Sunday, March 21, 2010

Random Stuff & Bartering

First, Earth Hour is coming up on March 27th. Individuals, businesses, cities, and more will turn off lights from 8:30 - 9:30pm local time. The energy saved during this hour is astounding. This will be our 3rd year celebrating Earth Hour. Each year we try to actually DO something during the hour, not just watch the clock till we can turn lights back on. It is fun to try and see what we can come up with (and often a challenge when you have little kids). Will you sign up and celebrate with us this year?

I haven't posted in a while, though I've meant to. Our days and evenings have been spinning by as we scrape, plaster, sand, prime, paint & repeat ad nauseum. The hallway is (I think) all done now, and looking so lovely. The front room is almost all done. The other spots that needed touching up are getting done. With all this accomplishment comes the exhaustion of feeling like it will never be done. As soon as we think we've finished something, there is something else that needs working on. And, I hear you shaking your heads in sympathy saying "this is how it is when you own a house." We know that. Usually it isn't so exhausting. But, right now, it is.
We've changed paths and instead of trying to get a home equity loan (which are getting harder and harder to get) we've decided to refinance the house. It's been a much more pleasant experience so far than what we were trying to do.
Our original "loan guy" seemed to be really dragging his feet. We've dealt with him for years and he's always been there for us, so I don't know if something is going on with him or what, but this wasn't working out. Instead, we went with the lady who originally helped us get the loan for the house. She had sent us a postcard recently and I thought to call her and see what we could do. That was Friday. By Sunday we had talked with her via phone a couple of times and met with her Sunday morning to sign papers. I loved working with her when we first got the house and feel just as pleased this time around.
Now the stress though. We still have to get the house appraised. I am sitting here this morning on too little sleep and too much coffee (any coffee is almost too much for me as I've weaned myself from caffeine in most other areas of my life), waiting for the phone to ring. I was told that the appraiser should be calling either yesterday afternoon or this morning. So far, the phone hasn't rung. It's like waiting for a blind date to call. You don't know what the person will look like or be like, much less what they'll think of you. How do you dress for a date when you don't know what the hell the other person likes or hates?? ~ Yes, yes, I know, you be yourself. Don't give me that hooey gals, we ALL know that to SOME extent we play up aspects of ourselves that we think the other person would like. I should be taking this time to keep working on the house, but instead I keep wanting to pick up the phone to make sure it is working.

In other news. The chickens have bid adieu to their Winter Chalet and are now back in the tractor, out in the yard. The grass is starting to come back and they're eager to get to it. It is nice seeing them back out there, though they haven't been to happy to realize that they can't stay inside on rainy days. Ah .. the life of chickens.
We're also down to only 2 hatching eggs now. We had two more that got broken. Neither had baby chicks in them, and so I am doubting that anything has grown in the remaining two either. If anything has grown we should have about 1 week left of incubating time. .... So, one week to go. Either way, it was an interesting experiment and lesson about life. I'll blog more about it in the next week.

And, my final note for the day is about bartering. Do you barter? If so, what do you barter and how do you determine the "price value"?

~My friend Cat made this purse for me. The outside is from used bags of coffee beans (from Mill Mountain Coffee down the street)~

~A peek inside the purse. I had some really cool, batiked blue fabric with dragonflies on it that she used for the lining, adding a few touches of her own. I love the pocket .. pockets ROCK!!~

This is my most recently bartered for item. My insanely talented friend Cat made it for me. She had made us the best-ever Halloween tote bags (using an upcycled Halloween tablecloth, I believe, for the fabric). They held all the candy the boys could carry along with serving double purpose as a seasonal-esque purse for me. I had already had the coffee bags sitting around, along with the batiked fabric, wanting to make them into a purse but not being able to see it in my mind (does that make sense to you?). After bartering with her for the Halloween totes, I knew it was time to barter again!!
The last barter, for the Halloween totes, included several home-canned items and some yummy homebrewed beer. This time, we're still waiting to see. I've given her a big bottle of homebrewed beer so far. She still owes me one more purse, so we agreed to wait for the rest of the trade till that one was finished. I'm thinking she'll get some more home-canned items, perhaps some fresh eggs, and maybe even some homemade jerky!

Today I am also bartering for something else: a haircut. My friend Sophy, who owns Salon Capelli on College Ave. in Salem (375-0789), is cutting my hair in exchange for a box of homemade goodies. Sophy has done a great job on my hair in the past and recently gave my sister-in-law a very hot new look. I'm excited. So far for Sophy I have (all homemade &/or homegrown): jars of applesauce, ketchup, and spaghetti sauce; a jar of organic oregano; a loaf of bread baking; and so far 11 eggs - if the chickens will please lay one more, I can give her a full dozen! Not too bad I think, and I'm hoping she'll feel it is a fair-enough bartering experience.

On a weekly basis we also barter some homebrew as partial payments for Shannon's drum lessons. His instructor, a very talented drummer named Jason Lee, is awesome and Shannon is doing so well. We're very proud of him.

Bartering is pretty cool in my opinion. What is money other than pictures printed on paper or little discs of metal? I know there is sometimes a stigma of someone bartering goods because they can't afford to actually pay for the service. I think this is something that needs to fade away. There should be no stigma in bartering, there should be pride in it. In my experiences with it both parties tend to feel like they've gotten the better end of the deal, which is a good win-win experience. The goods we barter for have value, and that value and importance should never be denied, undermined, or forgotten. I would even go so far as to say that the ability to barter, the practice of bartering, is essential to a healthy, vibrant, and sustainable community. It helps build a community. It reconnects us with each other. How in the world is that a bad thing?

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Good luck with the refinancing. I hope you'll show us pics of all you've been up to.

I think bartering rocks. I've heard that they do it a lot in Floyd. I haven't bartered much in a while. When we first started our business, Patrick gave our client (who turned out to be such an awesome client! We ♥ Brandi) a deal on our fee and we both get free haircuts. I traded some prayer beads (I call them gratitude beads) for a painting a few years back. That was a lot of fun.