Friday, August 28, 2009

Sometimes You Just Gotta Say...

So a guy gets drunk, goes home, gets nekkid and passes out in bed.

Except it isn't his bed.

He's in the wrong house. He actually lives a block or so over.

The bed's occupant, a 6-year-old boy, goes into his parents' room and wakes them up.

"Mommy, Daddy! There's a man in my bed!"

When police arrive, the homeowners are screaming at them from their second-story bedroom window.

As they enter the house, the police find items of clothing on the floor, smelling of booze and urine as they make their way to the second floor. And yes, they also found drunken guy passed out in the kid's bed. So they arrested him.

Now comes the WTF part.

Nekkid guy's defense?

First one is out of the "These aren't my pants!" playbook (where a suspect on Cops gets patted down and the cops find dope in his pocket. He screams, "These aren't my pants! I've never seen these pants before in my life!").

He denies that he went to the wrong house.

You mean like that whole family snuck into HIS house and set up shop while he was at the bar to play a prank on him?

His other defense is that the cops only arrested him because they were racially profiling him.

Arrested while Irish? snarf.

Dude, you messed up. Take it like a man. Sheesh!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Collectors are Weird, Part 1

Ok, we're done, we're finally done with all the records!!

Well, the 10-inch 78's at least. Everything is paid for and shipped, and I'm free! I'm free!

There's still a couple of hundred 12-inch 78s, vinyl 45s and vinyl 33s to go through. That's for another month, because I'm damn tired and going to take some time off.

We ended up selling about 450 10-inch 78s in around 7 weeks. Most were on eBay, quite a few were private sales to collectors from around the world.

Now mind you, for those who haven't been following this---my step-dad collected records for most of his life. He left a collection that numbered around 700 records when he passed away several years ago. My mom hung on to them for awhile and waffled about how to dispose of them. Pops had several large collections---along with the records, there were stamps and antique photography equipment. And other miscellaneous crap---er stuff.

Through a member of her church, she was steered towards a "reputable" dealer (apparently a relative of the member) who looked the collection over and told her they were worth a dime a piece and offered her 70 bucks for the whole shebang. I protested, and ended up with the entire collection (30+ boxes) in my living room.

Well, although it was a lot of work, I'm freaking glad I did.

The grand total on about 450 records that were "supposedly" worth a dime a piece, ie: 45 bucks?

Drumroll please...

Over eleven thousand dollars.

Isn't that amazing?

It's like those stories you read where somebody finds an undiscovered Picasso in their attic. My mom is quickly spreading the word throughout her senior citizen community not to automatically trust a "trusted relative" of someone to give an accurate assessment of their belongings. Especially when they offer to buy them at that price.

I thought originally maybe we could get a couple of thousand. I knew nothing about records, but did some internet research and recognized some of the artists. Like Charlie Parker and Martha Copeland. Thought they might be worth well more than a dime.

And of course, there was a ton of artists I'd never heard of, but were apparently quite collectible. Tub thumping, jug blowing, doctor syncopating, jazz flowing, skillet-licking, plaza orchestrating stuff. Who knew Pops was so hip in his younger years?

So back to the "Collectors Are Weird" part.

About the third week in, I listed a bunch of country records on eBay early one evening.

Hubby was at a late meeting, was due home about 6pm, the boys were otherwise occupied until late (domino's pizza and the late show), I figured we could have an intimate dinner for two with some serious nooky included. I had a seafood dinner ready to stick under the broiler, had showered and smoothed and foofed (and consumed a couple of glasses of wine in the meantime).

Hey, you gotta steal those moments when you can!

The Love of My Life wasn't home yet after all the preparations, so I went downstairs to the office to check on the auctions.

I had a message in my ebay "inbox".

A very lovely man named George wrote to me and said, "I've been following your auctions and I just wanted to let you know that this particular record you just listed for a 6.99 starting price is very collectable. I'm not trying to buy it from you, because I happen to have an outstanding copy of it, but I think that soon you will have several people writing to you and asking you to end the auction for their offer. If it's in the condition you have described, this record is worth between 100-300 dollars."

There was more, and he was very friendly, so I wrote him a thankful note back (not thinking that anything was going to really come from it). When I exited out, I noticed that my inbox has increased by 3 emails.

One offered 70 dollars if I ended the auction and sold to them. The next offered 100 dollars. The final one said, "if you end the auction, I'll make you a very good offer".

Now I was intrigued. Hmmm. I wrote back and coyly asked, "How good is a very good offer?" He responded with "Call me. Now." And left his number.

If this sounds all cloak and daggery, I have to explain something about eBay. If you're not familiar with the rules it goes like this: When you list an item for sale, you can pretty much do what you want with it (pull it off and sell it on the side, change the terms of the auction etc) UNTIL you get a first bid. Then you are contractually obligated to follow through to the end. Unless of course, the item breaks or something and you can't sell it. Otherwise, you have to follow through.

Obviously eBay frowns on people using their site to hook up and sell off of it, because they don't get their fees. So if someone makes you an offer, and you don't already have bids on the item, you can manually go in, add a "Buy it Now for xxxxx (the agreed price)" to the auction, the collector then can swoop in and purchase it through eBay and everybody is happy.

But time is of the essence and you have to do it fast before someone realizes what a treasure you have there and makes the first bid. ;-)

So I call the guy, and he offers 80 bucks for the record. I said, no thanks, I've already got an offer for 100.00.

Interested Buyer: "You say in your listing that there's only one small wear spot on the record. Could you describe it to me?"

Me: Wha? Describe it?

Interested Buyer: "Is it gray? Is it dull and black? Is it black and shiny?"

Me: Hang on a sec. I have to go look. After cleaning and grading a couple of hundred records they all tend to be one big blur after awhile.

So I took phone and wine glass and toddle up to the first floor to find the record.

Pulled the record, had the phone between my shoulder and ear and held the record up to the light. I couldn't find the wear mark. So I took off my glasses and looked close.

The guy kept telling me to hurry, and I was a LITTLE tipsy. I kept up a running commentary.

Oh! I found it! Well, it's not gray, it's not dull and black or even shiny and black.

Interested Buyer: (impatiently) "What does it look like?"

It looks like a sparkly fingerprint.

Interested buyer: "A what?"

A sparkly fingerprint. And there's another. How weird.

Interested Buyer (who is at this point quite bewildered): "What in the world are you talking about?"

Suddenly it dawned on me. Those were MY sparkly fingerprints. Oh my God, it must be my lotion!

I started babbling. It's my lotion. My hubby is due home and my kids are gone, and I was hoping to get lucky tonight so I put on sparkly lotion. It must be on my hands. Nevermind---I found the wear spot. It's smaller than the head of an eraser and it's shiny and black.

So he made me a generous offer, I ran downstairs and amended my auction to his offer, he purchased and I sent him an email promising to ship immediately and thanked him. Then hubby came home, I crowed about the incident, and I thought that was the end of it.

The very next day, Interested Buyer called ME. Several times while I was out. I guess he took my number off his caller ID from the night before. That kind of annoyed me, because I certainly didn't extend to him an invitation to call me after our transaction.

I called him back. "Do you have a pen and paper?" was the first thing he said after I identified myself. And proceeded to abruptly rattle off a bunch of record numbers and label names.

"Do you have Okeh?"






"You sound awfully sure."

I AM sure. I might not know of the top of my head the artists' names, but I'm sure on the labels.


Yes, I had a couple, but I sold them.

"What were they?"

I told him.

He made a little whimpering sound. Yes folks, he actually whimpered.

At this point I was a getting a bit impatient. I'm just about to walk out the door to go to the post office to mail your records, I informed him.

"Ok Bye." He hung up. Just like that.

He called me the next day. And the next. Did I have a chance to go through the rest of the records? Did I mail his parcel priority mail? Oh, he has more numbers to put on his wish list.

WTF is up with this guy? I asked my husband.

"Maybe he's hoping for more sparkly lotion talk," he snickered.

I finally went through all the records and found a few that were potentially on his wish list. I called him and asked him if he was interested. They weren't artists he collected.

He thanked me politely and that was the end of that. He got his record and left me wonderful feedback on eBay.

I wrote to George, the eBayer who had originally wrote to me about the value of the record. I thanked him for his "head's up" and described the whole encounter.

He wrote back and said, "Is his name xxxxxxx?"

Why yes. Yes it was!

Turns out, the collecting world is pretty small. Many of the serious collectors know each other, because they go after the same stuff. And my buyer was a rather eccentric man known for once dropping 5 figures for an obscure record.

Before he signed off on that email, George added a final line.

"Collectors are weird".

'nuff said. LOL

Friday, August 14, 2009

Karma Will Get You Every Time!

Ok this is a roundabout adventure we had in the last couple of months and boy, did it teach ME a lesson. It's a little long and convoluted, so bear with me!

Before I disappeared at the beginning of summer, I wrote about two things regarding The Happening Dude, my nephew who is now living with us. You can scroll back to read it if you like.

One was about how we had him completely evaluated psychologically and physically. He has monthly psychiatrist appointments, although it's basically a med check for the one remaining medication he has to take. The doctor doesn't provide therapy, just monitors how he feels physically on the med. But the appointment is way down in the city, over an hour drive each way, and doesn't last more than 5 minutes.

"How are you feeling?" Doc asks.

"I'm ok", says THD.

We've been trying to set up "phone appointments", but apparently Medicaid (he has Medicaid because he is a foster/adopt child) frowns on that.

The second time I wrote about him was regarding an ethical situation---the difference between stealing and "borrowing". We talked about Karma and the variations on that.

"You reap what you sow", we've warned him. "What comes around goes around".

Before we did our "Extreme Makeover" (which I blogged about) of kitchen and bath a couple of years ago, we bought new appliances and had our kitchen counters raised 3 inches because we are a tall tribe.

When I first met Hubby, he owned a successful restaurant/bar. Once in a while he had to fill in as souse chef, prep worker, whatever, if people didn't show up, quit, were fired, etc. Eventually he learned enough from the head chef, so that he filled in as co-chef when they got slammed.

In our home, when we did the appliance makeover, he was the "expert", and went to some scratch and dent/discontinued item discount floor show and brought home HIS fantasy fridge, stove and dishwasher.

None of them are particularly practical for day-to-day use with a busy family. Like they're going to stay looking great forever. There's a reason they've been discontinued---doh!

The dishwasher works great. Except when it's Hubby's turn to wash the dishes. He thinks that for the amount of money we spent that it should automatically clean the baked-in crap on lasagne dishes, the rock-hard congealed melted cheese between fork tines and on spatulas.

He just loads whatever is in the sink and gets mad when after they don't come out clean, I put them back in the sink with instructions to "use a little elbow grease" since it's all been baked back in like concrete during the hot dry cycle.

Really. I'm a busy woman, and I'm nobody's housebitch. One day a week Hubby does the dishes, and dammit, he better get them right! I've trained the other guys to apply the scrubber on tough stuff when it's their turn, but between you and me, I believe Hubby prolly thinks the dishwasher should fold his clothes and give him a blow-job as well. ;-)

The flat top stove is well----a flat top stove. You can't keep it pristine unless you do all the cooking and automatic mess cleaning yourself. And I don't and I won't. It gets used by other people in the household. Sometimes things boil over and/or get burned.

The worse thing is the fridge. I understand why it's been discontinued, because it's a logistical nightmare.

The picture above is representative to the style we have. It's not the same brand, however. For the last couple of years, this fabulous stainless steel fridge has been a humongous thorn in my butt.

First off, any time ANYONE touches it---it gets fingerprints on it. You can't polish it up with a spritz of Windex, because that will ruin the finish. You have to use water, Dawn and an extra dry polishing towel, or a special Stainless Steel cleaner.

The top half is the fridge, the bottom is the freezer.

The fruit and veggie crisper drawers are on the bottom of the fridge section. Which is placed on the very top of the automatic ice maker in the freezer section, so all the fresh fruit and veggies freeze. No matter how we tried to adjust the temperature controls located in the top half of the fridge, any salads or fruits would freeze and then limp around when we tried to defrost them.

So ultimately, the drawers have been used to store things that could get frosty without care.

Like Bacon. And beer. Which practically never moves because Hubby drinks like 3 beers a month.

I resent it. Hell yes, I do. The rest of the fridge is cluttered up with bags of fruit, heads of lettuce, etc.

The freezer has a pull-out drawer on the top. The ice-maker is attached at the top on the left hand side. It has one of those wirey lever things that is supposed to move up with the accumulation of ice and stop when it is moved up to the top.

Except that every time you pull the drawer out, unless you consciously reach way in and make sure the lever is in the top position first, the very act snaps that little lever off and it flies to wherever in the freezer section.

And until you open the freezer again and notice it, it continues to make ice. Overflowing ice. Ice everywhere. Filling every nook and cranny.

My guys aren't terribly conscientious and forget constantly. So frequently when I open the freezer drawer, gallons of ice comes pouring out.

So back to my story. Yes, yes, I digress!

Early in the summer, the refrigerator seemed to stop being cold. We called the repairman, who came and said that the defroster in the main part of the motor in the freezer section had stopped working, and the vents got covered in ice, so that the cold air couldn't flow to the fridge part. He defrosted it, so the cold would flow until he ordered the part and came and fixed it in a week. No biggie. Just a 200 dollar repair bill. Heh. One of many.

I've been all caught up in getting rid of my step-dad's record collection. I had a buttload of records to clean, grade, scan, list and specially pack to ship when we got a call on a Tuesday reminding us of The Happening Dude's appointment down in the city for a med check on Thursday.

Now mind you, it wasn't urgent. He had 5 freaking refills. I was really tired and not looking forward to packing and shipping about a hundred records in the next few days. I rarely miss or reschedule appointments for any of our guys, but the thought of wasting 2 hours to drive down to the city for basically a BS appointment just got the better of me.

Ok, yes I was justifying my bad behavior. I admit it.

So I said, "something's come up, can we reschedule?"

The receptionist said, "well what's come up?"

Gah! That threw me for a loop. Didn't think she'd actually ask.

Mindful of Karma, I didn't say---well, my mom's sick, or I'm sick, or my kid's sick, or my car's broken down, etc....didn't want to wish harm on any of us.

So I blurted out, "My fridge is on the fritz and the repairman can't come until Thursday morning."

And we rescheduled. The Happening Dude was there during the conversation, and he said, "Why did you lie?"

I was on my justifying streak and replied, "Well.....I figured that since I didn't ever have to use the excuse to cancel anything when the fridge broke down a few weeks ago, maybe Karma would be on my side."


Friday morning, it was apparent that there was no cold to the fridge OR the freezer. The lights worked, but nobody was home.

I called the repairman's office. "He was just out here a couple of weeks ago,", I wailed. "Now NOTHING is working!!"

He didn't service our area until the following Wednesday. Luckily, we could put all of our freezables out into the freezer in the garage. Everything else went into coolers with a lot of ice.

And The Happening Dude gave me crap all weekend..."see! it's Karma!"

I bribed him to keep his mouth shut, and Hubby and I spent the next few days trying to jigger our budget to figure out if we could just buy a new fridge, because this one has been more trouble than it is worth. Who knows how much the new repair bill would be? Would it be worth it?

So the repairman comes up on Wednesday, looks it all over and says, "well, everything's turned off."

What? No it's not. I showed him the control dial in the fridge. It was set on high. Nothing. No game.

"Oh those aren't the controls," he said. "Look here".

He pulled out the bottom freezer part, and got down on his hands and knees. I got down there too.

"See?" he said. "These are the controls." And pointed deep into the freezer.

No sh*t. There was an actual control dial down there that regulated the temperature of the entire unit. You have to get down on your hands and knees to even see it. Apparently not only did pulling the top freezer drawer in and out snap off the ice maker lever, but whatever we had stored in there bumped against that control over time and finally turned the whole thing off!

What about the control dial in the top of the fridge that seemed to be the "obvious" control? That's to regulate the amount of "cold" that passes through the top half of the freezer to the veggie and fruit boxes. We had it set at a medium-high level all this time and THAT'S what made them freeze.

After I paid the repairman (60 bucks for the visit), I pulled out the manual that came with the fridge. We apparently got a general one for the "type" of model we purchased. Nowhere does it say that the temperature control is way back in the bottom of the freezer. grrr.

So Karma got me, for good or for bad. On one hand, now we know how to make this monstrosity work. It just took 4 years of repair bills and spoiled produce to figure it all out. On the other hand, it saved us from spending another thousand plus for a better unit.


Friday, August 07, 2009

Oh Dear...

Howdy! I'm back!

And I missed you guys. I'll come and visit you all and catch up over the weekend.

I've been saving up all kinds of snarkies to share while I was gone.

One that has just been KILLING me involves AOL.

Now you know I have a hate/hate relationship with AOL, but I've had it for over 10 years, and I have all kinds of things saved on it.

And I fear change.

Plus TLPWSFB (The League of People with Sh*t for Brains) provides so much snark fodder.

The latest has to do with the comments sections on their "news" reader. Forget reading the article---just skip straight to the comments. Almost every single one is a freakfest of extraordinary proportions.

It doesn't matter what the article is about----say, Beyonce's bodacious booty, how to filet and grill your own road kill, ways to get 10 more miles a gallon in your car, or even the latest medical miracle----it ALWAYS devolves into comments like these:

The self-righteous blaming the world's ills on the godless hordes
10 ads for Colon Cleanse
How the U.S. is going to hell in a handbasket because we have a (insert various racial slurs) man in the White House.

I can't figure it out.

Is it the same 10 commenters---bigoted christers with incredibly clean buttholes who spend their days commenting on EVERY SINGLE FREAKING ARTICLE---or are all the futjobs just attracted to AOHell?

The funniest, maybe saddest, but certainly the snarkiest part of it is the content of the comments.

For example (and YES! this is real!):

"The solidity of family is all but about gone. Pretty soon humans will be procrastinating like apes each jumping from one sex partner to thenext having children whenever and whomever . It's really sad. My own son is having a baby with a gal who has two other boys with two different fathers. Hollywood seems to be everyone jumping in bed with homever they co-star with, married or not, so when kids have roll models like this, is it any surprise?"

"Roll" models? Like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, perhaps?

And how exactly does one "procrastinate" like an ape?