true story

The Rapturous Garage Sale (as promised)

I’m behind on my blog. And my book. And reading for pleasure. And my diet. And my attempt to learn authentic Peruvian cooking while doing the hula (not that they go together). At least I’m caught up with teaching. So far.  

I’d like to tell you about the Dream Planner Kealoha and I met while looking for a place to have our wedding, but I’ll start with the garage sale. I'll save The Dream Planner for another day.


The best thing about the garage sale was watching Kelaoha get ready for it. Two nights before, I could hear him giggling to himself. I went down into the basement to see him cracking himself up over the ad he was writing. He was right; it was pretty damn funny. In fact, like four people came to the garage sale and shook his hand. One guy wrote for the Business Journal Of Grand Rapids and he said: “I just had to come to your sale because I wanted you to know I appreciate your work.” It was hysterical.


Then Kealoha giggled over his sign making skills. It involved massive magic markers, gaff tape and obscure references to movies.


The morning of the sale came and Kealoha wasn’t giggling anymore. Neither was I. We were focused. We were determined. And man, what a lot of work. We were setting things up by 8AM and immediately a woman stopped by. “We’re not quite ready yet,” I said. “We were planning on opening in an hour.” She said, “Oh, I won’t bother you. I just want to look.” Then she proceeded to ask a ton of questions and “How much is this?” and “Do you have kids’ clothes?” I was irritated and said, “In an hour when we’re ready you can come back and check it out.” Kealoha was more diplomatic. He talked to her. Gave her prices. Sold $2 worth of stuff.


I was immediately reminded on why I wasn’t good at retail. I just don’t like people, especially when they interrupt my routine.


There were lots of characters at the garage sale (not just us). Many of them were lonely types, looking to have lengthy conversations about how they have belts at home just like the ones for sale, or how an old lampshade remind them of an aunt who committed suicide back in 83. You know, weird stuff.


It was busy. Chaotic. Around 11 we celebrated that the Rapture had happened and we could benefit by collecting more stuff from the people who’d been taken. A few minutes later a van pulled up. I’m not kidding here. Out crawled a family of six or seven. The daddy figure had a long beard, and his oldest teenage son was wearing a shirt that said PRAYER IS COOL. They were depressed. Moping even. Kealoha and I felt bad. Maybe they’d planned on being raptured, and here they were, having to troll garage sales to replace the stuff they’d given away. They didn’t buy anything. I hoped they might like some stuff from the Elvis table.


Later a friend of ours who is an atheist showed up. He came with his very cool family of women. We chatted and the girls played. He was wearing a t-shirt that said “Have You Hugged An Atheist Today?” The writer in me really wished that the prayer guy and the atheist guy had met in the aisle of our garage sale, surrounded by the ephemera of Kealoha’s and my life: the old toys, the tiki mugs, the weird hula pictures. There would’ve been a showdown of staring, I’m sure of it.


Sadly, it was not to be.


It started to rain around three and I was grateful. I was exhausted. The kids were pooped. Kealoha was a walking zombie. We closed up shop, loaded our cars and dropped things off at the Goodwill.


All in all we made a couple of hundred dollars. It gave us a week of groceries and a Wii system, so that’s pretty cool.


I’m not sure if it was worth it, exactly, but I’d do it again just to hear Kealoha giggling over writing an ad. I’m trying to think of more things he can advertise to see if he can work his magic again. One of my books, maybe. Hmmm…



Random Thing #4: NOISES


I occasionally make very weird sounds. Sometimes, if I’m really tired, and I’m just about to drift asleep, I make this guttural UUUUGGGHHH sound. I’m not kidding. It’s a sound you might think would come from a might lumberjack, and not some late-thirties writer chick. It’s so loud and deep, it wakes me up. Kealoha thinks it’s hysterical.


Yesterday while opening a Netflix, I looked at the title and immediately raised my pinky to my mouth and said “oooooh” like Dr. Evil. You have to understand. I was not consciously mimicking Dr. Evil. I did this NATURALLY. Then I looked up at Kealoha and we both started laughing, because I’m just so weird.


“When people ask why you love me, tell them that I make strange noises, will you?” I said.


He said, “Yeah. It’s incredibly sexy lying next to a sleeping woman and hearing her go GAAAARRR!”


I nodded. I nodded because it’s true.


Random conversation with my son. This is how we talk.

Sometimes conversations or bits of conversation happen in my house and I just start laughing. It’s like I can step outside of myself and hear myself say something, but I can’t stop myself.  

Consider the below. Louis is 6. Keep that in mind.


ME: Louis, eat your crepes.


LOUIS: No. I won’t do it. I won’t eat my crepes.


ME: Do you know how lucky you are? How many kids do you think get crepes in the morning? I mean besides French kids. Most kids get like poptarts. Maybe. Eat your crepes.


LOUIS: No! I don’t want crepes! They’re yucky.


ME: You wanted crepes. I made you crepes. You specifically asked for crepes three times. Eat your crepes. All you get today is crepes. That’s it.


LOUIS: Then I guess I’ll starve.


ME: I guess so.


LOUIS: And you’ll go to jail and you’ll be sooooo upset because you killed your son.


ME: Well. That will be a sad end to our story, won’t it?


Louis came down from his room half an hour later. We apologized to each other. He ate his crepes. I won. I’m #1!! Yay!!




Louis was in my lap, kissing me and then he started nuzzling my neck like our emotionally disturbed three-legged cat Peanut does.


ME: Louis, stop suckling me.


LOUIS: Why? I like suckling you. ME: Yeah. But you’re too old for that. You shouldn’t suckle anyone until you’re at least eighteen. Probably older.


LOUIS: (blink blink blink) Okay, Ma.


The Case of the Missing Tree (True Story)



Before I tell this story, I need to tell the back-story. About ten years ago (wow) I was living with my friends Brendan and George. They took me in after I moved home from living in NYC and helped me get on my feet. While there, we had great meals, fun talks, and just plain weird experiences. One of those was a day that Brendan and I were hanging out in the backyard. George had been at his cottage all day and came home. And he came home pissed. His face was red, smoke pouring out of his ears, that kind of thing. “Where’s my tree?” he asked angrily. Brendan and I just looked at each other. We asked, of course, what he was talking about. “Someone took my beautiful tree out of the front yard!”

It was sort of a crazy thing to say since that tree was like thirty feet tall and massive. You don’t just take a tree. And anyway, we’d have noticed, right? The three of us walked to the front of the yard. George pointed to a spot in the middle of the yard that was covered with fresh dirt and seeds and, indeed, no tree. During the day, someone had come and taken the entire tree…and Brendan and I never noticed.


We found out later that a tree company messed up. They were supposed to take and dispose of a diseased tree down the street, but someone transposed the address and they ended up taking Brendan and George’s tree instead. Still, a crazy thing to have happen. It made me realize though, that weird shit does indeed happen.




Flash forward ten years. I’m staring at my backyard looking perplexed. Kealoha looks at me and says, “What’s wrong?”


I turn to him and I say… “I can’t believe this but there’s a tree missing in my backyard. Look! Look at that stump!” I point to a tree in the yard that is no longer a tree but a stump. In my mind, I remember lush green foliage. Someone came into my yard, probably in the dead of winter, and decapitated my tree, mulched the evidence and took off.


“Are you sure?” Kealoha asks in a way that makes me sort of question myself.


“Weird,” I say. I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong.




Mom has come over to look after the kids. When I get home, she’s staring at my backyard with a perplexed look on her face.


“What’s wrong?” I ask her.


“There’s a tree missing from your backyard. Look! Look at that stump!” She says. (I swear to God this is true.)


See? See! I want to cry out! Someone stole my tree. They done stoled it!


I begin immediate research. Research, meaning, I stare at the stump and try to come up with a possible story. I think the neighbor behind me did it. She never liked that tree. Said there were branches falling into her yard. And didn’t she have a tree company come and trim her tree? Yes! She did! I remember! She trimmed her tree and then she had them consume mine!


I am just about to find a gauntlet and go over there and smack her across the face and challenge her to a duel. Or at least a bake-off.


Then it occurs to me that maybe I’d better double check. I scroll through pictures taken a year ago when I moved into the house. And the evidence I need is there. The solution to the mystery. CASE SOLVED


There in front of me is a picture of my yard over a year ago, when I moved in, and there is the tree…that is not a tree but a stump. A stump! There was never a tree there! I made the whole thing up!

Worse, is that my mom made the whole thing up too. We were both certain that someone had snuck into my yard in the depths of winter, probably in a burglar costume, sawed down that tree and took it, just to freak me out.




It’s official. I may possibly be some sort of splice or clone of my mother…which would also explain the sudden attraction I have to collecting boxes.