Tuesday, 23 August 2016

First-World Problems

If one more well-meaning soul lectures me about first-world problems and why they are wholly unimportant, I just might have to stick a stiletto through their iris. I get that in the grand scheme of the world's issues, my battle for Internet and cable is trivial. In no way am I comparing my frustrations to those of the child escaping war-torn Syria nor am I comparing it to the misery of the pregnant young panhandler who sits on a corner down the street. I fully understand that I am blessed and I count those blessings every single day. I NEVER forget what I have and how it came to be and I refuse to be lectured to by loving hearts online who have no idea how I go about my daily routine.

You see...while they might seem trivial to some, "first-world problems" are real issues because we happen to live in the first world. These are the everyday aggravations that punctuate our day. It could be that traffic jam that made you late for a crucial job interview or perhaps it was the self-checkout machines at the grocery store that double charged you for the cherries. What may sound petty to me is mostly likely not petty to you. Maybe that job interview was your first in a month of unemployment or maybe that double charge means no protein for dinner. So, when I post of my aggravations on social media about the fact that we have now been without Internet and cable service for more than three weeks, with no end in sight, I am offering up a public primal scream to relieve the frustrations. I have tried to infuse humour into the situation because, frankly, laughter is a tonic and the absurdity of this situation cries out for it. But, no! I do NOT choose to be aggravated and sometimes we are not the source of our own unhappiness. Sometimes, and this is absolutely one of those cases, other people are the source of my aggravation. In this case, it is the dozens (and I am not exaggerating here) of service people, technicians, call centre employees, managers and the like at THREE separate providers that have caused my aggravation. We have had people hang up on us; been told that the job has been rendered complete; stiffed on appointments after wasting SIX separate days staying home waiting; told that there would be no problem in hooking us up and then told they don't service our building even though half of the units here use that provider; been promised phone calls that never came more than a dozen times; and that is just the short list. So tell me again how I am the source of my own aggravation?

If you think that the lack of Internet access is a first-world problem, I hear you. It is also crucial to how we work and make our livings. Imagine for a moment that you rely on electricity to make your business viable. Certainly, you could operate for a few days without it, but three weeks? My guess is that when it started costing you time and money, that little "first-world problem" might not seem so trivial. How's that aggravation level now?

This battle for Internet/cable/phone service has both The Husband and me at the end of our tether. We have probably exceeded our data plans on our phones attempting to solve this problem. It is yet another hard cost that we will never recover. God bless my man as he has taken on this odious task and has spent far too many hours raging against the conglomerates, hours that he should have been working. Is he really the source of his own aggravation? 

I have refrained from cursing in this post because I can no longer come up with vile enough or descriptive enough words to adequately express how I feel. The comedy of errors, in this case, has turned into something uglier and while I am trying to keep up my sense of humour, I do draw the line at online rebukes and lectures. Unless you are sitting where I'm sitting, keep your judgements to yourselves. That said, honest help on any level would be gratefully appreciated.

I apologize publicly if I have offended anybody with my rant. I get it that people would rather hear or read the hearts and flowers stories of life online in their social media feeds. If I have disappointed you all by turning negative for a bit, the unfriend or unfollow button is at your disposal. I'm a big girl. I'll get over the disappointment. But I refuse to pretend that everyday problems aren't relevant problems simply because they don't fit someone else's definition of importance.
For now, I'm still waiting and hoping that somebody somewhere can get us out of the last century and turn on 2016 for us again. We kind of miss it. 

First-World Problems

If one more well-meaning soul lectures me about first-world problems and why they are wholly unimportant, I just might have to stick a stiletto through their iris. I get that in the grand scheme of the world's issues, my battle for Internet and cable is trivial. In no way am I comparing my frustrations to those of the child escaping war-torn Syria nor am I comparing it to the misery of the pregnant young panhandler who sits on a corner down the street. I fully understand that I am blessed and I count those blessings every single day. I NEVER forget what I have and how it came to be and I refuse to be lectured to by loving hearts online who have no idea how I go about my daily routine.

You see...while they might seem trivial to some, "first-world problems" are real issues because we happen to live in the first world. These are the everyday aggravations that punctuate our day. It could be that traffic jam that made you late for a crucial job interview or perhaps it was the self-checkout machines at the grocery store that double charged you for the cherries. What may sound petty to me is mostly likely not petty to you. Maybe that job interview was your first in a month of unemployment or maybe that double charge means no protein for dinner. So, when I post of my aggravations on social media about the fact that we have now been without Internet and cable service for more than three weeks, with no end in sight, I am offering up a public primal scream to relieve the frustrations. I have tried to infuse humour into the situation because, frankly, laughter is a tonic and the absurdity of this situation cries out for it. But, no! I do NOT choose to be aggravated and sometimes we are not the source of our own unhappiness. Sometimes, and this is absolutely one of those cases, other people are the source of my aggravation. In this case, it is the dozens (and I am not exaggerating here) of service people, technicians, call centre employees, managers and the like at THREE separate providers that have caused my aggravation. We have had people hang up on us; been told that the job has been rendered complete; stiffed on appointments after wasting SIX separate days staying home waiting; told that there would be no problem in hooking us up and then told they don't service our building even though half of the units here use that provider; been promised phone calls that never came more than a dozen times; and that is just the short list. So tell me again how I am the source of my own aggravation?

If you think that the lack of Internet access is a first-world problem, I hear you. It is also crucial to how we work and make our livings. Imagine for a moment that you rely on electricity to make your business viable. Certainly, you could operate for a few days without it, but three weeks? My guess is that when it started costing you time and money, that little "first-world problem" might not seem so trivial. How's that aggravation level now?

This battle for Internet/cable/phone service has both The Husband and me at the end of our tether. We have probably exceeded our data plans on our phones attempting to solve this problem. It is yet another hard cost that we will never recover. God bless my man as he has taken on this odious task and has spent far too many hours raging against the conglomerates, hours that he should have been working. Is he really the source of his own aggravation? 

I have refrained from cursing in this post because I can no longer come up with vile enough or descriptive enough words to adequately express how I feel. The comedy of errors, in this case, has turned into something uglier and while I am trying to keep up my sense of humour, I do draw the line at online rebukes and lectures. Unless you are sitting where I'm sitting, keep your judgements to yourselves. That said, honest help on any level would be gratefully appreciated.

I apologize publicly if I have offended anybody with my rant. I get it that people would rather hear or read the hearts and flowers stories of life online in their social media feeds. If I have disappointed you all by turning negative for a bit, the unfriend or unfollow button is at your disposal. I'm a big girl. I'll get over the disappointment. But I refuse to pretend that everyday problems aren't relevant problems simply because they don't fit someone else's definition of importance.
For now, I'm still waiting and hoping that somebody somewhere can get us out of the last century and turn on 2016 for us again. We kind of miss it. 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

We're Moved In!

WE'RE MOVED IN!!

I know that most of you already knew that, but this is the first chance I have had to breathe in three weeks and, I can finally say it out loud. We're moved in.

I could regale you all with disaster stories from the two-day affair, but thankfully there are none. Both the packers and the movers showed up on time; they were decent, hard-working non-felons; they took great care to ask our opinions as to where things were to be placed rather than just finding empty spaces and fleeing leaving us to rearrange tables that are outside of our lifting weights; and the only recognizable damage from the redistribution of our personal effects was a single shattered wine glass, but as several friends on Facebook have reminded me, who needs glasses when we still have the bottles.

There are still a few nuggets to share and a few precautionary axioms to dole out just in case anybody out there is even remotely pondering a relocation in the next decade. (Yes...I said decade.)
  • Get organized now! When The Husband first broached the idea of moving five years ago, I told him that certain lifestyle choices needed to change. I was still working up in the North Jewish Ghetto and transferring downtown made little sense. Retiring was an obvious first step, but after that was accomplished, he made his feelings crystal clear. He wanted to move and develop that urban lifestyle we had talked about for years. Me, being me, looked around our dwelling of close to twenty years and could only see the massive amounts of collected flotsam and jetsam. Thus began the great purge of 2015. Yes, this move really started last year as we tackled some of the dirtiest and biggest tasks of divestment. We cleaned the garage and large chunks of the basement. We started divvying up cherished pieces of furniture and artwork to our children and assorted family members. We gave tremendous thought to all of that stuff that we thought we couldn't live without and we set our sights on finding a new location that would suit those needs. We were so very smug and so very stupid. We really needed to start organizing a year before we did. The real estate market here in Toronto is so very hot that one needs an asbestos suit just to walk into potential condos. In short, the process moved faster than either of us were prepared for and our earlier preparations were feeble at best. If one is looking to downsize? Understand that everything cannot possibly fit in the new space, sentiment sometimes must be replaced with practicality, storage is at a premium, and time is not on your side. Waiting for the perfect time to move or the perfect place with all of your needed amenities and all of your current stuff is lovely in theory and ridiculous in practice. Even thinking about the possibility of a potential maybe move? Mobilize now!
  • And while I still have you thinking organization....Rubbermaid is a wonderful company and label-makers are your friends. Those plastic bins from Rubbermaid come in various sizes and are necessary for the long-term storage that will come from relocating. Winter garb, purses, guitar odds and ends, Passover dishes, and photos are just some of the things that have found permanent homes within the welcoming bosom of Rubbermaid. And....I feel just like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory as I organize my closets and drawers with labels. I can't begin to explain the euphoria that comes with successfully storing and labeling a bin. Hello. My name is Dawn and I'm an obsessive/compulsive labeler. Of course, The Husband thinks that I belong on a couch somewhere, but this new home has afforded us a clean start when it comes to taming the junk and I intend to make the most of it.
  • When moving, try not to pick the hottest day in the last five years and try to avoid a ten-day heat wave with temperatures soaring into the 40s! (That's in the 100s for all of my metrically-challenged American friends.) I rarely complain about heat mostly because I spend so much time complaining about the cold, but last week was unlike any Toronto has seen in years. And moving day? It was the hottest of the hot and the stickiest of the sticky. Our awesome, strong-like-bull movers, who had no issues placing a massive wardrobe on their backs (one guy actually did this) and marching it down a flight of stairs and into the truck, almost passed out from heat exhaustion. There wasn't enough liquid refreshment available to keep the poor guys hydrated. I kept expecting to find them passed out in a puddle in the elevator or in a corner or even just cooling off in our shower.  I don't know how they did what they did and I have a newfound respect for anybody who works outside in extreme temperatures, hot or cold. These men were pros and it showed. I gave them some beer (all they would drink was water while working) at the end of the day and the grateful looks on their faces said it all. If I could offer any advice about moving? Spring or fall sound lovely.
  • Finally...take some time to say goodbye to the old before embracing the new. While the movers were packing up our kitchen and dining room, The Husband and I wandered the house, which was already very empty, and reminisced. The boys' rooms, which had long ceased being their rooms, were filled with voices and recollections. The Husband cleaned the pool one last time and I cleaned the bathrooms. (God forbid the new owners should think us pigs.) On moving day, I left first so that I could wait at the new place for the movers. The Husband was tasked with locking the door and he said it was so very bittersweet that he was glad that I wasn't there. I am too. I have been saying goodbye all summer and now it was time to say hello. There is importance in the past, but there are hope and excitement in the future. I feel as though I have left nothing unsaid and undone in that house. Now is time for new.
There is still much to do here. Pictures need hanging and photos need placing. It still needs those individual touches to make the place feel more like home. The cable and internet are still not fully functioning (a blog post all on its own) and the ducts need cleaning. (No, the irony is not lost on me that as soon as we gave up our landline we require a duct cleaner. I am trying not to think about how very absurd that is.) Also, I keep opening the wrong drawers and cupboards. For some reason, I cannot get it through my head that the toothpaste is on the left and the hairbrushes are on the right. Yesterday I threw garbage under the sink in the kitchen. Sounds harmless, yes? Except that there is no garbage under the sink in the kitchen, but rather in a drawer in the kitchen. I'll get it.

Eventually.

After all...we're finally moved in.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Home Stretch

We are definitely in the home stretch.

What does that look like, you might ask?

Well, since every move is different and requires various levels of divestment, organization, cleaning and the like, it is difficult for me to generalize. I can only report on what I know, so in no particular order, I herewith present the telltale indicators that we are in the relocation end game.

1. The Husband simultaneously cut his leg and hand this morning on broken glass while trying to repurpose an old picture/poster frame. Suffice it to say that he was unsuccessful in his task. No stitches were required for either wound but the bleeding needed to be staunched with band-aids; the adhesive to which he happens to be allergic. Fully aware that he was inviting a strange crop circle-like rash, he was eager to remove the offending bandage from his leg as soon as he possibly could without reopening the cut. As he ripped it from his very hairy Jewish man-leg, his scream, more intense than that of the original injury, was reminiscent of a woman getting a bikini wax. (We are still in possession of several framed posters that would be lovely decoration for college dorm rooms. Gratis!! If anybody is interested, please let me know by the end of the week. This is a serious offer.)

2. There are more open garbage bags and garbage boxes around the house right now then there is useable furniture. We figure that we have divested ourselves of about half of our possessions. Seriously! The sheer amount of trash that has been generated by this move has made me very aware of our environmental footprint. I am appalled, embarrassed, horrified, mortified, shamed, humiliated, and any other synonym you could possibly come up with. We have one final trash day in The North Jewish Ghetto this week and then another appointment with Just Junk scheduled for the weekend. We have taken to counselling anybody who is even considering a relocation within the next two decades to begin the process of cleaning and purging immediately. We are NOT joking!!

3. We are now confined to one functional room that has exactly two chairs in which to sit. (This statement does not allow for the bathrooms which of course offers adequate seating.) That room is the bedroom and while many might think of worse places to spend all of one's time, I have begun to think of myself as a political prisoner under house arrest. You know that you can move around the house, but that you are most definitely limited in those movements.

4. You know that your move is imminent when....the stress causes your hair to dry out, your skin to break out and sleep is a miserable afterthought. Oh...and I am eating far too much chocolate and yet have dropped a few pounds. Craziest diet EVER!

5. I have spent hours over the last several days washing, sweeping, vacuuming, and disinfecting. This house will be cleaner than it has been in years, and it was never dirty. Why am I going to all this trouble for people I have never met and have absolutely no feeling for? Because I'm a nut, that's why. I'm just like Golda in Fiddler when she said, "I just can't leave a dirty house. "

6. I had taken to leaving the TV on switched to my favourite all-news channel while packing. I had to cease and desist because I couldn't remember where we packed the Rolaids, GasEx, and Pepto Bismol.

7. I have been actively searching for my sense of humour, but it seems to have gone AWOL. I find that I am taking offense at the most innocuous of statements. I'm tired, ill-fed, and feeling enormously displaced. My sarcasm detector has taken a sabbatical so if I jump to conclusions I shouldn't, please cut me some slack. I am at the end of my tolerance rope.

8. Speaking of ill-fed, we are trying not to stock up on too much food because we will just have to move it next week. As a result, we are having to get creative with meal planning. What kind of vegetarian meal can you all come up with that involves 20 or so bottles of flavoured vinegars, 6 jars of various flavoured mustards, dark chocolate ice cream sauce, and 8 Roma tomatoes? Recipes happily accepted.

9. I have taken to wandering around the house in search of tasks. As our list dwindles, I am finding it hard to believe that we are actually moving next week. I suppose that I think that keeping busy will keep me from crying. When I first started writing about this move back in May, I was unequivocal in my belief that it was just a house and a home is where the memories are made. I still believe that to be true, but this endless process of sorting, organizing, and purging has brought the past flooding back. I remember bedtime stories read, birthday celebrations, pool parties, youth group sleep-overs, arguments fought, weddings, bar mitzvahs, graduations, a goofy labrador retriever, camp laundry, a shiva, giggles, tears, Shabbat dinners, a few backyard Kabbalat Shabbat services, dear ones who were here and will never see the new place, and yes...even the f***ing squirrels. It all happened here in The North Jewish Ghetto and in this house. I better understand now why my sons are having a bit of difficulty with this move and I am more incisively aware of their nostalgia and their pain. If I have been dismissive of that, I profoundly apologize. I hope to be able to convince them with a more acute sensitivity that the new place is a good thing for The Husband and me, and that new memories for all of us will be made there. No, it won't be the same. But if home is truly where the heart is, it can only get better.

Ten days and counting.....




Thursday, 28 July 2016

A Few Useful Moving Helpers

**Please note that this entire moving experience has made me come to grips with my privilege in a most tangible way. Everything that I have written about, joked about, complained about, or simply observed comes from a place of extraordinary fortune and I recognize that even more today than I did a year ago. I have been truly blessed.**

I have never ever used this space for advertising and I promise you all that won't change. I am not the type to tout a product or establishment that I find appealing simply because I know that every person and every experience is different. If I recommend a particular business or individual, it will usually be offline and only if asked. Frankly, I simply don't need the shit. If your experience is less satisfactory than mine, I really don't want to carry the responsibility for your disappointment. But I felt I might be a bit remiss if I didn't share a few really good organizations that we have dealt with over the course of the last few months in preparation for our move.

At the start of this process, I was adamant that we try to make this downsize shift as green as humanly possible. I did have to shift my expectations slightly when I realized that the amount of garbage was more than we could possibly handle even with diligent recycling, repurposing, and reusing. The number of open garbage bags littering (pun intended) our house currently is in double digits due to the fact that the North Jewish Ghetto only collects trash every other week and this week is an off one. And this is the fifth such week in this year's spring/summer cycle. We have overflowed our blue bins every single week and we have done our level best to find new homes for many items that we simply won't have space for. (Thanks to all who have taken things off of our hands. We hope that you use and enjoy them with our compliments.) And of course, there was our garage sale. But even with all of that divestiture, we knew that we still needed a more professional plan to help rid ourselves of junk and other perfectly good but unwanted items. I wish I could tell you that every  company we used was non-profit. They aren't. But they all do yeoman's work in service to the greater good of the community.

Value Village. The thrift store, which has multiple locations in the Greater Toronto Area, is most definitely a for-profit organization and they have had some issues in the past year here in Canada with  a rising price controversy. That said, with Goodwill still on the sidelines here and my personal concerns with The Salvation Army, Value Village has been an oasis in the desert. They will take almost anything that is gently used, including books, VHS tapes, old clothes, housewares, toys, games, and so much more. We have been there so often that some of the young kids who work there know us on sight. While they do resell most of the stuff for profit, they do offer employment to many who have had it rough and it does make me feel better knowing that the mountains of material that we have donated are not ending up in landfills. I can live with the other side of the coin.

Just Junk. We knew very early on that we would require junk removal. Old building materials, broken office furniture, a huge and non-working television were among the massive amounts of debris that need to be hauled. This company, while at its core is a refuse removal group, also has as part of its mandate, a commitment to re-purpose much of what it receives. A "green junk" removal group. I don't care one whit that they might make money on that old TV. We had zero interest in dealing with Craigslist or Kijiji. Just Junk allowed us to maintain a bit of integrity even while we have been over-contributing to the garbage problem.

The Furniture Bank. This non-profit organization collects gently used furniture and other household items for the purpose of transitioning families out of homelessness into safe, clean, and usable spaces.   Many of their clients are women and children who are escaping domestic violence and abusive situations. We paid a pre-arranged fee for them to pick up our donation and then they, in turn, gave  us a tax receipt for almost twice that amount. (I would have donated without the tax receipt.) Two young men arrived (one was a volunteer) and hauled away our family room furniture and other assorted items. They told me that it would be in a new home by Friday. I was so impressed with their honour and professionalism, that I gave a cash donation in addition to the furniture.

I feel comfortable touting my positive experiences with these organizations. If you and yours have had contradictory incidents, then I'm sorry. All I can say is every situation is different. I am only speaking for myself and they have all worked well for me. I feel a bit cleaner for at least attempting to do right by both my privilege and the environment.

Two weeks today....


Monday, 25 July 2016

Moving Stress

According to healthcare people who know a lot more about this stuff than do I, the five most stressful situations in life are...(listed here in no particular order, because I would never presume that one is worse than another.)

1. The death of a loved one.
2. Job Loss
3. Major Illness
4. Divorce
and....
5. MOVING!!

Even if the move is a wanted upgrade or a downsize, moving is a cataclysmic disruption to one's routine and an all-around pain in the ass. There is little to no downtime during a move and the continual need to maintain organization and a composed non-confrontational demeanour is taxing on the psyche, especially when one's default emotional response to any situation trends more to the batshit crazy side of the ledger. But I believe what really has most of us movers skipping over to the "lock me up in a rubber room and throw away the key" side of the scale is that no matter how much we plan, no matter how organized and colour-coded our strategy may be, no matter how efficient, neat, and tidy we are, there is still an enormous amount of control that must be relinquished, and it is that dependence on the kindness and competence of others that is making me cuckoo for cocoa puffs. 

The Husband and I moved four times in the first ten years of our marriage. Of those four, only one went smoothly, and strangely enough, that is the one I can't remember at all. (I think it has something to do with being more preoccupied with a 9-month old at the time.) During our second move from an apartment to our first house, the movers simply didn't show up. When we finally managed to cajole them into making an appearance, the building we were moving from threatened us with police action because we were moving after hours. When the movers heard that the cops were on the way, two of them bade a hasty retreat citing the fact that they were on parole. We were left in a half-completed mess. When the cops did finally arrive, they were really cool and said (and this is a quote that is etched in my memory even after thirty years) "Fuck 'em. I'd move!" That particular move took over twenty-four hours, ruined our brand new couch, saw us threatened with legal action from  subletters for not vacating the apartment on time, (even though they weren't moving in for another two weeks) and left us freezing in the new house for another day because we weren't there in time to let in Toronto Hydro.

When we moved into our current location I was actually far more relaxed. We literally moved around the corner. I sent the boys to school in the morning from one house and told them to walk back at the end of the day to the new one. We were able to walk most of our most fragile items over ourselves and there were no traffic or city headaches to deal with. I was stupid and I got complacent. I wasn't paying close enough attention to the details and thus was repaid with a nightmare. The people who were living in our new house were renters. They vacated without issue, but the actual owner, an expatriate gentleman who was no longer residing in the country, had stored most of his personal and business effects in the basement. It was packed floor to ceiling with boxes of shit that he no longer wanted nor required in his new digs. We were assured for months before that he would have everything out by our moving day. We were blatantly lied to. 

On the day of our move, he showed up and started hauling his crap out of the basement and dumped it on the driveway and in the garage. His shit covered the entirety of both. We couldn't park our cars, nor could the moving van properly access the house. The movers had to run a gauntlet of broken toys, old building materials, bulky trash, and anything that wouldn't make his return trip abroad in order to walk through the front door. We had neighbourhood kids and out of area locals stopping by asking if they could rummage through the trash. Our new neighbours, already less than enamoured with us because of our big goofy dog and our two goofy kids, threatened to call the cops and have us cited by the city. (That bastard came face to face with karma. A few years later the cops came and arrested him for spousal abuse. He was gone a few months later.) The Husband chased a garbage truck down the street and offered the maintenance guys $20.00 each if they would haul the stuff. Thank God for unethical people willing to succumb to bribery. Yup. That's the strangest prayer I have ever uttered.

So it is with great and understandable trepidation that I face our move in two weeks. We have cleaned and sorted and emptied and packed. We have arranged and managed and organized and calendared. We have dealt with cable and internet and alarms and mail. 

And yet....

I know that deep in that deepest recess of my soul that it still may not be enough, that something could easily and without warning fuck up from the inside out, and that has my stress levels soaring into the bright red zone. There simply aren't enough breathing exercises available to calm my palpitations. I am the person who likes order. I am the person who likes neatness. I am the person who revels in calm. Moving involves none of those things.

If you have some kind of zen technique for quelling stress, I am open to anything natural and without the need for a prescription. Oh...and I don't imbibe. Ready...set....comment....

Two weeks and counting...





Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Art of Garage Sales

Garage sales are just not my thing.

There I said it.

I understand why some people enjoy the experience. It is the thrill of the hunt. It's like an urban  safari and the weapons of choice are loonies and toonies. A giant Pokemon Go discovery/scavenger experience whereby the loot is real rather than virtual. There are treasures to be uncovered, bargains to be discovered, deals to be negotiated and consummated. 

Me? I simply don't enjoy that kind of procurement. I prefer to instead laser focus my purchases, attend to my needs in a timely fashion, and to not worry as to whether it works or has acquired bedbugs in a prior life. And...for every Pissarro that is uncovered under that picture of dogs playing poker or every piece of Limoges glass discovered in the "everything for a buck" bin, there are ten DVD players that are broken and dozens of purses with holes. Ya..garage sales are for those with a strength of shopping character that I simply don't possess. 

Also, the introverted me is just not that fond of conversing with strangers. In fact, the whole idea gives me a combination of the cold sweats and the dry heaves. So when it became obvious early on in the moving process that a garage sale would be one of the necessary steps in the facilitation of our junk removal, my panic attacks began in earnest. I honestly had no clue where to begin.

Thank God for competent help and that help arrived like manna from heaven in the form of Younger Son's B'Shert. An experienced garage "saler" and a natural conversationalist with a lovely outgoing and personable demeanour, she was our saviour. She came armed with an organizational plan and basically just took over the sales and bargaining. She intuitively understood each and every customer and I marvelled at her PR skills that came easily to the fore. This woman could sell space heaters in the tropics. I was in absolute awe when she made a deal for the obsolete technology that is a laser disc player and threw in the complete collection of discs with a guy who was clearly in need of ego-stroking. In short...she was remarkable and her dexterity allowed both The Husband and me to remain quietly in the background until needed for questions. My gratitude and love for her are off the charts.

But, it was the people that really made the day. The mixed multitude of personalities that visited was fascinating, at times a bit creepy, and always entertaining. 
  • There was the extremely early riser (Hello! 7:00am on a Saturday??) who came in search of fishing gear. Dude. This is the North Jewish Ghetto. The only fish we know of up here is of the smoked and gefilte varieties.
  • There was the millennial who showed up before 8:00 wanting only '70s era speakers and stereo components. Strangely enough, we were able to accommodate the lad. 
  • There was the gentleman who browsed for over a half an hour hoping to outfit his man cave. When he bought the tree shearers in order to help with his "manscaping" we could not contain our giggles. Friend..in the words of Inigo Montoya "You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means."
  • There was the Aussie senior who absolutely loves these sales but was under strict orders from his wife to NOT buy anything. He was infatuated with the dog and playfully offered Younger Son a healthy sum for him. When he finally left with several unopened cans of Thompson's Water Seal, he invited us to attend his funeral which he figures will be held this coming Tuesday because his wife was going to kill him. People like this gentleman renew my faith in humanity.
  • There was the slightly off-centre young guy who perused ever single cheap item available, asked us if the movie posters were vintage-aged, (like we were descendants of The Warner Brothers) haggled for quarters over some hand-held games, and finally made off with a single issue of Mad Magazine. Younger Son, who figured he needed some fresh bathroom reading, came within thirty seconds of escorting the hombre off of the property.
  • There was the young married couple who bought the seven foot MGM movie poster for eight dollars and then realized that they couldn't fit it into their Japanese compact. The wife wanted the husband to walk it home, an approximately 45-minute shlep in the summer heat dragging a seven foot MGM movie poster. He looked at her with bemusement until he realized that she wasn't fucking with him. They heatedly argued about it in a language we were all grateful not to comprehend. Suffice it to say, we refunded the eight bucks. It's still here if anybody is in the market for a fabulous seven foot MGM movie poster. Free to the first taker.
  • There was the lady who bought the brand new pool noodles for her grandchildren for a quarter each but was insistent that she would only purchase two and not the third that still remains. Really lady? It's a fucking quarter. Couldn't you have taught them lessons in sharing for a fucking quarter?
  • There were the "window shoppers" who were either too lazy or too important to get out of their cars to browse. One woman actually drove onto the curb on the opposite side of the street because she wasn't paying attention to her driving.
  • There were the kids who came along with their parents who were so excited to spend allowances on games and toys. We went really easy on them because they were just so damned cute and polite.
  • There was the kindergarten teacher who bought all of our K'nex toys for her classes and complimented us on our choice of children's toys. I would have given her the entire collection for nothing, but that really isn't the point of a garage sale. We gave her a deep discount. This woman is doing God's work and spending out of her own pocket to do it.
  • There was the middle-aged absolutely not Jewish guy who bought the "Blessing for the Home" pewter plaque inscribed entirely in Hebrew without any knowledge as to what it was or what it meant. For all he knew it could have been a Wiccan curse.
By the time it was all over and we had packed up most of the flotsam and jetsam into the car to take over to Value Village, we were all at the end of our garage sale ropes. Even the dog looked like he had had enough of people for one day. A green junk disposal came to remove the trash and the rest is being repurposed at Toronto's favourite thrift shops. There are still some posters in the garage and we will give them away gratis to anybody who wants them.

I have a new appreciation for garage sales. I grasp the people who attend them with a greater understanding and a renewed compassion. I still can't imagine myself shopping at one, nor do I ever plan to hold one again, but I do feel a lightness of body and spirit for having shed pounds of stuff that simply wasn't being used any longer and will find new life in other's homes. I am also slightly less the consumer whore that I felt I was as we began to clean and purge in preparation for the move. 

A sincere thank you to Younger Son and His B'Shert for everything they did to make this happen; Older Son for his shlepping; my parents who came to donate even more stuff and to support us; Sister/Cousin for the delivery and hopefully the pick-up of tables; and to all the friends who came just because they love us. Your presence was far more valuable than any purchase.

There is still more to do before moving day, but a big step has been taken.

Less than four weeks to go.