Redneck neighbours–hazards & other annoyances

As I mentioned in my earlier blog post, I had the misfortune to live near neighbours who I charitably called ‘rednecks.’ This was for a few very good reasons”

  • Loud parties (neon themed, “redneck” themed??, 80’s themed, Mexican themed.
  • Loud parties that ended with the cops being called.
  • Loud parties that ended up with screaming/yelling/fist-fights at 3-4am
  • Cow horns stuck in the wrought-iron grilles of the patio
  • Garbage. EVERYWHERE
  • Dogs. At least two, always roaming
  • A ‘fridge, a boat and god knows what other garbage, at all times
  • Ugly cars/trucks

They moved out, but not without leaving piles and piles of crap everywhere. When they moved out, funny enough, the creepy staring dude came back. Benefit?

*Creepy staring dude was this guy who wore a kerchief on his head, track pants and a hoodie and stood on the sidewalk staring. Not doing anything, like smoking. Just staring. He has scared off my friends before (who is that creepy guy standing on the sidewalk?). Turns out rednecks are his natural kryptonite, and he got scared off for almost a year by them.They’re gone, and now he is back, standing on the sidewalk staring creepily at everyone who walks or DRIVES by. My husband says he is just lonely, but I think it’s a kind of Ed Gein lonely…

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Sizes– a benefit

As I mentioned before, I’m quite fortunate to be able to fit a wide variety of sizes. My actual size is on the small side (pants 26-28, shirts ‘S’) but the fact that I’m a smaller person means I can easily fit into ‘M’ or pant size 29 without much trouble! Well, that and the fact that I can and do have to hem ALL of my jeans. Even if bought. ALL of them. Had a discussion with the husband about this recently–a pair of free jeans (actually, all of the recent ones) fit perfectly except they are too long. Solution? Poor-man’s hemming! By cutting off the excess…I am wearing these for hiking, bumming with the dog, and riding. Nothing fancy. To husband, this was unacceptable-cut my jeans?! – quel horreur! I should have just returned them to ‘wherever’ and someone who would fit them better would find them.

Backpedal a minute…Wha??? Get rid of WELL FITTING JEANS because they are *gasp*..too long? Forget it! Particularly considering every single pair of jeans (except for my Seven for Mankind jeans, which were made for freakishly short people, designer, and very $$$$) have had to be hemmed. All of them. Pairs I have bought, pairs given to me, pairs found. That’s what I get for being 5’1” people!

So, frankly, I can’t understand his rationale. Get rid of great fitting jeans, which I have a devil of a time trying to find to BUY, just because of one fixable issue that presents itself with every single pair of pants I have ever worn? Um. No.

It’s all about being remotely flexible (which men fail at. hardcore) and a little ‘can-do!’ with what you find. If you have this attitude going in, the world of clothes will lay themselves at your feet! (well…like your safety, this is not guaranteed).

But really. Get rid of great fitting jeans because they are too long and can be hemmed? This is why I find awesome free clothes and he doesn’t. Pffffft…

Enemies Part 2: Society

Funny enough, due to our rabidly consumer culture, other enemies of this sort of fun activity tend to be well-meaning people/friends/husband, who absolutely shun free items/preworn/thrift shop/the library.

I know, right? I loooove the library!

Ignore ’em! Not many of my friends are privy to my free fetish (is it?) sounds gross. Husband can be a detractor, but I think he is just jealous because it’s all women’s clothing in great shape, and nothing for the poor boys (as mentioned earlier, men NEVER give away clothes. They disintegrate organically on their bodies).

So, instead of battling racoons and homeless people, mostly it’s the ill-informed who sneer down at the very idea of using thrift instead of shopping. Hey, I love shopping! I just love it more when it’s free/I am doing the world a bit of good by re-using and recycling clothing. Many of what I wear goes on after a few months to thrift shops/friends/family. Cycle of life baby!

I do like good clothes (workout gear, equestrian stuff) and will pay for it, obviously. But it adds up (a LOT) and if you can take yourself out of the consumer rat-race for a little bit? Why not? Plus, having bought decent designer stuff and had it fall apart at the seams…I’m a tad cynical of the process of fashion.

Location, location, location

My free clothing bonanaza didn’t just happen. As my headline mentions, it is all about location. It first started when I was living up North, when I was beyond pleased to learn about such things called ‘free stores’ that people leave things (junk) they don’t want for other vultures such as myself and some hippies to scavenge from. They are pretty sweet. I got ice skates, xmas lights, books, and was pretty happy with that. But I had to up the ante—a new event to me, ”clothing swaps” another hippie-type event but ok for hipsters too–bring a garbage bag full of your old clothes (clean!!!) and spread them out on the floor, for everyone to jump into and snatch’n’grab the best stuff. I made out LIKE A BANDIT at these various raids, and we donated everything that was left to social services. I think they ended up with some interesting see-through camisoles a girl brought that her mother -in-law had bought in some sort of bizarre misguided attempt to buy ‘sexy’ clothes…yick!

So, I started on this path quite innocuously…

What do you find?

Everything! And funny enough, almost always in my size!

Some notables:

Just the other day, I found SEVEN pairs of jeans. Good brands too– Silver, Mavi, Bongo. Older styles, including flares, but all in my size and all fits perfectly. Great for horseback riding, as I had an unfortunate incident involving my old craptastic GAP jeans ripping a seam and the entire leg of the jean fell apart in two pieces while I was wearing them…

Bongo safari-style jacket. With free clothes, being flexible about brands/styles and some sizes is KEY. So they are a bit older? So what! At the low low cost of nothing, you can afford to be less picky and really try some new things.

A really cute hoodie. I’ve had some fab luck with these. A Bench hoodie, white, in EXCELLENT condition. An AE fleece hoodie. A Volcom hoodie with a funky zipper (fixed!) that fits perfectly in great shape.

Flood pants- Seersucker and khaki. Both sizes too big for me, but perfect for my mom (see, other people can benefit too!).

Tank tops- galore! Green, blue, orange, pink, stripes. Gap, Old Navy seem to be popular brands to get rid of. Summer is almost here people!

Mens clothes- NEVER. Men wear their clothes until they grow holes and disappear into dust fibres. I will never find a good abandoned men’s clothing cache. Men are like weird hoarders of all clothes.

Free what? Free clothes!

Yep, I have a secret- a lot of my clothes were free. And I’m here to gleefully chronicle some of my great swag that I have literally snatched off the sidewalk in my neighbourhood. Whatever I pick up and don’t like, goes to the local donation centre (I kind of have a hate-on for Sally Anns, but will donate to them if they thank me nicely!). And on the topic of Sally-Anns–I don’t buy from there. I get nicer stuff- WAY nicer- off the street. Yeah.