Monday, August 2, 2010

Aways Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth- or, Pockets, as the Case May Be...



My husband, whom I shall call "MacGyver" - because everyone seems to use "The Husband" or "D.H." and my husband is original and completely uncommon and using such a nickname would not do him justice- is really good at fixing things.

He is, after all, super MacGyvery - minus, of course, the mullet. Minus any hair, actually.

So, MacG (there, that's even better) has a new hobby: Restoring and refurbishing old Coleman lanterns. How this all started, I'm not completely sure; but it is less expensive and time consuming than some of his other interests, so I've decided that I'm a fan. To aid in his search for Coleman bits and pieces, we decided to spend our Saturday at a flea market. Call him a Lantern Picker, if you will.

This was the first time at a flea market, for Peanut(8) and Bean(6). They weren't too sure about the place, for the first hour or so that we were there. For MacG and I, the smells, sounds and sights brought us back to our childhood, because we'd both been to that exact flea market several times in our youth.

MacG is an awesome companion at places such as these: When a bent old woman shrieked "onedollaronedollaronedollaronedollar!" in his face, he calmly blinked at her and asked, "so, uh, how much does everything cost?" She was not amused.

The kids quickly got over their hesitance and learned to bargain. Peanut found some great pieces and Bean bought six boxes of TNT Pop-Its for, well, one dollar. You totally had these when you were a kid:
Right?

All the people milling around looking at other people's junk (er, I mean treasures) reminded me of the garage sales that we used to have at our house, when I was growing up. I began to ruminate about one sale in particular:

The one where my mother sold several hundreds of dollars to the neighborhood ladies. It may have been thousands, but the idea makes me feel kind of ill, so I'm going to pretend that it was just hundreds, okay?

How does one sell money, you ask? Was she printing copies? Laundering for the mob? Well, hang on and I'll explain.

My grandmother is a notorious pack rat. I think I got the hoarding gene from her. She was the one who gave me a sugar cube for my birthday - from a trip that we went on, like, fifteen years ago. She rarely parts with anything. So, imagine how pleasantly surprised everyone was, when she began packing up items to donate to the Goodwill. This was sort of ironic, because she enjoys shopping at Goodwill - once she even bought back a sweater for me, which I had donated to Goodwill, because she thought it "looked like" me.

She put the *ahem* treasures in boxes and then they sat in the garage for a while. For a long while. Years.

One particular weekend on a summer in 1988ish, my family was planning to hold a garage sale. My grandmother was visiting her mother on the other side of the country, so my mother decided to help her out. She took the To Be Donated boxes out of Grandmother's garage and priced it all out - fully intending to hand over the earnings.

One of the boxes was full of old, worn out purses. There were square bags, drawstring sacks, imitation *insert your designer here* bags; lots of purses. No one even really paid much attention to them for a while.

Then all of a sudden, women were clambering for the chance to buy one of Grandmother's old purses. One lady came back and bought all of them. How wonderful, we thought, Grandmother will be thrilled that we were able to make some money off of this old junk (oops, I mean treasure) before she could give it all away for free!

She wasn't thrilled.

She was extremely unhappy with us.

She had been using the old bags as her own personal Bank of Grandma. Each purse had had around $100 in its folds.

The moral of the story: If you are going to sell someone else's stuff, be sure to check the pockets first...



November, 1985

My grandmother took me to the goodwill. It has lots of good stuff there! I got parts of my costume from there, and purple pants. I think it is pretty neat there! I am not poor or anything, but why pay regular price, when you can pay five dollars lower? I got lots of stuff from there.
C is getting lots of words for this journal! He gets more than me sometimes! I used to get the most all of the time, but B and C are getting pretty much now! I can't wait until Thanksgiving, a nice, carved turkey, with a mashed potato, beans and sweet potatoes! Yum! I can't wait! Then christmas is to come! That is fun! This year for Christmas, we're going to Yosemite.

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