I really am enjoying this new one! Thanks!
Oops. Sorry.I guess I lied. I couldn't help it. I had to read just one. more. story. before bed. Now I'll be dragging my butt tomorrow because I didn't get to bed until close to midnight. And it's all your fault because you write too dang well, girl! Thanks for the stories. night night with an even bigger, loopy smile.
Ms Kathy freely admitted earlier (not sure which thread; there's a few right?) to a somewhat compulsive streak so there's no shame if you suffer the same from the consumption end.I guess I lied. I couldn't help it. I had to read just one. more. story. before bed. Now I'll be dragging my butt tomorrow because I didn't get to bed until close to midnight. And it's all your fault because you write too dang well, girl! Thanks for the stories. night night with an even bigger, loopy smile.
Desperately need one in mauve to match my panties! Must have by this weekend for LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ pole dancin' class. Will pay expedited shippin' to General Delivery, San Franfreako, Kommiefornia.Thank you, Kathy - great chapters all!!
And if you need someone to stitch up a tutu, I'm your girl. Pink? Maybe with sparkly butterflies, trailing ribbons, and glitter?
Perfect! Easy on the glitter, though, if you please. I think my wife's startin' to get suspicious, what with me comin' home late with sparlkies all over my face. Maybe she's figurin' out that motor-boatin' ain't always about somethin' nautical?I'm on it!! Rainbow ribbons, I'm assuming?
You changed it from a Tahoe to a Bronco.Chapter 12
I wound up not being able to keep my vow to only go driving once a month because my online business started to heat up. I was a little surprised that it was more the household junk and secondhand clothes than the gift and collectables that I used to make money on. Aunt Nita bought a lot of stuff at yard sales, estate sales, and junk that had gotten left behind at storage facilities. I was pretty good at cleaning and fixing things or bundling them together to make it a more desirable sale. I could have gone to the post office every freaking day – which isn’t a bad thing in and of itself given I was selling stuff and therefore making money – but I was trying to save money, not spend every penny that came in.
I made a trip to the post office every Monday and Friday; and shopped every three weeks. But the first time out I decided to treat it like a monthly shopping trip. First, I could make my menu for the month then create a shopping list from that. It hasn’t been a perfect solution, but it is better than the la-la-land I had been living in before. Mrs. Finkley had recommended it but it took me a while to put it into effect.
My next shopping trip I bought a few things for Teena early like rice cereal and some Level One baby foods like mushed up bananas. I checked the “best by” date on everything like another article suggested. Then after making sure I could pay for everything thing on the shopping list I added the next four weeks of items from the 52-week list. Four pounds of oats (two pounds per person) and four more gallons of water (two each Teena and I), two pounds of peanut butter (one per person, only I doubled it because I eat a lot of PB&J sandwiches), four pounds of sugar, and one case of evaporated milk. My cart was full but not as full as some other people’s were.
Worried that I was missing the picture I finally figured out it was the first of the month and people were cashing their government checks. Trying to get back to being the kind of smart that I used to think I was I decided it was a good time to camouflage some extra items. First I looked at my running inventory I was keeping on a phone app. Then I remembered some of my recent research. I’d read an article on how to get food storage on the international food aisle. I’d never shopped that kind of stuff before so while I was willing, I was a little hesitant.
Eventually I got over myself just like I had the first time I had to dissect something for science class. I bought a big container of NIDO powdered milk as well as a smaller one. I was going to open the smaller one and see if I couldn’t make the fresh milk, I bought go a little further. I remember Dad using Carnation Powdered milk to do that when the gallon he bought at the beginning of the month was half empty. Every time the gallon jug would get half empty, he would add more powdered milk and water to make a full gallon once again. By the end of the month it was just powdered milk but by then we were used to it and didn’t complain. It actually took a little bit to get used to the “real” milk at the beginning of the month. If it worked when I was a little kid, I decided to try it again.
Then there was this stuff called ghee which was clarified butter that didn’t require refrigeration. When I saw the price I almost didn’t do it but I decided to give it a try and see what the difference was between Ghee and the margarine I grew up using. There were these powdered soup mixes and I got an envelope of chicken and rice flavor. I’ve been eating a lot of soup. Favorite is tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich but I try and not eat it too often because too much cheese is not good for my guts it seems.
I got a few cans of beans … black, pinto, pink, garbanzo … and I was going to grab a big bag of dried Pinto beans but I was too worried how it would look. Instead I bought three different dried beans but in smaller bags. I bought a couple cans of refried beans and then skedaddled to the school supply section to see if there was anything on sale that I could use to organize my notes. Sure enough I bought some dividers, my favorite pens, some Sharpies in different colors, then a bunch of 4 x 6 index cards because I was finding recipes online for “food storage” and it was easier to organize them in an index card box than it was to print them off … not to mention printer ink wasn’t cheap and I already had some of that on order because I had to have it to print the mailing labels for my online sales.
I had reached my limit. Not money-wise as I hadn’t even had to touch the restitution money yet, but my buggy was full and I didn’t want to risk drawing any attention.
When I got to the cashier after waiting nearly twenty minutes, she looked at me then sighed before saying, “You have to have the items bundled together so that your WIC items are going to be one sale and the EBT will be …”
I guess I’d started to get faster on my feet by then. “We didn’t qualify,” I told her quietly looking down and away like I was making sure Teena didn’t need anything.
“Oh. So you’re using a debit card?”
“Sorry,” she said, not sounding sorry. “Management is just starting to get really picky about our tills at the end of our shift.”
“Sure. It’s okay,” I told her pulling my debit card out of my pocket. I never had carried a purse and didn’t plan on starting when I could shove what ever I needed in Teena’s diaper bag or a backpack.
I was beginning to think of the grocery trips as torture but necessary. But to get everything done in one day I had brought a cooler I had found while organizing and cleaning and put all the cool/cold stuff in there and then put the rest of the bags around it in the backend of the Bronco.
I hadn’t meant to be out long that day. I was still opening boxes and trying to get organized. I also had a freak ton of items, what are called “smalls” in the resale business, that I needed to take pictures of so I could get them listed. But then for some reason I just kept driving beyond the turn off.
I was almost to the highway going the opposite direction I normally went when I saw the empty produce stand was no longer empty. There were a lot of cars there so I pulled in as well. Don’t ask me why. It’s not like I was hearing a voice or anything like that. It was just a spur of the moment, I don’t really want to go home yet, I’m feeling nosey, kind of thing.
In addition to the produce stand there was a huge community yard sale going on … which explained the cars better than the produce stand did. I saw lots of lookers but not too many buyers at first. And of course crazy ol’ me just had to get involved. In about ten minutes I had this table rearranged and “staged” and it started getting attention. Feeling better because cluttered and nasty vendor booths at Vintique had made me itch, I started walking through and changing things here and there if I thought no one was looking.
Nobody said anything and then I got caught at a guy kind of booth of all places.
“You OCD or something?”
I looked up and then nearly groaned. It was Smith Dunn. “No.”
I turned to leave when another guy said a quiet curse under his breath. “Smith, I told you if you lost me another sale …”
“Fine. Whatever. This is nothing but junk anyway.”
Smith stomped away and I almost laughed. He made the mistake of going through the dog comfort area and wound up nearly dancing when he walked into some doggy doo.
I looked up and the guy was watching me watching Smith. Then I realized the long sleeved t-shirt he had on wasn’t a one-sleeved shirt but was a compression sleeve on one arm. Then things clunked into place … and fell out of my mouth.
“Oh. You’re Winfield. Thanks. For the mailbox post. Your cousin is my mail lady … Mrs. Dunn. And sorry. Shutting up now. I don’t normally embarrass myself like this until the second or third time I meet someone.”
I sighed and turned to leave and that’s when Teena decided to belch like a sumo wrestler after his fifth meal of the day. “Geez girl, I’d ask what you’ve been eating but since I know …” Like it was even more satisfying the second time around Teena did it again only she urped up more than spit that time. “Great.”
I walked away towards my car to clean up when I heard a loud crash and crunch. “No, no, no, no, no …”
Instead of being able to move forward I run into this arm that has been thrown out in front of me like Dad used to when he had to slam on the breaks. “Not your car.”
“And just how do you know that? I’ve got to check …”
“Rich and Suzie Dunn just took their divorce to a whole new level. They do have you and Mrs. Sizemore blocked in. Give the cops time to get here and clean things up. You don’t want to go over there with a baby in tow.”
I looked at him suspiciously and he said, “Smith talks.”
“Smithfield Dunn could suck the oxygen out of a room plus the rest of the building it is in. But given most of it doesn’t make much sense that still doesn’t tell me how you know who I am.”
For some reason he smiled like he was surprised and said, “You are Mizz Halsey’s girl. Er … guess I should say sorry for your loss.”
“Not if you don’t mean it. You knew Aunt Nita?”
“Aunt? I thought you were her daughter.”
“Then you didn’t know her,” I said starting to back up.
“I did some property management for her. Tinker came by to tell me what happened and that the place was going off the market.”
“So you know Uncle Tinker.”
The look on my face must have given him something to think about. “I know him through other people.”
“Same here so don’t expect me to … er …”
“Yeah, Tinker gives that impression. And the impression he gave was that you were Mizz Halsey’s daughter.”
“She was my aunt and guardian.”
“Well that puts two and two together.”
“Well don’t share that with Smith. More attention from him I don’t need.” I looked passed him and said, “Someone is at your table and is trying to get your attention.”
I was wiping my shirt down with Teena’s spit rag when I heard the guy offer Winn $10 for something on his table. Winn is trying to hide his disappointment when my mouth kicks in again.
“Are you kidding? That’s a vintage Craftsman bench vice.” I move it and look appropriately impressed. “And the swivel still works. Geez. I saw one like this go for $60 bucks on ebay and that didn’t include the shipping. And the paint wasn’t in this good a condition either.”
Another guy walked over and looked and said, “Well I be damned. It is Craftsman. Son, you need to turn this up so’s people can see the brand. I’ll give you $45 for it no questions asked.”
“Done,” I said. “Do you have correct change?”
I started arranging the tools by like and brand and soon enough all the big things had been cleared off. Most expensive thing I sold was an old Reed bench vice that hadn’t been restored.
“No Sir, I’m sorry. Can’t let it go for less than $150. As you can see it hasn’t had the patina sandblasted off it so you can still see the original serial number.” Umph. “And this is a heavy beast too. Forty-five pounds with a 4” jaw. It’ll be a bear to ship but I know a guy in …”
“Fine. $150. You sell yellow snow too?”
“Only to Eskimos,” I told him with a straight face.
The guy rolled his eyes but paid the money and walked away happy after I gave him the name of someone I knew from Vintiques that could likely confirm it was a 1940s piece and worth at least what he paid for it.
I sighed when I looked through the crowd and saw that the cops were still in the parking lot sorting things out. I was wondering what to do next when Winn said, “You just fixed my truck.”
“Huh?” I asked wondering what he was talking about.
“You sold some junk I found while cleaning out an estate sale and now I’ve got the money to fix my truck.”
“Oh. Okay. You’re welcome.” I looked at the mess that still blocked me in and said, “Are they ever going to shut up and call a couple of tow trucks? I have stuff in my cooler that I need to get home.”
“C’mon. I’ll grab you a bag of ice.”
I looked at him suspiciously again.
“’Cause I can. You fixed my truck.”
“No I didn’t. Your customers did. Besides I already owed you for the mail box post.”
“All right. I’ll show you where you can buy a bag of ice. And then I’ll get you a glass of cider.” My face must have revealed my objection to that too because he added, “Relax. It’s just cider. You can even watch them pour it.”
“Who told you?” I said backing up.
“Told me what?”
I looked at for a moment and realized that I was acting kinda paranoid. “Forget it. I …”
His eyes went wide right before I was hit from behind and started going down.