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I just finished reading this really wonderful memoir that filled me with happy feelings, until the epilogue very briefly summed up the next 5 years and ended with his partner of 16 years leaving him. Now I want to punch everything. So in an attempt to dispel this rage cloud that's not supposed to be here on weekends, I am going to try and focus on a happy story.

The Part That's For Me: Detailed Like A Journal (tip: skip to the next bold header if you want to hear about the haul)
I made some executive decisions and decided I could spare 2 hours on both Friday & Saturday during normal business hours to skip on out to a church rummage sale that I dearly love. It was AMAZING. They had what seemed like 50% more donations than they did last year -- like, their donations filled the entire elementary school cafeteria (clothing alone) and the entire gymnasium (everything else), and halfway through the second day -- the first day admittedly being 3 hours on Thurdsay night -- they said they were still putting new stuff out because it wouldn't all fit. TABLES PILED EVERYWHERE.

Yesterday, I made a cursory glance of the gym, saw nothing I especially needed that moment, and headed straight for the clothing. Piles and piles of it -- as the ad says, "a digger's dream." I honestly felt like some sort of happy earth-burrowing animal preparing a den, except I was pulling stuff out to take away instead of making room for myself. The stuff is all generally clean (although I'll still wash it first), and it takes all my finely-honed Goodwill shopping sense and puts them to the test.

The volunteers try very hard to organize everything, but people create chaos even by accident, so before long each table is just a mound of fabric and sizes have carted here and there into wrong sections, on top of human error miscategorizing them in the first place. My mom still marvels that I can find anything, and it's definitely not for the faint of heart or the inexperienced -- but I am neither of those things. Point me at an explosion of material and I am a search-and-rescue dog.

Not everything I land on is a hit, and sometimes I just pull stuff for the heck of it, but I also think I've gotten pretty good at eyeballing for quality fabric/fabric that matches my taste. Fabric in the right color, fabric that's polyester spandex over cotton, how to spot & stay away from Grandma Donations (horrendous sweaters, non-hooded sweatshirts, boxy T-shirts, excessive florals). I even -- accidentally, I admit -- wore the perfect outfit that I know but always forget I should wear: a thin tank top under an open jacket, so you can try on shirts without a dressing room. It saved me from 3 shirts that looked good but ended up not fitting.

What I Found
On Friday, I came up with

-Magically fitted black double-breasted coat w/ 3 buttons -- just H&M, but it's windbreaker material, which is ideal as none of my other 3 coats are currently great in rain except a light spring jacket
-Short gray-with-thin-orange-stripes dress I've  been looking at enviously at Target for months, dreaming of pairing it with my jean jacket. It turns out the dress is more like a minidress, requiring leggings to start with, and my jean jacket + most of the navy open-front cardigans I was going to pair with it are too long, but I think it could still work with a cropped shrug
-Slinky black infinity scarf that lies nice and flat after looping 3 times.
-Pale pink collared shirt previously seen at Macy's, lovely thin material, and long enough to wear over leggings

According to their posted prices, they should have charged me $12, but I think they were just so overwhelmed by the amount of donations that they were "sure-fine-whatever"-ing everything and only charged me $5. I'll take it! I'm not religious enough to make up the difference as a cash donation.

Bag Sale Day
Bag Sale Day is usually just sorry leftovers at church sales, but at this one it's honestly almost more fun than going the first day. I didn't even get there for an hour after it started, and there was still SO FREAKING MUCH. Buying a bag wasn't required, but the challenge of seeing what you can fit in a $3 bag is pretty fun. Here's what I managed:


  • Gorgeous black button-down from Old Navy, the "stretch" style that means it fits like it's tailored in back and doesn't gap in front

  • 2 pairs of black athletic pants -- one plain, and one capri-length (flared, not skintight) with a pink stripe. The best part is that I've actually been looking at Goodwill for one of these for my walks, but trying this stuff on is always such a drag that I haven't been trying very hard. Plus I don't want to pay more than $2 for them unless they're amazing. And these were, but they were also Practically Free.

  • BUTTERY SOFT GENUINE LEATHER GLOVES. In perfect condition. They were a little too small for me, but I gave them to my mom ("Happy Pre-Mother's Day!"). Those alone are worth at least the $8 I spent over the course of 2 days

  • Plus a blouse for my mom that still had tags attached

  • Comfy black sandals with a platform 1-inch heel, elastic strap and padded soles (LifeStrides) (There are a lot of Grandma Shoes at church sales and I took a long, hard look at these, but ultimately I decided they're workable for all ages, plus they look practically new)

  • Fifty Acres and a Family, which I'm pretty sure is the same copy I passed up at an estate sale two weeks ago, and is a sequel to a book on my To-Read list

  • Decorating on a Dime by Christy Ferer, just because I love drooling over decorating books but they're usually oversized, and this one's tiny

  • The Sister Act 2 soundtrack because IDK it could be fun

  • Born to Trot by Marguerite Henry, a vintage paperback that will tide me over, since at least it has the b/w illustrations, until I get a hardcover. ...oh no! It's adorably inscribed on 6/8/76 to a 2nd place winner for his bicentennial essay "What My Country Means to Me"!

  • A couple of other vintage juvenile paperbacks: Tiger on the Mountain and Jenny, Sam and the Invisible Hildegarde

I filled the rest of the sack with the prettiest and most perfect books to sell to Half Price. I feel sort of bad taking them to sell, but I have justified it to myself that
a) I waited until there was only an hour left and all the donations left after the sale would have been trundled to places like Goodwill anyway, and
b) In spite of my best efforts to choose books I had no interest in, I might end up reading, falling in love with and keeping some of them anyway

These books include, for those who are curious what one finds at a church sale:
-My Sister's Keeper (yeah I'm not reading this one and it might be too commonplace for HPB to want it if it's in stock...but it's brand new? Maybe it still sells well enough to be worth a buy?)
-Diary- Chuck Palahnuk
-Home to Italy by Peter Pezelli
-Castle book #2, Naked Heat. Actually, I might keep this one if I don't have it. I'd prefer a space-saving trade paperback over hardcover for this type of book, but it's better than nothing
-I Don't Know How She Does It
-The Body Artist by Don DeLillo
-The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans

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