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Friday, April 08, 2005

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.

12 heads are better than one . . .

Anonymous Julie said...

LOVE the wedding picture you posted! Glad you got all of the pictures back. I rarely look at ours, but I'd be heartbroken if anything ever happened to them.

Anonymous mrtl said...

So funny and so mortifying at the same time. Isn't that the beauty of life? Some old lady AT CHURCH who won't part with her new picture frame... so funny. @#$%!!!! indeed!

Anonymous kalki said...

Best story ever, Susie. Whomever said a picture is worth a thousand words obviously wasn't aware of the 50 cent bargain at that yard sale!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness! I would have died of embarrassment. I'm glad you were able to buy most of them back. Great story!


Blogger Squirl said...

I love the wedding picture, too. OMG, I can't imagine my pictures going in a yard sale. Of course, I'm too lazy to frame them, so since the pictures themselves aren't worth squat I guess that wouldn't be a problem.

However, if my books got sent I'd be screaming. After moving every year, starting in 2001, we've finally been in one dwelling longer than one year. Different reasons for each move. Anyway, it never gets easier. We keep moving into smaller places and there is still a lot of stuff to pack. This last time we ended up in the smallest apartment yet, with no garage or basement storage. I've had boxes just sitting since I was sure we'd move again. I finally did some more unpacking last month. Tired of seeing those boxes sitting around. :-)

Blogger Mamaramma said...

That's hilarious! It's a good thing it was framed photos and not something else cherished, but otherwise anonymous, like... say.. Gumby, dammit!

Blogger Susie said...

julie, thank you. Same here; even though I might not have missed them for a while, I do NOT want to sell them!

mrtl, you're right, "funny and mortifying," that 'bout sums up my life, or as I've described it in other writing, it's like "I Love Lucy -- on crack." I could NOT freakin' believe that one person in particular, knowing fully well what had happened, did NOT want to return our pictures, because they'd been purchased fair and square...un-freakin-believable, but true.

Thank you, kalki, that was somewhat humbling. The highlights of my life, for 50 cents each.

Blogger Susie said...

lawbrat, it was HUGELY embarrassing, on top of the horror at losing something precious. Did end up making a good story though, long after the fact. It took a little while to laugh about it.

squirl, thank you. I still have a garage full of boxes, and some things still in storage. Everyone always says if you haven't needed "it" in a year, you should throw it out, but packrat that I am, I can't do that. I'll have to wait until I get around to going thru everything.

mamaramma, there were a couple of things like that in there -- special Christmas ornaments that special people had given me -- but I "bought" them before anyone else did. I'm having flashbacks now! Thank goodness Gumby dammit wasn't sold.

Blogger laurenbove said...

That is a great story. I moved last Sept. after school started. I had to schlepp T to the other town for weeks before we actually moved in.

It's really such fun and so relaxing the whole moving thing....don't you agree?

I hope you haven't "lost" anything else, rebuy it, and then find it right away like I did about a thousand times.

Blogger Susie said...

laurenbove, we still say we're recovering from that move. And we still have some things in boxes that I'm sure we've bought duplicates of. I'm not the most organized person, when it comes to my "stuff."

Blogger Von Krankipantzen said...

That is really funny. Actually sorta the opposite happened to me. Quite often my neighbours, without my knowledge or permission, rummaged through bags and boxes I have left outside for some charity drive pick-up. I would see them in the hallways wearing my old clothes! One time I was invited to my next door neigbours' place only to sit on one of my old cast off chairs. They pretended nothing had happened for a while but I eventually confronted a few of them as I think that is semi-stealing. I didn't leave stuff for THEM but for a charity! Now everybdoy gets my permisssion first before rooting through my charity stuff and I usually give it.

Blogger Susie said...

krankipantzen, that's funny. You must give away some pretty cool stuff! You could definitely put those things together into a blog post. I can imagine the dialogue!


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