My annoying neighbors are at it again. This time, they’re having a garage sale. A Wednesday garage sale that didn’t even start until 10 a.m. because, you know, so many people think of taking off from work during the middle of the day so they can check out someone else’s junk. Ok, so it’s not quite fair to claim that it didn’t start until 10 o’clock because, really, it began at 7 a.m. when I woke up not to the sound of my neighbor’s stilettos, but to the sound of her dragging heavy furniture across her garage’s cement floor.
No, she didn’t take a break from screaming at her kids loudly enough that everyone on the cul de sac could hear her. But this time, instead of telling them to get in the car, she actually told her 12-year-old to back the car down the driveway and onto the street. The driveway which, I might add, aims directly toward my bedroom. I’ve never jumped out of bed quite so fast.
At the risk of sounding like a real-life Mrs. Kravitz, I confess that I peeked through my blinds once or twice as she got things hauled out of her house, sorted and labeled with price tags. As she went click-clacking in her stilettos to the end of the street to post her Garage Sale signs, her kids hurried to retrieve their belongings from the piles of toys and clothes marked for sale. The littlest one — still toddling around in his diapers — was just making it back into the house with a teddy bear when she turned around, dusted her hands off, and headed back to wait for customers.
Even though it’s a Wednesday, and even though it was mid-morning, a surprising number of cars began to stream by after seeing the neon-pink signs posted (against homeowner association rules) at the end of our street. People arrived on foot, too, and I recognized several folks from walks with my son around our subdivision, while others I’ve chatted with at the mailbox. Without exception, they’ve asked what it’s like living next to the “lady who screams all the time,” and I’ve joked about how we’d be happy if we could afford to buy their house — which is still for sale after 14 months — just to get one Saturday when we can sleep in. They don’t seem to feel bad about making her the butt of jokes and then turning around to score a good deal off whatever she’s got to sell, though.
A little while later, my phone rang. One of the ladies I know who lives two streets over asked if I’d been to my neighbor’s garage sale yet. She’s due to give birth any minute now — and with the temps being in the 90s this week, she really is counting the minutes — and was hoping to find a good deal on things for her nursery. Would I mind peeking outside to see if there’s anything she might want to check out? Unfortunately for her, my neighbor’s a prolific breeder who is apparently determined to hold on to her youngest child’s outgrown furnishings a while longer. You know, just in case.
Besides, as I told her, how confident can a person really be buying such things from a garage sale? Yes, there are good deals to be had, but when it comes to buying baby furniture it seems, to me at least, wiser to purchase unused things so you know they meet current safety standards. Things like onesies and jammies? Sure, buy those second hand (and I did tell her there looked to be plenty available next door) since they’re only going to get stained when the baby spits up, anyway.
Another thing I don’t buy second hand: bed linens. Having raised two kids through potty training and bouts of head lice brought home from public school, I just can’t convince myself that even with multiple launderings with hot water and bleach will ever truly destroy the nasties. I’ll spring for quality, good-looking kids bedding any day rather than saving a dime at the cost of my own fretful sleep.
Under the guise of running an errand, and sloooowly backing out of my driveway, I did manage to get a covert look at her stuff, or what was left of it. The children’s sporting equipment was all gone, and so were the piles of toys — even the bicycle missing one wheel. Nobody had bought the red and yellow floral Herculon sofa or the ratty-looking gray recliner with threadbare arms. I wasn’t about to buy those, either, but I was a bit disappointed she wasn’t selling any attractive kids furniture suitable for my son’s room.
Because, hey, I’m not about to feel bad over making her the butt of my jokes, either, if there’s money to be saved.