Michele Grgas Thomas The Triplicate

My sons and I often vacationed in Southern California when they were growing up. We usually stayed with my childhood friend Roseann who lives in Malaga Cove near Redondo Beach.

One June day in 1992 we all went down to what's called "Hollywood Riviera" to have lunch in an outdoor cafandeacute; near the beach. My twins had just turned 15 in May and couldn't wait to start driving. They craned their necks and oohed and aahed as Corvettes, Porsches and even a Lamborghini drove past. What my sons demanded to know and couldn't understand was why all the cool cars belonged to "old geezers."

You can apply the same principle to other possessions, like furniture for example. For most of my adult life, I've lived with hand-me-downs, inherited pieces or bargains I couldn't resist. When Rick and I combined households I put my foot down, not allowing his floral sleeper sofa to cross the threshold. In retaliation he suggested my scuffed overstuffed brown leather sofa find a home at the dump.

When we moved into our Crescent City home we bought a love seat and a

chair on impulse and incorporated them with a few pieces we already

owned and called that "our living room." Then we discovered that no

matter how we arranged our ensemble it was always awkward when we

entertained another couple, let alone two.

The ongoing angst caused by our inadequate living room arrangement led

us to seek professional help. A design consultant took measurements and

created three possible floor plans. We chose one and the furniture she

recommended to go with it. Adult contemporary grown-up furniture, at


The new modular sectional with ottoman and copper and glass tables were

on their way. To make room for them and to make a few bucks to help pay

for them we joined dozens of other home entrepreneurs for the Garage

Sale Saturday last weekend.

Although my ad said we opened at 9 a.m., the first sale occurred at

7:55. By 9:15 most of our inventory was gone except for the gray

leather love seat and a once-desirable TV.

I looked around the house and yard for more items to sell and dragged

out a couple of jasmine plants that had wintered over. I recently

transplanted them in 5-gallon pots, not sure where they'd end up in our

landscape. I bought them in 4-inch pots for less than a dollar each

last year. As soon as I put them in my driveway they were snapped up by

a bargain hunter who asked, "Will you take $8 for both?"

The bulky Panasonic TV with remote sold around 10:30. Rick told the

buyers he wouldn't take a cent under $10, but when the husband and wife

came up with a five-dollar bill and four ones between them, Rick

changed his tune. "I won't take a penny under $9," he laughed. The 400

percent profit I made on the jasmine didn't offset the loss on the TV,

but Rick was relieved he didn't have to lug it anywhere.

At 11 a.m. we still owned the love seat, but little else. Then Lilly

came by. Lilly lives a few blocks away and was out for a stroll. We'd

met Lilly before and she recognized us and came up our driveway to

chat. Before long Lilly was sitting comfortably on the love seat

telling us her granddaughter had suggested she get one for their TV

room. Sold!

Thursday our grown-up furniture arrives. It's neither a Porsche nor a

Lamborghini, but it is very cool and I can't imagine a better time in

my life for enjoying it.