Monday, October 29, 2012

A Pregnant Auctioneer

So....How's that work? That was the question I asked myself when I found out I was pregnant with Baby Heath.

I do the first thing I thought of & Googled it. What did I find.....NOTHING...except pregnancy symptom sites. So....I looked a little harder and found all kinds of things about breathing devices & an older blog post from a female auctioneer (not pregnant & not about pregnancy & auctioneering). Then I think.... "Well....who could I talk to?" All my mentors are men & let's face it.... They just won't GET it or they think I can't handle it... OR they just giggle and congratulate me like my teacher did.

So folks....Here it is.... My EXPERIENCE as a PREGNANT AUCTIONEER.

LOTS of emotions were felt. Right timing? Can I still call bids? Will I have to stop the bigger I get? Could it hurt the baby? What will the auctioneers I'm working for think? What will this do to my progress? How will it limit me? Can you tell I worry a little?

I'll start from the beginning. Right Timing? What have I come to see? PERFECT TIMING! This was a personal question....that had LOTS to with other situations besides auctions. God's timing is ALWAYS PERFECT! We prayed & still PRAY for a happy, healthy baby & wanted Kylee to have a sibling. We were ready to try, then a few uncertainties with work arose & we thought maybe we should wait, but OBVIOUSLY that didn't happen :).

Baby Heath @ 31 weeks :).

Does what is going on with your full-time job REALLY the GRAND scheme of things? I KNOW GOD has equipped me & my husband with the tools I need to SURVIVE & SUPPORT my family in ANY situation. Everything in his plan is PERFECT & has a PURPOSE.

This is my favorite pic. Some people see & some don't, but it looks like he's looking at the camera. His eyes are open & you can see his sweet little cheeks & chin :).

As far as all the specific worries about being a PREGNANT will all depend on your body, what you're used to, what you health is, BUT....for me.....I kept on keepin' on. I called bids in Odem up until I was 5 months pregnant. It kind of worked out as a good stopping point b/c we had to move for my full-time job. The auction in Odem is A LOT more INTENSE than some of the FUNDRAISING & EVENT GALAS I have continued to do. You're, pretty much, on your feet from 9AM until about 4 or 5PM & your catching bids, calling bids, answering questions from LOTS of bidders..... I miss it, BUT it was good timing.

I made the personal decision to keep it quiet. For several reasons.... BELIEVE ME.... I'm sure I THOUGHT about things TOO MUCH. This industry is SO different & so PREDOMINANTLY MALE that I just didn't have the energy to deal with ANY negativity. I REALLY want to do the BEST I can & DO NOT want to be looked at as WEAKER, LESS CAPABLE, SOMEONE to WORRY ABOUT....any of that. Now let me tell you.....The folks over at ELCO Auction are some of the BEST you will find.....not just as an AUCTION COMPANY, but as PEOPLE. I had only been helping them there since January & was JUST getting to know their regular bidders & to be honest....IT MADE MY LIFE handling it the way I was MOST COMFORTABLE with.
Lookin' a little large there :).
ANOTHER REASON I decided to keep quiet is.....working in the CORPORATE WORLD...(no matter what ANY handbook or company policy says) you have to PROTECT YOURSELF as a WOMAN in the WORKPLACE. EVERYONE looks out for NUMERO UNO & we should too! REMEMBER that ladies. I was in the middle of a potential work transition  & I didn't WANT anyone to think I was LESS CAPABLE. This is a WHOLE 'nother blog post....BELIEVE ME.

Carmine Church Auction.
There were a couple of potential auctions I was turned down for. I can't say for sure why, but if the auction was relatively close to my DUE DATE (5 months +) I would be UP FRONT about it.

I could & can PRETTY EASILY handle auctions that last a couple hours or so. At about 5 months....BABY HEATH was getting HEAVIER and my LUNGS had LESS ROOM to move, so (A LOT OF TIMES) I got winded. MOST of the AUCTIONS I've done after 5 months....I've had UNCLE MELE there. I also got a little warmer than normal :).

Again....your HEALTH & the HEALTH of your BABY are the MOST IMPORTANT things. I've been EXTREMELY BLESSED to not have to battle high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, or any other complications - Thus far & have a HEALTHY, GROWING BABY!!

Besides my Doctors...the only person I could REALLY talk to about the whole AUCTIONS & PREGNANCY thing is my VERY GOOD FRIEND & FELLOW AUCTIONEER..... Mrs. Stephanie Womack out of Nachadoches, Texas. If you're ever in that neck of the woods be sure to stop by Liquidator's Auction. She's got a sweet little girl too & will one day....probably have to go thru this same experience. It AMAZES me how the GOOD LORD puts certain people in your life....

I was worried about my progress as an auctioneer. This should probably be a whole 'nother blog post, but I'm dumping it all RIGHT HERE. GOD has a way of keepin' us on track. At the time we may not understand it OR agree with it (so foolish, but true). In this journey I have encountered A LOT of unknowns, opportunities, crossroads, questions, & have figured out A LOT about who I want to be, don't want to be & what I want to do. POTENTIAL OPPORTUNITIES turned into MOTIVATORS, but not necessarily the opportunity that I expected. I'm still at a few of those CROSSROADS & still have UNANSWERED QUESTIONS, but realized....I'm dealin' with GOD's TIME & MY TIME. I don't have to make some of these decisions b/c somone tells me to OR go a certain direction - until I figured out what is RIGHT for me and MY FAMILY. That took havin'  A TON of DIFFICULT DECISIONS dumped on me (at once) to figure it out....

Last question I had for myself...will I need to quit the bigger I get? Well...I can't say my experience will be the same for everyone. I called bids at 2 auctions this weekend. My due date is November 18th & GOD-WILLING, (if I'm not havin' a baby) I'll be calling bids at one on November 10th. Granted....I WILL NOT do a big auction alone...BUT I sure as heck don't feel like its too much. I still work on regulating my breathing & SUPRISINGLY being PREGNANT has helped me with that.

FOLKS! 2012 has been a RoLLer CoAsTer of a year for me. Sometimes it's hard to have a blog titled "Buck Up Baby," when you feel like runnin' off to a FAR away land.... That's NOT exactly what I'm all about, but the idea has been TEMPTING. It has been a real MiX of REALLY GREAT things, NOT SO great things, & CoNfUsing & DiFFiCult things....and all of them having a pretty SIGNIFICANT impact on our lives. always...the WORDS ring TRUE: BUCK UP BABY!! SADDLE UP, climb on & WHOOP & RIDE & PULL that head around, but you JUST GET BEAT. I don't know about ya'll....but I learned from little on that - THAT was ONLY ROUND 1. You pick yourself UP, dust off, & CLIMB on again (a little MORE DETERMINED, pissed off & MEANIN' BUSINESS). You keep at it long enough & you'll wear'm out. PERSISTANCE my friends... The LONGER you go at it - the more you'll WIN. LIFE is a MARATHON just PREPARIN' us for that FINAL JOURNEY. SO....BUCK UP BABY & give it all you got!

STAY TUNED!! UPCOMING BLOG: Martinis, Minks, & Manure GALA!!! Sounds like a BLAST doesn't it?!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Holy Moly I'm Gettin' Roly Poly :).

Holy Moly...I know....It's been another month. I'll eventually get back on track, with my blog posts.

I plan on gettin' ya'll up to date on all the goins' on & auction business, baby business, and whatever else I want to throw in here.

First of all...I've done a few auctions, since the last blog, so I'll share with ya what I learned from them & all the fun & NOT SO FUN festivities that went with it.

The auction I did right after my last blog was for the Aransas County 4-H Livestock Club. It was a GREAT little fundraiser. It wasn't a lot of items, but let me tell ya...I think I got every penny outta those folks that I could. I have to claim a few bragging rights :). The highest baked item they sold last year was $65. This year we had several hit the $100+ mark. It was funny. At first, when I would try to get the bidders name after buying an item, I'd get responses like "Stupid" - for paying so much for a pie. I know some people can't wrap their heads around it, but this little club has 7 or so kids that raise animals. It's not like Fayette County where MOST of the kids are involved, & these kiddos bust their butts with their livestock projects and are developing skills that make them VERY well-rounded individuals. In my opinion it makes you anything but stupid to support a great group of kids/cause/organization. I'm sure we've all spent money on much worse.

Thank you Jimmie Knarvek for the photos!

The entire floor @ Paws & Taws, with some of the kiddos helping out. the time we rolled on with the auction people changed their frame of mind. Lesson for ANYONE putting on ANY kind of auction. No matter what you or a donor think something is worth - It has to be worth it to the bidders in your audience. If you don't have a crowd that understands'll be hard to get what it's "worth." Learn your audience and think about items they would like OR find other avenues to advertise the items that are not for the majority. All it takes is 2 bidders that want what you've got, BUT...they have to know about it.

I got to sell all kinds of neat stuff like: a cowboy hat signed by George Stait ( shoulda seen the comotion it caused :)), welding projects made by the kids, and all kinds of goodies. Plus...I left there with a Smoker & a bunch of BEEF!!! You'll never guess how....

I guessed the weight of one of these here Market Goats :) (The red & white one). That's right! 74 lbs 8oz.... Only 1 oz off from the ACTUAL weight. SKILLS!!!

I had another auction. This one....let's just say...was a learning experience. They had the auction "advertised, organized, and handled." They just needed an auctioneer. was NOT organized the way I would've done it. In fact....It's made me look at things in a WHOLE new perspective.

Folks, YOU GET WHAT YOU PUT INTO IT. IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING....HIRE SOMEONE WHO DOES. You can raise a lot more money by doing things right. There was NO CASHIER TABLE set up, NO SPOTTERS (except who I wrangled together), NO ACCURATE INFORMATION on some of the items up for auction. On top of that the items that I was SUPPOSED to sell were put into a raffle.

By all means. We raised some money & it was more than what they had before, BUT...I don't like things done half way. SO MUCH MORE MONEY COULD HAVE BEEN RAISED & it FRUSTRATES me....if you couldn't tell. Auctions are busy, fast-paced environments and stuff happens, BUT if you have all your stations set up the way you need them - the more efficient everything will be.

From now on....if I have ANY inkling that they don't have it together...I'm not doing it. None of what happened was in my hands AT ALL, but I left FRUSTRATED & ANNOYED because it could have been SO much better. If you are not going to place any importance on an auction....DON'T DO ONE & focus on what you do find important. This group had an AMAZING OPPORTUNITY to raise money for their cause, but didn't ask the right questions to the right people. LIVE AUCTIONS at fundraising events are often the #1 MONEYMAKING element...

One person told me they expected the auction to bring more. When you take items like: Flat Screen TVs, Shotguns, Metal Art, etc.... & put them in a raffle and leave me to sell baskets packed with small things (like candles & lotion) & don't have them displayed where the bidders can see them & have incorrect information on some items - all I can do is try and get the most money that someone is willing to give. Also, if you are going to tell a donor that you are going to auction off their item & then - you move it to some other fundraising function, you should definately let them know.

I'm finished with my rant. On to more organized functions :)...

I just called bids at the annual Ledbetter Fireman's Feast. Those folks have it together. Nothing beats these little small towns where I grew up. REALLY...I mean that. Overwhelming support & a GREAT bunch of people. They even put steps beside the trailer, so I could haul my ROLY POLY self on up there :).
Me calling bids, Uncle Mele & Mr. Larry Nickel watching the crowd.

Uncle Mele callin' bids & me bein' all pregnant, being emcee & watchin' the crowd.
Hey! Hey! One more thing....being 8 months pregnant doesn't stop me! Here I am with some of my Gal Pals at the 2012 Fall Junk Prom :). No CrAzY shenannigans this time & I headed to the house a little earlier than usual, but still had a BLAST. Junk Gypsies need to open up that store ALREADY :)!
Shannon, Kacie, Little Britches Kylee, & Myself & Baby Heath in the Chandelier tent :).
Shannon, Me, Chelsey, & Kacie @ Zapp Hall.
If you need some help judging the weight of market livestock, selling baked goods, puttin' an auction together, or gettin' all GLAMMED up for Junk Prom...shoot me an email, leave me a comment, give me a call. More EXCITEMENT to come...if you can believe it.......

BUCK UP BABY & Do your best to do it RIGHT or don't do it at all!

-Heather Schoenst Kaspar