like to try it, here it is:

Pie (1 of 2)

Ashlee’s Rhubarb Craving Pie


1 Tablespoon orange zest
~4 Cups diced fresh rhubarb
1/2 Cup white sugar
4 T quick-cooking tapioca
1 frozen Marie Calendar’s pie crust (They’re pretty cheap at 2 for about $4.50. Totally worth it.)

Crumb Topping
1/2 Cup oatmeal
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Cup butter
1/2 Cup flour


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (205 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together rhubarb, orange zest, 1/2 cup sugar, and tapioca. Spoon into the still-frozen crust.
  3. In the same bowl (hooray for saving dishes), combine the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar and cold butter. Use a pastry cutter or fork to ‘cut’ the butter into the mixture until it’s crumbly. Pour over the rhubarb. (I like a nice big pile on the pie so it has a sort of “crumb cake” topping.)
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 35 minutes.
  5. Eat with / without vanilla ice cream.
  6. Eat again later straight out of the fridge for a snack.
  7. Eat with a cup of coffee for breakfast.

Pie (2 of 2)

For only about $6, this is an amazing pie. Rhubarb costs me about $3 a bunch at my local farmer’s market, and a whole pie would run you about $13 at your local bakery / Village Inn, etc. And if you’re lucky (like me), you have a string-bean of a husband who “forgets” to eat entire meals and never craves anything (except maybe a cold beer after work)…so you get to eat pretty much the whole thing. Just me and baby. Little, one-pound growing baby.