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Mommy Musings 'Tis the Season
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There's something about the holiday season that turns our house upside down. Oh, sure, we have the routine decorating and holiday plans like the rest of the world. The start of the holiday season, however, prompts something more at the Hammond House - spring cleaning.

Now I realize we are a little tardy in our efforts, but I will be the first to admit when spring comes the last place one will find our family is in the house. Spring for us is all about prepping the land, conquering the weeds and pruning our trees and roses. Cleaning and organizing has just never seemed to make our Spring agenda.

As this September rolled around however, so too, did my need for nesting and organizing. What had begun as a search for a childhood Cabbage Patch doll I hoped to give to our daughter quickly turned into its own animal. Perhaps it was spawned by the sea of color-coordinated bins which line our garage or the curiosity of what I had saved in the three bins of keepsakes from my childhood.

Now, as an adult those three bins took on different meaning. Many of the things had initially been saved to hand down to my children. Now as a mother of two, I realize I might be doing my children a bit of a favor by discarding some of my junk myself. 'Junk' like every letter my girlfriend Katie and I exchanged in high school and junior high. Journals from my teen years full of drama and crisis, old high school scripts, my 8th grade graduation dress and concert programs were among some of the findings occupying space in those precious bins.

As a Cal Berkeley Bear fan I also had almost a dozen bears - still in pristine condition - which my son and daughter quickly adopted. One bear even took first place in my son's bed, edging out the Build-a-Bear he had just constructed weeks prior.

Now, I have to admit - I am not much of a pack rat. I describe my garage as being filled with bins, but feel it important to note our single car 1920's garage can still hold a riding mower, a bounce house and our vehicle (comfortably) in addition to my storage bins.

Each year however, as the holiday season concludes, so too do our decorations. Yes, I am the person picking things up the day after Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc. for 75 percent off. I can't resist a good deal, not to mention our kids love a decorated house and, well, I'm not a mom who likes to disappoint.

Speaking of a good deal, I must share the story of the concert program I mentioned earlier, which was found among my things. Since her release of the song 'Holiday' in the early '80s I have been a huge Madonna fan. As I searched among my things, there it was: my concert program from her Virgin Tour. Honestly it was more of an 18-page photo book, not nearly as impressive as programs you see today, but it was the '80s and it was seven bucks.

'What use do I have for this?' I thought, and just as I was about to place it in our garage sale pile, I thought of eBay. Since my daughter is our last child, I have become turned on to the power of eBay and quite enjoy buying and selling on the web quite frequently. So, I thought what the heck, I'll list the program.

Within less than an hour I had sold the item for $24.95 as a 'buy now' price. I was shocked, after all for me this was now garbage I had moved all over California for the past 20 years in a green plastic tub.

Of course this prompted my curiosity, which led me to a seller who had the same program listed for the 'buy now' price of $299.99. I was shocked, but not disappointed. I listed my item for what I felt was fair and if the buyer makes a fat profit at my expense, oh well. After all that is the American way. And as the saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure.

So, I guess the lesson here from my late attempt at Spring cleaning is to be sure and give your 'junk' a second look. That junk just might bring you a little extra holiday cash and some happiness to someone who really feels they need your junk.

(P.S. If you've not yet given eBay a try and are a bit curious, feel free to send an e-mail or give me a call. I'd be more than happy to help get someone started on this basic system that so many have yet to utilize and discover.)

Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.