Saturday, August 7, 2010

Garage Sailing III: Vengeance of the Reflected Man

Where I'm currently staying, this is the single best day of the year for Garage Sales. See, my parents live a grand total of 2 blocks away from main street in a town which tries really quite hard to sell people on main street businesses. It's one of those places couples go to to stroll around through all the quirky knick knack and antique stores. (FYI though, almost all the businesses on Sumner's Main Street are just full of junk. "A Good Book," and "The Gast Haus" are both superb places. The people who own "The Berryland Cafe" are dicks though.)

For the large part, this street fair is stupid. A bunch of home-made jewelry, bad sketches of animals being sold under the title of "fine art" (not kidding.) and other equally offensively inoffensive nonsense. Out of the 23 years of my life, I've been there 21 times, and I've yet to be impressed. Highlights include:

1) Occasionally there will be an amusing act on the stage, not often though. I think I may have actually performed once.

2) The food. They always set up some great places to buy various bits of deliciousness. Though I decided to refrain this year, since most of them are run by groups I'm uncomfortable supporting.

3) There's this one person who sells pewter figures of dragons or wizards or other fantasy statuettes, which have been affixed to interesting pieces of geology. I've always wanted one, but I don't want one of the little wizards on a slice of multicolored rock. (Sorry, I'm horrible with geological terminology.) I want one of the $80 pieces with a wizard fighting a dragon on top of a rock big enough to be a scale mountain. I just can't afford that right now, though.

4) Everybody in town has a garage sale to take advantage of the increased traffic from all over the area.

And that brings us to the subject of this post. This year didn't have as much stuff as previous years, but I did find some good stuff...

First I stopped by a garage sale being held in the house where my aunt and her family used to live. I have a lot of really fond memories of that house--not the least of which being the yearly garage sales where the whole extended family would get together at her house (on this very day) to sell our junk.

I had a nice chat with the new owners (who told me the house is haunted, and want me to pass a message along to my aunt telling her to come get her ghost. I'm not sure they were kidding.) I told them about some of the weird stuff we found in the house when my Aunt first moved in, and picked up a few DVDs for a dollar a piece. (Pictured is also a fifth DVD, which I picked up later at a garage sale which is not really worth mentioning.)


A street over from that, I went to two sales. The first was kinda boring, but it had a nice Wok, so I grabbed that for $1.50. They also had some mugs, and I've been wanting to keep one at work so I can drink tea every day, so I just grabbed the one that was the least "not my style" and gave em' 50 cents for it. I then went to another sale which had one of the most annoying kinds of sellers--the hard seller. I hate hard sells as it is, but at a garage sale? Seriously?

She had nothing of even vague interest, until I noticed a pack of plastic plates for 50 cents. I could certainly use a few more plates, so I went ahead and went for it.


I then went to another yard sale with a hard-seller. Ugh.

Now, something I've seen at a LOT of garage sales is mirrors. I like mirrors a lot. I probably like more than a scruffy looking person like myself has any right to. I mean, if I like them so much, I should at least bother making myself presentable right? Nope. Not happening.

See, I like mirrors, because they make a small space feel like a much larger space. Also because making funny faces at them is hilarious.

However, all the mirrors I've seen are TOTALLY not my style, also generally overpriced I think. But I've seen a lot of them at this point, and that trend has been pretty consistent. So when I see another one at this garage sale, I figure "this must just be the way it is." and I buy it for $10.


This is probably the only regret I have about my Garage Sailing over the last three weeks. Generally I've been pretty happy with the way I've guarded my money, and the way I've been careful to purchase things I'll actually use, not just junk that looks cool to me.

But I should have offered $5 at most for this mirror.

Oh well, what's done is done.

Really though, what makes it worse, is that a little later on in the day I found this:


See, that's just weird enough to be exactly my style, and it's WAY bigger, and it was FIVE DOLLARS. I almost didn't get it because of how much I'd spent on the previous one, but I later went back in my car to buy it because I figure I can probably find someone to buy the first one off of me for $5. And if not, no big deal. More the merrier.

That one is actually SUPER heavy. It was meant for a dresser, but the person who was selling it had mounted some really sturdy mounting brackets on the back, so it hangs just fine.

After leaving the garage sale with the awesome mirror, I found a house with a bunch of stuff labeled "Free." Among those items were some plastic filing cabinets in decent condition. This is AWESOME for me, because I've got some cardboard filing cabinets (I know, rite?) I've been using for YEARS, and they're really starting to fall apart.

Trouble is, today I was on foot. Because when you live 2 blocks from a street fair that people in a several-town-radius attend, leaving your parking spot is ill advisable. Fortunately it was a back-road, and there weren't any signs, and the filing cabinets were really dirty, so I trusted they would be there when I returned.

This is also the point where I met two kids. Maybe 9 and 6, and talked to them about how cool their bikes are. The six year old totally had these badass reflectors he got from the firefighters at the street fair, and also a glitter tattoo which was pretty boss. While doing so, a woman literally started *running* towards us, and I was worried they were her kids, and she thought I was gonna rape them or something. But then she ran right past us. No idea what she was doing.

When I came back later, the sign was gone, but the filing cabinets were still there! Because I'm the polite sort, I knocked on the door to make sure the filing cabinets were, indeed, free to take. I ended up chatting for maybe 10 minutes with the super cool old lady who lived there. I had just come from picking up the large mirror, and she thought it was fantastic. I also ended up taking a painting she had there. It's not really my style, but it's kinda nice, and I figure someone I know might like it. It was free anyway.



And then a little earlier in the day, while walking home, I passed an apartment complex which was hosting a communal garage sale. At first I didn't see anything worth getting, but then...



A Lego set, for $8. I don't even care if it was all there, I LOVE Lego, a metric fuckton. More Lego means more options for building awesome stuff. I don't get to do it as often anymore, but that's no reason to pass on a deal like this! New, this set cost about $130-170 if I recall. (yeah, I subscribed to the Lego magazine/Lego catalog for...many, many years. Lego Maniacs unite!)

She also had a chess set, which turned out to be a multi-game set sorta thing, which I grabbed even though I've already got a nice chess set, because it was a dollar, and I'm a huge fan of chess.


All in all, I got some truly fantastic stuff today. And as I was explaining to my younger siblings, just spend some time thinking about what I would have spent on most of this stuff new. If this stuff came from a store, it would be in slightly better condition, and I would have spent my entire paycheck.

As is, it's in perfectly serviceable condition, and I spent my pocket money on it.

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