The carpenter came today to do several  repairs and some incomplete finish work that wasn’t done during the last renovation.  We went to my trusty storage shed and pulled out crown molding I had purchased during an auction several years ago, and I remembered back to when I got it.  It is very high-dollar custom wood that I would not have been able to afford new. The only hitch—it was attached to the ceiling in a restaurant that was being torn down in the Dallas area, and I had to get it out by 6:00 that night.  I had a trailer, ladder, and tools with me.  I think I had help with me too, I just don’t remember if it was my husband or not.  I bought two rooms of crown molding, tapestry fabric on the walls, and a wall of mirrors.  I started ripping down crown molding and fabric as fast as I could, and loading it up.  At one point the management started a count down to lock-up.  I started throwing my goods on the parking lot pavement to load later.  I remember a man bought a gorgeous hand-carved bar built in a horseshoe configuration.  He didn’t have time to get it out whole so he took a chain saw and cut out the portion he could haul, saying I could have the rest of it.  Sadly, I had no room for it, so it got left behind.

Back to the present, I got enough crown molding out of storage to finish my house with enough left over for something later.  So much of my house has a history of second-use materials.  I’m just happy the original owner had good taste!  So much has come from auctions, a favorite one was where a lumber yard got flooded and they couldn’t sell the wood retail that had water stains on them.

In the past, I’ve been involved in two types of auctions: the domestic or home auctions and the commercial auctions.  The home (household goods) auctions require close attention to what you want to pay so you don’t get carried away in the heat of the bidding.  The auctioneer’s language and cadence can be confusing, so it is advised to clarify the price you are paying for something when they say, “sold!”  I know it embarrassing, but you can get out of the purchase right then if you were mistaken about your bid.  The hard part of home auctions is protecting your purchases, carrying them to your auto, and continuing to bid at the same time.  It is almost necessary to have a helper.  There is a lot of theft.

The commercial auctions are a different story.  People come with high tech equipment, have lists, and are prepared to spend big money.  The items they purchase are for business purposes and they will get it pennies on the dollar–they just buy large qualities.  They pull up to the loading docks in semi-trailer trucks, and roll out with forklifts and hydraulic loading equipment.  I would pull up with a 27 foot goose-neck trailer and a hand dolly.  I was almost embarrassed.  There can be some good deals at these auctions; anything large that takes up too much of their space in the trucks goes for almost nothing.

After I shut down my business, I quit going to auctions, at least the commercial ones.  I will occasionally go to a home auction if I am looking for a particular item, but I always have a talk with myself before I start bidding.  Only buy what I need and have a purpose for, how much I will pay, and when to walk away.

I think life is like that.  Know your goals, achieve them in a dignified and honest manner, and know when to walk.  And don’t clutter up your life with things you didn’t need to take home with you.