Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Conclusion of the Dancing Crow Story

In my last post, A Space of One's Own, I mentioned my mother's Native American dancing crow doll that my uncle wanted me to keep, but it creeped me out.  This past weekend I drove the 400 miles to my mother's house again and upon entering found that many of my parents' belongings were missing.  It didn't look like a burglary, but more like some people decided to help themselves to some items without permission.

The house is on the market, so potential buyers and real estate agents tour it, and it is possible that they could tell by the layout that I already had an estate sale.  It's not too far fetched for someone to assume that everything leftover is unwanted and could be taken for free.  I also gave one copy of the key to a neighbor and another copy of a key to a friend.  I contacted them to ask about the missing items.

It turned out that the neighbor had cleaned out the garage as a favor.  After the last estate sale, there was a ton of trash piled up in the back yard and the garage.  Over the past few weeks, he cut up and parceled out all the trash to the neighbors' trash cans (with their permission) to be hauled off, so that I wouldn't have to pay someone to come and do that.  I had also told him in the past that he could take whatever tools he wanted as payment for his services in watching the house and taking out the trash.  He did previously take some items, but I thought he was done picking out what he wanted.  This time he took everything, but I was glad because he deserved it after all the work he did for me.

However, he did say that he never went inside the house and there were items missing from the inside.  My friend with the other copy of the key informed me that he took those items.  Some of the items I had given him permission to take, and I forgot because so much time passed between when I offered and when he actually showed up to take them.  Other items I didn't not give him permission to take, and he just assumed that I didn't want them.  I made him return one of those items to me, because he was wrong.  I did want that and had driven the 400 miles specifically to pick it up, among other things.

When all was said and done, every missing item was accounted for with the exception of the Native American dancing crow doll.  It was gone and no one claimed to have taken it.  All I could figure out was that the day after the last estate sale, a lady came by to pick up my mother's teacup collection to sell at a fundraiser for her husband's charity.  At the same time we had people moving furniture in and out, and I was running back and forth overseeing that everyone was being safe and nothing was being broken.  I think that maybe the teacup lady might have taken the doll, but I just don't remember.

Anyway, problem solved.  I didn't see any more dark shadows lurking around and the place just felt like an empty house while I stayed there.  I had planned to stop by the creek in the mountains on the way home to look for my mother's Native American friend, but other people ran behind schedule and made me late in coming home, so I didn't have time to stop.  I'll have to set aside some day to specifically drive the hour and a half to seek her out and hear her stories about my parents and what they are doing in their afterlives.

At this latest estate sale, my next biggest challenge was letting go of a quilt that some relative made.  Quilts are one of those things that people pass down for generations and they are greatly cherished, but this quilt was so old that some of the cloth had been rubbed down to nothing and it was falling apart.  It took up a lot of space and even though I am a quilter, I knew I would never had the time to repair and restore it.  So, I just hung the folded quilt over a bar and hope the right person would come along and take it.  Sure enough, an older woman who was at my previous estate sale showed up and asked how much I wanted for the quilt.  I showed her how much work was needed to fix it and asked her if she restores old quilts.  She said she does, so I gave it to her for free and she was very grateful.  I too was grateful that the right person showed up to take it off my hands.

I also had another interesting thing happen.  My parents had a fairly extensive collection of wooden sculptures from around the world.  The teacup lady bought a buffalo sculpture from me at the last estate sale and then told me that some boy who was carrying it for her dropped it and broke it on the way out to the car.  I think she wanted a refund, but I clearly had a sign up that said, "You break it, you pay for it."

I guess because she didn't break it, she thought I might be lenient, since she couldn't make a little boy pay for it.  I felt it was her responsibility, because she was the one who was dumb enough to let a little kid carry and expensive piece of art.  However, the lady whined so much that I just gave her another smaller piece from the same collection to shut her up.  At this most recent estate sale, someone was digging through my kitchen drawers and found a broken piece of the buffalo stuffed inside a box.  Now I'm wondering if the teacup lady broke the buffalo herself and tried to hide it, or if it was broken when she bought it and she didn't notice until she got out to the car, and then blamed the boy who carried it.

In fact, I found a lot of broken stuff on this trip down and had to either throw it out or sell it at a huge discount.  I just don't understand why people had to pull every glass off the shelf to look at them.  The more people who handled this stuff, the more of it got chipped and broken.  One lady pulled down the entire set of crystal glasses, insisted she wanted to buy them, and then suddenly changed her mind and left.  Later someone else came along and pointed out that one of the glasses was chipped.  So, I'll bet the first lady did the damage while taking everything down, and bailed on the purchase when she noticed that she broke one.

Then I had this desk lamp that I had been using that was fine when I used it, and at the end of this latest estate sale, I noticed that someone had repositioned the lamp to display that the light bulb cover was cracked.  It wasn't cracked BEFORE the estate sale.  There is definitely an art to putting on these types of events.  It pays to rope off items so that people can't touch them.  Sigh.  Gone are the days when honest people would step forward and admit their mistakes, and be polite enough to pay for them instead of just allowing someone else to suffer the consequences.

Anyway, I have enough blog fodder built up from my experiences this past weekend to be able to crank out a few posts.  You'll be hearing more soon.


RiverBend Farm said...

That would just make me sick about some people and their antics. Cherished treasures broken. I have my grandmother's old quilt in need of much repair and I just keep it tucked away in a plastic bag..I should do something about it. Did you ever find the doll?

appydoesdressage said...

That is too bad so much stuff was cracked and broken, unfortunately it is the "way things go" anymore. I am hoping now that things are about settled at your mom's house it will sell and you can get back to life.

Maybe you will get enough you can sell your current house and get the piece of land you have been dreaming of! Foreclosures are all around where I am, hopefully something will fall within your price range and you can find peace.

Cut-N-Jump said...

At least if the dancing crow doll had some kind of bad ju-ju associated with it- it's in someone elses house now. They can deal with it.

As far as people breaking and taking things- that just sucks. I know when realtors were tramping though a house I rented several years ago they closed the back door and shut my dog out with no water. Luckily it was not summer and the dog was fine, but I called and ripped them a new one. Did they not see the damn bowls right next to the open door??? Did they not figure the baby gate in the kitchen doorway was there for a reason?

I hope things are all settled soon for you and in a good way. Maybe the doll leaving will open the door to things taking a good turn...

fernvalley01 said...

People can be so careless. Glad the doll and the quilt resolved easily for you

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Humans are strange......


Fantastyk Voyager said...

Big Sigh! I feel so bad for you having things taken and broken. It's just wrong.