- Craigslist.org - one of the things that Ryan has been asking for is a work table for his studio. He wanted somewhere that he can use for his laptop, but also a desktop that could serve as a cutting table. I found a suitable drafting table on Craigslist from a local architect who is looking to make some space in his offices. Only $12!
- IT services - Ryan is, er, semi-computer literate. He knows how to run complex programs like Photoshop, but couldn't change the font color in Word to save his life. He recently inherited a Wacom tablet from his friend, but doesn't know how to install it. So I am doing that for him and going to surprise him on Christmas with his new desk, set up with his laptop and Wacom in working order. Free!
- Framing - Ryan made a big investment to buy some original art from one of his favorite comic series, Promethea for his birthday present to himself. A while back we bought a frame for it, but he hasn't actually framed it yet. So while he's sleeping, I'm going to frame it and hang it. Free!
- Cell phone - Ryan has been resistant to getting a "real" cell phone, because he claims that he'd never use it... except that he is forever taking MY phone. And when convention time comes around, he ends up buying a pay-as-you-go phone (which is the biggest rip off in world history*) and they suck. 2009 we're going to be going to a lot more conventions, so I need a real phone to reach him on. I was able to add a line to our Family Plan, so the cost will be $9.99 a month and the phone was free. Free! (deferred $9.99)
- Cell phone case - Ryan chose a shiny silver phone, which is really shiny and awesome, but he is particular about having fingerprints and smudges on it (I know, I know), so I made him a little carrying case. It took 1/2 sheet of black felt and a few whip stitches, and I already had these supplies on-hand. If you didn't, it would cost about $1.00 to craft one of these. Free!
- Organization - one of the things that we, as a couple, are the WORST at is organizing our stuff. And man, we have a lot of stuff. Ryan has taken over our love seat in the living room with his comics. They're placed in thoughtful piles - books on his to-read list, books to loan, books to be filed into his archive boxes, books he's borrowed, etc. I found some collapsible storage cubes at Target in the "Dollar Spot" section for $2.50 and grabbed up a few of them (some for me, too). They're 11" x 11" x 11" so they hold comic books perfectly. Again, when he's sleeping, I am going to transfer the piles to the boxes so that we can use the couch again. Huzzah! 2 boxes, $5
- Storage shelves - more organizational stuff, but this shelf holds 3 of the boxes that I bought and it was on sale for under $10. I found one in a dark 'espresso' color and it fits perfectly in his studio with all of his other furniture. We can also expand and buy more (they're stackable) if he decides he likes the boxes for storage. $9.99
- Wrist cuffs - when I was first learning to knit, I made Ryan a pair of wrist cuffs, which were pretty lame, but he ended up wearing them all the time. As an artist, he's got to keep his wrists warm (and he's always cold). The ones I made a few years ago are looking a little worn, so I decided it was time to invest another hour into knitting and make him more cuffs. I already have yarn and needles, so this is another no-cost gift. Free!
- Stocking stuffers - I bought a bunch of Ryan's favorites at the dollar store recently, so he's got a stocking bursting with hot cocoa mix, gum, candies, and even some cheeky little toys.
Free things that I have asked for from Santa:
- Game night - I love playing games, especially Boggle. All I'm asking for is an hour. Or two, if you've got it!
- Hanging pictures - I have collected some fantastic pictures for my office, but haven't hung them all yet. That would be a fun surprise to walk in and see it done!
- Day trips - Kate has introduced us to so many cool LA places, but we never seem to have enough time to see everything! I'd love to have more time to browse through places, like Forest Lawn or the museums or even just strolling down Melrose.
- Car cleaning - my car is like a junk yard. It's pathetic. An over-the-top gift would be to clean it out and get all those straw wrappers that seem to be endlessly jammed between the seats.
- Head massage - I get a lot of tension in my head and also terrible headaches and one of the bestest things in the world is to have someone rub my head or brush my hair. Bonus: I'll be asleep in 10 minutes!
[image courtesy of the Disney holiday image archives at www.animationarchive.org]
* because the numbers are frequently recycled, you get a LOT of wrong-number calls, which eat up your air time. Then, your remaining minutes are taken by spam text messages and voicemails (they charge you to receive calls, as well as make them). So you only end up getting to use about 1/2 the minutes that you buy. [/rant]