What’s Been Keeping Me Busy Lately?

I have been working on my list of projects…

It never makes sense to throw paint around or buy new furniture in the months before Christmas, or over the New Year’s holiday. Too much going on with the festivities.

But I always get my house in order at this time of year, before the warm weather arrives. We only have a few months of it and I try to enjoy them.

So I painted my son’s room. Not because it needed painted. Just to do a little something different. My kids are used to me changing things up. We keep the basics…the pictures, books, family photos and such. But often freshen up the paint color and accessories. For no good reason, really. It’s just fun for the kids…

Here’s the before (Right) Old furniture painted white and dark, barn red walls…A perfectly good room. But it has looked the same for nearly 3 years. An eternity for my children.

And so I found a new bed frame at an auction for $8. And was given a mid-century, solid wood, Johnson Carper dresser by a friend. Then I hung a retro mirror that I bought at an auction for $2. Same room. Same accessories. $10, plus a can of paint. (I have a paint store at my house–mostly all given to me by others…)

The result:

Then there’s our dining room that is (again) getting a facelift.

Because I sold our dining room set. Then bought a new set. Painted it spicy red on a whim, during that awful snowstorm several weeks back. Then sold it two weeks ago.

I change the rooms in my houses  like other people change their socks and underwear.

Me: Where are you taking that blanket?

Darling Daughter: It’s mine

Me: I’m finishing up dinner. Why are you washing grapes?

Darling Daughter: I want grapes at my picnic.

Me: I HATE grapes.

Darling Daughter: I love grapes.

Me: Wait…WHAT picnic?

I guess that’s what happens when there is NO dining room table. We picnic.

Guess who else likes grapes?

The Red Dog, of course. He ate the grapes Darling Daughter tossed at him. AND the ones The Little Black Dog spit out on the ground…

Then the garage and basement storage rooms got cleaned out. Several small tables changed color. As did a few chairs. I painted a dresser, or two. Refinished another. The usual.

I also made a really pretty chalkboard that was donated to a nearby community’s PTA auction. I had a large mid-century frame. Gave it a fresh coat of paint, roughed it up a little to let the yellow show through. Then sealed it with a spray acrylic. I attached birch plywood that I painted with chalkboard paint. Loved it so much I didn’t want to give it away. It looked lovely after I wrapped a big ribbon around it and put a cute little Green Door tag on it.

But I had to give it away because I committed to the donation…

I did use some of my leftover materials to make a couple of smaller chalkboards for our house. They are okay, but I’m sill looking for a large vintage frame like the one pictured above, so that I can create something like the one that is now hanging in somebody elses house.

Luckily, it won’t take me long to move on.

There is a dining room table somewhere out there looking for me. My budget for the dining room? There isn’t one. Lately I’ve thought of the ways I could make a table out of a century home door that has been in my garage since last summer…

I have a white picket fence to finish. Children to raise. A blog to write. Bills to pay. Dogs that need walked. An eBay store in the middle of an overhaul. A house to clean. I’m searching for a bedroom set for one friend, a dining room set and other odds and ends for another friend–and trying to figure out how to market and sell some items for several others.

AND…I’m still looking for a job.

On the bright side?

When I find this elusive job, my house will be so fantastically Perfect and organized that I may not need to do much besides mop floors and vacuum for years.

Which is good, because I will probably have little time for more than that.

And I certainly won’t mind that at all!!

Anybody Want a SQUARE Egg?

I attended a local auction last night to buy items to sell  on my eBay site.  My neighbor, Chapman (that’s what I call her) and I rode together, as usual.

We looked around before the auction started.  As ever, I started out serious. I needed to stay focused, to bid on (and win) items that I wanted.

And I got what I wanted in the first 35 minutes – and for better prices than I expected.

Hurrah!!

That’s when the fun began for me.  I shuffled up toward the front and found a desk along the wall to sit on.  I didn’t want to miss anything.

As is typical, the Auctioneer and Helpers loosened up, as the auction progressed. They tried  to get bidding started on some junk in the back…

Auctioneer: $10….$5….Nobody? Anybody want it for $2?

At least ten hands went  up–Immediately.

Auctioneer: Look at that! It’s like a hillbilly prayer meeting.

He sold whatever it was for $2, then moved to a cluster of candles.

Helper: Look at that. Brand new! Never even out of their wrappings.

Auctioneer started doing his thing and the bid was soon up to $17. For candles? And they weren’t even pretty.  Not sure what they sold for. I was too stunned to take it in…

Helper (mumbled): Yep. Smell just like horse shit.

Only a few of us up front heard and we couldn’t hold back the snickers.

Then there was a box of sewing items. I was on it, because I have done well with that type of thing on eBay.

Auctioneer:  $10, $5, Nobody? How about $2

I nodded.

Auctioneer: $3 , now $4, will you go $5, $6,

I was in a bidding war with an elderly guy on the other side of the room, with a beard like Santa Claus? Really?

Auctioneer: $7…you’re out? $8 …

And on it went until “Beardie”  won the lot.

Me: What’s he going to do with sewing crap?

Helper: Who knows? What does anybody do with any of this sh#%? Hoard it?

Me: Not me, I resell it on eBay. Like, it gets listed tonight.

He nodded his approval and went back to business.

As things wound down, I wandered to a table in the back, took a seat and looked over the costume jewelry I’d won. I accomplished my mission—no need to pay attention while the leftovers were unloaded on whoever wanted to drag them out of there. The Auctioneer and Helpers were basically looking for somebody to clean up for them.

Nobody bid on choice of about 25 HUGE boxes on a pallet in back. Not even for $2.

Choice means pick a box for $2. They tend to offer choice until ALL boxes are gone. In this case, there were about 25 of them.

Auctioneer: Everybody wants it.  Just don’t want to put their hands up.

I continued with my task at a back table. Until…

Auctioneer:  SOLD!

My head snapped up.

Auctioneer:  EVERYTHING TO #55!!!

I admit it…I cursed. Heads turned toward me.

Me: Sorry…she’s my neighbor. That means I have to load that mess into Chapman’s truck and then unload it all when we get back home!!!

Snickers and chuckles from those around me. I was riding home in the “Sanford and Son” Mobile.  They knew it. I knew it.

Then the apprentice Auctioneer took over for the last several items. Unfortunately, his name was Marco.

So…they announced Marco.

Crowd: POLO!!!

And they were off…quite a few in the crowd played the Marco – Polo game, while Marco took bids on a box of China and breakables.

At least until the Helper dropped it…and bidding stopped.

Silence.

Then a roar of laughter around the place. (Which probably drowned out the Helper’s cursing)

When the auction was over, I walked over to have a look at the (please let there be) Hidden Treasures in my neighbors pile. I was NOT super excited to drag home a pickup truck full of boxes, destined for the garbage.

I picked up a painted wood bird and waved it at Chapman.

Me: Hey Chapman, I’m giving you the bird!!

The first thing I saw. One word.

WHY…

Would anybody want a SQUARE egg?

In the end, we (over) loaded the entire bed of the pickup. And then we unloaded it at Chapman’s house.

I tramped home, my tiny jewelry box in hand. As I settled in and got to work, my cell phone buzzed.  I relayed the ‘goings on’ to The New Friend.

The New Friend: TIP –  Don’t go to the auction with your neighbor.

Me: She has the pickup truck. AND she doesn’t complain when I drag home dining room sets…(or dressers, or credenza’s…)

The wonderful news?

When the next morning, I had already sold one item I purchased last night. And for enough that I am already ahead…

How Badly am I Screwing up my Children?

 

When my children were toddlers, I often checked them while they slept. They looked so sweet snuggled up in their blankets. So peaceful and innocent. In those moments, I was overcome by a joy that defies words or explanation.

That joy was quickly followed by paralyzing fear as I wondered, “How much did I screw them up today?”

There are still days I ponder how damaging it is for my children to grow up with me as their mother. Right now, they are teenagers. They (still) love me. Or at least I think they do!

But they haven’t begun to process their childhoods yet. That happens later, when they are grown and moved out of my home—possibly married and raising children of their own. That is when the darts start flying.

I THINK I have done a decent job in parenting my children. I know that was my intention. And that I tried (really, really hard) to be a good mother. But I will need to wait many more years before I find out what those two really think of my parenting methods.  In 15 years, at a random family gathering (such as Thanksgiving), I see it going something like this…

Darling Daughter: “Mom, why did you ALWAYS sell my furniture?”

I’ll be a sitting duck. Blindsided at the dinner table, fork halfway to my mouth, barely able to remember her furniture.

Then, it will slowly come back to me…

Just a couple of weeks ago, the kids and I traveled to Virginia to visit family for Christmas. We arrived in Leesburg, Virginia on Christmas day. After unloading the car, we all sat down to catch up.

As we chatted, I dragged out my laptop because I hadn’t checked my emails or eBay sales  for the day. We had been on the road for six hours.

Darling Daughter:  I LIKE my dresser. I really don’t want you to sell it, Mom.

Me:  (feeling the Christmas spirit) You can keep the Dresser. If you really like it, I won’t sell it.

Darling Daughter: Thanks, Mom.

I glanced down at my eBay summary page…

Me: Whoops, I spoke to soon. Your dresser sold today. And it’s already paid for. Sorry.

My side of the story: I purchased the dresser at an estate sale and always planned to re-sell it. It made sense to put it in my daughter’s room, for her to use it until I did so. She HATED the dresser at first. To me, the dresser was inventory.

Darling Daughter’s side of the story: She did hate the dresser at first, but then grew to like it—especially when I painted her room and added other dark wood furniture.

I certainly didn’t know she developed an attachment to the damned dresser. Otherwise, I would have removed it from my eBay Store listings. So now I am the cold-hearted mother that sold her daughter’s favorite dresser. And if it isn’t her favorite dresser yet, it will be by the time she has children and gets to tell the story!!

Nothing I can do. The dresser sold.

Luckily, I had a spare dresser in the garage. On deck, waiting to be stained and ‘prettied’ up–and I made quick work of the task. I wanted to make my daughter happy, as much as I wanted the ‘neat’ stacks of clothing on her bedroom floor put away.

Because I routinely buy and sell furniture, I do keep ‘spares’ around. Sort of like people keep extra toothbrushes for guests…

Me: You know…I think I like this dresser even better than the one that just sold.

Darling Daughter:  So do I.

We both stood smiling, looking at her ‘new’ dresser. Kind of having a ‘warm’ and ‘fuzzy’ mother/daughter moment.

Darling Daughter: Does that mean you are going to sell THIS one, too?

Oh boy, I am going to take a beating around that Thanksgiving table down the road…

No doubt about it.

I see my future. But for now, ignorance is bliss. I am keeping my illusions. I will continue giving this ‘parenting’ thing my best efforts each day, until the children burst my bubble later on. It’s really all I can do.

Who needs a Boy Scout knot???

Not me. At least not yesterday.

Because I am a sucker for older furniture, with interesting lines, I bring home more than I can use. I especially like to strip, stain, paint it. Change up the knobs, etc. And so, I have a lot of great, funky furniture. To the point where people now come into my home and make me offers on pieces they like.

To thin out my home and de-clutter, I often list furniture items in my eBay store. And when they sell, I use Greyhound Package Xpress to ship them.

Anyways…I sold a wicker rocking chair over the weekend. And needed to ship it via Greyhound to Birmingham, Alabama. It was purchased as a Christmas gift.

And a wonderful gift it will be!

This particular chair originally belonged to my mother-in-law, but was given to my daughter when her grandmother no longer had use for it. It is in excellent condition, having only ever been lightly used in bedrooms. Solid and Sturdy.

And BIG.

Far too big to stuff into the backseat of my Trusty Honda…though I opened the back door to the car and thought about trying. But only for a minute. (Or two.)

That’s how this wonderful vintage rocking chair wound up in the trunk of my car. Or at least MOSTLY in the trunk.

Because the Cleveland Greyhound Terminal is a  40  minute (one-way) trek on the freeway, I thought it a good idea to break out the twine. Not that I actually know what TO DO with twine. But it seemed wise to make the effort.

It is always in the back of my head that I really SHOULD be pulled over when I set out on these type of adventures. And I often pass police officers sitting on the road. In fact, I passed a few of them yesterday….

There I was…bumping along in my OLD Honda, nicknamed The Race Car last week, because it needs a new exhaust system. HUGE Rocking Chair Hanging from the trunk. Praying that I got downtown and back, without dropping part of the exhaust on the highway.

I’ve GOT to believe that when I roll by, they cops must think, “Really. I just can’t take that on. It isn’t WORTH dealing with.” And so they let me pass.

For short distances in and around my neighborhood, I don’t bother to secure the trunk.

Being that I am all about aesthetics, I got right in there and wrapped a ‘nice’ piece of twine around the rocking chair. And tied it to the trunk. In a BOW.

I was never good at knots. They always unravel. As I looked at my Perfect bow, I giggled. Then grabbed my camera to capture the moment. And I did make sure to trim off the ends of twine that were trailing on the ground, so they didn’t get stuck under a tire.

A BOW cannot be the proper method for securing a large chair, in this type of situation.

But I am unique.

And the chair is on its way to Birmingham to make somebody “Merry” this Christmas.

The Race Car?

Loud as ever. And still sitting in my driveway. Its exhaust parts (I think) still there.

Mission accomplished.

Shipping my Shiny Objects

Isn't it pretty?

When items are purchased from my eBay store, I must ship them. I’ve been ‘busy as a bee’ all morning packing up sold items. Which was quick and painless…

Until I got to one of my favorite items.  An 11” tall and truly gorgeous vase in a rich cobalt blue color, with a swirl pattern. Vintage–which means it can’t be replaced. (At least not easily) And very delicate.

Anybody who has read this blog knows that I am NOT delicate. Not one bit.

As I handled the vase to wipe it down with a Windex Wipe, I held my breath.

The inner dialogue…”Don’t bump it into a shelf, the desk…don’t drop it, set it gently down to get the packaging supplies gathered…” The last time I ‘bumped’ something; I shattered the back window glass on the pickup truck of one of my favorite people. Snow blew around inside of its extended cab this winter.

As I carefully packed up the vase, I soon realized that my profit margin was going into packing peanuts, a ton of bubble wrap, two boxes (need to double box the breakables) and almost an entire roll of clear tape.

Pray God this treasure gets from Ohio to Florida without incident–I certainly did my part! And I did slap ‘fragile’ stickers all over the box. I’m sure that whoever handles it will not toss it around…

At least it wasn’t a mirror. I am a sucker for mirrors, but I can’t help but wonder…if the mirror breaks en route to the destination, do I still get 7 years of bad luck? When I shipped a 1960s vintage Ethan Allen mirror several weeks back, I wanted to tell the buyer NOT to tell me if it arrived broken—to just request a refund. I admit to being a wreck until I knew that it got to its destination in one piece.

I have a (very smart) friend who sells custom ‘little girls’ hair accessories online. She packs them in mailers or cute tiny boxes–And they ALL arrive in Perfect condition with little fuss or expense. Really, what am I thinking??

Fingers crossed...

As I packed the pretty blue vase, my brain was making a mental list of items to put in my eBay store that are easily—and safely—packed. Trust me, I had plenty of time to think, because packing that vase took a long time!

You would think I would learn a lesson. But, no. It’s kind of like childbirth. I’ll soon attend an auction or an estate sale and the very first Shiny Object will have me forgetting this morning. I’ll be attracted to the most delicate, frivolous (and breakable) vintage item I see–like bees to honey.

I can’t seem to help myself.