How often have you thought a garage sale was a fantastic idea?

Yeah. Me, too.

My PERFECT customer...

So I sat outside in the rain all day yesterday. Was it worth it? Depends.

We made some money. I think…

But then we spent some money on breakfast. Then on lunch…and dinner. Think about it, who cooks on Garage Sale Day? We also bought cute little $1, $3, $5 stickers. And it was a street sale with several families, so there was an ad in the local paper—another $8.

I’m not really sure how much money we will end up with, especially since I agreed to take $1 for the $5-10 items A LOT. Lets face it, I DO NOT want to drag my treasures (crap?) back into the house. Especially when I have just worked so hard to remove them. $1 is better than packing them up and dragging them back down to the basement.

Thankfully I had help. Though my help came in the form of teenagers, who do like to sleep in. Which left just me to manage the 8am Early Bird  Crew who marched down the driveway like a parade. The sale started at 9am.

Some of my favorite garage sale moments…

I sent my daughter and godchild into the house to roll up an area rug that was under the dining room table. Decided I didn’t want it. My son stepped out of the bathroom and saw the girls laboring to move the chairs and table off of the rug.  “Mom, are you gonna sell my liver, too?” He stood there for a minute. Then pointed to a side table, “Look that’s dusty. Time to get rid of it”

My daughter arrived at the sale later in the morning after going to breakfast. She wasn’t around long before I heard, ”I’ll be right back. I think I just got my period.” Later….”Katie, can you please…” She interrupted before I could get the question out. “I’m cramping!!” It’s a good thing she looked cute sitting there. Because that’s mostly what she did.

My godchild’s boyfriend came over. He kindly offered to haul a large area rug (the one that is no longer under the dining room table) to the car for a couple of nice women. We’re going to say they were ‘nice,’ even though they weren’t super friendly. Anyways, he banged his head on the back of their Jeep. The nice women said they do it all the time. Godchild’s boyfriend rubbing his head, “Have you seen my head? It’s BIG. I’m like the Kool Aid Man. My head’s like…40% of my body.” That loosened them up. Barely.

Later when my son arrived back home, I told him that I sold his old bike that was missing one brake and had two flat tires…for $2. He responded with the fake excitement that 14-year-old boys use to mock their mother, “Sweet. You could buy like 8 gum balls with it!!”

As if I care what I can buy with the $2. Somebody just paid me to take a bike—that quite frankly was a piece of junk—out of my one-car garage. There was no downside for me. So what if that person fixes it and makes some money. Good for him. The only thing it has done for me lately was to jab me in the shin with its kickstand, as I walked by.

The garage sale is almost over, which means we are fast approaching The Great Giveaway. That’s the time people can just take what they want. Because, who cares? I’m no longer attached to the items littering the front yard.

I certainly don’t want any of them. I didn’t even know I had them a few days ago. In fact, I wonder why I spent money on some of them in the first place.

It goes without saying that I am NOT having a Garage Sale next year.

And I just put that in writing…

TWO 16-year-old girls + ONE Honda Civic = ROAD TRIP

A supervised road trip, that is.

My seat partner. A large, furry, golden retriever dog, who panted...and drooled on me the entire trip.

It has been a while since my last post…

Mostly because I am recovering from spending 12 total hours in the backseat of a Honda Civic. Six hours down to Virginia about a week ago. And six hours back home this past weekend…

The driver? My Godchild who isn’t really. She decided I could be her Godmother. Which is fine, because I love her like a daughter. It’s complicated…she is my daughters close friend and I used to date her father.

Riding shotgun? My daughter armed with directions, the Atlas and a portable GPS–or navigation device.

In the backseat? Me.

Hail Mary, full of grace. The lord is with thee…

The girls are both 16. Each has a (rather new) valid Ohio driver’s license. And they badly wanted to drive from Ohio to Leesburg, Virginia to spend a week visiting Aunt Kate and Uncle Joe. Leesburg is just outside the beltway, near Washington D.C.

The girls approached me. Then they approached Mackenzie’s Dad. (AKA my former flame…) We parents talked it over. We agreed that the girls should go and believed they could handle a ‘road trip.’ The solution? A trial run…sort of like a test.

Which is how the menopausal woman (Me) wound up in the backseat, where the air conditioning doesn’t reach. I perspired profusely all the way down to Virginia and all the way back.

The girls tried really hard. They ran the air conditioning. They put on sweatshirts. But my poor ‘Godchild’ had to dial the air conditioning down, when her fingers got numb. The girls couldn’t be ‘human popsicles’ in the name of my comfort.

Gracie...lounging on my lap. All the way down to Virginia.

While we’re on the subject of my comfort, did I mention that both Gracie and Rocky traveled with us? Naturally, they rode in the backseat with me. Like a fur coat, but with loose hair flying about.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…

Not for our safety. Was more praying that I wouldn’t lose my mind back there.

Which might have been a lost cause. My being in the backseat in the first place might have been a sign that my mind was already gone.

The girls did just fine with driving, tolls, handling money, knowing when to get gas, using cruise control–I truly did pass them the reins. They developed little systems for where to put the toll tickets, reading the GPS and other little odds and ends. They figured out these systems on the fly, and executed them as they went along.

My Godchild drove like a champ, even on the narrow Pennsylvania Turnpike with the semi’s and through the inevitable summer road construction—even in dense traffic on the trip back home.  My daughter proved a proficient navigator, “Get in the right line when you can, in two miles we need to veer to the right…that type of thing” It was an impressive display of teamwork.

They were rock solid. Competent. Responsible. Mature. Showed excellent judgment. Never made a wrong turn. (And thank goodness for it, because I couldn’t have tolerated extra time in my traveling sauna–spitting dog hair out of my mouth.)

If they had gone the wrong way, I would have let them—and they would have had to get themselves back on course. No point doing this, if I wasn’t going all the way with it.

I was hot, sweaty and (mostly) silent. Seen but not heard. Honestly, I couldn’t have shouted if I wanted to. I had sinus congestion going on and with it, a touch of laryngitis.

“That is going to be very nice,” commented my loving daughter. Not sure she realized that nobody else volunteered to be the guinea pig in this ‘field trip’ of  learning.

The high points….

The view from our lounge chairs at the (often empty) pool...

Aunt Kate’s cooking…she is truly a culinary genius. Not overstating this. Grilled pork chops, steak, homemade chicken salad, strawberry shortcake, 7-layer cookie bars and much more.

Sliced tomatoes and mozzarella to go along with our juicy steaks...

The low points…

Are words needed? Or does the visual of "huff and puff's" BIG head do the trick?

I love my children, but I enjoy great peace and tranquility when they go away for a day or two. Likely because it is a rare occurrence. Our successful trip might just leave me with some free time now and again…

The best thing to come of this road trip? The girls proved they can be trusted to take another one. Without me…


My yard is beginning to look like a pasture…

Our riding lawnmower was perpetually temperamental—so I got rid of it. Which was probably a stupid move, but there was no way I could keep it running for the long haul.

The kids and I spent last summer using my 1999 Honda to jump the riding lawnmower. With 12 years and over 200,000 miles on our trusty Honda, I had to wonder at the wisdom of using one hunk of junk to make another hunk of junk start??

If nobody was home to sit on the mower, I had to put a heavy rock on the seat to keep it running, while I scrambled to turn the car off and remove the jumper cables. We often had to squirt ‘goo’ into one of the mowers tires to keep a puncture sealed. Before each mowing, somebody had to put air in that tire. Then there was the issue with the mechanism to engage the blade. It kept getting stuck. Thankfully, none of us lost a finger…

The simple 30 minute task of mowing a half-acre lot required a pit crew—like in a NASCAR race. Minus the fancy tools and shiny vehicles, in our case. Sooner or later, I was going to need a permanent solution.

Thankfully, my neighbor said we could use her push mower for a little while. Except her push mower conked out last week. She carted it off to the repairman and it has been there for a week.

In the meantime, our lawn continues to grow…and we have certainly had enough rain to keep it thriving!

Our friendly, local repairman planned to have the mower fixed and ready to be picked up yesterday. But he went fishing instead of finishing the job. Who could blame him? It was a beautiful day.

Dogs Best Friend? This dog seems to like his baby goat…they look chummy.

By the time the mower returns, I am going to need to mow the lawn in one-inch sections. It will soon look more like a meadow, than a residential lawn.  Which is why I need a goat. A goat would enjoy living at my house…with my two dogs, the bunnies and other critters. He would feel right at home.

Goats and dogs do get along, right? They can exist in a harmonious state?

Or I could simply let the grass grow all summer and bale it towards fall. If the repairman keeps going fishing, mowing the lawn will be impossible.

Which wouldn’t be terrible. I had thought about finding an old-fashioned mower last summer—dreamed about it, even—because there can’t be much ‘under the hood’ with those old things. The ones that resemble a spreader, but with a spinning blade? I believe they are called ‘reel’ mowers. Surely, even I could keep such a simple machine working.

The bonus? They are environmentally friendly and do not need gas. Could be the Perfect “budget friendly” solution. It certainly bears consideration.

Hmmm…I’m thinking about it. I REALLY am!

Today, I plan to ignore the overgrowth. To look forward to the colorful butterflies heading our way. Because there are always lots of pretty butterflies flitting about in meadows, floating in the breeze.

It’s either that, or go fishing.

Hello News Herald

Playing With Perfect is now a part of The News Herald ‘s website.

Channeling sunshine, happiness and a bright future...

I was terribly excited to be a part of this blogging community. Until I learned that our local paper is owned by Journal Register Company, a large multi-media news company specializing in local journalism—in 992 communities, 10 states, and reaching almost 14 million people each month!  A tiny bit of trepidation (terror?) crept in to edge out my initial enthusiasm.

Honestly, there must be many writers more talented than I am. Writers with bylines, professional experience and spectacular sentence structure. Though I have been published locally over the years, my sentence structure could use some help. It falls far short of spectacular.

I am not a Perfect writer. Yet there are people out there—most of them not related to me—who seem to connect with my posts. Facebook, blog and email comments have been incredibly gratifying.

Could this be my exit?

The positive reinforcement is the reason I keep moving forward in sharing my experiences–though they are often disastrous. Also, I am now ‘out there’ in a public forum. What choice do I have but to keep writing until I succeed at something? I (hopefully) have reached my limit with regard to failure—I mean learning experiences—Surely, there must be a failure threshold? And I am closing in on it…


Otherwise, its possible that I’ll reach millions of people through The News Herald and Journal Register Company—for being a loser!

Not to worry. This is win/win for readers. The stories will be entertaining either way.