Friday, January 16, 2009
Spicing Things Up!
Spice. It's what keeps a love alive. Unless it's Old Spice, in which case, it's what masks the smell of sweat. Or death. Or thievery. Some times, spice is what you build an entire life upon. Like old family recipes; rich in their savory scents, or maybe in the thrill of a good sauce simmering on the stove on a blustery evening. Join me in an oft forgotten tale in the never ending saga of the joining of mysuestories and the mountain man.....as told by mysuestories spice. (Granted, I'm no Posh, but I have been known to kick up the comfort level of hot wings on occasion!)
Once the mountain man and I decided that the fates had collided together with enough force (read: neither of us are getting any younger here, people, and that mysuestories, well she's got MAJOR issues;- and opportunity can barely find her door, no less knock upon it!) that we did find ourselves enveloped in that which we describe as true love. And once a truly true love has borne amidst all the majestic happenings in this wonderous universe, major life altering decisions have to be made.
In such a rapturous relationship. we were intent on combining two entire worlds (ie: kids on both ends, and dogs of unnatural sexual attraction- and more importantly-----twice the kitchen appliances with half the counter space!) Something HAD to be done! After all, who really needs 12 serving spoons, ninety seven pieces of mismatched flatware, and THREE can openers (that's right, three of them - in addition to my one electric can opener, apparently Mountain Man felt the unchained need to have a back up manual can opener PLUS his trusty electric powered version...In case of power outage lasting long enough to have us fighting over the last can of spam?). And so it was decided. Some of this crap/ wonderful heirloom treasures had to go.
I believe I am comfortable enough in our relationship, dear reader, to share a little known fact about the Mountain Man, here. One that is imperative to the telling of this tale. My honey has NEVER moved. That's right. Not. Once. Oh, he has moved and humped the belongings of dozens of friends, acquaintences, and yes, faithful reader, even mysuestories, twice. But as for packing up his childhood memories or purging those items you haven't used in years and tend to toss out on moving day rather than lug it across the state, he's never been there, never done it.
The house we are currently renovating is the same house to which he and his siblings were brought home from the hospital as newborns, and he has never once had to decide which most valued and cherished childhood memory is not worth tossing in a box and carting across town. Therefore, my darling, sweet, adored and most loved Mountain Man had managed to become, well, a pack rat is such a strong term. Let's just say he collects stuff. Lots of stuff. Stuff he hasn't looked at in years. Stuff he doesn't even know is there. Stuff that had to go.
We sorted, picked through, and gave away hundreds of every day items, many of which were only desirable to those most desperate or newly apartmented teens. We e-bayed and cragislisted a truck load of finds both from his stash and mine. And when all was said and done, we had left one HUGE pile of stuff. Still. After months of purging. Tons more of stuff. Left. To fit into a house that was slowly being rebuilt and filled with double the people and triple the dogs. In half the space.
Coming from the suburban upbringing of my childhood, that left only one option. We would have a garage sale. Yep. We would (and did) advertise all these now wonderfully described items on craigslist and in local newspapers and put up signs in nearby stores and telephone poles (which by the way, with everything being run via satelittle these days, you'd think there'd be less of those by now, no?). Road signs were planted and the big day arrived. We hauled out our most beloved trash, um, er, belongings, and layed them out in the front yard, and let the games begin.
In a word? It was ugly. I can now say I have seen a side of my neighborhood that literally scares the shit out of me. Vultures is a word that comes to mind.
Forget that we advertised a 9 am start, and only started displaying our wares at 8 am. There were actually people parked in front of our house at 7:30. And the minute WE went outside, they set upon us. Those early birds knew their stuff, too. Anything of somewhat any value was pretty much gone by 9:05. That left me, the mountain man and a whole lot of stuff with a day and a half to go. And what a long weekend THAT was!
There was the 10 year old boy shopping with his mom. He settled upon the game section, and carefully chose a brand new CSI board game I had bought to play with the kids two years before. Turns out my kids aren't big fans. Of CSI. And of playing games with me. So basement bargain alley it was for Grissom and the crew. The boy approached Mountain Man and inquired as to it's fair market value. "For you, fifty cents," . Mountain Man has a thing for kids (no, not THAT kind of thing-not the kind of creepy "Oh, GOD, Uncle" kinda thing). He just likes the little tykes. Fully clothed, I'm sure!
At hearing such a cheap price for the game, the little boy approached Mountain Man and forked over a dollar, saying, "I work very hard for my money. But so do you." And so we made a pity sale. That was the HIGHLIGHT of our weekend.
There were the two teen aged boys who snapped up someone's (?) ancient and tattered long trained bridal veil. Mountain Man couldn't resist asking what these young men had in mind when paying two bucks for such an item. Halloween was still a long way off. Turns out they were going camping and were looking for a good bug net. Mountain Man assurred them of the wisdom of their choice in netting and promptly sold them an ancient transistor radio and a cooler on wheels ( two of which were missing-I tell ya, that Man could sell sand in the desert!)- Later we giggled at the thought of those two teens snuggled together under the stars beneath the bridal net!
Then there was the man who kept looking over a box of some 30 spice containers, all with labels of products from the 1950's. It was a collection of one of those get one jar a month from the Franklin Mint club, for three low payments of $19.99 each. I think we were asking fifty bucks for the entire set. We were really just looking to unload stuff real cheap. Well, the one admirer kept walking back over to this box, inquired as to its price, and walked away and came back again. Then he was off to another section of yard, then back again. Now, I am suspicious in nature, and I've already fessed up to being a semi-CSI-sleuth, and my radar antennae were really up by now.
So, I followed Mr. Suspicious. Not right behind him. I tailed him, like on tv, letting a few people get between us, except without cars. I watched as he seemed to take an item from under his shirt, and proceed to shove it in his pants pocket. I looked back in the Spice Box (Hmmm, now THERE"S a new member name for THAT band!), and sure enough, I thought we looked short one Spice Jar, by golly. Damned if I wasn't gonna crack thse case. (ok, it was a very dull day, and did I mention we were broiling out there in the heat?)
I approached this complete stranger, whom I was sure was also a felon (or at least a shop lifter!) who was now cruising through someone's old Patsy Cline cds. Sure. He'd probably shot me to lift one of those! I walked straight over and demanded my Spice Jar back. Right. This. Instant! To which he of course said, "lady, what ARE you talking about?"
Throwing all caution to the wind, (and knowing Mountain Man had my back, and trust me, he ain't ever letting anyone any where near that!)
I boldly pointed to the man's pants, which by now looked like he sporting an erection sideways from the pocketful of Spice Jar. I put my hand into the front jean pocket of a complete stranger (I kid you not!) and retrieved my Lipton Tea Spice Jar. I then turned in a huff and returned Mr. Tea to his rightful place in the Spice box. The stranger pursued me with two cds in hand and stated that he wanted to buy those items. I stared incredulously and removed MY Patsy Cline cds from his dirty thieving mitts, and told him to "GO. Just Leave. Don't buy anything!" Of course Mountain Man was right there for me. Yep. He collected two dollars for the cds and even bagged them for the man. Got my back? More like THIS baby Got Back. He grinned sheepishly and said, "Hey, nobody ELSE was gonna buy those cds."
Yeah. That's pretty much how that whole weekend went. And when all was said and done? We had a huge pile of stuff. Still. It went in the trash. And that night, and the night after that, people came to our house as we slept(!) and tore apart our garbage in search of a broken treasure. We never had another garage sale again.
And the spice jars? We cleaned them up. filled them with every imaginable spice, and they hang proudly on our kitchen wall. I absolutely love them. Some times, something just needs a good story to become a favorite family heirloom. Apparently, a little criminal activity makes some things more attractive. Hence the peopularity of the Ocean's 11, 12 , & 13 series? And Lipton Tea Spice? Why he's my Brad Pitt.