Why Do I Keep Doing this to Myself? Sent to India

Swap-bot eats me up from the inside-out.

Let’s back up, and start with an update: the swap-bot “flat envie of fun” I mailed to New Delhi, India last month has landed, and the recipient rated me a 5, with that heart, and a “thank you!”

And then, do you know what happened, the same day?  The assignments were passed out for this month’s version of the same trade–and I was assigned the same person!

Now, I had a really difficult time with this last month, I mean, deciding what to send this trader, and I nearly doubled over at the prospect of facing it again.  I took a day or two to breathe, and then I revisited her profile.  She likes birds–especially owls–and flowers. Okay.  Since my last shopping trip for a swap-bot trade took a lot of time & energy, I decided I needed to try adding a different store to my list of places to visit.  I decided Cost Plus may have owls. I was right!  Between that store, Half-Price Books, and my own postcard stash, I came up with this:


She said she likes tea, too.  I bought a box of tea that I can enjoy, as well–though I usually enjoy dim sum with my pu-erh!

I feel super-successful this time around, AND with the boxed items (owl cards & tags, O’Keefe mini-cards, tea), I have extras for possible future trades.

WHAT THE HECK AM I TALKING ABOUT, “future trades?”  WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?  So stressful.  I mean, I love to prepare packages for people.  The issue comes up with a) people I don’t know, with wishes that are so different from mine, and sometimes hard to conceptualize or even find; and b) THE RATING SYSTEM.  Also, it has happened in the past that the package I received would indicate that the sender wasn’t trying so much.  So, WHY?  Probably because when it is good, it is very, very good.

Anyhow, I wrote my partner a note:


And trussed it all up:


Here we go again.  Don’t know whether I should delete my swap-bot account, just to prevent future stomach upset…


Ugh, Those Swap-Bot NERVES! Sent to India

I swear, I don’t even know why I’m still on swap-bot.  It’s very likely because of the occasional swaps of postcards created from recyclables–I really have a lot of fun with those–but the whole rating system, and some of the member profiles, really make me nervous.  And of course there’s the whole heart thing.

No, I’ve never been rated less than a 5 (the only possibilities, from best to worst, are 5, 3, and 1), but the system scares me like the idea of clowns under the bed.

And what have I done?  I signed up not for a mere postcard swap, but for something called the “flat envie of fun.”  EEK!  These “select stuff for your assigned partner” swaps contain more minefields than a straightforward postcard swap.  Let’s look at the details:


Okay, well, I know I would like to receive a flat envie envelope full of fun.  No tea, of course–I choose & buy my own tea, but tea bags seem to be a big thing with swap botters. I do buy & accumulate li’l fun things to share with friends & swap partners, so this should be easy!

But I’d obviously forgotten about the last time I entered a trade like this, and the envelope I received caused me so much trauma, I never even shared it here.  The person read my profile–she demonstrated by saying “I know you didn’t want any tea…”  And you already know the very next word in that sentence was “but.”  Yes, there was tea, and I think confetti, and a bunch of crap so mysterious as to not even be regiftable for the friends to whom I love sending stuff & nonsense.  I fed almost everything in that envelope (or was it absolutely everything in that envelope?) to the trash can.  And no, I certainly did not award a heart, which I customarily choose to do by default.

Let me shake that off & get back to this trade.  Okay, so as I was saying, I thought this envie of fun thing should be easy!

And then I was assigned my partner–she lives in New Delhi, Delhi, India–and read her profile. And I got to the “uh-oh” line:

“DISLIKES : please do not send me these… Kiddie stuff Cartoon stuff ( stickers, stationary etc) I’ve outgrown it long ago!”

Oh, good gawd, I hope I never grow so old!  Well, this sucks all the “fun” out of the “envie full of fun!”  I had to take a few days’ break to regroup.

So what WOULD she like?  Uh, she mentioned Starbucks cards, anything from her Amazon wish list.  LOL.  Let’s look for flat stuff, within the intended parameters of this swap… well, she’s apparently big into papercrafting, & is interested in stationary/notecards, stickers, stamps–and yes, tea bags.  I was eventually able to cobble this assortment together for her:


Along the left, we have tiny note cards (the bottom 2 have envelopes.  You see the tea bags, stamps, and postcards (two that I actually think are nice, nothing from The Disappointassortment here, no).  The owl & the mermaid are two custom stickers from Seattle artists.

So, do you think I deserve a HEART, in addition to a full 5 rating?  I not only have 5 items–I have 5 different items, each of them in multiples!  I think even a grinch who hates wonderful things like “kiddie stuff” and cartoon characters should surely find something to enjoy here!

I stuck it all in this card, in which I wrote a friendly note:


…and then I addressed, reinforced, and stamped the thing:



And now, we wait.  With a bad case of those swap-bot nerves.