Last night I had a nightmare that Salvation Army wouldn't come today. It was probably triggered by the cable guy not showing up last month. I felt like I was crazy because maybe I never called the cable company to set up DVR in the first place. Hmm. When you hang out by yourself too much, you start to doubt everything you do. You wonder they were all phantom conversations or lucid dreams.
But SA's Harley (in the baseball cap) and helper came to haul off the remains of the Infinite Garage Sale. They took twenty-five large boxes, a vacuum cleaner, and three ceramic lamps.
"What's a jade pillow for?" Harley asked. He told me he had been sleeping on magnets to increase circulation but have never heard of the jade pillow phenomenon. I said it was similar and something old Chinese people believe in.
Sheepishly I had to ask if this was a normal pick up or if I had more stuff than he'd ever seen.
"Nope, I do this all the time. Most people have more stuff than you!"
This fact was hard to stomach but was also a relief.
The best part about this photo is the fake holiday scene behind us. It looks a little like it's at a fisheye perspective, like we're in some Christmas funhouse.
This is probably the last professional family portrait we ever took. We weren't big on portraits. We weren't the kind of people to have photos on the walls, like the ones in the collage frames with multiple slots that show us through the ages. We weren't organized enough to put those together. Only in hindsight do I think they would have been great to see everyday.
Birds want a warm, safe place to make their nests. They want to be able to protect their young from the elements, predators, and us. When I was twelve and we had just moved into the newly built house, we started noticing the outdoor lights fill up with twigs, leaves, and feathers. Birds had nested inside the hanging light near the front door and the two smaller lights along the front wall. It dismayed my mother because they looked like a pain to clean. We’d have to dismantle the iron and glass panes individually.
In reality the nests didn’t really bother us. They didn’t stop lights from working. They were dirty but also sort of charming. We had a bird sanctuary in our front entrance! They only became a problem when birds started getting trapped inside.
My father and I watched a bird inside the light crash up against the glass pane. He kept trying again and again, as if he had lost his way to a trap door that he was sure was there. He had come in through the one opening at the bottom and in a panic had forgotten the way out. I wondered if this was not the same bird who had built the nest. That one made repeated trips in and out and would have known. This bird had gotten here by accident.
He flew into the glass for hours. It was maddening, watching this small creature get knocked down repeatedly. It made all three of us nervous. My mother made a ball out of rice and meat and placed it at the edge of the opening. It got his attention for a few seconds and then he went back to flying into the glass. He had no other focus. My father attempted to squeeze him out by sticking the end of a broomstick into the opening, hoping to scare him. That didn’t work either. We gave up but just stared at the bird stuck in a trap. We all hoped for the best and continued check on him throughout the day.
The next morning we found his stiff body on the ground. It had slid through the opening. It seemed horrible that once he stopped trying he was able to find his way out. A safe place had become a deathtrap. I was stunned and stared at his body for a few minutes. My mother quickly scurried me inside and told me to look away while she collected his body into a shoebox.
The same thing ended up happening to a few more birds that year. I’m relieved that I haven’t seen any birds inside the lights for years. It's time to clean out their nests and put mesh wiring over the opening.
Between work, travel, and holiday guests, I haven't been tending to the garage as much as I'd like. But I've been tending to the house! I had the carpets cleaned, the plumbing fixed, and even I cleared two of the bedrooms. Over Thanksgiving I was able to finally guests over and not worry that they'd be visually assaulted by sweaters.
Having people over was the motivation I needed to clear house. But after they left I fell into a slump. What now? The house is more livable but I still had that hairy garage beast. I couldn't stand knowing that the garage hadn't changed. So I decided to have an Infinite Garage Sale.
A few awesome friends came over the help, otherwise I'd have died! Angela was the much needed stickler, texting me at 6:30 am to set up. From a previous sale, I knew that the serious buyers start hovering before seven so I jumped out of bed. I was right. One guy drove past my house several times. A few were parked near the driveway. Their enthusiasm was scary actually. Maybe not as scary as when I hit sample sales. Now I know why those shopgirls are so strict with me.
We put out two racks and eight large boxes of clothes in a hearty clothing department. We had a kitchenwares section near the lawn with the Forever Orchids and a sporting goods section with golf clubs, fishing supplies and folding bikes. It was like having a little department store in my driveway.
Here's Angela with the vintage Sony multiband radio in front of "housewares" and the manual typewriter I used to make zines on.
Ladies and menswear.
A lace prairie skirt by "Spoiled Girls!"
My dog looking depressed because we weren't paying attention to him.
I loved the garage sale shoppers. They were mostly older folks and Mexican families. The first one, an elderly Japanese lady in a striped Breton shirt stayed the longest, sifting through every box as we brought them out. She left with a green striped boatneck top and an olive sweater vest. I think she was me in the future because she picked out everything I would have liked. One women bought two of the same The Limited cardigans and told me one was for her and the other was for her ninety-three year old sister! Awesome! Another sweet grandma type returned my beige Lesportac bag when she found money inside. I was relying on the kindness of garage sale strangers.
It was exhilarating to hawk stuff for cash but stressful. When I found myself haggling the difference between $64 and $60 dollars, my friends had to remind me that I needed to price things to move. The number one priority is making the sale! Maybe I was taking the low balling too personally.
I was so beat afterwards that I left the housewares out on the driveway all day and overnight. The next morning I went to brunch and wondered if anyone would take anything. When I came back I found $16 wedged in my front door and noticed a few of the vases missing. I probably would have only charged $1 a vase. I couldn't believe I could run a garage sale on the honor system and make more money that way.
I'm having a few charities pick up the remaining boxes which will free up half the space in the garage. I might soon be able to use one of the carports for an actual car, just like we used to. Infinite Garage sale success!
Here's my cousin's daughter on her first dogback riding lesson.