Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Did I Seriously Say "Organized"?

Well, the fictitious garage sale is no longer a part of Salfino fiction. We took part in the town-wide garage sale last Saturday. And due to cloudy skies, mixed with a downpour, not to mention "damaging winds," as well as competition from everyone else on my street, the Saturday sale was s....l....o....w.

So, Sunday, I wake up at 7. The weather was calling for more rain. But it was sunny. And I was desperate to clear out the 8,000 things I got as far as the driveway.

Me: "Cara, we're having another sale today."

Cara: "I'm in!"

See, I let the kids keep the money from anything they sold. Considering about 99.9% of what we were selling was theirs, they had an incentive. Of course, when you're selling your stuff for between 10 cents and $1, there's only so much profit to be made. However, it speaks to how much they had to get rid of that they EACH made about $40. And we still have a ton of stuff in their rooms, the basement, the garage.... We need to hold another sale.

Except I won't get much support from Mike, whose only contribution this time was downloading and then blasting the theme from "Sanford & Son," for half and hour. It was embarrassing and hilarious at the same time.

Of course there are some things that aren't pleasant about garage sales (and Mike was quick to remind me that the letter "b" is the only thing separating a garage sale from a garbage sale--thanks for more high quality input, Mike). One is dealing with cranky old-timers who've logged a lot of time watching "Antiques Road Show, " "Cash in the Attic," "Don't Throw Away That Bic Pen Because It Could Spell Your Retirement in 50 Years," etc..

Cranky Lady #1: "Just a bunch of toys, huh? No ceramics?"

Cranky Lady #2: "Wow, I can't believe how many toys! I'll bet their rooms are clean now."

No. And you should have seen what I've had the Vietnam Vets truck pick up for the last three years!

Cranky Lady #3: "So spoiled! So much more than they could ever need!"

By which time I felt like screaming: "Sorry I don't have that rare vase to sell you for 50 cents so you can get $5,000 for it somewhere. But the Little Tikes playhouse, the pink girl's bike and the Step2 climber out front should have given you a head's up that this wasn't going to be a tour through a memorial to Gustav Stickley!"

Instead, I gave her the finger and kicked her out of my driveway. Ahhhh, if only.

--Catherine Schetting Salfino

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Dancin' Days Are Here Again

I wanted to post a column about what a great time I had Saturday night with my friends. Only, apparently, when I asked my friends to go out dancing and drinking, they forgot about the DANCING part of the equation. ...Pack o' bums.

Oh, they were perfectly content watching me make like the dancin' fool that I am. Because, frankly, I'll dance to a clock radio, I don't care. But here we had a perfectly good band and they wanted to go to the downstairs bar -- to talk and drink. What are we, middle-aged?!? Don't anybody answer that.

I can have a chat anytime. But opportunities to groove to live music, other than Ryan's constant cacophony, are few and far between. Only Melissa had the nerve to join me for a song and a half. So only SHE is not a total bum. And Barbara's not a bum because she has long told me she doesn't dance -- unless she's rip roaring wasted and, as far as I can tell, those days are behind her. But the rest of ya's....Sharon, Annie, Jay, Nancy -- bums! (I'm leaving out Tom and Matt because Tom's new-ish to the group so he gets a pass, and Matt showed some liveliness in playing air bass. Next time, Matt, we fully expect you to be air-jamming and jumping from table tops).

Actually, I had to be clean and sober the next day because I'm preparing for something I've been wanting to take on for years. Something that involves a lot of discipline and hard choices. A lot of time is sacrificed. And the rewards are meager. I'm talking about...a garage sale.

That's right. Hold your applause. Just greet me with awe and admiration. I'm finally tackling the Holy Grail -- my attic and garage together. Oh, the impressiveness of this undertaking is staggering, I know.

See, I brought this on myself. I'm a keeper. I'm a sentimentalist. I pick up a Mega Bloks Lego and and am transported back to when Ryan was at the crawling stage, and I think, "Aww, that was so cute. I can't give this away." So now -- YEARS LATER -- I have 5-HUNDRED Mega Bloks. I've held onto cribs, strollers, playmats and play yards. Why? I don't know. We're certainly NOT having more kids. I have bikes, bubble cars, pink roller blades. There's also a door (you read correctly, a door) a clock from the '70s, which I don't even want to get into.

Maybe there's some laziness mixed in with the sentimentalism. I needed to just get sick of looking at it, and get struck with a severe need for more space, before I could unload it.

But to really push myself to have this garage sale, which I've been talking about since last year, I needed to sign up for the Rutherford Town Wide garage sale. I needed to pay the $10 (they'll put our address in a booklet for people to find our house) to stop my procrastination and just get it done.

Mike, meanwhile, regurgitated his "We just need a Dumpster!" mantra. I'm like, "Mike, we can sell things to people who really want them. And we'll make a few bucks on it. The kids can keep the money from whatever they sell." Mike: "Right, we'll just be rolling in it when this is over. GET A DUMPSTER!" I reminded him that his father is a garage sale junkie. Mike: "My father buys old watches and clocks. Not umbrella strollers and booster seats. GET A DUMPSTER!"

Well, this "topic of conversation" will be over soon. Because this Saturday is day the Salfino household will have a whole new look. We will be clutter-free. We will be completely organized. WE WILL BE READY FOR OUR CLOSE-UP! Then, then I'll be doing the happy dance! ...Just don't mention Christmas to me. ...DON'T!

--Catherine Schetting Salfino

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

...And we're back

So, summer's over. The kids are back in school. Cara's joined the Y swim team for the first time (cost: $50,000). Ryan's joined rec soccer for the first time (cost: $25, plus cleats, plus shin guards, plus soccer shorts, plus soccer socks). At this rate, I need a full-time job to pay for the extra curriculars.

Anyway...I haven't posted eh-neh-thin since Super Bowl. So I figured before I put something up, I'd give the old site a quick glance. And that's when I noticed that all the Google ads on the Football Widow page are for things like, "Are you by any chance under surveillance by Family Services because you SUCK as a parent?!" and "Is your marriage one matchstick away from H-bombing?!" And I think to myself, what have I been writing that's bringing these types of ads to the site? C'mon. I don't think it's THAT bad.

I mean, we all have our moments. But I don't think I'm any worse than the next woman who has two kids up in her grill yet giving her the hand from the second they wake up to the second pass out again at night. It's called venting, and I don't really think I need ads asking "Are Jack Daniels and Jim Beam guiding your parenting?" next to my blog.

But anyway, I digress. We made it through yet another summer. The kids were in camp for six weeks of it, which helped. But then there was that last month. Those four weeks between when camp ended and school started. Where they were not signed up for anything. And I hadn't planned a vacation yet (so sue me Travelocity). It was like looking down a long dark tunnel -- and I was a-scaired. But there was no turning back. The first day of summer vaca without camp involved a lot of bribery, followed by a lot of threats of taking away the bribes. Followed by door slamming. And, finally, toilet cleaning (by Ryan), dusting (by Ryan), and vacuuming (by Cara). They were punished with chores. It was gulag time.

Actually, though, it was just a first-day-of-being-around-each-other freak out on all our parts. The summer ended well. And school began well. Other than Ryan waking up each morning for the last week saying he's sick. Very sick. He was up sick all night. "Why won't you believe me?!," he demands. "I barfed. All night."

So we have some work to do getting back into the swing of things for fall....