Sunday, September 18, 2016


          The past two days have been exercises in optimism that didn’t always connect with reality.
          On Friday I participated in a book signing for local authors, which sounds more grand than it actually was. We were invited to set up our wares at a trade show for higher education suppliers. If you had trekked and circled through long halls and small rooms past the Tassel Depot, Scientific Laboratory Equipment Services, Herman Miller Furniture, Whalley Computer Associates, and Wing Press Marketing, you just might have found the dark little room filled with bright-eyed authors behind their allotted tables. 
          This was only my second meet-the-author rodeo but I knew before leaving home how the afternoon would go. We piled our books seductively, set out our free bookmarks and bowls of candy and waited expectantly. A total of something like twelve people actually entered the room and most drifted past all the tables while trying to look both friendly and non-committal. 

At the end of two hours I sold one book and gave away another to a woman representing the Lincoln Public Library in Lincoln, MA. And I did better than the earnest couple next to me with their book about how to find a successful marriage through God.
          On Saturday My Guy and I packed up boxes full of basement debris treasures, price stickers, two lawn chairs and the dog. It was time for the annual massive tag sale that occurs every year in my nephew’s neighborhood. We weren’t too sure how Mamie would react to all the strangers and Baxter, the resident beagle.

She began in the car


Graduated to the lawn where the big meeting was an anticlimax


                  And when she wasn’t charming the shoppers,
         she found a quiet spot hidden from all the confusion.

          Saturday was the more productive of the two days. Maybe the secret is variety:
We sold the dog stairs I’d bought for the Mamester to reach the bed before I realized they took up 50% of the bedroom, and we parted with four ripped folding chairs that had been in the garage for the past twenty years. A young couple took away two packs of mousetraps, a woman bought a leopard-print cat carrier for her daughter, and another shopper picked up a hand-carved whale plaque.
We learned long ago that the secret is the deep desire to empty your basement and the willingness to sell cheap. So one woman paid one dollar each for gold embossed martini glasses, and another also spent one dollar for a tiny vase of hand painted Staffordshire flowers. To balance all this altruism, I sold a leather purse for $2 that the owner may later realize has a slight whiff of cat pee.
It’s impossible to predict what people will buy. My two practically new fabric shower curtains were passed over time and again, but one man went away thrilled with a shoe box of rusty nuts, bolts and screws and I sold two baggies full of the little figurines that come free with my Red Rose tea.
Still, the day was a success. We made enough to pay for that night’s Chinese take-out and Mamie didn’t die of fright or get eaten by Baxter.


  1. Bravo on the book sale! You're absolutely right about the way to move merchandise at a yard sale -- price it LOW. Too many people expect to get their money back on items they bought years ago, forgetting that they got lots of value out of it during all that time. (Hopefully.) It's best to just let it go, one way or another!

  2. You are much braver than me. I did one garage sale (that's Texas lingo) and said never again. Since then I give whatever I don't want to anybody that will take it away.

    1. I failed to mention the really excellent kielbasa that a family member brought for us to snack on.

  3. I think it was an excellent bit of dog socializing, and money for it, too.

  4. I used to love to go to garage sales, but I learned quickly that I was just storing another family's junk for a few years before I ditched it. Sounds like you were very successful! :-)

  5. It does sound like a good ending to what could have felt a tad frustrating. And yay for some successful socialising.
    Re the lingering attar of cat pee? We have wondered what the sniffer dogs at airports have thought of himself's luggage. We might think we have eradicated the pong, but I suspect the message is very clear to others...

  6. Cracked up at the purse with the cat pee aroma. Probably good the sale was outdoors. I enjoy having a sale more than going to one. I never look to make money, just to have someone haul off my stuff and meet some fun people.

  7. You might not sell much but you have a lot of fun.

  8. I'm smiling now thinking of Mamie c harming the shoppers. She's really comfortable with you now.
    I don't think I'd like a purse that smelled of cat pee, no matter how slight. It would end up as a doggy chew toy. And of course that is a mistake, a dog won't know the difference between an old smelly purse and a brand new one.

  9. So now if I go to a yard sale I will learn to smell stuff as well as feel it and look at it!


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