Pregnant Peppy

We have a lovely older mare named Peppy. She was the go-to horse for Garris while he learned how to compete in rodeo. He used her for barrels, poles, breakaway, goat tying, calf roping, and ribbon roping. Cyris used her for calf roping and heeling. He even headed a few on her, when his heading partner missed. She’s not a big horse, but she pulled those steers for Cy, which saved their team roping runs.

She was one of those horses that was willing to do whatever was asked of her. In addition, she has an awesome personality. She’s laid back, friendly, and just a solid horse. Cy took a different horse to college, as his calf roping horse. A year ago, his heeling horse came up lame, so he came and got Peppy for a Wrangler roping. After being off her for over a year, he won a saddle and had an absolutely wonderful day roping on her. He said she just felt like home.

Garris took her to the National Junior High Rodeo for two years. We made the tough decision to retire her after his seventh grade year. Her front end had started hurting. Not all the time. And not severely. But enough that it was getting hard to back out of the trailer. When she was standing at the trailer, she’d try to find a comfortable position.

I hated to take her out of competition. But I wanted her to have a few years to simply be a horse and enjoy life. She looks great, about half of her age. Her back is great shape, so she’s still healthy.

We tried to breed her last year, but the pregnancy didn’t endure. This year, we tried again with a different stud, and with more veterinary assistance. I took her in for pre-natal care. We had an ultrasound and blood work done, to ensure that she was a viable candidate for pregnancy. The vet said if he didn’t know her age, he’s guess he was looking at a two- or three-year old mare based on her ultrasounds.

Sometimes, older maiden mares simply cannot carry a foal to term. They have lowered progesterone levels in their bodies. They often times get pregnant, but can’t stay pregnant because of the deficit of that hormone.

Once we bred her and checked to make sure she had caught, we started her on a hormone regimen. She’s been taking Regimate, a synthetic progesterone, to keep her pregnant. I started putting it in her grain daily, and just last week switched to injectible, which is required every eight days. If we can make it one more month, she should be out of danger of spontaneous abortion of the foal.

Other than the added care for her advanced age, this is very exciting for us. I’m usually not crazy about breeding mares. The last time I did was 24 years ago when I had my barrel racing mare bred in order to get a colt out of her. Most of the time, people can go out and buy a colt that’s just as good or better than the colt they’re trying to breed. But in our case, because Peppy has been such an integral part of the boys’ rodeo life, we wanted to extend her genes.

She’s one of those horses that should have babies. She’s a natural athlete. She’s easy to ride, shoe, and care for. In fact, I can give her a shot by myself while she’s loose. She doesn’t even flinch or move when the needle goes in. She comes when you call her in the pasture. And she’ll choose her own halter.

The stud we found is also of the geriatric demographic. He’s 22, but looks ten years younger. He has a similar personality to Peppy: easy going, loves attention, and willing to try anything thrown at him. If we get a colt from him, I’m positive it’s going to be a gem.

Now, the boys are fighting over who gets this colt. Cy thinks he should get it, because the foaling date is close to his birthday. Plus, since he did most of the roping training on her, he thinks of her as his horse. However, Garris thinks the colt should be his, since Peppy was basically his competition horse from the time he was four years old. She took care of him while he competed in the pee wee dummy roping and goat tail tying. And as he advanced into the older age groups, she advanced with him. So he thinks of her as part of his family.

What I’ve told them both is that the colt should be MINE. It’s been about twenty years since I’ve had a horse of my own. I’ve spent those years focused on making sure all the boys were competing and riding. But it’s time for me to start again. And I think this colt is my sign that it’s my turn.

After all, if this goes well, we can breed Peppy back to this stud. His owners have already said they’d love to have her back. They have been cutting back the number of mares they breed him to, simply because of his age. But she is a mare they want to breed to. So, if we get a good colt next May, I’ll be calling them to set up a time to get her back over to the stud.

I’ll keep you posted and hopefully get some pictures up as she goes through her pregnancy. The other kids have missed seeing Peppy this past year at the rodeos. All the girls have asked Garris where she is. But when they hear she’s pregnant, they’re all excited and anxious to see the foal when it finally gets here.

I’m anxious as well.

 

My Last One

I’ve shared in previous posts that my youngest son, Garris, is starting high school this year. Tomorrow, in fact. I’ve shared how melancholy I feel about this rite of passage for him. And I’ve shared some of the bittersweet moments that have already taken place.

But let me share with you how it feels, as a mother, knowing your last child is starting high school. Your last child is making a huge step from being your child to being your grown-up child.

For me, I want to go back to his first day of kindergarten. Start over. Do it better than I did with him. Mostly, I’m not ready to let him go.

I’ve never been one of those moms that was in a hurry to boot my kids out the door. And I’ve never understood those moms. In some families, kids leave home as soon as graduation is over. And parents celebrate!

All of my boys have summer birthdays, so I waited until they were six to send them to school. They have always been among the oldest of their classes. But I don’t regret this decision. Especially with boys.

I see Garris pulling away from me almost daily. Not in a mean-spirited manner. He’s simply becoming more independent. That’s a hard thing for a mom who spent the better part of the past 24 years raising kids. I opted to stay at home with my kids and still agree with that decision. But it makes it difficult to move onto the next phase of my own life.

I don’t want to be a clingy mom and make my son a ‘mama’s boy’. I don’t want to stifle his learning or his maturity. I don’t want to make him resentful of me. But I also don’t want to be out of his life completely. And I think that’s what concerns me now.

I just want to stay part of his life. My biggest fear is that he will outgrow me to the point of not needing me for anything.

I will relish every moment with Garris over the next four years. Speaking from experience, it goes by faster than I was prepared for.

But I also need to start cultivating my own interests again. I have spent so many years making sure that my kids were following their dreams, I kind of forgot about mine. After all, while they were growing up, it was their turn to shine. Now that Garris is on the cusp of adulthood, I need to recapture my own curiosity again.

My last one. Such a final thought. My last freshman. My last student driver. My last high school rodeo rookie.

As Garris enters high school and begins his four year trek toward adulting, I know that a lot of firsts are still to come. I just have to make sure he and I both experience everything life has to offer while we still have the opportunity to share.

Whether you’re on your first or your last, have a great school year. And make every last experience count.

Even Mamas Get the Blues

I battle clinical depression.

Up until a few years ago, only my closest friends and family knew that about me. I wasn’t ashamed of my battle. I just wanted to keep that private.

I can’t explain the ‘why’ of depression. Looking at my life, I don’t have any outward reason to be depressed. I have three wonderful sons, each of whom I am immensely proud. I live in a beautiful part of the world and can claim thirty acres of it as mine. I work from home, doing what I’m passionate about. I still have my parents. For all outward appearances, my life is pretty damn good.

And I am not refuting that.

But there are aspects of my inner life that no one else is privy to. I endured an unhappy marriage for twenty years. The unhealthy relationship took a toll on my health, both physical and mental. It ate away at my self-confidence and worth. It destroyed any trust or love I felt. I was left lonely, resentful, and very near suicide. I had stopped taking care of myself and had given up all hope. No, that’s not a cliché. My life had become a hateful, dangerous, and miserable existence.

I hated the way I felt. The way I looked. The way I had become a shadow of the person I once was. I wanted to be a better mom than what I had become. I simply wanted to invest in a life in which I could be happy.

I had stopped sharing my dreams and my fears, because those were used against me on more than occasion. I had stopped talking about anything private, because my private thoughts and moments were shared without my permission and used as fodder for gossip. I pulled into myself a little further each day until everything I had and was turned into a hard, tight ball inside my chest.

I started seeing a therapist, who helped me define the type of relationship I was trapped in. He helped me vocalize my feelings and my despair. He gave me tools to help me drag myself out of the depths of darkness. Slowly. Painfully. I started to see a different path for myself.

I will always fight this affliction. It’s something that is simply part of my makeup now. But I recognize the signs that my depression is grabbing hold of my life. And I have ways to combat those symptoms to make the blue days a little brighter.

Some people will never fully understand. Unless a person has slogged through the darkness, they can’t. During one of my worst episodes, my ex told me I needed to ‘get over it’ and ‘make myself happy.’ If only it were that simple. Believe me, no one WANTS to be depressed. No one WANTS to feel so worthless that they think the world would be a better place without them. No one WANTS to stay in bed for twenty straight hours because they simply cannot swing their legs out of bed.

I have a good support system now: my parents, my kids, and a few friends who are closer to me than sisters. These are the people I can vent to. I can cry with. These are the people who know I would do almost anything to avoid the dark days. But they also know I can’t help it when I fall into the dark. I just need a safe place to land and heal.

My dark moments don’t last as long now. They are part of my life, but they don’t define it. I’m a healthier and happier person than I was five years ago, and I never want to return to the ugliness ever again. Mamas may get the blues, but this mama is looking for brighter colors as I rebuild my life.

With the Big Boys

Two weeks ago, my youngest son competed at his first high school rodeo. He will start his freshman year tomorrow, and it’s a big jump going from junior high rodeos to high school.

In junior high, he led all of his events last year, for most of the year. He almost always had a great rodeo each weekend of the season, and he was almost always in the hunt for the weekend all around. Up until the state rodeo, he was almost a lock on the year end all around.

We talked about the reality of his chances for this year. He will compete in two events this fall: calf roping and team roping. And it will be tough for him to place consistently like he did during the past three years. He’s not as big or as experienced as a lot of the boys he’ll be competing against this year.

And he understands that. He told me a few weeks ago that he’s just going to have fun this year. That’s a great attitude to have. And I’m confident he will place at rodeos. He just won’t have the same opportunities as he has in junior high. There are considerably more boys entered in high school events, and because of that, any mistakes during his runs will most likely cost him a placing.

His first day of competition in Lewistown was a bust for both events. He got his calf caught and tied, but it kicked free before the six seconds ticked off the clock. And he couldn’t get his steer turned for his partner in team roping.

On Sunday, he duplicated the no time in team roping, but he ended up placing fifth in the calf roping. It wasn’t his fastest or prettiest run, but he got a time, and that’s all that mattered to him that day.

He had last weekend off and will have this weekend off, then next week he competes at his hometown rodeo in Whitehall. He’s hoping to get a couple more times under his belt.

As long as he stays relaxed about the rodeos, he should be fine. And once he and his partner catch a few steers, they’ll probably be in top ten in team roping. They had times last year in junior high that would have beaten a lot of the high school kids. Right now, they’re in a bit of a slump. I think Garris puts too much pressure on himself to turn a steer for his partner.

When they were winning rodeos last year, they roped without fear. Garris needs to find that zone again.

Now that he’s competing against the big boys, he’ll have to focus harder than he has for awhile. But that will make him a stronger competitor in the long run. He’s got the talent to be in the hunt for points; he’s just got to believe in himself enough to let that talent shine through.

Parenting in Pieces

One of the hardest things I’ve had to adjust to over the past few years is co-parenting through divorce. Our divorce process took over two years to finalize, during which time we were forced to live in the same house. Once the divorce was final, and we each began our new lives, I looked forward to re-starting my life again.

Then reality set in. I had this idyllic vision that we would work together for the good of our sons. That we would be able to talk and plan and be parents together, even though we were no longer a couple. Things haven’t worked that way.

It’s been a struggle to maintain continuity for my youngest son, who turned 15 a few days ago. We set up a parenting plan, so that we trade weeks. He lives with me one week, his dad the next. It works out well, most of the time. And when needed, we adjust the schedule.

When my boys were little, I did ninety percent of the parenting. He was always at work or working in his shop. I stayed at home to be ‘mom’ and am still very thankful that I did. I made sure that my boys had plenty of play time during each day, plenty of chores, and a good moral foundation.

Fast forward to today. There are now different rules between the houses. I’m big on respect, especially my son’s toward me. That was lacking during our marriage, and I insist on each of my sons showing me a healthy dose of respect. Not only because I’m their mother but because mutual respect is necessary for a decent person.

There is always a period of adjustment when my son returns to my house from his dad’s. A period when he has to get used to my set of rules. Sometimes he needs a reminder of whose house he is living at.

We don’t always agree on which rules need to be enforced, and how strictly they need to be. For example, to make the beds or to not make the beds. I’ve never cared whether or not my sons made their beds in the mornings. Frankly, I think it’s healthier to leave the bedding open and let it air out. I never made my bed as a kid, and I just don’t think it’s that big of a deal to made a bed tight and crisp.

He, on the other hand, was always a stickler about beds. He thought their beds should be made every morning and spent plenty of hours yelling at the boys because they didn’t do that. Which is ironic, since he never made his bed as a kid. His mom normally made it, so that he wouldn’t get in trouble with his dad. So, I’m not sure when a made bed became so important to him.

Another rule in my house is that my son cleans his own bathroom. I started having the boys clean their bathroom when they were about twelve years old. It seemed only fair. If they missed the toilet, then they could clean up the sticky, nasty pee on the floor and the toilet bowl. It was amazing how quickly their aim got better.

In my house, my son has a bathroom that is basically his. Every week, he’s expected to clean the toilet, the sink, and the floor. It may take him five minutes, tops, to accomplish this task. But it’s expected. And if he doesn’t do it, there are consequences. Like I keep his ipod for the week he’s at his dad’s house.

I don’t know what rules he has at his dad’s house. And I don’t want or need to know. All I really care about is that he respects the rules I have in my house. Sometimes, he tries to tell me that I should do things the way his dad does them. Then I remind him that when he’s at my house, my rules are in force. Period.

It’s hard to co-parent well when you feel like you’re still battling with your ex. I do my best to leave my son out of the tug of war. But sometimes that the casualty of divorce.

Add on top of that the pressures of rodeo competition. I feel like I’m parenting in pieces. I get pieces of my son’s time. I get pieces of his days. I get pieces of his activities. But I also miss pieces of his time, and days, and activities. And most days, those pieces don’t add up to a whole of anything.

But I’ll continue to parent as best I can and be the best rodeo mom I can be. My son deserves my best effort, even if I can only achieve pieces.

Bittersweet Goodbye

My youngest son Garris is in Tennessee right now, competing at the National Junior High Rodeo. He qualified in three events: calf roping, ribbon roping, and goat tying.

He had big goals going into this rodeo. He wanted to at least place in one event. Actually, he wanted to win an event, most likely the goats. He has been the one to beat in Montana for two years in that event.

The first round of events has not been kind to him. He was in the first performance of calf roping, so he got a fresh calf. He caught quick, had a good get-off, but the calf ran and jumped and made it difficult to flank. Once he had the calf down, he tied well and quickly. But he was long on his time, just outside the top twenty.

He missed his first ribbon roping calf. His hat popped off and deflected his loop as he threw.

The goat run was a disaster. He tied two eights at the state rodeo, and normally ties below ten seconds. As he got off, the goat ran toward his horse, making it difficult to push the goat to a good spot for the flanking. Long story short, he had a 15. It will be tough for him to make the short go with that time, unless he has a stellar second run this morning. And he needs a few of the other boys to make some mistakes.

I will admit, I was very frustrated when I watched that goat run. He had a legitimate shot to win the whole thing. He has the fastest hands of any boy his age. It felt like all the time, money, and energy that we’ve spent over the last three years just blew up.

I know he didn’t make a bad run on purpose. I know he’s disappointed as well. He drew a crappy goat. But he didn’t handle that crappy goat as well as he could have.

We’ll have to wait and see what happens from this point, see how the points and times shake out. And accept whatever the results end up being.

This is the stage of a rodeo that is hardest on us moms. We can’t do anything to help the kids during their runs. We have to watch them make their run. We have to wait for every performance to be over. And then we have to be positive and supportive, even during those times we really don’t feel like it.

Next Year . . .

My son Cyris spent this past week competing at the CNFR in Casper. It was his first time, as a sophomore. He was excited and ready to rope!

He was up Monday morning slack, and his first run started out with a quick catch, a great get off, and a super start to his experience. Then, the calf started running toward him instead of running the other direction. There was too much slack in the rope, and his horse wasn’t helping him. He finally got the calf flanked and had a fast, effective tie. He was 14 flat. Longer than he wanted, but he knew if he had two solid runs in rounds two and three, he could still make the short round.

The next morning was his second round. Again, he caught quickly, just out of the chute. He got off, ran down the rope, and was set up for redemption from his first run. About halfway to the calf, the rope bounced off the neck, and the calf scampered away. So did Cy’s chances of making the short go. With that no time, he knew he would be done by the third round. It was a long ride out of the arena for him that morning.

Wednesday night was his third and final calf. He was the last man out for that performance. He caught quickly, got off effectively, and made it to the calf without any speed bumps. He flanked well. Then he missed his string, which took some extra time. Then, he tried to make up time on his tie, which bunched up his pigging string. He was under thirteen seconds. But he was out of the placings.

My heart hurt for Cy that night. He struggled all year to rope well, and qualifying for the CNFR was a huge boost to the end of his college season. His goal for that rodeo was to put down three good runs and see how he stacked up against the best in the country. That’s what I wanted for him, too.

I know it’s not the end of the world. I know he’ll be back next year. I know there is always another rodeo. But that doesn’t lessen the pain right now.

Thursday morning, Cy told me that he would like to have his runs back. For a do-over. If I had a magic wand, I’d wave it for him and give him the opportunity to show off his real roping skills.

As his mom, I want to fix this for him. And I know I can’t.

The fact that he is one of the top 46 college calf ropers in the nation has escaped his thoughts. He earned his spot. And next year will be a better year.

Right now, I am encouraging him to just go rope this summer. Enter NRA rodeos. Enter calf roping jackpots. Team roping jackpots. Anything he can do to compete. Anything to raise his confidence back up.

When he starts his junior year next fall, I want him to be roping tough, so that he can be in the standings from the first rodeo.

Next year. Next year at the CNFR, he will be back. And he will be strong. A mother knows.

The Highs and Lows of Rodeos

As  most of you know by now, my youngest son, Garris, is wrapping up his junior high rodeo career this summer. In a couple of weeks, he heads to Tennessee for his third National experience. Then, in a few months, he’ll be a freshman in high school and will start all over again at the bottom of the pecking order.

Over Memorial Day, Garris competed in his state rodeo. He had set lofty goals for himself: he wanted to win calf roping, goat tying, and the all around. Well, to be honest, he wanted to win all five of his events. But he knew that would be tough. He definitely wanted to qualify in all of his events.

He knew going into the weekend that he had to catch everything he chased. He had to have three good throws in the chute dogging. And he had to have three good goat runs. He was ready.

Garris led the boys all around standings most of the year. Up until about a month ago, no one was even close to him in points. Then another boy started entering two additional events that he normally didn’t compete in. And he caught up to Garris. And the boy was well within the rules; he did nothing inappropriate. Garris could have added three rough stock events, if he wanted to. But he’s not into those events. So, he knew going into state that he was competing against a kid who had one extra event on him.

The first event was ribbon roping. Garris missed his calf. The other boy didn’t. Then, Garris stepped up his level of competition. He didn’t panic. He didn’t throw a temper tantrum. He just did better on his next runs.

His first two goat ties were each under nine seconds. That’s faster than most of the girls in junior high tie, and he’s using a pigging string. He caught every calf in the tie down roping, his final run being a 10.7. That would have placed him in a high school rodeo. And his last two ribbon roping runs were quick and effective.

He didn’t have as good a luck in team roping. He couldn’t catch the horns to save his soul! And one of his steers in chute dogging was a rubber necked SOB. That’s the luck of the draw.

By the end of the weekend, he won the calf roping. He won the goat tying. And he and his partner took second in ribbon roping. (Yes, he’d like to have that first run back!) He ended up as the reserve all around boy for the state. Just a wee bit shy of his goal, but impressive. And he missed out qualifying in team roping and chute dogging by one place. In chute dogging, it was by ONE POINT. They take the top four, and he was fifth in each of those events.

The other boy had a fabulous weekend. Everything aligned just right for him: he had excellent draws in every event. And he took advantage of Garris’ mistakes.

When Garris was announced as the reserve all around, he walked up to get his prize with a smile on his face and a handshake for the National director. I think that’s what I admire most about this son of mine: he can have a bad day or a bad run and still be genuinely happy. That weekend did not turn out the way he had hoped, but he told me he was happy the other boy won the all around.

Even when he has a bad run in the arena, he picks himself up and regroups. We saw a rough stock kid throw a huge fit at state because he missed his horse out and got a no score, because of the mark out rule. He threw his helmet on the ground. He kicked the dirt. He was cussing. Honestly, he should have been eliminated from the rodeo and from the possibility of going to Nationals.

I’ve never seen Garris do that. And I’ve seen him take some wild wrecks in goat tying. I’ve seen him take some horrid shots in his roping events. I’ve seen him get dragged by a steer in chute dogging. Right. Through. The Mud. But I’ve never seen him throw a fit.

He may not have won the all around or achieved all those goals he set for himself at state, but he’s already a winner. I honestly believe that he’s the better competitor in the arena, because of his attitude. Most parents, and other kids, agree. He was elected the Cinch team boys captain for two years (his teammates vote for that.) And he was elected President of the state, without even realizing he was on the ballot.

He’s got some pretty lofty goals for Nationals now. He wants to win at least one event. And he has a legitimate shot in both tie down and goat tying. As long as he keeps his focus and concentrates on HIS runs, he’ll make Montana proud.

His mother already is.

Junior High Goodbye

This weekend is Garris’ state rodeo in Townsend. This is the final weekend of junior high rodeos for the year. And for Garris, this will be his final weekend of junior high rodeos at the state level. His performance, and everyone else’s, will determine who goes to the National rodeo in Tennessee in a couple of weeks.

For me, this is a bittersweet weekend. I’m proud of everything he has accomplished so far in his rodeo ‘career’. Up until about three weeks ago, he led the boys all around. Now, he’s sitting second, which may be a better place for him to be going into this weekend. He has been the kid to beat in goat tying, calf roping, and chute dogging all year. That’s not to say he always wins or always has the best run, but if the other boys want to win, they have to do better than Garris. Usually. And he’s strong in the team roping and ribbon roping, but there are a lot of teams in that position.

As I’ve said in past posts, he is an incredible goat tier, and I’m going to miss watching his runs, crashes and all. He’s only got three runs (probably) this weekend. And possibly three at Nationals, if he qualifies and he has good runs. Then he’s done.

But I’m ahead of myself. Like I told Garris several times this week, he needs to focus on the run he’s in and make it good. Then he can move on to the next one. He’s prepared. And excited. And maybe a touch nervous. And that’s okay. He knows what’s on the line. My biggest hope is that he has a good, strong rodeo.

All he can do is give his best and see where everybody else ends up. After all, in the big scheme of things, this is one weekend and one rodeo. Yes, there are implications for both good and bad runs. But the next two days are not going to change the course of the world, either way.

I’m already nervous. I have been all week. And I’ve told myself it’s silly. Being nervous for him is not going to change how things shake out. But I’ve always told my boys to let me be nervous for them. I don’t mind my hands shaking. Or my heart beating. If it helps them to relax, I’ll take it on. (Isn’t that what we rodeos moms do?)

Garris left yesterday with his dad. I’ll be leaving shortly. It’s a beautiful morning. He has practiced, not just this week, but all year. He knows what he needs to do. By the end of today, we’ll know if he makes the short go tomorrow in any of his events.

I’d better head that way. Of course, he forgot the horse’s protective boots when he left yesterday. So, I’ll take them to him.

But first I think I’ll go throw up and see if I can calm my nervous stomach!

Have a great Memorial weekend and be safe.

Ebay, Oy Vey!

Anyone else either bought or sold items on ebay? Oy Vey!

This past week, I’ve listed a bunch of clothes, thinking that might be an easy way to de-clutter some of my storage. It’s a long story – but I have almost 20 plastic storage boxes full of mostly brand new clothes, never worn, still with tags attached.

I decided that since I’ve been in my new house for about two and a half years, it was time to go through all of those boxes and plastic tubs that I’ve hauled around for the last five years. I was shocked at how much I had accumulated.

My divorce process dragged out for over two years. And in that time, I had to keep my personal possessions in storage. I was still living with my ex, because I had no means to move out until we settled. It was easier for me to store all of my clothes, etc, away from the house.

Every time I thought we were getting close to signing papers, I’d box up what I had and take to storage. Then, the process would halt and creep along for another few months. It was not an easy time for me. I had no space of my own. It was awkward and uncomfortable to be living with someone I was detangling my life from.

I was working at the bank, and I needed a certain type of wardrobe every day. When I saw something on sale, I’d buy it. A lot of the time, it was off season, so I stuck it away for a later time. And promptly forgot about. I ended up storing away a lot of clothes that I never wore. Never even took the tags off of.

And now, I’m working at home, and I don’t need the professional wardrobe that I have stored away.

Which brings me back to ebay.

I figured this might be a simple way to sell some of the clothes I had inadvertently hoarded away. I wasn’t looking to recoup all of my money. But I figured if I could get maybe a quarter of what I had spent, I’d be happy.

Now, I’m a thrifty shopper. I rarely pay full price for anything that I wear. I shop off-season. I shop clearance. And I feel good about my purchases.

When I was listing clothes on ebay, I kept that in mind. I knew I hadn’t spent the amounts on the tags. But I wanted to try and get 25% of the retail price. So, I listed tops, skirts, dresses, pants, boots, shoes. You name it, I probably had it listed during this past week.

I knew some of my prices were probably a little high, but I wanted to see how the process worked.

I have to say, I’m surprised that some of the items did not sell. Today was the end of the selling period on the first bunch of clothes I listed. Several didn’t sell. The prices I had on them were very reasonable. One dress retailed for over $200 – and no, I didn’t pay that for it. I listed it for $35. Which is about 16% of retail. Not one bid.

I had tops listed for $5. No bids.

The recommendation from ebay was to relist those items for significantly less money, in order to sell them quickly! I don’t plan to relist.

There are some clothes that I am not going to wear, for a multitude of reasons. Some are the wrong color. Some are the wrong fit for my body type. Some didn’t look like they did when I ordered them online. Those clothes, I already listed for a fraction of what they’re worth. Probably less than what I paid for them. But I just wanted those pieces out of my closets.

Other items are dresses or tops that I haven’t worn yet. But I like them. They would look good on me. They’re the right style and color. So, if I can’t get 25% of retail on those pieces, they’ll go back to my closet.

I’m not going to basically give away quality clothing on an auction site, and then have to get that clothing in the mail to people. If I’m going to do that, I may as well just donate it locally.

And keep in mind, we’re talking about brand names like Vince Camuto, Anne Klein, Liz Claiborne. This isn’t WalMart-quality clothing. I have a lot of top name clothes that still have tags on. I’ve never even tried on, let alone worn.

I have had a couple of people send me messages, saying that my price is too high on a certain dress. They offered me less than half of what I listed it for.

And believe me, I look for bargains as much as anybody else. I love to get in on a huge sale. Makes me feel like I’ve saving a ton of money. But I also know that quality clothes are worth more money than cheaply made things. And I wonder if those same people would be as generous to list their items for pennies on the dollar.

I still have lots of tubs of clothing. And I still have items for sale on ebay. I’ll wait and see what happens with the next group. If my things continue to go without bids, I’ll probably forego ebay and figure out something else.

I even listed a saddle on there. It’s one that I bought about a year ago. I paid a lot of money for it, and I love it. It’s comfy. It rides nice. But I’ve only ridden about twelve times since I got it. Right now, I could use the money more than the saddle. I listed it for about 20% off of what I paid. The saddle looks brand new. Ebay’s suggestion was to list it for $20. I ignored that.

I know those price suggestions are automatically generated. And I don’t take any of that personally. But I do find it funny how many people go on that site, expecting to get brand name, brand new merchandise for next to nothing. Or, they don’t want to pay shipping. If I offered free shipping, I’d have to bump the price of everything listed in order to cover shipping costs and the fees that ebay charges.

I think ebay is a great site, and I think a person can find some great deals on it. I don’t begrudge anyone selling the opportunity to make a few dollars on what they’re offering. If I want free shipping, I’ll order from a large company that can absorb that cost (in actuality, they pass that cost along to their customers).

So, if anyone out there is looking for some quality women’s clothing, shoot me a message. I’ve got every season, just about any style, and in various sizes. I’ll bet you I can find something you like. Or, if you want to check out my offerings online, let me know. I’ll hook you up with my seller identity. Just be kind with your comments (and maybe bid on one or two items for me.)