One Shoe

We are participating in a joint garage sale with some other families from our Financial Peace University (Dave Ramsey) class.  I didn’t think we’d have too much stuff to sell but that’s before we made a trek into the attic late one night.

We haven’t added anything to the attic in probably a decade so I guess I thought there just wasn’t that much up there.  Boy was I wrong!  We found oodles and oodles of stuff – only some of which had been destroyed by nesting mice, other critters, and the passage of time.

It cracked us up to find a huge box labeled “Garage Sale”.  But the best find, by far, was the group of 3 or 4 tubs and boxes of Jane’s baby clothes.  Everything from tiny little newborn up through about 3T.  And some cute little shoes!

20140712_074959They were lined up so nicely at the bottom of the box, each with their match… except for that lone white Ked.  And here’s what I love about my kids.  Half joking, I held it up in the air and called out, “Who wants this shoe?!”

Quick as lightning, Daryl’s hand shot up in the air: “I do!”

This caused Jane to retire her own hand that was making a belated attempt to claim it.

As I handed it to my ten year old son, his face beamed and he said, “I’m going to paint it.  It’s going to be so cool!”

“I was going to plant a tree in it,” Jane said forlornly.

“Well, maybe you can plant the tree in it when he’s done painting it,” I said, thoroughly impressed that my kids were showing their Destination Imagination credentials by so quickly finding a use for a lone tiny baby shoe.

 

All Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

It was getting late in the day.  I was exhausted.  My back hurt.  My feet hurt.  I was weak and my stomach was growling so loudly that the neighbors called to ask if we had a new dog.  But I needed to push on.  Our to-do list was long and most of it simply had to be finished that day.

Most of my day had been filled with garage sale prep.  Some families from our Financial Peace University class are having a joint garage sale next weekend.  Since we will be out of town right on through the first day of the sale, we needed to have all of our stuff cleaned, sorted, priced, and delivered to some friends’ house by the end of the day.

I was almost done.  Then I noticed a bag sitting on a chair instead of in a box.  Oh, yeah, I thought.  I have some more bags and purses I was going to put with that.  I almost blew it off.  But, no, might as well get it all.  So I trudged into the laundry room and glanced at the shelf that held the tub full of old purses and bags.  It was underneath the tub stuffed full of gift bags and tissue paper. Oh, man, I thought.  I don’t want to move that heavy tub…  Oh, come on, just finish up.  And with that, I moved the top tub, opened the bottom tub, and extracted a half dozen purses and bags.

Back in the dining room, I opened one purse and dug out all the old receipts and what-not that I had been too lazy to remove when I stopped using it.  I stuck a price sticker on it and set it aside.  I picked up the next one.  One dollar, I thought to myself, noting how small it was.  It was remarkably clean inside.  No papers or other debris.  Check the inner zipper pocket, I told myself.  It looked empty but I stuck my hand in anyway, feeling for anything left behind.  On my last sweep, my fingers hit metal.

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It felt like a ring.  I smiled, wondering what bubble gum machine find I was about to extract.  What memories of brief childhood obsession might flood my mind when I took it out.  And then I looked at what I held in my hand.  I dropped the purse and clutched the ring tightly in both hands.  I looked quickly around the room and felt dazed.  My knees were weak.

I rushed to the front door, bumping boxes on my way out.  I fumbled to open the door because my hands were shaking.  I stumbled out and croaked my husband’s name.  He looked up, not quite alarmed, but concerned.  He told me later that he knew something significant had happened but he couldn’t guess what.

I ran to him.  Failing to slow down, I raised my hands so the one not occupied hit flat on his chest as I crashed into him.  He grasped me in a giant bear hug and asked me what was going on.  I cradled my clinched fist against his chest and pressed my face into his shoulder.

This was the moment.  I was only going to get to tell him once and then the moment would be past.  I wanted to savor it.  I wanted to shout from the mountaintops yet whisper it in his ear yet delay so the moment wouldn’t be over.

Finally, I pulled away and pried open my fingers.  He looked down into my hand.  Looked down at my long lost wedding ring.  And laughed.  He laughed and laughed and hugged me tight with such joy before asking, “Does it still fit?”

I swear my hands shook more than any bride on her wedding day as I gave it a try.  I had to stick my knuckle in my mouth in order to slide the ring past it, but I got it on.  And on it shall stay.

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“I guess I can’t give you a hard time about that anymore,” he said with a smile.

See, that ring was “the story.”  You know, every couple has at least one.  The one that gets trotted out to such great effect.  It usually happened something like this:

Someone would notice our tattoos on our left ring fingers and ask if we got those when we got married.  We would explain that we had gotten them for our 13th wedding anniversary.  And then we’d explain why: because we were always taking our rings off when backpacking, rock climbing, kayaking, etc.  My husband wanted it known that he was married all the time, so why not get tattoos?

Then the someone asking the question would ask another one.  “Well, do you still have your wedding rings?”

I do,” he’d say significantly.  All eyes would then turn to me as I finished the tale.

I’d shift a bit in mock discomfort.  “Well,” I’d say, slightly defensively, “we were going on an outdoor trip.  Three high points and then rock climbing.  I was afraid I’d lose it if I kept taking it on and off.  Or someone might steal the car while it was in there or something.  So I decided to just leave it at home.  But I didn’t want someone to steal it if they broke into the house.  So I hid it.  Really well.  Really well.  We still haven’t found it.”

That was something like seven years ago.  I thought for sure I had tucked it back in a drawer or on one of the shelves in the closet.  But we remodeled the closet and it wasn’t there.  And we sold the dresser and I thoroughly checked it before we let it leave.  We also gutted the bedroom – all the way down to the studs (not looking for the ring – just remodeling).  No ring.

I have insisted all these years that the ring would turn up.  Just like the five year anniversary ring did.  I took that one off while rock climbing indoors and then couldn’t find it.  It was missing for at least a year when we decided to get the tattoos, which were patterned off the anniversary ring.

I woke up the morning after the tattoo and broke out in a cold sweat when I saw my finger.  “Oh, my God!  Oh, my God!  What have I done?  What have I done?  I can’t cover this up!  It’s always visible!  A tattoo on my hand?!  What was I thinking?”

Eventually, I rolled out of bed and, for some reason, went looking for something in the closet.  What I found, in the inner zipper pocket of yet another old purse, was my anniversary ring.  I took it as a sign that the tattoo was not the end of the world after all.

So when I lost the wedding ring shortly thereafter, I told my husband it would turn up.  Just like the anniversary ring.  At first, I wasn’t worried.  I always knew I would find it.  Or maybe I should say that it would find me.  I knew that some day when I least expected it, there it’d be.  Unless I was being pessimistic.  On those days, I would resign myself to the fact that the ring must be gone.  After all, where could it possibly be?

Which brings us to today.  When I came *this close* to selling my ring for a dollar and never, ever, ever knowing what had happened to it… unless the lucky recipient was generous enough to bring it back.

Circumstances then lined up just right that we found ourselves childless at dinner time.  We decided that celebrating the ring was in order.  We chose Chinese food and sat across the table from each other, both staring at the ring.  And I ordered a Strawberry Daiquiri, my drink of choice from our younger days.  And we smiled.  A lot.

Now we just need his Senior class ring to show back up.  Yes, I lost that too.  It probably still has the maroon ribbon on it.  Wherever it is.20140712_202306

Garage Sale Frenzy

A wise woman waits until her children go to bed and then quietly gathers up the outgrown clothes and excess toys, books, and movies for a garage sale. A foolish woman takes her children to the garage sale that is reselling their pilfered possessions.

A woman such as me can fall from wisdom to foolishness with alarming speed.

And thus we found ourselves at the church garage sale. Everyone found items that they just absolutely had to have, thereby nicely replenishing the dent I had made in the accumulated “stuff” at home.

Hal found a singing Valentine’s bear that played “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes while a lighted sign spun in a circle and displayed messages. I always knew where he was because I could hear the bear. So could everyone else.

He also found a Cars jacket that he absolutely loved. I explained that it had been his when he was two but didn’t fit him anymore. “It doesn’t?”

“No, honey. See? It says ‘Infant, 24 months’. You aren’t an infant, are you? Not a baby?”

He agreed to put it back and then proceeded to point out all his other clothing including his dear Superman pants and Cars pajamas.

Jane came running to me all excited because she had found her favorite pair of her friend Madison’s shorts. “And the best part is that I don’t even have to try them on because I already know they fit!”

Daryl was livid when he looked through the DVDs and found Spy Kids and Woody Woodpecker and… “G Force! Daddy! She gave away G Force!” He glared at me as if we had become mortal enemies.

At one point, he showed me a crystal shaped perfume bottle. “Mommy, I thought this was a light, like a night light or something so I pressed the bottom like this {he pressed the ‘bottom’, which was really the top because he was holding it upside down} and then it sprayed on my face!”

After we paid for all of our new treasures, we drove down the road in our little Prius. After a few minutes, I grimaced. “Daryl. I really wish you hadn’t mistaken that perfume bottle for a light.”