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There are going to be bad days.  Lots of them.  Sometimes it seems that the bad days pile on and consume what few good days we are fortunate enough to have.  Of course, that sentiment is usually reflected while in the eye of a really bad day.  And even though our pickin’ days are usually filled with fun, sun and lots of bidding, this would not be that type of weekend.

The day started dreary and cold.  There had been so many nice days leading to this day, you would think I could remember those nice days just recently in my wake, but I couldn’t.  Bone chilling air tends to erase the memory of anything other than the previous cold breath hanging in space in the form of a personal dark cloud.

I was already a bit grumpy because I was to strike out on my own this morning.  Business was doing well so Jill opted to man the warm shop while I set out in search of elusive goodies.  To clarify, I was grumpy since I would not have Jill to chat with while riding the rolling hills of Kentucky, not because she would stay behind in the warm shop.  Ok, I have described it as “warm shop” twice, so maybe I was a bit envious.

The first sale was a couple going thru, what the locals tell me, a bitter divorce.  I speculated that the morning matched their expectation for the mood the sale would soon establish.  Not much to pick from, but I did find some unexpected treasures in the form of a custom dresser, a sewing table and a couple of hand-made wood sculptures.  The church pew went for way too much.  As did the pie safe.  As did all the miscellaneous beer signage and collectables.  The auctioneer thought they should have gone for even more money!  “What, no Catholics in the crowd?  They usually pay tons for these things!”  Auctioneers are not yet bound by the laws of political correctness, far as I can tell.

I enlisted the help of a skinny armed 15 year-old to load my trailer.  This time I had the open trailer, regardless of the possibility of inclement weather.  Fuel prices had killed us on the last run with the covered trailer so I was determined to use my pilot abilities to dodge the weather, and use my expertise in tarp-tying to protect the goods.  The skinny armed boy huffed and grunted to help me with my purchases.  He finally gave up on the dresser and I was left to load the big unit myself.  We chatted about his upcoming car fantasies, even though that dream was a good year off being realized.  He told me of some possible treasures he saw hidden in the basement while they were staging the auction.  I gave him a few bucks for the info and assistance, finished the auction and headed down the road.

While en route, I passed a downed road sign.  I have a thing for road signs.  My garage is nearly covered with them.  I even have friends and family bring me signs they have found or purchased.  The way I figure, if the sign has been laying there long enough to grow grass, it’s fair game. I chalk it up as my own Kentucky beautification project.  I went past the sign, turned around in a driveway and headed back for my roadside prize.  Checking that the coast was clear, I stepped from my truck and begin masquerading as though I was looking at my trailer.  Then I heard it!  “GRRRRRRRR!”  I turned around to find a pair of Pit Bull dogs staring at me with the same intensity as a Grizzly stares at a steak.  As a Biker stares at a Beer.  As a West Virginian stares at a math problem.  I mean intense.  I eased around the back side of my truck, always facing the dogs and occasionally gruffing “No!” or “You be good.”  I got to the front the same time they did…damn dogs, always finding a short-cut.  I eased in the driver’s seat as a car popped the hill.  The dogs scurried away, and so did I, although only one of us had their tail between their legs.  Those beasts can have their sign!

Chased by a dog!  Hmph…not a bad day yet.  I continued down the road to the next auction.  I knew I would be arriving late, but I figured I would give it a shot.  By the time I found the place, parked and found the entrance it was pretty much over.  I didn’t even bother getting a bid number.  I asked one of the ring men if they were wrapping up.

“Yep…we’re ’bout done.”

“I guess I should have been here sooner huh?” I said, just trying to be nice.

“Yea man!  Things went cheap!  I mean, you see that couch right thar?”  I looked where his crooked finger abstractly  pointed.  Now I am not exaggerating…before me sat the ugliest couch I have ever laid eyes upon.  It was so ugly, it wasn’t even cool ugly.  I was just plain-ole UG-LEEEE!  “Well sir, that thar couch only sold fer a doller!”

“No kidding.”  I returned, again just being nice.  And a little sarcastic.  “That’s pretty cheap.”

“Hell yea it is.  Tell you what, what’ll ya give me fer it?”  He bought the couch!  And he was trying to up his UG-LEEE investment on me!

“Oh, I don’t have any room left on the trailer, but believe me, I would!  That’s a nice ‘en.”  I quickly scurried off for the second time in a day.

Chased by a dog and missed an auction.  Ok, still pretty good day.  Afterall, I was heading to the shop to unload my finds and see my Jill.  After a quick assessment and needed validation of the days labor, Jill and I headed out for a bite-to-eat and beverage.  We chatted about the day, the dogs, the couch and such.  I could tell she missed going to the auction, so I told here about one more sale within driving distance that didn’t start until 6:00.  It wasn’t far away.  We woofed down our final bites of food and headed to the house for a quick equipment change (unloading the trailer and putting on clean clothes) and headed out.

The drive was a bit longer than I calculated.  I usually under-estimate time figuring I can make up the difference by driving a smidge below maniac classification.  But this was a narrow two lane highway and we got stuck behind a school bus.  To make matters worse, the school bus had one of those flashing bulbs on the roof.  Why do they do that?  I know the claim is that the flashing lights make it easier to see the bus, therefore more safe, but you can’t see when you are behind flashing lights in the darkness.  It practically blinds you!  Can’t imagine how that makes if safer, having a bunch of blinded drivers bearing down on the little ones.

A short while later, following the recovery of my rods and cones, we arrived at the last auction of the day.  We walked inside to find this little middle-of-nowhere packed to the ceiling with people.  And although the stuff was really neat, it was going for astronomical prices.  Where did this auction house get such cool stuff?  And where did all these people come from?  It was a little Twilight Zone-ish.  I was tired, Jill was tired, and the horrible PA system was getting on our nerves.  I can only assume the auction house bought their speaker second-hand from an old Long John Silvers drive-thru because that is what it sounded like.  We decided to ditch the auction, lick our wounds and head home to a warm bed.

Chased by a dog, missed an auction and had to ditch an auction after a long drive.  Still a good day.  At least we would be home soon.  We arrived home about an hour later.  Jill headed to the computer to check her emails and I hit the couch for a much needed review of some bad television.  I had just gotten comfortable when I decided to check my email.

“Jill, where’s the iPad?”

“I dunno, you had it last.”

“I thought you had it.”

“Well I know we had it at the auction…”

Any married couple knows the scene that followed.  Code red, thrashing thru the house, dismantling the Suburban, searching every nook and cranny…to no avail.  We had somehow left the iPad at the last auction house.  It was a two hour trip far, far away from my comfortable couch.  We weren’t sure who left it, but it didn’t matter.  We had to go get it.  We called and called, trying to reach the auction house to see if our trip was even necessary.  We figured it was long gone.  We finally did reach the auction house about 10 minutes out.  They hadn’t seen the iPad but promised to make an announcement to see if anyone had found it.  By the time we arrived the iPad was sitting up front waiting for us.  GREAT!  What a relief.  We gave each other a glance and finally…finally…were headed for home.

Chased by a dog, missed an auction, bad auction house, lost iPad.  Ugh…what a rough day.  The final nail in the coffin came from my trusty GPS.  Apparently the “Geep-Us”, as I call it, was tired as well.  It routed us home a different direction than our inbound route.  I just figured she must have found a quicker route.  Maybe the “Geep-Us” knew of an unpublished route, or maybe a bridge to a teleportation wormhole that would instantly return me to my couch.  No such luck.

For some reason she took me the long route, increasing our time home by half.  I had been on the road over eight hours thru the course of the day and never left Kentucky.  Hell I hadn’t even gone more that about an hour and-a-half from home at any given time.  I was exhausted.  Ok, to sum up:  chased by a dog, missed an auction, went to a bad-loud-expensive auction, lost my iPad and “Geep-Us” took the long way home.  Pretty bad day.  But I still wouldn’t change it for anything.