Even during The Apocalypse, I will buy crap on Craigslist.
To tell this story, I first need to establish:
Paul is FRUGAL.
Not in a normal way.
In an insane way.
A photo of our toothpaste; it’s clean, INSIDE, because he used to slice it open, to be sure he got it all.
I say used to because I’ve since begun making* our toothpaste; and it’s the VERY MOST PLEASED with me that Paul has ever been— basically he is RAPTUROUS that we no longer pay the HIGHWAY ROBBERY OF TOOTHPASTE.
*explanation halfway down this post.
I am not saying Paul is cheap, he’s not… if it’s worth it, it’s fine, and he will dismantle a wall in FEBRUARY in an unheated building, or DRIVE TO CLEVELAND to acquire a MONSTROUS bookcase.
But at HIS CORE, his absolute MOST TRUE SELF, is a man scandalized by the purchase of gum… gum has no value or merit and is only purchased by idiots<— information I am able to share, because of the time I bought gum.
My point is that with RARE exception, Paul’s instinct for anything that costs money: NO.
And on top of his normal baseline, the year I want to tell you about has two more factors: we had just bought a house, AND Paul got laid off… his response to this combination-of-intense-stress was: we are never buying ANYTHING ever again.
That weekend, was the annual townwide yard sale.
I have written about it here, and here… one year I got a four-stack barrister bookcase for THIRTY DOLLARS— my peak find. Everything else has been enjoyable, but essentially, just crap.
I DO love crap.
So, this year-of-stress, at one of the first yardsale stops, poking around… I lifted some yellowed newspaper in a ratty old box and— HERE IS MY GRANDMOTHER! Or, at least her dishes.
Until she died, my father’s mother lived in the house my grandfather built, in South Bend, Indiana, where they raised all of their children… When I was a kid, we would visit during summer and Christmas… my parents would pack the car and listen to me and Chris cage-match each other to near-death for the twelve-thousand-hours it takes to drive from Philadelphia to Indiana.
Sometime after midnight, we would wake up in the car, pulling into Grandma’s driveway, and Tina, Grandma’s poodle who hated everyone except Grandma, would come out and go berserk.
In the morning, we would wake up in the loft, and I can still SUMMON the smell— coffee and toast and the wood the loft was made out of… you’d wake up and go downstairs and the adults would be sitting at the table drinking coffee, breakfast dishes strewn around.
That’s what was in this yard sale box— the dishes.
Not many— just a few plates, a couple smaller things… only the dark blue color.
But still— GRANDMA’S DISHES!
After Grandma died, I asked my dad– what about the dishes? I described them to him, and he remembered… my father is also a hoarder, so he took it seriously. But nobody knew what happened to the dishes.
So this many-years-ago yardsale box of dishes… they wanted thirty dollars for it… which is maybe a lot for a couple of random dishes, unless they are the manifestation of the best part of your childhood, in which case maybe thirty dollars is fine.
Unless your husband is mentally tightening everyone’s belt and planning how we will rise at dawn to bathe in unheated water and eat nothing but gruel, for eternity, if not longer.
Paul’s response to my GLEE that I would pay thirty American dollars for a box of crap/my childhood… was… OUTRAGE.
To be very fair to Paul, his OUTRAGE would have been the same if the box was ONE dollar— it is the principle: WE ARE NOT BUYING ANYTHING / THAT BOX IS A THING.
Obviously I could have said— bug off, crazy person… BUT… Paul’s OUTRAGE can be persuasive. He brings an AGGRESSIVE CERTAINTY that steamrollers your own conviction.
I’ve actually written about his previous SUCESS in talking me out of things— specifically, the antique swinging chalkboards with the brass-frames and massive hinges; only an ACTUAL MORON would have passed them up, and Paul convinced me to WALK AWAY.
Is he that good at gaslighting?
Am I simply an idiot?
So we didn’t buy the dishes.
We left and went on to other yardsales… but an hour later, after listening to me reminisce about Indiana, basically non-stop… Paul was like— I was wrong, we should have bought those dishes.
For the record, his mood had been greatly improved because HE had flouted his own bylaws-of-no-spending to acquire an insane amount of clamps for like, five cents… He was so BEYOND pleased; strutting around, all— ALLOW ME TO SHOW YOU MY CLAMP ASSORTMENT… even though I can testify to you that he already has an entire garage full of nothing but clamps.
So we went back to get the dishes.
They were gone.
Paul felt HORRIBLE.
Like, so bad, that I had to comfort HIM.
I haven’t thought about those dishes in YEARS.
Until the other night, Paul said— I HAVE SOMETHING TO SHOW YOU.
It turns out that periodically, Paul has been LOOKING for these dishes.
They were literally not even an hour away.
I got SO EXCITED.
OMG!!! I cannot believe it!!
But then the next day, Paul asked, excitedly— when are we going to get the dishes?
And I was like— ehhh… errrr… I was actually thinking that maybe… I don’t need any more crap.
I could see in his face, that he was GENUINELY DISAPPOINTED; he said— I really need you to still want them because otherwise, I cannot fix that I was an ass.
I thought about this.
I was like, MAYBE I HAVE A SOLUTION— could I not get the dishes, but keep the CRAP-OPPORTUNITY… like, an I.O.U. for future crap? A crap-raincheck?
And Paul was like— if you WANT these dishes, they can come with an IOU for other crap, NO QUESTIONS ASKED.
I was like— so, just to be clear, you are bribing me, WITH CRAP, to GET CRAP?
He was like— improbably, it does seem that is what is happening.
So obviously my work here is done and the beings from my home planet can come and collect me… and also now Paul and I have a bunch of crap that neither of us actually wanted.
SEE ALL MY BEST CRAIGSLIST FINDS.
After I put this together, I thought— oh, it would be good to include some information about this WS George guy… so I googled it… skipped over the first few results trying to sell me plates… and the very first page I chose to open, I was like— oh… blergh… yup… righty-o. HERE are Grandma’s dishes, NOT THE ONES WE BOUGHT.
IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME SO I FORGOT.
But also, I took Paul’s certainty at face value.
SOMETHING I CLEARLY NEED TO STOP DOING.
I guess the cats are going to have some very fine dinnerware.
July 8, 2020 @ 10:14 am
Tears! That he secretly looked for those dishes for you is so sweet!
July 8, 2020 @ 10:16 am
Lol! This is hilarious and like my favorite story ever.
July 8, 2020 @ 10:16 am
So happy you are back with your “crap” tales . Grandma’s dishes are beautiful. Hope the cats enjoy
their new dinnerware.
July 8, 2020 @ 10:24 am
I love you. I didn’t finish tis article because it’s long and I have to do some work, but i already laughed out loud after a few paragraphs. I will try to read it all later. The dishes are abso-Fabu!
p.s. I’ve cut open the toothpaste myself. The design of the opening is conducive to waste, I believe it could be better (in Paul’s defense).
July 8, 2020 @ 10:27 am
I am also a craigslist maven. But only for really good stuff. Useful stuff. And…very occasionally, something nostalgic. It helps that I live in a small house. It also helps that I’m psychically attached to all things arts & crafts (not so tall as Victorian goodies.) We have been building over the past few years, first the house, and then the barn. During that time, I managed to save a good bit on building materials–choice lumber and a raft of antique lighting fixtures. These scores have put my scrounges into a good light–and my sweetie endures my fixation. He says, “No,” gently.
July 8, 2020 @ 10:28 am
this is the sweetest thing I think I have ever read.
And still, not grandma’s dishes…
July 8, 2020 @ 10:42 am
This is the sweetest story! You didn’t tell Paul that those were the wrong dishes though, did you?! (please say no, whether you did or not)
July 8, 2020 @ 10:52 am
Love these dishes…how close are you to Lancaster,in case you need to sell them to me…😉
July 8, 2020 @ 10:56 am
Super FUN! I had to laugh at the husband banning your purchases… I was at a flea market and saw a chandelier with strands of fake pearls ( in stage of disrepair, but they had all the strands) and thought it was wonderful. Boyfriend said it was HIDEOUS and forbid me to buy it, which I promptly did for $175 , fixed it and sold it for $1500. I think your hubbie learned a valuable lesson here.
But then again I collect too many things too but I always release something to get another “thing”.
July 8, 2020 @ 11:05 am
I think the dishes are beautiful!
July 8, 2020 @ 11:10 am
For the first time in months I threw my head back and had a hearty laugh!!!!!!! Seriously girl, you’ve got major writing chops. My mom died 2 months ago…of the virus…and then… still there’s a virus that I am totally tired of. So thank you for how completely normal this un-normal sounds to me right now. We totally live this way too only I’m the one who slices open the product because mom taught me waste not want not. And I want all my wants. May all your wants come true too.
July 8, 2020 @ 11:30 am
Condolences for your loss. Your comment brought tears. Hugs to you.
July 9, 2020 @ 11:38 am
Deepest sympathies Pamela.
July 11, 2020 @ 5:44 pm
Condolences for your loss. Love you are finding places of comfort. May you feel the hugs of your mother each day through the unexpected (just like Elizabeth’s words).
July 8, 2020 @ 11:11 am
Crapportunity. It’s your word of the week. Use it. Live it. 🙂
July 8, 2020 @ 11:34 am
Thanks for sharing this hilarious, heart warming story! I am going to try the Jedi mind trick that is the crap I.O.U. on the mister. Wish me luck!
July 8, 2020 @ 11:36 am
Personally, I think Paul’s guilt dishes are even better than grandma’s dishes. Thank you, for sharing such a sweet story.
July 8, 2020 @ 6:08 pm
Me too! I love them!
July 8, 2020 @ 11:41 am
I’ve missed your posts so much…..even more now that we are living these weird days. We NEED your humor like you need CRAP! Besides, I’m dying to know the status of your kitchen remodel!
July 8, 2020 @ 11:47 am
I roared. Mostly because Paul sounds exactly like my husband!
July 8, 2020 @ 11:49 am
July 8, 2020 @ 11:53 am
Oh my goodness, this post is my favorite thing on the internets! Bless you for putting a smile on my face this morning!
July 8, 2020 @ 11:57 am
Sweet story and the dishes are charming.
July 8, 2020 @ 12:07 pm
Guess what? A few years ago in the Montreal airport my 20+ year-old beloved London Underground washcloth was left behind, only discovered on the plane home that I no longer had my wipe-kids’-face-cloth which I’d bought while an undergrad on a weekend trip to London in the previous millennium. My husband knows I am (too) sentimental and searched, searched online for it but either it’s no longer made or simply not sold online.
We were to have gone to London for spring break this year but … cv19, so no looking in person. Instead, for mothers day he gave me SIX London Underground washcloths he’d had made, found someone on etsy who would make them.
I love his effort infinitely more than I ever loved or could ever mourn that old washcloth. But I’ll tell you, I have been painfully careful with the embroidered tenugui I got at the Museum Ghibli (which we visited on my youngest’s 12th birthday), even though I don’t care one whit for those movies but don’t want to be the upset adult, again, about losing a washcloth ….