a weekend well spent

My husband didn’t say a word. Not a word. But he certainly did clear his throat and raise his eyebrows a few times last weekend.

I don’t know what his problem was. He knew that besides celebrating our children’s anniversary the purpose of the visit to Indiana was to go shopping.

And early in our marriage he observed, “Joan, when you do something, you really do it.”
When I answered that I had spent the entire day reading books, he said it proved his point.
So true to form, I spent the entire weekend shopping and spending money.

On the way north, we took my St. Louis son shopping for tools for an early birthday gift.

The next day my chauffeur tracked down two out-of-the way shops which yielded a couple items I have been trying to find for some time.

Then we arrived at our goal – the son’s house, just outside an organized subdivision’s neighborhood garage sale. Coordinated garage sales are very popular events in that neck of the woods. About a third of the homes in the subdivision – with the help and leftovers of their friends and family from other neighborhoods – fill up their garages and driveways with tables loaded with unwanted miscellaneous items, furniture, racks of clothes, toys and tools. They roll up their garage doors and await the invasion.

School clubs anticipate the yearly event and set up fund raising barbecue dinners and refreshment stands to sustain the garage sale shoppers. Signs and police officers direct the flow of traffic and parking in an orderly fashion. Many shoppers park at the nearby mall, unload a cart or wagon and walk.

Early in the morning I arrived with pocket money, a good pair of shoes and a list of items I wanted to purchase – if I saw them. My daughter-in-love brought her sense of humor, her own pocket of cash and a daughter to help her spend it.
We walked up and down the streets for five hours. We bought bigger items and left them with the original owners, noted their address and promised to pick them up when the crowd thinned out.

As always I gravitated to children’s toys, crafts and clothes. Nothing like visiting grandchildren to give me an excuse to go to a garage sale and justify buying two chunky Tonka trucks. Give him a year and I expect one toddling grandson to be sitting in the bed of the dump truck.

In the afternoon, my husband drove our van to five or six houses to pick-up purchases. Okay, he had to make three stops for me, but I wasn’t the one who bought the couch.

While the women walked around the neighborhood, the men drove around the county to buy a gallon of freshly made maple syrup from the farmer and uniquely flavored cheeses and cheese bread at the cheese factory and bakery. They returned to home base with their own stories and purchases.

Eating out that evening took about as much as I handed over at the yard sales.

Still, we spent about what we had planned – until we headed home and stopped at the outlet mall for a break. That’s when we broke the budget. I found a shoe store that carried my hard-to-find shoe size and came out with four pairs of discount priced shoes. My husband did mention that his shoes cost a half or a third of what one pair of mine had cost. But still, the shoes have been on my list for months.

Then I saw it a gift shop/book store in the last thralls of closing. Looking ahead to various gift giving times, with my package carrier’s help, I piled up a tab that matched the price of the shoes. We moseyed home, tallied up that gas and hotels had cost us more than everything, tightened our belts and decided to stay home for a few weeks – and save up for our next expedition.