Who knew a garage sale could be so much fun?
The Oak Grove neighborhood hosts a community garage sale every year during one weekend in May. This is that weekend. I took a day off work to be here today, and I'm glad I did.
"Do you want to sell these milk bottles?" Kris asked me last night.
"Nobody would want them," I said. "Besides, I like them. What I really want to sell are all my CDs. I expect those to be my cash cow. I've got hundreds of them here, and I'm only going to charge three to five bucks a piece."
What was the first thing I sold this morning? Three milk bottles for fifty cents a piece. The same woman also paid four dollars for the light fixture that was hanging in the dining room when we moved in.
A fellow on a bike stopped by. He didn't want to buy anything; he only wanted to chat about the neighborhood. He told me about Bob and Sandy who live down the street. Their front yard is, well, eclectic: filled with yard ornaments and white gravel and Christmas lights and a koi pond. He told me about the houses on Papasloss Court, and the new house across the street from us. He was raised in a house further up Oak Grove Boulevard, adjacent to the recently-sold vacant lot. He told me about the houses over there.
Another fellow on a bike stopped by. He carried a grocery sack. "You got any record albums?" he asked. I like the people who ask me what I have. "You got any hunting or fishing equipment?" one guy asked. "You got any yard tools?" asked another. "You got any old guitars?" asked a third.
To the fellow on the bike I replied, "I do have record albums, but I hadn't intended to sell them." I hesitated, then said, "Tell you what — follow me."
I led him to the workshop and showed him my collection. "Help yourself," I said. He spent half an hour looking through my records. I took a leap of faith and trusted him alone. I went out to help other customers.
He eventually emerged with four albums: a Blue Oyster Cult record, a B-52s record, a Beach Boys record, and one other. "How much you want for these?" he asked.
"I'm not particularly attached to any of those," I said. "How about $2 each?"
"How about $5 for the lot?" he asked.
"Sold," I said.
First hour total = $28.50
"Whatcha doin', Cyril?" I asked one of the old fellows that lives down the street.
"I had to get out of the house," he grumbled. Then he said, "When you gonna mow that lawn?" He grinned. We have a huge lawn. I mow it every Saturday, but this time of year it really wants to be mowed twice a week.
"I'll pay you to mow it," I said.
"No way in hell," he said. Then he asked the same question everyone has asked all morning: "What kind of house they building next door? A foam house?"
I showed him the diagrams I drew for the first person I asked. "You know, Tom's supposed to be bringing me a sample of the stuff so I can show people. In fact, here he comes now."
Tom showed Cyril how the foam insulation stacked together like Legos. "And then you pour concrete in the middle." Tom's wife, Roberta, came over to join us. She and Tom were dressed exactly the same: jeans, blue shirts, and matching green coats.
"Aren't they a pair?" asked Cyril. Cyril and Tom began to talk about Jack Neelands, the old man who had owned our house since 1959.
"He was a Rosarian and a Mazaman," said Tom.
"What's a Mazaman?" I asked.
"Speak of the devil," said Cyril, and he pointed at the van pulling into the drive. Inside the van was Jack's son, John, the man from whom we'd bought this house nearly a year ago.
"What are you doing around here?" I asked.
"He couldn't stay away," said Cyril. "He moved back."
"I live just up the street," said John with a wave of his arm.
John and I began to talk about the house and the property. Cyril, Tom, and Roberta filed off. "You ought to come see the place sometime," I told John.
"I mean to," he said. "I'm not sure why I haven't got around to it." I told him how one of the first things I'd sold this morning was the light fixture from the dining room. He laughed. Then he caught sight of the natural gas heater that had stood in the kitchen for decades. "Are you selling that?" he asked, excited.
"We are," I said. "We wanted fifty dollars for it, but we'd give it to you for twenty."
"I'll take it," he said. "That's a great little heater."
He'll be back later to pick up the heater and to chat about the house.
Second hour total = $10, Grand total = $38.50
So much for hourly updates. That would've been boring anyhow, huh?
It's now 2:30 on the afternoon of the first day of the sale. We've sold $100 worth of stuff. I even finally sold some CDs. (I made a $32 sale featuring seven CDs and the video of Seven Samurai.)
Pam and Megan are here now, keeping me company. Pam was able to price all the Profitt-Smith items, and she brought over a bunch of new stuff, including some plants (one of which she sold immediately upon setting it out).
John Neelands stopped back by to buy the furnace. After we loaded it the van, I gave him a tour of the place to show him what we've done. He'd already seen much of it via this weblog — J.D.'s first rule of weblogging: Always assume everyone reads your weblog (the corollary of which is J.D.'s second rule of weblogging: never assume anyone reads your weblog) — but it was a pleasure to show him around the place in person.
Other neighbors stopped by. Pam and I chatted. Simon ate a worm (gross!), chased bees, and played with dirt clods. A pleasant time was had by all
Total at the end of day one = $123.50. Better than I'd expected.
My worst sale? I forgot to go through the CDs and pull out the difficult to find stuff. Thus, I sold my Planet P CD for $5. I took me years to find this CD. Fortunately, Amazon has another copy for $6.98 if I decide I need one...
Mac and Pam will staff the sale tomorrow morning, and then I'll be back outside around noon.
On this day at foldedspace.org
2004 — The Top of My Head Biking to work. Calories in meats. Stinky size 32 jeans. Cookies for breakfast. Sun roofs vs. moon roofs. The Decmeberists are coming. New foldedspace weblogs. Printing from a Mac. Coming out of a funk.
2003 — Longwinded I need to learn how to revise, how to edit myself.
2002 — Unchained Finally the woman can resist no longer. She approaches the three of us, interrupts our conversation, begins babbling. She starts talking to us about the spirits inside of us, about our spiritual family. She tells us that we don't need telephones because we have the spirits inside of us.
2001 — Long Day It's been a long day already and it's only about half over.