Today was my church's annual extravaganza...a combination barbecue for the youth, bake sale for various groups, and a flea market to benefit the singles ministry. Although rain was predicted at some point in time, we were blessed by having nothing more unbearable than a couple of wind gusts that knocked off a ten cent item off the table and shattered it. Oh, the horror! (not)
Frankly, the term "flea market" is really just a fancy name for "yard sale" although I'm not sure how more uptown it really is in actuality with the word "flea" in the title. I'm sure that someone will go to great pains to consult the oracle (Wikipedia) to tell me the difference...but let me just save you the trouble by telling you that I honestly couldn't care less. But I digress...
Some backstory into how we ended up in booth 87 this morning is not terribly interesting but I won't let that stop me. I have been in a "stuff eradication program" since 2008. When Jill went off to college, I repainted her room and gave away anything that she could not justify being in her life anymore. Some of it was sold on eBay and that only caused me to keep selling anything that wasn't nailed down in this house and probably some that was on there. A few sad little items were left, and I took those and put them in a box to begin a yard sale pile. Stuff has been breeding in there ever since.
Today we rid ourselves of a variety of stuff that was not only no longer useful to our family...but was just completely random. I won't elaborate, but I was quite amazed at what sold and what did not. The items that I thought for sure would be gone within the first hour were sitting there to be picked up by Goodwill at the end of the day. Other things that I thought were a crapshoot were gone within seconds. Amazing.
There were a gazillion other booths sold and there was more stuff in that parking lot than I imagined. People all had that "yardsale look" going on...you know it...hair is weird looking, makeup is hit or miss - mostly miss - and the attire is vintage "whatever was in reach at 5:00 a.m." Or in our case...5:30 a.m.
Yeah...Big Dave "overslept" this morning...an occurrence that has happened fewer than five times in the nearly 25 years I've been married to him. And who says that passive-aggressive behavior isn't alive and well?
We raced to the truck, loaded up our stuff and headed out to the parking lot to set up our tables. People who were obviously professionals were already sitting down and staring at us as we unloaded box after box of "another man's treasure." I found it so much nicer to think of it that way instead of what it really was..."crap we didn't want."
And then the buying public started coming along...asking how much was this or that and trying to pay less than what I stated. There is a lot under assault in the world of capitalism these days...but at a yard sale...it is as cut-throat as anything I've seen short of cheerleading tryouts and the Miss America pageant.
I found out that people don't like things for free at a yard sale...except bags. (Would have been nice if I'd remembered those.) Getting something for truly nothing takes all of the fun out of it apparently. I suppose it's too much like charity. Me? I have no problem with free.
Anyway, we had some shoes that Brian had not only outgrown...but had also pretty much worn out. When we were giving them away...nobody wanted them. I finally sold a pair for a quarter. And those were the best pair. Big Dave unloaded the rest of them...as heinous as they looked and probably smelled...for a dollar a pair including a pair of Rainbows that were handed down to Brian after which he promptly wore 99% of the conceivable wear out of prior to outgrowing them. I was flabbergasted.
I deduced that learned that spandex is a popular fabric for those attending yard sales. It is apparently breathable and gives the wearer the sense that they are competing in a sport...which to watch some of them...it was abundantly clear that they were. After three hours of watching the spandex go by our booth, Big Dave announced that he had added rule #3 to his "guidelines for life" lecture. His take on it..."if I look better in what they are wearing than they do...they probably shouldn't be wearing it." As scary as that sounds...the man has a point.
(And for those of you who want to know what rule #1 is...it is "Because I said so is a perfectly adequate response to the question 'why' if the person asking is living under his roof, eating his food and causing him to forego enjoyment because he is supporting his/her sorry behind." Rule #2 is "No. See, you didn't die from that, did you?")
After the delivery of the barbecue (including losing one of the tickets and having to buy another one because somebody came home from college for the weekend (we are not complaining)...and a trip to the bathroom (where the lack of toilet paper was noted)...life settled in to just hoping that someone would come along and buy everything so that we could move on to something else today. Like dealing with the whole sleep deprivation thing.
Eventually, the time to clean up came...and we counted the $100 we made for our efforts. It is going into Brian's senior trip fund. Yay!
Anyway, I have found that the yard sale is a microcosm of life. There are those who are prepared, and those who show up once the party has started (like our neighbors who came AT seven o'clock and wondered why people wouldn't move to let them unload) and expect the royal treatment. There are folks who will hide their true feelings and try to get the best purchase price or sale price possible. But the only real winners are those who are grateful to just be rid of their junk and folks who find something that they have been praying for in booth #44 for $5.
I am not a big fan of the yard sale...as I tend to only be able to convince Big Dave to let me participate about once a decade. Anything more frequent than that...and he balks. Or sleeps in. But as I was there today amid the bad hair and the spandex I realize how blessed each of us was to have an abundance. We store up our treasures in storage units, attics, and backyard buildings. We continue to bring home more and more and enjoy it less and less.
Tonight, I have less junk cluttering up my house. I also had a great lunch, time to talk to friends, and some really quality time with my children and husband. Although I only brought home $100 and a receipt from Goodwill, I certainly got a whole lot more than what appears on the surface. And I'd like to think that several somebodies in the area got a pretty good deal on what they bought...and are glad that they stopped by booth #87.
Except possibly the shoe purchasers. They might be a little less enchanted...bless their hearts.