While we wait

By Mir
May 25, 2006

The wheels of bureaucracy continue to turn, albeit at the standard snail-like pace. I don’t really have an update for all of you pretty people who are joining me in shaking a fist in the air (or, alternatively, right in Ramon’s face), but things are moving. Do not celebrate just yet. I am heartened, however, that my insurance agent came to my house this evening his own damn self to take pictures in the basement. He is playing phone tag with the head adjustor muckity-muck, and now has pictures OF MY DRAIN (you know, the one with the BACKED UP WATER) to send along should they be needed.

In the meantime, Tales of the Dumpster to come next week! Also, feel free to come on over and rob my house (of all my rare and valuable… soggy cardboard boxes) any day I’ve got the bulkhead thrown open. I recommend wearing a breathing filtration system, though.

My basement, by the way, consists of a main room under the main part of the house, plus a separate 12′ x 12′ storeroom underneath the mudroom (which we added when we added the mudroom). That storeroom is home to The Stash.

(Not THAT kind of stash. Sheesh.)

I’ve got all sorts of toys and other generic gift-type items in there. When the kids get invited to a birthday party, I just head on down there and pull out a bunch of toys I’ve picked up on clearance, and let them choose what to bring as a gift. When I find a fabulous deal that might work for teacher gifts, a buy a bunch and stash them. There’s a lot of stuff in there, and you hate me because I’m usually done with my Christmas shopping before Summer starts.

So. Some of The Stash was on the floor instead of up on shelves, and was ruined. Which is not the point I’m about to make. No, the point I want to make is that while getting things up off the floor, the shelves in my storage room ended up completely filled. No room at the inn.

What do you suppose I’d done just a day before my basement flooded? GO ON, GUESS!

If you guessed, “Ordered an inordinate amount of crap from Amazon,” you’re correct!

In my defense:
1) Lots of toys were on dirt-cheap clearance,
2) with free shipping,
3) which enabled me to get about $280 worth of stuff for $50,
4) and I didn’t know my house was about to be under siege.

Being me, my first thought after “HOLY CRAP” upon realizing I was flooded, was “I shouldn’t have spent that money at Amazon.” But then some time passed and I realized that it was fine, it was probably good, in fact, because I had finished Christmas shopping and replenished The Stash and now that was all out of the way and wouldn’t be anything I would need to worry about for a while.

When placing my order, I of course elected SUPER-SAVER SHIPPING, which is the least expensive (in this case, FREE) method, and says something like “Group my items together in a single shipment.”

Where I come from, “Group my items together in a single shipment” can be roughly translated to, “Put everything in one box and ship it all together.” But, see, at Amazon, the translation is more like, “Don’t charge me any extra money even though you will still for some incomprehensible reason go ahead and ship every item separately, utilizing multiple shipping methods, and quite possibly in the largest boxes you have.”

So last week, while I was bailing water and running pumps and freaking out and crying a lot, Amazon was wooing me. Amazon whispered, “Don’t cry, baby! We love you! Also, we’re going to spent $72.50 to ship you your $50 order!”

Every day I’d get at least one box. Some days, I’d get two! And on those days, one box would turn up on my doorstep (UPS) and a second, smaller one would be out at the mailbox (USPS). These largish boxes each contained one. single. item. So with each box, I knew that more were coming.

I opened the boxes as they came, and because my storage room is indisposed, I would take the single item inside (Pokemon battle figures! Electronic voice-activated diary! Board games for the whole family!) and try to find a place to put it that the kids wouldn’t find it. This worked out alright for the first several days, because each gigantic box inevitably contained something pretty small.

But the fateful day came when the warehouse staff at Amazon stopped smoking crack, and put the remainder of my order into two GIGANTIC boxes. They arrived on Monday. Since then, they’ve been sitting in my mudroom, unopened, because I’ve run out of places to store things, and the basement is still off-limits.

My children seem convinced that those boxes contain the closest approximation of Nirvana allowed on this astral plane. Perhaps the top box holds soft, fuzzy puppies, while the one underneath will open to reveal a traveling carnival.

It is absolutely KILLING them.

They know about the storage room. They know about The Stash. But never before have they made the connection, somehow, that I have to buy things for them to then be down there. Maybe they believed toys just SPROUTED down there. I don’t know. It was all shrouded in mystery, and now the mystery is sitting right there in the mudroom, mocking them.

I keep trying to staunch their curiosity by telling them it’s all stuff I ordered to donate to Toys for Tots, but they remain hopeful. Silly, optimistic kids. Maybe they’ll grow up to pack boxes for Amazon.


  1. Karen Rani

    You’re good. Can’t talk, taking notes…..

    and by the way – I didn’t work tonight. Sorry hun. I wrote instead. On my blog. I’m pretty good at getting shit done, but procrastinating is my forte.

    Goodnight Oyster!

  2. Cele

    I know a lady who has a stash too. But her’s is filled with wedding and anniversary type gifts. And her stash room was running out of space. I secretly think her hubby was happy when her department store went out of business and she couldn’t shop at work anymore.

  3. Kris

    I have no idea why Amazon warehouse staff does that either! Every time we order, we’ve got boxes to ship small children in.

    Oh wait… Hm… They might be onto something there! (And kids don’t need all the padding of those stupid bubble packs, either!)

  4. foodmomiac

    Wow. You are GOOD. And I was pleased that I was able to recently re-gift two items that my daughter received but already had.
    Guess I’ll start my Hanukkah/Christmas shopping this weekend. ;-)

  5. David

    You could just leave those boxes right where they are. You know, for the fun of it. Just tell the kids you’re testing a new product: Pandora.

  6. tori

    How do you keep your kids from wanting to keep the toys you buy for your stash? Every time I try to have my kids choose from our stash, they end up begging me for the same toys they choose for their friends. Being the mean mommy I am, I never let them of course, but that doesn’t stop them from trying.

  7. Nic

    How sad am I that when you said stash, I thought we were talking about yarn. Which I thought was weird. ‘Cause you don’t knit. I think. My mother has a gift stash too, but it just grows, it’s the black hole in her closet. Things go in but never come out.

  8. Aimee

    What *is* that with Amazon, anyway? I’ve never understood that. They’re weird, but I love them anyway.

  9. Jenn2

    You have a cruel streak that I had not noticed before now. I have to say, that makes me like and admire you that much more!

    This would be why my “stash,” which isn’t yarn, but gifty type items, lives in our attic. Plus it’s fun to see the face my hubby makes when I say I ‘m going to need a gift, but I’m not really sure what, so could he go up and remind me of what I’ve got?

    heh heh heh

  10. laura

    I really like that there are still mysteries in this world, like how Amazon decides to ship stuff. They have their rhymes and reasons, and it’s not for us to understand. My idea of Heaven or the hereafter or whathaveya is that I’ll know ALL – I’ll know what happened between Tom and Nicole, I’ll know if Charlie really did threaten Denise’s life, and I’ll know how Amazon decides to ship stuff.

  11. Fraulein N

    Crap, innocence lost. Thanks a lot Amazon.com! You too, flooded basement.

    Have to say, though, I love the idea of a Stash. (No, not that kind of Stash.)

  12. Amy-GO

    The Stash implies a level of organization which scares the living crap out of me. I think maybe it’s a good thing you’ve never seen my house. ;)

  13. Melissa

    I wish I had a stash room. That would come in handy. I hope you get things back to normal soon.

    Is it ok if I post your place on my Bebo page. I don’t have a blogroll, but I wanted to post my favorite places I snoop?

  14. Contrary

    I would feel way sorrier for you if I wasn’t at Wal-mart this last Christmas eve at 5:55pm ‘just getting a few last minute items’.

    Of course, now I’m convinced that not having a basement is the only thing standing between me and total organization and bliss.

  15. Brian

    I’m moving at the end of the summer so feel free to send all those fresh Amazon boxes on down here to Florida.


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