I am living in a house of geeks. Let me explain.... last week, Ben and I decided to take Dave Ramsey's "sell it all" advice to heart. (If you're not familiar with what I'm talking about, check out his website, or his radio show, or one of his many books. We're taking Financial Peace University through our church and absolutely love it). So, we cleaned out totes of junk in the basement and listed tons of auctions on ebay. We're talking about so much stuff that I spent an entire morning, from getting up until naptime, parked in front of the computer doing listings, and that was after the pictures were already taken. (It was spring break for the kids I babysit for, so they were home with their teacher parents, thus why I had the time to do this.)
Then our friend Cathy approached us with a money-making scheme. It seems that one of her other friends was looking to get rid of three large brown packing boxes full of Star Wars memorabilia from the 1980s before moving out of state. Cathy requested Ben's ninja-like ebay skills to post these items. Then Cathy and her husband Eric remembered that Eric actually had three large black trash bags full of Star Wars stuff in his parents' crawl space.... and so the true ebay marathon began.
On Sunday afternoon following naptime, I came downstairs to find this scene in my living room. Pre-naptime, Ben had told me that Eric was going to come by to help him identify some of the items. Eric told Cathy that he was just going to "swing by" to help Ben figure out whose stuff was whose. Two hours later, they were giggling like schoolboys and had covered the entire floor with tiny Star Wars memorabilia. Ben was looking up items online, seeing how much they had sold for in the past, in order to get a better idea of how much to ask for them. Eric was looking up each item in a Star Wars pricing guide, then taking notes on tiny sheets of white paper about each item: name of item, theoretical value, what pieces it came with, etc. The mess actually extends into the kitchen area, which they were using as a staging area to take photos of the items. They were even lovingly cleaning each dusty old item with baby wipes before photographing them. And they were both having a fantastic time.
I got Bryn up from her nap, and the boys assured me that they would "be done soon," so I left the girls with them and headed out for our weekly grocery run. It seems that this is what they found to amuse Bryn while they played.... a 12-inch hard plastic Storm Trooper from the 1980s. I tried to intervene when I got home, but the damage was already done. My sweet little girly girl had fallen in love. She carried that darn thing around for days, and when I tried to take it away, she cried and begged for her "dolly." Cathy eventually summoned Eric home after five hours of the Star Wars/ebay marathon, and I convinced Ben that no, really, our family actually does need to eat. Thus ended the evening.... or so I thought.
In the morning, I came downstairs shortly after 8:00, to find Ben sitting at the kitchen table in his pajamas, intently focused on the computer. Confused, I asked, "Isn't it Monday? Aren't you supposed to be at work?" Hardly breaking stride in his typing, he said, with a manic gleam in his eye, "I'm taking a half day. I want to get these items listed before the sale ends." I forgot to mention earlier that ebay was running a sale until March 31 only: 1 cent listing fees instead of the usual 15 cents. So Ben had determined that all items must be listed before the sale ended, thus saving us 14 cents apiece. I told him that I admired his diligence, and I ran to the store to fill a prescription. When I got home, this is what I found: Ben and Bryn happily engaged in some sort of role-playing involving many small Star Wars figurines and some sort of playset for them. At one point, as I ran for the camera, I actually saw Ben pick up a Darth Vader model and say, in a raspy voice, "Bryn.... I am your father."
I decided to take Bryn down the basement in an effort to get Ben back on track. I had designated spring break week as The Great Basement Cleanup, which ended up only being partially successful, but I have high hopes for the end result. Anyway, Bryn normally loves the basement, as that is where we keep her sand playtable and several other large toys. But did she want any of them? Nope. She wanted to sit at the table and "help" Daddy by emptying the plaster blocks from his many molds, then sorting them into baggies for shipping. (This would be another ebay item that Ben posts frequently.) This concerns me: does he use her as slave labor when I'm not at home? But she was having a fabulous time and could hardly be convinced to eventually come upstairs for lunch. By that point, Ben was hitting his limit, and he left for work shortly after noon. He continued to list when he got home, though, and eventually all that stopped him was that midnight hit and thus the 1 cent sale ended. By that point, we were running 107 auctions. Madness.
Since then, we have been kept quite busy answering endless questions flooding in through ebay regarding our plethora of listed items. Friday started the "pack and ship" marathon, which I estimate will continue through this next week. But we made quite a nice profit, so I can't complain too much about that. What I can comment upon, though, is the extremely geeky nature of my family. I mean, really, my husband got my 2-year-old playing with 20-year-old Star Wars figurines (can anyone say "choking hazard"?!?!) and sorting small plaster blocks out of molds. And she thought this was the most fun she'd ever had. Meanwhile, Ben was spastically checking ebay every 10 minutes around the clock to monitor our sales, while also playing with the figurines himself. It seemed that my only hope of a non-geeky companion was Shay..... until Bryn gave her a large accessory to one of the Star Wars pieces (don't worry, no small pieces on this one). Shay's eyes lit up, and she clutched it for the next several hours. Great. Like I said, we are now officiallly a House of Geeks.