7:30 a.m.: Alarm goes off Sunday morning. What were we thinking?! Turn off the alarm and play dead.
8:10: Gotta get up. Microwave yesterday's coffee.
8:30: Neighbor late for helping with the E-ZUp canopy.
9:00: Mom and sister arrive. Takes four women and 30 minutes to figure out the E-ZUp. Renamed the Hard-Up.
9:30: Put oatmeal on the stove. Cash drawer ready.
9:40: Drive to Bay Street to put up Garage Sale signs.
9:50: Swing back by Garage Sale signs - arrows backwards.
9:52: First SUV pulls up.
9:53: Drizzle starts.
10:00: Put the peanut butter cookies in the oven to use as sales incentives. Take the oatmeal off the stove. No time for breakfast.
10:15: First sale, jig saw puzzles. "We've got all the others in the Charles Wysocki series but these two."
10:20: Announce free homemade cookies with every sale.
11:00: Neighbor's grandson and family arrive after breakfast at the Eagle's.
11:15: "Is this a large?" "Would you take 2 bucks for this - look at the chip on the side." "Mom, can I buy this?" "Look cookies!" "I'll give you three thousand bucks for your dog."
11:30: "What song does this music box play?" Consultations ensue... "'The Man from LaManchia,' yes, definitely."
11:45: Family arrives headed by terse matriarch. "Is this all there is? This is not a 3-family sale." She huffs off and family follows. Our first Garage Sale Diva.
12 p.m.: "Those are hand-painted rakes. My sister made those." "Nice." "She should paint furniture."
12:15 : The sun comes out and six cars arrive-our Garage Sale high.
12:28: Man with a beard takes an interest in the rusty wood stove which not one other person has paid attention to. Walks around eyeing it from all angles. Suddenly an uncontrollable urge to keep the stove comes over me. As he moves away, I mark it sold.
12:45: Black SUV with male behind the wheel slows to a crawl; wife jumps out of the moving vehicle to check us out. She buys refrigerator magnets (four for a 50 cents) and re-enters the still moving vehicle. Our first Garage Sale drive-by.
12:50: Make change for three twenties in a row for $1.75 sale items.
1:00: Think to self, "There are better ways to make money. Absolutely my last yard sale...."
1:20: Partner says. "If we don't sell these plates, we'll put them in the next yard sale." Silence.
1:30: Mom's ahead with $33.75.
1:35: One garage-sale partner gets an advance on her profits to walk down the street to another garage sale. Returns with five pie plates, two books, and a Tupperware container (with lid)!
1:45: Neighbor comes by on her bike with two items for the sale: a bike helmet and an electric hand drill. I buy the helmet.
1:50: Neighbor leaves on bike with latte order (paid for out of cash drawer).
2:00: Arrives with lattes in her bike basket.
2:05: Traffic slows. Bookkeeping becomes more complex as we buy each other's items. "I'll trade four McDonald's toys for that purple beaded curtain." "Sure."
2:10-2:20: Five people ask to buy the purple beaded curtain.
2:25: Sell Tae-Bo tape series for a buck, then hear from over my shoulder, "I wanted to keep those!" "Tough luck. They're mine now!" says disappearing customer - our first Garage Sale Tough.
2:35: Rain again. Crowd thins. Think to self, "There are better ways to make..."
2:45: Duct-tape large sign to the Hard-Up frame: "All items half price!"
3:00: Call in take-out order of burgers and double-chocolate malt to the Full Circle (from cash drawer).
3:15: Anxiety mounts over large furniture items still unsold. Price reduced to FREE.
3:30: Pick-up lunch and Garage Sale signs.
3:45: Begin to pack left-overs in boxes. Six people arrive from nowhere & paw through boxes.
4:00: Repack remainder of free items. Talk neighbors into taking one free box in exchange for promise to drop pre-owned dog bed and cat box at the Long Beach Humane Shelter.
4:15: Last big item: rocking chair. We, revving up our salemanship, call out to a couple riding by on their bikes, "Want to take a rocker home?" We offer to pay them.
4:20: Take down Hard-Up canopy. Renamed EZ-Down.
4:21: Couple return to pick up their previously purchased table; husband walks it down the street. "We're just around the block."
4:22: Garage sale partner arrives with table purchased from the sale around the block. Tables pass in the street.
4:30: Count up the take, $116.75, divided by three. Think to self, "There are easier ways..."
4:45: Move cast iron woodstove back into the corner of the garage.
Observer correspondent Cate Gable recently took a first-hand look at the Peninsula garage-sale phenomenon.