The Doe Is a Lie


It was another all-city garage sale weekend, so the Sisters of Death and I were out at it again on Saturday, filling the Minivan of Death with an amazing assortment of crap.

The overall quality of the sales was meh, especially compared to last week’s haul, and unlike last week, none of the people holding sales were drinking frozen watermelon margaritas with their neighbors at 10:00am.

One of our early stops was a sale where I honestly have no idea what happened. I believed, deep in my heart, that I bought a carton with one 32″ fiber optic tree (ONE! One tacky-ass tree! Ah ha ha), and also that I bought a lighted deer sculpture and got a second non-working one free. This was the sign accompanying them:

Papa Deer Needs Love (don't google it)

Papa Deer Needs Love (don’t google it)

So I thought the box the sign was taped to contained the doe, because of saying ‘lighted deer sculpture’ on the outside. The sad love-starved papa deer was in a heap next to the box. I did not look inside the box. This is mostly a lesson about looking in the box.

The cardboard carton for the fiber optic tree had a price sign (with no hint as to the emotional state of the tree) and I could see the front of a box through the top, so all good there.

Slightly Homicidal Tree

Slightly Homicidal Tree

I made a deal for the deer, the fiber optic tree (can’t resist the fiber optic, it’s so modern and glamorous!), and this kinda pretty gold metal tree, with a sharpened point hidden under that star.

That gold tree fell out of the back of the van the next time we opened it to add more crap, exposing the maiming spike, so we moved it into a seat, where it tried to kill one of the death-sisters by falling over on her. Our working theory is that it’s haunted.

So! The boxes. After I got home, I wanted to photograph/test everything before garaging it (see, I’m trying to be better about that!) but the way that went was, I opened the deer box and found…nine new boxes of clear Christmas lights. Huuuuh. So I guess those are for applying love to the Papa Deer, although 900 lights is way too many for one smallish deer? And there is no doe? Okay. Not really upset about this, as I can use the lights and I don’t even know how many damn deer I already have in the garage from this year’s garage sales. I also found a wireform sleigh this year, but probably 3/4 of my deer are in the feeding position, so it’s going to look like Santa picked all the lazy stoner deer if I hook them up to it.

So then I was curious about the fiber optic trees, and opened the carton. The carton of FOUR TREES. Four! Four tacky-ass trees! Ah ha ha. I have more fiber optic than 90s telecom advertising.*

Lawn styling by massive drought.

Lawn styling by massive drought.

I’ll note here that I also get to decorate my office building’s lobby and our department’s holiday breakfast, so I will actually be able to use four fiber optic trees for the betterment of mankind. Most likely, the Deluxe Special People-Person will be waving its happy candle in the middle of a fiber optic forest [wow that sounds like the beginning of a fanfic I don’t want to read].

In summary, I have no idea what happened at that sale. I have a lot of trees and maybe there’s a doe wondering why we drove off without it? Maybe there never was a doe and it was all a ruse to get rid of the light strings?

While the gold tree has not managed to kill or maim anyone I know, the same cannot be said for the 7.5′ artificial tree I bought for $5 at one of the other sales. That thing has tasted blood.

I also bought that tree in a closed box, mostly because I really don’t care about the condition of it – I want to build a Portal Tree for the lobby this year so I don’t need anything nice. Nice is probably my enemy here, but I was still pleased to find a decent tree in the box, and I set about assembling the bottom 2/3 on my front lawn. I propped it against a deck chair for support, and leaned down into the box to get a look at the stand. And then it came down on my head. You wouldn’t think that would hurt much, but it really did. Don’t take a Christmas tree to the head, kids. It’s not as cool as it looks. I’m available to film PSAs on this matter.

*When I think of 90s telecom advertising, I remember these AT&T ads, which were on some of the mst3k VHS tapes I played into the ground. I still sometimes find myself adding, “YOU WILL” to plans for future versions of things. Yes, I do eat lunch alone most of the time.

I heart other people’s stuff


All-city garage sales are the best! Yesterday, I shopped with two of my friends who, now that I think about it, need blog-pseuds. For now, I will call them Sisters of Death because it amuses me, and they are sisters. Anyway! The Sisters of Death and I met up at 8:00am to go a-trolling. We loaded into the Minivan of Death and picked a neighborhood at random.

Here’s the back of the van at 10:00

10:00 haul

10:00 haul

Yes, there’s a disco ball back there, and a lot of Christmas and Halloween lights, and a mummy costume. The big doll is a Christmas animatronic, I think it’s the same kind as a Santa I picked up last year, in which case it will move its head and arms creepily while holding a proportionally-unwise lit candle.

Deluxe Special People animatronic

I don’t know why the text on the box is Deluxe Special People, as there is only one person inside, whose special deluxeness is somewhat debatable.

And that might have been the biggest sales-copy score of the day, except over in the lower right corner of the van there’s one of these:

Vintage Massage Pillow

Vintage Massage Pillow

It’s a massage pillow, and the box tells us that it can be enjoyed by Businessmen! Sportsmen! Salesmen! I’m guessing those are the three models men came in at the time this was marketed.

The instructions. This appears to be the deluxe version, which is good since I gave them $1.00 for it. I demand only the finest.

How to use your massage pillow

How to use your massage pillow

“A vigorous benefit that is pleasingly penetrating” Well then.

My goal is to use the pillow’s motor in a Halloween prop, the awesome box and instructions are a bonus.

We shopped hard, finally giving it all up for the sweet embrace of awesome burgers and sweet potato fries at 2:00. At the end of the day, the van looked like this:

Final haul

Notable additions are the FIVE NEW BLOWMOLDS I got at one sale.

Beco candlesticks

Beco candlesticks

Candles by Empire

Candles by Empire

I’ve never seen the Beco candlesticks before, and I’m not getting a lot of information about them from googling. The glitter letters will need to be touched up, but I feel that I am up to that challenge. The plugs are clearly original, so I’ll be taking a look at the wiring before I use them.

But who cares about candles when we have the Creepy Choirgirl of Doom? Seriously, people used to voluntarily have gangs of these on their lawns. Maybe they’re less threatening when they still have pupils? I do not understand.

Poloron choir girl

Poloron choir girl

She has been the victim of a bad attempted repaint, which is both unfortunate, because it looks like they tried to use house paint on her robe, and fortunate, in that I can only improve it, right? Not this year, though. I’ll put her out as-is this year. If she doesn’t kill me in my sleep first.

And that’s why All City Garage Sale Day is one of my favorite holidays.

School has started. I can start obsessing about Halloween now.


School is going very, very well. Crow loves walking to school, and is delighted to get there. His brain is buzzing from learning multiplication and division, he wants to do flashcards and play math apps and skip-count up to 1000. I’m saying the boy loves numbers, and school is giving him plenty of numbers so life is good.

He’s been in school for two and a half weeks and has worn a Planes shirt every day. Not the same one, he has several. He just hasn’t been to school in a non-Disney shirt yet. I remember a time when I might have actually cared about this, instead of just noted it with a, “huh, that’s weird,” while giving Crow a choice of which one to wear that day. Apparently my time of being overly invested in what my kid wears to school is over. Except for Halloween. Still overly invested in that.

Halloween 2013 - particularly pleased with the DIY crashed witch on the roof.

Halloween 2013 – particularly pleased with the DIY crashed witch on the roof.

Now that school has started, it’s only reasonable to focus on the next phase of the year: Halloween Prep, and incidental early Christmas Prep. That may sound more impressive than it actually is; it mostly involves going out to the garage and figuring out what-all I bought at garage sales over the summer. I really don’t know what’s out there. I should do a better job of photographing things before they go into the garage.

Very little of what I use for Halloween was bought new or in its current form; if it was new, it was probably bought in November at 75% off, otherwise it’s all garage sales and DIY. I do all of this stuff off-season and on the cheap, which is why I lose track of it during the acquisition stage.

The other thing I like to do in September is start on Crow’s costume. I don’t want it to go to the last-minute (and yet somehow it always does, there’s a lesson there somewhere but I probably wouldn’t like it so IGNORE). So first we need to figure out what options to offer him (open-ended questions are not Crow-friendly).

In response to the obvious idea of making something Planes-based, there’s not a lot of intersection between an anthropomorphic vehicle costume and Crow’s costume preferences. He’s not a fan of hats (see The Man Whose Mommy Carries His Yellow Hat costume of 2012), and bulky costume parts will be shed as quickly as possible (see Jetpack Joyride costume of 2013 – the photo below is the best one I got all night).

Man with the Yellow Hat Which Was Not Worn (2012)

Man with the Yellow Hat Which Was Not Worn (2012)

Jetpack Joyride (iPad game) costume.  There were orange LED lights inside the flames, it was pretty sweet.   I also put a speaker in it, to play the game's theme song.  That was not a hit.  (2013)

Jetpack Joyride (iPad game) costume. There were orange LED lights inside the flames, it was pretty sweet. (2013)

So, not Planes. We’ve been watching SchoolHouse Rock lately, especially the multiplication ones. So here we have My Hero Zero.

My Hero Zero, the best Halloween costume for a number-obsessed boy!

My Hero Zero, the best Halloween costume for a number-obsessed boy!

No hat…number-based…basically pjs and a cape…this has potential. Crow is enthusiastic about the idea!

Wow, that’s so easy, I can just forget about this whole Halloween thing until late October and slap it together in an evening! Yes!

Ha ha ha no. This is me. If a costume project does not reduce me to a profanity-laced questioning of the divine order of the universe at least once before the end of September, why it’s just not a real Halloween. I love Halloween, and I love deciding that I totally know how to do things I’ve never done before and should just dive right into projects well beyond my ability level. What could go wrong?

So I’m thinking Electro-Luminescent wire.

I’m thinking about it a lot, actually, and am eagerly awaiting my package from SparkFun so I can get started!

I showed Crow a sample of it and he is on board, he loves things that light up. I’m prototyping the cape tonight, to figure out the biggest cape I can make with 3m of wire for the border. Obviously, I’m ending it above his ankles, as the dragged cape only works in cartoons and for users who can actually fly.

Once I get this knocked out and the garage spelunked, I need to decide what I’m doing for an outdoor project this year.

I’ve needed this. August is our least-favorite month of the year, because most of it is the space between the end of summer school and the start of the new school year, aka the time when Crow’s need for structure and intense activity gets blown the fuck up, it’s too damn hot, and the world gets dumber and meaner. August is the worst. I will not miss it. September is great, September is when anything is possible, including building a giant pumpkin out of coiled strapping and threaded rods. I will not actually do this, but right now I feel like I totally could get that done between now and the end of next month, because that is so far away. And don’t even get me started on all the stuff I could get done between now and Christmas! Sky’s the limit!

(*fine print: limits are nowhere near the sky, I will be lucky if I can just figure out how to get the sleigh and reindeer blowmold back on the roof this year after the Roof-Mounted Tree Is Suddenly No Longer Mounted On The Roof incident of 2013*)

Yay September! September’s birthstone is self-delusion.