Sunday, September 21, 2008


When I dressed for garaging on Saturday and looked in the mirror, I just felt cute. Perhaps women my age aren’t supposed to feel cute. I admit it's not terribly dignified. But then I'm the person who wears fabric Mary Janes in public. Dignified does not seem to be my style.

My latest Curious George watch seemed to go really well with the fifty cent shirt I got a few weeks ago,

and Noll Baxter had thoughtfully provided me with some matching cat hair for my jeans.

It promised to be a gorgeous fall day. Even though the pickings have been slim the last few Saturdays I harbored the optimism that all gamblers feel as they start off. I just knew I would be a big winner today, in stories if not in stuff.

First stop, as always, was my local donut shop. This is partly for a pastry, but also to break a $20 bill from the ATM. (Wish those machines had a dial to let you choose the denominations of the bills; for garaging you want the lowest possible. It's embarrassing to bargain for something and then whip out a twenty and ask for change.) When I returned to the almost-empty parking lot, I saw an old man standing by his old Cadillac (late sixties model, I think), squeegee-ing off the night’s condensation. Not just the windows, the entire car. Those things are as big as a barge; his ministrations must have taken forever. I couldn’t help wondering how he’d ended up in this parking lot for the task. Did he forget to squeegee before he left home and only remembered as he passed my donut shop? Maybe his wife makes fun of him for the tender loving care he lavishes on his vintage car, and he squeegees in secret? Maybe he’s there every morning, drying off his car and then rewarding himself with a pastry and a friendly smile from my donut ladies, Mel and Kim. As with so many things in life, I'll never know the answer.

First sale I stopped at netted a couple of items. The things I didn’t buy included a dog crate with wall-to-wall carpeting (when I commented on it, the seller told me that they had bought their dog a crate big enough for him and his wife, and the dog gets the rest of the house) and this lovely yoga kit.

Honestly, yoga in a box. Yes, I am rolling my eyes. Om, indeed!

Next stop didn’t have anything to buy, but they did have Molly, an adorable Basset hound.

When I took her picture, her girl ran inside and came back out with another picture to show me of Molly in the snow. So Molly is a traveling dog, because I guarantee you that snow was not from around here.

I thought Molly might just be the highlight of the morning. Really, you have to go some to beat a Basset. But after a few more stops I came to one piled high with all kinds of stuff. As soon as I pulled up to the curb they were offering to help me fit an enormous shelf unit into my back seat. I countered by admitting I'm not allowed to bring home any more furniture (which is true—this house is plenty full and I do like to be able to walk from room to room). We chatted as I shopped, and as I was leaving I noticed a kumquat tree loaded with fruit. Oooooh, kumquats, I murmured. “I don’t like them,” the woman told me, “you want some?” Her son went into the garage, brought out a ladder and proceeded to pick a bag of fruit for me.

By the time I left she’d given me her phone number. We can go over and pick more. They’re going to prune the tree back soon, so if we can find the time we can rescue those kumquats and make a whole lot of marmalade.

I can stop garaging and go to the grocery store any time now, I thought. You just can't beat a kumquat story. But then there was a sign that said “Multi Family Lawn Sale” which I thought was charming. And a little boy, about 8 years old, who was evidently having one last fling with the toys his mom had put out for sale. He had a pair of plastic roller skates on his bare feet, red goggles over his eyes, and a plastic pirate hook in his hand. “You look ready for just about anything,” I told him. “I am,” he said.

I had one last sale on my list to check out. Two neighbors had set up items on their driveways. I walked up to the first and glanced into the garage. I saw a girl, a poodle, and a duck. I looked again. A real live duck. The mom came out of the house. “You have a duck,” I told her. She laughed and agreed, and starting telling me about him. “His name is Hector. We got him at the swap meet.” She and her daughter are both animal lovers, and they were going to get a bunny. They checked out the bunny rescue society and had picked one out, but her husband said don’t get an eight-five dollar bunny that’s already being taken care of, you should go to the swap meet and get a five dollar bunny that needs a home. So they went to the swap meet. Apparently there were a number of animals for sale and she said she was appalled at how they were treated—little cages in the hot sun, no water, no shade. (Yes, she is getting in touch with the humane society.) And even though they’d planned to get a bunny, she saw this baby duck. Before she knew what she was doing she handed over a five dollar bill and they Hector was theirs.

Hector follows the little girl everywhere, and sometimes goes to school with the mom, who is a 4th grade teacher. He hangs out and watches TV with the family. He’s so tame that when I whipped out my camera to take a picture he came hurrying up, those funny webbed feet slapping the cement garage floor. He’s about two months old now, just getting his grown up feathers. His wing feathers are still quite short though, and when he goes to sleep at night and tucks his head under his wing, half of his face sticks out. Hector is a very lucky duck—and definitely the highlight of my morning. Which is saying something. Not just anything can trump a Basset hound and free kumquats!

I spent $7.00 during the morning, and brought home:
Three CDs of supposedly Celtic music. Listened to one in the car and it's not a keeper, but I've gotten my fifty cents worth of enjoyment from it.

I had to reassure my husband that I did not buy this Christmas lamp to add to our holiday decorations.

I spent fifty cents on it solely for the light,

which I plan to use in the porcelain figure of Pooh reading to Piglet that I bought a while back. The light is missing from that, and I'm hoping this will fit. It's in my office at work, so will have to wait until Monday to find out.

A Laurel Burch butterfly pin for my mother.

A couple of books…

…a video…

…and some padded hangers. I've never owned any of these and thought at a dime apiece I'd give ‘em a try.

Two door prizes for children’s librarians.

And this wonderful little train assemblage, made of bits and pieces from inside a watch.

I'm still working on finding ways to use my garaging finds. Latest use for a felted sweater: fixing a gardening glove!


  1. Hi there-loving the butterfly pin, very nice!

  2. Hi! Just wanted to let you know that I look forward to your weekly report! I love your descriptive writing. I could just see that boy who was ready for anything!

  3. I too love the Laurel Burch pin. I love your blogging style...we have few shops around and even fewer garage sales. I would love to cruise around on a Saturday the way you do. Look at all the people and animals you meet....a lot of blogging fodder!

  4. Another Great post!
    The 'duck story' brought back memories - I had three pet 'geese' when I was little!!! An Easter basket present! They get very attached and are VERY protective!
    I have all of Mary Randolph Carter's 'JUNK' books and LOVE them! ENJOY!!

  5. We had a garage sale yesterday.

    They are waaay more fun to go to than to have.

    I am Tired.

    Nobody asked to photograph my cat, although he was meowing like crazy at the door all day.

    I just LOVE your blog!

  6. Oh what a cute duck! Great finds but the duck story has got to be may favourite.

  7. I go for cute, but I mostly come off as eccentric. Or my husband says, weird.

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I really love your comments. Thanks for coming along on my thrifty adventures!

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