Friday, April 15, 2011

I Kinda Wish I Were in a Chicken Suit

Today is a momentous occasion; I am hosting my very first solo yard sale.  I'm a little nervous since I've never had a yard sale on my own, but if I remember everything I've been taught about the art of the yard sale, I should do just fine.  After all, I learned from the best. 

My grandmother was the Yard Sale Queen, the Garage Sale Guru, the Ultimate Authority on tag sales, rummage sales, whatever you choose to call them.  She had the biggest and best yard sales, and practically made her living selling things on her front lawn.  The woman was a born woman.  She knew how to advertise, promote, display, price, and haggle.  Her advertisements and promotions usually involved me dressing in some kind of costume, yelling at passing cars.  She once dressed me in a bunny costume and instructed me to yell, "Hop on down to a yard sale!" at everyone going by.  Another time I was dressed as a clown and my cry was something along the lines of, "Stop clowning around and come to a yard sale!"  As humiliating as that was, I was always paid for my trouble.  Maybe I should have used my wages to pay for some therapy.

My grandmother could sell anything.  She just had a knack for making people believe that they really couldn't live without a set of mismatched spoons, or a non-working toaster, or a pair of pants that were way too small.  She once sold a sweater of mine that had an A (for Amy) embroidered on it by telling a lady the A stood for Alabama.  Never mind that the sweater was pink. 

The best part of her sales strategy had to be her stories.  She came up with wild tales to accompany her assortment of items to make them irresistible to customers.  She would say things like, "This little china cup was my great-great-grandmother's.  It was her only possession when she came to America from the Old Country."  Of course, the reality was something more like she paid 50 cents for the cup at a Goodwill store and brought it home and stuck a $5 price tag on it.  People consistently fell for it and bought her stuff, and she would laugh all the way to her little cash bag!

Of course, she met her share of tough customers.  She usually proved tougher, though.  If someone thought an item was marked too high and tried to get her to come down on the price, she would look them in the eye and say, "It don't eat a thing at my house."  In other words, I'm not that attached to it, and I don't care what you think, that's my price. 

She also had plenty of superstitions and rituals for her yard sales.  The biggest and most important one was that you did not count your money until the yard sale was over.  If you did, you would not make another dime.  My mother said she did it once, and didn't have another customer the entire day.  It became a firm rule, no matter how tempting it was to count that stack of cash, it must NOT be done until the end of the sale day.

My grandmother passed away several years ago, and I miss her terribly, especially today.  I wish she were here to great customers with her usual, "Come on up, I've got a little bit of everything."  She would probably have me dressed up as a monkey or a chicken, but I suppose that would be okay.  We could sit on the steps and play cards and drink Diet Pepsi, and if we didn't have a single customer, it would still be a great day.

*RIP Sara Kathleen (Yancy) Theys*

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Bennett Family Edu-cation

What does a family of nerds do during Spring Break?  They go on an edu-cation.  That's right.  This week Don and I took the kiddos on a nerdly adventure through Atlanta.  We started at The Varsity, feeding trough for all the Georgia Tech geeks.  After feasting on chili dogs and onion rings, we went to Fernbank Museum of Natural History where we got our geek on in an exhibit of mythical creatures.  Later that evening we checked out the Book Nook, a nerd paradise of used books, comic books, and sci-fi collectibles. 

Wednesday we got our hair cut, let the nerdlings go crazy in Toys R' Us, and did some shopping.  We went to R. Thomas for dinner where I discovered the sinus cleansing powers of wasabi.  Ahhhhh...!

Thursday was gorgeous, so we went to the zoo.  I tried to give the boys back to them, but they didn't seem that interested.  Hmmmm...
I geeked out over the pandas.  The new baby panda, Po (his name is Po!) was out on display and I oohed and ahhed and snapped lots of pictures.  I even bought another stuffed panda to add to my collection.  Timothy and I checked out the reptile house.  Super cool.  Paul was more interested in riding the train, which happened to be in repairs.  We all rode the carousel instead.

After the zoo, we indulged our inner food nerds at Harry's in Marietta.  I bought cheese and scones and a huge bottle of olive oil.  I couldn't help buying a big tub of delicious (if not over-priced) mozzarella pasta salad too.  Yum! 

We were all thoroughly tired when we finally got home, but we had a great time.  We ate lots of great food, learned a bit, bought some cool stuff, and relished every nerdy second of our time together.  Like the old saying goes, the family who nerds together...well, you get the idea.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Big Bad F-Word

No, not that one.  Failure.  My greatest fear.  I've never had many phobias.  Heights don't bother me.  Crowds don't ruffle me.  I don't mind tiny spaces, or bridges, or snakes.  And unlike my husband, I'm pretty comfortable around clowns.  (Don't judge, it's a common fear.)  But failure?  Yikes.  I'm terrified of it.

I suppose it comes from being a bit of a perfectionist.  I like things done right, and done right the first time.  To fail means that I've done something wrong, and I hate to do something wrong.  It gnaws at me.  It makes me uncomfortable.  I hate that feeling.  So whenever I find myself standing on the threshold of some potentially life-changing decision, there's always that nagging doubt in the back of my mind. 

"What if you mess this up completely?"

Many times I've found myself backing away from the edge of opportunity for fear of mistakes I might make.  A couple of times, I've turned around and completely walked away.  Why?  I've been asking myself that for years.  I know in my heart that every failure is a learning opportunity.  Messing up is not the end of the world.  You get up, dust yourself off, and try again.  Some of my best successes have come from just letting go and jumping in over my head.  But the fear still lingers.

I told myself at the beginning of last month that this would be the Year of No Fear.  I would do all the things that I've always wanted to do without worrying about making mistakes.  I'm not talking about climbing Mt. Everest or anything, but just doing the unexplored things that I know I have a knack for.  I anticipate rejection letters, and I've told myself it's okay.  Everybody gets them, but the successful people don't let them get them down or make them quit. 

I have a choice.  I can live my life in security and look back with regret, or I can embrace the unknown, take some risks, and possibly find even greater happiness.  Am I going to let my life be ruled by fear?  Or am I going to live? 

I choose to LIVE.

*A special thanks to Hilary for the awesome quote this morning.  Rock on, creative chick!*