Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Kid Yard Sale

Alex Ogden bounded out of bed this morning as excited as he could be. "I've never had a sale with someone before," he exclaimed. Hannah was just as excited. Alison was asleep when I left the house in search of donuts for the crew -- that's standard fare for election workers, so it seemed worthy of young yard salers as well.

Man did we start out with a lot of junk. I mean merchandise. As some of you will recall, the kids had the sale to raise money to replace toys stolen from them at summer camp. They were so excited. And man did they push people to buy!

It was fun to watch. And watch was what I did, mostly. Poor Karin and the kids were left to transact business while I just chatted with friends and neighbors in the yard. Thanks so much to the hordes of you who came and especially those who left with some of the, um, stuff, that needed to leave the houses of Ogden and Reed.

I finally got to meet Oscar Happe. What a beautiful child! And Kayan Sherwood Drake, too. It was a veritable reunion of great friends who I hadn't seen for far too long.

The first customer (not counting the skulker who showed up the night before and left with a mattress we'd been holding for heavy trash day) arrived at 7:34 a.m. even though we weren't planning to open until 8. By 12:45 or so, we'd packed up. By 2, we'd cleaned up, carted off the remains to Goodwill were counting out the cash.

And then Karin and I got into a heated argument. Well, it was as heated as two moms can get when they're whispering and jerking their heads and using sign language so as not to alarm the kiddos. We'd planned to deduct expenses from the gross, but I didn't think they'd made enough to make giving them just the net very fun.

"But that was our agreement!" insisted Miss Particular. (I'd sold her on the conomics lesson

"Oh come on!" I silently shouted.

I was feeling a little guilty for giving away a full box of bagged goodies for just $1 when if I'd let the lady sort it out, we may have gotten as much as $2. But that would have left us with more stuff to cart to Goodwill. I reached back to my dad's auction days when there was always a box for a dollar, contents sight unseen. He could never resist those boxes. And the lady seemed happy...

"No you come on!" she silently shouted back. I think she tried to kick me but the table leg got in her way.

They'd grossed $104. Between the cost of the ad in the paper and the money Karin had fronted for change, we'd take more than half of it if we made them fully repay us. We agreed to $20 a kid, splitting the difference of the remainder between Karin and me. They were thrilled. And so ready to head to Target to spend it all.

But then, we (it was Karin's idea; she's so much nicer than me) we reminded them about just how lucky they were and how less blessed other children in the world are. We asked them if they thought they'd want to share some of their generosity with someone who needed help. Animals, the environment, the homeless.

"But will we have enough for Webkins, too?" they asked, as any children would.

"Yup." We said.

"Sure!" they said, and set to discussing how best to invest some of their money. They agreed to 10 percent (I'm sure my Dad smiled at the biblical implications.) And they decided to help IPS School #14 -- an Indianapolis school with a disproportionate number of homeless students.

I like those kids.

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