First Time Vendors at the Swap Meet

A few years ago I was cleaning out my closet and drawers with the intention of throwing out the clothes that were worn or didn’t fit. Lynnette told me to save them. She wanted to sell them at a steep discount at the swap meet. I filled three trashbags with stuff, and stored them in the tub we didn’t use. They sat there for months. When Lynnette got pregnant with the twins, she finally told me that I could throw them away because she (finally) admitted she wasn’t really going to make a trip to sell those things at the swap meet.

1So when I cleaned out a few items from my closet and drawers earlier this year (because the twins’ possessions have spilled out into every inch of our home), I planned on tossing the items again. “I want to sell some things at the swap meet,” she said. “Can I please just throw this stuff away now instead of 8 months from now?” I asked. “No, for real this time,” she said. And then she began the process of cleaning out the clothes that no longer fit Cole, Avery, or Madison. More impressive, however, is the fact that she actually tried to get rid of some of her own clothing. Lynnette is a hoarder. She doesn’t like to admit it, but she is. These were my thoughts as I sat in the van at 5:30 this morning. In a two-stall space in the parking lot of Aloha Stadium. We were actually going to do it.

32This is Lynnette at her boutique. We sold some toys, books, adult clothing, and kids clothing. The books and unopened toys were sold almost immediately – to re-sellers, we suspect – and the kids clothing moved pretty steadily throughout the morning. We were able to get some money for small appliances we never use because our family is no longer small.

Lynnette really got into the whole process. She got advice from co-workers throughout the week and kept updating me with this information. Did you know the gates for vendors open at 5 AM? I do. Did you know that it costs just $15 to purchase a two-stall space to peddle your wares? I do. Did you know that other vendors will walk around before dawn with flashlights looking at what everyone starts laying out before the swap meet even officially opens? I do. Finally, did you know that Lynnette was such an effective saleswoman? I do now.

One of the highlights of the day was watching Lynnette make her first sale. She was so giddy and happy that she struggled to pack the items into a plastic bag. “Why didn’t you put the large ones in first?” I asked. “I don’t…” she started, but didn’t finish. Had this been any kind of medical emergency, however, she would have been barking out commands like an in-his-prime Peyton Manning at the line of scrimmage after identifying the opposition’s pass defense. At one point, the rush of people coming to her boutique was so thick that she turned to me, handed me a bunch of stuff, nodded at a man and told me to “ring him up.” My brow furrowed. My eyes narrowed. My head jerked back. I worked retail, OK? You don’t have to tell me what to do. Also, where’s the register, you clown?

The best thing to come out of the day was spending 9 hours together without the kids. Since we got such an early start, I think I started begging Lynnette to leave at 9 AM. It wasn’t miserable, it was just boring. During a lull in visitors, Lynnette and I started a conversation in which we tried to recall the most miserable, anger-filled moments we’ve shared over our 14 years together. We were laughing pretty hard at all those fiascoes. I’ll probably end up writing about the definitive list later this week. We had Agu Ramen for lunch and had more great conversations. The first was trying to remember what occupied the lot (at Pearlridge) Agu Ramen currently does before it was a Cold Stone. Neither of us could remember. We started thinking about other places that no longer existed like Castle Park, Pearl City Tavern, dine-in Pizza Hut restaurants, Penguins (I don’t remember this one), TCBY, the Yum Yum Tree, and others. Lastly, we talked about our own personal hot takes regarding local opinions. I think Zippy’s is one of the most overrated eateries on the island; Lynnette thinks Zippy’s mac salad is junk. It was a pretty fun game.


Anyway, there are two reasons we went to the swap meet today.The first, obviously, was to create a little more space in our rapidly shrinking home. The second, was to raise money for something I hope will dramatically improve Lynnette’s life directly and mine indirectly.

When Lynnette was pregnant with Madison, she lost a lot of her hair. Most of it was from the top of her head, but some of it was off of her eye brows. It never grew back. She has almost no eyebrow hair. If I could magically donate some of mine, I’d do it in a heart beat. The universe knows I have more than enough. But since that trick doesn’t exist, we’re going to do the next best thing. Lynnette’s going to get her eyebrows micro-bladed.

She first mentioned this a couple of years ago. “Just do it,” I said. “Why, you think I’m ugly?” she asked, jumping to conclusions. “No, if you get it, you’ll stop talking about it,” I said. Guys are stupid but also practical. She resisted for all this time until she went down a micro-blading rabbit hole on her phone one night. As I tried to fall asleep, she continued to nudge me. “Ooooohhh, look at these!” she said, over and over, shining her phone’s illuminated screen in my weary eyes. “I don’t…that’s great,” I said, over and over. Well, Lynnette found a place she likes for a price that seems like the going rate. She’s excited to never have to draw in her eyebrows again. I’m excited because that (hypothetically) means her preparation-before-leaving-the-damn-house time should fall dramatically.

4I found this outline of a dazzling eyebrow shape and altered it represent Lynnette’s financial goal. She’s been saving money by avoiding Starbucks and expensive lunches. She made decent money today. “I’m pretty much 3/4 of the way there,” she said gleefully from the couch. Good for you, Lynnette.

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