Saturday, October 07, 2006

For Larra

Garage sales and the act of going to them have to be one of the oddest American institutions I’ve ever encountered. They are right up there with cranberry sauce.

Today was my second time to participate in one of these deal-finding adventures.

Before a year ago, garage sales and the people that frequented them were as much a mystery to me as unicorns. For all I knew, garages and their guests were nothing but fantasy…things that filled storybooks and Shelly Duval’s Fairy Tale Theater.

I had heard about these garages full of crutches and cookware covered with bright circular stickers, and the people who get up in the dark on Saturday mornings and buy those brightly stickered items.

Garage sales and garage sale goers were kind of like the tooth fairy. They did their “business” while I slept. I was blissfully oblivious to their comings and goings.

The first time I went and actually witnessed these caves full of mason jars and Thigh Masters and the fast walking, completely focused mythological creatures that surrounded them, I was too in shock to actually buy much.

My prize that day was a gigantic plastic grasshopper that became Hayden’s favorite toy for a month. Even in my early morning-I feel like I am on Diagon Alley-sort of stupor, I knew that huge grasshopper was a must-have for my Hayden.

I insisted that Ashley and Jenn take me to one of the garages whose ad said, “Handmade Walking Sticks.”

Handmade walking sticks!

Hot Dog! I had to see them. I just had to.

I know they wanted to make me get out by myself and then leave me...but they didn't.

I always wondered why anyone would want to go and ruin a perfectly good Saturday by waking up so early to go possibly find and then possibly buy stuff that may or may not even be there.

Sleep All Morning vs. POSSIBLE deals?

Come on…that’s not even a fair fight. We would have to host this brawl in a basement somewhere, with thug music blaring, and chicken wings flapping. Someone would have to be holding a handful of money…wear a wife beater shirt…oh…and we’d HAVE to have one of those creepy lights that hang from the ceiling and swings.

It would be a bloody death for “Possible Deals.” But I’d be sleeping while it happened, so who cares.

Now that I have children who wake up at 7 a.m. no matter if we put them in the bed at 6 a.m….the contestants have changed.

"Sleep One More Hour" vs. POSSIBLE Deals?

"Possible Deals" now has a fighting chance.

Now that I’ve walked through this enchanted forest twice, here’s what I think about this mystical event:

1. I think going to garage sales is a lot of work.

You have to buy a newspaper…I almost quit at that point in the process.

Then, since there are about 923 of these driveways full of dung on any given weekend, you have to have a strategy.

A strategy!

You have to have a plan! A plan!

You have to have a map.

A map!

It was so overwhelming; I just handed the paper to Kirby Friday night and ate some cake.

Come to find out, what we really needed was a Charlie. Since Kirby has one, he looked up the addresses on Map Quest and then being the genius he is, Photoshopped the map pieces together to give us a very handy piece of paper, with red stars, numbered and everything.

To go garage saling we had to outsource and employ the use of Photoshop.

Trash browsing just does not seem like a sport for amateurs.

You might need a degree for this.

Speaking of trashy…

Kirby emails me the night before our big morning outing and says, “I’m rolling out of bed at 6:30 in the morning…throwing on a t-shirt and shorts and heading your way…I said a t-shirt…pregnant woman wearing a t-shirt=trashy. You better not look cute tomorrow.”

On the count of three, let’s all roll our eyes together.

I knew that my Kirby could not look trashy if she hired someone to help her.

She drives up with her cute little pregnant belly, her curly hair wisped up, her freckles showing and her tiny King Louis tube purse hanging from her wrist.

I might as well have been deal digging with Demi Moore.

Oh…and you have to take cash to the Realm of All Things Worn Out.

I know. I really said cash.

I practically had to look that word up in ol’ Webster.

Cash? What is that? Who has cash? Cash is like SOOOOOO VHS.

2. Some streets are just too long.

When Robert Earl King sings, “The road goes on forever and the garage sales never end,” I SWEAR he is talking about Carter Creek.

Long roads make me sad.

Poor Barak and Carter Creek…they are like Old Maids…they go on forever and forever and never get to change their names.

I think we could have driven to Kansas and passed a Carter Creek and it actually be the same road that ends up by JJ’s snow cones in Bryan.

3. You can’t call a couple tables out on your side walk a garage sale. You just can’t!

Look…I’m perfectly ok with getting up early and excavating through u-haul boxes of sports bras…I don’t mind the piles or the digging…or there not even being anything I want after I’m finished climbing out from under a mountain of mom jeans.

All I’m saying is there should be PILES of poo.

There should be stacks of Steven King books and old records. There should be Rubbermaids brimming over with hot wheels and easy readers. All the garage sales I imagined had piles and piles of piles.

Today, there were no mountains, or piles or stacks or lumps of ANYTHING.

Not one heap.

My favorite part of the day was the man sitting out in a lawn chair who had pants hanging from trees in his yard.

Yes…jeans were hanging from trees...IN COPPERFIELD. Staci! What are you going to do?

His neighbors down the street were having a garage sale.

We could just see how his morning must have played out…he was walking out to get his paper unaware of the tooth fairy convention right down the street…but that’s when he noticed the garage…the stuff…Rupunzel…then he probably said, “Honey…hurry…get me some pants…get all my pants…let’s hang them in our trees so people will stop and buy them.”

We drove by him S L O W L Y so we could soak in the magic.

4. Lingerie should NOT be sold out of a garage.

Never has a sentence made me want to gag more than the one I just typed.

I mean what? What? What is someone thinking? Who wants that? Who?

All the ranting aside, here were the perks of the morning:

I drank two bowls of coffee in thirty minutes before leaving my house…a personal record…and did NOT stop talking to Kirby until we ate something two hours later.

The “something” that we ate was from McDonalds!

Is there anything better than McDonald’s breakfast?

McDonald’s breakfast has always ranked right up there with unicorns, centaurs and bats…I’ve eaten McDonald’s breakfast so few times, I’ve often wondered, between occurrences if McMuffins were something I dreamed up.

McDonald’s breakfast is a thing only people who get up and get dressed and do things before 10 a.m. get to enjoy. I’ve probably only had McDonald’s breakfast 12 times in my whole life.
And EVERY SINGLE TIME I’ve been out, dressed and driving around before 10, I stop and get it…are you making the connection…yep…I’m a loser.

I used to never be out during McDonald’s tiny time frame of breakfast making because I was SLEEPING…but after kids, I’m certainly not sleeping at that time…but I still can’t seem to get us all dressed, drink all the coffee I need, and all my kids get their morning poop over and done with before 10. It’s just impossible.

So, I savored every cheesy bite of my baconed biscuit.

Did you know, inside a McDonald's in the morning, the big menu above the cash registers has a HUGE breakfast menu on's all breakfast...and then they CRANK a crank and ta-dah...the lunch menu is there. Wow. Who knew there was a whole new breakfast decor in McDonalds during the time that I'm still sleeping, or walking around slowly, wiping hinney's at my house! Wow!

Kirby bought a bike for cheap…and RODE it…she pumped Asher inutero before she bought the bike! It was fantastic. She should have WON the bike.

I got some work out pants and a bright red Joe’s Crab Shack T-Shirt that I love.

Anson got a puzzle for free and sat in the back seat, completely trying to make sense of free enterprise in the US. I think he’s almost got it all figured out. He was appalled that someone would pay $20 for a newspaper ad and then have nothing to sell. He said, “I think these people should be fired.” He’s so right.

I found Hayden some brand-new black converse that have FIRE on the sides. He looks so cool and wants us to call him Fire Hayden when he wears them…we’ve obliged. He told me later today that he really wants to be called Hayden Asher Hendrick Fire Shoes Rock. Of course, we can call him that. We’re flexible around here.

And the big find of the morning…

I got a poodle skirt! A red poodle skirt with a poofed-up poodle on it!

In case we have a sock hop, I’ll be set.

In case we rent Back to the Future, and I want to wear my skirt while we watch it…I can.

And, poodle is one of my favorite words.

Poodle, poodle, poodle.

I spent more at McDonalds than at all the garage sales combined.

Poodles, pants hanging from trees, fire shoes, and watching Kirby pump her unbirthed son on a bike…oh yes…

There will DEFINITELY be a third magical visit to the Realm of I’m Not Sure It’s Worth It.


Hendrick Family said...

How do you spell garage saling? Sailing? Saleing? Selling? I'm so confused...

And what's the plural of hiney? Is that even how you spell hiney?

Hinnies. Hinneysies...


sarah said...

There's nothing quite as amusing as junk in the morning. It's an American tradition. People's used junk sprawled out on their driveway. I love America.

The closest thing we can get around here is stuff laying by the dumpsters. Italians leave the most amazing objects by the dumpster.

Mabye if you wear your poodle skirt, leggings and side ponytail all at the same time there would be some kind of time warp!

Melodi said...

"Saling" is not a grammatically correct form of sale no matter which way you spell it, so spell it the way you want! would have to be "hineys" in my opinion, if you go by the rule applied to the word "monkeys," which I think is a word you also love. ha! If you use "hinnies" or "hinneys" it changes the pronunciation completely. We can't have that.

I LOVE garage sales. I once swore I would never go garage saling. What was I thinking???? It is a very fun treasure hunt and DOES require a strategy, or else you arrive just as someone loads the Playskool art desk that YOU NEEDED in the back of their vehicle!! That's just wrong in so many ways!

Even better...I LOVE that my neighbor goes garage saling every single Saturday morning....and has twins that are Danaya's age....and GIVES me great stuff that he finds! Like the double stroller that he just GAVE me this week! He paid EIGHT DOLLARS, people! It was the 3rd type of double stroller that he has purchased at a garage sale, so he gave me one! I LOVE IT!!

Anonymous said...

Heather, you must have been to the same garage I went to that had the "under garments"... I stuck my hand in thinking it was clothes and then was totally grossed out.

On the other hand out of the three sales I ventured to, one was quite a treasure. I left there with a pair of jeans, 2 pairs of shorts, 5 shirts, an outfit and a frilly dress for Taylor all for 6 bucks. Nice.

Carpios said...

So funny that you went garage sailing this weekend. We had a garage sale Yesterday! Ok, and the undergarment thing, i agree on, but the funny part is that at ours my mom was selling some and the really funny part was they ALL SOLD. Carlos was very grossed out and stayed at least 3 ft from the table the whole time. Kinda hard since we live next door to her. You should have seen it.

Palermos said...

Thank you Heather! I really enjoyed it, as usual. I'm not a big fan of garage sales. I'm not very good at digging through people's junk. I like furniture at garage sales..just no clothes. I'm not patient enough for that. And..the getting up early just doesn't do it for me. I'd rather sleep in and just go to the mall or Target later. Thanks for sharing yours and Kirby's adventure with us. I almost popped a stitch from laughing, but hey, it was worth it!

freemans4jc said...

I am a huge fan of garage saling with a very early morning strategy laid out, understanding there are good days and bad days. Now the sale of used undergarments in your front yard/driveway just sicks me out. I too, saw this during my last garage sale outing. There was a time when you didn't see panties for sale in this way. I don't know what has made people believe this is O.K. hand me down or no deal...yuk!


Anonymous said...

Melodi is smart. Let her teach the English (and probably history and geography) part of home school.

Your Homie for Life! said...

A poodle skirt? I think my mom has my poodle skirt from dancing when I was 8. You have to dress up and take a picture and post it on your blog. The only time we have garage sales is when my mom helps me. I need her to communicate for me. I do not know spanish that well. Hey Melodi if I homeschool will you teach english to my kids.


the Apels said...


Write me a book. Right now. I made you write me a book. I am suppose to be working and I have spent the last 20 minutes or more reading the longest blog ever--yet, I was entertained the whole way! If you need art/graphics for the book, I'll do it. (I know Aaron could do it if he wasn't so busy. He could take my job right now if he wasn't such a freaking awesome Music minister guy--he should have to wear a black robe with the little white square on his Adam's apple to cut down on his coolness.) Anson is the most observant and smartest kid ever. He makes me laugh hard. So even if it's The Adventures of Hayden Asher Hendrick Fire Shoes Rock...write me a book.


the Apels said... this lingerie was a negligee that was worn out...I'm not kidding--it was all "balled up" in some spots it was sick...and I accidentally touched it!

Kendra, you did well at your garage sale! That's awesome!!

Even though there were definitely some disappointing stops...garage saling was so fun...and Anson was the most patient 7 year old I have ever seen with us two...he always knew when to get out or stay in the car...we should have listened to him b/c he always knew if it was going to be a bust. glad you mentioned the man sitting in his chair with the pants hanging from the tree...definitely a highlight of the morning!!

Melodi said...


I don't know if you want an OCD English teacher! ha! I am obsessive about typos in things!

Hendrick Family said...

I can't believe you all read that whole thing. Wow. I love you people.

Aaron read it and said it was really long. I said, "I don't think people will read it, but I had to get it out." It's either blog it or just ramble to Aaron non-stop. I think he is probably thanking God for this new blogging technology.

But look at you...

You stuck with it...except D.O. D.O. doesn't like to read long posts, so I think he just read the comments and then commented...but that's something! Isn't it weird when you use the word, "read" twice in one sentence, but it's pronounced differently each time. It throws my brain for a second.

I want to squeeze you...but instead, I threw your brain.

Anonymous said...

Who is that in the picture? I'm a "Hendrick" and I don't recognize them. I guess we need to have a family reunion to get to know one another! ;-)

My little bro sent me your blog cute! Can't believe you have time for this AND a family.

My daughter-in-law Liz (Jason's wife) is THE yard sale queen. Just give her a list and she will come home with the items for 50 cents! Got all my high chairs and booster seats for the grandkids for only a couple of bucks because of Liz's yard/garage sale expertise!

Love to you all!
Aunt Gale in the Ozarks

Staci said...

Okay, I'll have to say that garage sales in Copperfield are a bit snooty. We had one last year (yes, I said "we had one") and our obnoxiously orange signs were gone within minutes. Who actually is so irritated by garage sale signs that they get out of their car and make haste to steal them?

Our "neighborhood association" frowns on parking your car on the street with big obnoxious signs in the windows too... what to do?

Just to clarify, our garage sale was a strictly "no tree pants, no lingerie" type shin-dig. Breathe easy.