Archive for August, 2008

Craigslist Highlight Reel

(Please remember, we haven’t sold much, or bought much, for that matter, on Craigslist, so it’s all new to us!)

  • Favorite Response to our Craigslist Ads: “am really in need of a futon. My in-laws are visiting next weekend. Is yours still available?” Nothing is too good for the in-laws, I say!!!
  • Least Thought-Out Payment Strategy: We were all amped up to avoid cashier’s check fraud with car buyers after reading the craigslist scam literature online. Cash only for us! Then it turns out our minivan buyers were elderly and when we started demanding cash and waxing about craigslist scams and cashier’s check fraud…well you get the picture. They were kind of insulted. At the end of the day, Tom felt like a predator as he accompanied our charming elderly buyer into his credit union to get the cash under the suspicious gaze of the teller. *sigh*
  • Best Pitch for a Price Reduction: “PS I also live in Forest Grove and would need to use a lot of gas to get to you.”
  • Best Item to Sell: Futons and their frames sell like hotcakes. Ours practically walked out the door in 3 hours.
  • Favorite Car-Buying Tactic: “Hello I am interested in your 2001 dodge caravan I would like to know what the lowest price is…” Big ticket items seem to get a lot of these inquiries asking for “your lowest price.”

Apartment Hunting from Afar

I feel as if I’m starring in my own little catch-22 reality show.

  1.  I email a short-term furnished apartment agency in Baires and tell them our trip dates and the specific short-term rental units that we’re interested in letting.
  2. Said agency emails me back and tells me the units that I want to rent are not available, and they helpfully suggest alternatives.
  3. Tom and I review said alternatives and quickly pick one or two, which we usually email back to the agency within an hour, certainly by the same day.
  4. The agency then emails us the next day and tells us that the units we are interested in have been rented on a long-term contract by another agency and then they attach some alternatives for us to consider.
  5. Please go to step 3 and repeat step 3 and step 4 a few times and that brings you to the present.

Methinks I should have started the short-term rental search earlier!

Minivan Has Been Sold!

Whew, that was a whirlwind.

We sold the minivan to a lovely elderly couple who are ditching their truck with trailer to buy something that rides like a sedan, can still haul or pull as needed, and is easy to enter and exit!

Presto, our minivan.

The end of an era. We bought it just after Zelda was born. She noted it was the only car she’s known during her many years in Portland.

My Husband Is a Guest Blogger!

I am using this post as a forum to try to convince my husband to post on this blog more! I told him that at his current posting rate, this blog will cease to be “our” blog, and instead, he’ll be demoted to being a guest blogger on “my” blog!

Of course, I’m not sure that being demoted to guest blogger really bothered him.

Once we actually set foot in Argentina, I am expecting big things out of him in the blog department…big things. So stay tuned, pure excitement will ooze from Tom’s pen…or keyboard…come October!

I know that I, for one, cannot wait!

Bad Market for Selling Cars

It has always been our intention to sell the cars before we left!

Unfortunately, for the same reason it is good to be getting out of the real estate market at the moment, it is bad to be selling a lower mileage vehicle (read: minivan). *Sigh*

Where oh where have the home equity lines of credit gone so people can buy a new car?

On the bright side, we have the PT cruiser all detailed out and it looks great. Hard to believe this car is over six years old. Of course, it goes to show you how nice a car can look if you never drive it and deem it the “No Kid, No Snack” car!

War as an Expatriate

Speaking of a different lens while living overseas during elections, it’s particularly intense to be an expat during times of military action. (Sadly, a relevant topic these days.)

I was reminded of living overseas (Taiwan) during the first gulf war. This was prior to the Internet and email. I remember that I was attending a large aerospace conference where everything came to a halt, and a TV was tuned into the news, when Bush’s deadline for Iraqi withdrawal had elapsed.

Additionally, the head of the firm I worked for was one of the human shields Saddam Hussein was shuttling around to various sites to prevent them from being bombed by the US. (He had been in Kuwait on business during the invasion by Iraq.)

It was surreal, because Asia was so removed from the action. I felt out of place–my country was at war, yet it seemed like it only existed on the news, as if it was happening to other people a world away.

(Strangely, being in the US during Bush II’s warmongering has felt similar due to the lack of real US media coverage. It’s easy to run around our daily lives with no awareness of what’s going on in Iraq, as we collectively pretend that it’s not really happening.)

Being in a small country (Taiwan) that was, and still is, balanced on the knife’s edge in its relations with a much larger neighboring country (China) provided a different lens for viewing the first gulf war.

Living in South America now when the United States has made such unpopular unilateral military forays should prove to be illuminating as well.

Absentee Ballot–Check!

Tom and I have arranged for our absentee ballots so that we may participate in the upcoming Presidential election. (Go Barack Obama!)

It will be interesting to be overseas during the October madness. Being outside the country gives you a whole new perspective on the event when your country’s political process is viewed through the lens of another country’s interests.

I lived in Taiwan during the lead up to Bill Clinton’s first successful presidential bid–a period of pure political apathy in the United States. I was startled at how avid everyone in Taiwan followed the campaigning. I couldn’t get into a cab without being quizzed by the driver about all things election. Taiwanese newspapers of all types followed every Bush/Clinton move. I would get into raging political debates with foreigners of all stripes.

In truth, it made me excited about democracy again. Here I was living in Taiwan–a nation struggling toward democracy–and they were more excited, engaged, and informed about our election than we were!

Get off your ass America and vote–it matters!!

Nesting Albinos

It is difficult to time the sale of furniture.

We sold the girls bunkbeds, yah! The girls have nowhere to sleep for a month-and-a-half, boo. At least, that’s what Tom and I thought.

The reality is that the girls are delighted to have two little nests (piles of blankets, sleeping bags, stuffed animals, and pillows) upon which they sleep on the floor. “It’s better than the bed, Mom!” “You can really stretch out…”

It just goes to show that you never know.

Stuff is Marching out the Door!

Craigslist fever is starting here in the Reeves-Offermann household.

We sold the girls’ kitchen (and they pocketed the money). We sold the futon in a matter of hours. (The guy practically jogged out of here with it.) We have a fair amount of interest in the girls’ bunk beds. We just posted the minvan late tonight.

We are happy to see stuff moving out of the house.

Now for our car buying tip. This comes courtesy of the awesome car detailer we found who is starting on the PT Cruiser tomorrow so that we can list it on craigslist a bit later this week. During the course of our (long) conversation about car detailing, he told us that we should avoid any new car with cloth seating because the new fabric that the auto industry is using cannot be cleaned and wears horribly. He said to buy leather all of the way because it holds up better.

So there you go!

Two Month Knee Update

Recently went to the doc where he pronounced my knee to be “looking great.” I thought his opinion a bit generous as it was swollen and a little lumpy!

He also pulled out two of the dissolvable stitches that had worked up through an incision, and hence didn’t dissolve (that was a little weird).

The picture here is two months post-surgery. Looking better than it did one week post-surgery! My right leg is still a bit puny with lite quad action, but it’s coming along. Range of motion is finally improving and I’m getting much stronger.

Tom, thankfully, no longer has to torture me everyday!