Wednesday, May 31, 2006

04/23/06 - 04/29/06 The Yard Sale

This was the week of The Yard Sale. I had never been to a yard sale in my LIFE until I met Stacy... it's allll her fault. Now I've got to hit 'em when I see 'em, sometimes we grab a paper & make the rounds, & every year we manage to hold at LEAST one yard sale ourselves to get "stuff" out of the house in a more monetarily productive fashion than Freecycle or simply donating. (Although that IS what happens with whats left when we're done.)

But this year was a fiasco. Stacy swears she'll never have another yard sale in her life! (I'm not sure I believe her.. or even that I'll let her stick to it even if she means it.)

We were doing GREAT up until the second day of the yardsale itself. I took a couple of days off during the week, and Tom came over to help as long as he wasn't needed at work elsewhere, too. (See what I mean? Just showing up everywhere!) With that time, we pulled out all the loads & loads of stuff we'd been stockpiling as "ok to go" & got it priced to sell. Friday went FINE... excellent traffic even though our ad didn't make it into the paper, sold quite a lot of stuff, nice weather, even sold my phone number to one aspiring gentleman! (Hey.. it was a yard SALE, not a giveaway. lolol)

Then Saturday hit. Cold, drizzly... no prospects on the calendar for it to clear up, either. HOWEVER.. we were prePARED for that! Stacy had managed to get her hands on three 10x10 pop ups plus one 10x20 pole tent, Tom had staked them FIRMLY into the ground, we cable-tied tarps all around them & except for forgetting the hot chocolate (which we made a run to town for), a little rain wasn't about to set us back. We even actually had a nice little run of traffic in the morning - die-hard yard salers out in spite of the weather... that sort doesn't even flinch when they step from the car into a bit of soggy grass.

But the cold & drizzle was really getting to us, Stacy & I were getting crabby & sniping at one another, traffic wasn't "all that", & we really wanted to be able to make it to Carson's Birthday party in the afternoon. So about 11:30a we decided to call it quits & pack up. We were tired. We were wet. We were cold. We were bitchy.

It seems that Stacy & I shouldn't bicker. It screws up the weather system over the entire county. Like the Witches of Eastwick! In the span of about 10 minutes, the wind kicked up from 6mph to over 40mph (we checked WeatherBug after it was all over), & we had a real emergency on our hands.

After hauling in the first load, we sat down for a minute to get warm, & when we stepped back outside, it was apparent there had been a dramatic change in the weather -- the sky looked like a horrible storm was brewing, the wind was atrocious, & all 4 of the tents were straining dangerously at their tie downs. We RACED over to try to get them down -- the tarps we had so securely fastened with cable ties were great protection against rain, but were now making them pretty effective balloons & we had only one utility knife between us. I started slashing cable ties while Stacy tackled the legs of the pop ups trying to get them down lower to the ground. As we were trying to get her mom's (10x10, all steel, commercial grade pop up) dropped, I looked up & saw Stacy's face & turned around just in time to see the really big one (10x20, heavy steel legs & frame)pull it's roots & go tumbling over my car (2 dents) & down the yard end over apple cart .... towards the road! Their house has a fairly long drive -- it's maybe the length of 2 city blocks from house to road. Believe me, we hauled some butt to catch it. I told Stacy that outside of people that were in PE with me in High School, she is now the only person to have ever seen me run.... and if she'd been paying any attention at all, she'd know why B is so darn slow! Every time we aaaalmost had it ... within fingertip reach!, the wind blew it back out of our hands again. I really thought it was going to go into the road & we were going to end up with an accident or a major pile up on the highway. Then one leg of the tent caught in the fence & Stacy was able to jump on top of it on that end... whereupon it promptly almost pulled HER off her feet & take her with it... but that gave me just enough time to get ME on the darn thing & we got it turned upside down where we could pop the rest of the tarp off of it & render it still & silent(er).

At that point, we still had three tents left, though all in major distress, & raced back to where they were... found that the legs on her mom's pop up had crumpled at the join, so we did just enough to slice the rest of the top & tarps off so it wouldn't create a hazard & abandoned it for the other two. Those two (10x10s) were newer, so the legs dropped easier on them, & the releases on the top were much quicker to get too, too. Still, we lost one of those when two of the plastic joins broke... but they also had 2' steel stakes through their legs into the ground
thanks to Tom!) & the combination of design meant they at least stayed where they were & didn't go flying towards the road.

Then we had to go pull tarps up -- although we had gotten them down & most were under the frames of the tents, they were still flapping alarmingly in the heavy winds & inching their way from safety... so back we went, running some more, to gather those in so they didn't create another hazzard. After pulling the three large connected tarps into the garage (ALL this is at top speed, mind you!) -- it took both of us to do it & we were blown backwards one step for every three all the way there -- I could NOT catch my breath & promptly leaned over & threw up. Um.. at least the tarps are liquid-proof? Ew!

Then we stood for a second to contemplate the scene, & saw that the wind was now attacking the piles of clothes that had once been UNDER the tents.... bunches of them were 1/2 down their yard towards the road... but they at least were getting weighted down quickly by the moisture on the grass from the rain & none of them ever got all the way to the end before we could gather them up.

We were very lucky that it wasn't actually raining most of this time (in other ways, too!) & none of the actual "stuff" was really damaged. Lots of it is dirty now & needs a scrub... we had about 12 loads of laundry to run through to get all the "to sell" clothes clean & dry again... and then had to tackle repairing or replacing the tents. Got lucky there, too -- The wind & the tumbling crumpled several of the straight pieces of the frame at the joins, but all the cross sections (which would be much harder to fabricate) made it unscathed... so we were actually able to find replacement straights for FREE & John cut them to appropriate lengths. The ruined commercial pop up was more difficult -- that specific one is no longer in production, so replacement parts could not be had. But Stacy found a similar one for less than we expected (about $200, I think). She's still looking/hoping for replacement plastic parts to fix hers... but she found hers on clearance for $40 each... so if we can't fix it, we're just calling that one a loss at this point.

Soo.... Saturday between us we did about $300... and Sunday between us we did about $13, then lost three tents, putting us solidly in the hole for the weekend. NOT THE BEST YARD SALE WE'VE EVER HAD!! (& still not done with all that laundry...)


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