Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Story of the Blue Big Ben

My friend who is Cambodian was born on Cambodian New Year, also known as April 13. Saturday, I went with him to Chicago's Khmer New Year's celebration.
Buddhist call and response monotone chanting, hundreds of Styrofoam bowls filled with incredibly delicious curries and noodles and foods without translations, monks in orange and women in traditional Cambodian dress and children in their parents' arms--it was wonderful.

Then it was estate sale-ing time. I was creeping dangerously close to full-blown migraine and I knew I should have said, "Sorry, we'll go tomorrow or some time when I'm feeling better," but we were going treasure hunting to find him his birthday present from me and I didn't want to let him down. I found the three estate sales closest to my house, printed out a very explicit map, and we climbed into the car.

The first two sales yielded nothing noteworthy. As we drove to the third, I had big flashy blind spots in my vision freaking me out and making driving dangerous and terrifying. Meanwhile I learned my friend can't read a map and has absolutely no sense of direction, so I can't hand off navigation duties. By the time we arrived at the last sale, I was ready to vomit, explode, and curl up into a little ball on the lawn for at least an hour.

But I went in.

It was a moving sale, and different members of the family sold their things in separate areas on the first floor. Almost immediately my friend found a gorgeous quilt from the 1920s. He talked them down from $35 to $25. Wow. He took it home with him so I didn't get to inspect it or research it or anything, but happy happy birthday!
In the nephew's corner, I dug through a box of silk designer ties. A lot of them were beautiful-to-gaudy and apparently from the early 1990s. Fabulous as they were, I knew I couldn't sell them on Etsy for at least another year unless undid the seams and used the painted silk for something else...but this is why I have too many projects going, so I restrained myself and left the ties.

I didn't leave the bag drawer pulls or the blue Big Ben alarm clock.

The white haired matriarchal-type had a whole collection of tabletop clocks: electric and wind-ups and alarms, many in working condition and all predating my existence. She had an emotional attachment, I had a budget, so I had to pick a single favorite. In Migraineland, logic and analysis go out the window, so "Blue. Pretty." became my instant deciding factor and we raced home so I could crawl into a nice dark quiet bed and think happy garage sale-related thoughts until sleep ushered me through a few more hours of migraine.

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