After spending 54 years from birth to 2008 living in Iowa I was presented with an opportunity to live in Fairbanks, Alaska. My blog is a diary of the adventure to get to Alaska, day to day life in Alaska, as well as facts for loved ones left behind in the Lower 48. Enjoy.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Warning: Rummages may be hazardous to your health
The rummage itself went well. While we didn't get rid of everything we had there, we did it! It was nice to see our friends from church and co-workers there to support our "cause". Several people told us what they plan on doing with some of the items they purchased. One lady has just begun quilting and will use the fabric she purchased to make quilts. Another woman needed a car seat for her grandchild, as her daughter hasn't purchased one for the child and grandma is concerned about her granddaughter's safety. Another was looking for items to use at an upcoming fundraiser auction - Nate had about 10 new small collectible vehicles that were on the sale that a woman purchased to add to car wash certificates for her fundraiser.
For any of you planning on holding a rummage in the future: We found that cassette and VCR tapes don't go. Novels sorted by author were appreciated. Fabric sells so-so as long as it is cheap. Patterns didn't sell at all. Craft items sold poorly, too. CD's and DVD's sold well. Two hours prior to the end of the rummage we gave the special of everything they could put in a grocery bag for $2.00, and one hour prior to end of rummage $1.00 per bag. I priced some of the items, but ran out of time, so posted a sign that if it wasn't priced to make an offer. Most people were reluctant to name their price, so I was left to do that. Can't really say if not pricing items is a good idea or not. A 6 year old boy had a lemonade stand, and his mom thinks they probably broke even.
Towards the end of the sale two young lads came in. One was probably 14-16 and the other one probably early 20's. They looked quite disheveled, and seriously looked over everything. The older gentleman did not speak, but could hear. The younger guy spoke for him. The older fella had just gotten an apartment and needed furnishings. In particular he wanted the coffee table and desk which a friend put on the rummage and were in very SAD condition. They didn't have any $ so were going to mow some lawns and come back. We set aside the items they indicated they wanted and started packing up boxes for the local woman's shelter, Goodwill, and other places.
They came back in about an hour. The oldest man indicated the lawnmower was broken by holding clenched fists facing downward in front of him and quickly angling them outward, as if snapping a stick. His facial expressions were most interesting to watch, his face spoke volumes. Due to the fact that what we had left over was going to "go" anyway, I let him have what he wanted. A friend donated a box of new dishes to the rummage, and he wanted those. He also chose our bed pillows, steak knives, casserole dishes, a HUGE box of Christmas lights, VCR tapes, bedroom lamp, etc. Not sure why they chose the VCR tapes, because they do not have a player, but we really didn't care - they were most appreciative of everything we offered them.
The next obstacle for us was that these guys didn't have any way to get things home from the rummage, so Nathan packed up their things and gave them a ride to their nearby apartment.
Not long after Nate returned back to the rummage sale these guys returned and began dumpster diving things we'd deposited. Bless his heart, Nate gave them yet another ride home. And bless their hearts, they returned a third time, with the younger guy's mother who apparently also enjoys dumpster diving and informed us she has lice.
Looking back at the rummage experience, it wasn't about the money, or the possessions, what really sticks in my mind is the life lesson we experienced. How friends can help friends when they can't speak, how resourceful and thankful people can be, and how grateful I am that I can speak, purchase what I need, have a vehicle to use, my lawnmower works, and, perhaps most grateful of all, do NOT have head lice!
Seeing these people makes me think what an awesome movie they would make. Others really need to be exposed to their life story. In my "spare" time prior to moving I might plant some seeds to people who might be able to make that a reality. If you know of anyone, please do let me know.
Nate and I discussed the $ value of our belongings prior to the rummage. It is rather sad to know how hard one has worked to purchase their lifelong possessions and then to sell them for such a small fraction of their original price. Makes me think that having spent money on basically useless/wasteful things in the past, I have decided to change my ways. Only necessities will be purchased.
Walking as much as we did really, really took a toll on our feet and legs. I have a nasty blister on the instep of one of my left feet, and pulled muscle in my right leg extending from my ankle up past my right knee. I awoke this morning with a HORRIBLE headache, so took some ibuprofen and went back to bed. My arm & shoulder muscles are sore, too, from all the lifting.
This afternoon did some more apartment searching. There was an ad on the News Miner website for an apartment that I checked out. Long story short, we rented it. It isn't the biggest (350 sq. feet), but all utilities are paid and it is half the cost of the other place we were looking at. A few other plusses are: The manager lives in the building and sez there aren't any problems with noise, etc., it's 6-7 blocks from my work, and it's a month to month lease.
With the apartment's low rent and what we had budgeted for housing in AK if need be we can pay the mortgage on our home in SC AND apartment rent. I'm no math expert, but think that sounds pretty good!
I listed our home being for rent on a national website and got an e-mail from a recent college graduate who has accepted a position in SC. I spoke with her today and she is very interested in leasing our home for at least one year. She asked that I send her some pix, so got out the digital camera and snapped away - boxes awaiting to be repacked and all! Please keep this transaction in your prayers, as leasing our home is weighing heavily on us.
Thanks again to those of you who have informed me of reading the blog. It's nice to know that the time I'm spending is making a difference in others as they go on this journey with us. Each of you is precious to our hearts. One gal from our church at the rummage told me that she had printed off part of my blog (I'm assuming the one with last week's church sermon) and taken it to another member who's recovering from knee surgery and homebound. How thoughtful of her to share and brighten her friend's day.
Til next time~