A yard sale is like sleeping with the blankets off.

9 Sep

I haven’t written in three weeks because I have been consumed with the idea of having this big yard sale. We have a lot of stuff, and while getting LMB all ready to go back to Providence for her senior year, we were all going through a major de-stuffing. I am feeling the twitch of the empty-nester – the haltingly eager desire to get the crap cleaned up and see the floors again. And by god, when pressed, that kid can pack. It took a summer of nagging and some very late nights last week, but she got it done. We helped. A little.

Photo courtesy jerrythinks.com

Photo courtesy jerrythinks.com

It really was so incredibly, shamefully, painless. Her Dad came and got her and her stuff, and before we knew it we were driving crap up to Providence and a few flights of stairs later we were in her newly moved-into apartment, her happy smile testament to her new and much desired independence. And then we left. I did not even cry, and she didn’t text me til the next day. Our job is done. For now.

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That done, we went home and started clearing out bookshelves and taking stuff out to the garage. Tom’s mother Roz was a big help. In just a few of days, we had 75% of a yard sale priced and ready. I made signs Friday morning in lieu of a run, and Friday night, we drove to all neighborhood outlet points and hung them up. Saturday morning arrived at 4:30 and we got to work with the usual chores, walked the dogs, and started pulling it all out into the yard. A forecast for rain and thunderstorms after two worried me a little. But the weather held out, and by 6:50, our first two dealers had arrived. 

They were expected. That’s how it goes, right?

photo courtesy toonseum.blogspot.com

photo courtesy toonseum.blogspot.com

Tom had a lot of stuff he has been hiding or kept stored somewhere that I didn’t even know he had. Within a half hour, the two dealers had big piles stacked in the driveway already, while I was still dragging out my measly contributions to the sale.

Thinking about it now, I actually didn’t have that much stuff to sell. Some books. Some trinkets. I was giving away (for donations to Save One Soul Animal Rescue League ) a bunch of LMB’s old stuffed animals and all of the old children’s books – “For Adoption – all proceeds to…”. Actually, some of those were mine. Including Hot Shot, a stuffed husky Tom won for me at the Woodstock Fair many years ago. Adopted. And Big Bear, a big stuffed bear I got at a yard sale in the Adirondacks one camping trip. Adopted. The Hedgehog Feast, a book gifted to LMB when she was 6 or 7 by my good friend Jackie now taken home to a sweet little private kindergarden down the road. Adopted. All in all, that part of the sale netted a good thirty bucks for Save One Soul. Yay!

The big person books didn’t sell. People don’t really like books anymore.  Except for this kid Cody, who, although born in 1991, was not sure what a Sony Discman was. We couldn’t get him to buy it, either. We did get him to take Tom’s old turntable and a Penguin Voltaire, which will look nice on his hipster bookcase. He said he was in a band. I asked what kind of music and he said, “Progressive Rock. Do you know that genre?”

And then there was the fairy lady. The fairy lady was cool. She had a walking cane and long skirts, long hair, she was very authentic. Almost TOO authentic. Like a spy dressed up to look up like a batty overweight children’s book author with a bad hip. And that is exactly what she was. She took many of the children’s picture books. She said “When I read to my god child, we take the pictures from the books and make a collage, and we talk about what we are feeling about the pictures.”

 She also bought a hamper and a picture of a ship. I helped her carry her stuff to her car, because she had that cane. She told me she was a published author and often hired local artists and illustrators from RISD. Ding! I gave her LMB’s info. So, LMB, if you are reading, you might get this phone call…

We also met many neighbors and old timers from the area. They are always reminiscing when they come up “School Bell House.” I met the woman whose family built Pine Hill Farm up the road, and whose family name graces many roads and lots in Richmond and Exeter. That was cool. And we met some folks who were camping down at Galilee and sold them the woolen rug that smelled like cat pee for five dollars (with full disclosure. We made sure they knew a cat had peed on it and wrapped it in plastic for their ride home.) They were really nice and we talked about politics, which was unexpectedly fun. I realized I was starved for good dinner-party quality political conversation. As my friends all know, it has been awhile since we have accepted any social invitations. I have no excuse. I obviously miss it because I was all over these people like Tom Hanks with Wilson in Cast Away. As they drove away, I thought, gee, I could really be friends with them. And then I thought, wait, friends don’t sell friends a cat pee rug. Tom said they probably got half way down the road, looked at each other, stopped the car and threw that rug right into a ditch.

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But LOOK at all this stuff. If I saw books like this at a tag sale, I’d be all over that action. But we couldn’t move them. So if you are looking for a nice Christmas gift, come to my house and go in the garage and pick out twenty books for free. Your holiday gifts are covered. And they don’t even smell like cat pee!

Meantime, because of all of this de-stuffing, I was not able to run on Saturday. It’s probably not a bad thing, because it was hot and swampy. My running pal Georgia ran the Run Around the Block 15K, which I really wanted to run. You basically get on a ferry in the morning, run this race, spend the rest of the day on the beach, eat and drink, and go home on the party ferry. Sounds fun, and it would have been a good training run for Portland. As it was, I sat in front of this old hipster camper making change for twenties.

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It was a good workout. Yeah, really. I had to keep getting up to help get stuff from over heah and put it over theah.

And only one person asked to see the couch inside. I took her inside and she took one good look and turned around. So we still have a sectional sofa with dog hair and a couple of snags on it (but no cat pee!) that is perfectly comfortable if I can pay anyone to please take it. Please?

It feels good to de-stuff. I am digging this action. In the de-stuffing, I moved our Rack of Running And Biking Accessories from the office to the basement, which had been cleaned out last week prior to the yard sale. What a difference such a small thing can make. And it doesn’t end there. De-stuffing can be addictive and carry over into other areas of one’s life. It can lead one to do such crazy things as Finishing Up Last Night’s Dishes so the house looks nice when Tom gets home from work. Or Cleaning Out the Running Shirt Drawer (a very big deal, as any runner knows.) Perhaps in the de-stuffing, I clear a little stuff from the fuzzy grey matter, too, and make that machine work a little better when it counts.

One thing I did not have, for the most part, was the classic Yard Sale Regret.

While I got a little misty eyed when the kids’ table that had been drawn all over by a young LMB went for four bucks (gulp – let it go…) for the most part, it was all good.

This is only phase 1 of our overall Shaw De-stuffing Process. Stay tuned for more.






One Response to “A yard sale is like sleeping with the blankets off.”

  1. Roz Shaw July 19, 2015 at 2:05 am #

    And we filled my wagon with “things” maybe I really didn’t “need” but things I really “wanted!” And, thanks, nice lady, for the red camp chair with the big white flowers and also camp stool. 🙂 All free because “I’m the mom/mom-in-law.”

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