Mom was selling her house this past winter and since she was merging her things with her fiancee's, she had a whole bunch of stuff that she needed to get rid of. We had a couple of wine meetings there with my sisters so we could go through platters from the 1970s and her collection of Little Golden Books from the 1950s. Times like these are always funny because Niki tends to come early and claim the good stuff and if she leaves the room, she reenters again pointing her finger at me, accusing me of stealing some of her loot. And luckily, nobody else but me wants the 1970s crap- that joyful tin platter with the dancing hot dogs and hamburgers that are like, "yeah, grill time!" (It currently serves as my mail platter- the catchall for bills & such- and nothing says "pay your bills, bitch," like happy meat with arms and legs.) Mom also had a load of junk that we would sternly demand her to just trash. Usually these items would wind up at my house two weeks later when Mom would visit, "Kristen, I brought you a few things..." and those things would be greeting cards from the early 90s and paper doilies. Some things I would keep if they were quirky enough or if I could use if I ever threw a 70s cocktail party. Other things sat in my garage- the sad waiting room when I can't decide on trashcan or donation center. In April, I held a yard sale so a few of Mom's rejects were featured for $1-$5 and she was slightly offended, "Kristen! I gave that to you!"
Mom also had furniture that needed to go. She asked me to list these pieces on Craigslist which I happily agreed to doing since some of the Baby Boomers don't Craigslist very well. It never fails that I'll see a listing on there for an antique table and that's it, like all it will say is "Antique Table for Sale, Call Joan." Where's the pictures, Joan? What are the measurements, Joan? Joan, I really don't want to call you." And so I move on. Sorry, Joan. A Craigslist listing without pictures is just a yardsale for the blind.
When I posted on Craigslist, I made specific instructions for people to text me only. If there's anything I hate more than Home Depot, going inside the bank, calling Comcast or removing dingleberries from my dogs' asses, it's talking on the phone to strangers (and also people I know and love). Still, folks will call if they see your ten-digit number and aren't text-savvy. Whatever -decline, ignore, goes to voicemail which I never check. Okay, fine, in this case I'd check voicemail and call them back because selling and money were involved. At the point of scheduling the people to come out, I'd sort of have a spiritual moment knowing I could soon be murdered. When Mom asked me to handle her Craigslist sales, it was like she was sending me to grab ice cream late at night from "Murder Kroger".
Her first sale was a couple who wanted her dining room table and chairs. There always seems to be some issue when people schedule to pick something up and it never makes sense. I think these people had truck issues and they wound up coming 30 minutes early in another vehicle. They tell you too much and I don't much like people who are early. It's always suspicious! "Hi, just letting you know our truck broke down so we're having to borrow our neighbors..." I don't really care, just leave your murder weapons at home. Since they were early, I wasn't there in time and Mom handled the sale, but not before she fell off a ladder while cleaning some stupid alcove in that house. She should have sold her house on this alcove alone. My master bathroom has one but I know if I put something up there, I will never go up there again. These spaces just collect dust and dead flying insects and when you do clean them, you fall off a ladder and bust your head open and spend the afternoon in the ER getting head staples. Mom used to put a 4'-0" snowman in her alcove every Christmas. Usually around St Patrick's Day, my sisters and I would be wearing sandals and sundresses, pleading with Mom to take down the damn snowman. "But Mom, it's warm outside!" And then she would bring up the Blizzard of '93 that happened in late March and the snowman would sit around until April.
When Mom's patio table was scheduled to sell, I felt at ease that my potential attack would be outside and that her neighbors could step in to help if they felt compelled. Two Indian men arrived and I was there alone. There seemed to be some confusion on the price when they were trying to offer me much less than we agreed on and I tend to be funny and sarcastic in awkward situations. The trouble with Craigslist is they have your number still, even after the sale. Kudos to the guy for texting and not calling but I could have done without the follow up text that evening: "Hi, I'm sorry again about today and the confusion. I think you are funny & I would like to take you to dinner." Some things in life are better left ignored.
One of Mom's pieces I didn't sell, I decided to keep instead. I instantly knew I'd paint it and replace the leaded glass with chicken wire. "Oh but that glass is so pretty!" Mom would argue, "And I don't know why you'd paint it!" It was nice in 1989 when Mom first showcased it in my childhood home. It went in the dining room where my parents' large velvet picture of Jesus' Last Supper once hung. Mom and Dad had matured, moving on from velvet paintings and red wine glasses to blue and white wall paper with ducks. The ducks. Ducks were everywhere in my childhood home. Mom would later shift to deep reds and roosters.
I painted this cabinet during our Southern 2-day snowstorm this past February. I really like it because 1) My great room has high ceilings. I've struggled with this room because it needed something larger to anchor down the big blank wall, and 2) It was free, aside from the cost of paint (I keep a roll of chicken wire on hand at all times). I did have to buy 2 plates from Anthropologie though because that is priority when you paint your furniture a fun color.
There were some things from my Mom's, like the giant entertainment center circa 1994, that didn't sell (not pictured on this post)- it was even offered on Craigslist with a free 1994 television "Still works!". Mom didn't want to clutter her new home with old furniture so that sucker is sitting in my basement, in "storage". There is no way in hell I'll list that piece again, inviting strangers to come into my basement to leave me in a pool of my own blood. I have since learned that almost anything can be transformed and to never decline free furniture, even if it's ugly and dated. I'll most likely keep the large entertainment center and convert it into a puppet theater with red curtains... or something like that.