Here’s an archive post originally published March 30, 2010 (if you’ve received two notifications of this, I apologize – I’m reposting it for the second time today, because I don’t think the e-mail notifications worked the first time):
The best yard sale ad I ever saw was in a Moncton newspaper many years ago…it gave the pertinent details of the sale, followed by this: “Early birds will be ignored.” My kind of vendor! There’s nothing more frustrating than arriving at a sale at the advertised start time, only to find that vultures have picked all the best meat off the bones!
I’ve been going to yard sales/house sales/flea markets/auctions since I was small…we’d get up many Saturday mornings, and head for a nearby farm auction. At one of these, my brother and I decided we’d really like to have a calf, but Dad convinced us that our mom would have a COW if he came home with one! On Sunday drives, I remember us sitting in the car as Mom looked angrily at her watch waiting for Dad to stop talking to some stranger who had something to sell (my mom caught the yard sale bug much later in life, after she started collecting and selling Sherman jewellery). In the late ’70’s, Dad started setting up his own stall at flea markets (he collected sealers and pretty much anything to do with farming, as well as books).
After I was married and had kids, going yard-saling was an inexpensive outing for a Saturday…we lived in Moncton and didn’t have a car then…we walked to all the sales we attended. I’d set the alarm early, pack up the kids, and off we’d go, with a carefully-planned list of sales we wanted to get to and their start times. I mostly bought books, clothes and toys then, although I would keep my eyes open for bells/wooden boxes for my mom’s collections.
We moved to Saint John in late 1997, and continued our yard-saling habit…since opening the bookstore in the summer of 2000, we also started looking for old/local books on our Saturday mornings. We go to the Sussex Flea Market every summer, where over 1000 vendors set up outside to sell everything from antlers to zinnias. I started training my middle daughter, Anna, how to “pick” old books at age 8, and today, at 15, she definitely has “the eye”…she knows what to take and what to leave behind!
I even yard-sale on vacation…I was in Belleville, Ontario for a college reunion, and went to a few sales in the east end where the beautiful old homes are. Lying on the grass, I spied a beautiful Native Canadian print that I wanted as a gift for my best friend, who is of aboriginal descent. As I leaned over to pick it up, someone with faster fingers snatched it out from under me…after shooting her a look that should have caused her to at least feel faint (it didn’t seem to have any effect), I let her have it…
I was tramping around the West Side of Saint John, when I found a gorgeous pen and ink drawing of a farmhouse – I liked it because it reminded me of my grandma’s house. The problem was that it was huge – about 2′ x 3′, and I was on foot. It was also in the most hideous frame I’d ever seen, with floral wallpaper acting as a homemade mat. I asked the woman how much it was – $8! I told myself that I would go to one more sale around the corner and then come back…if the drawing was still there, I’d buy it and call a cab to get home. I was lucky that day…I forked over the money and took my prize home. The next day, I called my friend, Amy, who has a frame shop on the West Side, Amy’s Custom Framing. We made a barter deal for a proper frame and mat – $150 worth. Amy did a beautiful job on the artwork, and I hung it over the fireplace in my living room. I’ve never been able to determine the artist’s name – I assume it’s local though.
Since moving to Hammond River a little over a year ago, yard-saling has been more difficult…I don’t have a driver’s license, and Jim doesn’t like getting up early. However, I was able to make the rounds at the Quispamsis Community Yard Sale last spring. He even started to get into it, especially after one lady started giving us stuff! I was buying a computer chair ($10) from her, and Jim had two routers ($2 each). She pointed out the “free pile,” which contained a dehumidifier and two boxes of computer network cable that Jim said were sold retail for about $1 a foot! We grabbed them! Other finds that day were an apple peeler for $3; a gooseneck pole lamp for $5; two non-stick muffin pans for $1 each; a laptop bag for $2 for my stepdaughter, Brianna; a pair of Robeez baby shoes for $5 and a nursing pillow for $4 for my unborn granddaughter; and several books. My daughters, Anna and Hope, got a High School Musical dance game. Hope even picked up a stuffed teddy bear for our dog, Jake, which he wasted no time destroying! A month or so later, we went to the Hampton Community Yard Sale, and got a good haul of books, but not much else.
I’m Not a Ghost, But Yesterday I Played One in Real Life…
This isn't me...I'm a lot taller! (photo from daddytypes.com)
Have you ever had one of those days when you wonder if you’re invisible, a mere figment of someone else’s overactive imagination? That was my day yesterday…all day!
It all started in the morning, after I arrived at the bookstore and sat down at my computer. As per my routine, I updated our store’s Facebook page with a “Today in History” fact and a book relevant to it, and added a daily quote about books. Then I opened my Hotmail. Since it was Monday, there were lots of new blog posts to comment on…
I opened the first one, read it, typed my comment and posted it. Everything was going swimmingly until I reached the fourth new post. I read the post, chuckled heartily, wrote a pithy reply and hit the “Post Comment” button, making sure to tick the box so I would receive notification of further comments. The page refreshed, and my clever comment had disappeared into the vast realm of cyberspace, never to be seen again! After a few choice words (none of which were nice), I reconstructed my response as best I could, and attempted to repost. ARRGGH! Gone! I thought, “Maybe it’s my computer.” I rebooted, and reopened all my windows. Version #3 of my formerly hilarious comment was a mere shadow of its earlier incarnations, which I suppose doesn’t really matter, because it vanished too! I gave up on that one…I was sure that person’s blog had technical difficulties.
I opened the next new post in my e-mail. Another brilliant post! I congratulated the writer on his wit and writing skill, and sent my compliments hurtling once again into Never Never Land! I tried once more (are you familiar with Einstein‘s definition of insanity: doing something over and over and expecting different results?). Remembering one of the tag lines from The IT Crowd, “Have you tried turning it off and on?”, I not only rebooted, but flipped the router off and on as well. That should do it!
With my Hotmail window reopened, I clicked on another new post. This one was about blogrolls, a topic dear to my heart. I offered my input in a couple of paragraphs, and confidently “posted” my comment. NOT! I looked around and briefly considered sticking my head in the oven, but our microwave was far too small…Instead, I sent an urgent-sounding e-mail to WordPress Support:
Subject: My Comments are Invisible!
I made comments on other people’s blogs (multiple times). I saw: NOTHING!!! (one time when I was smart enough to copy and paste a comment before I sent it, I got a notification that it was a duplicate comment…still nothing showed up!). I expected my comments to be visible!
I have cleared my cache and rebooted my computer (twice).
A little while later, I got a nice e-mail from a “happiness engineer” at WordPress apologizing for the “inconvenience” (at that point I’d been trying to post comments for more than an hour!) and advising me to send details to Akismet (the spamcatcher). “They’ll be able to sort you out.” I really hoped that somebody could…and maybe they could fix my problem with commenting while they were at it! I sent a similar e-mail to Akismet, explaining my difficulties and imploring them to do everything in their power to remedy them! I continued to read new posts, but knew that commenting on them at this point would probably be useless…I also wrote this post so that my friends would know that I wasn’t ignoring them on purpose. I contacted a couple of the bloggers via Facebook, one of whom told me that my comments had ended up in her spam bucket.
In the afternoon, we had some of our regular customers come into the bookstore: a couple of book dealers from Fredericton accompanied by a friend who was a book collector. The collector inquired about books by Mika Publishing (which happens to be located in Belleville, Ontario near where I grew up). I checked our database, and found we had a Mika book about Lunenburgh, and asked Dad to locate it in its box with the other Loyalist-related material. I went into the other room with one of the book dealers to find something for him. Dad came back with the book and asked me what he should do with it. “Show it to the guy who asked about Mika books!” I replied.
“Why…is it Mika?” Dad asked.
“Yes!” I answered, barely concealing my annoyance. Is this thing on? After Dad left the room, the dealer I was talking to burst out laughing…
“I wouldn’t have believed that if I hadn’t heard it for myself!” he said.
“Multiply that by 9 hours a day for 11 years,” I answered. “And he lives with me too! It’s a wonder I still have my sanity.”
Jim came and picked up Anna and I, and we headed for home. Hope had an appointment at the after hours clinic for 6:15, and we would have to hurry if we wanted to eat before we left again!
We bolted some Sloppy Joes and fries, and arrived early at the office. The doctor wrote a prescription for Hope. We took it to the drugstore and dropped it off…the woman at the counter told us it would be ready in about twenty minutes. To kill time, we went to the dollar store and looked for things that Hope and Brianna needed for school projects. We amassed quite a pile of stuff between the three of us, and took it to the checkout (there was no one there). Eventually a clerk came from the back and called to us from the other counter, “I can help you over here!”
“I was afraid of that!” I answered while smiling through gritted teeth, as I tried to scoop up our 57 items to move them.
“Oh, I can help you with that,” she said, cheerfully. We paid for our purchases and went back to the drugstore. There were six people in line at the prescription counter…Hope and I took our place at the back of the line. The customer who was holding up the line had a prescription that her insurance company wasn’t covering the full cost of, and she couldn’t seem to grasp the fact that she needed to ask her doctor to call them. We’d been in line more than ten minutes when one of the pharmacists came out and asked if anyone had any questions or if we were all picking up prescriptions. No one had any questions.
The pharmacist asked, “Who’s next?” and a lady who’d been standing off to my left (not in line) piped up.
“I’m just here to pick up my prescription.”
I thought, “That’s what we’re all here for, Lady…that’s why we’re in this line.”
She continued, “I was here before…I just came back!” Guess who got served before I did! I had Hope pinch me to make sure I really existed…
When we got home, I went to my computer and opened my e-mail. Still no response from Akismet, but I decided to give commenting another shot. I picked a blog I’d already tried to comment on, and typed a message about commenting earlier, explaining that the comment had probably gone into the spam. I crossed my fingers and toes as my mouse hovered over the “Post Comment” button. I clicked it. SUCCESS! Hooray!
Apparently, I’m not a ghost after all!
Filed under blogging, books, family, rants, satire, shopping
Tagged as Akismet, Belleville, blogging, books, comments, drugstore, Einstein, family, Lunenburgh, Mika Publishing, Ontario, prescription, rant, satire, shopping, spam, technical difficulties, WordPress