I’ve shopped and loved garage sale for decades now. I’m a self-styled expert in the new-to-me treasure hunt. And I also know there are there are three types of sales to avoid at all cost… plus, I’ve got a beef with author and radio show host Dave Ramsey, who, in my opinion, is not doing his fans any favors when it comes to selling their stuff.
The three types of yard sales to avoid:
The first is the dead person sale. Meaning the body of the deceased has been in the house a long, long time before it was removed. Last June I happened upon one of these sales. A gal I know was there first… and went in. She exited with a plastic Fred Meyer bag full of jewelry – much of it gold – for a couple Andrew Jackson’s. Her face was flush with excitement. Mine was barely holding back a gag reflex as corpse-stench stench wafted out the front door. I have my limits. Even for a bag of gold I wouldn’t cross that threshold. (Would you?)
The second sale to avoid is the nicotine-stained nursery sale. Cigarette-yellowed cribs, playpens and clothes all cigarette-yellowed. I’m not offended by this. I’m heartbroken.
Dave… financial whiz and garage sale guru? I have nothing against his genuinely helping people to get out of debt, but seriously, based on my real-life garage sale experiences, Dave Ramsey might as well be the Queen of England when it comes to nailing a few signs to telephone poles and hawking cast-offs on the front lawn.
I’ve been to many “Dave-says-sell” and “Dave-says-trim-the-fat” -sales. (Why why why do sellers brandish the Dave Ramsey name in their ads? It’s not like he’s actually there at the sale! Furthermore, by using his name in their ads it almost seems like the sellers are not taking personal responsibility for selling their stuff!!! “Dave told me to do this! It’s not me, really!” Sheesh, that was a long rant!!!) These days I only accidentally stumble upon “Dave” sales. When I read the sale ads I usually make a note to AVOID those addresses if I’m in the neighborhood.
Without exception, the Ramsey-ites overprice their stuff. Really overprice their stuff. It seems that, collectively, they have never set foot in a Big Lots, Marshall’s, or even a Harbor Freight. Discount merchandise? Really? Or maybe the sellers are just super-attached and conflicted about selling their stuff?
Either way, they are wasting my time and gas. And they are racking up more debt… debt of a different kind… the karmic debt of every shopper who walks away pissed off that these sellers wasted their time and gas on stuff they could buy for less at discount retailers.
Though it may sound like I’m coming down on the formerly-prolific-credit-card-spenders, I’m not. I’m taking issue with their leader, who seems to have forgotten to add in lessons on fair market value! Because who really needs an old DVD player priced at 50% of its original value, or $5 garage sale DVDs you can find for $3 each at Walmart?
Sure, I could make an offer. But when the starting price is so high I just shake my head and leave.
C’mon Dave, steer your garage sale sellers to reality this summer!
My heart goes out to my Facebook friends caught up in the tornado watches and extreme weather. One FB friend lives in Moore. I’m happy to report her house and hounds are all safe. So is she. But it’s especially hard for me to watch the images on TV of injured people and animals coming out of the wreckage.
Back in 2006 I lost my home and virtually all my possessions to a natural disaster. I kept a blog about my journey (since taken down), and someday I’ll share those posts again. Just not now. Strangely, reading all the tornado-related FB posts and comments doesn’t make me think of that time in my life. Instead, my thoughts were on the pets of those affected by the tornado. And then I started thinking about my pets, and my history with hounds.
So, I thought I’d share a bit about myself and my dogs.
My parents raised Chows. Aloof protectors, I loved our dogs, but never felt that greater connection to a dog until I met Max. Max, a Rhodesian Ridgeback-Pitbull cross, technically belonged to the neighbors, but for several years he spent 40+ hours a week at our place. I was devastated when he passed away on May 5th of 2008. (We’d just moved back in months earlier.)
Upon reflection, I think I may have rushed into my next dog, Frankie. I adopted her on June 16th of that same year. I’d always loved Bloodhounds, read up on the breed, and was absolutely certain I knew what I was getting into with a hound.
Ummm, no. No one is ever prepared for their first Bloodhound.
Boy-oh-boy did I ever adopt the total opposite personality!
Max: loyal, prey-driven, obedient to a fault, learned commands quickly. Almost never on leash, even out in the brush where I couldn’t see him. Yet I’d call and he’d be bounding through the underbrush to return immediately.
Frankie: Where’s my dinner?
Frankie is my first Bloodhound. In my childhood, my Bloodhound was a stuffed toy I cherished. Sometimes I call Frankie my “starter hound”… because eventually I’ll adopt another. She’s a smallish 85-pound hound with a busted tail. The tail didn’t happen on my watch. I adopted her at 2 (?) years old, and 65 pounds, from a Lab rescue where she and the other dogs were fed once a day. These folks did the best they could and I am grateful.
Frankie came with a lot of issues, which is why she is a one-and-only hound. Her biggest issue is, of course, food! If you’re a Bloodhound person reading this you’re probably laughing your head off thinking, what hound doesn’t have food issues? (*SIGH* You’re right!)
Anyway, she FREAKS OUT on other dogs who happen to be around food. Any food. Otherwise she plays well, just as long as treats aren’t involved. This limits socialization, but not group walks or training.
On training: she’s stubborn. I’ve tried obedience. The entire class cracked up with laughter as Frankie became more and more determined to not do anything I asked her. For example, it took three of us, me the trainer and the trainer’s assistant to get her to lay down. Me pushing her shoulders down and the other two easing her front paws forward. Frankie tensed her entire body, like a steel tripod, refusing to cooperate.
At home, relaxed, she’s pretty good with commands. Right up until she decides not to do something. I’ll give her a command (“sit!”) and she’ll crane her head up, bat those beautiful eyes, and ignore me. It’s like she’s saying, I know exactly what you’re asking me to do and I’m not doing it.
I might even get a little tail wag with that “no.” So there!
She’s a gentle girl who worships, and fears, cats. She’ll get spooked by litter floating in the breeze, but she’s fine around gunshots. She’s always on leash except when she’s in a fenced area or inside. Her brain seems to be 98% in her nose. Doorbells drive her bananas. And sometimes, when I look in those gorgeous brown eyes of her, I’d swear she is my grandmother reincarnated.
Maybe that sounds a little kooky and I shouldn’t have shared that here, but what the heck. I really do think she is my mom’s mom returned.
So I’ll end this post on a question: do you think our loved ones can reincarnate as our pets?
Bliss. How do I find it? Better yet, how do I keep it?
Thinking back on periods of my life, some of my most blissful moments have occurred when things weren’t going particularly well. Also, when bliss happens, it trends toward the warmer months rather than the colder ones. That’s not to say blissful moments don’t happen in winter.
My recurring blissful moments:
Walking and hitting the endorphin zone where the world just seems right. Exercise can be a sort-of double-edged sword of bliss, too. Accurate, if unpleasant, insights have also dawned on me in the same “zone.”
The smell of coffee brewing every morning. Bliss!
There’s another bliss that comes through writing. My muse, amped up with creativity, zaps me to another zone – similar to the exercise zone, yet different.
Trouble with exercise, coffee brewing, and writing bliss… they don’t always pay the bills. So there are times bliss, and the pursuit of it, takes a backseat to more practical matters.
I’d like more bliss this summer. Yesterday, sitting on the porch reading a book in the late afternoon sun reminded me that in order to have bliss, I sometimes need to carve out the time to just BE.
For some, bliss comes by holding their grandbabies in their arms, kneeling at an altar, or flying tens of thousands of feet in the air, marveling at the curve of the earth. Or appreciating the first snowflakes of winter float down onto their dog’s snout.
My Smartphone is filled with songs. Songs from artists I’ve recently discovered, songs from my youth, songs my mom used to play. I can’t think of a tune I haven’t been able to find on MUVE’s selection of 20 million songs. Other than my monthly phone fee, I don’t pay for any of these songs.
Amazon has a similar program. For an annual fee consumers can join a club that includes free shipping and loads of digital content delivered without any extra charges.
Last week, I read an article in Fast Company about a company that wants to help people resell the digital content they’ve purchased. They maintain that there is no difference between physical goods and digital goods. Two of the visionaries behind this idea are John Ossenmacher and Larry Rudolph of Redigi.
Redigi might just shake up the digital marketplace sooner rather than later. They pay a 10-20% gratuity to the artist on the content they’ve resold. But there’s no law requiring them to offer this gratuity. And whether or not they’ve infringed on copyrights is currently being reviewed by a federal judge. (They lost.)
Ridigi is not alone, either. Apple and Amazon both hold patents on technology that will allow their customers to resell digital content once they’re finished with it.
Since Amazon is already allowing their customers who are part of the above-mentioned program unlimited access to everything that falls under the umbrella of that program, it seems to me that:
- the Seattle retailer is probably one step ahead of the rest of the pack
- e-book authors like myself might be in deep-shit trouble
Apologies for the profanity. I rarely use it. When I do, it’s to make a point.
Sure, experts claim a secondary marketplace only drives up sales overall. On the other hand, even if Amazon has the technology to verify the buyer of the original content, there is zero difference between a new and used copy of my digital book. But will I be paid for the lower-priced “used” copy? (Probably not.) Who sets the price on the used copy? (Ultimately, the consumer.) Will I lose control of my intellectual property if I publish with Amazon? (Likely.)
And what if one of the free e-books I’ve downloaded suddenly becomes popular? Can I resell it at a profit— cutting out the author entirely?
What if the popular e-book is mine?
Overall, I believe Amazon will protect authors who pledge allegiance to the company and publish exclusively with them. Hey, you can’t be king without a kingdom, right? Plus, if history is anything to go by, Amazon has always paid their authors (other large digital content providers have fallen short).
I’ve been thinking about this resale digital marketplace a lot over the past week. I love my unlimited FREE music. I’ve downloaded my fair share of e-books. I have yet to stream free movies or TV, but I certainly enjoy YouTube. The future seems clear to me. A second life for digital books is a WHEN, not an IF.
As an author, this terrifies me. And it also makes me kind of excited, too.
If everything in the future is virtually FREE, all the quick-buck artists hawking less-than-quality products will be run out of business. Quality will rule the future (at least I hope so). If everything is free, and readers enjoy what I write, they can read (AND REVIEW) my books into FREE bestseller-dom.
The only trouble with that scenario is that I still need to keep the electricity on, feed myself, etc. Just like readers do. Which brought to mind another possibility:
Printing my own books. Exclusively.
Why not? Bands and comedians (Louis CK) are embracing direct sales to fans. And my friend, Maggie Jaimeson (aka Maggie Faire), a true visionary in my opinion, launched Windtree Press as a way for her and other indie authors to engage and sell directly to their readers. Why not?
So bring on the future! In the meantime, I’ll be building my brand and searching Craigslist for a used Espresso Printing Press. I mean, hey, the current model Espressos are already half the size and half the price of the original. By the time I get around to printing and selling my limited-edition print book, I’ll be casting about among my author friends to see who wants in.
I’ve got talent, a truck, and good, strong back… anyone have any extra space in their garage to set up shop?
Friendships with other women can be perplexing. My personal history is filled with both longtime relationships enduring decades, and foolishly choosing “friends” who, in the end, were anything but friends. When I was younger, the nature of my female friendships could be prone to drama. As I grow older, and watch my mother-in-law at 92 years old navigate her social circles, I hope I’m glimpsing my own future.
Like her, I’m social by nature — though with fewer quarter-ante card games, and more Facebook. The romance writing group I belong to has been a tremendous experience. Discovering a large and diverse group of writers (mostly women) who wish each other the best– even when their personal views are in deep conflict with each other — has been enlightening. Not that anyone in the organization is supposed to talk about politics, religion, etc. I’m just saying that when we gather, some opposing views are obvious. Like a steadfast Christian author sitting across from a writer who specializes in demonic possession erotica.
But guess what? It doesn’t matter!
We meet to find common ground, and that’s what I love about the Rose City Romance Writers. We’re all trying to navigate this new and shifting publishing landscape. We are sisters of the new frontier.
Which brings me back to my mother-in-law.
While many of my friendships revolve around writing, her core group is made up of World War II widows who remarried. Since the 1950′s, they’ve met several times a month to lunch, gossip and play pinochle, canasta, dominoes and bunco. Does her group have conflicts? Drama? Oh yeah! Once, in the 1960′s, one of the “girls” got tipsy and made a play for another’s husband. It’s still a hot topic. There are also spats over senior dating, their children’s sexuality, and score keeping. At least they all agree on one thing… the value of that quarter!
I guess when it comes to groups, conflict is always bubbling under the surface. It’s a gamble I’m willing to take. Like my mother-in-law, I’d rather play for long-term friendships than focus on passing disagreements and squabbles. We don’t all have to be the same to be friends. What’s most important is respect and trust… bonds than can last for decades.
So I’m going to take my own advice, be open to new friends and roll the dice.
Dreams come and go. I’ve cleaved to a dream of hiking the Mount St. Helen’s rim for a few years. I’d also like to hikeMt.Fuji and Diamond Head, but the travel logistics are a little more complicated with the latter two. But Mt.St. Helens seems do-able.
On Saturday night I chatted with two women who hike MSH every August. They gave me some great tips, and dispelled any notions that I wasn’t fit enough to handle the rigors of the mountain. They also gave me some great advice on obtaining a permit and finding a hiking group.
Yeah, I’ve had a brand new pair of hiking boots sitting in my closet for a couple years now. I bought them at a garage sale from a woman who wanted to hike the Gorge, but never quite got around to lacing up her dream.
I was absolutely positive I would… lace up those boots.
So yesterday I did. And I walked my dog in those boots. And I did the same thing today. While the boots are a great fit, they still feel brand new. Stiff, with crispy laces. I’m nowhere near ready to give up on this dream of hiking MSH, but before I go on any serious hikes those hard soles and suede uppers will need some serious workouts of their own. Because my dream means I’ll be spending 12 hours in those boots!
So how about you? Do you have a dream you’ve been holding off on? If you do, are you ready to be done with it, or take the next step?