Thursday, June 30, 2005

cup 5: only half a cup?

Where: Curti Residence, Kittery, ME
When: June 29, 8 am
Who: Chip and Ernie
What: Equal Exchange

No chance for a picture this morning. Sorry. I should have known. Mom said she'd pick me up at 8:30 am to go to Brenda's, but of course she showed up 45 minutes early, and I only had time to chug half a cup of coffee before she wanted to leave.

Brenda's was remarkable, as expected. Brenda is the self-proclaimed "Bag Lady of Lee." She is the queen of, well, stuff. She goes to yardsales and picks through trash at the dump to find things of questionable value and then finds ways to give them value. Today she had a case of what appeared to be 8.5" x 11" paper cut into thirds, the long way. She was trying to find a way to make these 7500 2.8" x 11" sheets useful. She'd tried glueing then ends of stacks of them together with a hot glue gun with acceptable results only to realize that just one pad was enough to take down all the phone numbers and create all the shopping lists you'd want to for years to come. So she was looking for other uses. Mom needed a stand for her new apartment so we went through the basement and the shed looking for furniture. So much stuff! Floor to ceiling of years are yardsale finds. There's one room devoted entirely to McDonald's Happy Meal Toys (just McDonald's, other fast food toys are in a different area). Another room is just for Legos. An area of the shed has so many baskets hanging from the rafters that you can't see the ceiling, and there's another area devoted entirely to prints of every sort. The stuff goes on and on.

Brenda has rules when going to yardsales: You can never pay asking price for anything at a yardsale. You can never leave a yardsale empty-handed. The latter rule has led to some interesting collections. Brenda let me in on the secret to never leaving empty handed. You choose something to collect every yardsale season, and make sure it is something that most people would consider so worthless that they wouldn't even put it in the yardsale. One year she choose plastic flowers. At the end of the summer she made a giant mountain of flowers to engulf her mailbox. She left it like that for a while, then sold all the flowers at her own yardsale the following summer. She's more selective about her fake flowers now. She gets very realistic ones, and matches the flowers to whatever is in season outside, leaving them up only while the real flowers are in bloom outside and changing them to match the changing season. She delights in fooling people into thinking the fake flowers are real. It is important to note that she often has the real things growing right outside the door and could go out and cut the same flowers to have inside, but that wouldn't be as fun. Now Brenda is acquiring fake fruit. She doesn't know exactly what she's going to do with it all yet. That is half the point of getting it, though. When she has enough, inspiration will strike her and the fruit will take its place in the grand scheme of things.

Sadly, this trip, coming so soon after my big move, I wasn't so much in the mood to acquire more stuff. I think in a couple months I'll take a trip down again. I did manage to find a candy dot maker in amongst all the stuff. Seemed like a perfect way to use some of those 7500 strips of paper.

On returning to the Curti house, I found the remaining half cup of coffee sitting on the counter where I'd left it. I took a swig. Yeah, it had been sitting on the counter in 90 degree heat all day, but the acid in coffee will keep cream from spoiling (I think) so as long as it doesn't tast bad or have chunks, you're OK. Unfortunately, there was a chunk, and I had a brief moment of "swallow or spit?" thinking it might be just a breadcrumb. I spat it out into the sink and it tried to crawl away. A black and had found its way into my coffee. I was pretty grossed out by now. My addiction must be somewhat subsided now, because I dumped the rest of the coffee out and didn't make any more.

So THAT is why I only had half a cup of coffee today.

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