School time equals playtime

A reader called me the other day to celebrate.

“I’m ready to get back out in the world,” she said with a laugh. “I need to have some fun.”

The caller is a woman who took time out of a busy career to be home full time with her school-aged children. But she’s also a dedicated antiquer. She loves nothing better than to spend a weekend going from one garage sale to another or pushing her shopping cart down the rows of vendors at the flea market. She loves to make unscheduled stops at her favorite little shops during the day before the children get home from school. She hasn’t been to an antique mall all summer and she’s itching to get out and play.

Stay-at-home mothers give up a lot during the summer. They get a more relaxed schedule, a break from the carpool and freedom from packing lunches five days a week, but they also lose the little free time they get during the school day.

When the kids go back to school, that all changes.

September means a chance to do some shopping without tag-alongs. A chance to prowl through the thrift store or even sit down at the computer and play a little eBay without distractions. A chance to indulge in a little treasure hunting.

“I like to think of it as the ‘recess’ in my day,” the caller told me. “It’s when I get outside, run around and have a good time.”

What’s your style?

The woman who called me is a solitary shopper. It’s her time to think and recharge her internal battery. But I hear from others who consider junking a team sport. They gather first thing in the morning for coffee and a quick look at the paper before heading out to see what they can find. These women like to compete to see who can snag the best bargain or dig up the biggest treasure. They like to talk and laugh while they shop.

I talk to men who confess to spending a lunch hour shopping quietly for used books or looking for old tools at thrift stores. It’s how they decompress and shake off a little of the workday tension.

So, which are you? Are you a one-man or one-woman hunter or are you part of a happy group? Give me a call or drop me a line and tell me about your treasure hunting style. I might even join you on one of your excursions.

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