The last few nights I have been having travel dreams.  Not happy travel dreams, literal dreams about me trying to get from point A to B.  In the dreams I am encountering lots of obstacles and running late, etc.  I have also been thinking a lot about my personal life goals.  Wanting to save more, get out of debt, create other streams of income, invest, etc. I think, and my beautiful wife confirmed, the dreams are likely my mind responding to the stress I am putting on myself.  This makes sense because while I was finishing my masters, working full time and trying to raise a family, I would have dreams about being in a class and having a major test, but not having gone to that class in weeks.  Or being back in band and needing to perform a technical piece I had not practiced.  The mind trying to deal with that feeling of not being prepared.
Today I am making time to deal with some of that.  I have to do some mundane stuff like mow the lawn and buy kitty litter, but I will also be getting some pictures made of things I can sell and get to posting.  I was held back from posting because I hate eBay and their severe anti-seller policies.  I also wanted to get everything in order and post all at once.  Instead, I’m setting the goal of posting just one thing each day so I’m not overwhelmed and using sites like Bonanza and Craigslist.

Damn you eBay!!

So my auctions went really well, everything sold, some better than I hoped others not as well; all pretty typical.  I have used eBay for many years, a member since ’99 I have seen a few transactions go bad for various reasons.  Well, this one has been unique.
A single buyer won the majority of the silver dollars.  All my other winners paid quickly, within a day of the auction ending.  One was a little slow, but I had some communications with them so all was good.  But after two days and two tries, I was getting nothing from the big winner.  I was very polite and told them if I heard nothing by noon the next day, I would just assume they were forfeiting.  I go in and try to “report a problem” but eBay locks that out for four whole days.  It says “work it out with the buyer” which is difficult when they are unresponsive.

I see it is possible to make a “Second Chance Offer” to other bidders, so I do and even have a buyer contact me and made payment.  It was not until it was all done that you find out it creates a new transaction entirely so you have to cancel the original auction which requires the original buyer to ok or reject it.  It has been a while since I was on eBay last, but they have clearly made it much more difficult to sell there.  This one transaction has been such a headache in an otherwise great moment of clearing out stuff I don’t want for stuff I do.  Now I am not sure how I want to handle my MTG cards since eBay seems to be more trouble than it is worth.

Update:  The original buyer decided to jump in at the last moment and complete the transaction.  Yay I sold the things, but boo I had to tell the two other “Second Chance” winners that the deadbeat decided to make good all without a single written word to me.  Lesson learned, if you buy on eBay, you have four full days to pay and you don’t have to communicate with the seller at all. 

End of an Era

I wrote earlier about selling the last of my comic collection.  Today I am mailing out the last set.  I tried multiple ways of selling including going to a local comic swap, posting the entire collection on Craigslist and finally putting the books in 6-10 book lots and selling them on eBay.  The swap netted me about $80, though I practically gave some great books away.  I got one nibble from Craigslist to buy the collection (700 books) for $400.  That is a steal at about $0.57 per books that sell for $3-4 not to mention older collectables worth many times more.  In the end, selling on eBay after all the fees, I netted slightly more with a whole lot more hassle. 

I was asked if I was at least a little sad to be selling the collection I had worked so hard to put together.  At first it was a littler hard, but it got a lot easier as I stared at the stack of boxes I had no intention of opening.  Whatever I might have lost in the buying and selling process I made up for by enjoying the books I had, getting a little money back and gain a lot more space.

Saying Good-bye to Old Friends

This past weekend I went to a comic show, not as a buyer but as a seller.  I have seven short boxes (Exterior L 15.75 X W 7.5 X H 10.75) full of comics, six of which are just the premium books I kept after the last sell off two years ago.  I also had/have about 100lbs of Magic the Gathering (MTG) cards.  I use pounds since I have no idea how many there are, just a lot!  I had made the decision to travel lighter through life, not to be defined by my things as a good friend put it so eloquently.  So I took some time, got it all organized and headed to Dallas on a cold Sunday morning to see if I could find them some new homes.  

I had resolved to get rid of them “no matter what”.  I had a little sign saying “make me an offer”.  I was ready to go.  As one would expect, one of the other sellers there was the first to come by and eventually make the first purchase.  What I was most surprised at was the slightly queasy feeling in my stomach as I was handed the cash and I handed over the books.  Wasn’t I mentally and physically prepared for this?  I mean, the darn things just sat in my closet for the last two years doing nothing for me.  I have not read them or even taken them out to look at them.  

As the day drew on, very few people came through, but I did have one guy with a spiral bound notebook.  carefully detailing all the Wolverine comics he had and what he needed.  As luck would have it, that is the character I had specialized in for my collection.  I had a very complete collection including the entire regular monthly series, many of the mini and key appearances.  The gentleman pulled a few books, we haggled.  He left, came back and he walked away happy.  I even overheard him speaking with the event organizer about how happy he was that the show had been done and what a great deal he got (he really did).  I was relieved at least that those few books were going into an appreciated collection.

Of all the people there, I probably walked away with the most cash.  Not because I am a great salesman, but because I was willing to let it go regardless of my personal loss.  Driving home, I was pretty exhausted even though I was sitting the entire day.  After thinking about it, it made sense.  I have invested a lot of time, energy and money into the collection.  It has defined me to some extent.  Letting it go was hard.  It still is since I have most of the collection to sell.  But I feel better about it.  As I am going through with my decision, it is getting easier.  While I cannot understand fully why so many people hang on to so much stuff, I do understand that getting rid of things can be emotional, at least of some level, and that makes the whole exercise both that much more difficult and rewarding. 

Best. Decision. Ever.

I have been a fan of comic books for many years.  Somewhere around 14, my cousin Mike got me an X-Men graphic novel (collected comics in book form) and I was hooked.  I recall liking one character in particular: Wolverine.  Not sure what drew me to the Canuck, the fact he can be hurt but not killed, the ability to heal quickly, sharp claws or mysterious past?  I made a trip to the local comics store and found he had his own title.  After reading it, and others, you learn Wolvy always takes up for the underdog and the lost cause he defends the weak and forgotten.  I collected other titles, but Wolverine was my title.
Fast forward many years, I have sold off most of my collection but held on to this title.  Being inspired by great organizers, thoughts on simpler living after much thought, I decided I wanted to lighten my load, get rid of things and replace them with meaningful objects and experiences.  I had already decided to get rid of most of my Magic the Gathering cards when I went to my closet and saw the six short boxes of comics I had not opened in a while.  I knew they all had to go.  They were tying me down, holding me back, taking up a lot of valuable floor space.
What are my options.  One person suggested I toss them outright.  This person missed the fact I have been collecting them and the emotional attachment I have to them.  I ma willing to let them go, but not seem them destroyed.  I could send them to a great comic shop, Newkadia, but between the shipping and the fees, I’d get almost nothing.  I have seriously considered giving them all to charity.  I get a take write off of the fair market value (which I likely could not get if I sold them) and I can help a good cause.  The trouble is finding an organization I like that will take the comics and the time to sell them and get the cash.  There is always ebay and serendipitously, there is a comic show coming to Dallas in the next couple of weeks.  $50 for a table and 9 hours of people looking for what I am trying to get rid of.
I think I will do a combo of all three.  Go to the comic show and sell what I can of the MTG cards and comics.  With a little luck an enterprising comic dealer will buy me out and I’ll be done.  When that does not happen, I’ll take the comics and try selling them in lots on ebay.  Whatever is left is going to charity.  The whole thing requires a lot more effort (and some money out of pocket) but the chance for reward is greater.  So if anyone out there has some comic related stuff dying to be sold, maybe you can make the trip with me.