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.
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Life Lately: Our Big Boy / Girl Pants

When I took Blaine to his one-year appointment at the pediatrician’s office in March, our doctor was overjoyed to hear that we were expecting another baby. (She knows how hard we tried for Blaine.) At some point in the conversation, though, she urged me not to force Blaine to be a “big boy” too soon. Even though he’ll be a big brother, he’s still a baby, too.

Say what?

Mama can only handle one baby at a time. Literally. For six weeks after my scheduled C-section in October (joy), I won’t be able to pick up my little quarter-pounder. I need him to grow up a little…just a little. Since that appointment, he’s learned to walk on his own, which has been a tremendous help. But I still need him to learn to be a little more independent. Time at home in California has taught me that I maaaayyyyy just coddle him a little too much. I let him pull me to my feet to help him with something that I know he can do by himself. I hold / carry him at the drop of a hat. (Obviously, when things get rough or he needs a hug, I will be there. But when he gets mad at me for saying “no” and then wants me to hold him…not so much.) And I’m quick to give him his pacifier when he’s upset or grumpy. (It’s in almost every photo of our trip.)

Old Trusty.

Old Trusty.

So lately, we (and I do mean “we” – I’m training myself to not give in as often) have been weaning off of two things: a.) being held when he could walk or explore, and b.) using his pacifier instead of observing, relaxing, and engaging in a situation. So far, I give us both a B+. Except for naps and when he first wakes up, he hasn’t really missed the paci. (Side note: he’s also babbling a lot more with his free mouth, which is good!)  And he’s learning to accept my hand as an alternative to my entire upper-torso. Much more convenient.

A paci, a cracker, and Mr. Monkeybritches. One of these things has to go...

A pacifier, a cracker, and Mr. Monkeybritches (a sock monkey whose leg can be barely seen). One of these comfort items has to go…

 

I don’t want him to grow up too early, but I do want us all to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted by the time Baby Brother arrives in the fall. That gives us 8 more weeks of practice for the day when I’m so exhausted from sleep deprivation and 3 a.m. feedings that I can’t pick up anyone but myself, let alone locate a missing pacifier. (It’s under the couch.)

Linking up with ‘Wild and Precious’ today – check out some other fun stuff going on in their lives!

It’s What We Do

I love parks. Playdates are fun. But the only place that offers true respite from the 90-degree heat (aside from standing in front of my swamp cooler), is the river. We are fortunate to live about 7 blocks from the Arkansas river, which is running low and cool and just about perfect these days. (When it is high and muddy, I can’t stop thinking about how quickly Blaine could disappear under the surface if he ever wormed out of my hand and managed to long-jump three feet from the shore. Such are the fears of mothers.)

Happy dude.

Happy dude.

We go just about every day, and Blaine loves to play in the water, throw rocks (a habit that is translating into some difficult social situations), and dig in the sand. It was my husband’s day off today, so I managed to snap a few photos without endangering Blaine’s life by letting go of his nimble little hand. When it comes to taking blogging pictures, I put the priority level at just below ‘safety of child for which blog is named’.

Neverending source of fun.

Neverending source of fun.

I feel that the river is also a perfect substitute for all of those “sensory” bin activities that I see on Pinterest and can’t be bothered to put together. (Lazy mommy.) At the river, we play in the water, pick leaves, play with grass, run our fingers through sand, and stack pebbles. That’s a lot of sensory business going on, and I call it good.  It’s also good for me to get out and walk the nearly 2 miles to and from the park. Mommy needs some sensory stimulation, too. Not that Curious George isn’t engaging…

The mighty Arkansas River.

The mighty Arkansas River.

The Important Things

There are so many Pinterest Boards / websites dedicated to helping moms to engage in meaningful play with their children. I just read a post (which I originally dismissed but then saw the value of) called ‘Meaningful Block Play’ , which reminds mothers and fathers that kids need help discovering which tactile toys can best help them express their creativity. If kids don’t know about a particular medium, they won’t be able to utilize it. And let’s face it, when it comes to knowing a lot about the world, toddlers are at the bottom of the smartie-pants scale. They know nothing! We have to teach them the basics of play and life. (I don’t even want to discuss the joys of potty training that will be coming up in the next year.)

So when we went up to visit Daddy yesterday to have lunch and spend precious daylight hours with him, it made me feel good to know that, although he can’t put his shoes on by himself or say the word “Mommy” (sigh)… my little man can dip a French fry into ketchup. Repeatedly. With style.

Priorities, people.

Doing what we call "dip, dip".

Doing what we call the “dip, dip”.

 

He's surprisingly neat about it, too.

He’s surprisingly neat about it, too.