Thursday, August 19, 2010

One Man's Trash . . .

Between birthday parties and Christmas I spend a lot of time sorting out toys and getting rid of clutter.  It is such a comfort to me to see a tidy bedroom and a playroom with everything in the proper bin, on the shelf.  Sometimes I have to sneak the old toys out of the house to get them to the donation box.  My kids tend to want to hang on to everything--even broken old McDonald's toys.

As much as I enjoy a de-cluttered house, I a have a huge weakness--rummage sales. I can't hold back.  There is an adrenaline rush when walking in, wondering if or when you will find that awesome item, only for a dollar or two.  K & E feel like they are in toy heaven--who cares if the toys are used, they are still cool.

So, with a little trepidation, the three of us (Bob was out of town, the poor soul) went to the 40th Annual St. Mary's Lawn Sale.  Yes, it is quite an event.  A month before the sale they park a full size semi trailer on the lawn and collect donations.  Usually after a few weeks people are turned away because they run out of room for all of the stuff.  It runs over two days and I typically wait until the second day because everything is half price and most of the treasure (and crowds) are gone, preventing me from going crazy and bringing home a bunch of junk.  However, the kids and I went on the first morning because we had a mission--E desperately needed a bigger bike.  I wasn't sure if they would even have bikes, but who was I kidding?  This was the 40th Annual St. Mary's Lawn Sale--they had bikes of all sizes and colors!  Our mission was complete in five minutes and E was the proud owner of a spiffy if slightly rusty 20 inch Huffy, complete with two flat tires.  Now, if only I could find a bike pump . . .

K and E went to look at toys and were soon bouncing back with their treasure:  a Mousetrap Game (complete with instructions) and a skateboard, both for $1. 
I haven't played Mousetrap in 30 years, but it looks cool

 Bring on the clutter!  I worked my way through the crowd to peruse the toys with them.  Here is where I get into trouble.  I have this compulsion to want to purchase anything remotely connected to my childhood.  So, when I saw the box covers to the Capsela 1000 and 500 and saw their late 70's grooviness, there was no holding back.  
Bubbly building tools with motors for land or water.  Awesome!

Seven dollars later those kits were mine, baby!  With those came another groovy robot kit, a Jotto word game (circa 1972, never used, and only a dollar!) and E found an old Etch A Sketch (says patent pending on the back, so I assume it's and older one).

This robot guy looks like a Star Wars Imperial Walker, so we were psyched!

Look at those people.  They are having so much fun playing Jotto.  Who says the  70's wasn't cool.

A few Barbie and puzzle items later I was lugging around a box full of our junk treasure.  The kids took a break for hotdogs and I used that time to stroll through the tent--the main part of the sale, full of old plates, decorations, appliances, and my favorite--old electronics.  Now, I don't buy anything from that table, but I love to look through the items and reflect on how much and how quickly technology has changed.  This year the table was full of cordless phones (it's been years since we've had a regular phone in our house, so those looked strange to me), CD Walkmans, and a few Kodak slide carousels (OK, I admit it.  I was tempted to buy one of those just for nostalgic purposes, but held off).  To the left of that table was one labeled "Items for Men", and the curiosity got to me.  This was a table full of tools, and it took not two seconds for me to spy a not-so-rusty bike pump for $2!  I was winning!  If that bike pump actually worked then our morning outing could be considered a huge success.

We took our loot home and the kids spent the afternoon assembling mousetraps, puzzles, and building mechanical machines from our treasure.  
E bought a bag of these puzzles, eight of them for a dollar.  Win!

I used the pump to air up the bike tires and it worked splendidly--the little locking mechanism even functioned so no one had to hold the nozzle--and I also used it to air up the several deflated soccer balls around the house.  Success!  I gave Bob a call and told him about the triumphant bike mission.  "And I found an awesome bike pump!"  Pause.  Bob, the neat freak, doesn't get quite as excited as I do over used treasure.  "Um, we have an air compressor we can use for that."  Oh.  Well, what I didn't tell him is that I'M DEATHLY AFRAID OF THE AIR COMPRESSOR AND THIS LETS ME FIX THE TIRES USING NOTHING BUT MY MUSCLE STRENGTH.  So there. Besides, it was only two dollars!

The awesome bike with the more than awesome bike pump

Alas, as I looked around the basement last night, it is once again a cluttered mess. The toy shelves, newly sorted and cleaned of old puzzles and games, will be once again stuffed full of the day's booty.  And so the declutter cycle repeats.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to resist the St. Mary's Lawn Sale, or that rush of finding a most useful (or totally un-useful but exceptionally groovy) item for only a dollar.  And I guess in the end if the worst thing that happens is a little mess, I will trade that for a few days of K & E ( and me) having fun with the things they found.

1 comment:

  1. Haha! I totally understand the air compressor thing. I have used ours, but spent much time sweating & swearing (surely NOT!) trying to find the "thingie" to make it pump tires. Where, oh where is my handheld pump? In the shed with the spiders, which scare me worse than the air compressor. For $2, I'd buy a pump every time the tires were flat!!!