So much more than a desk

My desk at home was mostly non-existent. When I had worked from home years ago, I was in a basement office with a makeshift table/desk, an upholstered office chair, baby toys, a comfy rug and soft music. This was where I locked myself away, along with my walking 11 month old son, to do design work.

When I began a full time career in the newsroom I didn’t have a need for my makeshift office/playroom. The newspaper provided a laptop for any weekend writing so my computer and little office/playroom went into hibernation. I did all the big no-nos you should never do with a Mac. I didn’t update, not one single time, for two years.

Because we’re busy (or haven’t felt the force of necessity) we still haven’t fixed the fact that our basement has zero power. Thus, the office is out of order. One afternoon, soon after I put in my two weeks notice at the paper, I brought my iMac upstairs, set it on the only logical surface in my house, an end table. This has been my desk for almost a month. This is where I stayed awake into the wee hours of the morning cursing my neglect of my computer as I tried to update my OS. It is where I typed my last blogpost. It’s where I warned my kids nearly one hundred times “DO NOT TOUCH!”

My friend/boss/farmer had made some purchases at a liquidation sale at a school. He only wanted file cabinets, however, because of the bundling that was done at the sale he found himself the owner of a couple desks he had no need or place for. After taking out a bucket of rotten tomatoes from the grading room I admired one desk with a pencil sharpener mounted on the corner. I love using pencils, there’s something about the sound a No. 2 pencil makes when you are jotting down notes or writing out a grocery list. I know, it’s weird. A really good pencil sharpener is either expensive or hard to come by so when I saw this metal hand cranked Boston KS I was a little excited. I asked him if he would mind parting with the pencil sharpener. He asked if I wanted the whole desk. I didn’t really know I needed a desk, but what the heck. We haggled a little over the price and next thing you know I was bringing the truck back on my next work day to take home a hefty piece of furniture.

My husband knows by now that I can’t pass up a nice piece of old furniture. By no means am I at hoarder status, every piece I’ve brought in has found a nice place in our home. He eventually grows to like, even love, the pieces I’ve brought home. However, it has become our tradition that he complains about unloading it and moving things around to accommodate it. He’s not entirely comfortable with change, poor guy, he didn’t know when we got married that he was marrying a furniture rearranging mastermind.

We moved the living room around a little and set up my new little corner. I stepped back admiring the new living room. The thought struck me that this is a step in the right direction. I needed this more than I knew. I’ve muddled through these last few weeks not really knowing that deep down I’m still trying to find a place. I know I have my place with my family, no one can ever change that. Family and faith have been my rock and my foundation. But my soaring thoughts and ideas need a place to go.

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What I guess I’m trying to say is this desk is more than a new piece of furniture in our home. It is a permanent symbol and physical manifestation of me grabbing ahold of something and reclaiming what I knew was always mine, a part of my being I thought I lost: My love of writing and my ability to create. It’s just an old school teacher’s desk with an iMac and a few antique relics, but this is the space where I will take back what is mine, where I can start to feel like me again.

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Observing human behavior from my porch

Go ahead have a laugh at my crumby yard sale sign. I am.

Yard Sale. That’s what I’m doing this weekend. It’s a lot of hard work getting everything out and displaying my junk goods in such a way as to make people want to buy them. When I have a yard sale my main objective is to get rid of crap stuff and eliminate clutter, freeing up some much needed space so I can bring in more stuff so that space can be utilized to it’s full potential.

I’ve always liked to observe people and their behavior. It gives me much entertainment something to think about. So here is a compilation of the sort of people that you will see at a yard sale.

There’s deal hounds, they sniff out every deal, they look it over, pick it up, walk around it and if it suits their fancy they ask for a lower price. If you don’t oblige they walk away. There are those that act like they are getting away with stealing. They hold their goods in the crook of their arm, come to you to pay and the whole time they’re looking around like they are going to get caught. There’s people who can’t decide if they really want something. They dance around the item, they’ll even pick it up and walk around with it looking at other stuff. Sometimes these types make a purchase only to have yard sale remorse as they drive away realizing they didn’t need it after all. Sometimes they simply figure out they really don’t want/need the item before they leave and put it back making sure you didn’t see them (this used to be me, but I’m getting better). There are ones that are embarrassed to be seen at a yard sale and are continually dodging behind large furniture and trees or ducking under tables and hanging clothes when a car drives by. They make a quick exit when someone else arrives. I think these are also the drive by yard salers, see below.

There are ones that pull in your driveway look from the car, if nothing catches their eye they leave. Because they really want to make sure they didn’t miss something they are backing up still looking for something to make them stay and get out of the car, only to back over your carefully planted, fertilized, pruned and absolutely stunning rose bush that is now a stub, quickly speeding off before the angry yard sale lady comes running.

There are ones that get some sort of high from looking through your stuff and getting good deals, you could practically see their eyes dilate from the excitement when the pick up an item that’s priced well. They will then rush around the tables like they are on speed grasping at all sorts of things with no real regard as to what they are grabbing.

There are people that get competitive at yard sales too. They eye their opponents and carefully size them up as they walk toward the stuff. They are constantly looking over their shoulder to see what others are looking at and quickly grab up the semi-good item just so others can’t get it. I suspect that these people would be the ones that look and leave if there was nobody else around at the time.

The drive by yard saler will drive by slowly, turn around down the road somewhere and drive back by even slower but won’t stop because nothing catches their eye. I think these people really can’t stop unless there is a large piece of furniture calling to them or they could be the embarrassed ones as stated above.

You have the people who you can clearly see pick up an item read the sticker then turn to you and ask “How much for this?” You tell them what you thought the price was only to receive this exact reply: “That’s not what the sticker says!” Seriously? Also the ones that, I think, come just to see what kind of stuff you have with no intentions on making any purchases. This is especially true of neighbors.

My personal favorite, the die hard deal getter. They will haggle to the bitter end trying to talk you down. They absolutely cannot pay asking price for ANYTHING. To them paying asking price is a sin and they will be tortured for days thinking they could have gotten something for a better price. For example: an item is .25¢,  die hard deal getter asks “Will you take any less?” What?!? Are you flippin’ kidding me? They don’t even make stickers with lesser amounts printed on them anymore! But I have one for you, deal getter, the stuff you are giving me money for—no matter how much you talked me down—was destined for the mission store anyway. Ha ha ha ha who has the last laugh now, yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!

I like the older folks that come to yard sales. They are friendly, they take their time, they ask how you’re doing and always tell you to have a good day. I’ve just said good bye to one of these types, a nun, who sat on our front porch rocking chair and talked with me and the boys like she knew us for years and left saying God bless to our whole family, and God bless our adventure in building a house.

PS if there’s typos and grammar issues, I apologize. I’ve read this thing 15 times and quite honestly I’m tired. Not to mention it is darn near impossible to proofread your own writing.