The King of Cheap Bikes

Sara hit up a couple of yard sales over the weekend and managed to score some major finds. Among them, was a new bicycle for me. The bike costs $370 new; she paid $15 for it.

If you remember, a couple of years back we stumbled upon two bikes in good condition at a Goodwill, meaning I’ve now paid a total of $40 for 3 bikes (not counting kids bikes that I’ve gotten for cheap or free).

Unfortunately, one of those bikes was misappropriated, but at that cost, who cares? (about the bike. The breaking into my house part I did care about a great deal.) The bike I’ve been riding is in bad shape, needing 2 new tires and a new seat. Despite putting air in my tires when I leave the house and again when I get ready to come home, I’m riding on flats the whole time. That makes it a bit tricky to ride (especially given the condition of the roads in my neighborhood!). Since I only paid $10 for it in the first place, even with the repairs, I think it would still be a pretty good deal. Not as good as getting a much better bike for only $15!

All in all, Sara picked up $1000 worth of merchandise for about $135. Is there anything better than good yard sale deals?

It definitely makes me want to go to more yard sales. On the other hand, I understand that mostly they’re not as profitable as this trip was, and it’s very easy to fall into the trap of buying crap you don’t need (but it’s so cheap!!). Totally worth it, though, when you buy something you really need for a pittance and a song. Man that feels good.

It is amazing what people get rid of, and at what price. So happy to give items a new use, and more than happy to pay someone $15 for the privilege. They’re happy, I’m happy.

Now if I could only figure out how to pay only 4% of the price for everything else I want to buy…

Yard Sale

As soon as we got back from Mackinac, we basically turned around and got back in the car. For at least a year now, we have been going through everything we could possibly get rid of, and saving up all of our junk in our guest bedroom. So much so, that it was getting hard for people to stay in there.

Usually there is a big family rummage sale every year, but this is the first year we’ve sold stuff at my Uncle Lenny’s house. Lenny is about as close as you can come to a professional yard sale-r. He has a big barn with stuff that he collects all the time, and he can open it up at any time and start selling. So, with his stuff alone you’d have a pretty big sale, but then you add in all the stuff the rest of the family brings, and you’re in business.

The sale was huge, and we were so busy on both Saturday and Sunday, busier than I have ever been at a yard sale (and our family has a looong history of yard sales). We had about 4 tables for our stuff. I am proud to say, we made $172.50! Not too shabby for a bunch of junk that had an average price of about $0.25 (though we did sell a laptop for $80, half of which we owe to Anna).

We spent about $11 on other people’s junk, mostly on kids’ clothes. We eventually figured out that we bought things about once an hour; you would wander around and see something you hadn’t seen the first 10 times around, or you would decide not to buy something, but then after an hour of thinking about it you would change your mind.

Even with the stuff we bought though, we sold tons more stuff, so I don’t understand why our car seemed just as full going home as coming. My main goal was to unload junk (the money was just a bonus), so I wish we would have gotten rid of even more. However, it was good to get rid of what we did.

The main part is that it is nice to visit with everyone. Someone asked me, “You came here just for the yard sale?” We didn’t get to talk to many people at the wedding, so this was a little more low-key, and we had more of a chance to chat. And, of course, we always enjoy the chance to play cards at Grandma’s at night. (and Sara cleaned up at 3 and 13!)

My Uncle Lenny’s yard has always been something of an inspiration to me. He’s got some awesome fruit trees, a little pool with a waterfall and actual, flowering lily pads, and a nice little cozy yet open area off the back deck. However, this time I got to see an awesome new (to me) feature, which I never knew about before.

A large section of his yard is densely wooded, and through this area winds a series of paths. You enter through a trellis-framed door, and if you follow the main path, you wind almost 800 feet to the little cleared camping area in the back. On the way you pass through a spooky wooded section, a more open back section, and even come upon a pine-tree-fairy-ring. I cannot tell you how cool the whole thing is! I enjoyed the first trip through so much, I took a second trip. Oliver apparently found it relaxing as well, since he fell asleep on my head.

Evie and Oliver had a blast walking, playing with all the junk for sale, picking up and petting the kittens, listening to books with Aunt Kris, and did I mention there was a reindeer next door? They were just plumb wore out by all of it at the end of the day(s).

And really, I think we were all experiencing a little vacation fatigue by the time we got home. Our house is the biggest disaster zone on the planet. After returning from one vacation, we just sort of chucked everything we didn’t need to the side and loaded up for the next vacation. We have dishes and laundry stacked everywhere. We’ve made great strides since we’ve been home, but we still have so much more to do, my mind sort of boggles at the prospect.

Is there anything more exhausting than vacation??

Now that’s what I call a vacation

We were visiting the family all last week and it was great! Plenty of relaxation, and plenty of good food. We were grilling out for practically every meal. Evie met some new doggies and kitties, we got some swimming in, played some card and board games, and even saw some fireworks. Everybody helped us watch Evie and did most of the food preparation, etc. so we didn’t have a whole lot to do.

There were some extra special highlights of the trips though:

We took Evie to see some buffalo on a farm by my dad’s house. It was pretty cool, there were lots of babies. Our fun was cut short, however, when someone drove by and threw firecrackers out the window at us. When they went off, they scared us (and the buffalo) half to death. I felt bad for poor Evie who doesn’t even really know what firecrackers are! The buffalo wouldn’t come back over by us after that.

We got a ton of fresh blackberries (mulberries? There seems to be some debate) picked off the vast expanse of pricker bushes lining my dad’s estate. I’m eating some now actually!

We did some more garage sale-ing and found some good buys on Evie clothes, puzzles and toys. This taught me a new fun game, which is checking the rummage sale listings in a small town newspaper to see what you can find. My all time favorite was one that listed “guns” for sale, but I appreciated many more items such as, “Plus size ladies clothes, Harley Davidson and Nascar.” After you’re done laughing at those you can flip over to the real estate section and cry at the ridiculously low prices.

Sara and I snuck out to see a movie to celebrate our anniversary. We saw Public Enemies staring Johnny Depp, which was good and entertaining but didn’t change my life or anything. This was only the second time we’ve seen a movie in the theater since Evie was born, upping our average to one a year.

On the way home we stopped at the Albanese Candy Factory. We have always wondered about it when we passed it on the highway, so we decided to go in and see what it was about. We didn’t do a tour or anything, but we still had a very enjoyable little stop! There is a huge chocolate fountain inside and an absolutely ridiculous selection of bulk candy, which I assume is made on the premises. We bought some truffles, chocolate toffee pecans and something else that Sara picked out which I can’t remember but was just as good as the other two. They also have free samples! Evie screamed about wanting more chocolate the rest of the way home. All in all, it basically reminds me of the Chocolate Castle, with more of a candy selection, but less classy.

Despite being able to relax, it was still somewhat exhausting to be away from home and everything. Exhausting enough that I literally fell asleep waiting for a traffic light to turn green when we were on the way home. Good thing I woke up Sara to keep me company shortly before that!

Finally, for all you haters out there (and those on facebook), I give you a goat on a trampoline:

More MJ musings

Obviously since Thursday I’ve been thinking a lot about (and listening to a lot of) Michael Jackson’s music. I started to make a list in my head of my top 5 MJ songs and the list really surprised me.

  1. Smooth Criminal – Total surprise at the top spot, but I really like this song.
  2. Billie Jean – The quintessential MJ song. When you hear that intro, you just have to start bouncing in your seat.
  3. Thriller – Even I thought this would be higher, but I can’t stress enough that these top 3 are separated by only a hair’s breadth.
  4. Somebody’s Watching Me – I know what you’re thinking, that’s not Michael, that’s Rockwell. Come on, if it wasn’t for MJ’s hook, nobody would know this song.
  5. (tie) Dirty Diana – Do people know this one? I don’t know if it was a big hit or not, but I really like it.
  6. (tie) Scream – This Michael / Janet Jackson collaboration didn’t come out until 1995 so many people might have been off the Jacksons by then, but it’s actually a quality song.

All in all, not what I would have guessed to make the top 5, but there it is. Put your favorites in the comments.

In other news it was a relatively eventful weekend. We made some sweet garage sale finds including an art easel and some shelves with baskets for Evie. We spent a lot of time at the beach. Evie rode on a train at the mall and loved it. And finally, we bought some fresh eggs at the farmer’s market.

My uncle has chickens and he swears up and down that home grown eggs are way better than store bought ones. They may have been better; they were certainly good. They didn’t change my life though. The yolks were definitely more appealing, much darker yellow than store eggs.  Considering they cost the same as the organic store eggs, I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t keep buying them.