Sunday, December 04, 2016

Trading Tables

This morning I hosted what could quite possibly be my second-to-last Trading Tables event. I have a replacement all lined up, so she'll be "shadowing" me as I set everything up and then I'll pass all of my supplies on to her (like the ratty old signs that were given to me five years ago by the last person in charge of organizing Trading Tables—they've still got a lot of life left in them and are basically laminated by now from being taped up so often).

Last time I did Trading Tables we had very little help setting up and even littler help (read: no help) taking down. It took us forever to clean up and by the time we were finished packing everything up we were both fairly well exhausted. We drove a load of stuff to the Salvation Army and then went back to the church to get a second load. It was a little irksome because I felt that so many people had trickled through to drop off stuff and/or claim a prize or two yet no one stuck around to help.

Knowing that we had Rachel's choir concert to get to I was really hoping we'd have a helpful crowd this time around—and, boy, did we ever!

When we arrived at the church the Elder's Quorum was playing basketball. They all knew Trading Tables was happening (their wives had sent them with boxes and bags of cast-offs) so they were planning on setting up tables for me, anyway. All I had to do was say how many tables I wanted and they had the tables set up in about five minutes (it takes Andrew and I at least a half hour to do it on our own).

The event itself went well. I always say I'm not going to pick up anything's like I can't help myself. Someone dropped off a Little Tykes Cozy Coupe!

I've been looking for (a second-hand) one for ages because (a) we had one when I was little and (b) Zoë and Benjamin would love one—and I know this because my friend Laura had hers out at ukulele practice earlier this week and the kids were all over it.

And then someone dropped off a Little Tykes Cozy Coupe! The only problem was that a kid was already in it, zooming around the gym like a maniac (sheesh; some people just can't keep their children under control), and one of the rules of Trading Tables is that once someone puts their hand on an item it becomes theirs unless they put it back into the fray.

So I said to Andrew, "Wow! Someone brought a little car!"

"Yeah it was [name has been retracted]," Andrew said. "I saw them drop it off."

"Bummer!" I said. "I seriously would have loved that, but it looks like we missed it. Some kid's already driving it around so it must be claimed. Oh, well."

"That kid is, "Andrew informed me, "Is our kid. So I guess if anyone's claimed it, you have. I can go put it in the van if you want."

Yes, upon further inspection that kid was my kid. Benjamin was having the time of his life in that little Cozy Coupe. It was kind of impossible to hide that for Christmas surprise, so we let the kids have at it when we got home and they had a blast playing with it.

But I found some other Christmas surprises for the kids. I don't know why I didn't think to have a December Trading Tables event until just last year. It's seriously the best place to go Christmas shopping on a budget of $0. So many people are clearing out their closets to make way for Christmas presents that we end up with some really great stuff.

I saw quite a few big ticket items come through today:

  • a crib
  • a sit'n'stand stroller (that we grabbed a few Trading Tables ago and brought this time)
  • a bike seat attachment for a toddler
  • a little bike with training wheels
  • a toy kitchen
There was probably more. I'm totally counting this as Day #3 of the Light the World challenge: helping others to see. I think Trading Tables helps people see value in things that other people no longer value, which is pretty cool. And I think it translates pretty well to people as well. Sometimes it's hard for us to see our own value, but when other people look at us they see someone of great worth. 

I'm particularly grateful for everyone who stayed to help clean up today! When closing time was approaching I mentioned that we had to be out of there by 10:25 so that we could make it to Rachel's chorus performance and my friend Valerie said, "We can make that happen!" 

She and her three sons stayed to help, along with my friend Lisa (who had a nice empty vehicle) and Laura and Brittney and Maggie. It was wonderful to have so many helpers! 

We didn't quite make it by 10:25 but we were pulling out of the parking lot at 10:30, having packed everything up and vacuumed the carpet and everything! We still made it to the mall on time and we didn't even have to take a load to charity this time around.


  1. Haha, it was Benjamin! That is awesome! Did you end up finding a coat for him?

  2. "The only problem was that a kid was already in it, zooming around the gym like a maniac (sheesh; some people just can't keep their children under control)" -- This was so funny, and even more so when Andrew informed you that that child was one of yours. :) Glad you found some good things!