Thursday, August 21, 2008

Drowning in a Sea of Packing Peanuts

So anyway, I bought these two bookcases off the internet, ebay to be exact, because I made a vow to try and stop buying things new if I could buy them used.

Especially when it comes to furniture. Where this came from was an antique store my mom and I went to several weeks ago. I'd always seen it and been curious about it and when we went inside it was like a magical other world. A magical other world that you couldn't even think about affording. Not even a little bit.

But it was so beautiful, there was really unusual furniture and items in there. We passed by this massive baroque dining room set - huge table, massive sideboard, dark rich had just sold for half a million dollars. Yes, that would be HALF A MILLION DOLLARS. After that I was afraid to breathe in the place, but I couldn't help myself. Once we'd made it to the back room, the owner, who was ensconced in a leather library chair next to a bear rug, yes, a real bear rug, head and all, started talking to us, and I guess he doesn't get that many people to talk to because boy would he not stop. But anyway, he was talking about the quality of antiques, and the way wood used to be versus what it is now. He pointed out that furniture made generations ago was made from old wood - huge oaks for example. Nowadays, they have tree farms and they use young trees for wood because no one has the patience to let them grow for a few hundred years. And he said that totally affects the quality of the wood.

I pondered this for a moment, and you know, I think he's right! So right then I decided from now on, used stuff for me (when reasonable of course).

So I've been wanting a couple of small, narrow bookcases for the house and decided to go look at ebay after a few trips to local antique places (that were reasonably priced) didn't pan out. I found these two that just happened to be from the same seller and after MUCH angst I put in my bids. I was so nervous about buying something important like furniture on ebay; I hadn't seen it in real life, the seller was in Louisiana of all places.... But I figured this could be an experiment, after all, I researched the seller's ratings and all and they seemed reputable.

My two little oak bookcases arrived, originally from England, early 20th century, shipped to Louisiana, and now shipped to me. The seller did a great job packing and shipping, they sent them via UPS freight.

Of course, I then had much angst about that for a few days when I realized UPS freight means a UPS 18-wheeler. How was an 18-wheeler going to deliver to my house on my little cul-de-sac? There was no way!! But it all worked out, the guy parked on the main road, and used the little handtruck thingy to bring my box to the house because (and this is a quote) "it only weighed 100 pounds".

Boy do I need to start getting more exercise.

Anyway, after it was in my house, I realized I was staring at a 6 foot tall, 3 foot wide box. Well, two boxes that had been taped together. I opened the top (bottom) of the box on top and looked in. All I saw were packing peanuts. Millions and millions of packing peanuts. I managed to get the box sliced partway open, then put it on its side and drug out my bookcases. It then took me about 2 hours to get the packing peanuts back into the box.

Now what was I going to do with a 6 foot high box full of packing peanuts? And that's the weird thing...despite those two bookcases being in the box with the packing peanuts, they still managed to mostly fill up the box when I put them back is that possible? I've always had trouble with volume, just never quite mastered the concept, and I think because of that, it affects me differently.

No, really. I'm serious.

ANY-HOO, online (where all solutions are), I managed to find out you can recycle your packing peanuts. So.......moral of the story is....uh, recycle your packing peanuts! They don't dissolve nicely or anything. Oh, and buy used!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Green Monster

I just got back from New Haven (had a mini-vacation) and there are three main things that I got out of the trip:

1. choose walking shoes wisely
2. there is no reason why cemeteries couldn't be more alphabetical-ish, or have at least SOME semblance of thought in how they are laid out, but no, it's all wheee, where should we bury this person, wheeee, let's put the next person WAY over here, wheeee, let's just put initials on this headstone, la la la...
and finally,
3. my allegiance is easily bought by beauty alone

I admit it, I am consumed with jealously. Yale is a beautiful campus, with beautiful buildings and it makes me sick. Not that I love my alma maters any less, nothing will take the place of penn state and pitt....but there was something extra up there....hmmm...maybe it's the smell of money.... :-D

Anyway, I have lots of pics and will post some of the highlights....

Monday, August 4, 2008

"To remain ignorant of things that happened before you were born is to remain a child."

Stop reading here if you are not a history buff (just a friendly warning, you will be bored, I promise you).

So I just finished reading this AWESOME book called Albion's Seed Four British Folkways in America. Yes I know, isn't that the most thrilling title you ever saw?? Of course I was drawn right too it in the Borders or wherever I was. It's paperback, but weighs about 87 pounds. It is, in every sense of the word, a tome. And I carried it all the way down to Jamaica, started reading it, carried it all the way back, read 2 different books, then finished it.

But I digress.....

So it was such a great book! It talked about the different groups of people that first came over to America from Great Britain, what their religions were, what their customs were, basically just what type of people they were, and how that shaped the regions and the history of colonial and revolutionary (and modern) america. I deal with these people (colonists) all the time in my genealogy research and most of them are just names and birth/death dates and places. Long lists of children, with the same damn name as the parents. So John and Elizabeth had children named John and Elizabeth. And let's say Elizabeth died young, then they would name the next girl who was born Elizabeth. You start to lose perspective. But you do start to appreciate unique names (thanks mom and dad for mine).

Anyway, it's so hard to picture them as real human beings that laugh and do stupid things (which is what comprises about 95% of my day). But this book actually gives you some insight into all that. The main four he discussed were the Puritans up in New England, the Anglicans down in Virginia/Maryland, the Quakers in the Delaware Valley and the Northern Britons that ended up in the Appalacians and South. He even discussed language and how it evolved (which of course I thought was so interesting, I love the history of the english language).

Very cool book, has really helped me gain a better understanding of why things are the way they are (and were) in colonial america. Highly recomended. If you are in to that sort of thing. And if you are not, I don't know why you are still reading this, don't even think about making fun of me because I am a dork. I know I am a dork, and I told you not to read this. Go on, go back amazon or wherever you were before.....and forget all about this. :-)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Payback is a B****

So the other day I was gloating over my wonderful win on Ebay. The next day I remembered that there was another book out there I had bid on. I went to check on it, and it suddenly occurred to me that it looked awfully fact, too familiar. Sure enough, after perusing one of my bookcases, there is was. I already owned it, I had bought it in a used bookstore in Pittsburgh.


Now, I know someone won't come in at the end and buy it out from under me and you know what? Now I own TWO of these very pretty turn-of-the-century books on Connecticut because just as I suspected, last night, no one bothered to try and steal this one out from under me.

That's what I get for my over-abundance of gloating the other day.

Oh and by the way, now I have a beautiful spreadsheet that lists what genealogy books I have.

My karma is always prompt. :-)