Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rite of Spring

It's really spring in Minnesota. For many people the most important thing that kicks off this time of year is Garage Sale Season. Last weekend may have been the official start, in our neighborhood anyway. The Bryn Mawr Garage Sale Festival was in full swing Saturday and Sunday. Our normally quiet community was transformed into a chaotic frenzy of drivers circling like vultures, hunting for parking spots. They were joined by folks from all over the city crawling across lawns and up alleys in search of deals.

I let April talk me into accompanying the family into the milieu. We set out on foot for downtown Bryn Mawr. En route I convinced Sylvia we should take a short detour down a bank and along the railroad tracks. We quickly discovered that it was no shortcut at all but it did allow us to explore some of the urban "nature" around our home -- mostly reclaimed industrial and rail corridors that border Bassett Creek. We found a railroad spike (big excitement for a 3 year old). I had to carry Sylvia across the trestle over the water. But back on solid ground she jumped at my request to lead out and show me the way. We climbed back onto pavement into a cul-de-sac and found Mom and Willa at the first sale on the street.

Now, maybe all the good stuff went fast. When we first arrived I saw some potential and was hopeful that I'd stumble upon that unique old handtool or some other item that would really shout "Buy me!" Nope. As my patience wore thin and my hunger grew, I saw only junk, crap and more useless trash that should have been merchandised in a garbage can rather than on a sale table. But we plugged on, stopping briefly to refuel with corndogs and lemonade.

I didn't even bother thinking about what was in this decadent treat, but I couldn't miss what was dripping out of it. I had a small oil spill on the sidewalk at my feet.

Eventually I reached my breaking point at precisely the moment Mom was no where to be found and Sylvia announced she had to go potty. Impossibly long lines at the portable facilities portended a soggy disaster. I grabbed the stroller and marched toward home. April could figure it out.

She caught up before long. Exiting the throngs of deal-crazed corndoggers, I felt the homicidal desire melt away. We were able to coach Sylvia in the ways of discreet urban urination (a most valuable life skill) and she relieved herself under a bridge no more than 100ft from a crowded yard, but as private as our own bathroom.

Back home the kids ran around in the warm sun. April and I felt somewhat exhausted, but we hadn't come away totally empty-handed. At the third garage we snatched up a brand new Bialetti espresso pot complete with milk frothing pitcher -- unopened -- for $5. April stoked it and within 15 minutes we were sipping excellent beverages. April tried on some new, used clothes. Sylvia matched costume jewelry to her new tutu. Willa just bee lined it to the sandbox where she was happy as a clam.

Yep, it's officially spring, and so far it's been pretty awesome.

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