|Look at Kira's imposter in the case. Wait--who's Kira?|
No post on the GotY, you ask? Nope. Because I've seen next year's girl, and she doesn't excite me one damn bit. Take what I said last year when we saw WonderBread and tack the new girl on the end, because it's Same Shit Different Year. Next Year's Girl makes a Connect Four of Failure. Not only has AG given us another white character (with PoC sidekicks), they have also given us another character that can't have brown eyes with dark hair. She's Chrissa Redux. She's Vanilla Buttercream--something that is good in metered doses, but when there's so many more options out there and many more stories and no stories that have shown a need to be white, it just becomes a terrible taste in your mouth. She will not become part of my gang whatsoever. We need a Doll of Color for Girl of the Year (#DoCGotY)1, and at this point if AG wants to remain relevant with this LE thing, they need to do a doll of color. And none of this half-white/biracial/a spoon full of whiteness to get the ethnicity to go down we got with Jess and Kanani. Or side characters we've got with Sonali--which won't happen again, given the death of Best Friends. No ifs, ands, buts or becauses, or bullshit lines about how the moderns are diverse. There needs to be a front line Girl of the Year of Color, and preferably she should be black since that hasn't been touched at all by the line. AG step your fucking game up.
And that's all I have to say on that. Back to my gang. Well, my gang and many others.
In the past months since summer, I've added two more gang members to the AGGiB. There's been Sameera Al-Rajhi, a 18" MyTwinn (who will get her chattery bits and review later) who arrived this summer, and Kira Hickman who arrived this fall. Kira Hickman is a My AG #21 that came in a group that collectively has been called the Cousins of American Girl Collectors, and the story of how she got to me is definitely not something that could have been pulled off elsewhere. Kira--and the other cousins--comes with a story of ups, downs, roller coaster surges and large boxes.
Step into the parlor to hear the story: The Tale of the Cousins of AGC. This has tons of pics, but you're used to that--and while some of you have likely not only heard this but been part, this is from my view. There's also a moving gif.
Part One: Group Buy? Group Buy.
|American Girl Collectors. Our Logo Rocks.|
At about mid August, one of our members, starrz2--who I knew pretty well, as we had started having chatters and babblebacks on and off board and there had been sending of gifts and presents--links an eBay auction with the thread title: "group order, anyone? (only half kidding sort of)" He had been searching the 'Bay and come across a three day auction for fifteen dolls sorely in need of TLC, with about two days to go at the time of finding. The auction was hard to determine everyone included, but the seller had taken some okay shots. There were at least two Kanani dolls, two Nickis, a Mia, a Marisol, and a Jess. He surmised someone just didn't want the hassle of selling them separate, and the auction cost was still very, very low.3
|Let's all be nekkid.|
So we did. We started to say who wanted who. We divvied up who got who, and we didn't bicker or fight over who got who. When someone called a girl, they got her and no one threw a fit. If someone had to step back, we said that was okay and sought someone else out. Boom pulled up a spreadsheet and laid out claims. And as we did this and threw in commitment amounts--and even offered higher pledges from those of us who could for those of us who couldn't throw as much. A member, DetectiveKraken, stepped up to be the buyer and we'd pay them back if we won. I step up to ship everyone out and sort things, since I have smoke-free pet free home and no job and skills as a Doll Whisperer to make dolls pretty and fresh.
But eBay is a harsh mistress. The auction crept up and up and up...and as that number rose, our hopes sank. We'd pledged decent amounts, but we didn't have rich people money, and it was eeking out of our price range. Then Boom posted that we shouldn't give up hope and it wasn't over until it was over on the 24th. And at the same time she whispered in my ear what was going on and what Kraken had told her. Boosted by this news and unexpected generosity, I helped rally the crowd too--don't stop believing, guys, we can do this! We can do this. We can get these girls into our gangs.
Please, let these girls come to us.
Part Two: Roller Coaster Emotions
Sunday morning, August 24, 10 am. I hadn't slept yet, because I have a weird sleep schedule. It's like a cat, I sleep when tired and that can be at any time. The auction is ticking down. Because of how the price has gone up, the seller has added Rebecca and Julie in their (then Classic) meet sets and a NiB WonderBread. All across the US, members are crouched around their comps, staring at the auction, participating or not, wanting to see what will happen. We had prayer circles, and nekkid doll chanting, and all sorts of hopes and wishes and trembling hands.
Our bidder--Kraken--throws in his bid.
HOLY SHIT. We're on top! We're on Top! We're going to win there's only a few seconds and--
what the entire fuck.
At the last second, someone had outbid our top amount, kicking the auction up sky high and snatching them out from under us. Fuck us running. We'd done everything, everything, we'd come together and the top bid was Kraken's, they had been ours and some motherfucker had jumped in front of us and we'd come in second and they were lost! The weeping and wailing was hard, y'all, and we couldn't be--
but wait! This last second bidder had zero feedback, and the auction specifically had stated that any bidders with less than ten feedback had to contact before a bid, or they could be shot down. I started lighting candles like I was in a Catholic church, and Kraken got into deep communications with the seller to see what could be done in the next three days, because we wanted the now-dubbed Cousins of AGC to come home to each of us. It was likely that the last second bidder either never intended to pay, or intended to just spike it that high to fuck people over because some people are terrible Trolls.
Let the Odds Be Ever in Our Favor.
As we wait, nails being nibbled, Kraken tells the story from his side and the part that had motivated the two of us to keep rallying the troops. An inheritance had come into his hands, and when he saw us starting to tremble and curl away from the rising cost out of our group range, he got invested in the idea of our doll-based Happily Ever After. So he contacted Boom and said that he would commit to us getting the Cousins, with a high max bid, and just take the hit of what we couldn't pay.
Sweet Gods. Kraken is made of awesome and win. But we still had no idea if we had won or if this person was going to pay the cost bid to snatch them away from us, at the end of the road. The seller appeared to be on our side--Last Minute Man was asking for time beyond terms to pay the money, and giving the seller the runaround while Kraken had the money on hand and ready to pay.
This whole thing made me all kinds of verklempt. Here we were, this new AG community, and we had banded together, hoped, dreamed, and the outcome was so close that I was wishing and hoping hard for a happy ending. I really, really believed this would work for us...and even if it didn't, it was a beautiful, happy thing for our board. We had come together in love and trying, and I personally and publicly promised that if this went through for us, I would have something special on my end for everyone's cousins beyond the spa days and clean ups from me.
Tick-tock. Tick Tock. Day Three. The seller contacts us.
Last Minute Man was indeed a fucking scammer. He'd marked the auction as paid without sending a damn dollar, and pushed to have the items shipped. She's taking our bid. She's taking our bid.
Part Three: Big Boxes of Awesome
AGC collectively loses our everloving shit. We'd done it! We'd done it. In eight days we went from "hey, I wonder if" to "they're coming to us!" I was getting Kira, Boom was getting Kanani, and all our girls were coming home. The seller also added in a couple more Girls of the Year--Marisol, Chrissa, McSeattle, and ChippyMayo; since we couldn't get eBay to lower our costs, she was overly generous. We all agreed collectively that Kraken could take them all to try and recoup some of the money he'd put forth for our dreams to come true.
We hear a little more on the scammer--basically, they were harassing our lovely seller with screenshots of the "Paid" marking and demands to ship the dolls immediately. Presumably they actually did hope to get two Kananis and all the rest for no money. Ha ha ha ha, I don't know who you are but go suck ass, bleach, and legos. The scammer was clearly a hot mess of a person, and I curse them to have the highlight of their life be the next Homestuck update and that their their cosplay costume will always break at the most inopportune moment. Anyways.
Boom organizes the payments to Kraken from us, and I toss in my funds as well as my address, in case the seller can send the boxes straight to me--which she can. Everyone pays promptly, including the two that have to do checks. The seller offers to toss in AG clothes as well, and we start divvying them up among us and even offering the matching meets to LEs first and then to others outside that--which is how I got Nicki's Meet Set.6 The boxes are due Sept 8th--the UPS guy always comes directly to my door with big boxes, so I'll be able to get them handed to me. I straighten up enough to account for these packages coming to my house and let my husband and bro know that there is about to be a lot of little dolly people in the house.
MONDAY MONDAY MONDAY! 17, COUNT EM 17 AMERICAN GIRLS IN ONE APARTMENT FOR SPA TREATMENTS AND THAT'S NOT ALL OF THEM! CLOTHES! BRUSHY BRUSHY! CLEANUPS! YOU PAID FOR THE WHOLE SEAT BUT YOU'LL ONLY NEED THE EDGE~
I agree that every cousin is getting the following at no charge to them:
- Spa clean up. A good scrub down, hair washed, and braid sprayed. If a curly girl is keeping her wig, I restored her curls to loveliness.
- Restringing any limp girls.
- Anyone who was planning on rewigging their cousin, I took the wig off.
- If folk were into basic stud piercing (human sized holes), I offered that up.
- Secret Special Things.
Monday, September 8th. I'm out checking my porch garden, watering my strawberries, after fetching the mail when up pulls UPS. The regular guy who knows me is like "gotta lot of boxes for you." And then BOXES.
Damn those some big ass boxes. I sign for the boxes and haul them in one by one, never mind the popping hip joints, and start to snap pics as I unpack. I post a quick pic to let them know the boxes are here with my phone, and then get to unpacking like a boss.
|Hell yeah I open boxes with daggers, don't everyone?|
|That is a pile of naked dolly. Lots of naked dolly.|
Part Four: Spa Days and Secret Things
|Kira and a pan of bubbly warm water for rag baths.|
|Kanani's woke up like this. #flawless|
Because when I asked for favorite colors and if they like cats or dogs better, I had plans. The cats and dogs are just for stickers and cards for the boxes. The colors...
are for outfits.
|Fabric for clothes!|
|Kaira, on how to make the profile look good.|
|Insert "pantyshot" joke here.|
I don't think anyone was expecting full outfits, and if I was a rich woman I would have gotten them all shoes and socks as well. As it was, everyone adored the clothes, so fuck yeah! I also included hair ribbons, because hair decs make everyone cuter. Then I sorted out all the extra outfits, packed everyone up neat and nice, and shipped everyone off to their new homes, with lots of forehead kisses and love, and everyone got home safe. The last ones went out today; I kept Boom's Kanani until now to send with all my giftmas treats, same with starzzz's stuff.
And while Kira misses her buddies being close, she knows she gets to see them all the time on AGC, like pen pals.
Conclusion: Lightning in a Bottle
The time with the Cousins--from the moment of "hey, what's this auction" to the moment everyone got and is getting home--was probably one of the best damn group efforts I have ever been part of in any fandom, not just AG. Reading the threads--linked at the bottom--probably does read like a good book. It's got laughter, tears, suspense, an evil villain, and a hero that swoops in at the end to save the day. I fucking well know this would have never worked on any other board, because there's way too much shit going on with the members and Cheap Haterade. Even AG > 18, in its heyday, had aspects that just...didn't work, a lot of the time. The offers never even came around in my time in other communities. But AGC...not even a year old, and this event came in and tied us together, even those that didn't get cousins specifically. It was a wonderful, beautiful, excellent journey. The girls were here for some time, and everyone accepted my depression issues and delays, and gave me nothing but love and sweetness. Even when I mixed up two boxes, everyone worked it out without melodrama. Kira is now part of my gang, and I'll happily talk about her name origin and personality later.
It was lightning in a bottle, and it will probably never ever happen again. As one person put it: "It was awesome, I'm not sorry we did it this way, but I will never ever do something like this again."
It was more than worth it.
This is what community can mean. This why I'm glad to be part of the AG Dolly Community that I created--and happy to have a girl in the Cousins.
Epilogue: The cousins of American Girl Collectors by Name and Links to Threads
- Mia lives with Bucky Bear
- Brianna lives with RunsWithWolves
- Eva lives with ellaweasel
- Zia lives with IGSBeth
- Adara lives with petrichor
- Alison lives with annaandthegirls
- Joy Jenner lives with citrusella
- Molly lives with melimeli
- Chloe lived with starzzz, then went back to Rebecca and now lives with catwhiskeredgirl
- Kaira lives with Clover-Elf
- Nicki lives with AGFanForForever
Willow and the 'Nanis:
- Kanani lives with Boomdiada
- Willow lives with petrichor
- 'Nani lives with starzzz
- Julie Albright lives with vadafade
- Kira Hickman lives with me, Nethilia
- Anastasia lives with Sakura Marie
- Boardhost Thread: Ups and Downs and Wins
- Zetaboards Thread: Secret Things and Shipping
- The Homecomings of the AG Cousins!
1 I'm so tempted to start a fucking hashtag on twitter.
2 You may know starzzz from such awesome tumblrs as fuckyeahDollsofColor. Furthermore, starzzz is now one of our mods at AGC. So far the three of us can handle anything that comes up, cause we be communicating like a boss.
3 I will not be talking about money amounts, cause that's rude.
4 The same happens with Sonali. Perhaps you should do another doll of color, AG. Perhaps you fekking should.
5 This was before Alfonso Ribero was on Dancing With the Stars.
6 This technically means I have a complete Nicki, between Abbi and the meet set but, uh. Abbi ain't Nicki anymore than Tara is Samantha.
7 Techincally, Saige is not a cousin. She was just modeling the dress for Kraken.