When it felt like time to shower and dress for her day's work, Judith returned to her master bathroom upstairs. She quickly showered and slipped into old jeans, a tattered sweatshirt, thick wool socks, and worn, slip-on gardening shoes. While she dried her hair with a hand-held blow dryer, she fashioned a plan in her mind to attack the boxes in the garage and determine what might be deemed garbage. On Saturday or Sunday, she planned; Gary could help her take the garbage items to the dump. The nicer items would be tagged and sorted for her next garage sale. I'll quit in time to get cleaned up and put on some make-up before Gary gets home. It was Friday and she was envisioning the weekend with her husband. Judith went to the main floor, passing the formal dining room where the dark wood, antique dining furniture sat, rarely used. Oddly, it did not bother her that this was the dining room furniture her first husband had insisted they dine at every night, formally, with fine china place settings, polished silver, candlelight, and wine -- always wine in elegant, crystal goblets. He had even demanded that Judith wear a formal dress for every dinner. Meals, thankfully, were pleasant with Gary. They ate in the nook just off the kitchen. Judith had set up a small, round, light pine table with two matching chairs in the bay window area. Lace curtains partially covered the bay window. In this small space, the couple chatted lightly with each other over deliberately informal meals. Occasionally, on special evenings, Judith carried snacks into the living room for the couple to enjoy while watching a rented movie.
Judith continued down to the bottom floor, passing through the recreation room and out the door into the garage.
The garage was stuffed full, floor to ceiling, with only a few pathways for walking between stacks of cardboard boxes, plastic storage bins, gardening products, tool boxes, buckets, baskets, furniture, camping gear: a pack-rat's cache that had been multiplying since the Ridgways moved into the home. Judith shook her head and made a clucking sound with her tongue, hands resting on her hips. She wished she could park her car in the garage. When it wasn't being driven, her 1992, mochacolored Mercury Sable sat in the driveway next to Gary's pick-up. However, she recognized the loftiness of her goal to get the garage cleared out for enough space to park a vehicle. She charged ahead with taking one cardboard box at a time, emptying the contents, and separating into piles what she determined to be either trash, garage sale merchandise, or fabulous treasures that she could wrap up and give as gifts for special occasions and holidays. People didn't need to know how she acquired gift items. That was her secret.
Judith worked in silence, puffing quick breaths, pushing her glasses back up her nose with the back of her hand, bending, lifting; repeating the actions again and again, feeling no hunger for food. Her passion for garage sales was the only fuel she needed for hours.