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Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Floating Boy

Yard much work, so I have to wonder why I do this to myself. Yes, I make money, yes, it can be quite profitable, but I don't think that this fact alone drives me.

I've had many yard sales over the years. At one point I had them out of necessity, a way to eat something other than Mr. Noodles and french fry sandwiches for the week (yes, we all have a past). At one point I had them to rid myself of the belongings of another which were in my possession (that I no longer wanted or needed). I've had them to help specific causes, each creating its own unique memories but why, why now when I don't really need to do this, do I put myself through all this hard work? Why take up my rare beautiful Sat. morning doing this when I could be at the market or the beach?

First there's the preparations. Such a long process. Scan your belongings, pick something up, hold it, ponder, consider, remember, forget, decide how much it is worth...price it, put it in the yard sale box. Now, I don't mind going through all my belongings and deciding what I no longer need but the purging process can be excruciating, the memories, well...the memories...but, It can also be cleansing and freeing. Its amazing how much emotion we can attach to an item.

I'm not one to just throw everything out on sale day and decide what it is worth at the very moment some stranger asks. I like to price everything before. The price scheme seems directly linked to what feel at a certain moment. It was quite notable when and individual approached with 3 articles of clothing. I'd priced each at $1.00, but the smiley faced Joe Boxers she barely wore ONCE when we made love were $5.00! I end up throwing them in for free.

Wouldn't it just be easier on so many levels to donate everything and be done with it I've asked myself?

Yes, it would, I've told myself, but then I would have missed the joy on the face of the little girl who spend a very long time rooting through a bin of fridge magnets finally deciding on a very pretty cat head magnet, minus the magnet but for her, it was THE perfect one as she handed me the hot sweaty toonie she had been holding in her hand and waited for her change.
Then there was the very skinny fridge magnet collecting man from NS who was delighted to find the bin and bought all of them for $5.00. "Made his whole trip worth while" he said. He told me his entire deep freeze is covered in magnets he has collected over the years. Imagine that.

I would have missed the woman who needed a new frying pan because the non- stick surface of hers was wearing off, the man who goes to yard sales to gather things for a seniors group he organizes, and the woman who only has a VCR and has a rough time finding movies to watch. She shares that movies help her get through the night. I ignore my desire to give them all to her, but I must be careful not to insult and ultimately I do want to make some money.

I would have missed the young mother just starting out who needed a toy box/coffee table combo that was safe for her little girl, and also the little boy who bought the cordless mouse for $2.00, but couldn't afford the keyboard, that went with it for $5.00 as he rooted through his plastic wallet, his adult companion leaving the decision entirely up to him. Sweet, as he contemplated the value for his money. Of course I couldn't see him leave without the keyboard he loved so we settled on $3.00 for both.

I would not know that my old writing desk with three drawers (which until the night before was in the basement housing gift wrap supplies) would be refinished by a grandfather and given to a young girl to use in her bedroom as a dresser and a desk.

I would never have met the two lovely older ladies near the end of my sale. One woman was travelling from Oregon. I loved that she knew all about Henry Miller as she chose a movie about his life, and that we had a brief chat about him and lots of other stuff. I could have talked to them all day, but I was burning from the sun's rays.

Mostly though, at least this this round, I love that our inflatable boat which was blown up the night before (despite the down pour) to ensure it had no holes, simply delighted a man who shared with me that he wanted it for his autistic son who finds the sensation of floating calming. He said, "he would love this boat because he could lay down and stretch out in it if he wanted to". That made my day, it made all the work worth while.

Yes, I think what I like most about having yard sales is watching people find a treasure, sharing their joy, listening to their stories and knowing that things I no longer want or need have a whole new life. Yes, that's it! I like knowing there may be a happy boy floating somewhere, maybe today, a beautiful sunny day in our area, in a boat that was deflated in our shed for two seasons. New life, yes, that's why I do it. It gives me & the things I part with new life.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

No Frills

Yesterday I stopped at the No Frills on my way home. It was a beautiful day, sun high in the sky, an awesome view of the harbour from the parking lot. I felt grateful. I just wanted to get some black beans for a recipe I was making. As I drove over the perfectly smooth new pavement I decided that I might also get some Chapman's vanilla frozen yogurt. That would be a treat, I deserved a treat. Yes, beans and ice cream. That's all I needed, Quick and easy, in and out.

As I approached the store I saw a grimy young man sitting down on the pavement right next to the entrance, cardboard sign in hand, big black block letters with decorative red stripes inside each letter of the words "Travelling" "Hungry" & "Anything will help". He was wearing black boots, jeans and a green army type jacket . God he must be hot, I thought as I passed by him saying hello to the skinny boxer mix laying on the pavement next to him, her head on the young man's crossed legs as he leaned up against the building, a small tattered back pack on the cement next to him.

It is worthy of note to say we are not used to seeing this sort of thing in our area. Everything/one here has a place, a history, a purpose. Most people can speel off someone's family history in an instant. An unknown is potentially also an unwelcome.

I have seen this guy before, or someone who looks like him holding a similar, but not so pretty sign at the intersection near the bridge during the busy traffic times, minus the dog. It was easy to ignore that guy though, easy to just drive by and not even look at him. For some reason, the young man at No Frills was not as easy to ignore. He was there, in front of me as I walked by. He seemed more real. He was young, and intelligent looking. He had kind eyes with which I got eye contact as he rubbed his dog's back.

As I rushed to the bean section I pondered how this person might have come to this point in his life. I had an internal dialogue that brought me to a place where I wondered if this man was just doing some kind of social experiment. Nah I decided, why would ya?

Most people just walked by him like he wasn't even there. I couldn't. Suddenly I found myself searching for food that might work for this person who was "travelling". I travelled once, but it wasn't called that. I was like a frantic mother getting last minute things for their child who was going on a road trip. Displaced that a thing? Hmmm, lunchables...well, I wouldn't buy those for myself, but it could work for a "travelling " man and it has protein...sort of. Yes, lunchables...and something for the dog, but not a can that requires an opener or storage. A V8 for him maybe...and oh something for fun...chocolate and some cheesies. What is wrong with me? Lets throw in some YOP and some cold water.

Za...are you nuts? Perhaps this man is in this position because of his own bad choices, maybe he is a rebel, just lazy, a criminal, a druggie? Either way I felt it worth the risk. All I had to lose was a few dollars after all. Maybe it could help...or maybe I would lose 10 bucks and feel a bit foolish...but maybe... just maybe it could help for a second at least.

So I packaged up a few things and passed them to him on the way out. NO FRILLS ATTACHED. I told him there was something for the dog and I asked the dog's name. "That's Gina", he said. I stooped down, petted her and talked to her a while. She seemed happy, tail wagging. He thanked me. I left, and on the way , my window wide open, I heard him digging in the bag saying, "Oh look what you got!" as he pulled out one of the dog food packages and fed it to Gina right away. His tone was the same I might use with my own dog. He looked up and mouthed thank you, I nodded as I drove away. Gina's long skinny tail was frantically wagging as she devoured her dinner.

I realized I had forgotten the beans.

The next day in the staff room I heard people say things about the guy at the No Frills. "They should have made him leave." "I don't need to see that" "He should get a job" "How can he have a dog?" " I wouldn't give him anything" "Sometimes those people just have dogs so people will approach them" Etc...etc...
I said nothing. I found myself wanting to defend him though, but I was silent.

I asked the dogs name, but I didn't think to ask his. Hope his "travels" are going well and he reaches his destination on time and in tack. I asked the dog's name...but I didn't ask his ... I asked the dog's name...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Bike Makes me Wonder

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I see and hear many things when I'm on my bike that might otherwise go unnoticed. This morning I stopped to read a plaque on the bridge indicating it was dedicated by Pat Binns on August 26, 1998, & sponsored by Strait Crossing. Who even knew this plaque was there? How could I have lived here on and missed an entire bridge construction?

Just on my short commute to work I see unusual items or for that matter perfectly ordinary things that jump out at me.
I once saw fifteen baby seals playing on a cement slab during low tide. The slab used to be part of the old bridge. I was able to stop and enjoy them.
I'm used to seeing the cormorants on the cement pillars, wings spread but it's only on my bike that I noticed their skinny little necks sticking out of the water as they glide to the cement pillars to join their friends.

Once a circular saw blade flew off the back of a truck with great speed and flung itself in my direction. Luckily, it missed me by inches but for an instant I had visions of being sawed in half like one of those sexy gals in the boxes at magic shows, only it would be much more gruesome and definitely less sexy. Moments like this jolt me back to realizing how potentially dangerous it can be and forces me to question why I choose to ride my bike over a busy and dangerous bridge daily. Then I remember things like how on both sides of the bridge I smell the wild roses that are on the causeway section before it actually becomes a bridge. Wild white on the way to work, wild pink on the way home. This type of rose always make me think of my mother so that's especially nice each day. I feel she is with me, at least in my thoughts. I would miss that brief moment if speeding by in my car. When the rose scent leaves the clover scent happens just as I come off the bridge--that is if not interrupted by the pungent exhaust from an older vehicle or interrupted by the air brakes of a transfer truck.

I see cranes with their skinny stick legs standing in the water, and as I'm looking I notice the bright green moss covering a large piece of driftwood, very nice...but I also notice the seemingly new, very expensive NIKE sneaker on the side of the road and I wonder if anyone actually misses it and how it got there, same with the shiny Volkswagon hub cap.

I note the very large seagull on top of the streetlight everyday. I think it might always be the same one, but I will never know. Another time I came across a dead crow surrounded by other crows...maybe a crow funeral. I felt like I was intruding as they quickly flew away when I slowly rolled closer, me being a little creeped out at the idea of a dead crow in my path. I also am treated each day to seeing another crow, the same one everyday. He's special, I recognize him because he has a white feather sticking out of his back. He's usually alone. I wonder why.

Every day, even on the hottest of days I meet a gothy looking young man all dressed in black, he has long black hair, he sports a set of bulky seventies headphones, and carries a walking stick. Every day he nods at me. I nod back.

I say hello to the flaggers, no time for that in my car. I feel the breeze in my face. Cleansing.

Also, for some reason I see many black straps with "S" hooks on each end that have obviously come loose from holding something which I worry might fly off and hit a biker because of the absence of these straps. I sometimes stop and pick them up cause they seem useful. So far I have collected three.

Once I saw underwear and a brush situated close to each other. Disturbing. I did not pick either of those up , but it made me wonder how they got there overnight.
And the bonus...and I know I shouldn't, but if I choose to I can ride by all the cars in the line up waiting at the red light. I can go right up to the curb and then wait for the light myself and still get home faster than if I was in one of those cars. For some reason this gives me a real rush...and so does going up a one way street the wrong way. Don't get me wrong, i am mostly a rule following biker, but I have moments.

Today on my way home I saw a dead sea gull and had the worse feeling that it might be the watcher bird from the street light, but when I looked up he was there watching over a bunch of baby seagulls awkwardly flying about and I forgot all about the deceased bird. I wonder what tomorrow brings?

Friday, July 1, 2011

An interesting day

Tuesday morning...after a long spell of grey, windy and wet mornings finally the sun had blessed us with her presence. The tops of the trees were totally still. This is usually how I gauge if I shall bike to work or not as wind is the enemy when on two wheels. Yes, A perfect day to head off to work on my bike. I had been waiting patiently as Mother Nature made all the decisions for me. What a beautiful morning. The water under the bridge a sheet of glass. How I wished I was in a kayak, but since this was not going to happen I would embrace and enjoy my 4.5 km ride to work. Even the pollution control plant looked lovely as I rebelliously glided on the pavement near the water, not on the bike path on the other side of the road as I should have been.
Yes, this was going to be a glorious day and I knew it.
I arrived at work, panniers in tow, loaded with everything I needed for my great day ahead. I get to the locker room unpack my bags that held everything I needed, a nice healthy lunch, including my freshly made veggie wrap, soy milk, and an orange.
I start to get organized for my shower:
Summery skirt, TICK, pretty little lemon yellow sweater, TICK, ultra feminine pink bra with lace, tiny rhinestone between the boobs, TICK, white tank top for under pretty little sweater cause its a little thin, TICK,
Shoes with heels and toes as required by the workplace, TICK, Sockettes so my feet do not get sore in said regulation shoes, TICK, name tag , so people know I work here, TICK, lab coat, TICK, accessories perfect for this day...a big orange flower necklace with matching orange earrings, TICK, Panties carefully chosen this morning, DEAR GAWD WHERE ARE MY PANTIES????? SHIT, BALLS, dEVIL, i HAVE LEFT THEM AT HOME ON THE BED. NO TICK! Panic. My skirt is knee length with huge flowers on it. This previously unimportant fact, the length of my skirt,
becomes very relevant.
I wear my biking pants on my bike, ya know to feel all bikerish, and they have a built in crotch rendering underwear wearing useless especially if one is going to freshly shower in good time.
Now there are times & situations that I might choose to go commando, like soldiers surviving with "necessities only" underwear being deemed a luxury. This day was definitely not one of them. I work in a sterile enviroment, with strict rules surrounding cleanliness etc... And now I am acutely aware of my skirt sticking to my bare ass and all that goes with that.
Hmm..I think in a panic, serious internal dialogue going on... perhaps I can obtain a pair of those mesh panties they provide with Promise incontinence products...after all it is a hospital right? No, that's ridiculous, just carry on, go with the flow, DO NOT CONFESS THIS TO CO-WORKERS, that's just weird. (being a confessional type I tend not to be too good with my own secrets). Carry on...go to work, behave normally...
And so I did...behave normally that is, but it sure made for an interesting day, and not the type I anticipated.
Since I spend the morning sitting at a biological safety cabinet wearing a waxy gown I was stuck to my chair and the gown. I claimed I was SOOO cold and asked a co-worker to get a blanket for my legs. (It is cold because of the airflow, so this would not be unusual). I had a nice warmed hospital blanket draped on my legs. The afternoon is a different story, I walk around, I squat to retrieve things and so on.
Strange sensations for sure. Going down the stairs I became acutely aware of my nakedness, held my skirt in tight noting the people under the stairs through the gaps. Going to the bathroom was strange, but ever so easy. and while one would not think that a little pair of panties would hold one's access flesh together much I was strangely aware of my loose belly swishing back and forth and my generous butt bouncing about. Part of me kind of liked it, there was a certain freedom, and a feeling of keeping a little secret... if I must be honest...and I must, cause as we have established I am a confessional type. Wednesday I did confess to my co-workers, an otherwise serious bunch, who did get a good laugh out of it all. Let's just say I do not plan to do this fact I may just buy a brand new pair of Hanes Her Way and leave them in my locker. And YES, IT WAS AFTERALL AN INTERSTING AND GOOD DAY.