Saturday, October 23, 2010

Garage Sale Widow

It’s 7:45 on Saturday morning. Do you know where your husband is?

I know where mine is. He’s at a 20-family garage sale. I can picture him. Right now he’s either trolling down some residential cul-de-sac at 5 miles an hour, peering through the windows of our SUV and trying to decide if he sees anything worth stopping for. Or, he’s got his baseball-capped head submerged in a box of records; or he’s sifting through a pile of clothes marked “$1 per item” (lucky me, it’s almost Christmas.)

There are a lot of benefits to having a junk-a-holic for a spouse. I have some beautiful vintage pins, a new stainless steel crock pot, a set of Bauer nesting mixing bowls, a vintage metal woodpecker that picks up toothpicks, and an oil painting of a blue robin's egg with a string of pearls. Our home decor is totally Anthropoligie vintage, only it's the real thing, not made in India and about one twelfth the price. I have some wonderful furniture that was incredibly inexpensive and that you won't find in any one else's house because it really is unique. My kids have My Little Pony, Barbie and Strawberry Shortcake dollhouses galore -- for cheap -- which is wonderful because they are the kind of bulky toys that get played with for six months and then take up way too much closet space.

The downsides: well, I'm home alone with the kids this morning, and Hubby left without his cell phone. I don't know when he'll be back. But what I do know is he'll be back with boxes full of stuff, which he'll spend lots of time today cleaning, sorting, gloating over. Our house is not big, but it houses lots of vintage treasures: under the bed, under the dresser, in the laundry room, and often on the kitchen floor. It's annoying, I'll be honest with you. Possibly most annoying, I'm usually allowed to keep his findings mainly when they are not valuable: like the chipped pottery too flawed for the true collector.

But Hubby truly is a champion garage-saler. He has an eye for the things that are actually valuable and turns it into profit on e-bay, Craig's list and at flea markets. Even items he's never heard of -- like the Lawnware plastic pots he bought that turned out to be a cult -item among the RV set -- he somehow can pluck from among the detritus of suburban clutter and see the potential. His endurance is unparalleled; sometimes it's only siren-level whining by both kids and myself that can make him stop.

And, bizzarley, it brings him a lot of joy. So, I support this passion. Look, Lance Armstrong's bride has to put up with a lot to be married to excellence and so do I.

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