Monday, September 17, 2012

Love Affair

In spite of the title, this post is not going to be a mushy paean to my relationship with Morgan.

It's going to be a mushy paean to my relationship with estate sales. I've always kind of been interested in them, and in fact I remember taking my kids to one a number of years ago. They were really interested, and then they realized that everything in the house was for sale because the occupant had died and were momentarily weirded out. They got over that, though, and each found something to buy. But I never really went to them with any regularity, partially because garage/yard/estate sale hours were a little too early for me most of the time.

Which reminds me - I'm going to go off on a slight tangent here for a minute, so bear with me. What time in the morning do yard sales start in your part of the world? All my life, I have been used to sales starting at 7 or 8 AM. Here in Denver, they often are listed as starting at 9 or 10. And if you go by there anywhere shortly after the start time, it's not that rare to see either nothing or someone who is just beginning to drag a couple of things out. Sometimes it feels like Mountain time bears more than a passing resemblance to "island time."

Anyhow, back to the point: the later hours here have meant that I have a thoroughly rekindled interest in yard sales and especially estate sales. Luckily, Morgan shares my enthusiasm, and it's become a regular event to go out to sales on the weekends. We've found all kinds of great things (and passed up some other great things, of course).

For example, we found our dining room chairs:

I didn't know we were looking for red chairs
until we found them.
We have also found a lot of really great things for my collaging endeavors, along with maps for my drawing series. There is no place like an estate sale for ephemera and old books and magazines.

Total: $4.00
I have to remind myself that I only have a craft room, not an entire house to put these things in, and therefore I need to limit myself. But wow, what great stuff I find! Recently, we went to another sale where I picked up some coffee table books from the woman's travels to Russia and Poland in the 1980s. They weren't exactly popular tourist destinations at the time, so it makes me wonder how and why she went there.

Another find from this past weekend:
This will soon be full of bourbon.
They also had a bottle for sulfuric acid, which was tempting, but it was smaller and therefore not as practical for alcohol storage. 

I was going to write more about our sale adventures, but it'll start getting really long so I'll quit here and come back to it later. The point really is that I love all kinds of weekend sales, but estate sales are my absolute favorite. And I'm really lucky that Morgan not only sees the appeal but also has similar tastes; we're both drawn to things that are old-fashioned. If we could manage it, I'm pretty sure our house would look like some kind of time warp hit it. We both want to actually use these things, too, not just display them. Next time, I'll talk about not only some of the things that came home with us, but some of the things that set our hearts aflutter but had to stay where they were.

Monday, September 10, 2012


I've been thinking a fair amount recently about what I want from various online venues, both in terms of what I put out there and what I get back. The result is going to involve a little restructuring everywhere, including this blog. When we (I) started this, I wanted to have it be a 50/50 collaboration with Morgan. A variety of situations have made that vision difficult to achieve, which is fine, but I also didn't want to really take over while he was otherwise occupied and turn it into a place that was more for me than for him. The bottom line though, as anyone who knows us realizes, is that he is the strong, silent type and I'm the can't-shut-up-already type. And just like in any conversation, he is most comfortable when he can interject when he feels he has something to say, and I am most comfortable if I am talking the rest of the time. So why should the blog really be any different?

In other words, I'm no longer going to try to hold us to an alternating schedule of posting. Morgan will still post, but the timing of those posts will be on no set schedule.

Now that the housekeeping is out of the way, let's get down to the real and serious subject of this post: Morgan and I were recently being stalked.

By this:

"So I take it this means we're not going to box after all."
And I know that right now you're probably thinking a couple of things. Well, if you're bug-phobic, you may be thinking "holy crap, I'm going to have nightmares!" But if you're not, you're probably thinking, "a praying mantis? That's what was stalking you? Seriously?" Hear me out, though.

I sat down on the closet floor a couple of days ago to get out a pair of shoes. I sat there for a couple of minutes getting the shoebox, opening it, talking to the dog, that sort of thing. Then I got up, sat down on the bed to put the shoes on, and thought I saw a large piece of ... fuzz or something? blowing in a breeze on top of Morgan's shoe. Yes, a breeze in the closet, on top of his shoe. I have no idea why I thought that, except that it made more sense than the reality, which was that it was actually the above-pictured fellow waving his front legs back and forth like a prizefighter. Once my brain put that all together, I said to Morgan, "There's a praying mantis in the closet, on top of your shoe. Right by where I was sitting a minute ago."

Morgan got a plastic container, trapped the mantis, took him outside, and unceremoniously dumped him off the edge of our porch. Then he came back inside and we tried to figure out how and why a mantis was in our closet. Where did he come from? How long was he in the house? Why the closet? Yeah, we didn't (and don't) have any answers, either. Anyway, later I went outside and the mantis was still in essentially the same spot, so I took a picture of him. That's when I noticed that the eye visible in the picture above was damaged. Poor thing! Maybe that's why he thought our closet looked like a garden?

Anyway, we went off to an estate sale and when we came back, the mantis had moved a few inches but was essentially in the same spot. A couple of hours later, I went outside on the porch to see if he'd moved. I went to the railing and leaned over - he was gone. Cool! Except that I realized that his new hangout was on our railing about 5 inches from my hand as I looked over. (And this railing is about 10 steps above the ground where we put him, so it's not like he could have accidentally wandered over to it.)

"Yeah, haha, that was funny. Now let me back into my closet."
Every time we looked outside over the course of a few more hours, he was sitting there exactly like that, staring at our door. It was unnerving. He was obviously just waiting for us to slip up and leave the door open for too long so he could get back inside. Morgan eventually went out, recaptured him, and relocated him to a yard a few doors down.

I'm not going to lie, I half-expected him to turn up again later that night or the next day, like something in a horror movie, but so far we haven't seen him again (and the closet has been thoroughly inspected for any friends of his). Still, I am going to look before answering any knocks at the door.