I went on an adventure last night with my mother in law and cousin. Actually, it's my husband's cousin but it's just easier to call her my cousin instead of my husband's cousin or my husband's mom's brother's daughter. I wish there was a shortened version of my mother in law instead of MIL. I could just call her my mother but then that would be confusing when I am talking about my birth mother. There's just something about MIL that I don't like...
Anyways, I am off track, as usual.
I am about to really confuse you because the adventure we went on last night was to my mother in law's friend's pastor's mom's son's house. Do you follow? Excellent. She caught wind that there was a garage sale at said friend's pastor's mom's son's house with around 25 antique milk bottles from various places for $3 a piece. I've seen antique milk bottles run anywhere from $10-15 up to almost $200 at antique stores all depending on the condition, rarity, age, etc. So, this was definitely a steal. If all of this were true. Milk bottles, in my opinion have been one of the harder items to "junk" for because of their value. We were really excited since we heard some of the bottles are marked with towns from our surrounding areas including a few from Chicago.
So, I pick up my mother in law when she got off work and she tells me my husband's cousin wants to jump in too. Off we go on our adventure to the unknown. It seems like my mother in law and I, whenever we are together, find ourselves heading to places not having a clue where we are going. A few of the times, we have been caught riding around on fumes. I made sure we had plenty of gas. My husband wasn't sure if it were more safe for her to drive or myself. We only made a few wrong turns and ended up at our destination but only to find that no one was home. She made a few phone calls to said connections, finding out that the couple was out to dinner and they'd be home soon. By this point, I'm bouncing around like a mad woman because I just drank a full bottle of water and a full bottle of diet mountain dew. Not only did I have to go potty but I was hopped up on caffeine as well. I also had 4 coffees and a cappuccino prior to said mountain dew throughout the day. I know, I need to cut back. I'm trying. I was doing so good, too.
So, the garage, which could have doubled as a sauna yesterday was opened up and we were given the opportunity to rummage around this old lady's cherished stuff. Things she had collected her entire life. We find our bargain milk bottles. I grab 5. I would have grabbed more, but I didn't want to look like a pig! I also find an antique gas can with the wooden hardware (which I love.. I already had 2) for my husband's office. I snagged that for $5. I also found two railroad insulators for $1. I estimated walking out of there with around $50-70 worth of items for $20. Not too bad!
I love these sales to pieces. Usually, there's more stuff that I don't want than I do, but it's so fun to unwrap a little history of these elderly people. These people have been around the block a time or two and there's so much we can learn by just rummaging through their stuff. Every time I go to an estate or garage sale of an elderly person I am just taken back by all the neat things that you find. I imagine their story.
I looked around at her dishes, punch bowls, crystal goblets and silverware that have evidently been around since the woman was my age or even possibly way younger. All items in almost mint condition. Probably being "saved for good" her entire life. I pictured her in the 1940s or 50s, her, lip stick, pearls, hair done up nicely. Cotton red dress with polka dots. Arm and arm with her fiance venturing around their local home store registering for these items in preparation for the small wedding with a punch and cake reception in the church basement. She was probably so excited and couldn't wait to get married. Couldn't wait to have all her friends and family over to use these lovely new items.
And then life probably hit. Maybe her husband was sent off to war. Or they had children right away. Maybe they struggled with taking care of and losing their parents. Their kids got married and they have kids of their own. And that brand new punch bowl is still sitting in that buffet ever only being used once. At Easter, following their wedding.
And now it's up for sale at a garage sale on a hot August day. With a crazy red head near by hopped up on mountain dew.
Now, I have no clue if that is the real story or not but that's how I imagined it. And that's how I imagine it quite often.
It reminds me of how excited I was to register for all those items before my wedding. All those items I planned on entertaining with. I pictured us having our parents and grandparents over for dinner every other night. Friends over every Saturday. Parties in our farm shop.
I was so excited to have my own place. My own dishes. My own recipes.
And then life hit for us as well.
The house took longer to be built then we ever imagined. We found ourselves going to other weddings, birthday parties, family get togethers, etc. every weekend. I got extremely sick last fall and it sucked the life out of me.Then our friends started having kids. Suddenly when we did have a free moment, staying home and pulling weeds seemed like a priority over going out to eat.
We were exhausted.
I don't want to wind up in a nursing home laying there thinking about the crystal wine glasses or the custom wood cheese platter that was only ever used twice in my 50some years of marriage.
I want to use those gifts.
I want to have friends and family over. Often.
I want to gather around my island with a good group of friends and a bottle of sweet, cheap wine. Guys out in the shop kicking the tires of the old 52' or the truck of the decade talking about which motor purchase they're going to make next.
But sometimes it's so hard. And I don't know why.
After a day of cleaning, going to the grocery store (sometimes twice if I forgot something) preparing a meal for hours, seeing friends come and go. You sit back and ask yourself if it was all worth it. Would it have been easier to have just met up at a restaurant? Have I set my expectations for a dinner party so high that I have become my own worse enemy when it comes to entertaining? How many other women out there feel this way?
I know some of you are content with clearing the magazines and two weeks worth of mail off the dining room table, putting out casserole made with ingredients to clean out the fridge and calling it a day. And I envy that! Sometimes those are the best dinner parties. People don't care, either way. They just want good company and food.
So why do I always create more work for myself? And I probably will always be that way. It's like this sickness that I have. To make sure everything is perfectly prepared out and planned ahead. But I am going to try to be more flexible and easy going.
I've come to realize that the best times are often had when you least expect it. For instance, last night after our garage sale adventure, we drove around this unfamiliar town trying to find a place to eat. I don't help with my gluten intolerance. We ended up walking into a Pizza Hut. I knew they'd have salad. We walk in and there's literally a table of 50 people. It's loud. There's trash and food all over the floor. It's 9:00 and we all are hungry. It takes a good 10 minutes before the waiter comes over to get our drink order and probably another 45 minutes before our food came.
But we had fun. A lot of fun. It's not often us females of the family get together and I really enjoyed it. My mother in law kept apologizing that we were out so late. I knew I had company coming the next day and really needed to be home cleaning. But I didn't care.
I loved it. Every. Minute. Of it.
I needed that. More than you can imagine.
And I still need to clean. And go to the grocery store. And lay out the guest towels. They'll be here in 3 hours.
But I don't think I am going to clean for them. Or go to the grocery store. And they know which cabinet the towels are in. We're going to leave things the way they are. They'll never notice the kitty paw prints on the window, the water streak on my fridge or the fact that we don't have apples in our fruit bowl.
If only that old lady knew how much of an impact her unused crystal punch bowl had on me last night.
Maybe I should have bought it.
For 50 cents.
As a reminder that life is too short.