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This morning I was laying in bed, listening to the relentless rain, making a mental checklist of all I had to accomplish in the next 24 hours. I’m in the middle of the 23rd move of my adult life. And hopefully my last. Why so many moves? Job changes, life changes, partner changes….bad choices, bad juju. It’s no wonder my favorite costume for Halloween was a gypsy.

This is the first time I have EVER held a garage/moving sale. Normally I would haul the stuff to Goodwill but this move is different. Mark and I are finally combining our two homes into one. Our vacation home in Cochiti will officially become our permanent residence! Yahooo!

So – it’s time to really purge. Both houses are fully furnished. We have two of everything essential.  The Cochiti house also has the distinction of being the smallest house we have lived in. Just 1234 square feet on two floors. I love this challenge. Most moves you grab a box, open a cupboard or a drawer or closet and start packing. This move I have three boxes. Toss. Sell. Move.

Donation has a built in anonymity that prevents your brain from going to the place of “Do you think anyone would really buy this?” And for the most part, the stuff I’m going to sell I purchased. I paid retail. What does that say about me? Nevertheless, I’m not sure anyone would buy my inflatable palm trees with coconut bra. We’ll see.

Moving is both humbling and introspective. Here are the things I am learning about me:

1. I am a hoarder. Not like the Buried Alive freak show – but there are some things I have a difficult time throwing away. My obsession? Mark refers to it as my “lotions and potions” cabinet. When I travel I have to bring home the little soaps, shampoos, bath gels from the hotel. When I buy make-up it’s ONLY when they are having a give-away with purchase. Consequently I have a bounty of tiny bottles of foundation, moisturizer, the wrong color lipsticks and Barbie size eye shadow kits. Can’t throw them away. Oh, and you know how your big bottle of shampoo always runs out before your equally big bottle of conditioner? I stow the half empty conditioner bottles. Then there’s the graveyard of make-up purchases gone wrong. Usually it’s an impulse at a drug store and the eye shadow is too glittery, the lipstick too orange, the stick blush (bad idea). And then there’s wrong product – mousse that smells weird, hairspray that is too sticky, hair gel that was meant for a mohawk only. I keep them all. It’s not their fault they came home with me. I picked them up.

Yesterday I got a construction strength black garbage bag, took a deep breath and tossed it all. Used make-up is not something you give away or sell. It’s too personal – like underwear. And those little hotel bottles – most of them were so old they turned weird colors. I have no product back-up. No in case of emergency use this crap make-up. I am aesthetically flying without a net! For the first time in my life. It feels good.

2. I was born to sell. Setting up this garage/moving sale has been the opposite of a chore. Maybe it’s my marketing background or the fact that my dream job growing up was to do the window displays for Nordstrom. I have four tables and I’ve set them up (decorated them really) by themes. Mark and I love to entertain, and when we lived in Seattle we threw some epic theme parties. But now we really don’t have the room for all of our party props. One of my tables reflects our Tacky Tiki phase. Complete with ukelele, Tiki cups of all colors, even a kleenex dispenser of a Tiki god – you pull the tissue from his nostril. Really quality stuff.

Last night we invited family and friends over for wine and an early showing (taking – not buying). My sister-in-law complimented me by saying “Oh my god this is the most gorgeous garage sale I’ve ever seen!”

Our sneak preview night revealed a few things I must be prepared for with the general public.

1. The iPad has rendered many garage sale items obsolete. CDs, books, board games, cookbooks, televisions, VCRs, DVD player. It’s almost like I’m Borders trying to liquidate my assets.

2. You have to explain some purchases.

Q: “Why do you have a bathroom towel set that is dry clean only?”

A: “We were staging our Seattle house and I got them on-sale-on-sale at TJ Maxx”

Q: “Why are you selling all of your lawn tools, including your mower?”

A: “We are moving to the desert.”

3. You have to be okay with people not liking/wanting your stuff. Case in point, I cannot believe that not one of my friends/family scooped up my “bag-o-bags!” Possible hoarder obsession number two.

Tomorrow the public comes. It’s predicted to rain all day. I’m going to serve hot coffee and play nice music. I’m going to be prepared for people dickering. I’m going to let go.

Climb a mountain. Check.

Run a marathon. Check.

Go white water rafting. Check.

Climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Check.

Hike in the Black Forest of Germany. Check.

Speak at the World Council of Credit Unions. Check (twice). 

Write a book. Check (twice).

Operate heavy equipment……..on Thursday. 

Next week is my birthday- March 8th. I’ll be turning the big five oh! Today I got a birthday card in the mail from Macy’s.

Happy Birthday Denise! Macy’s Star Rewards wants to wish you a very happy birthday with this special pass to use on a wide array of brands! It’s our little way of saying “happy birthday” to you, our loyal Macy’s customer. Inside the card is a $10.00 gift card that pulls out.

I’ve been loyal since 1986. In fact, it’s the only department store card I’ve ever had.

Because we don’t have a Macy’s in Northern NM I went online to buy some cool stuff. At check out I entered my secret code (on the back of the gift card) and nothing happened.

THEN I saw the fine print. I had to put on my reading glasses…..are you ready for this?

*Excludes Everyday Values (EDV), furniture, mattresses, rugs/floor coverings, cosmetics, fragrances, Tag Heuer, Tempur-Pedic, products offered by vendors who operate leased departments in any of our stores including furs, Maternity (no problem there), eSpot, Luis Vuitton (damn). Not valid on previous purchases, special orders, services, gift cards, jewelry trunk shows, (WHAT? why?), payment on credit accounts, restaurants, gourmet foods, wine (double damn). Cannot be combined with any savings pass/coupon, extra discount or credit offer, except when opening a new Macy’s account (ironic). Savings are allocated among eligible items, as shown on receipt. Returns forfeit allocated savings for returned item(s). This coupon has no cash value (no sh*t) and cannot be redeemed for cash. Purchase must be $30 or more, exclusive of tax and delivery fees. Valid for one-time use only in-store March 1, 2012 through March 31, 2012 with your Macy’s credit card (so we can charge you 21% on your birthday gift IF you’re even able to find something you want that qualifies under these ridiculous rules).

Macy’s – what are you afraid of? It’s ten bucks. It’s my birthday. I’ve been with you for 26 years.

This is why most loyalty systems are so flawed – so much red tape, legal crap, and restrictions. Takes all the fun out of turning fifty.

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March 2012