Friday, February 15, 2008

Just buy it, already

Okay, so I should have called this site “malmoirs” because of all the maladies I’ve suffered since I began writing things here. But I didn’t. Aren’t you glad you can’t catch my germs over the internet? It has its own bugs—but none that you’ll contract from me.

So, this will be short since I’m only now beginning to feel remotely like myself.

Here are three inexpensive purchases that we should have made a loooooong time ago. I can’t even tell you why we didn’t. We just didn’t. And then we did. And now we are reaping the rewards exponentially.

Kerosene heater. Every time the temperature dipped near freezing and strong winds or weird storm fronts came through, my heart would pitter-patter in a bad way, because in the back of my head was the realization that if the power went out for any length of time, we’d be forced from our home like refugees. I didn’t think about it until the dire forecasts were looming, and there I’d be shopping for milk and bread and toilet paper like all the other freaks who buy those things before a storm, and I’d be picturing us packing our important possessions and searching for a place to stay until the stupid electricity came on.

Enter craigslist, again. What a great thing that site is. I looked on it for a small kerosene heater, found a few, shared my great idea that we acquire one with Todd, and within two days we had one sitting in our basement, warming the place like a champ. $35.00. The couple selling it had no need (moving to AZ) and now it’s ours. They even threw in some kerosene. And why did this take us several years? Who knows.

Extra garbage can. There we’d be, week after week, setting the garbage out and being forced to balance the extra bag on top of the stuffed garbage can, or worse, swapping out a bag or two from inside the can so that the smelliest food-filled bag would be safely encased, hidden from curious critters who rip the bag open and strew nastiness in their wake. And then, one week, we made it a priority; Todd picked another one up at the store and, lo and behold, we had enough room for all our crap to fit safely inside one of the locked containers. We’ve actually had this item for a few months; it’s just that I’m reminded what a good purchase it was every Thursday night when I’m getting the stuff together for that week’s trash pickup.

Pencil sharpener. Todd has an awesome, huge box of colored pencils left over from his time as an art student at AIP. I’m a stamper—we try to make our own greeting cards, Christmas cards, and nametags and such—so I’ve pretty much taken possession of the box of pencils. But here’s the stupid thing: I’ve used them for years now, and when one of them would wear down to a nub, I’d whine and Todd would sharpen it with a pocket knife. Is that pathetic or what? So, finally, at a craft store last week, I made a point of finding a small, $2 pencil sharpener—one of those tiny metal ones that are just a silver square with two different sized holes—and buying the darned thing.

I cannot tell you the satisfaction I found later that day, sharpening one dull-tipped, bright-colored pencil after another. It really hit the spot. Of course, Marcus was using them too, and as fast as I could sharpen them, he wore them down with frantic scribbling. But I truly didn’t mind. At least not until my hand reformed into a permanent claw from overusing the sharpener...

So, that’s my story. Inexpensive but life-altering purchases that should have been made long before they were. Do you have any to share? Save me the wasted years and tell me what you took too long to buy.


Anonymous said...

I'm laughing b/c we just bought a pencil sharpener too, but it was an electric one. I want a school issue crank handle one, craigslist, perhaps? :) :)

Mel said...

I thought about the great ones from elementary school, but I didn't see any of that type at the shop. And wouldn't you have to mount that style on something, too? Not sure where we'd put it. But they were decidedly the best. What you should do instead of craigslist (for this item, anyway) is wait until the next sweep of public school closings and then pick a few up at the sale of property before destruction. Great way to get desks and blackboards, too.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite things we inherited with this house was the elementary school-style pencil sharpener attached to the back of a basement door. I LOVE IT! Not only does it work beautifully, it brings back memories of occasionally being chosen to sharpen pencils in grade school -- and that one funny memory of what happened when I got it into my 6- or 7-year-old head to stick my little finger in the hole instead of a pencil to see what would happen...ouch.

Mel said...

ouch is right! I never tried it. too chicken. I never tried much of anything as a kid. or now, come to think of it. and may I express my envy at the inherited pencil sharpener. not fair. every home should come with one!

Facie said...


We just bought a kerosene heater. This came after our furnace not working one night a few weeks ago when the temps went down to single digits. The house was around 40 by the morning. Now that Bri is working at home, he set up an office in this room inside the garage, so he uses the heater in the garage to save on running the heat so high all day.

I think everyone's pencil sharpener obsessions are funny! Sorry I don't have something like that to share. Maybe mine is the cell phone with camera. That way you always have the ability to take a picture (this comes in handy with kids and if you are in an accident). I got mine free with new every two deal, so this does not have to be expensive. But do recommend getting the car charger. If the power and or phone ever goes out, you will be covered.

Mel said...

hmmmmm. the car charger is a good idea, Facie, and we do not currently have one. something else for people to think about: if power goes out, and you have a cordless phone, then you are without phone even though the phone lines are still intact. so, it's good to have a regular, old-fashioned corded phone on hand or plugged in so that you'll still have phone service even if the power is out.