Sold, to number 89!

Another stipulation of our rental agreement is to procure our own washer and dryer. During our first day in Iowa we heard about a local auction that just so happened to be held on that night of every week. Throughout three airplane hanger-style buildings they auction every household and outdoor item you can imagine.

We arrived at 4:30 that day to the smell of Johnsonville brats being barbequed, sweet potato fries being fried, and popcorn being popped. Our eyes immediately met a large case of fresh pies. And let me tell you – Sim is a wonderful partner in crime when it comes to indulgent food that we should eat much less of. He had a piece of chocolate silk pie and I had a piece of strawberry pie. We were already enchanted with country living, but this sealed the deal.

We walked around and inspected the items we wanted to bid on. These included a washing machine (any one of three, actually), and a king-size bed. We’ve had an Ikea full-size bed for 6 years and have wanted to upgrade for a long and uncomfortable time. Plus now we have a guest room (HINT, HINT, people!) to furnish, which can also serve as a spare bedroom for me when Sim decides to imitate a 747 coming in for landing at night.

Soon the auction was ready to start. Sim versed me on auction etiquette so I could bid on items we needed if he was in another area; this planning was essential because they usually have 4-5 auctioneers working different sections at the same time. I have never been so confused in my entire life. Foucault, Derrida, and Nietzsche are easier to understand than an auctioneer. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of attending an auction: It is really like you see in the movies. They speak so incredibly fast and use all kinds of slang and tactics. One second they will have a bidder at $25 and the next be asking for $50, but you can’t always understand this, so it’s easy to raise your card thinking that the same trend, of say $5 increases, is still in use – when in actuality, you just agreed to pay $50 for some piece of crap! There are a million other things that make auctions confusing, and it’s all rooted in the way auctioneers speak. But it is tradition, it elicits emotion and excitement from the audience, and it has a special rhythm. It’s like a dance.

Sim and I had matching cards with the number 89 on them, but Sim was able to do all the bidding for us. He started with a set of Maytag washers. Since they were from the same consigner (i.e., seller), auction etiquette is that the highest bidder gets his/her pick. The bidding for the second item then begins anew. After Sim picked out the newer Maytag washer, winning with a bid of $20. But then no one wanted the older Maytag. So Sim bought it for $2.50 to use for parts if needed. After all, we had driven the magic van and had plenty of room.

We then walked over to the furniture auctioneer and waited patiently for the row of mattresses. Once the auctioneer arrived at the king-sized mattress set Sim also outbid everyone and walked away with it for $100. YES! Now we can actually sleep good AND have more room for our beagle, who sleeps in the middle with her head on a pillow like the spoiled rotten princess she is.


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