Monday, May 28, 2007

Yard Sale Treasures

As some of you may know, it was Memorial Weekend here in the States. That means many businesses were closed for a 3 day weekend. Of course, the shops are open! So that means for those that didn't go out of town for camping or frolicking on the beach, you can shop your little heart out at the stores with all kinds of sales for Memorial Day. If you're like me, you head to the yard sales!

It was a whopper of a weekend for yard sales! Up here, I am not sure why, yard sales start as early as Thursday!! I got 5 days of yard sales!! So if I can't get to that one today, I'll get it tomorrow! Fridays are the best day because I get to shop before the crowds on Saturday and Thursdays are maybe 2 or 3 sales, many miles apart. Be prepared to drive for yard sales up here, because in the mountains, they are spread out. But SO worth it!!

We drive along the main road and I am the spotter of signs touting sales this-a-way or that-a-way, while Hubby drives. The girls are pretty good when we go yard sale-ing, and I have since learned to bring plenty of snacks, drinks and toys to amuse them with. And they have since learned that going yard sale-ing will sometimes reward their patience with a toy or two. I have also become expert at becoming a toilet of sorts for the oldest when she needs to pee. We open both doors on the driver's side and I will stand in between, facing the car with girlie in front of me, she will drop her drawers and I'll pick her up behind the knee with her back leaning on my chest, and then she'll pee and I'll aim her stream away from my feet. This takes all of 30 seconds or so. We pop her back in the car when she is done and we are off, leaving behind a small puddle.

On our travels, we discover new roads that lead to dead ends, circle back to the main road, or keep going and going until we feel it's time to turn around and head back. Here in the hollows, hills and valleys, sometimes the roads you are heading into will take you into the deepest woods, blacktop fading to gravel roads, well-kept homes and lawns change to rough looking shacks and over-grown yards and you feel it may be time to break out the bread crumbs. No phone signals here, so if something should happen, you can't call for help and knocking on a door is not a welcome prospect. People live remotely for a reason and there are tales of people answering their doors with a shotgun in hand. I've never looked down the barrel of a gun and I certainly don't intend to start now. A full tank of gas is first on our check-list before we head out the door to go yard sale-ing.

The things I have had such a hard time finding in the city is plentiful here. My reasoning is the people here hold on to things and don't tend to keep up with the fashionable neighbors, like in the cities. If something works, they keep on using it and if it breaks, it gets fixed. Only until they pass away and relatives decide they don't want this stuff, sell them at yard sales, estate sales and auctions. And prices are CHEAP! I have come home with the back of the car filled and spent $50 or less. One yard sale we stopped at was a bounty of 70's items-- kidney shaped coffee table, polyester clothing, mod lamps and melamine dishes. We snagged the table for $5, a 1973 Daffy Duck drinking glass for $1, a vintage card shuffler for 50 cents. I spotted a box of melamine plates, cups and saucers and when I asked how much, she said they were free. SNAG! She had garbage bags on the ground filled with old clothes and fabrics and a sign that read "FREE", so of course I went through and found some materials for a future crafting project. We left with a full trunk and paid a total of $6.50!

I am so glad that Hubby likes to go yard sale-ing with me! It would be no fun having to drag a grumbling husband along, or if he stayed home, I don't want to hear him complaining about the "junk" I am bringing home. We are of similar tastes and we know that the stuff we like can only be found in second-hand shops and yard sales. It also helps that the stuff is cheap and if one of the girls break a glass (they have), I wont be too upset (ohh, my flower power glass! Oh well, I only paid 50 cents for it.) and there is my excuse to go and hunt for another one!

I use an old, white enameled chamber pot with a lid as a compost bucket. It still has the label on the side, only it says "Diaper Pail". My mom, when she saw the bucket on the kitchen counter next to the sink, immediately asked me why I have a "Poop pot" on the counter. Mom grew up in a 4-room house with no running water and an outhouse. At night and in the winters, they used the "poop pot" so they wouldn't have to run outside to the outhouse. With the invention of the toilet and more homes getting running water and bathrooms, the chamber pot company had a surplus of poop pots and decided to change out the labels and magically transform poop pots into diaper pails, saving themselves from bankruptcy. Even though my bucket is brand new (old, but never used) and advertised as a diaper pail, mom was grossed out by the idea of me having a poop pot in the kitchen. But I like it and it works for me. I have a bucket to put the day's worth of peelings and coffee grounds in and a lid to keep the stuff from smelling up my kitchen until I take it out to the compost bin.

It was a pretty good weekend for us. We didn't go camping or frolicking in the waves at the beach, no gathering with friends getting lubricated with alcohol, but we had fun! We worked in the garden, took a break and went yard sale-ing. Met some nice people, shared memories of the stuff they are selling, got some good deals and found some pretty neat stuff. More vintage aprons to add to my collection, the girl's Barbies have a new beach house to vacation in, Hubby got a few tools he needed, and even the outdoor cats got a cat house to live in. I'll let you know if disco lights suddenly flash on and off and music starts playing in the cat house. I assume payment will be made in the form of mice and birds....


Elsie Button said...

Brilliant! - sounds a perfect weekend! I love carboot sales (which i guess is our equivelent of yard sales?) i do often came back with a load of stuff i don't really need though. i'm not that good at hunting out bargains. sounds like you are though! i like the road-side weeing tactic - genius!

lady macleod said...

Oh jolly fun. You are one of THOSE people, so clever. Thank you for taking us along.

Brent said...

Mountain Mama,

I just love your writing! I've been reading you for a while now and I'm just so impressed! This post was full of light-hearted humor! I loved the scene of you being your daughter's toilet. I remember doing that for my son only holding him by the chest so he could lean way out forward to "go" without spraying his feet or mine. Ha.

I loved the description of your mom's reaction to the "poop pot." What a hoot!

My mother and her sisters are the yard -sailors in our family. My mom is a lot like you and seems to have a built-in radar for yard sale signs!

Fun post! Thanks for sharing!

~ LaRonda

LaRonda said...

Ooops. I sent my message above from my husband's (Brent's) account. It was actually from me - LaRonda

jenny said...

Hi all!!

EB-- It was a great weekend! I like watching BBC's 'Cash in the Attic' and the first time I saw the term "carboot" I was kind of puzzled. It took a while for me to figure out that it is just another term for yard sales. However you say it-- yardsale, carboot sale, rummage sale-- it's all good!! :o) When the little ones gotta pee, they cant wait! Thanks for reading.

Lady M-- Yes, I am one of THOSE people!! Thanks for stopping by and not forgetting the little people, you famous writer, you!

LaRonda-- Thanks for reading my posts! My radar isnt 100% yet, I still miss a few and Hubby needs to make a U-turn to go back, but then again, it could be Hubby is driving too fast-- yeah, thats it!! It's HIS fault!! :o) Come again soon!!

sufferingsummer said...

I have the same pot except I am really using it as a diaper pail...I love it to death and I may have to put it in my kitchen for compost when the diapers are a thing of the past (I'm sure your mother would would mine because yes, even a used poop pot would go in my kitchen!)
three cheers for yard sales and peeing on the side of the road***
A thoroughly enjoyable post.

DJ Kirkby said...

I love the bit about your poop pot! One of the best gifts i've ever been given was a chamber pot from Chopper! No seriously.. I like unusual things and I think he bought it out of curisity to see what I'd do with it. It has the most glorious hand painted red clematis on it. I used it as a cactus plant pot, it looks really great (if I do say so myself). I'll take a pic of it and post it on my blog when I get the film developed.

The Good Woman said...

My Mom has an old spittoon in her lounge which she uses as a huge vase for flower arrangements. It gets many compliments but I'm still waiting for someone to growl and spit in it...

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Hi Jenny Mountain Mama, I'm new here. One thing I miss about the good ole US of A is going to yard sales. The UK has car boot sales and attic sales but they're not like yard sales. Love your blog.

jenny said...

SS and DJ-- I bet there are lots of people using poop pots out there!! I just wonder how many people KNOW what they are?? Aren't they cool, though?

GW-- I have seen spittons re-purposed for something else, too. Wouldn't that be gross, having to empty a full spittoon? Somehow, I'd rather empty a poop pot over a full spittoon.

WUASTC-- Thanks for coming by! I dont know what I would do without those yard sales... It is addicting and I go mad during the winters and get my "fix" by going to thrift shops, but it really doesnt compare. Do come again!!