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Rummage sale coming up; the question at hand was, "how do we handle the cash?" Wifey recommends fanny packs; I seem to remember custom-designed money-belts for such an occasion.

We stop at a discount office supply store, with no luck. The proprietor seems to remember seeing them at WalMart or Target. We take the former.

We find the coin wrappers and low-budget cash registers, but no money-belt. Wandering the store, we wonder when we would have ever seen such a thing in a store -- certainly, we should have, right? Could it possibly be someplace else -- and where?

A trip over to Office Depot recruited a 20-something helper who wasn't completely sure what we were talking about, and offered us locking bank bags more than twice. No, we need something strapped to our waists, a couple pockets for cash and change, and that was it. We're led over to the coin wrappers and higher-end-cash-registers. More bank bags. We leave.

We wonder: was such a thing a relic of the past? Wifey wonders, out loud, "have they just been passed down for so long, and that's where they get them?" I don't know, I say. I'm trying to remember something more about what those belts look like. As we're getting into the van, I suddenly remember what I've seen printed on the front of these cash-bibs in the past. I now know where to go.

I still have to work my night shift, though, and at 9 I'm released from my desk and on my way to Lowe's. The store closes at 10, and the huge building is a cave-maze labyrinth of emptiness, toilet seat covers, and ceiling fans. The fans were still running, the Muzak was not. I wander, staring upwards at the aisle identifying signs. The ceiling must reach twenty, thirty feet above the floor. I wonder how large those letters have to be to still be legible to people on the ground.

Tools were close to the front, on shorter, less clausterphobic shelves. I find tool belts. Lowe's branded canvas nail-belts: $1.89 each. These are what we remember from the rummage sales of antiquity; cheap, multipurpose belt-bags were the bastion of the carpenter. Katy No-Pocket knew this. It just took me a while.

I take four (one each for me, D, and Allie; one spare in case Grandma shows up) and wander up to the counters. To show just how much demand there is for their store, the block-long checkout area has dozens of lanes, ready to check-out the hordes of cabinetmakers and plumbers I had to fight past to find my money-belts. No, the usual applied here, echoing every experience I've had at every grocery store and department store since the beginning of time: dozens of closed lanes, one open lane with a worker and four customers in line, one open lane with the light on and nobody at the register. Also, per my usual experience, I wait at the end of the line, until that absent worker waves at me to catch my eye and said, "Sir, I can help you over here?" I look at the person in front of me, who had not noticed. I take my bags and toss them at the end of the conveyor belt. The slow-paced race to the till was won by me.

"Find everything?" "Just these?" "Is that a credit card?" So many common questions, but one last one before I could leave.

"Phone number?"

I give my standard answer, the phone in the house I grew up in, which is about 6 residences ago for my parents. I should call the current owners of that phone number and ask how many automated phonecalls they get reminding them that the extended warranty is still available.

She must have noticed my furrowed brow over the question, and offers, "It's for the warranty, if you lose your receipt."

"In case these are defective, and I can't make them work?"

Without understanding the joke, she answers yes, and I leave.

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