Hey, It's Free!


One of the very many perks of living on or near a base is definately PCS season.

Ah, yes.  PCS Season.  Otherwise known as, "I'm 700 pounds over my weight limit and desperately need to downsize" season.  For those of us not PCSing, it is also known as "Second Christmas."

Many's the time in my over 10 years as a military wife that I've found items that I absolutely COULD NOT fathom being without before I stand before the Throne of God and account for my life.  I never knew how unfulfilled I was without that papa-san frame, but when I saw it sitting conveniently on the curb across from my house I realized that it was what my life had been missing.  Ditto for the particle board tv stand and the three pedal cars my son spent an entire summer enjoying.

So when we moved away from base, I had to find a way to assuage my guilt at just throwing perfectly good items away and also score some neat free stuff I never knew I was missing.

I joined the local Freecycling list.  And I had no idea what I was getting into.

First, I have to comment on the sheer volume of people emailing about stuff offered, stuff taken, stuff wanted, and stuff received.  As an example - last weekend Air Force Family went for a hike and were gone about 5 hours total.  When I came home, I had NINETY SEVEN emails in my gmail in-box listing various items in various stages of offering.  NINETY SEVEN!  In one day!  In one HALF a day!  Where was all this stuff coming from!

The second thing I noticed about the Freecycling list was the absolute speed in which it moves.  Speed of sound my large-hind-end!  Star Trek has nothing on these people, who must have email accounts powered by dilithium crystals.  More than once I've replied to an email that appeared as I was online, only to be told the item had already been taken.

So, what they were telling me was this:  in the five minutes since they realized that item had to go, they posted it, someone responded, and they underwent an exchange about a pick up time?  I mean, things are this intense for a pair of child's dress up pom-poms that are missing handles!  I haven't had the guts to try for one of the larger, more prestigious items like the Ginsu knife (only one, not a set) or the stack of Dora the Explorer VHS tapes.

But what got to me most of all was not the volume of stuff being offered, since I'm used to sudden surges of stuff appearing curbside.  Nor was it the list speed, since we've all had our moments when you race the across-the-street neighbor for that plastic bin sitting in front of PCS Neighbor's house.

No, it was some of the things being offered. 

Now, I'm not hoity-toity - I love good hand-me-downs as well as the next person.  If I could find someone with kids two years older and growing at the same rate as my own kids to hand clothes down, I would be in heaven.  I LOVE a good free deal.

But I have to admit that I was more than a little grossed out when the Venus Razor (with unopened package of blades!) was offered.  I mean, really.  I'm just not ready to take someone else's leg shaver.  At least, I hope it was only shaving legs.  It was all mental pictures I just did not want to deal with before mealtime. 

Someone actually took it.

I thought that might be an isolated incident.  I mean, never in my life have I seen someone sifting through curbside base trash to squeal in triumph at finding a Schick. 

Then I saw the listing for a box of Insteads.  Don't know what Insteads are?  Well, let's just say that they are an alternative method of keeping white pants clean.  Someone gave them away.  And SOMEONE TOOK THEM.

THAT is dedication to protecting landfills, right there.  I can honestly say that the thought of recycling my Insteads never crossed my mind.

Then, yesterday, I was hit with the coup de grace.  Someone was giving away a box of Vagistat.  Yes, THAT Vagistat.  Apparently it was bought and could not be used - I don't really know.  I was afraid to look further. 

Let me tell you all, I thought that I was the Maestro of Curb Shopping, the Sultan of Scavenge, the Queen of all Recycling...

But I have nothing, NOTHING on the dedication of the people on this freecycling list.

I think I will just sit back and observe with awe.

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