One Girl's Trash is Another's AAAGGGGHHHH!!!!
In the late Spring of 2002, the Fairchilds moved out of the crackhouse (see 3/15 post) and into a respectable neighborhood. It was a hellatious move. The crackhouse was tiny, a bungalow, don'tchaknow, so we thought, "How long can it take to pack?" Longer than we thought. Even though the rooms were small, and there weren't many of them, there was a full attic and a full basement, which had accumulated staggering amounts of stuff. Clothes, college notebooks, unused-for-19-years wedding gifts, various sports and exercise equipment, baby supplies, and so on.
I began packing early, neatly organizing everything, putting lists or even Polaroid pictures on the outside of the boxes, so we'd know where everything was when we went to unpack. This was going to be one smoooth mooove.
Then it went rough. First, we couldn't move directly from our old house into the new one we were buying. Something about the boy in the new house wanting to finish his last two weeks of high school where he was, and having to remain a resident, blahblahblah. Which meant we had to move into an apartment for a couple of weeks, in between houses. This complicated the packing process. Some boxes were for the apartment, and some were to go into storage until we moved into the new house.
Then we had a lucky break. We learned that our church yard sale was to be held the weekend just before we moved. This would be perfect, since moving means getting rid of stuff, and where better than at the church yard sale? As time grew tighter, my organized, polaroided packing deteriorated into hurling things and stuff into boxes, and labeling those boxes with only the room in which they should go in the new house. Then even the box labeling slowed down, and I went with the tried-and-true "wildly tossing" method of packing.
As each box was filled, Jif or I, or a friend or relative would carry the box out onto our large, covered front porch. Boxes to the right of the door were to be taken to our storage location. Boxes to the left of the door were to be taken to the church basement for the yard sale. Right, storage. Left, yard sale. Right, storage. Left, yard sale. And so on, we packed and loaded and drove boxes away.
The annual church yard sale is a delightful occasion. It is held indoors, and the church basement/fellowship hall is packed with things and stuff, and their people. Jif and I took LG to the yard sale that year. Jif was off helping people load large purchases into their cars, and LG was wandering around with a few dollars, buying things like huge, "beautiful" earrings to give to her mama. I was browsing and chatting, having a good time, until...
"Isn't this you and Jif?" I looked at a gold-edged 4 X 6 photo frame, just purchased by this yard sale shopper who thrust it in front of me. On the glass of the frame was an orange sticker marked "50 cents." It took me a moment to realize what I was looking at. Then I saw it. Under the glass of the frame was a photograph. Of me. And Jif. Dancing. At our wedding.
I freaked. "Where did you get this?"
"At the yard sale."
"WHAT yard sale?" (OK, I was a little slow; I was in shock, give me a break...)
"I bought it, right over there with the picture frames. And this one, too." And this shopper who had recognized us in our wedding photograph showed me a second picture frame he had purchased at a bargain price. From this one, my mother- and father-in-law smiled and waved at me from the coastline of Nova Scotia, where they'd gone on vacation a few years earlier. Can you say, @#$%!!!!? 'Cause that's what I said, right there in the fellowship hall.
"ARE THERE MORE?!!!!" Oh, hell yea. There were more. Many of the significant events of my married life were for sale on the frame table. For 50 freakin' cents apiece. As you've no doubt deduced by now, someone took the wrong box to the wrong place, and my cherished photographs which should have been in storage were being sold off like so many huge, "beautiful" earrings.
Of course, word travelled fast around the hall, and I was teased unmercifully. In a most unChristian manner, I might add. People told Jif I was obviously "trying to tell him something," by selling off our wedding pictures and pictures of his family, at the yard sale. A gay friend who had once been married got all excited, "I always wondered what to do with my wedding pictures! I didn't know you could SELL them at the yard sale!!" Wise guy.
To answer the question everyone asks when we tell them this story: we think so. We believe we retrieved all those that had already been purchased (and you wouldn't believe it, but some people did not want to part with their purchases), and we "bought" those that were still for sale. Some may have walked out the door before we realized what was happening, but if so, they weren't any that we've missed. So if you do find that in your yard-sale-purchased picture frame is someone who looks suspiciously like a Fairchild -- I don't even want to know.
Post-post: The photo of Jif and me at our wedding, posted here on 3/12/05, was the one that started it all.