I officially come from a family of gypsies.
This past Saturday our family put on a huge garage sale. My parents are moving out of state after the holidays and they are trying to rid the house of years and years worth of crap. They hate it when I call their belongings crap, but really, I don't know a better word. Ever convinced that the bargain shopper would be lured by family heirlooms like toilet brush cleaners, mismatched dishes, my dads old underwear, and my favorite, clothes that had been gnawed through by little mice in the barn; we began bringing our goods to the world at 6:00 am Saturday morning.
Mom was conveniently sick.
But my sisters and I, and our dad, put on our battle gear and got ready to run the Chisolm Family Market. We are three sisters who actually like garage sales. We are three girls who like making money. And we are three girls raised by a mom who taught us that haggling, deals, and good customer service could mean lucrative yard sale revenues. (And she came by it honestly from our grandma who called 6 times on Saturday to check in and make sure we were charging enough money and to see how much we were making). Garage sales run in the blood.
"You want to buy my rolling ice chest for $3? It's brand new! It's $6 firm. $4? No way. It has wheels and a handle. Seriously. You can't get this for $4 at Wal-Mart. $5? Ok. Ok. (I shake my head as if they are getting the best of me)...I'll give it to you for five."
Ryan says he has never seen a family like this. Each one of us. Holding firm, making deals, and luring customers in with our friendly conversation, Christmas music, and the occasional trip to let them use our bathroom (if we could sneak them by my dad who totally disapproves of that!). I think I terrified my husband in a new way. He said we looked possessed.
Never Ending, Never Ending, Never Ending
The problem with this garage sale is that it never ended. Because this was a moving sale, I think my mom assumed she was moving that day. Every time I looked up she was walking out the back door with her raggedy pajamas, horrible monster cough, and drug crazy eyes bringing out more stuff. My gosh, where is this crap coming from??? By the end of the day she had sold the recliner in the house that my dad clearly said was not for sale and she sold a desk that was still full of stuff in the living room. She would come out with loads of dishes, clothes, and anything else she could get her hands on. I think she actually had the house rented out by the end of the day too. Mad skills. We are talking about the woman who sold my dog Patches in a garage sale when I was five and never let me say good-bye to him. She is not messing around.
Sarah (my sis) and I came up with a game called, "throw your favorite piece of junk away without dad seeing". I threw a pair of ugly blue flip flops in the trash...and it felt so amazing. Five minutes later they were back out on the table though. Same with Sarah's picture frame she tossed out that was marked to sell for ten cents. Ten cents! I told dad I'd give him a dime. He didn't want it. He was convinced that our trash was someones treasure.
A family with 6 kids came along who looked like they were straight from an orphanage. So my dad gave each child a free kite and a free toy. My sister Melissa wanted none of this. "Dad, they may look poor but they have quarters. I could've made us $3 dollars off of that. Come on."
And the day went on. By three pm my pregnant feet were dying and my patience was wearing. Mom was still bringing stuff out from the house. Where is she finding this stuff? Someone has to stop her. Please woman...take more medicine and go to bed!!! That became our goal. Get mom in bed.
The Moral of the Story...
By the end of the day we made over $1,000, shared a lot of laughs, gave away a lot of things for free, met lots of interesting and weird people, and came away with one of those memories that goes something like:
"Wow. My family really is crazy. We take joy in running a good garage sale. We will sell anything for money. We haggle. We come up with game plans to lure people in. We argue over what to charge people for an old pair of pants. We are truly sick. And yet, I love that about us. We are the little gypsy family. Always dysfunctional, usually rough around the edges, totally weird, but still...we are us, and I love us."
So, no matter what your family is like I hope you find ways during the holidays to appreciate the good, bad, ugly, strange, unique, quirkiness of those people in your life. It is never perfect, but it is what it is, and sometimes that ends up being special in itself.
Even if it makes you a gypsy.