It's scavenger season at our place. If you have a son or daughter who is heading off to college or university, you should know exactly what I'm talking about. It's the nesting instinct reborn in your very own offspring. And, as they start to hunt and gather the goods they will need for the upcoming school year (whether that will be a year in residence or in an apartment shared with friends), things at home that they've rolled their eyes at forever become newly chic because they're free.
Case in point: we almost had a bidding war over a third-hand TV set that can only be turned on using the remote. (All of the shiny silver hardware on the front of the set had long since been been rendered useless by the time we inherited the set from its previous owner, who was only too happy to put the circa 1980s beast out to pasture at our cottage.)
Of course, you have to understand that the siblings don't use anything as crass as currency to bid on items that are up for grabs. They use their debating skills. The most popular debating category by a mile? Who is most deserving of the item in question (the ultimate parental Catch 22).
One of the contestants has found a way to do an end run around his siblings when it comes to scoring the best back-to-school bling. His strategy? Go shopping with a parent and ask that parent to pick up the tab for his basket of high-priced toiletries. (If you're not going to see him for the next few months, how can you begrudge the kid one over-priced package of razors? Etc.)
I can't figure out why one of the hottest items available in the family surplus department has yet to be scooped up by anyone: an almost-brand-new set of non-stick pots and pans (used once, on Canada AM, during a parenting segment about preparing healthy snacks for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers). Apparently, everyone has been able to beg or borrow nicer pots and pans from other scavenging sources. I can't help but feel a little bit offended. My pots and pans aren't scavenge-worthy? Thanks. Thanks a lot.
There is, of course, a method in our parental madness: we're hoping that the scavengers will leave us with what years of intermittent decluttering has not: a house with a lot less stuff. So keep shopping at home, kids. But move quickly. With prices this great, this stuff won't last. Take, for example, this amazing set of pots and pans.....