Yep, still babyless. But at least we’ve made it to full term plus some! And we had a wonderful weekend of the perfect combo – fun and productive. I sorted through baby girl clothes, we finished our master bathroom makeover, finished the new tool shed (will need to supply pics soon, eh?), I got a hand-me-down sewing machine (that I’ll have to learn how to use), took the boys to a bowling (their first time ever!) birthday party, I went out for a girls’ night, I went for a run in the sun, cut the grass, the boys rode bikes and did Thanksgiving-themed sidewalk chalk art, we took the boys to lunch and a movie (MegaMind – cute), we went to Target and I bought potential Halloween costumes for the boys (or just dress-up clothes) for $1.20 each (90% off!!!), took Matthew to Faith Formation and then we all went to church. Seriously, could we ‘fall back’ every weekend?! I feel like just getting that extra hour practically added a day!
Last Thursday when we got home from school, it wasn’t rainy – woohoo! So I announced that we needed to go outside for a bit to play. Matthew quickly disappeared into his room. I thought he was changing into his “outside clothes” (a pair of holey jeans that are so broken in and well-loved, I think he farted too hard they’d fall apart into a pile of denim thread on the floor). Matthew came out with an orange sheet of construction paper tucked under his arm and a small pile of stuff that he was carrying on a shoe box lid.
“Mom! I’m going to have a sale to make money!” He announced happily. He dumped everything on to the floor in order to show me the items he planned to sell: Four Lego magazines (that came for free in the mail), two broken squirt guns, a 2010 Transformer calendar, a pair of sunglasses (received for free at the Church carnival), and a Shrek watch from McDonalds. He happily admired his wares as he handed me his price list. It says the following: “Guns are 1 Dollars woth [worth], LeGos MoGusens [magazines] are 2 Dollars, Wock [watch] is E  Dollars, cainDr [calendar] is 4 Dollars, Sungasis [sunglasses] are 5 Dollars.”
“Um, k,” I said. I didn’t want to shoot down his entrepreneurial dreams yet I knew that only a crazy (or freakishly nice) person would actually buy this stuff.
When we got outside, Matthew snagged a step-stool from the garage on which to display his merchandise. Then, he explained to Zach that his role was to flag down potential customers – Zachary did this by dancing up down the street in front of our house waving a neon orange flag. (This – all for the entertainment of…no one other than myself). After a while, Matthew got frustrated and asked me where everyone was and why no one was coming to his sale. I explained that – seeing as I’d just learned about his yard sale right before ‘opening’ – the issue could’ve been in the lack of advertising and promotion.
After a bit, we’d had all of one car drive by and one young man out for a run (who didn’t even look at the boys let alone admire the merchandise for sale). Right when I thought Matthew would start to get very frustrated I saw a mom approaching on a walk with her probably four-year-old daughter. Oh no.
Zachary started jumping up and down waving his flag like the-checkered flag-waver at the end of a car race. He pranced towards them waving his flag yelling, “You wanna come to our sale? My brother’s having a sale!” Matthew stood there quietly; with his arms behind his back like a serious and focused salesman. Head in the game.
The mom and girl stopped to admire Matthew’s goods. Matthew started into his quiet shpeal: “I’ve got Lego Magazines and a Shrek watch and squirt guns…” The mom looked at me and I smiled sheepishly torn between the two truths of the moment: I don’t want to destroy my sensitive kid and ruin his good mood and his brave go-get-‘em attitude, but I also don’t want people to feel obligated to buy random junk (at quite steep prices!) from my child.
The mom smiled kindly at Matthew and said, “Oh, what a bummer, I don’t have any cash with me.”
Well, unfortunately, this is a statement that the boys hear from me often. Any time they desire some small (or large) item I’m able to play the “I don’t have any money with me” card. Which, sadly, Matthew has also asked about and now understands that mommy rarely carries actual dollars but those plastic cards in her wallet are kinda like money.
I could see where this was going when Matthew said, “Well do you have any --- ”
I cut him off quickly and said, “Oh, that’s OK. We don’t accept credit cards, Matthew.” Matthew smiled glumly at the mom and girl and waved them off. (You’re no good to me with your lack of dollars.)
Upon sensing defeat, Matthew came over to the vegetable garden where I was pulling dead plants out of the weed-infested beds.
“I know!” Matthew said brightly. “I bet Chuck and Kim have money!” (Referring to our wonderful next door neighbors to the north).
“Um, well, Matthew, that’s not polite to say. It’s not OK to just go to people saying, basically ‘give me your money, I know you have some.”
Matthew turned away sadly and headed back to man his sale. A little bit later, Matthew came back and asked me quietly, “So, how COULD you ask someone…like not for their money but…” I could see where this was going and as we’ve been working on building his self-confidence I figured this could be a really good teachable moment. I was proud of him for not giving up. Any other day, he would’ve been quick to dissolve into frustrated tears.
“Oh!” I said, removing my gardening gloves. “What you can do is invite people to come to your sale. You can just nicely invite them saying ‘Hey, I don’t know if you’re interested, but I just wanted to let you know that I’m having a yard sale, so ya know, if you want to come by…’”
Matthew was practically sprinting across the yard before I could finish.
Zach beat us to Chuck and Kim’s front door where – unfortunately – I realized the little punk had already rung the doorbell repeatedly for several seconds.
“Zachary!” I chastised. “That is SO rude. If Kim is home you better apologize as soon as she opens the door.” And then much to my chagrin, the door opens and there stands poor Kim looking like HELL.
Zach – bless him – VERY quickly said “Sorry for ringing your doorbell lots of times.”
“Oh, that’s OK,” she said weakly, “It just took me a while to get to the door. I was downstairs on the couch watching TV. I’m sick.”
Oh geez. Oh great. “I’m so sorry!” I say, feeling more and more embarrassed that not only did we disturb her but she’s sick AND now Matthew is kinda going to ask that she buy broken crap from him.
Kim waves me off like ‘no big deal, don’t worry about it’ as she starts coughing like crazy into her elbow. “Chuck’s out of town for work, which I suppose is good ‘cuz I’m no fun to be around. The doctor thinks I probably have pneumonia.” Oh excellent. We disturbed my neighbor. Who is sick. And taking care of herself. And has pneumonia. And we rang her doorbell an obnoxious amount of times. And we’re asking for money. Awesome. We’re like the best next door neighbors. Ever.
“What’s up guys?” she asks weakly, smiling at the boys.
Matthew – visibly mustering up braveness – steps forward slightly and says, “I’m having a yard sale.”
“Oh!” Kim says looking over at me. I – standing behind Matthew – shrug my shoulders like ‘Uh, yeah, I don’t really know what to about this’ but I also shake my head like ‘No, seriously, do NOT feel obligated to humor this.’
“Well, I would definitely come over but I’m pretty sick and I don’t want to spread my germs,” she says. I give her a thumb’s up to her…sickness…as a perfect excuse.
“How long is your sale going on?” She asks Matthew seriously. He looks at me.
“Well, I don’t know since I just found out about it a few minutes before it began today, but I’m sure we could do it another day. And maybe that day Kim will feel better and she could stop by.”
Kim nods seriously, “Matthew, if I’m better the next time you have your sale I will definitely come over. Maybe I can find some toys for my grandkids.”
Matthew smiles, “I’ve got squirt guns!”
“Annnd, maybe before our next sale, we could find some more toys to add,” I say. Like ones that work and aren’t ghetto and broken.
Kim asks if we have any baby news – none. We tell her to rest and feel better. She wishes Matthew luck with the sale which – as soon as we get back – he decides is done for the day and he packs up. Closing time. Thankfully, Matthew doesn’t seem at all disappointed that he had no sales. He talks about all the stuff they could sell next time.
Meanwhile, I make a mental list of items to purchase (not from Matthew) to put together a get-well basket for Kim. We deliver it the next day. Making sure to only ring the doorbell one time.