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Fabulous Trash

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Fabulous Trash

Hmm...let's see how I'm doing on the New Year's resolutions so far:

Well, I'm proud to say that I've stayed true and haven't had a single slice of pizza. (I have, however, eaten a couple cheeseburgers, and more than my share of doughnuts!)

When I vacuum, I've been making sure to pick up the dirt and dust and cat hair around the edges of the carpet where the wall meets the floor. I was overlooking that and things were starting to look pretty hairy! :)

And what about my third resolution, to get back into the workforce by April? I wouldn't be upset if you Jeanketeers thought that I bombed out on that one. After all, it does seem like a pretty ambitious goal. Well, guess what: Not only am I employed, I'm doing something I love!

I've been helping my buddy Fulgencio run his stall at the Riverside Indoor Flea Market for a little over a month now. Isn't that terrific? Flea markets and Jean Teasdale go together like Mork and Mindy! I was excited enough when the Riverside Indoor Flea Market opened its doors last October, but if you had told me then I'd actually be working there, I would have hated you for toying with my emotions like that. I would have hated you very much.

Anyhow, Fulgencio finally quit his data- entry job at stupid South Central Insurance to finally chase his twin dreams of fashion design and antiques dealing. He's a real go-getter, that one: When he's not working on costumes for who I call his "dress-up friends," he's on eBay selling antiques he's picked up at garage sales. Not long after the indoor flea market opened, he started renting a stall to sell off his less valuable stuff, like toys and china and old magazines, paperbacks, and videotapes. And guess who he put in charge?

"Girl, lift that big booty of yours off that sofa, and put it down on a folding chair at the flea market," Fulgencio said. "I can't think of nobody better to run my stall. I seen you work it at your Santa store last year, dressed up like some crazy-ass paper snowball, and I know you can do this!" I can't tell you how wonderful that made me feel.

Fulgencio promised me $20 a day plus 10 percent of each sale. So if somebody buys 12 bucks worth of knickknacks and some back issues of Modern Bride, I get $1.20. That might not seem like a lot, but if we get a bunch of paying customers, I could be looking at $30 a day, maybe. Times that by six (the flea market's closed on Mondays) and I could be bringing home $180 a week.

Fulgencio calls his stall "¡Basura Fabulosa!" which means (get this) "Fabulous Trash!" in Spanish. Even the sign he made for it is creative: He took thick Styrofoam and fashioned letters out of it, then stretched this spangly fabric over the Styrofoam and hung each letter on these wall-length metal grids we use to hang old pictures and stuff.

Aside from unloading and packing up the stuff, there's hardly any work involved. Fulgencio picks out the stuff he wants to sell, we load it up in my car, and off we run. Fulgencio helps me set up, then leaves, and I'm on my own for the next six hours. Another fantastic perk: Except for weekends, which tend to be bustling, the joint is practically dead. That gives me ample opportunity to read Modern Bride and explore this big treasure house. One stall sells nothing but distressed weather vanes, another sells doll heads (I'm still not sure whether that's adorable or creepy), and one lady vends fudge and Turkish delight. (Question: Is Turkish delight supposed to taste gritty?)

Best of all, though, the slow weekdays give me the opportunity to get my pom-pom critters craft-making back in full force! Oh, I never surrendered that dream, Jeanketeers, only deferred it. I set up a separate table for my hot-glue gun and pom-poms and googly eyes. No one's bought any, yet, but I won't stop making them until I have a whole army of them.

There's been complications, though: One afternoon Fulgencio dropped in unexpectedly and discovered me working on them, and suddenly his brows knitted and his normally fluttery voice lowered an octave or two. He said that his stall was for his stuff only, and that he was paying me to work for him, and if I wanted to sell my pom-pom critters, I'd have to fork over half of his stall rent. He had never spoken like that to me before. It kind of reminded me of Ricky Ricardo when he got mad at Lucy. I was actually a little scared. I really hope that Fulgencio doesn't become like every one of my past supervisors, or worse, one of those coldhearted CEOs who only think about profits.

But for now, I'm grateful to Fulgencio for giving me this job. I could stay indoors all day and watch Golden Girls reruns, or I could stay indoors all day and work at this amazing flea market. I still get to be indoors, and Golden Girls reruns air in the evening, too.

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