Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Ten Great Things About Saturday's Great Mukilteo Garage Sale

Every year on the last weekend of April, Mukilteo engages in the Great Mukilteo Garage Sale. It is a time where all of us put a few unwanted items out in our driveways and the Mukilteo Beacon, our local paper, prints maps and addresses of those people participating. For the last seven years, we have not been able to be a part of it because this is the same weekend as the State Solo Ensemble Competition and our children were usually involved. This year, we had some stuff to get rid of and our kids are gone so.....ten great things:

1. Mukilteans come out of hiding. Like gophers or ground hogs or our local big rodent, the mountain beaver, we come out of our houses after a long and dreary, wet and wild winter. The sun was blindingly shining and we scoured around for the sun glasses. Finally, a chance to get some badly needed vitamin D.

2. The garage actually gets cleaned. Ours is usually a terrible mess with my kids old notebooks from middle school and shoes from 1989. But, we even swept the floor. Our immediate next door neighbors have the most disgustingly clean garage I have ever seen in my life. They have one of those shiny floors you can have put down. Everytime I get a glimpse of it when their door is open, I think you could have a damn pic-nic with the food being served right off the floor. Even so, he was mopping the garage floor on Friday.

3. Nostalgia takes over. We decided to sell a couple of out of style and outdated oak shelves. I'll replace them with new shelves that I will sell at the 2017 Great Mukilteo Garage Sale. Unloading the cabinets brought back so many memories. My kids' childhoods from baby books through sports teams pictures were hidden away. It was wonderful, really, to pull all of this stuff out and look at it again. For example:

From Lucas
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Lucas' self portrait. Age 10.

I'm not sure what the blood shot eyes are all about or where his ears are but he wrote me this message as a part of this school project. "Mom, You're doing a good job on doing everything you have to do like cub scouts, brownies, Kaley, Christmas shopping and all sorts of other things. You are doing a good job with taking care of Jebby, taking him out so he doesn't pee in the house..." And on his relationship with his sister, "The biggest quarrel I ever had with my sister happened when 'when we hit, slap, kick, scream and make fun of her all the time.'"

From Kaley
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Kaley's self portrait eating turkey.

This was a home project done entirely on the computer including the drawings and put in book form. It has no date but I would guess she was five or six. "My Thanksgiving Book!...It was Thanksgiving I had fun....I had turkey it was good....'I love Thanksgiving,' I said....'Good', said my Mom...I had to go to bed. I didn't want to....The next day we got some milk from Smith." [Smith Bros. Farms--we used to have milk delivered]

4. I get to drink coffee in my garage. I do not know why this is so much fun. I made lots of coffee and Dave and I took turns minding the store to run up to the kitchen to refill our mugs.

5. We, shock of the world, TALK to our neighbors. My next door neighbor and next to them and next to them and next to them, all participated so we visit each other's driveways to check out the competition. Of course, we are not really competing because the more people who pull up to their yards means more folks will check out our sale. My neighbors definitely had higher quality junk than we did.

6. Amazingly, we see people we have not seen in years. Neighbors from six blocks up the hill showed up in my driveway. "So this is where you moved to? We wondered what happened to you guys. We thought you left the area. All you did was move down the hill? How old are your kids now? In college--you are kidding, right?" And we sold two lamps to Kaley's third grade teacher who persuaded Kaley to go into our school district's gifted program. "How is she doing? She's in college? You are kidding, right? A music major? Wow! So she is not only gifted but talented, too. Well, give her a hug for me. I always enjoyed her."

7. We catch up on neighborhood gossip. A chatty and friendly man appeared in our garage and after finding nothing interesting of ours, he asked me how much my neighbors' houses were. "You mean, how much their whole houses are worth? Not just the stuff in their driveways? Oh, ok. Well, on the water there (unlike our house) probably 1.2 to 1.6 million now." He proceeded to tell me he had been friends since grade school days with the people who built the newest mansion our our street. All of us watched it being built with great curiosity and they spared no expense--like on the imported slate roof with copper gutters. This beautiful home is worth millions of dollars. But even so, I guess all of their hard wood floors have buckled and they have to move out to have them redone. What is that word you hear these days? Schaudenfraude?! Yep, that's it.

8. I learn about myself. Dave had left to go test drive a new used car to replace our stolen vehicle. He can only stand garage sales for a limited time. I did not want to close up shop because the oak shelves hadn't gone yet. A man with his wife and daughter drove up with a truck load of used furniture but they wanted my oak shelves, too. I had been asking $50 each for the units which have glass doors and lights and he offered $50 for the both of them. "It's a deal! I want them gone."

He asked me if I had change for a hundred dollar bill. I replied "yes" and stepped inside to get two twenties and two fives. As I handed him the change, he told me he had given me the $100. I knew he had not but what was I to do? For about 20 minutes, I watched him load up my shelves which I was thinking I just paid him $50 to remove. Seriously, I could not believe he had ripped me off---they looked like such a nice family. I refused to believe they were thieves and I refused to let myself get angry but my brain was fighting with itself. After all, our car had been stolen the week before and nothing would surprise me. Finally, I was at peace. I thought, if he was honest like I wanted to believe, he would realize he did not give me the $100 and he would probably come back even after he arrived home. And if he wasn't honest, well, I did want to get rid of those shelves and maybe it was worth fifty bucks to have them hauled away.

As they were about to drive off, the man got out of his truck with a very sheepish and embarrassed look on his face. "Oh my gosh, the $100 was sitting on the front seat of the truck--I must have put it there when you ran into the house. I am so sorry!" At that moment, he realized what I must have been thinking and it was a little awkward. I knew it--they were good people after all. Whew!

9. It is impossible to sell left handed golf clubs. Dave is left handed and he inherited a nice set of left handed clubs from his left handed brother-in-law who died seven years ago of a brain tumor. He has been wanting to get rid of two sets of old clubs. We had many many folks drop in looking for golf clubs but when only 8% of the population is left handed, the market shrinks considerably.

10. This is a great way to recycle. Other than the golf clubs and our 1980's chandeliers which nobody wanted, we did get rid of the main items I no longer wanted cluttering up my house. At the last Great Mukilteo Garage sale we participated in about 8 to 10 years ago, I bought an end table for $30 from my neighbor across the street. I sold it on Saturday for $20.

What a deal!