Saturday, April 26, 2008

another man's treasure

garage sales are one of the reasons i love spring and summer so much. a garage sale is the intersection of some of my favorite things: lack of snow and ice, good bargains, random old stuff, and talking to strangers. anyways this weekend was like garage sale heaven because my neighborhood had their (semi-?)annual garage sale weekend. so apart from the fact that had taken me five minutes to drive the five blocks OUT of the subdivision that morning, it is pretty fun because everyone gets really neighborly all of a sudden and everyone's kids get together to make a killing on lemonade and there is a common feeling of good cheer and peace on earth, similar to the season yuletide.

there are always several kinds of garage sales. there are usually a few people who, because the neighborhood is having a sale and they don't have to advertise, just throw out a few bins of old junk and hope to make a few bucks with no effort. there is never anything good at these sales, because these people aren't really trying to get rid of stuff...they just want a little profit. ubiquitous items would be VHS tapes, brass decorations and cheap paperback books.

then there are the young-parents yard sales, where they sell millions of pieces of baby clothing for only about half of what they paid for it at Gymboree, always neatly folded in little rows to show you what good quality they are. there is always a very narrow and specific size of clothing available, usually something like "2T-4T." and you can buy playpens and garish wiggly primary-color toys and other baby stuff that has undoubtedly been slobbered and pooped all over. these are, to me, extraordinarily boring and i would suggest never attending a sale which mentions the word "exersaucer" in its advertisement. oh yeah...usually these sales happen at a particular stage of life at which the new Dad is shedding his single-guy persona, so you might also see some neon beer signs, a weight bench, and tons of action movies (on VHS of course).

there are also the "craft sale" garage sales when people just sell stuff they've made or put together. usually there are tons of wooden cutout things and signs with "funny" sayings on them, and wreaths with roses and strands of pearls in them, but little of actual interest unless you are the kind of particular person who loves country stuff that might have been created 15 years ago.

there are other kinds as well, but my favorite is the 'throw-it-all-out-there-junk-sale' usually given by older people. old people always have decades worth of stuff to get rid of, and they are usually actually trying to get rid of it as opposed to just making as much money as possible, which means stuff is not overpriced and they will give it to you for even less than the little red dot says. they also usually like to talk. all my favorite elements converge in these garage sales for the perfect saling experience.

so, in honor of garage sales and to try and make this post good (you might not see another one for another month), i wanted to show you the things i purchased today. notice the shift to center-alignment, which is a sure sign some pictures are headed YOUR WAY.

so, exhibit A is actually two things: one plump little antique pitcher complete with original glass stopper, and a print from a 1940s calendar, which i will duly mat and display on a shelf with my other similarly awesome stuff. the bottle was $0.50 and the print was free because old people finally moving to their summer cabin in Okoboji (where all their friends ended up living) are awesome.

next are these beautiful old books. i am getting quite a collection of old books, and i'm quite happy about "guests of the heart" in particular. all three of these are in great condition but this one is inscribed in the front cover (i love that people used to do that) from one friend to another...commencement 1887. the other two are insignificant but quite lovely and in very good condition. i paid $0.25 for each one. people are always willing to sell very old books for very little money...this is a universal flaw in humankind that i am willing to exploit to the fullest.

i feel kind of ashamed to say that i bought two purses. the first one was, admittedly, an impulsive purchase. but i do really like it, regardless of whether i get my fifty-cents' worth out of it.

this one here is pretty awesome. it's from the gap, which of course means extraordinarily high quality and timeless classic appeal. well at least it is suede leather in a cheerful green color, and perforated with tiny stars. the color is not minty green as your computer might show it. it set me back exactly $1.00 (USD).
it's weird to buy seeds at a garage sale, but i did it. as i dug through a bin of seeds at one sale today, i imagined myself as a painting, wearing in a floppy hat, with a spade in hand and a smile on my face, lovingly turning up dark fertile earth in a ray of blessed sunshine; and after months of tender care and building anticipation, gratefully partaking of earth's bountiful harvest. all the while, i knew i would probably never plant them. price: $0.50 each.

next i will show you my asian wall hangings of questionable vintage. supposedly they are at least 50 years old, or so the guy tells me as he relates to me his illustrious career of public school-administration. after he went to Guam and bought some bamboo cups which he is also now trying to get rid of (and which i almost bought). $1.50 apiece.

oh yeah, Mary was certainly excited about her finds, especially Patch. if you come over, i'm sure she will tell you how she rescued this animal of ambiguous gender from a heap of moldering toys headed for shibalba. price: unknown and not relevant.

i also was very excited to purchase some china. these plates are obviously not the same pattern, but they are all the same size and go together very well. there are two of the plain white ones, one of the scalloped one on top, and three of the one on the right; a perfect set of six. :) i am very happy about these. the first two cost me $0.50 for the three of them, and the others were $3.00 each.

oh yes, and who can have a truly successful day of yard-saling without consuming multiple glasses of overstrong koolaid? i am a firm supporter of the lemonade industry and happily paid my $0.25 and $0.75 to strengthen the koolaid economy.

total spent: 17.75

why, thank you for reading! and thanks for sticking with me even when i hardly ever post any more.

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