Tonight was the annual auction at the school that Garbanzo and the girls attend. The PTA and Foundation put together a huge auction that usually raises enough money to supplement the teaching staff at the school as well as provide other programs for the kids like Spanish instruction. People show up to spend money and give generously. About half of these parents could afford to send their kids to private schools, but choose instead to give the money to their neighborhood school – to make up the difference.
You could tell that the economy was definitely affecting the auction this year. The paddle bid alone usually generates $45,000. A paddle bid is when they ask who is willing to donate a certain amount of money, and everyone raises their paddle. They usually start in the several thousands and go down to $10.
Each class does a project that is auctioned off, and there are both silent and oral auction items. Last year, we donated a 6 course meal for 8 people at our house. This year, Garbanzo donated a cake – and since the theme was “Think Green”, I donated a couple shopping bag kits. Everyone does this – they tap into their networks of friends, family, and business associates to get the items. It is usually pretty amazing what you will find.
I actually insisted that this year Garbanzo not work the auction. He usually is on stage with the parents hamming it up trying to get the parents to bid more. This usually causes issues as he wants me to bid on something, and is trying to communicate that to me with a series of hand signals, etc. It was nice spending the night with him, chatting with parents, and being a participant.
There were really three auction items we went in wanting to win. The first was this:
I had to crop the hell out of it because I didn’t realize the 8th grader put her name all over the gift certificate. A great thing happened as we were bidding on this. Several parents who were also bidding told us they actually have great babysitters, so if we ever need one to just call. Our lack of babysitters recently has actually resulted in a babysitter abundance. Oh, and we won this one too. The girl who is offering this one is fantastic – and the girls love her. We’re hoping this blossoms into a more regular gig with her.
The other thing Garbanzo went into the auction wanting was this:
A gift certificate for a pair of Chuck Taylor Converse. Garbanzo has about 8 pair of them – and wears them to school daily. The Chuck Ts and the kilt are his signatures as a teacher. This was supposed to be a “custom pair” which is a service they offer. Not quite custom, but a nice idea anyway.
The last thing we wanted was a picture by an amazing photographer who is a parent at the school. Garbanzo has taught his older daughter, and the younger daughter is a good friend of DJ. He is amazing and uses an old style printing technique….no digital photography for this guy. He does amazing work, but his best stuff is considered “too dark” by the general crowd at the school. Each year, he puts in a pretty photograph. And, each year, he sends a copy of what he will exchange it with to the parents who enjoy his “real work” more than the “main stream”. I’ll take a picture of part of it once I get it – or put a link to his site when I find it on there. I didn’t know the story about the photo until tonight. I guess he had read the Twilight books that his older daughter was obsessed with, and it inspired the photograph. This is one of those parents we are friends with outside of school because his family is so amazing.
Oh, and last story that has to be shared. I’m waiting in line to “check out” after the auction, and one of the dads who is running one of the check-outs starts flirting with me. He’s commenting on my the cashmere sweater I was wearing, my wedding rings, everything. This guy was pretty specific about the comments too, telling me exactly why he liked it, etc. And, he knows I’m the teacher’s wife. Now I should mention that this is a non-alcoholic event because it is at the school. (Everyone brings flasks and carries around their own coffee mugs. Heck, Garbanzo and I had our own concoction we were drinking thanks to his flask.) I think I’ll give the guy the benefit of the doubt and assume he had been imbibing too. I have asked Garbanzo to find out who’s Dad he is though, just to be safe.