I’m so glad my writing chain wasn’t very long, because there was no way I was writing yesterday. After several days of prepping for the garage sale and two days of having the garage sale, my brain was fried. The garage sale was… wow, so much crazier than I envisioned. I could not possibly have managed without the help from my dad and stepmother and C on Friday and then my friend E and R on Saturday. (R gave me the nicest birthday surprise ever and showed up in Orlando on Friday night. More on that in a bit.)

On Friday, it was impossible to walk in the garage because there was so much stuff in it. I was still trying to price things and get them out on the driveway with people crowding into the narrow corridors between tables and bins and boxes. People were lining up to ask me questions and my dad and C were selling stuff right and left.

The Legos sold in the first ten minutes, as did some Pokemon toys. Other stuff — honestly, I don’t even know. Things went. Not everything and definitely not some of the stuff that I expected to go. I guess the day of Thomas the Tank Engine is over, because that was still there end of the day Saturday. The Playmobil collectors did not show up in force, because I still have plenty of Playmobil and it was really priced very reasonably, IMO. I could definitely have done much better on eBay. A couple of the paintings or prints sold, and a couple of the frames, but there were lots of others of those left, more than I expected. I had a ton of frames, but I guess I’m the only person who buys too many picture frames, and I wasn’t my own customer! But enough stuff sold that it was definitely worth the effort for me.

Highlights: I had a big bin of Bionicles priced as a whole for $50. I’d intended to put out Ziplock bags next to it and also offer a piecemeal price, but I hadn’t gotten around to it. A small boy carrying a gallon-sized Ziplock bag with a dollar bill and some change at the bottom came up with his dad and his dad asked about the Bionicles. He started the explanation that the boy was interested but only had… but I cut him off and said to the boy, “How about if you give me all the money that’s in your bag and you fill your bag with Bionicles?” His eyes went wide and I added, “And you don’t have to close the bag, you can let it overflow.” He looked at the Bionicles and he looked at his money and he looked back at the Bionicles and he was so torn. His face screwed up in concentration. He stared at the Bionicles. He bit his lip. He thought hard. Then his dad leaned over to him and said, “That’s a very good deal,” and the boy burst out, with a fist pump of joy, “Yes! I will do it!” So, so, so cute.

On day 2, an older guy was interested in something. I truly cannot remember what. But I offered it to him for $2. Maybe it was a lantern that I’d had marked for $10? I honestly can’t remember what it was. He took it, saying “All right, that’s too good a deal to resist.” Then he asked about DVDs. I still had a few left so I pointed them out. He was, however, specifically interested in chick flicks. He told me that his girlfriend required him to show up with a chick flick on Saturday nights. I said, hmm, maybe inside, if you want one without a case. He said, yeah, he didn’t need a case. So I went inside and grabbed a DVD holder and brought it back out. Flipping through it, passing the kid movies, Harry Potter, The Future is Wild, I found My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Offered him that, asked how many he was looking for, kept flipping through, found Pride and Prejudice, the 2005 version. Promised him that this was absolutely a chick flick and that his girlfriend would love it, guaranteed. He was laughing at me, but said, okay, yes, he’d take those two movies, how much. I said, hmm, a quarter each. He said, “You are really terrible at this,” and insisted on paying me $1 each. So sweet. I hope his girlfriend loved the movies.

Later in the day, a dad and his son. I’m going to call the son maybe 12. He was pretty tall, but he still looked young. They browsed, the dad picked out some books including the Rick Riordan series and some DVDs, including Eureka’s first season. Obviously a person with excellent taste! The son was looking at a box of old computer games — Zoo Tycoon, Spore, that sort of thing. Maybe eight or ten games in the box, but old computer games require old computers. And to the best of my knowledge, no one else had even looked at the box. They’d checked out everything, drifting around, talking together, looking almost ready to leave, and the son went back to the games. He looked at them, looked at his dad, and the dad prompted him a little, with an encouraging nod. So the boy said, “How much are the games?”

“All of them?” I asked. He nodded. I tipped my head to the side and said, “What is the number that will make you go home thinking, ‘YES! I got such a deal!?'”

He said, “Um…I don’t know.”

I said, “How about three dollars?”

His eyes went wide and then he frowned a little and looked back at the box and said doubtfully, “Each?”

I said, “No, no, of course not, for the whole box.”

That was obviously a right number because his grin was huge. He looked at his dad and his dad nodded. When I went to total him up, I counted the DVDs as $1 and it turned out that R had said .50 for them (which was how I was pricing CDs) which was fine by me, but the dad insisted on paying the $1 price for them, because of the deal on the computer games. And both of them said thank you beautifully. I’m not sure how they wound up at my garage sale — I’m guessing weekend dad, but I could be wrong — but I’m so glad to think those books and DVDs and games are in a home where they will be appreciated.

Speaking of appreciated, on Friday, a woman was interested in some of my great-grandmother’s china, but she wanted–or needed–to haggle. She thought her daughter, into “vintage”, would love the dishes for her quincianara, but she couldn’t spend too much. Now, putting the china out was one of the hardest decisions to make and it mostly wound up being too hard to do. I only put out the serving platters and bowls and some tea cups and saucers, none of which I’ve ever used. My life, even now, does not offer opportunities to use three different sets of formal china, much less tea cups. The rest of it — I just couldn’t let go of it. When the house sells and I have no choice, it will get easier, I hope. Anyway, maybe the woman was just a really good negotiator, but I wound up giving her the cups, the saucers, two platters and two bowls for $14, which was literally all the money she had in her wallet. It was hard. Watching her walk away, I definitely felt pangs. But the idea that a fifteen-year-old girl is going to be thrilled — and her mother promised me that she would be — was comforting and infinitely nicer than dropping the china off in the thrift store box.

Speaking of thrift stores, at about 1PM on Saturday, it was getting hot and I was tired and we hadn’t seen any people at all for a while, I was mentally debating whether I wanted to have another garage sale in a month or so or whether I was ready to be done with the whole thing. It’s a lot of work. And day one, when there was a lot of stuff, was terrific — the money definitely made it worth it. But day two had been very slow, more about getting rid of stuff than making money. There was plenty of stuff left — tons of books, some kitchen things, some knick knacks, Christmas stuff, some toys, frames, art — but not good stuff, not the kind that makes people squeeze into an overcrowded garage.

Finally, I decided. We’d take it to the thrift store. Goodwill has a drop-off spot. We’d load it up into bins and then into the car. It would take a while. There was enough stuff that it could be three or four trips, maybe more with all the books. But my house is a complete and utter chaotic mess and another garage sale would be a lot of work again, for probably not a lot of money since so much had already sold, and I’ve got plenty to do without that. So E and I started piling stuff into bins, carefully and patiently.

A car arrived and a couple women got out. The one asked me about a lantern and I told her she could have it for a dollar. The other started looking into one of the bins that E and I had been packing. I told her that she could have anything in it for free, since we’d been getting ready to go to the thrift store. And then I looked around at all of the stuff that was left and thought, you know, whatever, we’re about to take it all to the thrift store, and offered her almost anything for free.

I made one section of one table not free and put the stuff there that I didn’t want to give away — the Playmobil, a couple prints, some things that E had been interested in, the china that was left, the crate of Bionicles — but apart from that, I waved my arm and said, “Take what you like.” Ironically, three more cars then drove up, and it turned into a whirlwind of people grabbing stuff, but the first two women, they got most of it. When they drove away, their car was stuffed to the ceiling, their laps piled high with clothes and knickknacks and kitchen things. One even stuck the box of lightbulbs that I’d had in the garage (not intending them for sale) and a box of ziplock bags on top of her pile. I let the lightbulbs go but retrieved the bags.

I think the other three cars had fun. A nice young woman picked out a bag of books. An older couple took a pet carrier and were delighted. The third car took some stuff, I’m not sure what. But the first women, they were wildfire, clearing the place out, taking everything they could as quickly as they could, and then having to make choices about what they could fit in their car. If they’d had more room, I bet they would have tried to take everything. Before they left, though, the older woman, walking by me, not looking at me, her eyes straight ahead, said, almost under her breath, so quiet that I could barely hear her, “God bless you.” I got goose bumps. I felt so, so, so blessed. So fortunate, so grateful, so lucky. To have so much that I can give it away and to have given it away to someone who found it a blessing. I’m just… it was a beautiful note on which to end the day.

And along the way, someone slipped a Cybis figurine onto the table of stuff that I was keeping. I don’t know how it wound up there. I kept some of my mom’s Cybis in the box of things that I’m going to store at my brother’s house — a madonna, a unicorn — but I’d run out of room and so let some of it go. Apparently at least one of the people at the garage sale at the end of the day didn’t want me giving that one away for free. The figure is a little girl, holding a doll. It’s named ‘Wendy’. I suspect maybe it meant more to my mom than it meant to me. And under the circumstances, I will be making room for it in my box somehow.

I will have a few trips to the thrift store in my future, or maybe to the library. I still have boxes and boxes of books left, no surprise. But I didn’t spend yesterday afternoon running back and forth. Or, for that matter, cleaning my house. Instead, I relaxed and then took R out to an absolutely fabulous dinner at a place called The Ravenous Pig. It was amazing. Best meal I’ve eaten in years, I think. The salmon appetizer (described as “King Salmon, lardo cured, fava bean panisse, plum sauce, grilled ramp”) was insanely delicious. R and I were both practically whimpering as we ate.

I had the pork porterhouse and possibly one of the highlights of a day already filled with highlights was when R, eating the part of my pork that I couldn’t finish, said, “You know, I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but although this pork is better than your pork chops, it’s only better by such a tiny, tiny amount that it’s probably not worth the price to me. My steak, though, was the best steak I’d ever tasted. Not meaning to insult your pork chops.” I did not feel insulted. On the contrary, I was very pleased to have my pork chops compared to those of a seriously fantastic restaurant with a professional and very creative chef. The salmon appetizer, though… yeah, it was incredible.

After dinner, R and I stayed up past midnight watching X-Men movies together. There was one neither of us had ever seen and at the end of it, we questioned whether it would have been a better movie in the movie theater or whether the X-Men movie that came after it, which we had both seen, was really just a much better movie. So we watched the next movie to find out — it was a much better movie, and very fun to watch again. I should look up the names, but I feel like I’ve been writing this post forever. But it was so lovely to hang out with him and talk movies and story structure together.

World’s longest blog post! And I should probably have been writing a book or working on smoothing out the chaos of my house, which looks like a tornado spun through it. But there was so much I wanted to remember. My birthday weekend was truly the nicest birthday I’ve had in years. I’m feeling very lucky, very happy, only a little stressed by the chaos of my home (although so grateful the painters aren’t coming tomorrow) and only a little anxious about where my life is going. Life is good.