Not Tasks, Adventures
I have this tendency, whenever I get busy or stressed out, to look at the various things I have “to do” as tasks. Things to get completed, checked off a list, before I can arrive at some magical period of free time when those things no longer exist.
It’s not a great approach, and leads me to want to quantify things too much: how long to travel there, when should we leave, how long until we finish and move on to the next thing? Add anything unknown to this equation (and really, when are there not unknowns), and I get too much in the implementation details. I’m looking at the clock too much.
Liz and I had a series of errands today, and last night I was trying to “plan” how things would go. In our conversation, she mentioned a phrase to me that stuck with me – referring to adventures, not tasks.
The older I get, the more I believe that the world rises up to meet the expectations you set for it. Imagine anger and selfishness, that’s what you’ll see; imagine kindness and good intentions, that’s also what you’ll see. You get what you expect, so why not expect the positive?
Throughout the day today, I tried to adopt the mindset that we would be experiencing adventures (and not merely completing tasks). I don’t think I was always successful, but I think I fared better than normal.
We got an early start to the morning, and headed over to Medici’s at around 8:30 AM. We realized the restaurant proper doesn’t open unti 9:00 AM, but we were able to conveniently pop next door to their bakery.
So we grabbed some pastries and coffee, and walked through our day.
About an hour later, we pulled up to a house in Bronzeville. There was an estate sale in our area (a rare thing), scheduled for 10:00 AM. There was a couple in a large pickup truck parked behind us, and as we walked by we chatted a bit (they were also there for the sale).
Turns out – the gate was locked. Usually, some places will have a paper list for folks to sign in. If a large group appears, the estate sale folks will let in a certain number of people at a time (based on the order they arrived). Lists are handy, and a sign of the organizers know what they’re doing.
Today though, no signs. And we spotted a chain on the fence. Additionally, there was a lot of scaffolding on the building. Liz and I began to worry that maybe the sale got called off, or something happened.
But remember the earlier mindset of expecting the positive? We opted to just hang around and see. About 5 minutes prior to 10:00 AM, we got out of the car and stood by the entrance. And were joined by the man from the truck.
Another woman joined us in wait, and shortly after 10:00 AM – someone came out! And greeted us, cracking some jokes, and let us inside.
And the inside was phenomenal! The sale was limited to a few rooms, and was more a collection (rather than the contents of the home).
An old accordian that made me, briefly, debate starting a new career.
I spotted this cast iron bunny mold, and was excited to show Liz. I think I forgot that she already had one. Because… of course she does.
Short side story: one of the things that caught Liz’s eye was a fireplace screen. She’d taken measurements of the fireplaces in our house, and spotted this small screen that looked to be a good fit (the fireplaces in our house are smaller than normal).
As she was in the process of measuring the screen, the woman from earlier took the screen and walked off with it. I don’t know if Liz had gotten her tape measure out yet, but this was early on – soon after we all walked in. There were three of us walking around the place. I think it was pretty clear Liz was considering the piece.
And yet, the woman just grabbed it and walked away. And ended up buying it.
What I dislike about this type of negative behavior from others is that it has the potential to alter my own behavior. This sort of thing happens enough, I suspect it self-perpetuates and makes you want to say “I’m grabbing what I want and looking out for number one.” And increases the chance you’ll be a jerk to someone else.
There is sometimes a frenzy at estate sales and flea markets. I want to recognize that, but also feel like some basic human consideration isn’t too much to ask.
A lovely line of pottery.
This awesome doorstop. Hard to see it, but the tag says “NFS” – Not For Sale.
The side of a very vintage gas stove.
The front of the stove. One of the organizers, Joe, was talking us through the functionality. The panel (top left) is apparently where you can add in wooden logs. So it uses both wood and gas.
A table full of hardware. Sadly, none of it matched what we needed.
A view of the front room.
I got to talking briefly with another one of the estate sale organizers, Tommy. And found out he had been renovating the home for a long while now. All of the fixtures were reproductions, but created true to the era of the house. He also got a lot of the medallions custom made, and replaced a lot of the ceiling borders with wood (then painted white).
As Liz and I talked with Tommy more, we got a lot of really good advice and tips (different vendors to use, approaches to things). He’s been renovating for a long while it seems, and we even got his contact info (and a very generous offer to help answer questions).
While there were some unknowns about the estate sale for me, earlier in the morning… and despite the unfortunate encounter with the fireplace screen woman… we both felt really lucky that we got to meet and talk with Tommy.
Despite not purchasing anything, it was a great, positive encounter to hear another person’s story about their renovation work. To go from a feeling of uncertainty outside a locked gate to meeting Tommy and Joe was a great experience. And a validation of Liz’s advice that there are adventures to be had.
On the way out, we spotted a drawing on the wall. And we chuckled at how similar this was to our place.
Next, we drove down to Mokena to hit up Schillings. We’re looking to meet with someone to help us design our kitchen. But prior to that meeting, we wanted to get more familiar with the types of cabinets and things available.
So we browsed around a while.
There was a lot of construction happening inside the building, and certain sections were closed off ot the public. But we were able to get someone, Jackie, who helped us around the back. And got to review all manner of samples.
A pretty overwhelming amount of samples, honestly.
Next stop: lunch! And by lunch, I mean ice cream.
The day was pretty warm, and this spot only has outside seating. But we found a nice spot in the shade. We ended up getting a spot of food first, then went back for ice cream.
Liz, with a dipped cone that she used to get here as a kid.
Us with our cool ice cream on a rather hot day. We’d been going for a long while at this point, and didn’t end up getting back home until around 4:30 PM or so.
A very long day of adventures, all told.