free stuff, or more fluff

After two days without an audible voice, my little virus has spread to my eye. I have these eye drops that would be perfect, but no idea where they are. I promised Amelia we'd finally leave the apartment today and trek to the library. I forgot to send out-going mail with Justin, so I can find a box while we are out. It doesn't seem like I can send mail from my apartment since our postal carrier just shoves the mail for all four (technically five) floors through a hole in the door. Maggie picks it up and sets it on the radiator that sits just inside the door and everyone just kind of shuffles through it on their way in.

Luckily one of the furniture boxes and a piece of large packing paper have made for two days of fun building a little house and tent for Amelia. I hate that she's watching so much more television and movies than I would like, but when I don't have a voice to read books or accomplish more than minimal communication I don't know what else to do. We've been playing the Whisper Game for two days. Today I'm hoping to use my actual voice.

Thanks to Justin's hard work, the furniture is being assembled and placed. During the day I've taken on getting rid of all the things we're not keeping. I couldn't find a charity that would do pick-ups, and I have some large items and no car. So, I've been posting things on craigslist.com. A couple bigger items we're asking for some money for, all the rest we're posting in the free section. I may be developing an addiction to giving things away. (Did you see that episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent? I walked by Kathryn Erbe last week in my first star sighting.)

Yesterday afternoon after one picture of a couple lamps was posted, I immediately received at least thirty responses. It's amazing how bits of people's stories seep into their communication (I'm a single mom and a college student, I just got divorced and have nothing). I finally realized how to turn off the ad after the item was taken. It makes me sad that I don't have more to give when I'm faced with so many genuine needs. (I do have to watch my cynicism, though. I often think, sure you are, you probably say that in all your craigslist emails so people will feel sorry and give it to you. Trust, trust, I chant.)

So last week our bigger moving boxes went to a kind gentleman from Williamsburg who is retiring to San Diego with his wife to be closer to his son, who lives there. They got a nice place downtown (he gave us some tips on finding it) so it reminds them of NYC, but with better weather. Every extra lamp we had was picked up last night by three orthodox Jews who have a large room to host a seder (they're expecting 25 to 30 people) but no overhead lighting. I love the thought of objects that have traveled with us--some since college--lighting a holy meal for the devout. Today a girl is picking up a stroller and I'll be giving away a dresser--after I give the single-mother college student first dibbs--some laundry baskets, and I think I have a buyer for our twelve foot ladder. The place is feeling better all the time.

"You wouldn't believe the stuff people give away free on that site," the retired man said. "One of the wildest ones I saw was a 1970s Porsche. It was part of this guy's inheritance, needed a little fixing up. But it ran. It wasn't insured or registered, and it was costing him $500 a month to store in his garage in Manhattan. He just wanted someone to come take it away." I think this happens a lot here; just look at us. We'd save our stuff for a stoop sale this Spring, but our quarters are so small I will lose my sanity first. I'm only surprised at how many people here do have large vehicles like SUVs. You could probably score big just driving in for the weekend with a van and picking up all the things people are desperate to be rid of.

So check the free stuff on your local craigslist site if you're in need of some serendipitous provision today.