05/11/2010 04:16 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Garage Sale of the Century

It's always so hard for me to let go. I tend to hang on to the past like a security blanket, safe in the knowledge that if I ever need to go back, there'll always be something there to remind me.

So it was with some reluctance that I finally agreed to hold a garage sale.

My husband had been bugging -- er, persuading -- me for weeks about the benefits of such an event. We could finally clean out the basement and put some cash toward vacation in the process. He was convinced that our life simply would not be complete without it. Parenthetically, I can't help but wonder if my husband doesn't have just a little too much time on his hands right now.

At any rate, I finally caved in. He showed me his list of potential sale items, and I admit that at first, it wasn't as painful as I'd anticipated. The bistro set, my exercise equipment, the rattan furniture -- most of it could go right out to the curb, for all I cared. But the farther down the list I went, the more out of control my husband got.

He started listing things we were actually still using. The coffeemaker, the kitchen table, our bed . . . I could almost envision the crazed look in his eyes as he went from room to room, scribbling his little list -- "This can go, and this, and this, and . . ."

I knew we were in real trouble when he started asking me about things we had just bought -- "I kind of like the idea of selling new stuff," he said, excitedly, "you know, things still in the box! We could list the original price above the sale price so people would know what kind of deal they're getting!"

"But I bought those because I wanted them," I said, incredulously. "You want me to sell something I just bought, for less money than I just paid for it?"

"We'll just go get another one!" he cried. "Don't be such a spoilsport!"

He was a man possessed. It was sad, really.

But at the same time, he seemed to have a nice handle on how he wanted things done. We would offer coffee and iced tea, and maybe little Italian cookies. People would browse and mingle, and he would be the host with the most. It would be our social event of the decade . . . which, I know, is pathetic.

Anyway, the day finally came, and we were ready. My mom came over to watch the baby, my husband arranged all of the items just so, and I said good-bye to pretty much everything I ever owned. And people started coming down the driveway.

As the day wore on, however, my husband changed somehow. Gone was the smiling host offering cappuccinos to potential buyers, replaced by a man who felt it necessary to ask those buyers for references. He eyed people suspiciously as they sifted through our things. "He's not on our list," he whispered to me, flipping through his clipboard.

"Honey," I replied, quietly but firmly, "this was not by invitation only. It's a garage sale." (Sigh.)

I intercepted him just as he was about to ask someone for identification. "Come on, babe. I think you need some iced tea. Mom?" I motioned my mother over with our son, hoping to spark some recognition in my husband's eyes and possibly return him to the land of the sane. He was gently led away, mumbling incoherently.

I was left with a throng of shoppers with wallets open. "That chair?" I responded to one, "I've had that chair since college . . . it's traveled with me through all of my apartments, all of my boyfriends, all of my growing up . . . it's priceless, really. It's got tremendous sentimental value. Five bucks, you say?