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Let’s hear it for the generosity of friends and strangers. Remember I mentioned that my mother was beside herself? (There’s an interesting mental image. I think I can only handle one of them. But I digress.) Mom has already sent me emails with early childhood educational information, day care ratings, etc. Now apparently she’s shopping for baby stuff. Mind you, I haven’t started doing any of that yet. Then again, Mom is retired and I’m stuck in a cubicle for nine hours every weekday. It cuts into one’s recreational shopping time. This morning she called to tell me that she’d been browsing and was completely horrified by how much things cost – and she’s talking about Target and Wal-Mart, not the pricey places where my co-workers insist on shopping. A lady at one of the stores suggested tag sales – most of the stuff is barely used, you take it home, scrub it thoroughly, and you’re good to go. That makes good sense to me.

So she decided to go across the street and talk to her neighbor Laurie, who has two little boys. Her theory is that she’d rather give the money to someone she knows. Laurie’s response was some variation on "Thank God – I’ve been trying to figure out how to get rid of this stuff." Their house is on the market, and she understandably doesn’t want to have to move it all if they ever get an offer (there’s a whole sub-text here on the state of the housing market, but that’s a conversation for another day.)

So apparently Laurie is going to be hauling stuff down from the attic and bringing it over to Mom’s, who will then bring it up to me. That is going to include a wooden CRIB. Now, I’ve started looking at the required furniture, because I want to have all that stuff in place well before it’s needed, and I want to spread the expense out over several months. It won’t cost any less, but it won’t hurt as badly. I don’t know yet if there’s a changing table included in this deal. That would be nice, but I won’t cry if it’s not. I’ve been more than a little appalled at how much the furniture items cost. Let’s face it – the only furniture I generally buy are bookcases, so I’m a little out of touch with such things. This is hundreds of dollars I won’t have to spend. That’s huge, says the woman paying for the air conditioning. I’ve gotten a couple of offers of car seats also, but I’m more hesitant about that. Those change (and so do the safety standards associated with them) every five years or less, so I’m really inclined to buy new. The last thing I need is for the hospital to refuse to let us go home.

I’m beginning to think that if I’m just patient with things, my mother will have this all worked out for me. Gotta admit, it’s tempting. :-)

I know I’ve said this before, but I have got to start making lists. Crib, changing table/dresser, baby gates (3), car seats (2), diaper service...

I also had what can either be characterized as a brilliant flash of the obvious, or just a moment of brilliance. I can go out to mycigna.com and look at the current state of all my insurance claims. (It’s scary that so far the largest single charge has been for the initial bloodwork by Qwest. But I digress again.) They list how much the doctor/hospital/lab charged, how much they’re actually going to pay, and how much the patient is responsible for. So I have created a new worksheet on my budget spreadsheet, and I’ll track the "patient responsibility" column to know how the "global bill" is progressing. So while I probably won’t be able to project how much the horror show delivery is going to cost, at least I’ll have a handle on everything leading up to it. I’m fairly pleased with myself.

I’m thinking that I had better get down to Brookfield to visit pretty soon. Before Mom’s head explodes.



( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 9th, 2008 06:10 pm (UTC)
Cribs are a big expense, so it's a good thing if you can get it for free. It sounds like Laurie's kids are young enough that you won't have to worry, but you should be aware that crib standards also change (spaces between the bars, etc.). As my sister discovered when she began looking at cribs and considering offers of older, used cribs.
Apr. 9th, 2008 06:32 pm (UTC)
I was originally intending to buy new for exactly that reason, but her littlest is quite little indeed, and he and his brother are almost Catholic twins - the crib was abruptly banished to the attic only when the house was listed. It's that recent.
Apr. 9th, 2008 06:33 pm (UTC)
Good! One less thing to worry about.
Apr. 9th, 2008 06:44 pm (UTC)
I know I'm a bit late off the mark but best wishes to you and Bob. Will we see you at Coronation?
Apr. 9th, 2008 07:10 pm (UTC)
Not at all! Actually, I'm the one who was late... :-) Sorry, I just couldn't resist.

We're not hitting Coronation. We were a little ambivalent to begin with, and the parking situation finally decided us against it. It's hard to tell from the aerial they posted, but it looks like there's room for about 70 cars before you have to hit the metered parking, and neither of us was in the mood to pile out of the hall every two hours to feed a meter.
Apr. 9th, 2008 08:24 pm (UTC)
Honestly? More often than not Laura got changed wherever we were on a changing pad. I don't thin she got changed on the actual changing table more than once.

Your best bet for clothes, until she hits post toddler years, is consignment shops There's a chain of used babyclothes stores in CT that is extremely good but I can't remember the anme of it. I texted Izzy, though, since she turned me on to it. Actually, this place sells all kinds of baby things second hand, though the vast majority of the stock is clothing. (Izzy says it's Once Upon A Child...we found at least 2 storefronts at the time but that was 6 years ago.)

We were most happy with the infant car seat that came with our stroller. Snap it out of the stroller - snap it into the base that you have permanenty belted into the car. No fuss no mess no extended period exposing Jr to the cold while you mess with straps. I think it was a Graco stroller. Unfortunately, it's long gone in the great baby purge of 2003.

Lists will become more and mroe important as baby sucks on more and more of your brain. Unfortunately, it never comes fully back.
Apr. 9th, 2008 11:00 pm (UTC)
Currently I have no plans for a stroller the size of the ones that combine with car seats - I've seen too many people who don't have room in their car for a briefcase because of the size of the stroller in the trunk. Also, we're going to need two so that we can share drop off/pick up duties.

There've also been a LOT of recalls since then, so I want to start new.

I'm the queen of lists, so that shouldn't be a problem :-)
Apr. 10th, 2008 01:52 am (UTC)
I'm sure I have baby gates. They'll be safe, but whether they're not nasty after several years in the basement is whole 'nother kettle of fish. I'll check.

We didn't have a changing table for either of the girls. I just spread out one of those nice 18'x30' waterproof mats on the nearest available surfact (our bed, the crib, the floor, you get the idea). Floors are really nice if your knees don't mind them, because you don't have to worry about baby trying to roll off it.

One of the nurses where I worked in VA adopted and didn't get the news that she could take the baby home till two days before hand. She said it was actually better, because she didn't have time to go nuts getting all the latest and greatest. And not having them, she found she didn't really need a lot of the stuff.

Apr. 10th, 2008 01:34 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've noticed the tendency to change kids where ever a flat surface presents itself. The current low for that was on the table (with tablecloth) at 12th Night where dinner was going to be served in a couple of hours. That was real appetizing for everyone. Unfortunately, I'm not able to order up either new knees or new thoracic vertebrae, so I'll generally have to make do with higher options. My chiropractor and massage therapist are currently laying odds on how long I'll be able to keep walking.

Luckily, we're not "latest and greatest" types of folks. We need someplace safe for her to sleep, something for her to wear, and something to drive her around in. After that, it's all details. I'm going to have to look at gates pretty carefully to see if I can set things up to allow passage for a getting-elderly cat who doesn't jump like she used to.
Apr. 10th, 2008 08:43 pm (UTC)
I wonder if it's possible to make gates with cat doors. Some of the styles wouldn't be to hard to retrofit, but I don't know how wide your cat needs vs. how narrow is still wide enough for a baby to get stuck. (Or perhaps worse, through.)
Apr. 11th, 2008 01:13 pm (UTC)
That's the dilemma. Luckily, I've got time to figure it out. I can't really ask the little girl to perform an Olympic hurdle every time she needs to use her litter box - not when she's already having to work to make it onto the bed.
Apr. 10th, 2008 08:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, and while I was of the any old flat surface will do, it had to be a flat surface without others around, and preferable well away from food. I'm mean, that's just nasty.
Apr. 10th, 2008 11:37 am (UTC)
Re: Strollers
I think it was Target where I saw a frame-like collapsible stroller-base for an infant carseat. IE it's much more reasonably sized than the SUV-required 'travel system' we were given.

Re: Staggeringly expensive baby gear
I can't recommend this one highly enough: the Children's Orchard in Manchester, in the plaza diagonally across from the Agway. Carllein gave me a gift card to it and I've been a regular....sort of...I rarely actually get to buy anything for V, because the grandmas are eager beavers and we also have family ahead of us who are passing along clothes & gear.

There's also Freecycle, although your comment about carseats is particularly valid here -- I picked up three carseats and only one was in a condition that I was comfortable using. That one was 3 years old and perfect. One was described as "in nearly new condition" but neglected to say its mfg date was 1995. One gave the mfg date but neglected to mention that it apparently had been used as a scratching post.

The freecycle babygear jackpot's when you find grandparents giving things away: "used when the grandchildren visit" means "it might as well come out of a box".

Rob&I haven't "shut down the factory" yet so to speak, but we have lots of duplicates of lots of baby goodies, and my observation about the universe is that when I give stuff away I'll need it again (LOL) so let's talk offline...

Re: Delivery
If you want, I'll dig out the receipts for my Csection. Adjust for 2 years inflation and it would make a reasonable upper-end guesstimate.
Apr. 10th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
Remember that Manchester is almost an hour's drive away from us. Not really practical, that...

I don't really think I want baby stuff from Freecycle, sight unseen. At the moment that's potentially a touch over my "ick" factor when I have so many people I actually *know* who are currently boxing stuff up for us.

Any baby stuff that comes into our life is going to leave our life again just as soon as it's outgrown, so don't give us anything you may want back - we're one and done.

Don't worry about digging out receipts. Different hospital and different insurance make for VERY different pricing. I already know that I cap at $1,800 out of pocket, and I've got $3K in the flex plan. So it really doesn't MATTER how much it costs - I'm not paying more than $1,800. I'm just a control freak/information junkie. Now that I have a spreadsheet for it, I'm much happier. ;-)
Apr. 10th, 2008 11:45 am (UTC)
I checked, it was Target, they call it "Universal Infant Car Seat Carrier - Black".

I just remembered something else...R&I both are tall enough that we kick the axle on our strollers. That drives us nuts... I recently ran across a catalog that sells extender handles for strollers and it's a great idea. I didn't get one because it's not collapsable and V's moved on to the 'umbrella strollers'.

My final pet peeve about strollers -- it's ridiculously hard to find umbrella strollers without flourescent colors or obnoxious cartoon characters on them. Whatever happened to solid primary colors!?
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )