Friday, April 15, 2011

Little bottles and little tubes of things.

I have to replenish my rather copious former supply of little bottles and little tubes. That isn’t as easy as it would seem and this is because I’m not mailed samples. I don’t even know if manufacturers mail little packets of things anymore. When I moved to the Lower East Side which is apparently, not a chic zip code, all of the little things that I got while residing in a chic zip stopped. I didn’t miss that right away, but now I do.

What I miss is the possibility. I miss the possibility of re-hydrating something that needs to be re-hydrated. ( I think it's skin they're talking about, but who knows?)

For the last ten years no one has sent me a little tubey packet thing of rehydrating cream. Since I don’t actually know what to do with the product anyway it's not much of a loss. I also have not received that stuff comes with quenching possibilities, which greatly appeals to me as I’ve the idea that if I didn’t drink so much water, I wouldn’t have to get up at night. But I’m pretty sure cream doesn’t address that.

I'm relegated to taking hotel samples of stuff which is less satisfying than free mail samples. That's because there's no advertising and no promise. When you're in a hotel, the promise is that you'll help save the earth if you don't use the towels and there's an implication that you're a slob if you put them on the floor. Their little soaps and conditioner and lotion say only lotion, shampoo, conditioner. Where's the appeal in that?

Since I live in the Jewish section of Chinatown, there’s a dearth of things that I know what to do with. The Jewish stores sell dry goods and the Chinese stores sell herbal cures for whatever ails you. That, of course, is happy-making but you’re pretty much relegated to drug store chains with cosmetic bin displays if you're looking for that sort of thing.

Bunches of spas want to sell you things for $39.95 and they tell you that you need lots of these things but they don’t actually tell you what they’re for. They’re only good for chastising you about your over-grown eyebrows which you really should be plucking every single week and hot waxing minimally twice a month and this is something you already knew. I personally think spas on the les are a bit harsh about that but then you remember where you are so you have to expect to be tsk tsked. Also, a tsk or two makes me an excellent tipper so maybe that's why they do that.

I am confused about the benefits of rehydration, moisturizers, curative creams and also replenishing things. I get anti-cavity toothpaste, as I am opposed to cavities, who isn’t?

When we got all burned up, my friend Leah gave me a little suitcase chock full of little tubes of things. Everything is a brand that you and I have heard of. She gave me a pretty little jar of Absolue Premium Fix that is a “Crème Reconstituante Profonde” and a bigger jar of the same stuff and also High Resolution Refill, which is a triple action cream. I also have tubes of Collaser 5X which is soin anti-redes. I have things that regenerate, including a tube of regenerating body lotion that is, and I’m not making this up, “specially designed for the body.” I have a tube of something called “undectable” and it’s sort of a darkish skin color so I think it’s makeup, and bunches of other kinds of lotions that are differently spf rated including a sport face one that has an spf of 70. I love all these things. But since I didn’t accumulate them
myself, I don’t actually know where they should be put on my body.

Not knowing where these things go has not dissuaded me from using them. I think that I would actually be lovely if they were going on the right place and maybe they are and that I am well past the lovely possibility. I hope not.

I’m doubling down here and augmenting these things. So far I bought a bunch of Chinese Herbs that I have to boil then I think drink or maybe I’m supposed to rub them somewhere, I’ll figure it out. I also bought Vino de Carne & Hierro from a Hispanic drug store which the clerk told me about. She told me that this was a very good thing and I got that but not the rest of the pantomime. The label has a cow on it and I like cows so, of course, that has possibilities too.

I had expected living here that I would know Spanish and a little bit of Chinese. I expected to learn by osmosis but that didn't turn out. I am stuck with my verbless French and can only say thank you and happy New Year in languages that are prominent here.

Maybe someone will mail me something. Almost anything would be good. Going downstairs now to see if there's a Spanish language or Chinese language learning CD or a moisturizing thing. It’s all about possibilities, right?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Buying and returning things.

I don’t usually have buyer’s remorse and I almost never return anything and that includes things that aren’t quite right. Because I’m a big sale rounder purchaser it never surprises me when the thing isn’t quite right because usually it is or someone can use it or I’ll decide that it’s just fine.

When I need something, I’m generally good at measuring if that’s needed or eyeballing if it doesn’t have to be exact. So it is sort of amazing to me that currently I’m involved in returning things I bought on line that don’t fit the places that I bought them for.

This pretty much has to do with replacing light fixtures. After our fire, we needed bunches and I was told that we needed them right away so I went to Canal Street and that didn’t work. When I would tell a clerk what I wanted and how much stuff I needed I got really hard sells. When I said that I was just browsing, I was ignored, so I shopped on-line.

Thing is, I didn’t measure anything. I didn’t click that thing that tells you all about the thing you’re buying which I don’t generally read except when there are before and after photos of someone who lost a gazillion pounds by rubbing on a cream or eating a berry with some super-duper brand of fish oil. Tops, for those kinds of things, I’ll pay $19.95 and it has to include shipping and handling and have a good return policy. This is just in case I really believed it was going to work, saved the tube, didn’t lose the tube’s top, found a box to mail it back in and was willing to accept a coupon for something else, that until this very moment was a secret, in lieu of cash. But, since I really didn’t expect it to work, didn’t faithfully follow the directions anyway, and lost the cap, I get to tell myself that it might have worked and accept that I’m an idiot. That’s okay.

Returning lighting fixtures is a whole other story because first you have to click a box that tells why you don’t want it, then you have to wait for an authorized return label that comes with very specific instructions about how to ship the thing back and then you have to wait for credit.
The instructions tell you that the fixture can’t be shipped in its original box and that the company’s authorized return number must be marked on the outside of the package. So, you have to go somewhere, buy a box, $7.99, thank you very much, and then argue with the FedEx guy about whether you can sharpie a number on the box’s outside, which they advise you not to do but let you do it anyway.

I think that FedEx doesn’t like extra numbers on their packages because they have all these codes and your numbers might match theirs and your package might go to some place that is wrong. I don’t know this for sure, and when they lost my package I didn’t tell them that I had insisted on writing numbers on the box, but I would have if they asked me.

Normally, in a situation like this, I’m pretty ready to fess up. But since I was already apologizing for losing the airway bill, didn’t remember the date that I sent it, had no idea if it was sent air or ground, it seemed like I was giving them enough trouble. I sorta liked that they weren’t accusing me of anything and being incredibly helpful. They couldn’t find my package right away, but said that they would call me back the next day with information and they did. They found it; I wrote down a bunch of numbers, e-mailed the company who just confirmed that they received the package and were waiting for authorization to credit me. Sounds like progress, no?

At the moment, I have three more things to return and I plan for it to go smoother. I bought a roll of contractor paper, lots of tape and some twine. I have a return label. I just have to decide if these fixtures would make awesome presents. It’s that thing. Maybe somebody can use these.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

When you owe

If you’re very lucky you will owe gratitude. I’m that person. I have been the beneficiary of things I can never repay and I don’t even want to repay those things, I want to owe.

Such a funny way to look at it. Here it is April, spring, rebirth, and I’m beginning the season with a deficit and I like that a lot. Our fire is done and we’re home.

We’re digesting all of the things that people told us and unless you’ve been pregnant in NY where complete strangers tell you the most astonishing things (particularly if you frequent deli counters) you’ll have to have your own fire to get this. Since I don’t want that to happen to you and because you might be interested, I’ll tell you what to expect.

First, you’re going to deal with the wonderful people. The fire guys who came to save you, the ambulance guy whose job it is to stick things into you so that you’re ready for the next step if the doctor guys want to do more things to you. Also, the doctor guys answer questions and tell you astounding things. Also neighbor people who give you cell phones, call your family and give you shoes and clothes and very good brands of personal toiletries which you realize are above what you buy and you get resolve about that. You resolve to buy better brands so that if you need to give them to someone they’re nice.

The fire guys are real professional. While the young guys run up the stairs, the older guys make you focus so that you can tell where the fire is, if there’s an open window, if you closed a door and things like that. The ambulance guys are good too although they’re busy with you and I have the idea that they’re trained not to answer any questions unless it’s about where you’re going. I think they’re not allowed to give you any water and if you ask for some they will tell you that and if you persist they’ll tell you they don’t have any.

When you meet the doctors and ask for water they will tell you that you can’t have any because your throat might swell up and then you’ll cough the water into your lungs and then you’ll drown. That’s what I mean about astounding things. You have to question a statement like this. You have to say, “how about I just swish it around in my mouth and promise to spit it out, then can I have some water?” And they tell you no. They say you might just swallow some.

Even when you say you wouldn’t swallow even a tiny bit and explain how you have gargling down and what they say really is astounding, especially the part about drowning, they have to think it over.

You have to let them know that you know that they’re really smart and it’s good that they’re in charge and you believe in them and everything and you don’t want to be a pain. Also, you happen to know that they’re not going to let you drown and then I think they realize that that’s true. After all of that, they’ll give you some water and you’re grateful.

I heard some other astounding things. One of the most amazing began with, “psssssst…your apartment burned up, right?” And when you nod agreement the next sentence is: “I got a Faberge Egg and a mink coat; it’s all documented. If you want to put in for it, something for you, something for me.” That cracked me up. I like to think that she is the lost princess Anastasia who wasn’t slaughtered in the Russian revolution.

I can’t recall all of the astounding things I’ve been told, but I’m going to start a list. I’ll need a list too about all the things I’m grateful for. Mostly it boils down to being alive, in a great place with good people and hopefully an ex-Princess. That would be best.