Monday, October 29, 2007

Pssst. Hey, buddy. Wanna buy a china cabinet?

If you've read this blog for a while, you've probably realized that I'm a bit of a Craigslist addict. I've nearly furnished two entire houses all from Craigslist. I buy on it, sell on it, and usually I do pretty well (although my mother has been giving me a run for my money these days. Only this week she unloaded a hideous old chandelier from our house for close to $300. Go mom!)

But even the experienced Craigslister can hit a wall. My wall is this china cabinet. I just can't seem to unload it. The thing is a monster. It's huge. I figure there's got to be a lot of value in just the materials alone. But beyond that, it's beautiful. Maybe my pictures don't do it justice, but it really is. The only problem is that it's a bitch to move.

Anyway, I started posting it at $1000. I've been dropping steadily and am now at $750. At this point, I'm starting to feel like I could give it away. Our kitchen is nearly finished (Does anyone else hear that sound? Is that angels singing?) and I'm kind of ready to feel that space where we tore the wall down. How low do I have to go to unload this beloved monolith?

For the next week at least, here's the ad on Craigslist:
Anybody want to buy a china cabinet?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Red Room

The kitchen is red.

'Nuff said.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Buy G.E.

I'd like to take a moment to herald the praises of one of America's fondest and most well-established brands. General Electric.

These praises I sing because of a recent purchase I made on Craig's List. You might not believe it, but the fridge pictured at right retails for about $4000. It may look pretty average, (if you can see past its adhesive wrapper) but in fact it's counter depth. It's also wrapped in stainless. Where most fridge's have black sides, this one has stainless sides. And it's G.E. Monogram, the Monogram line being G.E.'s high, high-end line.

So, I answered an ad on Craigslist and paid $1000 for said fridge. The seller told me it was only a year old and virtually unused. Long story short, I got it home and found that it did not work. The refrigerator did not refrigerate. (Quick aside: Why is there a D in fridge but not in refrigerator?) And beyond that, a lot of the parts in the freezer section appeared to be rusted. GE sent out a repairperson, and though the fridge turned out to be not one year old but three, its broken compressor happened to be under warranty. Before I had a chance to so much as raise my voice or make up a lie about how the fridge I paid thousands for was suddenly not working, before I could produce a single poison pen letter claiming to be the original owner, the G.E. rep said, "Well, I'll just get a new unit out to you. Is Tuesday OK for delivery? And because they no longer make that model, we'll have to give you the current model, is that OK with you? Oh, and by the way, the warranty will start over from the day your new fridge arrives." Did it matter to them that this broke-ass refrigerator was a Craig's List bargain basement find? If it did, they weren't telling.

So that's why the fridge pictured above is wrapped. That's original packaging applied at the factory. That's evidence that his fridge is brand spanking new. Which is why I must say: New or used, buy G.E.

So, I finish this post with a few pictures of our kitchen in its current state:

A pile of boxes the size of a compact SUV piled in our living room, full of Ikea cabinetry waiting to be installed.
The floor tiles have been installed -- but are papered over in preparation for painting. The walls will be Dunn-Edwards' Arabian Red.

View from the dining room of what would be looking into the kitchen — which is covered these days by a sheath of plastic.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Trophy Cat

While we await the cabinetry for our kitchen, which is scheduled to arrive from Ikea within 7 - 10 days, I'd like to take a moment to reveal to you that I am living with a serial killer.

Fraidy Cat. AKA Mr. Gato. For the past two months, he's been on a murderous spree to rival the greats: Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy, the whole Manson Family. This cat has a blood-thirst that won't be quenched.

I discovered his first trophy while sitting with Poppy watching a little prime time HGTV. "What's that smell?" I asked Pops. It was a hot day. Mid-summer. "Is it me?" Armpit check. "Is it you?" Diaper check. Only after hours of assuming myself the one to have "dealt it," did I rummage through the blankets wadded up and bundled around the couch — the way TV-watching blankets are want to be. A tell-tale spot on the sofa — a mystery stain — led to further investigation toward that end of the couch, where a cardboard box full of random not-yet-unpacked items (a kind of box, it must be said, that can be found in many places around our not-yet-unpacked house) sat in shadow. Peeking into the box, I eyeballed trophy number one. Fully in tact. Unmoving. Tail askew. Dead to the world. Wrapped gently in a blanket as though Fraidy had carefully cuddled him to death.

Trophy number two appeared in Poppy's room. Again, wrapped in a blanket (every serial killer has his pattern, I guess). I suppressed a scream as I nearly stepped on him, barefoot, early in the morning before Jim or Poppy had stirred. I almost wretched as I lifted the blanket and held it at arms length all the way to the big trash outside the house.

The next trophy appeared on the leg of my blue jeans lying on the floor of our bedroom. When I threw it out and deposited the jeans in the washer, Jim said, "You're not going to wear those?" Funny.

Days later, another near miss. Bathroom floor. Green throw rug. Easy to overlook through my morning haze. Practically gagged on my toothbrush mid-scrub.

And I never found the final resting spot of the latest trophy. I only saw it in passing, it's tail dangling from his Fraidy's mouth. It was smaller than the rest -- a mouse rather than a rat. Fraidy emitted a resounding growl as he slunk by with it. I shudder to think where he might have put it.

And my response to this mass-slaughter? Well, it's what I've heard it should be. "Well done, my strong, virile man cat! Nice going, protector of all Pascoes! Conqueror of the vermin population! You dazzle me with your hunting prowess!" He is, after all, only bringing me his trophies, right?

Well, before you go thinking that this blog has gone off the rails and evolved into some kind of dull diary of family life, let me bring it all back around to the renovation. Today, when the workmen lay the cement floor in the kitchen, they will be covering up what I know to be Fraidy's portal. There's a hole in the floorboards that the gato slips through when he's got the jones for a kill. I like to envision him going through that hole and wending his way out to the yard, and then perhaps to the neighbor's yard where I would like to believe the rats reside. We did, after all, have the house tented before we moved in (prompting Poppy's nanny to put in a plea to PETA on my behalf, and to beg me to "capture" the rats instead of killing them and to take them to another location to be liberated). But if they're under the house, at the very least they can be contained there, once the hole is cemented over.

Contained, and perhaps cornered, by one skilled and experienced hunter.