I’ve written about our garage sales before, and we are having another one. But this one feels a bit different. I’ve said about previous garage sales that it’s like taking a dump, and someone comes and hauls it away, and they even pay you to do it. Well, not this time – or not exactly.
As Kim and I approach our 80s, we have a different perspective. At some point we are not going to be able to do the work needed to maintain our home. This involves yardwork and housework. Kim has had continuing and increasing levels of pain and fatigue, and we don’t know if there is a pill or procedure to fix what’s wrong. Yes, she soldiers on – yesterday she planted about a dozen irises, and today she is going to move half of them to aesthetically better locations. Though I am physically sound, I don’t have the knowledge to do this or other gardening chores properly, and Kim dislikes being in a position where she repeatedly tells me what to do. If we can’t get qualified help with this stuff, we will have to move. We are hoping for at least another three years here, but we’ll see. One guy showed up to help with the gardening, but he quit before he started, possibly because he did not like the work we wanted, or possibly (unbelievable!) because he did not like us. We found someone great to clean the floors, and we are looking for other people to help with housekeeping work. We’ll see. Kim has mentioned selling the house several times this week.
All of this means that it’s time for a garage sale. Not just with our junk or duplicated items or clothes we’ve not worn for years. Not just stuff we’ll have no room for when we downsize. No, Kim is also getting rid of some of her collections, stuff we have not found a good place for.
· antique wooden tops
· antique paint brushes
· balls, including “sewer balls” dug up in Atlanta in preparation for the Olympics
· pink “depression ware” glasses (we are keeping some)
· vintage games and game boards, including Tiddlywinks, UNO, checkers, Battleship, and more
· bird nests that she made
· some of her photographs
· old keys – some of which her Aunt Vivian stole from European castles
· cigar boxes (some of them)
There’s more. As we sell stuff, Kim moves more out to the garage. At this point we are not selling her collection of shoe lasts.
I’ve put some books and DVDs in the sale, along with a tire pump that doesn’t work, an old modem, and my classic penny loafers. So far, I’ve made about $15. Kim is over $1,000.
We also enjoy garage sales because of the people we meet. Sometimes these encounters in the garage are brief but nevertheless encouraging about the state of humanity. A few have developed into friendships. Given the isolation we felt here with neighbors gone and Covid’s limiting our going out, garage sales give us a “people bath” to wash off some of that isolation. To help this happen, we do not put prices on anything. People at garage sales like to dicker for prices, so we go straight to dickering. Kim enjoys the back-and-forth. Here’s a sample:
“How much does this cost?”
“How much do you want to pay for it?”
“Ummm . . . twenty dollars.”
“You can have it for fifteen.”
I am not trusted to price anything, as I inevitably price too low. We have not advertised our garage sale other than by putting our signs out when we have yard work to do within sight of our garage. This works for us and, apparently, the folks who stop by. So far, our neighbors have not stolen our signs.
But still – this garage sale is different. We are confronting the possibility that we are living in our last house (we are living in our ninth), and we just don’t know about our housing future. Yes, we will have each other, but as I explained last week, our commitment to our home, together, is a large part of who we are.
On a more positive note, I answered an age-old question by successfully unscrewing a light bulb that a bat attacked when after a bug. It takes one English teacher with needle-nose pliers to change a light bulb.