My baby-to-be's nursery is more akin to a closet. Essentially, when you step into the room, the next step you walk through a window. Great for her teenage years when she wants to sneak out. Not so great for babyhood when her room must fit a mountain of please-stop-crying newborn necessities. Ironically, the small nursery's closet is the only place that can accommodate a dresser — a tall, skinny dresser. It's the "Sideways Stories From Wayside School" of dressers. It doesn't need to be harnessed to the wall in case of an earthquake; it needs to be harnessed just in case a garbage truck drives down the street or a large bird flies overhead.
The tall-dresser-in-the-closet scenario caused an interesting dilemma when it came to the need for a changing table. My son never used one because we strapped his changing pad to his dresser — his low, long dresser. No baby could be changed on top of my to-be-daughter's Lurch Addams of dressers. A changing table would have to be purchased — a compact tiny one that could fit into the room. Is there such a thing as a Murphy changing table? Because if I could just pull one out of the wall, that would be great.
Last weekend, my neighborhood held a huge yard sale. I live in a very kid-friendly area, so I had high expectations that I would see my fair share of changing table options during the sale. My expectations went unmet. Almost.
A map was handed out to all of the yard sale participants, stating which items would be sold at which houses. One — and only one — house was selling a changing table. I just knew this was the table of my dreams — the kind that makes you feel good about wiping a butt at 3 a.m. It was an inkling. A hunch. The sale began at 8 a.m. I was at their house by 8:05.
The changing table was nowhere to be seen.
Distraught, I asked the sellers whether the changing table had been bought already. Big mistake. I should've just walked away. I should've taken it as a sign. Divine diaper intervention.
The woman slapped her forehead and said, "I knew we forgot something!" Then she sent her husband to get it. The table must've been in the bowels of the garage, because he came back 20 minutes later, covered in sweat and dirt and wheezing. Wheezing because he had just hauled the Goliath of changing tables. This hunk of furniture is probably bigger than the entire nursery. No way, no how could it fit.
I was consumed by guilt. Could I just walk away after this man lugged out his changing monolith for me? I decided yes — yes, I could. That's when he started to cry.
Not cry, per se, but mist. His wife rubbed his back and said, "Oh, look at him. He's getting sentimental." She explained that they had just potty trained their youngest. This changing table had served them well for nearly a decade.
"Are we sure we're done having kids?" he asked his wife. Say no, I pleaded in my mind. Say no, and keep the table.
"Are you really ready to give away all of these memories for just $15?" he asked his wife.
I saw my chance to get out of the deal.
"You shouldn't sell those memories short," I said. "Wait for someone who can pay more. It's fine."
"No," the wife said. "The changing table is yours. It just warms our heart knowing it's going to a good home."
There was one last chance to get out of buying the dresser. My car! The changing table of Gibraltar could not fit in my car — or any car, for that matter. But the husband offered to drive it over to my house in his truck. I was stuck.
As the hours passed, I hoped and hoped that the family from a few streets over would just rob me. These folks had my $15; maybe they would just keep the changing table and the money! My fingers were crossed.
Sadly, you just can't count on bad people anymore. Where are all the thieves? The crooks? The opportunists? With a heavy heart, my neighbor dropped off his beloved dresser and said, "Take good care of her."
I will. I'm taking her to the nicest Goodwill.
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