Monday, March 22, 2010

And The Award Goes To...

Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES! It seems absurd that just a year ago, we were hoping to raise $10,000 with our little rummage sale in order to make a tiny dent in the money needed to keep our school running. It seemed a massive task back then and yet here we are twelve months later, having raised over three times that amount just by selling things we no longer want. Makes you wonder about the structure upon which the whole of society is based.

As the Goodwill trucks chug off into the distance, our feet start to return to normal and the woman on the next table wants one of whatever I'm having, it seems only fitting that after such a wonderful, wild and successful event we mark it by honoring a few of those whose contribution to the rummage sale industry at CLC was notable in some way. This is by no means an exhaustive list - there are waaaaaay too many people to do that - this is simply my attempt to inject a bit of brevity (ha!) and humor into a situation that can become self-aggrandizing and bloated - call me the Steve Martin (or maybe the Alec Baldwin - you choose) of our time: I herein announce the advent of the first SCCLC Rummage Sale awards; we shall call them The Rummies!

Unfortunately, we couldn't ask all those necessary to be physically present; no time for dieting, liposuction, colonics, dress fittings or the cosmetic surgery bruises to die down so I shall have to paint a picture and do it via email. Envision if you will, people sitting in all their splendor on chairs in the Old Gym (I know it's not the most elegant of venues but we prettied it up with leftovers from Spring Fling,) quietly anticipating the profundity of the event to come.

I asked Arnie if he could present the Awards but he was busy - out buying Maria a Bluetooth headset. He did promise to show up next year but when I mentioned we'd used eBay to raise funds, he went strangely quiet. Hmmm, if Arnie's fellow rivals for Governor were "girly men," would he call the Warrior Women of the Rummage Sale, "manly girls"? Perhaps he's scared. With good reason, in my opinion...So without further ado, it behooves little, humble me to announce the winners of the First Annual SCCLC Rummies and get the show on the road! (Drumroll, cymbals crashing - the man who bought the toy music set offered to do that :)

- The Hermione Award for hard work, dedication and the ability to remember spells and solutions to problems when all those around her were losing their heads goes to...Amy Truel!

- The I-Don't-Care-If-My-Neighbors-Don't-Like-Me-Even-Though-I've-Only-Just-Moved-In Award goes to The Smiths for their willingness to turn a perfectly good basement into a place which looked like three moving trucks had exploded.

- The Hercules Award goes to Giovanni Unpronounceable Last Name for saving the necks of the Clothing section customers (and therefore also those of the School District) by erecting a sturdy handrail on those scary stairs to the stage. Handrail will outlive stage by many years, if you ask me.

- Karen Latina wins the Julia/Harry Potter Award. Her ability to be in charge, get people to do her bidding and transfigurate huge items from the Old Gym to other people's homes *for money* rivals that of both real-life and fantasy fictional characters. And don't anyone even *think* of taking over her role next year, she ain't goin' anywhere.

- The Edward From Twilight Award is a tie and goes to Peters Coberly and Smith for their enthusiasm in Housewares and their non-realization that it is important to display *all* the glasses in a set of six and not just two with the rest under the table "in case the customer wants extras."

- The Mad Hatter Award goes to Michelle Mackenzie for her lack of progress one evening with her $50 linen table and her need to tell every single volunteer about it. Michelle gets very stressed about her linens, bless.

- The Don't Mess With Me Award goes to Charlene Nelson for her leadership at the cashier table, a role that scares us literature majors to death. She stood guard over her money and her girls, showed fairness and generosity of spirit in mediation disputes, a calm, unflappable attitude with our bargain hunters; and still gave the sense that she would bash you over the head with her cash box if you gave her any trouble.

- The Little Miss Cuteness Award goes to second grader Ellie for sorting out the stuffies with such care and attention and especially the bang-on English accent she assumed the moment she met me.

- The I-Might-Look-Like-A-Boy-But-I-Do-The-Work-Of-A-Man Award goes to Justin Olague for his loading and unloading of other people's detritus, his willingness to help around the Gym and particularly his advice to my fourth graders to work very hard and tap Chris for extra credit.

- And last but not least, The Poet-Laureate-Shakespeare's-Fool-I'm-Too-Sexy-For-My-Rummage-Sale-Dress Award goes to ........*me* for making myself a legend in my own lunchtime with my scintillating tales of the Rummage Sale Warriors And Their Intrepid Adventures Into The Wilderness of Warriordom. Thank you for listening, thank you for your support; I've enjoyed writing for you and loved every minute.

And with that, I will bid you adieu until next time; we'll have a new Governor, our children will be older but the sense of community and purpose will be the same. Just remember, when you are next tempted to throw something out, the Warrior Women of the Rummage Sale *will* be back to rumble the rummage, break all the records, and get just about everyone involved in the process.

Alison, in a dress from the 2009 CLC Rummage Sale Collection. March 2010.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Rummage Sale Is Over

Toys are scattered here and there, dust bunnies rolling in the wind, the clock is still on pre-daylight savings; and that's just at my house.

The Rummage Sale is finally over; our weary Warriors are resting. There were bruises, there were broken nails, there were problems, there were crises but mostly there was the satisfaction of a job well-done. The team and community spirit that carries the Rummage Sale is second-to-none; I haven't worked alongside a better bunch of people. As we reflect on our recent days, the enduring memory for me will be of how oppositional working the Sale is to the rest of our lives'. Technology is on the periphery instead of being central, sitting at a computer screen replaced by physical labor, independent and fractured working relationships displaced by a huge body of individuals working in unison to achieve a common goal without rancor or disharmony. It is almost medieval in its' simplicity.

But for now, the Old Gym is quiet and empty, the Goodwill trucks arrive tomorrow. Our Warriors have returned from battle and reacquaint themselves with family. Money people will count our takings and lessons will be learned. But most of all, the connection, the team spirit and sheer quality of people stand out as we march on with purpose.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Greatest Rummage Sale On Earth

At oh-dark-hundred hours this morning, our dawn posse went into action. Doug, Dot, and Todd (try saying that fast after just a few hours sleep) helped us set up for the Greatest Rummage Sale On Earth. We worked in silence and avoided eye contact, a factor so important to some of us at that time of the morning that we wore sunglasses even though it was pitch black.

Casey showed up shortly after wearing her headlamp, which, as a fashion statement certainly rivaled my own of wearing a dress over sweatpants but also shared the sense that practicality was going to win the day over finesse.

We started gaining an audience at around 6am as our Early Birds started to arrive. Early. And at 6:45am our security crew assembled to protect us. They didn't say much, just stood around looking mean and nasty and helping pregnant women with their heavy electronics. We were very happy to have them and their presence certainly helped people behave themselves.

By 7am, the line outside the Old Gym was nearly round the corner. There was the group of ladies who called their friends and screamed when they got in. There was the little girl who told me very intently that it was really, really, *really* important that she get a doll for less than six dollars and the man for whom getting a good deal on books was so essential that he brought his own bar code scanner. My, this was serious stuff.

At 8am, the Sale opened to the rest of the public. Suffice to say they came, they saw, they left with bags bigger than those under my eyes. The Rummage Sale Warriors are weary but content and looking forward to eating a meal containing a green vegetable for the first time in over a week.

Tomorrow, we price to move. 50% discounts, $5 bag sales in clothes and books. Get the word out. There's still great stuff to be bought and at these prices, fantastic bargains to be had. Starts 9am. Be there.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Rummage Sale Is Ready To Rumble!

OK, so it's 11:45pm on Thursday night and I have just left the Old Gym. A number of volunteers are still there. We are pricing everything and there is soooooooo much to sell, it's taking ages. This means that we have loads of opportunity to make money; it also means that we have got to have loads of bargain hunters to give it to us in exchange for our goods. There are books to the ceiling, more toys than a child could ever want, clothes that come from Nordstrom and a furniture section that resembles Pottery Barn. On a good day. It is astounding.

So, people, listen up: Forward these details to your friends, nag your neighbors, mail your mother's clubs, lobby your Little League and even spam complete strangers; we seriously need to move this stuff. Talk it up. Remember, our goal is $20,000 smackers.

Saturday March 20 and Sunday March 21, 2010
3/20: 8am - 3pm;
Early Bird 7am/$10 admission
3/21: 9am - 1pm

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Excitement Is Mounting...

Someone unconnected with the school told me this morning they had seen rummage sale fliers posted. Have you seen the sandwich boards are up around town? Anticipation is mounting amongst the committee as we turn our thoughts to the weekend.

There's still a long way to go but the Gym is starting to come together and, as you can see, volunteers come prepared. It's beginning to look organized and under control. By midday tomorrow we should be pricing, and Friday we will put the extra, and lucrative, touches in place.

We still need helpers especially heavies; men who can lift and test things. We need toy testers and game checkers and Coke (the Diet Zero kind.) If you can spare even half an hour, please just come on by - everyone is welcome.

On the weekend, our biggest needs right now are for organizers - people who float around, keeping things neat as our bargain hunters search their prey. There's no need to have had any experience of the rummage sale to that point; it's a quiet, almost invisible job but one that is incredibly important as it keeps things organized and calm amongst a frenzy of activity. Think of it like picking up around kids, keeping the environment clutter-free so that the stress levels and frustration don't rise, and their goals are achieved. I know you know all about that ;-)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rummageus Saleus Volunteerius

It has come to my attention over the past few days that a genus exists called Rummageus Saleus Volunteerius. Within this family are varieties of species into which most rummage sale volunteers fall. Which one are you?

There's the Alice who doesn't know quite what she's let herself in for; the Percy Jackson who's lightning fast. Hercules who wants the heavy, manly stuff and the Edward from Twilight who wants all that but to show his sensitive side too - by displaying Housewares.

The Tortoise is slow, steady and achieves great things; the Hermione who's smart and knows what she's doing. The Julia is indomitable, proprietary and great at what she does while the Jonas is only interested in good, clean fun (they're put on Bake Sale.)

Then there's the Mad Hatter who's overwhelmed and not making much progress; the Not-On-Your-Nellie - they come as far as the door. And if you want to know what I am, let's just say, I could use some help in Toys.

Many thanks to Betsy for her inspiration; she knows which one she is ;-)