Sunday, June 14, 2009

Life Is In the Details

(my new patio, furnished with tag sale chairs, donated slates, umbrella, and table, and decorated with transfer station finds. Cost? Free!)

It's summer! One of the joys of the season is combing the multitude of yard or tag sales that flourish on the weekends. Because both J and I are frugal Yankees by nature, have somewhat limited incomes, and take delight in using discarded things in new ways, we often join forces on a Saturday or Sunday (or both) and take advantage of someone else's urge to clean out the house, the attic, the garage etc. Every week the local penny saver is chock full of ads for sales and I religiously circle them, mapping out a route for us to take and starring those sales that list some of the myriad things for which we are always on the hunt.

This weekend was no exception. Two sales in particular caught my eye. Both were in the same town and both listed all sorts of items we had on our perpetual lists. I circled them with glee, called J and off we went. We entered town from one end, hoping there'd be a parking space somewhere in the middle of Main Street (which in the small towns around here is never more than a quarter of a mile long) so that we could walk to either sale.

"Odd that there's no traffic," remarked J. "Parking will be a cinch!" Then we saw the sign. It was nearly billboard-sized. GIANT TAG SALE it shouted in red letters. The dates were printed below. J looked at me. "What dates did the paper list?" she asked. I checked.

"Oh. Ummmm...," I muttered. "It says here that the sale is next week."

J burst out laughing. This wasn't the first time I'd gotten pre-excited about a sale. The last two times we'd gone tagging I'd made the same mistake. "I never did check the dates," I confessed. "I just assumed they were this weekend." (Never assume. You know what it makes out of u and me.)

J snatched the paper from my hands. She looked at the circles and stars and started reading the dates for herself. Not only was the giant sale next weekend, so were two others that's I'd circled with my enthusiastic pink marker.

"That's it!" she exclaimed. "Next week I'm checking the paper. You can't be trusted."

You'd think, after all these years paying attention to every little detail required of home-keeping, raising children, working, and caring for myself, I'd be able to remember to check the dates in a tag sale ad. I am attributing the lapse to the aging process, hoping that as the years go by and all that's left for me to do is check tag sale dates, my expertise will triumph.

There's never a loss without some small gain, though. Instead of tag sales, we traipsed off to the transfer station where the price is always right and the date doesn't matter.