I didn’t think garage sale folks were the type to buy cement mixers. “That should go on craigslist,” I told dad. “Yeah? You think you can sell it on there?” His look said, “I’m not so sure about this, but you’re my daughter, and know more about technology than I do, so I’ll let you try it.” He knew of the many things I had done with craigslist – found roommates, found apartments, found a subletter, bought a bike, sold some furniture – but he didn’t really trust it. “I’ll need a picture of it,” I said. “What else can you sell on there?” he asked as we looked around the odd collection of stuff in his barn. I took pictures of a sink, a tub shower, and an air conditioner. “Wait – let me show you something,” he said and took off towards the pool. “You think you can sell this?” he asked. “What is that?” I asked. “It’s an old pool cleaner. Still works.” “Who knows,” I said as I snapped my picture.
That day I posted his stock on the craigslist site for our area. The next morning, as a friend and I drove up the hill towards my parents house to do more garage sale prep, I saw a pick up truck coming in the other direction with a cement mixer in its bed. “You think that’s your dad’s cement mixer?” asked my friend. “Do you really think it’s anyone else’s at 7AM on a Saturday morning?” I responded. When we got to the house I asked dad, “Did I just see your cement mixer going down the hill?” “Yeah – isn’t that amazing? That guy drove a few hours to pick that thing up – and he even paid me for it!”
Dad couldn’t believe it. By the next morning he found a taker for the pool cleaner and decided I should post an ad for some paving bricks. “They’re 4×8. I have about a thousand of them,” he told me. The next morning I posted the ad with my dad’s cell phone number and went about my business. An hour later dad called. “Craigslist is amazing.” No hello, no how are you. That was his first line. I laughed. “You have to show me how to use that. I’ve got all kinds of things I want to get rid of,” he told me. This from the man who steadfastly refuses advances in technology until he’s forced into them, and then promptly becomes their biggest fan. I had converted him.
There’s a certain kind of joy in teaching your parents something new. For years and years and years they’ve taught me new things, provided me with advice and insights. I know I’ll never repay them, but in some small way I feel like I decrease my debt each time I open their eyes to something.