January 24th, 2005


Yeah, I know you don't care ...

But what sort of obsessive-compulsive would I be if I didn't keep you up to date on that on-going amassing of auctions? Well, the "penny sale" appears to be over from that vendor (aren't you relieved?), with the last of the ones I was bidding on closing just now. Starting tomorrow, she has all her auctions starting at 35¢, meaning that (with shipping), I'm going to have to consider card value more (I'm less likely to want to bid on a $2.00 value card if I know the minimum I'm going to be paying for it is 1/3rd of that!), although I do have a fairly lengthy list of things that I'm "watching" and may pull the trigger on to minimize my per-card shipping charge. Anyway, here's how things currently stand:

                   Total number of auctions won:   73
                   Number of auctions won for 1¢:   53
                   Total cost of all auctions:   $9.64
                   Total value of cards won:   $367.00

Even if I get another 7 cards (maximizing the 40 items that eBay seems to cap for a single transaction) at the 35¢ minimum (plus shipping) I'll still be in the "10 cents on the dollar" range, and that's figuring on the current card value, so (unless I get into some stupid "bidding war" like some folks did on one of these today, resulting on one card that I had my eye on going for more than they could have "bought retail"!), I'm going to be doing a lot better than my "1/7th of retail" target zone. However, I'm probably going to be pickier on what I bid on ... at the 1¢ level I picked up 20 cards that I knew that Daughter #1 already had, just to put them in her trading binder! If I can snag her another 7 cards that she doesn't have at that 35¢ point for a total of 80 cards for better than a 90% discount, I'll be pretty happy! I'm sure everybody out there with this blithering showing up on their Friends List will be happy when I finally put this thing to bed, huh?

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One of those days ...

Yeah, it was even planned ... The Wife told The Girls that we'd be going out to play in the snow today, but by the time we were ready to get moving, it was all "chaos & conflict" at Chez Tripp. Part of this was due to Daughter #2 having a fixation on getting a "real sled" despite our protestations that that would not be the most practical option. However, as I noted previously, finding ANY sort of a snow toy was proving impossible (we probably tried over a dozen likely or semi-likely stores with no luck!).

Anyway, this morning we headed out to take the El down to Roosevelt to try the new Target. Now, they had lots of snowbards in various configurations, but nothing that one would want to strap a 4 and 9 year old onto. This had been our "last best hope" for finding anything "designed for the task", and #2 was being a little shit about the entire process. We poked around looking for something that might function as a sled, and ended up finding these plastic storage things which were intended to put away Xmas wreaths (fortunately, on clearance). They were more-or-less round, and in the 18-24" inch range, so we figured the lids might do. We bought two and headed off to the Museum Campus.

Unfortunately, The Girls were not cooperating with the "let's go from point A to point B" concept, and were taking forever flopping through the knee-to-waist-high (on them) snow rather than the reasonably shovelled walks. By the time we were 3/4 of the way over to the intended hills, Daughter #2 was in full melt-down mode, not helped by being very cold due to having outright refused to have been dressed in optimal snow gear when we were trying to get out of the house. Her discomfort was amplified by The Wife's typical "devil take the hindmost" style of leaving us behind ... I swear, she's going to lose the kids some day because she will not wait up for them, and #2 and I found ourselves 2-3 blocks behind (not an uncommon thing when she's in "conflict mode"). So, by the time #2 and I got to the hills in front of the Field Museum, #2 was in tears, crying "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy" and unable to forge her way through the deep snow to where #1 and her mom were trying to use the storage things to sled down the hill.

It eventually became clear even to The Wife that #2 was beyond being uncooperative and deeply into being not happy. #2 and I had worked our way up the somewhat-shovelled walk and to the upper reaches of the hill in front of the museum, where it became pretty plain (due to the large banks of plowed snow), that we were unlikely to find our way down to them, so #1 and The Wife met us up there. We opted (thank the Gods for museum memberships) to duck into the Field to warm up and get a hot chocolate or something. Well, although she was relieved to be inside, #2 was clearly not going to be a willing participant in anything that was not actual sledding on an actual sled on a sled-friendly hill, and preferably in warm, dry sledding-appropriate clothes. The Wife suggested that she'd just go home with #2, but hadn't brought any money, so we scraped up what cash we had (I was pretty sure The Wife was going to take a cab), and they headed out. The Wife did not think about the fact that she didn't have her keys either (which meant we got charged $25 by the building to have somebody let them in when they got here), but that's another issue (note ... in my universe neither the cab nor the lock-out charge would have happened ... hell, I could finance a whole set of hobbies for the cash The Wife pisses off by not thinking through these things in advance!).

Anyway, this left Daughter #1 and me to our own devices at the Field Museum, not exactly how I'd envisioned spending the NFL Conference Championships afternoon, but at least we were out of the snow. Still being in the "hot chocolate" plan residue, #1 and I headed over to the Corner Bakery restaurant in the museum. However, when we got there we saw soup, and thought that would be a plan, then we saw a kids meal, and #1 thought that would be better yet, and so we ended up without any hot chocolate, but with lunch (I had soup in a bread bowl ... just about the messiest thing to try to finish known to Western cuisine!).

Once warm and fed, we headed off to see what we could see at the museum. I was thrilled to find that they still had the Machu Picchu exhibit open (I had, frankly, totally forgot about it after having been excited to hear it was coming), so we went and snagged some tickets (ah, again, the joys of keeping up those Family memberships!) and got right in. As those of you paying close attention may recall, I had been to Machu Picchu twice back in the 80's when studying with Peruvian Shamanic teachers, so I was quite enthused to see the exhibit. I don't think that Daughter #1 was as interested, but she gamely went through the exhibit with me telling her all the cool stuff that "was right behind that building there", etc. The coolest thing was this scale model of the city which lit up various areas along with a video presentation. It would have been MUCH cooler had it been more extensive (the video was only 5-7 minutes and they only highlighted four or so areas), but what would have been "enough" for me would pobably have been way into TMI range for most!

So, after doing the Machu Picchu exhibit, #1 wanted to see the Egyptian Tomb thing, and we proceeded through that with my being equally irritating doing a rambling data-dump spew from my many years of studying that stuff. They have some cool things in that exhibit, especialy these little bitty dioramas of the mumification workshops! By the time we got done with that I was beat and pretty much just wanted to hit the gift shop and then head home, but #1 wanted to do the "underground adventure" (where you "get shrunk down" to a half-inch size and wander through this tunnel with giant bugs, etc.), so we headed off for that. In the "lab" part once you're out of the bug part she plopped herself down at a computer thing, and I got to snag about a 15 minute nap! We eventually ended up at the gift shop (I was hoping to find some cool thing for The Wife's valentines' gifty, but nothing seemed right), and I managed to get out of there spending $2 on a couple of little dinosaur flyers.

We lucked out in getting the free trolly back to the El about 3 mintues after we left the museum. I got home in time to see the last few mintues of the Eagles/Falcons game and then got to "watch" (OK, so I slept through the first half!) the Patriots/Steelers. What a day!

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