I was wrong about some things: tools, tape, scissors, extensions cords, surprisingly, have been plentiful!
Dishes, glasses, and silverware have proven to be as difficult as I expected. We've been getting by on 8 plastic plates that I really hate and a bunch of mismatched dumpster glasses.
So, you can image my delight when I saw on the curb one day a box proudly proclaiming "FREE DISHES" scrawled in marker across it's side! And you can probably also imagine my trepidation! What kind of dishes? How many? How mismatched? How chipped and cracked? How UGLY?
Much to our delight, the box contained good quanties of matching plates and mugs in good condition in a pattern that we really LIKE (an atomic pattern called "Cathay" made by Taylor-Smith and Taylor circa late 1060's to mid 1970's, to be exact)! Kinda retro hip but fun and in good colors.
There were 14 plates and 10 mugs so we can have lots of people over as long as we are careful not to serve anything requiring soup bowls or salad plates.
And we get the additional fun of getting to look for more pieces (alas, probably in thrift stores where you actually have to PAY for stuff, but fun nonetheless)!
Coincidentally, the free dishes coordinate with and were made by the same company as our "Anniversary China" that Mark gave me for our second anniversary last month. I adore them and we found the whole set (service for 8-11 depending on the piece - there ARE 8 plates even through it only looks like 6) for $17! It will also be a great victory to find additional pieces and serving pieces for this set as we prowl thrift stores and dumpsters in the future. I already had a sugar bowl and three saucers in this pattern ("Heritage Green") that came from dumpsters so I know they're out there!
And Mark found a set of my very favorite glasses (that have used for YEARS at home in Fayetteville) at a garage sale and paid 10 cents each for them (9 for 90 cents!). Then I found the tenth one in a dumpster! Hooray! Ten matching glasses for under a dollar! And I love having so many that MATCH!
And then there's silverware. I DO have a set of real wedding-type silverware in a wooden case and everything that I did find for free in the back of a cabinet of a house I was cleaning out. But they don't really count because I DID own the house, the silverware WAS left by my renters, and, even through I evicted them and they owe me thousands of dollars, I don't have the heart NOT to return their wedding silver (even through they are divorced and he's in prison -- long, sad story).
So... it will be fun to get to tell you how it happened when I finally find a set of free silverware!