When Henry suggested going to Rogers flea market last Friday, I felt inexplicably hyped about it and answered with an emphatic FUCK TO THE YES. Subconsciously, I feel like I love flea markets and I’ll tell you why: because of the few (very few) instances where I have gone to a flea market and found something incredible. But the reality is that this happens fairly infrequently, so then I just get bored and frustrated because I’m not the kind of person who can stand around and patiently sift through people’s unwanted shit.
I know, you’re really shocked that I have no patience.
So this particular flea market is about 45-60 minutes away in Ohio and it’s really large. Like, everyone I know who is into flea marketing loves this place. I have been there once before, in 2009, but for some reason, I barely remember anything about it other than buying an old Coke crate, which Henry and I fought about because he didn’t want to have to carry it around with him all day.
We made a pit stop to a mall that was on the way because Henry needed to buy new shoes and then while we were there, we stopped at Hot Topic and Chooch actually got mad and threw a fit because we bought him stuff and he didn’t want anything, which translates into: we bought him stuff but not the stuff he actually wanted.
GOD WHERE DOES HE GET THIS!?
So that was fun. The good thing about Chooch though is that he can be easily brought back around with some mild cajoling and teasing. But just when we thought the day was going to be a fun family affair after all, we hit traffic about 5 miles out from the flea market.
Traffic on a rural road.
Gridlocked traffic on a rural road WITH NO CELL SERVICE.
We honestly just sat there on this shitty road for nearly 2 hours, outside of houses that looked like Leatherface was going to bolt through the front doors at any given moment (see below). (OK fine, that would probably be pretty exciting, but still—sitting in an unmoving car! Just so many ughs to be had!)
I couldn’t text (and I was desperately trying to text Monica a Days of Our Lives ISA reference), I couldn’t play Spotify from my phone, XM service cut out, and when Henry turned on the regular radio, THE FIRST SONG THAT PLAYED WAS NICKELBACK.
I started to fucking cry.
Henry was like, “Oh my god, seriously?” and changed the station like a normal, functioning adult.
The most exciting part was when a young Amish girl bicycled past us along the side of the road. Everyone in traffic was like “yay.” And then a young couple had the right idea by walking to the flea market (I know this because we saw them later on, at the flea market) and the boy part of the couple said, “Nice hair!” to Chooch as they strode past our static car. The boy was pretty scene, so Chooch was like, “I’ll take it.”
It was after 2 by the time we got to the fucking place, which is so large that it requires PARKING ATTENDANTS, most of whom were wearing overalls and/or plaid shirts. Once we parked, Henry was mad because I told him he had double-parked so then he had to start the car, oh noes, and fix his fucked-up parking job. Then he was mad again because Chooch and I had to put on sunscreen when we supposedly “could have done that while we were sitting in traffic for two hours.” Hello, I’m not getting that shit in my car!
Let me summarize this flea market up for you real good and nice: it is just like putting one hundred of any ordinary flea markets next to each other in one giant lot, and adding food vendors that you’d see at not the really good county fairs, but the small ones that have uninspected carnival rides.
Here is a list of all of the things that Henry did (or didn’t do) that ruined my whole entire day:
- rent a flatbed truck in case we found all of the antique wheelchairs to add to my collection.
- when I said, “Aw this is cute” in response to a cat purse I picked up from a table, his reaction was not to fling a wad of bills at the seller.
- Instead, he nodded and kept walking.
- I CLEARLY WANTED THAT PURSE.
- Henry bought us ice cream and the maple-flavored soft serve I got didn’t taste very maple-y.
- Henry then proceeded to buy a bottle of water for himself but did not ask me if I wanted water, as well.
- Yes, I wanted water.
- Henry then proceeded to buy a bottle of water for himself but did not ask me if I wanted water, as well.
- I also wanted coffee but Henry didn’t seem like he was in a hurry to procure this for me. This added another Henry-log to the Hate Fire.
- Chooch had to go to the bathroom and Henry was too busy standing in line for Chooch’s crappy food, so I had to help him find a bathroom all by myself!!!!!
- THERE WERE CONFEDERATE FLAGS AND STUPID PEOPLE EVERYWHERE AND THIS ALSO WAS HENRY’S FAULT.
- Some lady offered Henry a chair at a table that Chooch was eating his food at, BUT NOT ME. BECAUSE PEOPLE ONLY CARE ABOUT HENRY.
Needless to say, we left as soon as Chooch finished his food. It was a burger or a hot dog, who the fuck knows. We were there for probably a grand total of 45 minutes, and that’s being generous with my flimsy time estimations. This explains why I can’t remember much about the last time we came here: my rage blackouts wiped out my memory.
As soon as we started to pull out of the lot, I got all bi-polar-y and demanded that Henry re-park the car because I didn’t want to sit in the car again after being in the car for so long and he was just like, “Sincerely go and fuck yourself” and I was like “CHOOCH I WILL FIND YOU A NEW DADDY, JUST YOU WAIT” and Chooch was like, “Can I have a new mom, also?” and it was just REAL FUN TIMES in my car that’s not Henry’s car but I let him drive it.
As soon as we got back on that awful rural road, THERE WAS NO TRAFFIC going toward the flea market. None. Zip. Zilch. (I have never used the word “zilch” before, I don’t think.)
Henry broke the silence a few minutes into our vitriolic return trip by spitting, “Do you still want water?” to which I replied, “Yeah, I wanted water an hour ago when you only bought it for yourself.” He really liked this answer, as evidenced by the way he yanked the steering wheel at the last minute and squealed into the parking lot of Gorby’s gas station.
I refused to go in with him, and when he came back out, he threw a bag at me and said, “Here, asshole.” In the bag was some kind of cherry fry pie, some country thing I guess, and I was like, “UGH THANKS!” because I wanted cherry pie the previous week and stupid Eat n Park didn’t have any.
Then Henry and I tried not to smile at each other.
About a mile down the street, Henry nearly didn’t stop when we came upon some antique land mine that I had commented on when we initially drove past it TWO HOURS AGO.
“Oh, I guess we’re not stopping there,” I said in that adorable sneer I use when I’m really trying to remind Henry that I was born spoiled and cannot be changed.
So he did that angry jerk of the steering wheel again, kicking up dust on the broken country asphalt.
It was called the Company Store and it was full of a LOT of shit. The walkways inside the house were precariously narrow, tunneling through stacks of breakables, and there were just enough people there to make it uncomfortable and awkward. Lots of faux-friendly “excuse me”s and sheepish smiles after accidentally rubbing up on someone while trying to exit a room full of books about Nixon. I kept having to squeeze past the same lady in every room and I just know that after 14th curt smile, she was turning around and mouthing “fucking bitch.” It’s OK.
I was doing it, too.
Haunted jewels and lipstick.
Henry, conveniently, was always one room ahead of me to avoid my incessant begging and whining. But there was a swag lamp in the back room and I really wanted it so I found that moustacioed tight wad and decided to be assertive this go-around, no mind games, so I said, “I want that fucking swag lamp. You go and find someone who works here, ask how much it is, and then fucking buy it for me or I’ll goddamn kill you.”
I think we were clear on this one.
So while he set off, with slumped shoulders, to find someone in charge, Chooch and I roamed the property and managed to not fall onto any rusty spikes or have any run-ins with the box car children living on that parked train down on the nearby railroad tracks.
Still mad that we bought him a cat shirt and Manic Panic at Hot Topic.
THEN SUDDENLY, around the side of the house, we saw a flash of fur, but if Chooch was writing this post, he would be sure to stress the fact that he saw it first.
“IT’S A CAT!” Chooch cried in ecstasy, and fell to his knees to peer into the hole beneath the house into which the cat disappeared.
I was in no hurry to go back inside that hoarder’s paradise, so I sat down in the grass and joined Chooch in calling the cat. Chooch will tell you that he is the one who lured the cat out from beneath the house, but I am really quiet masterful at saying “here kitty kitty kitty” really fast, just the way they like it.
(All of my cats fell for that, except for Marcy. She would glare at me so hard.)
Chooch is terrible at naming things and so he named the cat Oreo. Henry found us a few minutes later and did that thing where he makes an exasperated face and throws his arms up in the air. But then he told me that he found someone and that it was $30 and I was like, “So why isn’t it in your hands right now?”
Henry stormed off to re-find the lady who worked there (there was another junk-filled house down the street and the three older people running the joint primarily loafed (shout out to my dad) in that one, probably because it was slightly less disgusting.
I left Chooch with Oreo (ugh) and got to witness one of the old ladies nearly breaking every hanging lamp in the backroom and administering concussions to the handful of people that were milling about as she struggled to carry a ladder over to where Henry was waiting beneath my swag lamp. (I had a stupid Instavid of this scene, but my phone ate it.) Then she knocked $5 off the cost of the lamp since Henry climbed the ladder and removed it from the ceiling himself.
As we slowly made our way out of the house, Henry walked past some older woman who was coming out of a side room.
“Wow, whatcha got there?” she asked him. He was like, “A lamp…?”
As Henry walked away, her husband popped out of another room right in front of me, and the lady said to him, “I thought that was you and I was thinking, ‘What the hell is he doing with that lamp?'” and then she laughed in relief.
Bitch, more swag for me then!
Oreo is basically tamed now.
Before leaving, we stopped in the other house to use the bathroom, and Henry was already prepared to buy Chooch a pillow with cats all over it, because we knew once he saw it, he was going to ask for it.
And he did.
While Henry was paying the man, I asked him what the cat’s name was.
“What cat?” he asked, puzzled.
“I don’t know, there’s a black and white cat out there,” I shrugged.
“I didn’t know we had a cat out there, but I’ll sell him to ya!” he laughed.
Chooch’s face lit up and just as he was about to say, “CAN WE!?” Henry and I simultaneously said no and pushed him out the door.
By the time we went to Pit Stop for dinner, Henry was mad at us again. WE WERE BEING FUCKING ANGELS THOUGH.
My Yelp nemesis gave this place 5 stars and I was hoping for a reason to be contrary, but my grilled cheese actually came on good, thick bread (nothing worse than when a restaurant puts that shit on basic Wonder Bread and charges $6) and the fries were The Kinds That I Like a/k/a The Good Kinds. (14 years with me and Henry still can’t figure out my criteria.) Then Henry said something about going somewhere, and I just love to harass Henry for the way he says “going” so then Chooch and I sat there yelling “GOYNG! GOYNG!” because that’s how Henry says it.
Henry pretty much shut down after that.
Some old man at another table was losing his shit over that whole “Adding peas to guacamole” Internet fiasco that has thankfully seemed to have died down.
“YA JUST DON’T PUT PEAS IN IT!” he barked.
I’m going to write my own recipe that calls for adding cabbage to it.
We went and looked at the gross river afterward. Somewhere along the way, Chooch put on the cat shirt that he said he liked but then got mad when we bought it.
Not mad enough to not wear it, though.
After we returned home, I allowed Henry to rest for an hour and then we went to Home Depot where I bought more succulents.
The tl;dr version of this post is:
Chooch and I are spoiled and Henry can’t read minds.
Chooch’s version is:
So boring and long.
[P.S. I don’t have a photo of the swag lamp yet because Henry had to take it apart to clean it; it apparently came from a house where numerous people smoked several packs of Pall Malls a day.]