Junkin’ in Germany

| February 3, 2015

Once a junker, always a junker.  I love vintage and antique pieces, big and small.  I have a very strong tendency to purchase some pretty big ones when my husband is out of town–or, in yesterday’s case, just oblivious to my activities.  The other day, he asked what we were doing this weekend.  He was incredibly patient when I dropped on him the fact that we would be driving an hour to Mannheim to pick up a giant linen roller that I found on shpock, a garage sale app here in Germany.  That app is the devil. This is my third purchase resulting from scrolling through its pages (hey, at least I didn’t buy the piano I went to look at last month?)  When a facebook thread about my new (old) linen press brought mention of other rogue purchases, a friend asked to see pics.  So, let’s just take a look at what happens when my husband doesn’t know what I’m up to…

antique linen roller

Let’s start with yesterday’s purchase: the linen roller. It didn’t fit in the car. After watching two men drag it out of a basement and across a yard to the street, my husband stared at it hanging out the back. As one of the men jerry-rigged a bungee cord, Paul looked at me and muttered, repeatedly, “I am not comfortable with this.” We took back roads the whole way home. We were fortunate that a friend could come help Paul lug it out of the car and into the garage, where I will 1) clean it up, and 2) probably leave it until we return to the States, because seriously, wtf am I going to do with this thing?

We got it in the car, right?

We got it in the car, right?

My other recent shpock purchases: a slanted-glass-top table, and an amazing iron oven plate with a face coming out of it.

Another "wtf am I going to do with this?" piece

Gorgeous.  Also no idea where to put it besides the corner of a stairwell.

One of the more ludicrous of recent purchases came from a flea market in Ramstein. My husband had flown back to CA for work. And that’s when I bought giant map of Germany. Like, ceiling-to-floor giant.

antique germany map

Can I write this off as trip planning equipment?

It went like this:

Me:      Sequoia, don’t tell Daddy that I bought a giant map.

Sequoia, on Skype that night:   Mommy bought a giant map.

The child does not have my back.

Same weekend, different flea market, I bought a telephone gossip bench with built-in shoe storage.

gossip bench

We don’t have a telephone, but we do have shoes.

It didn’t start out this extravagant, but this has been going on since 2001.  The first time Paul went away when we were dating, I adopted a dog.  I mean, I told him about her on the phone, so it wasn’t a total surprise when he got home. Next trip, he opens the front door to find a knee-high plant stand in the shape of a monkey.  Another trip, a set of adult-sized hippity hops.  I think the real lesson here is: don’t leave me alone.

But one day, shit got real: Paul went TDY to the Senior NCO Academy when I was in my second trimester. I bought barrister’s bookcase. (As well as two cribs, and the top half of a diaper changing bureau but not the bottom half. I was pregnant. I cannot be blamed.)

antique barrister's bookcase


When Paul went to Saudi Arabia, I bought a walnut antique sheet music cabinet.

antique sheet music cabinet

In my defense, it was perfect for storing scrapbook paper.

(the same scrapbook paper has been stored in it for 3 years…I swear to God I’m going to scrapbook one day)

(the same scrapbook paper has been stored in it for 3 years…I swear to God I’m going to scrapbook with it one day)

So…you know how I accidentally bought two cribs, but at least could play the pregnant-woman-card? Yeah, I wasn’t pregnant when I accidentally bid on two different waterfall chests on ebay–and won both. Not only did Paul come home to find one in the driveway after the delivery truck dropped it off, but we also had to drive from southern VA to western PA to pick up the other one.

"What's that in the driveway?"

“What’s that in the driveway?”

"We're driving where?"

“We’re driving where?”

I might have a problem.

When we lived in Monterey, CA I bought a pink art deco dental cabinet off of ebay.

I don’t know why.  It’s pretty, though!

I don’t know why. It’s pretty, though!

And…when I drove home from Fresno with it, Paul wanted to know what the hell the other thing in the back of the Expedition was. Um…a primitive workbench with drawers made out of fruit crates.  Duh.

antique workbench

(Bench, right.  And left: an armoire I bought while he was in Saudi Arabia. I then had to rope someone into helping me move it.)

Paul loves me.  Clearly he is a Saint.

That said, I let him do some weird shit to his facial hair. Marriage is give and take.




Category: In Germany A Broad blog, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.

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