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Life Isn't About "Things"; It's About People

It's time to clean house.” - Jerome Davis

Hmmmmmm.....That's quite the quote to be immortalized by, isn't it?

Anyway, I've been really getting into a "clean-up, get rid of, replace" kind of a mood lately. I've been planning to have a garage sale for several years now, but never gotten around to it. It just seems too overwhelming to gather everything together, try and decide prices, clean out the garage to make room, set it all up and to make sure my tools don't get sold or stolen and all that. And to do it alone too, nope too much effort. As well, it would be an understatement to say that the last three years have not been the most stable ones in my life healthwise!

But I'm going to go ahead with it. I'm shooting for the last weekend in August, and I'm putting a whole lot of stuff out. Up until now, I've been pretty much running my "possession" life by the maxim my Dad taught me. You must understand that he was one of six kids growing up on a farm in the Maritimes during the Depression, so they were very mindful of "waste not, want not" thinking. Besides, he was a Scottish penny-pincher! Need I say more?!! Anyway, he had a saying: "You'll always find a use for everything in the first seven years that you have it, and if you don't in the first seven, you're likely to in the second seven". Now, c'mon people, who I am not to do what the old man has taught me, eh? I have too much respect for him to disregard his advice!

But, things are gonna change in the City of Champions. Oh yes they are! It'll be written up in the newspaper --- I can see it now. I'm going to change it to this: "If you haven't used it in the past three years, it goes in the sale, no matter what it is." Honestly, I think I still have a boxful of notes from some of my high school classes (circa 1961-1966). WTF!!! As if I'm going to use them as cheat sheets the next time I take Grade 10 World Geography or something? Sheesh! I like the sound of that word --- sheesh! All together now --- sheesh!

I'm also not going to fret my little head over pricing. What gets priced gets priced. What doesn't, doesn't. Garage sales are for haggling anyway, aren't they?


Most of you know that after I left teaching, I bought a small business that did very well for me, thank you very much. I sold it last fall as a going concern, but it had started to slip because I wasn't able, or perhaps wasn't interested anymore in putting in the time it needed, which wasn't very much actually, but things like that tend to shift to the back burner of reasoning when you're dealing with trying to settle the sloshing around that goes on inside a wobbly brain! So, I sold it for less than I paid for it, but that's not an issue with me, never has been in fact, but that's an issue for another discussion. The point that's important to me is --- I sold it! So what? Well, as I said, it treated me well, plus, I have the income from the sale. So I have this little nest egg and I thought I'd treat myself to something to congratulate myself for reaching retirement in one piece. Well --- you know what I mean, doncha?! It's like that "gold watch" syndrome some of the previous generations worked for all their lives.

I don't normally talk about money issues. That was another thing that was never discussed, that and how old people are. I still don't know how much my Dad made when he passed, all I know is that we were not terribly well off, and as the youngest of five, I was the one who lived in hand-me-downs the most (the stuff from my three older brothers I didn't mind --- but my sister's stuff --- c'mon! (kidding!). Maybe that's why I do the Goodwill schtick (see below) --- it's my comfort zone! You see, (and I trust you understand I'm sensitive about this, and I certainly don't mean to be shoving it in anyone's face or anything), but it's fack Jack --- this is the situation I'm in now.

I'm getting a government disability pension because my doctor certified that I'd not likely be able to hold down gainful employment again, and I'm also drawing a small pension from the college where I taught. Why I am telling you all this? Well, for sometime now I've been considering getting some "big ticket" items for myself with a chunk of the moola. See, I've been much like my Dad most of my life. Don't get me wrong, I like being generous and helpful when I can be for others, but I don't treat myself the same way --- somehow it doesn't seem right. I think it's the influence my old man had on me. F'rinstance, I can't remember the last time I bought new clothes. Nope, I do my clothes shopping at Goodwill, garage sales or Sally Ann. I don't understand why someone would pay 100 bucks for a pair of jeans so they could have some fancy designer's name on their ass when they can get a perfectly good pair for 10 or 15 bucks. Is my logic wrong here somewhere, folks?

Here are the things I've been considering.
1) Selling the van (I bought it for the business -- a 1999 Honda Odyssey) and buying a new small, efficiency car. That's all I need now for getting around, and perhaps a small motorbike for the summertime --- I can always dream, can't I?
2) New carpeting for the house. I've disliked what's here since the day I bought it --- but it was the only drawback. The problem with this one is my cat still heaves the occasional hairball or upchuck, and it stains the carpet no matter what cleaner I've tried.
3) New furniture (a beautiful leather sofa set from Italy --- I've already scoped it out!) for my family room. Right now I have an old couch that I was given some years back by an acquaintance who was getting rid of it.
4) Converting the (fairly large) basement room into a home theatre room.
5) New roofing for the house (I think it's going to be a must pretty soon anyway).
6) Landscaping for the front and back yards.
7) (this one is my "hide the Playboy under the mattress so Mom doesn't find it" darkside one). I've always wanted a tattoo on my arm. I even have it pretty much designed. But if you knew me and again, bless their sweet controlling hearts, my family, you'd understand why this one ain't never going to happen!
7)...and probably a couple others that aren't coming to mind right now.

So here's my dilemma. How do I rank order these? A lot of them are house improvements, and I'm not sure how much longer I want to stay here. It's a four-level split, much larger than one person needs, or should have. Besides, real estate prices here at the moment are crazy shazaam, but then that would mean looking for another house, and I'm not up to that right now (although I won't have as much to move after the garage sale, will I!). Everybody who helped me move into this house said "Never again" as long as I have my record collection.

The other major factor is this. One of the symptoms of bipolarity in some people is irrational, impulse buying (usually things like 57 dresses, or 2 sets of golf clubs, or whatever --- things that don't make any sense). Well, that's not the case with me. I've been thinking of these projects for years. Last fall, I replaced my furnace, and a couple months ago I had all the windows replaced. Both were to be part of a government rebate program for upgrading houses to become more energy efficient. The thing that pisses me off is the Conservatives got elected and promptly cancelled the program. The irony is the the Minister of the Environment is my MP. She is embarrassing our country on the world stage, but that's for another blog.

After all that blah, blah, blah, I'm finally getting to my real point. Yesterday, I decided the car is number one on the list. I filled up on gas yesterday and for the first time in my life, it cost more than 50 dollars. Gas here now is the equivalent of $4.20 per U.S. gallon (I worked it out last night), and we're promised it'll go up significantly really soon because of BP shutting down their fields in Alaska. That, too, is a topic for another blog. But I have to be in a real hissy, pissy mood to be able to get across how I feel about that one! All this in the province that has oil revenues coming out its wazoo so much that last spring the premier sent a tax-free $400 cheque to every man, woman, and child in the province to spread the wealth around. Normally, you'd think it was to get re-elected, but Uncle Ralph is retiring this fall. Nope, it's because this province is wallowing in the perversity of too much money.

You know, after that blog I wrote yesterday, and the wonderful and heartfelt reactions and responses, I'm becoming more and more entrenched each day that the most important and "right-on" thing my folks taught me, above all else, and that I've always believed to the point of stubbornness, they got absolutely right. Totally right.

People are far more important than things.

As long as we have what we need, what else really matters? Red mentioned in one of his blog's awhile back that when he moved to California, he had a trunkful of music, an old TV and a thousand bucks in his jeans. Look at him and his lovely family now. Really, think about it. That's how my thinking goes anyways.

So, the car it is. I've already started my search. Any suggestions?


I LOVE TO GARAGE SALE! Give me a Saturday morning to take a drive and I will be on the look out for clothes and many other things! I'm like you, why pay for that designer name? Highschool is where that image stuff belonged, you can look just fine without that brand and in second hand clothes. I'd much rather spend that kind of money on photo equipment! :)

I think down sizing your car is a great idea if the "need" for a van isn't really there anymore. Why pay all that in gas if you can live without it. I got me some Dutch in me and I'm all about pinching pennies when I can.

Make a personal promise to yourself for your garage sale. Tell yourself that anything which doesn't sell is going to Good Will. We can write donations off on our taxes here, so if you have that option, donating is a bonus. Plus, you'll be less likely to stick with any price you have, cuz otherwise it's going to be donated anyway... kind of put you in the position not to be attached to a price for something and give you that "at least I get something for it if it sells her" frame of mind!

Hope you make tons of cash that day!

Does your area ever do anything like a community sale? We have one here each year at the baseball park. People rent space and sell. It's just one huge garage sale, gets advertised in the paper and tons of people coming to it for the "all in one" factor. My friends always make a bundle when they do that.

I know how you feel about the house and maybe leaving so not wanting to sink to much $$ into it. We're so in that spot. I say when you decide it is time to move, go for the landscaping for sure, even if it's minimal, cuz that curb appeal helps a ton.

I emailed you back today..hope ya got it! let me know if ya didn't! I am reading this blog now to comment...

I must admit that I am a bit of a tightass myself so I would recommend the car and the roof first. But the home theater in the basement would be one luxury that would be really cool.

Okay, on to my real comments. Priorities. You know them better than most of us, so I am sure that you have already concluded that anything done to the house will increase your comfort zone. New roofing means increased property value and no leaks! New carpet can transform a home, and everyone needs the comfy couch. And..this is the kicker...I can tell you how to do that in-home theatre for next to nothing as I have been researching it for years. Let me know when you are ready and I will walk you through the whole thing! I know what it is like to be thrifty..During college I had to decide at times between mac and cheese and gas money, so I learned to be pennywise. I buy $10.00 jeans and bargain shop like Clark Howard on steriods, but I am glad you are doing something for YOU. You help others out so much but shortchange yourself, and I think it is high time that you enjoy the fruits of your good decisions a bit! Good on you :)

Oh no! I need to engage my brain to read this blog of yours! lol

I like your "George Bush counter." I've never seen that before.

Lol @ DJS- yes, Evy does require us to think deeply:P

BTW.....get the tattoo Rick!!!!! My hubbys Mom is one of those control freaks. Dave got one of the kids names last year. His Mom just finally noticed it a few months ago. She said it made him look like a "biker".lol
If you do decide to get the tatoo(& you should), Dave got his done at Dragon FX. Great place. There are 2 in the city I think. The one Dave went to was at Kingsway Mall.

Wow. A lot of answers to come up with here!

Mel: I am convinced that garage saling is an addiction that should formally be recognized with drugs, alcohol and smoking! When I was actively building my record collection, my weekends were booked. I have since been through withdrawal, and I've managed to cut way down now!

Lots of areas throughout the city advertise community sales, but they're usually organized by the neighbourhood, and where I live, well, it's one of those areas where people keep pretty much to themselves. Another reason I'm seriously considering selling the house, BTW.

PFuzzbox: Hi, and thanks for dropping by! My roof isn't leaking yet. It's the original cedar shake roof, and the house was built around 1975, so like I said, I agree with you. It's probably time. And I agree with the home theatre, but then to me, these are ALL luxury items! I just have to decide which one I deserve to treat myself to the most...and like I said, that tankful of gas convinced me it's the econo-car.

Shane: As always, thanks for your thoughts. I'm probably going to take you up on that home theatre offer somewhere down the road, so don't lose your notes! And I'm sorry, but ... Clark Howard??? Showing my ignorance here, but I have no idea who the dude is. Sorry!

DJS: Thanks to you, to for dropping by and leaving a note. Wow! Two new readers on the same blog! Cool! I'm always curious how folks get to the site. And to my regulars, some of you I absolutely know will thoroughly enjoy Mr. DJS. There's some pretty funny stuff there. But be warned. There's also some pretty over-the-top stuff too (by my standards anyway), so if full frontal nudity is not your thing, f'rinstance, you may want to pass.

Gary: Ah bless you!! It's been there for almost two weeks now, and I was wondering if and when anyone would notice!

Mackey: Hee-hee! I don't think you read it carefully enough though. I said "There's no way this one will ever happen!". C'mon, you've seen me. Let's be honest here, Dave can carry off the biker image. Me? Not so much! (But it is a great design...based on the art of the Haida Indians on the west coast. I love their stuff.) When I was in the hospital, we were talking about tattoos one day, and several of the patients who had really nice ones recommended the same name if I remember correctly. They talked about one on 124th street, just north of Jasper I think. So maybe that's their second store. Who knows? Maybe I'll at least scope it out (but don't hold your breath!)

You don't have to pass off a biker image to have a tattoo.
Anyone can have a tattoo.
I say go for it!!!

Ohhhhhhh yeaaaaaaaaaah!!! Tattoo tatttooo!! You could have it placed high up on your arm where it can be inconspicuos if need be, or just where long sleeves when visiting family - you are in Canada and it's cold there man!!!

Do ya'll have a Toyota dealer there?? They have some neat little compact cars, GREAT on gas, and very dependable. I had a Corolla forEVER, and it never broke down and got like a billion miles to the gallon for gas!

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  • I'm Evydense
  • From Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • And I'm tired of living in the shadow of narrow-mindedness and ignorance. So here's the fax, Jack! "The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and three hundred and sixty-two admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision." - Lynne Lavner*** I'm confused; curious; satisfied; realistically resigned to being a frustrated idealist; usually at peace with myself, but not always. Amazed at how little I know, and wondering how much I need to understand.
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