July 17, 2009

She Hate Me

Sally does not like the way I sort books. She takes pains to tell me this three times a year when we both volunteer to set up a fundraising book sale. Junior High School politics are long past for me, so I swallow the urge to bray, "You are not the boss of me!" I smile and go on my merry way, sorting books in a manner that apparently annoys her. A lot.

I have been volunteering for this organization a very long time, long before Sally ever bought her little book sale bar code scanner and went into the book collecting/selling business. Before that, a handful of volunteers gabbed and sorted, recommending books for each others' children and grandchildren and whiling away a few hours. After sorting and arranging, I purchase books for myself, the boys, Hart's house and the Dawes School PTO used book sale. But it's all become very cutthroat now. Sally means business.

At the last sale, I had Hart along with me. He announced that he wanted the final two Harry Potter books. Sally is affirmatively NOT in the market for anything Harry Potter-related. Sally is a Christian fundamentalist home-schooler (and a Muggle). She is looking for science books that show co-existing dinosaurs and humans. (I am not making this up.) So it was a mild surprise that the two Harry Potter books I'd set aside by my purse were gone not three minutes later. "I didn't know they were yours," Sally said. Right.

I suspect that Sally hopes I will just leave the volunteer cadre. Of course, now this will never happen. Are we competitors for the same books? Maybe, but book collecting is really just a hobby for me and I have no interest in My First Bible or anything related to creationism and Sally is happy to leave the books on Jewish holidays and crafts to me.

Everyone else I have told this story to has a differing theory. Jewish people shake their heads and say, "That is just mean and petty." But non-Jews have a different read. "Does she know you are Jewish?" Of course. "There's your answer," a friend told me gravely. A devout Christian friend laughed heartily. "You know she believes you have no purpose to exist." This makes me feel vaguely icky, but sad. I can't win her over. I haven't done anything to deliberately antagonize her.

So today, when I found an entire carton of books I know Sally collects, I bought the whole box. When the inevitable directive about my book sorting came, I took my ear buds out and said, "No. I don't want to do it that way." I still felt icky and petty, but at least with the music on, I could not hear her response.

July 9, 2009

Happy . . . scrappy

I am in the market for a scrapbook. Scrapbook, noun: bound book of blank sheets of sturdy paper. I wish to glue down photos, clippings and awards in such an album. "Scrapbooking!" the clerk at the craft supply store said delightedly. "We have several aisles for that."

So now I know: Scrapbook, verb, is quite different from its archaic noun form. Scrapbooking, verb, requires lots of expensive supplies and arcane equipment. There are racks of backing paper, fancy scissors, stickers, glitter, glue and doodads manufactured specifically for members of the scrapbooking sorority, known as "scrappers." All very well, I thought when this was explained to me. I'll just buy a album or two and be on my way before Jeff has a meltdown in the dinosaur-themed aisle.

Alas, no. These new-fangled items have clear mylar sleeves. "But there are no pages. Do you just slide stuff in?" The clerk smiled, "You have to buy the paper." Aha. That explains the wall lined with racks of themed papers. "I don't want that. I am looking for . . . ," I was feeling desperate now. "Like your grandmother has, a bound book with construction paper pages, and a gold string holding it together . . . ." She shook her head sadly, "I scrapbook and I have never seen something like that."

The lady at the Hallmark store had about forty years on the craft store clerk. "I am looking for something I call a 'scrapbook'," I offered tentatively. "Who is it for?" Huh? I could see things were not going to end well here either. Scrapbooking is all about the theme. This dawned on me whil I examined albums of plastic sleeves with Mickey Mouse, wedding bells or sports logos on them. When I rejected all the displayed albums as having the dreaded plastic instead of paper pages, the Hallmark lady snapped, "You will have to make that yourself!"

The young man at Marshall's was much more helpful. "I have just come here in my time machine," I told him. "I am looking for a thing I call 'scrapbook'." "Ooooh, I have seen one," he told me. "It had paper pages with stuff glued on them." Exactly. "We don't have them. Have you tried a craft supply store?"

So I bought two of what Marshall's calls scrapbooks, along with two discounted packs of themed paper. Sure, there are storks with blue banners reading "It's a boy!" but the reverse side is solid gray. Now all I need is rubber cement. Do they still make that?