Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dead Woman's Grabber Meets Dead Guy's Bedroom Set

Today, I went clothes shopping. The experience was pretty strange, because it's hard to buy clothes when you don't know what lifestyle you're going to be living in two weeks time (do you buy professional-y teaching clothes if you may be working at Starbucks? Do you buy short sleeves if you might not get to wear them once an Illinois winter rears its ugly head?) I have, however, learned a valuable lesson. If you want to receive a grade-A bitch stare from a sales clerk, the best way to do it is to walk into a fancy clothing store wearing dri-fit running shorts, a "House of 'Paign" Illinois T-shirt (sans bra) and blue rubber shoes. Complete the outfit with a cane. (Being six-feet tall and having glasses that are slightly askew also helps). Next, reach into your purse and pull out a large metal stick with an immense claw on the tip and, once in the change room, appear to be engaging in a non-holds-barred wrestling match with the clothing using said metal stick. (Bonus points if your grabber is called a "Handi-reacher" and proclaims this name on the handle. Nothing like a handi-reacher to make you feel a little more handi-capable).

All in all, however, it was a pretty fun day. I enjoyed getting spoiled by my mom and sampling delicious Vancouver bakery food. If you're going to be stuck in recovery limbo-land, there might as well be feta-and-artichoke paninis.

The most exciting part of the day, however, was yet to come. I am a fan of roadside furniture (or, really, anything free). Unfortunately, my roadside-furniture palate is not highly discerning. Last year, I found a great desk by the side of the road (and by "great" I mean "it was made of rotting particle-board and sagged badly in the middle"). The desk was immensely heavy and awkward, but I managed to carry it back to my house in the darkness, tripping and stumbling all the while, causing people to pull over to see if I was ok. If you've never had the pleasure of an Illinois summer, you should know it's muggy even at night, (going out in the day feels like being stuck inside a dog's mouth), so I was so sweaty it looked like I'd just gotten out of a swimming pool by the time I'd staggered the three blocks to my house. The next morning, I woke up covered in bites. Turns out, the desk was infested with spiders. (Happily, the teenagers from next door were happy to take the desk off my hands, subject it to a drunken finger-painting party, and display it on their porch, so at least I didn't have to pay to cart it off to the dump).

But today, I am proud to report that I have redeemed myself in the roadside-furniture department. While driving home, my mom and I passed an old Russian couple sitting on their front porch, watching over a bunch of furniture marked "free." I had hit the roadside-furniture mother lode. Within twenty minutes, my mom's friends had arrived with his truck (thanks Ken and Colleen!) and I was the proud owner of a 1960s-era bedroom set, complete with bedframe (with funky sliding-door compartments for books), two dressers with zig-zaggy knobs and two bedside tables. The fact that all of this furniture belonged to a recently dead man did not bother me as much as it should have, though now that I'm writing this I'm wondering whether the man, in fact, died in the bed, which would explain why the mattress did not come with the bedframe, which is, okay, mildly disconcerting. Maybe a bit more than 'mildly.' But still, if the lingering ghost of some old grandpa is the price of such a charming bedroom set, that's a price I'm willing to pay. (Why do I feel like the previous sentence belongs at the beginning of a horror movie?)

Between my dead woman's grabber and my dead man's bedroom set, I feel like I'm amassing an impressive collection of items belonging to the recently deceased. Once I move into my new place, (whatever country that might be in), you don't need to think hard to come up with a housewarming gift. Give me a ouiji board and some spirit-banishing incense and I will keep myself entertained for hours.

I am attaching a picture of one of the dressers so you can all bask in my moment of roadside-furniture glory.


  1. Is that a Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest? Little roadside furniture humor ;)

  2. Hah! Karo, you are the master (mistress?) of dissertation titles and/or photo captions.