Thursday, October 24, 2013

Midland Mayhem

So, several things were going on during my recent trip to the homeland.
I got to spend some time with Lindsey, a friend who is also Toddleworths' babysitter. It made the car ride(s) so much better to have company- we spend over 14 hours in the car over three days!
I got pictures of and belongings out of our wrecked Aveo.
I went to the Texas Sized Garage Sale.
I visited a house that I once lived in, that has since been home to a now-evicted hoarder.
I did some research for the upcoming Mystery Project Lord Covington and I are getting ready to tackle, and got very inspired!

     Firstly, my goal was to retrieve items from the wrecked Aveo, and take some pictures.  We didn't have a ton of important stuff in there, but I very much wanted to retrieve a baby carrier, our box of awesome games (Settlers of Catan, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Munchkin), and a bag full of printed coupons for the hotel (those things ad up!) On Thursday, the insurance adjuster told me they would be towing the car Friday morning, and that I could meet him in the afternoon in Odessa (about 30 minutes away from Midland, but the closest place they would tow it to). With that being the plan, we arrived in Midland at 2pm Friday. I called the insurance adjuster again to see if the car was in Odessa yet before driving the extra 30 minutes. It was not. I was told it should be there in a few hours, and I was given the name and number of the dealership it was being towed to and the company that would be doing the towing. Lindsey and I bought Starbucks and checked out the Dollar Tree.

     The tiny town I currently live in does not have a Dollar Tree, and man, I love the Dollar Tree. It is the best place for a little retail therapy when you're low on funds. Occasionally I find craft supplies there for much less than they would be at specialty craft stores. (Tiny town also has no craft stores.)  Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I love making creepy crafts, so I stocked up on supplies. I also purchased candy and toys for the booth I'll be running for the hotel on Halloween. After that, I headed to my childhood home. I called again at 4, to find out if the car had been towed yet. It had not. And, surprise surprise, when I asked how long they were open, in this town half an hour away, they close at 4:30. That's a bit inconvenient, I thought. I guess I'll have to take care of this tomorrow.

      I started calling the insurance agency bright and early, and by 9 I realized that no one was going to be helping me that day. The dealership it was supposed to be towed to could not give me a definitive 'No, your car is not here.' I had been  given every impression my car was going to be towed Friday, and thought it possible it had been done just before closing. So, Lindsey, Toddlesworth and I hopped into the car and drove to Odessa. No car at the dealership. No car at the towing company. By that time, it was 12:30. I did some calling and asking around on the road back to Midland, and got the number to the towing company in Seminole where it had originally been taken.  Yes my car was still there. (Awesome! I can go get my stuff!) They close at 1pm, and I'm currently an hour away. Greeaat. I do so appreciate the call from the insurance agency telling me that they wouldn't be towing me Friday. And the one letting me know I would not be able to accomplish anything Saturday (or Sunday, of course). Oh wait, I didn't get those calls.

      With the car stuff thoroughly on hold, it is on to the next order of business: The Texas Sized Garage Sale. It benefits Meals on Wheels, so people get to indulge their consumerist side AND feel like they are doing a good deed.  If the Texas Sized Garage Sale had a tagline, it would be "Where prices are made up and your budget doesn't matter" or maybe "The limit is not what you can spend, but what you can carry"

      The pictures honestly don't do it justice. It is all inside one gigantic weird warehouse. The shoppers descend like locusts. If you see something you want, you grab it. If you turn your back, someone else. will. People carry gigantic bags, luggage, rolling carts, and many drag boxes, supplied by the volunteers. Every time you turn around, you bump into two people. I had to chase/herd/carry Toddlesworth, because I didn't bring a baby carrier! I expected to be able to retrieve mine out of the Aveo before joining the festivities. I saw several people with baby carriers, and I was terribly jealous.

     This isn't one of those overpriced yard sales where you halfheartedly gaze at other people's belongings, searching for something you can drop fifty cents on so you don't leave them feeling like their crap is so terrible they can't give it away. No, the prices here are ridiculously low, and whatever is lacking in quality the garage sale makes up for in quantity. With five copies of decade old scrabble games at 30 cents each, how can you afford NOT to buy them? On Sunday, the last day, it gets even crazier. We got there five minutes before opening (which was at two, so everyone could go to church first. The whole thing closes at 4pm, so there is an air of expectant urgency on everyone's face.) and the line was halfway down the next block. You see, on Sunday, everything is half price. Some years, if not enough stuff has been sold, they will do special deals, like $5 for a bag or a box. I'm only slightly ashamed to admit that some member of my family has gone up there and loaded up an appliance box, and hauled it out at $5. I'm only slightly ashamed though, because it wasn't me.
In any case, I found a few articles of clothing for each of the Covingtons, and searched for some miscellaneous supplies for the aforementioned Mystery Project, finding quite a few items with potential. I also bought a few neat things in the (slightly higher priced but better quality) antique room.

The kitchen of the hoarder's house. I used to cook food in there!

Bits and pieces, pieces and bits!
     We went to the garage sale Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Sunday morning, we went to The Hoarder's House. Once known as Jennifer's house (My oldest sister) or just 'The Trailer,' my sister sold the trailer to a man who turned out to be a hoarder. This man wrecked the property to such an extent there is no level of cleansing that won't leave a lingering film such that it will probably forevermore be known as The Hoarder's House. I had been hearing about the ruination this man had caused for years, and seen the outside in person in passing. My mom and aunt had only managed to get him removed from the property recently, and my mom took up the job of clearing the property (owned by her mother) off, so this was my first opportunity to see the extent of the destruction.

Why did we go to the hoarder's house?

     Because the only thing better than ridiculously cheap stuff is completely free stuff!  My mom convinced me to go take a look around, and since I was looking to fill some very specific functions, with any number of possible items (very much a 'look and see what might work' kind of scenario) I took her up on the offer. Lindsey was kind enough to stay in my mom's car with Toddlesworth, as this was in no way safe for-well-any living being. I discussed the Mystery Project with my mom and she helped me be on the lookout for things that might work.  I did end up finding a few promising items.

     Sunday evening we just relaxed, and let Toddlesworth play with his cousins. Monday, when the insurance company had no answers for me and the tow companies time frame was 'We're going to try to tow it sometime today," I told them that wasn't good enough a time frame for me, and asked them to call me as soon as they knew anything more substantial. We jumped in the car once again and headed to Seminole. Midland to Seminole is a bit over an hour. We left at 9, and Toddlesworth was lulled into an early nap by the smooth vibrations of the rental car. Ah, a car ride with a sleeping baby... the best kind of car ride!  As will happen in deep Texas, the GPS on my phone sent me to some crazy place that was not my destination. After only two or three minutes of being lost, (Seminole is a very tiny place, after all), we found the wrecking yard, and gained access to my vehicle! Success!

    I'm not having any luck making Blogger/Picasa slideshows work today, so here is an Imgur album instead.:

     As you can see, the damage was pretty extensive! You can see where the side of the car pushes into the seat. It also pushes the seat over into the console, and pushes that into the other seat. It was wedged so tightly I couldn't pull an auxiliary cable out from between the passenger seat and console. The CD holder was also a loss, as it was in the drivers side door compartment. It didn't take too long to document the damage and gather all of the things out of the car. I was very pleased to find that my game box had been shaken up a bit but seemed not to be missing any pieces. The hotel print outs also fared well. They were a bit dirty, but still in the bag they were in. I had had visions of them getting rained on, flying around in the car as it was towed, drifting out the windows and dispersing 20% off coupons all over Seminole, etc. Lindsey made sure Toddlesworth didn't hurt himself on sharp car parts while I finished gathering my things. He seemed to enjoy seeing the car "Car all gone! Car! Gone." He also walked around trying to 'fix' vehicles with a stick. My car business finally done, we turned right around and headed back to Midland.

     My mom joined us for a delicious lunch at a natural food cafĂ©. Toddlesworth ate quite a lot of rice, and then voluntarily went with my mother to Wal-mart. (This was actually a big deal, but I'll go into that later.) We headed back to my parents, played lots of car-packing Tetris, and said goodbyes.
Three hours later, we were back home. I dropped Lindsey off and joined Lord Covington in a delicious meal he'd prepared and we enjoyed each others company for the rest of the evening.

So that was my weekend. Afterwards, I felt very accomplished, refreshed, shopped out, inspired, and ready to be home!

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