When I look into my garage, I do not see dollar signs. Four dozen scratched DVDs and signs that squirrels have moved in? Yes, but not dollar signs.
But others think there's untapped money in there, and so next weekend we will try our luck with a yard sale. It will be a community-wide event, with signs on the highway pointing the way to all the riches -- also known as rejects -- that lie waiting for new owners.
Moneymaking or not, the idea does not thrill me. There is something a little embarrassing about displaying your castoffs, all of which are one of the following: a) things that seemed like a good idea at the time, b) signs of failed attempts at hobbies and sports c) bargains hauled in from somewhere else, d) sad reminders of the good old days when you wore a size 8 shoe, and e) proof that at one time you had embarrassingly bad taste in wall decor.
The garage is filled with all of that, flotsam and jetsam filling the places that were, in theory, where the cars are supposed to go. For years I have been getting up early to scrape the ice from my car, and for what? So that the boxed set of "Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts" would have a nice warm place to stay?
The junk has been accumulating for so long, I wasn't even sure what was there. And so, on a recent morning, with a can of Raid in one hand and an old tennis racket in the other (for the squirrels, and dear Lord I hoped it was nothing worse), I stepped in to find a craptastic landscape of the unwanted, the forgotten, the broken. Honestly, the place could make a short list of future episodes of "Hoarders" which, come to think of it, might not be a bad plan considering they send people in to help.
Okay, so I'm only two steps in and I come to my first heap, the DVD collection. I know people don't really use those things any more except maybe from Red Box, but it would be a shame to throw all of them away. Here lie the remnants of a hundred Family Movie Nights, when we would snuggle on the sofa and watch the latest kid flick. The entire Disney and Pixar canons are here. And Lindsay Lohan's early career. Why did we buy and not just rent? We could try to sell the ones still in their cases, but what about scratches? Maybe we could put all 100 of them into a box and mark the price at 2 cents. Or maybe we offer to pay someone $20 to take them off our hands.
Next I come to the sports portion of our nightmare. This is where the hockey sticks and the football pads and ice skates and helmets and balls and bats reside, and I hope it's only the sports kind. I would dig deeper into the trunk but I suspect that's where the really bad spiders live, if not the squirrels. This stuff would fetch a few bucks, but it seems almost venal to make a little kid pay for his first, used hockey stick. Maybe we'll give those away.
It's been two hours of poking and spraying and sorting, and I'm still only at base camp. In the far corner, my tired and faded collection of dried flower wreaths is hanging on the wall, proof that I haven't always had impeccable taste. The wreaths look like scenery for a production of "Great Expectations." Yes, that is where the spiders live. I decide not to venture that far back.
I could never put those out for others to see, anyway.
Beth Dolinar is a former Riverside resident and Pittsburgh television reporter who is staying at home to raise her two children. She can be reached at cootieJ@aol.com.