Thursday, December 8, 2011

Books and Other Important Things

I use a web site called Paperback Swap and I love it a LOT. I list the books I no longer wish to keep and mail them out (via inexpensive media rate postage) as they are requested. Then I order books I want and they get mailed to me.

For each book I send out I earn a "credit" and for each book I order I spend a "credit." Sometimes members of PBS talk about how the books are free, but other members will correct them and say they are not free because it costs an average of $2.50 to mail a book and there is a side market where people can buy and sell excess credits.

Right now I have about 20 credits sitting there waiting for books on my Wish List to come up. For example, a book like The Help currently has 2183 wishers! I actually have that book but I am not sure I want to give it up without reading it one more time. Anyway, as books get mailed out one moves up the Wish List line and books come at random times. Sometimes I have waited for over 2 years for a book!

Once I receive a book it's mine to keep. I can read it and repost it or keep it forever. Mostly I repost. I find it handier than checking out books at the library (although I do that too) because when library books come up you pretty much need to read them in that 3 weeks you have them checked out (and maybe a renewal of another 3 weeks). New releases can only be kept for a week and can't be renewed so I ended up returning books I had been waiting months for without ever reading them!

Now I have a shelf full of books waiting for me to get to them. I have been a member of PBS for almost 4 years and I find that my reading habits have changed because of it. I think I am saving money in some ways because I used to buy books (mainly at Borders or Amazon), read them and then put them in the giveaway pile. Crazy! But that meant that I actually read fewer new books overall and still had tons of time to re-read my favorites. Now I don't seem to re-read much at all since I have so many new books to read on my shelf. It's an embarrassment of riches in books but there just aren't enough hours in the day to get to them all. Not with magazines thrown in and the regular TV watching I do! Oh well. I will get to them as I can!

I was annoyed today though because a PBS member to who I had mailed a book on November 17 sent me a personal messages asking if I'd mailed the book. Yes, I replied, on November 17. (The PBS system gives it 4 weeks because Media rate can be slow since it's the last mail to ship and now the holiday season is here, so some books sit for weeks before getting delivered.) Today I get another PM saying, "I still haven't received the book." I didn't even answer this one because what could I say? I mailed it but I don't know how long it will take to get to Maryland! Sheesh! Then tonight I checked and the book had been marked "received". Much ado about nothing. Three weeks for a Media rate package is about right this time of year.

Meanwhile, my favorite TV show of the moment is going on some sort of vague hiatus on NBC. I LOVE "Community"!!! Tonight was the Christmas episode and they parodied "Glee" (apparently the two shows film next door to each other). I'm so sad it (and "Cougar Town", a show often mentioned on "Community") won't be back on TV any time soon.

I am really starting to love "Once Upon a Time" though so there's that. Some of the shows I watch are finishing up their seasons this month: "Boardwalk Empire", "American Horror Story", and "Terra Nova" (which is finally getting interesting). "Dancing with the Stars" is done until March, and "Survivor" will come back in February. Then "Mad Men" and "Game of Thrones" will start up again. And maybe even "Community" and "Cougar Town"? I can hope!

Tomorrow I will pay all the bills related to the stitches I had put in my pinkie finger in September. It has cost about $3,000!!! That's $750 per stitch, ridiculous! Next time I said I will slap a Band-Aid on it and walk it off! Until I pass out from blood loss. Then, hey! Ambulance ride! I bet that's inexpensive.

I am a pretty good Christmas present shopper. My family calls me The Present Whisperer sometimes. All you need to do is pay attention to what people say and then use it to choose gifts. Easy.

But what I really like to do is BUY STUFF FOR MYSELF so this time of year is always hard to get through. I have to make lists of things I want (again, easy, because I always want lots of stuff) and then WAIT. And maybe I get some of the list items for Christmas, which is nice of course, but then I get to WAIT again until after my birthday in February. It's just too long to go without buying stuff for myself!!!

And to clear up something I mentioned in the "eyebrow" post: I might like buying makeup if it wasn't SO FREAKIN' EXPENSIVE!!!! I actually love the Sephora store but just to buy simple items and you've spent over $100. So I tend to get bath gel or nail polish (I bought some spiffy purple polish for my toes but I still haven't put it on!). Since my dear BF Lady Chardonnay enjoys the whole makeup whirl (and can probably steer me to some affordable items!) I am hoping she will shop with me next summer during our Fabulous 50 (though she'll still be a youthful 49 at the time) trip. Are we still on, Lady C? I need help!

1 comment:

  1. So, you know what I figured out? An overdue library book costs, like, five cents a day. And there's no Library Blacklist for people who return their books three weeks late and pay the fine. Keep the book! It's better than waiting two years.

    We will totally go on a beauty quest and load you up with drugstore make-up (favored by me and Laura Bush). Think of Sephora as a playground, not a shopping center. Walgreens is your new best friend.