2013-0909skullsVery silly art this week. I’m hosting a naked mail swap on Mixed Media Mail Art. I wandered around the dollar store, looking for something big and crazy to mail without packaging. Large plastic Halloween skulls convinced me to take them home and cover them with tissue paper, glitter glue swirls, and a little paint. I’m hoping to send them out in today’s already ridiculously large mail run.

My air conditioner decided to die last night, which was sort of expected, since it’s been smelling a little burned for weeks. The a/c doctor came this morning, and said he could repair the patient with a new fan, which has to be shipped from the factory. My unit has been temporarily rigged to run constantly, but only cool as the temperature warrants. The doctor also warned that, even with the $600 repair, my HVAC system is 27 years old, and on its last legs. Somehow, I have to find $6,000 to replace it in the next year or so. Strangely, $6,000 is also the amount I still owe on my hospital bills. Please, do not let this be a trend…

You’ll understand if I’m particularly cranky today, given the state of my cooling system and bank balance. So, I’m going to rant a bit…

Swaps. I’m having a love/hate relationship with them right now. I love them, in that they motivate me to make more art, and explore things I might not have the time or excuse to try otherwise. I hate them, because people are stupid.

OK, maybe not all people. And maybe not stupid. More like—not self-sufficient. That drives me right over the edge. Am I your mother? NO! I know this, because not one single child was produced from my now absent uterus. Seriously. I have no children, and yet, every time I host a swap, I end up with a handful of people who expect me to be their mother. I have to solve all their problems, answer all their questions (even if I’ve already answered them in a swap description, or in instructions), do all their Googling. It’s ridiculous.

So. Those of you who swap, or would like to swap, here are The Rules According to Lisa:

  1. Read the swap description, and any instructions the swap host has posted. Re-read them every time you even think about asking a question. 90% of the time, the answer to your question will be there, which means you are wasting everyone’s time by asking it—and you’re also getting an enormous eye roll from the host as she refers you to what she has already written.
  2. Follow the instructions. They are for everyone. You are not exempt because you are somehow special. All swappers are created equal. If you are not capable of following the posted instructions, don’t sign up.
  3. If you don’t understand something, ask one direct question in the public forum provided, and then wait for an answer. For example, post to your group, “How do I add my name to the mailing list?” (assuming that there are, in fact, no instructions on how to do this posted, which is unlikely). Wait for someone to reply. Do not ask the same question every 10 seconds for three minutes, and then private message it to the entire group, and then post it on the swap host’s business page. God will smite you for this behavior. Or, at the very least, the swap host will throw you out on your ear for being inconsiderate, and not playing nicely with the toys.
  4. Accept that you are not the center of the universe. Swaps are not posted purely for your entertainment, in accordance with your skills, in alignment with your calendar, or on the basis of what you want to do today. If a posted swap is not to your liking, don’t sign up. If you think a posted swap is outside your skill level, don’t sign up. If you don’t have time to complete the swap items by the deadline, don’t sign up. If you believe you are the center of the universe—please, do us all a favor, and don’t sign up. Do not sign up for a swap, and then complain about every little detail you don’t like.
  5. The time to say you don’t understand what a swap is about is BEFORE you sign up. And definitely before the swap partners are posted.
  6. Swaps are, by nature, group activities. Asking the swap host questions, or for photos, or for resources via private emails, instead of a general post to the group, will only cause her head to explode. Private messages should be reserved for acts of god, and natural disasters.
  7. If you need someone’s address, and it’s not in the swap’s address file—perhaps contacting the person whose address you need is a better choice than private messaging the swap host three times to tell her you don’t have it.

And yes, sadly, I am speaking from personal experience…