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The Home That Yard Sales Built

How to conquer life's obstacles one bargain at a time!

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disappointment

RAINY DAYS AND MONDAYS GOT YOU DOWN?

So you say you woke up hearing the song stylings of Karen Carpenter playing in your head?  Well, me too, my friend.  Me too.

Well, not exactly.

Don’t get me wrong.  I actually love rainy days, and I adore rainy nights (*cue Eddie Rabbit), but when that rainy day is a Saturday, well my adoration of rain becomes a love/hate relationship.

I’ve missed yard sales three weekends in a row.  THREE.  In a ROW!  Let me explain through an appropriately erudite analogy, if I may:

If my Saturdays were The Price is Right, by 8am this past Saturday the little lederhosen wearing mountain climber yodeled his way right off the cliff.  No La-Z-Boy Morgan recliner, no Howard Miller Vercielli grandfather clock, no Aqua-bot pool cleaner.  Nope.  Not even a copy of the home game or some lousy Rice-A-Roni. Maybe I wanted some Rice-A-Roni! I mean, IT’S THE SAN FRANCISCO TREAT, for crying out loud!

I don’t skip yard sale days.  I don’t.  Let me give you a list of some things that  have not kept me from yard sales in the past:

Inclement weather (if you’re brave enough to haul it out and put little fluorescent stickers on your unwanted stuff, I’ll be polite enough to show up.)
My own birthday (never underestimate the power of chirping “IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!” as you approach a sale to earn you a discount)
Holidays (religious and otherwise)
Non-contagious illness (it’s called WALKING pneumonia for a reason!  Walk it off, Champ!)
Doctor Who marathon (I’ll record it)Threat of a zombie apocalypse (albeit a small one…chance, not a “small” zombie apocalypse…is there ever a “small” zombie apocalypse?)Houseguests (they’re welcome to come with and usually do)Parties (who schedules a party before noon on a Saturday anyway?  Stop doing  that.)

Sporting events (whew!)

Lack of funds (what do you think that change jar is for…parking meters?)

In a typical year I might miss four or five Saturdays.  We haven’t even cracked the seal on February and I’ve missed three!  So, what has led me to this lowly state?  I’ll tell you!  Acts of God and Pestilence!!  Ok, two weekends of steady downpours bookending a Saturday spent fighting off the flu.  Now, on those two rainy days I would have been happy to head out into it, if anybody in my area had had the common decency to haul their unwanted items to the garage and roll open the door, but can you believe most people seemed to think that wasn’t a good idea?  Pfft.

I’ve discovered that the disappointment of missing a few weeks in a row has had a cumulative and ever widening effect on my psyche.  No yard sales means missed opportunity.  Missed opportunity means lack of inspiration.  Lack of inspiration means lack of motivation.  Lack of motivation means inertia.

It’s not surprising, but is a bit of a low blow that these days have happened along during a particularly trying time in my life.  So, this set me to thinking about how common the downward spirals toward inertia are for all of us.

Most of us have experienced it.  It can be something as monumental as the death of someone close to you, or it can start off as small as a speedbump.  Maybe a friend let you down.  Maybe your transmission went out and you couldn’t afford to fix it.  Maybe Trader Joe’s decided that their “Pleasantly Tart” non-fat frozen yogurt (Pinkberry knock-off) is a seasonal item and you don’t DESERVE to have it in December, even though you enjoy it’s pleasant tartness year round!  Whatever the PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE reason you may have for feeling a little down, it can sometimes grow to much larger proportions.

You may have noticed the lengthy gap between my last blog entry and this one.  It was one of those times.  Luckily, I’m not a litigious person, so Trader Joe’s can rest easy, but let’s just say this girl could have benefited greatly from some yogurty goodness to ease her burdens a bit.  I’ve made my own frozen yogurt, but somehow it’s just not the same, and according to the AMA, sating my unrewarded craving for fake Pinkberry by powering back an entire 56oz party sized bag of M&Ms in one sitting could be “deadly.” (*eye roll)

So, what do we do?  It’s different for each of us, but I’ve found that what has always worked for me in the past was to combat the inertia with a project.  The project was seldom what I should have been doing, but if I felt unable to do what I should, at least I would do what I could.  This was very effective.  I recommend it highly.  Many a bathroom has received a coat of paint by my hand while under the influence of disappointment.  I found that the pride of finishing something would propel me towards doing more and more.  It created forward momentum.

When I am forced by unforeseen circumstances to miss a yard sale day, sometimes I’ll hit a thrift store or two, maybe I’ll look around for something I procured at a yard sale in the past with a project in mind and work on that, or even better…clean out a few closets and start gathering some things for my own yard sale!

That said, I’ve discovered recently that there is also a certain amount of quiet productivity that comes from allowing yourself the space to just be.  You don’t have to wallow in whatever is causing you pain, in order to fully experience it.

These times will come and go.  We can either sink into despair, or pay attention to what the universe is telling us.

That, and paint the bathroom.  Seriously.  Consider it.

Get out of bed, put on your lederhosen and COME ON DOWN!  In the game of Plinko that is life, you have unlimited chips…you just have to play them.

Missed it by THAT Much!

 So, you say someone nabbed your treasure?
 
 
A POSITIVE TAKE ON BITTER DISAPPOINTMENT
 

As you pull up to the yard sale, you see it.  You love it.  Even from the air-conditioned comfort of your car, you know you’re going to buy it.For me (most memorably) it was about five years ago and it was a vintage 1960’s lamp.  The base was a white porcelain owl.  The shade was still in great condition.  Boy, was it ever gorgeous.  It wasn’t just that it was vintage, it wasn’t just that the owl had a look on his face as if he had a secret, it wasn’t just that it was in perfect condition, it wasn’t even that I had never before seen another one like it…it was all of those things, but what elevated it was that it was also “fine.”   Neat, kitchy, fun, and oh so finely made.  Ahhhh.I rocketed from my car and sped toward the sale.  I can still see it.  I’m pretty sure a heavenly glow was emanating from the lamp itself and I’m positive I heard a choir of angels singing the hallelujah chorus.  I walked briskly, but, not wanting to appear too eager (thus eliminating any leverage I had when it came to the negotiation process) I didn’t quite run.  I approached the proprietress of the sale, a stately woman who appeared to be, by my best estimation, in her seventies.  She was clearly beleaguered by the entire enterprise of having the yard sale, but seemed to be doing her best to remain civil to the motley crew of customers.  Casually (sure, let’s say casually) I inquired as to the price of the lamp:  “HOW MUCH IS THAT AWESOME OWL LAMP?”   “Thirty dollars.” she replied.

The mental conversation that ensued between my frugal self and the part of me that had fallen in love with the lamp took only a fraction of a second and went something like this:

Owl love me:  “YES!  We should buy it”
Frugal me:  “Whoa!  Hold on there cowgirl!  Thirty dollars is a lot of money!”
Owl love me:  “Yes, yes, I know, I know.  You’re right.  Thirty dollars is a lot of money.  WE SHOULD BUY IT!
Frugal me:  “But, see the thing is, I wa…”
Owl love me:  “BUY IT!  BUY IT!  BUY IT!
Frugal me:  “Okay, shhhhhhh.  It’s okay.  Take hold of yourself woman!  Let’s think through what we need right now and consider whether or not we can afford to spend thirty dollars on something we don’t need.”
Owl love me:  “I want that owl.”
Frugal me:  “Yes, I think I have come to see that.  Perhaps it would be wise to offer a lower price.  Certainly twenty dollars is a good place to sta…”
Owl love me:  Step off Frugal.
Frugal me fell silent.
Owl love me (outloud and enthusiastically, with a smile that stretched from ear to ear):  “I’ll TAKE it!”

Beleaguered proprietress:  “Oh, it’s already sold.  A woman bought it just before you asked about it.”

“Mr. Owl.  How many seconds does it take for that lousy so-and-so in the red sweater to snag the lamp I most assuredly was destined to own?”

“Let’s find out.  One, two, ttttthhhREE!  Three seconds.  Get over it.”

Thus ensued the five stages of grief:

Denial:  “Wha?  Huh?  Nooooooooo.  I must have heard you incorrectly.  What woman?  No.  There’s no other woman.  Who?  Her?  No, she would never buy this lamp.  My lamp.”
Anger:  “WHY WOULD SHE BUY MY LAMP?  SHE DOESN’T DESERVE MY LAMP!
Bargaining:  “Maybe she’ll sell it to me!  Maybe if I offer her thirty-FIVE dollars she’ll walk away with that sweet five dollar profit a happy lady.”
Depression:  “Waaaaaaaah!  My, *snif* lamp *snif*.”
Acceptance:  “Crap.  Oh well, I’m gonna miss that lamp.  What else is up for grabs at this sale?”

Why did the woman running the sale tell me how much it was if it was sold?  Why had the universe taunted me with this treasure only to rip it from my grasp?  Why oh WHY did they cancel “Firefly”?  (Whenever I’m bemoaning and why’ing, I always ask that last question.)

I’ve thought about that lamp a few times since then.  It really was special, as material objects go.  But here’s my take on situations such as this:

A lot of people take the “I wasn’t meant to have it” approach.  For me, it’s different.  It’s not that *I* wasn’t meant to have it, it’s just that in that moment, someone else needed it more.  See the distinction?  It’s not about what I wasn’t supposed to have…it was about what someone else was supposed to have.  Maybe ‘Red Sweater’ had had a really lousy week and that lamp cheered her up.  Maybe her mother had a lamp just like that and it reminded her of her childhood.  Maybe she loves owls more than Kanye West loves interrupting.  Who knows.  The fact is, the why doesn’t matter.  I truly believe that she must have needed it more than I did, and that’s enough.

So, the next time you feel the sting of the bargain that got away, just picture it with it’s new family, happy in it’s new home.

I’m sure the owl lamp’s owner is happy and truly appreciates what she has.

Harrumph.

*grin*

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