Trying to Fill the Hole

We said good-bye to our cat, Ella, last Thursday. Ella, also known as Big Brown, E the C, Ella Bella and Big Michigan, is missed greatly. Her presence and willfulness just took up so much room at our house that it now feels empty. My catharsis in the last couple of days has been shopping. Not retail but antique malls and garage sales.

I disappeared for two hours from work on Friday to go to the Antique Mall of St. Paul on Selby (sorry, work, I know I haven’t been a model employee lately). This mall is packed with stuff but also has more clothing, buttons, fabric, table cloths and sewing patterns than most places I’ve been to. I ended up with some thick polyester fabric (now that its going to be fall the ban on polyester can end) that has a mint green and white 60’s pattern with gold threading woven into it. I plan on making a miniskirt complete with piping trim as my tribute to the 60s and the show Mad Men (I just finished watching season one). I also bought a gold metal mesh coin purse, a sugar dispenser like the kind you see in diners (with the little metal flap over the mouth) and Betty Crocker’s Cake and Frosting Mix Cookbook (more on this book later – this book definitely deserves its own post.

On Saturday morning I woke up at 7:00 and was wide awake. I got up and started looking online for garage/rummage sales and found one in North Mpls where they were selling 60s and 70s furniture, housewares, lamps, t-shirts, etc. At first I got really excited by the t-shirts because I found one of Eddie Van Halen rocking out on the guitar, a Van Halen concert t-shirt from 1988, a Beastie Boys shirt with a drawing of the Coney Island ferris wheel that says, “Where Brooklyn At?” (I’m not 100% sure this is actually a Beastie Boys t-shirt but the guys selling them said it was. I just liked the art.) and I found a t-shirt from the 80s that says “Mustache Rides 5 Cents) for my husband, Keith. He’s had a love affair with this joke since it was part of a headline in The Onion awhile back. He assures me that he won’t be wearing it to work.

Then I looked through the furniture and ended up buying a pair of black cane chairs with Asian-print cushions for our front porch. It required four people to help me shove them into my car and come up iwth bungee cords to tie them in. Then it was decided that I should not drive home to South Mpls on the highway but to take city streets. In fact, when the found out I was going to South Mpls, they acted as if I would be driving the chairs all the way to Kansas. “It’s so far,” one man said when I suggested I take one chair home and drive back for the other. “You don’t want to make that trip twice.” Jones, our remaining cat and now the King of the Castle, loves the chairs. They were not on the porch for more than a minute before he was napping in one. This is fine by me as long as he doesn’t decide that the chairs should double as scratching posts. He’s been shredding my cactus lamp all summer long.

Finally, I walked over to a rummage sale in my neighborhood and bought a ceramic “Birthday Train” candle holder. It’s from Japan and is super cute – except that the lead monkey is frowning. Why would they paint a frown on a monkey that’s meant to be on a child’s birthday cake? I plan to make myself a cake on my next birthday featuring this train. Yeah, I’m in my 30s. So what? Maybe I do need a child…

At the same sale, I bought this toy metal top. Mostly I wanted this because I once lost out on another antique top at a church rummage sale when a crazy woman hoarding all the good stuff stuck it in her boxes of things she was planning to buy. When she walked away, I wanted to steal it out of her pile but that’s pretty crazy in and of itself – stealing something from someone at a church rummage! – so I let it go. Now I found one of my own and it’s pretty cool. It would be fun to start collecting these metal toys.

I also bought a Bundt pan from my neighbor at his ongoing (at the change of every season he seems to have a sale for two weeks straight) rummage sale. Never mind that I’m supposed to be cleaning out my basement and downscaling all my crap. At least some stuff is going out to make room for new stuff.

Does all this make me feel any better about Ella? No. But it helped me lose myself for awhile and I guess its better than drinking a bottle of tequila while sorting through old pictures of Ella. Instead, I sorted through old pictures sober and went to bed.