Berkeley Moms

It’s not secret that I love the town that I live in. Despite it’s faults and odd quirks, I love Berkeley.

Tonight, I had yet another positive Berkeley experience to add to a long and growing roster of such experiences. Just over a year ago now, I signed up for the Berkeley Parents List. I’d surfed the website before but since I didn’t qualify for membership I hadn’t been able to sign up until I was expecting Vic. Since signing up, I’ve been mildly barraged weekly with the different pieces of the mailing list. The advice and recommendations are often relevant. Shortly, I expect that the childcare list will become very important. And of course, there’s the Marketplace.

It’s through the Marketplace that I keep coming into contact with other Berkeley Moms. It’s through the Marketplace that I’ve come across some of the best deals around on baby stuff and other assorted things. Furthermore, every time I buy something from a Mom at the Marketplace, I usually come home, not only with whatever it is that I went to buy, but a number of freebies tossed into the bargain.

The first purchase of this sort was our portable dishwasher. Great washer — showing its age a little in the dings and scratches and the 2 hour running time to wash a load, but in perfect working condition and a true life-saver for our time-challenged household. The lady I bought it from also tossed in Vic’s first high chair, a potty-training seat and a booster car seat gratis. The booster I wound up putting out on the kerb because we bought a car seat that will last Vic until he hits 80lbs, but the high chair has gotten heavy service as a hang-out space and feeding tool for Vic until recently. It’s a great little chair that you can attach to a regular chair. The only down side is that it’s hard molded plastic without a cover and Vic’s gotten into surging backwards violently when he doesn’t want to be in his chair anymore.

I’m worried about him banging his head against the back of his chair too much, so I got him a new high chair with a padded seat back that will be much kinder to the back of his head. It’s also much larger, which is a good thing because he was actually starting to get too big for the little chair.

The second purchase from the list was actually made by my Mom. I agreed to it verbally via e-mail and on the phone, but I was about a week and a half post-partum at the time, so I sent my mother over to pick up the item in question. Said item, was my first breast pump. Since then I’ve developed a love-hate relationship with my breast pump, but it was still a great deal. The owner also threw in a couple of pairs of training pants with rainbow-edged legs that are very cute and seem to be well made. Those will be pressed into service as soon as Vic is ready to start transitioning to the potty. The pump of course gets daily use during the week.

Tonight I made my third Marketplace purchase from a very nice lady in North Berkeley. She was selling a newer model of Medela Pump-In-Style with the variable speed as well as suction for the low, low price of $60. This was such a good deal, that I leapt on it immediately. Despite my grousing about pumping, the Medelas really are good pumps and to find one that was bought new a year ago, and in good condition for such a low price really stunned me. So now I have two hospital-grade electric pumps, one for home and one for work. I’ll be taking the variable speed one into work and I’ll keep the single-speed here at home so that I can hook myself up to it in the morning and eat breakfast while I pump. The second pump lady tossed in a free pair of sheepskin slippers that her son got for Christmas — he’s too big for them already and his grandparents bought them in New Zealand so they can’t be returned. So now Vic also has a spiff pair of sheepskin slippers that just about fit him now.

Berkeley Moms rock.

In other news, I’d really really really like to get this house.

White and Blue Craftsman House

It’s for rent well within our range and the ad states that pets are okay. It has a washer and dryer and a yard and a shared BBQ space. It’s not in the best neighborhood, but neither is it in the worst either, it’s sort of on the edge of where things start to get skanky. It’s also in Oakland, not Berkeley, but beggars can’t be choosers. It’s close enough — about 2 miles from the Berkeley Bowl. Keep your fingers crossed for us that the landlord will be kosher with the cats. I sent him an e-mail stating straight up how many cats we have and how much I really really would love to live in a house with a yard to putter in.