Early Saturday morning, Finn woke up from a bad dream and called to us from her crib. I went in (Mama has weekends off) and soothed her, laid her back down and tried to leave quietly, but she wasn’t having it. After I settled her down again and laid on the spare bed in her room, she snuffled her way back to sleep, leaving me to try and catch a few more Z’s before dawn broke. I’d just found my way back to REM sleep when it was time to get up for some breakfast, and we went downstairs to find Mama was already out the door on her mission for the morning: to check out the nearly new sale at the Howard County Fairgrounds. No sooner had I hit the bottom step when she called in to check on us; she’d seen a used red wagon that had been snatched from her grasp at the last second and wanted to know if we’d left the house yet. Finn and I wolfed down some breakfast, changed into dayclothes, and hit the road for our mission: picking over the community yard sale across the street.

In years past, we’ve found all sorts of useful things for sale in the surrounding area, from cameras to toys to cars. We were hoping to fill some of the small gaps in Finn’s wardrobe and maybe find some larger used items so that we weren’t paying full dealer price; the depreciation on little red wagons is atrocious as soon as you’ve driven them off the lot. Because we’d gotten a late start, she and I didn’t hit the bricks until 9:30, a full hour and a half after the official starting bell, so much of the good stuff was gone by the time we made the rounds.

This year’s sale seemed to favor fussy wingback chairs, Christmas decorations from the Reagan era, a metric ton of stupid glassware (always with the glassware, these people) and ramshackle pressboard furniture, but little or no interesting or useful stuff. There were some isolated deals on children’s books, and when Mama joined up with us, we scored a pair of $.50 Converse lowtops with room to grow in for the girl, but otherwise the local selection of kids items was thin. Perhaps the biggest surprise, then, was when Jen pointed out a sign at an otherwise uninteresting sale which mentioned radiator covers. Curious, we followed the seller back and peeped out a metal cover in excellent condition stored in the back of a garage; we hurried home with measurements and a phone number, and confirmed that it was perfect for our dining room.

$100 radiator cover

After returning home, we bundled up the girl and headed out to her swim lesson. She’s doing really well with the stuff that scared her the first couple of weeks, like being underwater and floating on her back. She still has a look of confusion when she comes back out of the water, but she’s not as prone to crying about it like before. We played together until I could feel her shivering in my hands, and then it was time to go home. But not before checking out a fire engine in the parking lot! The local volunteer department brought it down for kids to check out, so Finn got to sit in the rear jumpseat and poke around the cabin while we chatted up one of the firemen.


Saturday afternoon I started working on cleaning up the clutter in our basement, first by hauling our old kitchen cabinets from of the center of the floor and hanging them on the back wall of the garage. At that point I realized the garage was in far worse shape than the basement, and commenced to organizing and cleaning as much as I could in there. Into the cabinets went the piles of debris from the workbench, a crate of motor oil, and a crateful of garden fertilizer and tools. I pulled the remainder of the rodent-chewed insulation off the walls and bagged it for disposal, reorganized the handtools, and put parts spares up into the attic. Nothing is going to make the floor any cleaner, but having the raised portion cleaned up is very nice. And when I’ve got a dumpster parked outside for the side porch, I’m going to find a way to disconnect the old gas stove and make that disappear as well.

One of the things I keep running into as I’m working on our cars is an unorganized toolbox filled with an explosion of wrenches. I’ve got two sets of SAE and one set of metric box-heads, and being able to find them quickly would be really helpful. After looking through the organizational section at the Home Depot and coming away unimpressed, I decided something simple would be the best solution—I’ll be happy to buy a couple of these when our budget allows. I’ve also got to find a way to organize sockets by size and type so that I’ll wind up with the correct handle for the right socket.

Sunday was just as busy. Finn’s friend Stella turned 2, so we stopped by her birthday party and sang, danced, painted, and played games with a group of other children the same age. By the time we left, she was pooped, and slept pretty much the whole way home.

Birthday Party

While she was down I continued working outside, getting the back lawn mowed for the first time, then doing some battery swapping with the Slattern. It looks like the battery I bought last fall to replace the original is bad, but I’m not 100% sure; I replaced it with the Jeep battery and the car seemed to fire over a lot more happily. I also switched out the taillight wiring on the off chance there was a short in the original, but I’m going to try to see how well Pep Boys honors their 1 year replacement warranty this evening before I call this fixed.

Date posted: April 19, 2010 | Filed under finn, general, house, tools | Leave a Comment »

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