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Monday, February 6, 2012

Money,How I Went From $150,000 to Nothing In A Heart Beat & Back

 Sometimes things happen from circumstances that we have no control over.  How we react to them can determine the outcome.  I am a sort of a go with the flow type person.  Over the course of life I found not going with the flow sometimes creates more problems than it solved.  In January 2004 my income level went from between $150,000 and $180,000 to nothing in the time it takes your heart to beat, or not beat, which was my experience.  I drove my own truck till I had a heart attack and they put a defibrillator in me.  A defibrillator makes you no longer fit to have a commercial driver's license.  It made me eligible for disability but there is a six month waiting period till you get your first check.  Needless to say this can wreck a budget and took some quick adapting.  First thing I did was sell my truck, trailer and equipment.  Then we sold off some land that we had. We made it through that time and never missed a payment. At the end of it all my wife and I managed to make everything work within our new budget.

The only thing I had a hard time selling was my barn.  My daughters helped me turn it from a liability to an asset.  Driving a truck I had a large barn in the small town. It was a 105 years old and originally the local livery stable. It still had the horse stalls in it.  It was a good place to work on and park my truck when I was home.  After getting rid of the truck I did not have a clue what I was going to do with it. 

 My daughters realized I was getting in a funk and needed something to do.  Every year our little town has a city wide yard sale.  My daughters asked if they could use my barn to set up in so they would not have to pick everything up overnight.  They just bought the stuff in off the side walk and closed the doors.  The building had over 5000 sq.ft. of space.  Several weeks after the city wide yard sale I asked my daughters when they were going to come get "their" stuff?  Their reply was. "Oh, that is your stuff now."  Well I slowly built me a wood shop in the back of the shop and would set stuff out if I was working in my wood shop.  It made a few dollars a week.
Then the game changer happened.  My youngest daughter had a brain tumor which was diagnosed about six months before I had my heart attack.  Glenda fought a good fight for seven years and never lost her spirit or her will to fight.  She went home in August 2010.  She was more ready than any of us. She taught me the meaning of the word character.  Her memorial service let me know the impact she had made on the world in her thirty-three years.  That is another story for later.  Anyhow one of my wife's cousins was moving back to Texas and he had an old square hay baler.  He donated it to a fund raiser we had for my daughter.  He told us if we did not get a $1000 he would take it back and give her the money.  Well I got nominated to get rid of it.

After a little checking around, one of the ladies my wife worked with at the time said to take it to "Dinky's."  Dinky's is an Amish auction that is held every Friday night starting at 6PM.  Actually it is ten auctions at once.  They have two cattle auctions.  One is large cattle like cows, horses and pigs.  The other is small stuff like rabbits, ducks, chickens and peacocks to name a few things, a furniture auction, box lots auction, barnyard auctions, where they sell fence posts, feeders and whatever.  They also have a vehicle auction, hay auction,  high dollar auction where they sell collectables, mowers and motor cycles auction.    One that I call a garage clean out auction,  beause that is what it looks like.  Oh yeah and a household decorations auction. 
Well I took the hay baler over there like the ladies husband told me and got there at noon.  He advised that so I would get top dollar.  It starts high and at the end they are giving it away. We were in it for the money and it paid off.  However I had to wait till almost 10PM to collect the money after the auctions were all over.  With the hundreds of Amish horse buggies it is pretty neat..  We got about $1500 out of the hay baler if I remember right.  The problem was I had time to kill and I wound up spending about $20 and bought a whole pickup load of stuff.   I figured I could sell it at my barn and make money. My business was born. Oh yeah, I forgot the ten baby ducks for two dollars.  I just bid to get the bidding going and nobody bid against me. Lesson learned, if you don’t really want it keep your mouth shut.

 It started with a good omen so to speak.  I bought an old console stereo system with turntable, radio and an eight track tape player for a $1.  When I got it to my shop I started cleaning it out. The cabinet under the turntable had about thirty 33 1/3 RPM records and  almost a hundred 45 RPM records.  I was telling my grandson what I had and he was looking at me like I was speaking a foreign language.  It also had a wind chime still in the box, almost a dozen VHS tapes brand new and never opened.  It also had a few other odds and ends.  There was a small thing that looked like a miniature safe. which appeared to be a piggy bank.

 I plugged it in and the radio worked fine,  So did the turn table.  I used the turn table as a sound system for my shop until the time I sold the building.  After cleaning out the stereo cabinet I took a break and started fiddling with the little safe.  Well I finally got it open and it had $23.74 cents in it.  Eighteen of the dollars were silver dollars. The rest was in real silver dimes, Indian head and Lincoln head pennies.  I divided most of the silver dollars among my daughters and grand kids. The other stuff I sold and made almost a hundred dollars.  I still have the stereo and the little safe.  I was watching American Pickers, a TV show about junking, and they had a little safe just like mine and they said it was worth about $75.  So I would say I got my dollars worth out of that deal.  The problem was I was hooked on it.
Nowadays I do auctions, flea markets, farmers markets and yard sales and simply buy sell and trade to make my spending and gas money.  While I am not getting rich at it, it helps.  If a younger person in good health did it and was dedicated they could make some good money at it.  At present I am building me a new barn where I can do my crafts that I take to the markets to sell.

Another money maker is going to farm auctions and buying outdated farm equipment for virtually nothing, then taking a cutting torch and cutting it up for scrap metal.  This one you have to not mind getting burnt (literally) and must be in half ways decent physical health which eliminates it for me.  It can end up making ten to twenty if not more times the money you spent. 

My thing is making art and crafts from old bottles, pans and silverware and it sells fairly well as recycled art.  It is all one of a kind stuff.  It gives me something to do.  For a while I was into buying broken wood furniture for virtually nothing at the auctions and repairing it.   Then I would sell it for next to nothing to help people who are just starting out.  The barn I had was originally a horse barn and my goal was to divide it into storage units. Then I planned to rent the units, but a percentage of them I wanted to fill with furniture.  My goal was to have what a family would need to start out.  Couch, chairs, dining set, beds and whatever anyone would need if they were starting out.  Then if I heard of a house fire I would be able to say here you go.  Just give it a good home when you are done with it. That all ended when I got a good offer on the building and sold it.

Being 65+ has its advantages.  I am over the make a buck thing and know that helping others pays far more than a dollar ever will.  It does not hurt to conserve where you can though.  It takes adapting.  We paid $75 every three months to get rid of trash prior to my heart attack.  While I could not do a lot I did learn to sort it into groups.  I had recyclables, which went a couple directions.  Plastics went to the community center and free disposal.  Pop cans went to a metal recycling center and made money.  I also learned to make green/recycled bird feeders and houses from the trash and now I figure I might make money if I am careful from what used to cost me to get rid of.

It is amazing what you can make out of stuff instead of sending it to the land fill.  Thanks to all the family, friends and acquaintances that have helped me enjoy the last eight years of my life.  Sometimes we forget to say thanks. Hopefully this will be around to tell those who shared my life I miss them and hope to see them all again soon, but not too soon. Not that I have any plans on leaving anytime soon. Writing this just put me in nostalgic mood.

Life is short, enjoy it.   KNOW JESUS, KNOW PEACE

                                            no Jesus,  no peace                  

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