Tag Archives: garage sale

Can I pay with Gold Doubloons or Beaver Pelts?


Gold DoubloonThe other night I dreamed that I found a garage sale here in Costa Rica… a real, American style garage sale.  I spent the majority of my dream “shopping” and finding wonderful bargains.  But when I went to pay I discovered that the only money I had in my pocket was a faded, out-of-circulation $2 bill and an old Confederate Bond from the Civil War.  (No, I haven’t watched Gone with the Wind lately.)  Both of those bills might have been worth something just for historical value, but not at a garage sale.  I was disappointed to have to give up my great bargains.

Now, I don’t want you to think that I’m complaining, because I’m not.  I know that there are plenty of people in the world with far less clothing than I have.  But I get so sick of my wardrobe!  We are in our 4th year of this term, and I haven’t bought very many new items for two reasons.  One, clothing is super expensive here- like 2x or 3x the price in America.  A friend of mine found a blouse with a Marshall’s tag still on it.  The tag said the cost was $17.99 but the Costa Rican price was more than $65 for that blouse.  It’s sickening!  Second of all, I have yet to find a store that regularly carries my size.  You know how all those size 1s and 2s and 3s, all those extra small items that get left on the rack in the U.S. and you think, “Of course no one bought this.  Who is really this size except junior high girls and starving super models?”  Yeah, well all those left over wafe-sized clothing items get shipped to Costa Rica where EVERYONE can be a size 2 no matter what your body shape!  So realistically, I don’t fit into the clothing here and I’m as ordinary as vanilla when it comes to body size.

So new clothing is not available or affordable.  And we don’t rotate our closets for the seasons here unless you count pulling out umbrellas and rain boots during the rainy season months.  I see the same clothing in my closet day in and day out.  Things are getting very thread bare and worn.  Moths are eating some things and the sun is fading others.  Seams are fraying and undergarments are literally “holey underwear”… and I don’t mean we’ve converted to Mormonism.  Every time I fold laundry I pray that the Lord would keep us covered for another few months until we go home on furlough.  I remind myself that the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years and God provided every day so that not even their sandals wore out!  I need that miracle for our family.

I used to wonder at (and be a little ashamed of) missionaries coming off the field.  They always looked so woefully out of style and faded.  “Shabby.” I thought.  “Why can’t you just buy a fashion magazine and see what the rest of us are wearing before you get off the plane looking as out of place as Micheal J. Fox in Back to the Future.”  Hey McFly!  But now I know.  Now I know that even if they wanted to be in style- it just wasn’t possible.  The money to buy clothing wasn’t there.  The variety of styles and sizes might not have existed in their field.  And clothing had become a utility- serving a purpose without being fashionable.  They had, by necessity, chosen function over form.  Now I understand.

Emma Swallowed a Marble


Not for Toddlers!

When we made the move into missions, we had the Garage Sale of the Century.  My daughter Emma was 4 years old and it was the first time she had to face a sad parting with her toys.  The girl loves stuffed animals.  I had gone through all her toys and piled the rejects on the table in the garage.  When I wasn’t looking, Emma would sneak toys back into the house.  I caught her in the hallway with an arm full of stuffed animals.  “They can’t go in the sale!” she protested, “They have families!”  I had unknowingly been a home wrecker and had split up several doll families.

Other toys on the garage sale table included gifts that had been age-INappropriate at the time that they were received.  A few years back someone had given Emma one of those sets of magnets and metal marbles that you are supposed to use to make sculptures or tinker-toy shapes.  Clearly this was a “choke-able” for a toddler, so the whole thing had been tossed into a basket and stored out of reach.  Emma had long ago forgotten about this dangerous toy… until she saw it on the garage sale table.

To distract Emma from the stuffed animal table, I put a movie on for her in the living room.  Every few minutes I would peek in the door to make sure all was OK.  But the garage sale started to get busy and I forgot about Emma.  Suddenly I heard the phone ring in the house.  Leaving Josh to man the sale I ran in, breezing past Emma standing in the living room, to the kitchen.  Suddenly Emma started shrieking, “I’m dying!!  I’m dying!!”  (Remember, she’s the dramatic one.)

Dropping the phone I ran into the living room and found her standing there with a hand full of slobbery, metal balls from the forbidden magnet toy.  Somehow she had found the toy on the table, collected all the balls, and popped them ALL in her mouth.  When I went running through the living room I had scared her and she had swallowed one of the marbles!!  Clearly because she could speak I knew she wasn’t choking, but she said she could still feel it in her throat.  I called 911 and asked what I should do.  They said call her doctor.  I called her doctor.  They said, “Stupid woman!  Take her to the ER!”  Maybe not in those exact words.  So we shut down the garage sale and drove Emma to the ER.  Fortunately I had the sense to bring along another marble to show the doctors what she had swallowed.

They measured the marble, they made her drink barium, they took several X-rays, they consulted and talked, we waited.  Finally the conclusion was that the marble appeared to be moving smoothly through her system so we were out of danger.  They told me that it would “pass” in a week or so.  I should check her stool to make sure that it didn’t get lodged in her appendix.  Come back if she runs a fever.  Now all you moms out there know, I did NOT check her stool.  Maybe if I had a metal detector on hand I would have made a pass over the toilet, but there was no way I was going to be digging through THAT!  She never ran a fever, so I figured we were out of the woods.  Don’t judge until you’ve been there.