I hope to have details posted later this evening. — Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) May 28, 2015
Like I said, that was a few days ago. The details were never posted. I’m sorry about that. I had to make sure all our ducks were in a row before making it public. But now? Everything’s a go and I am beyond excited to share this news with you!
Let me catch you up on our story.
It isn’t a secret that there are many joys that come with adoption. But there are many challenges, too. One of the greatest immediate challenges is financial. With updating our home study, all the agency and country fees, and the expected costs related to travel, this adoption journey will add up to thousands of dollars in expenses.
Due to some unforeseen circumstances and some changes in the way Ethiopia handles adoptions, this adoption journey is going to wind up costing significantly more than our first. When all is said and done, the final cost will be around $32,000.
When we announced that we had started the process for a second adoption, we only had enough money available to cover our home study expenses. That was it. We moved forward in faith, though, trusting that God was going to provide.
And God has provided every step of the way.
Through grants, sponsored blog posts, and successful fundraising efforts, God has provided in unexpected ways. And the funds have been there every time they were needed. After watching God move time and time and time again, I have no doubt that He has had a hand in this. He has moved on His own timetable. And His timing is perfect. And through His guiding hand, He has provided an opportunity to cover the rest of the expenses.
We have been awarded a fund-matching grant from Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc.!
What does that mean? It means that Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc. a non-profit private operating foundation, will match any funds that are donated for the expenses of our adoption. All funds received through our friends and family will be matched dollar for dollar by Hand in Hand up to our awarded grant amount. That means that every gift will essentially be doubled. And all donations are tax-deductible.
We’ve had a lot of people who, for one reason or another, could not participate in any of the fund raisers we held during the last year and a half. They’ve asked if there was another way they could financially support our adoption efforts. We’ve asked them to wait until a later time. Well, it’s later.
Now is the time!
If you have a gift, no matter the size, that you would like to give to help us with this journey, please send a check made payable to “Hand in Hand Christian Adoption,” postmarked by July 2, to:
Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc. Matt and Christy Todd 18318 Mimosa Court Gardner, KS 66030
For tax purposes, please include our name on the envelope only…do not put our name on the check itself!
If you have any questions about the Hand in Hand matching grant program, please feel free to email me. You may also contact Hand in Hand Christian Adoption, Inc. with any questions you may have. They can be reached via email or phone (913-248-5015) .
If the full amount available from this matching grant is reached, we will have seen God provide, through grants and fundraising, $26,000 of the $32,000 necessary to complete this adoption. How amazing is that?
Thank you for your prayerful consideration in helping a child find a “forever” family. We are so close to completing this leg of our journey!
I’ve been trying to come up with the proper words to explain what happened at Saturday’s Yard Sale. While I’m still trying to wrap my head around it, I think it’s altogether fitting and proper to go ahead and say this…
it was a smashing success.
It went so well that we didn’t have enough stuff left in order to justify having the sale again Monday morning. Sorry if you were planning on stopping by on Monday, but most of the major stuff was already gone. Thanks for thinking of us, though!
We raised more money than I’ve ever seen a Yard Sale bring in.
I have to say that I wasn’t so sure things would turn out like that when we opened Saturday morning. In almost every other yard sale that we’ve ever had, people show up more than a half an hour early and start rummaging through the stuff while we’re still setting up. That didn’t happen this time. While it’s a major annoyance to have people go through the items you’re selling while you’re in the midst of the mad rush to set up, it is a good sign that people know you’re having a yard sale. So when no one showed up until 10 minutes before we opened, I have to admit that I got a little nervous. What if this whole day was a bust? All of this time and effort would’ve been wasted.
People started to trickle in. The traffic was steady, but it was nothing overwhelming. I left at 9:30 to take Mihret to soccer. Before driving away, I snapped this picture:
As you can see, a lot of stuff is gone – including most of the big-ticket items. The dishwasher, drum set, trunks, bike, armchair – all gone. Stuff was flying off the shelves! Like I said, it was a smashing success.
Now that I’ve told you what happened, I need to say this: If you supported this fundraiser in any way – donations, spreading the word, prayer, etc.) – thank you. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!
Well, we might have been a little too ambitious when we planed on having the Yard Sale this past weekend. A ton of stuff has been donated to our fundraising efforts (including a Foosball table, a dishwasher, and a drum set) and we just plum ran out of time to get everything ready. In reality, this is a good problem to have. Right?
So we decided to postpone the Yard Sale by one week. It’s a good thing, too. Saturday’s weather was not conducive to having any type of yard sale at all.
So now we get to have the same bat sale at the same bat location at the same bat time, only one week later. So here are the details:
Todd Family Yard Sale
Saturday, May 23 7 a.m. until noon(ish) On Chase Boulevard in Hunting Creek in Greenwood. Simply follow the signs and you can’t miss it! You can email me if you need more specific directions.
We’ll also be selling items the following Monday! If you couldn’t make it out on Saturday and you happen to be out and about Memorial Day morning, why not stop by and check out what’s left?
Obviously, the goal is to raise as much money as possible. Maybe we’ll even be able to cover a plane ticket to Ethiopia with these funds.
If you can’t make it to the Sale, that’s OK. It would be great it you’d share it with anyone you know who might be able to make it. Just click here and share away.
We’d be ever so grateful.
Thank you for your ongoing support. Thank you for partnering with us as we take this adoption journey.
Due to circumstances beyond our control, we’re delaying the Yard Sale by ONE WEEK!! We’ll see everyone on Saturday, May 23!
Thank you for understanding.
Remember how I mentioned that we were going to have a yard sale in the very near future? Well, that day is almost here! Lord willing and if the creek don’t rise, we’re going to have our yard sale on Saturday, May 16. We’ve arranged to host it on Chase Boulevard in Greenwood, Indiana. There will be plenty of signs to point you in the right direction.
All money raised will help fund efforts to complete the adoption process. Several families have donated some great items for this Sale. And now we need your help to spread the word! Please help us in letting everyone know about this coming Yard Sale in the Indianapolis area. You can share this link on Facebook, Tweet about it, or you can share the Event page via Facebook. Thank you again for your continued support of our adoption efforts. We cannot wait to bring “W” home to be with our family forever!
If you have any question about this Sale, please shoot me an email and I’ll get back with you as soon as possible.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AvengersUnite #CollectiveBias
Have you heard? Of course you’ve heard! The Internet has practically exploded with each movie trailer release over the past few months. A huge impact has already been made on the international box office.
Check out the Super Heroes Assemble app for exclusive MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron content!
I’ve done my best to turn my family into a gaggle of geeks, and I think it’s starting to pay off. We are super excited about this super hero movie. To help us get ready for the coming blockbuster, I downloaded the Super Heroes Assemble app (available via Google Play and iTunes) and discovered tons of great stuff about MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
With this app, you can unlock all kinds of cool features like character bios, featurettes, special behind-the-scenes features, a tour of the Hulkbuster facility, and other great content by heading over to Walmart or Walmart.com and scanning specially marked displays.
You can also unlock content on the app by scanning specially marked packages. And starting today, you can unlock a special digital comic book thanks to Dr. Pepper. All you have to do is scan a Dr. Pepper sign at Walmart. Or you could scan any Dr. Pepper 12-pack that has The Avengers on its package. It’s a pretty cool feature and it’s the perfect tool to help you and your family to get ready for MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
There’s even an opportunity to use the app to “suit up.” Our family, however, decided to take that whole suiting up thing one step further. It’s really only the next logical step – especially for a gaggle of geeks like mine. Right?
So watch out, world! I grabbed these masks and other accessories from The Avengers at our local Walmart. So now our family has suited up and is ready to take on any foe that may come our way. You might find us walking the halls of an upcoming convention. Or you might even find us roaming downtown dressed as these heroes. Just for the fun of it.
We didn’t choose these heroes in a willy-nilly fashion. Each of these characters from MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron has a connection with each of our family members. That’s right, friends. There was a method to our madness. Here’s how characters from The Avengers universe connect with my family:
Christy as Captain America
Captain America has a strong moral compass. He stands up for what is right with little concern for any personal gain or profit.
That’s my wife. She has an inner strength and compassion that compels her to act on the behalf of others, giving a voice to the voiceless and remembering the forgotten. She is always helping others and trying to make the world around her a better place.
Aly as Thor
Thor, a visitor from another realm, has a strong connection with the natural world. Thor can control the weather and has the ability to call down lightning from the heavens. He alone is worthy to carry his hammer, which focuses his power.
Aly can’t call down lightning from the sky, but she has a deep connection with the world around us. When she was little, she said the animals would talk to her. I don’t know how, but there were times where it sure felt that way. She is in tune with the nature around us. It’s almost superhuman.
Aiden as the Hulk
Bruce Banner is smart. He’s super-smart. His alter-ego, the Hulk, is a giant mass of muscle and is misunderstood by most people. The Hulk possesses superhuman strength and can smash just about anything.
Aiden is smart. And as a teenager, he’s often misunderstood. And much like the Hulk, Aiden is a man of few words. He has been working out with the high school football team for the past six months. He’s become a lean, mean, muscular machine. Because of his strength, he has been called upon several times to help move furniture.
Mihret as Iron Man
With the help of sophisticated technology, Tony Stark can suit up in a powerful set of armor to become Iron Man. Much like Dr. Banner, Mr. Stark is very smart. And his creativity knows no bounds. He’s a determined person whose Iron Man suit helps him accomplish his dream of protecting the world.
Mihret’s nickname at school is “Miss Determination.” Much like Mr. Stark, she won’t take “no” for an answer. Although she requires the use of mobility aids in order to walk and get around, she is always using her creativity to find new ways to achieve what doctors have suggested she wouldn’t be able to do. She always has on her “armor,” ankle and foot orthotics that help her walk. She is able to use the assistive technology available to her to help her achieve her goals and accomplish her dreams.
Our family is united
When you watch the trailers for MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron, it’s apparent that, once again, the world needs these heroes to unite together in order to defeat a powerful foe. Working together as a team isn’t always easy. It requires sacrifice, humility, honesty, and teamwork. It can be messy. But when they work together, they can accomplish much.
That’s not unlike our family. Sure there are personality clashes at times. And we a little rough around the edges. Life together can be messy – both physically and emotionally. But we’re united. And when we work together, we can accomplish much. Who knows? We just might end up changing the world.
I know what you’re asking. What about me? Which members of The Avengers am I? Well, he’s really not an Avenger, but I think I might relate the most closely with Nick Fury, who gets things done in the background and does his best to help the rest of his team succeed.
How about your family?
Why not check out the MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron section at Walmart.com and find the perfect snacks and equipment for the super heroes in your life? I’d love to hear which members of The Avengers are most like your family members.
Feel free to share those connections in the comments!
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BiteHungerBack #CollectiveBias
I had forgotten how much growing teenagers eat in one day. We have two teens in our house right now. One of them (who shall remain nameless) is pretty much a bottomless pit. This kid would still complain about being hungry after eating a seven-course meal.
I get it, though. They are teenagers. So I understand the change in eating habits. School takes a lot out of you. Athletics takes a lot out of you. Following your favorite Boy Band’s every move takes a lot out of you. So you’ve got to eat. It’s part of being a growing teenager. I get that. I really do. But – holy cow – they can eat. A lot.
And this has me worried.
We are in the process of adopting a boy from halfway around the world. If everything goes the way we hope, hell be home with us by the end of this year.
He’s a teenager, too.
So that’s going to make the challenge of keeping our family’s bellies full without breaking the bank even more difficult. Don’t get me wrong. He’s totally worth it. And he’s going to make our family complete. But if he has half the appetite our other teens have, we could be in a heap of trouble.
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When my teenager with the bottomless pit as a stomach complains about hunger pains a half an hour after dinner, HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites can help tackle that appetite. It’s great. My kids can pop them in the microwave without supervision and in almost no time at all, they can have tasty, cheesy goodness for a hearty snack. HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites are made with quality ingredients, including 100% real cheese. With the snack that bites hunger back, you can satisfy the hungriest of appetites.
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I’ll be honest. Nobody in our house is a morning person. So breakfast before school is usually a pretty big chore and it’s also kind of miserable. With HOT POCKETS® Breakfast Bites, however, we can make the most of our morning with bites full of breakfast awesomeness. Much like the Snack Bites, these Breakfast Bites are stuffed with quality ingredients like 100% real cheese. They are a great way to bite through your morning hunger and start the day off on the right foot.
Thanks to HOT POCKETS® Breakfast Bites and HOT POCKETS® Snack Bites, I feel a little bit better about our family’s future with three teenage mouths to feed under one roof. I know their hunger will be satisfied with these hearty snacks. Now I can worry about other things: like how to get three teenagers to share a bathroom. Or share the remote control. Or put their dirty dishes in the sink. I hope I’m not biting off more than I can chew.
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“Basketball really had its origin in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport.” – James Naismith
Rumor has it that Indianapolis received some rave reviews about this year’s Final Four. And why not? Basketball rules the roost in Indiana. And Men’s Final Four weekend is a great celebration of all things basketball. Combining the two? Well, it just makes sense. Kind of like peanut butter and jelly. It’s the perfect combination.
So we spent Sunday afternoon/evening in Indy. It was not your typical Easter Sunday for us, but at least we managed to have some ham sandwiches on the way to the festivities.
We joined 3,500 other kids in a giant basketball parade, dribbling through the streets of downtown Indy. There were a few organizational speedbumps in getting the whole thing started, but that’s probably to be expected. Once we were on the road, there was nothing to stop us.
We also got to play around in the Fan Experience inside the Convention Center. Then we got to ride a Ferris Wheel and hear some live music. For the whole day, we spent a grand total of five bucks. And that was to park. I’m not sure you can beat that deal!
It was a great day full of fun, family, and music. And walking. Lots of walking.
Walked 9 miles while taking in all the #FinalFour festivities in downtown #Indy today. What a great celebration of college basketball!
This whole adoption process has definitely been a marathon and it is not for the faint of heart. There have been days, weeks, and even months where it has felt like nothing was happening. That’s part of the reason I haven’t given much of an update on this blog recently. There really wasn’t much to report, other than the fact that we were still caught in the grueling process that is known in adoption circles as the paper chase. Now, we aren’t new to the paper chase. We’ve done it before. But I guess I’d forgotten how long the process actually takes. Or maybe I thought it would be quicker this time around. After all, we had all the documents from before.
Almost everything had to be redone. And sometimes they had to be redone again because people had trouble following directions the first time (let’s not talk about how difficult it was to get the form for my physical filled out properly by the doctor’s office). I’m pretty sure it took twice as long as Mihret’s paper chase. And the stress of getting other offices to correctly do what they’re supposed to do just might’ve taken a few months off my life.
But it’s all OK now. Because it’s out of our hands. That’s right. We have finished the paper chase! Our dossier is complete! After months of feeling like we’re marking time, there’s finally some movement. We’re starting to see some momentum in the adoption process. Things are starting to move a little bit quicker. Hopefully, momentum keeps going the right direction.
Now that our dossier is in the hands of our agency, they’ll go over it and make sure everything is there and nothing needs correcting. Then it will be translated into Amharic. Once it’s translated, it will be sent to the Ethiopian government. That’s the next milestone – the DTE (Dossier to Ethiopia) date. Once they receive the dossier, they’ll do their due diligence to make sure everything is in order. That could still take a while. After that’s completed, there will be two separate trips to Ethiopia. In the first trip, we’ll meet “W,” our son, for the first time. We’ve been communicating with each other since late last year and we’ve even been able to send some small care packages with other families who are flying to Addis, but we have yet to see each other face to face.
I have to admit, I’m having a hard time waiting for that day. I can’t wait to look into his eyes and tell him that he’s mine. I can’t wait to wrap my arms around him and welcome him to the family. I can’t wait to smile at him and tell him how loved he is. I can’t wait.
Of course, I have to wait. Because we’ll stand before the Ethiopian court the first time and they will declare “W” our son. But then we’ll have to wait some more while the US Embassy does its due diligence to make sure everything is in order. That takes several weeks. So we’re supposed to go home and wait.
That’s going to be tough. I had a hard enough time leaving Mihret at the Care Center that was adjacent to our hotel after meeting her. I can’t imagine leaving our son half a world away after meeting him. But people do it. And everyone survives. I suppose we’ll survive, too.
Actually, I know we’ll survive. Because it’s what we have to do. It’s the process we have to go through. We’ll do whatever it takes and jump through whatever hoops are necessary in order to bring “W” home to his forever family.
We’ve achieved a major milestone in our efforts to adopt “W.” But there’s much more that has to be done before he is home with us. Many of you have asked how you can help us on this journey. I’m putting together a post that answers this question. Hopefully it’ll be ready tomorrow.
In the meantime, I ask you to pray. Pray for all of the bureaucrats and diplomats involved in this process. Pray that the paperwork is correct and it is translated accurately and quickly. But most of all, please pray for “W.” Pray for his health. Pray for his spirit. Pray that he knows without a shadow of a doubt that he has a family who loves him and is working to move heaven and earth to bring him home.
One of my students has consistently called me Grandpa since the day I showed up in his class in October. Granted, he does occasionally call me “Daddy,” too. And there was one day a few weeks ago where he walked down the hall with me and introduced me as “Mr. Matt” to everyone he met – real or imaginary. So there are days where he’s all over the place with what he calls me. But his go-to name for me is Grandpa. Maybe I look like his super-young, super-hip (is that what the young whipper snappers call it nowadays?) grandpa. Or maybe it’s just the head of gray I mean…white hair. White hair. Yeah…that’s the ticket…Because it’s totally turning white and not gray at all. So maybe it’s the color of my hair that makes him assume I’m a grandpa. Or maybe there’s no real explanation of what’s going on in this kid’s head. He just wants to call me Grandpa.
I guess I’m technically old enough to be his grandpa. I guess that means I’m getting older.
I had another realization about my age recently. I was talking with a co-worker one night and realized that I have scars on my body that are older than he is. The scar from me jumping through an aquarium? Older than him. The scar from the time where I was teaching ax safety and wound up cutting my leg with an ax? Yup. Older than him. Wait….how is it possible that I’ve been blogging on this site for 10+ years and I’ve never talked about these scars? This is a travesty that must be corrected. I sense a series a-brewing.
But I digress…
Those scars? Totally older than him.
Dang. I really am getting older. I like to say that I agree with Bon Jovi. I’m not really getting old. Just older.
But maybe that’s not necessarily the case anymore. Maybe I’m not just getting older. Maybe I’m getting old. Here are four reasons that there’s a very good possibility that I’m starting to become a grumpy old man.
1. Catching some zzzzz…
Before I elaborate, I feel like I should make a disclaimer about my grandparents so you don’t misunderstand me. Grandmama and Grandpa were not grumpy people. They laughed. A lot. I remember them as generally, genuinely happy people.
I remember their smiles. And I definitely remember their laughs. Especially Grandpa’s. It’s been 25-ish years since I’ve heard that laugh, but I can still hear it echoing through my memories when I think about him. Boy do I miss that laugh. I wish my kids could’ve heard that laugh. I know they would’ve loved it. And he would’ve gotten a big kick out of them.
So you get the point. Grandmama and Grandpa were happy people. Joyous people. They were not grumps.
But, boy could they sleep.
Whenever we’d go stay at my grandparents’ house, the night would almost always end with Grandpa asleep on the red carpet that covered their Living Room. It didn’t really matter what was on TV. He generally fell asleep while we were watching it.
And Grandmama? As she got older, she fell asleep almost anywhere at almost any time. I remember having conversations with her as she would sit down in the recliner. I’m not kidding: 30 seconds after sitting in her chair, she’d be asleep. Her best friend told us that she also had a knack for falling asleep in the movie theatee. I remember some other places where she fell asleep, but she’d probably be mortified if she was still alive and found out that I’d shared them in public.
The grand-apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, apparently. I fall asleep all the time while sitting on the couch. I’ve also dozed off a time or two during the occasional trip to the local dollar(+75 cents) theater. I am certainly following in Grandmama and Grandpa’s footsteps.
Does this make me grumpy? No. Not unless one of the kids rudely rouses me from my slumber upon the couch. Then I’m not very happy. But that only lasts for a little while. It isn’t a perpetual state of grumpiness.
Does it make me old? Probably. I think it’s safe to say that the all-nighters from college, the dates that Christy and I would have that would last until 5 in the morning, and the precious few hours of sleep that I got while our kids were babies have taken their toll. So now I’m playing catch-up. One cat nap at a time. Does this mean I’m ancient? Nah. But it’s pretty clear that I’m older.
Now please excuse me while I take a quick nap before I write the rest of this post.
Nothing makes me grumpier than a jaywalker crossing the street in front of my car while I’m driving down the road. This really didn’t bother me too much until sometime early last year when it was dark and a lady jumped out from between two stopped cars going the opposite direction. I was *this close* to hitting her. I’ve included a banana for scale:
If she had jumped out any more, there’s no way I wouldn’t have hit her. All because she couldn’t walk a few hundred feet and cross at an intersection.
Now I just get grumpy when someone walks out in front of me and isn’t using a crosswalk or at an intersection. It makes me so grumpy that I’m tempted to speed up a little and blare my horn, just to scare them a bit. Of course I would never intentionally hit someone. But scaring someone enough to reconsider jaywalking might be fun. You know I’d never really speed up like that. But I may or may not have blared my horn at jaywalkers as they walked in front of me.
Because I’m grumpy like that.
3. People who walk the wrong way
Speaking of pedestrians, people walking the wrong way down the street make me just as grumpy as jaywalkers do. Walking on the right side of the road, with the flow of traffic instead of against it, you’re putting yourself in a dangerous situation. It’s unsafe for the pedestrians. It’s also unsafe for the people who are driving. Unless you want to increase the chances of being involved in a car vs. pedestrian accident, it just makes sense to walk on the left side of the road.
And because I really don’t want to be involved in any car vs. pedestrian incidents, I admit that I’ve at the occasional pedestrian (it’s usually a small group of teenagers) for walking down the right side, which is the wrong side, of the road. It isn’t safe and it just makes me grumpy.
Very, very grumpy.
4. No turn signals
There are a lot of things I miss about living in the South. I’m sure it’s a blog post waiting to happen. There are a few things, however, that I don’t miss. One thing that drove me nuts about driving in Upper East Tennessee was the regular use of “courtesy signals” by the locals. Have you ever experienced this?
Let’s say a car is two spots in front of you and is turning left. That driver has the left turn signal on and is waiting for an opening in oncoming traffic to make the turn. As a “courtesy,” the car behind that car – the car between the two of you – turns on his/her left turn signal in order to let you know that the person in the front of the line is waiting to turn left. There were times where I encountered five or six cars flashing “courtesy signals” while waiting for the first person to turn. Once that person turned, all of subsequent drivers went straight.
I don’t understand the reasoning behind this. I never have. But it drives me nuts.
That pales in comparison to how grumpy I get when someone doesn’t even bother to use a turn signal at all. I like to minimize uncertainty when I’m driving. I like to have an idea what my fellow drivers are trying to do. If you’re turning and I don’t know that ahead of time, that makes me grumpy.
Turn signals are our friends, people! Use them!
Mr. Grumpy Pants
Well fliberty-floo. Flobble-dee-flee!
I’m coming closer and closer to being a grumpy old man. I’m sure this’ll change in the future as my grumpy old manliness continues to grow, it seems that most of my grumpiness seems to be tied to driving. But it’s not because of anything I’m doing. It’s everyone else. Please show some courtesy and some common sense when you’re walking or driving down the road. If you don’t, you just might encounter a grumpy old man like me.
Christy has been hard at work putting together an online auction to help cover some of our adoption fees. Generous friends, family, and businesses have donated some great items for this event. You should head on over to the auction’s facebook page and check it out.
Here’s how it works. Once you find something you’d like to bid on, write your bid in a comment under that specific picture. Please include your name and email address . If you would like to bid over a current bid, simply comment under the original bid with your name and email address! The highest bid at the close of the auction on November 24th wins! IF THERE IS SHIPPING LISTED, PLEASE COMMENT WITH YOUR BID IF YOU WILL NEED SHIPPING. We will gladly deliver in the Indianapolis area (if you’d like to ask about other arrangements, let me know).
Here are a few highlights from this auction. Hurry! The auction closes November 24th!