Archive | May, 2012

My experience with Cincinnati Craigslist: People Suck

29 May

Sometimes you just have to recognize that people suck. I come to this realization every time I use Craigslist.

In Chicago I was a Craigslist pro — I occasionally had the deadbeat that wouldn’t show up or rescinded on an offer, but most of the time the person showed up, handed me a wad of cash, and took away my couch/vacuum/TV or whatever without any questions or problems. Craigslist was the greatest thing ever!

…until I tried to use it in Cincinnati. Stephen gave me one of his laptops to sell for him while I’m in the states. I created a nice ad with photos and was excited when I got an email about it minutes after posting it. And then I read the email.

“Hi,” the email started, friendly enough, “would you be willing to trade it for this?” And then there was a link. I thought it might be a different computer. This is what it was:

A $40 waterproof camera. For a $400 laptop computer. In what universe would that be an even trade?! This is not Monopoly or Oregon Trail — I clearly stated in my ad “cash only.” I figured this woman was some type of spambot so I didn’t bother to reply. Instead I pulled up my ad and added “No trades.” In all my years of Chicago Craigslist I have never been offered a trade. Cincinnati Craigslist was not off to a good start.

Several hours later I received another email from an interested buyer. This one sounded more promising — he merely said he was interested and asked about the condition of the computer and why I was selling it. I wrote back and then waited for his reply, thinking it would be something along the lines of “Great! Let’s meet in the parking lot of Izzy’s off the highway since you said in your ad you wanted to meet in a public place.” Instead, this was his response:

Hi,I am very keen,I really appreciate your response to my earlier mail.I will like to buy it so please do withdraw the advert from Craigslist. I will also like you to know that i will be paying by check due to the fact that i will not be able to meet up with the cash due to my disability in nature.I will have to make an arrangement with the freight agent to come for the pickup as soon as the check is cleared and cashed..I will need you to provide me with the following information to facilitate the mailing of the check.I want your honesty in return to my faithfulness to you during this transaction.P.S Few more photos will be appreciated as well.

 1.Your full name
2.Your mailing address a residential or office address
3.Your phone number.

Hope to hear back from you asap.

…What? What part of “Cash only and meet in a public place” did this guy not understand? The whole point of Craigslist is to avoid waiting for checks to arrive and clear. I so badly wanted to give the guy a snarky response, but decided to be the “bigger man.” He’s probably a scammer, so I politely replied that I was only interested if he could meet in person and supply cash. Waiting for a check to clear makes no sense to me — if you have money in your checking account, just go to an ATM or bank and withdraw it as cash and meet me somewhere. If you’re disabled, give the cash to a friend or family member and tell them to meet me. It shouldn’t be that complicated!

In short, I am not having a great experience with Cincinnati Craigslist so far. People (particularly scammers) suck.


Modern concrete patio art

14 May

For the past few months now my mom has been bugging me about a “project” she wanted me to do while I’m back. She showed me a photo from Better Homes and Gardens of a woman who painted her concrete patio to look like a rug:

“We have a bunch of leftover paint from painting the rooms of the house — maybe you could do something like this on our patio!” she said enthusiastically. Don’t get me wrong, I am a sucker for an artsy project, but after looking at the magazine photo and the random mix of paint cans in the basement, I was hesitant. What design should I — could I? — do? There was no way I could make a fancy rug pattern. The only colors I had were salmon, turquoise, light green, dark green, light blue, beige, Wendy’s Frostie brown (in my Dad’s words) and yellow.

“Just do a swirl or something,” my mom suggested. So I got out my sketchbook and created failed sketch after failed sketch until I finally turned to the computer and made some designs in Paint. This is the rough design I decided to go with:

And then halfway through painting I realized the dark green wouldn’t look good, so I switched it to yellow. After two afternoons of work, this was the result:

I think I’m actually happy with it. I went into it not knowing what to expect, but the colors actually work together. Some of them look completely different on the concrete than on the walls (for example, Frostie brown looks lilac). We applied a sealant on it so hopefully it will last longer than one summer. I can’t say painting on concrete is easy — it’s hard to make a clean line and my hands and knees ache from sitting and leaning on the ground. Plus, some ants couldn’t get enough of the paint for some reason, and I was forced to paint over a couple. I liken it to the workers who are allegedly buried in the Great Wall because they died while building it… except, of course, it’s nothing like that, because the ants didn’t help me paint at all.

Freedom and water aren’t free

9 May

You think you’re free in America, but they can shut your water off any time and you can’t do anything about it. (Granted, this happens in the UK too.) I’m especially mad about it today because I forgot they were doing it, so I didn’t get a chance to wash my face or put in my contacts before they shut the water off. I also realized many of my plans today involved water in some way, so I’ve got nothing better to do than check in on the blog.

Since not much has been going on besides the crazy construction on my street (I caught myself shouting “Noisy gits!” a la my London porter), enjoy these photos I took of Squirt the other day:



Where have all the ants gone? *Cue Paula Cole

1 May

(For those of you left wondering, my suitcase did in fact arrive on Friday, about an hour after I posted that rant.)

One thing I always have to get used to about being back “home” is the ants. They are everywhere. Mostly they hang out in the kitchen, but once I laid out all my toiletries on the bathroom counter they couldn’t get enough of them. They didn’t really bother me that much until I went to brush my teeth and saw ants crawling around the rim of my Dixie cup. That’s where I drew the line. So I told my mom who set up “traps” all along the counter. These traps were really cotton balls soaked in a mixture of water, sugar and Borax. The sugar lures the ants in while the Borax kills them. That’s almost humane, right?

“Give it some time,” my mom said. “Then you’ll see a bunch of dead ants, but — here’s the weird part — they will disappear.”

This intrigued me. Disappearing ants? So I checked in every hour or so to try to witness this phenomenon in action. First I saw the ants crawling around the cotton balls — a good sign. Then, sure enough, the counter was littered with dead bodies. This is when I should have hung around, but instead found it necessary to eat dinner and watch TV. When I came upstairs a few hours later the ant bodies were gone.

What happened?!

I have three theories.

Theory 1: Some ant survives the poisoning, goes back to the nest and tells all the worker ants about the travesty that has befallen their kind, and they all march up to collect the dead to give them a proper burial in the wall behind the toilet. Ants can carry 10 to 50 times their own body weight, so maybe this theory isn’t outrageous.

Theory 2: The spider who likes to hang out in the corner of the shower sweeps in and has a feast, storing what he can’t eat in the wall behind the toilet.

Theory 3: The ants lying around the counter were actually just passed out, not dead, so they eventually wake up and stagger back to their nest so the ant doctor can treat them or they die in the arms of their loved ones.

I can think of no other explanations — can you?