I had an auction accident today.
I never meant to go to an auction. Indeed, I felt so crappy after chores this morning that I sat wrapped in a blanket for an hour. But after my DayQuil kicked in, I knew I had to fulfill my weekday promise to Evie: Replacing her bunny.
We had acquired a pair of rabbits several weeks ago, only to have one die right away of some sort of gastrointestinal illness. The remaining rabbit had become very lonely to the point that she was hopping up and down every time she saw us in the yard...which while very endearing also made me feel very guilty that she was spending 23.5 hours a day alone.
And so I had contacted a local rabbit breeder about finding her a mate but had not set a day to come over. This week I had mentioned to Evie in passing that we would finally replace her bunny—�a fact she held closely as the weekend approached.
Thus it was the very first thing I heard this morning was “Mom, we get to go get my bunny today!!!”. I flinched but knew I had to keep my word and thought we were looking at a 30 minute drive to pick one up—no big deal, right?
The rabbit breeder had told me he was retired and “home all the time” and so I called him late morning and asked if we could come over.
He was gone all day...at a local auction...where he was selling a bunch of bunnies and why didn’t we just come up and buy one there?
I REALLY didn’t want to sit an auction for any amount of time but I had an anxious 5-year-Old staring at me the whole phone call so I sighed and gave in to the inevitability of it all.
I read the auction schedule and it said “rabbits and poultry at 2pm”, so we arrived at 1:55 on the dot. Boxes of poultry lined the walls and way at the far, far end we found the rabbits, as lots 142 and up. Yep-we now had to wait for 141 boxes of chickens, ducks, geese and peacocks sell before a single rabbit came into the ring.
Lucky for me, Evie found an “auction friend” (amazing how kids make these fast friendships at such events) and was happy to wait...until she saw the goats.
In the back pens, standing on cold concrete with no food or water were two of the tiniest and saddest goats I have ever seen. No bigger than cats, they were nothing but skin, bones and horribly distended wormy bellies. Dejected and cold, they were nearly unresponsive to the cacophony that surrounded them. Evie wanted them in the worst way and every maternal instinct in me wanted to scoop them up and help them. It was not a good situation...we were treading dangerous waters.
And the bidding wasn’t going well in the ring. I have a pretty good bead on the poultry market and birds were selling for 10-20% of going market price. After watching box after box selling for $1-$2, I finally broke and bought some ducks. I have no idea why. I blame it on the delirium induced by my DayQuil wearing off.
Finally the rabbits came in and again due to the low prices, we got more than we bargained for, a bred doe and a beautiful pedigreed buck to be exact—for 90% less than the private asking price had been. The rabbits were they last thing sold before goats—I still had hope we could escape before the goats sold. But no, it was not to be.
Before we could get organized and out of there, the tiny goats were carried into the ring. In truth, they looked truly awful and with maybe a dozen folks still bidding, nobody wanted them. The auctioned kept calling for a minimum bid and Evie gave me big sad eyes and then started waving her hand to bid—the auctioneer looked me in the eye and I broke again and nodded. Nobody contested my final bid and when they asked if I would take both at “two times the money”, I numbly nodded yes. What choice did I really have?
And so it was that I then had to fit one box with a rabbit, one laundry basket with a rabbit (it’s a weirdly common animal cage at auctions), a cardboard box of ducks and 2 wee sad goats into my Honda Civic...which, by the way, already had 200 pounds of feed in the trunk. We managed, albeit with difficulty, and the “Ark” made it home in time to tuck everyone in before dark.
I am now recovering from my “auction accident” with a big cup of tea and a NyQuil chaser.