My husband and I joke that I have an addictive personality. Whenever I find a new TV show that I like, I watch it with an almost super-human vigor. I watched all 5 seasons of Parks and Recreation in about a week and a half. Lost took about a month. My husband introduced me to Portal (probably the only video game I would ever consider playing), and that took about a week.

This compulsion to soak up as much of one thing as possible is not confined to popular media. For the past few years, I’ve been hooked on antiques.

I used to love garage sale-ing. My mom and I would look up any garage sales in the neighborhood and go to dozens at a time. Once I got to a garage sale, I would see a realm of possibilities. Sure, this broken-down coffee table doesn’t look like much now—and yes, it only has three legs. But I could strip off the walnut stain and paint it a nice color. And then I could post it on Pinterest. I had such high hopes for garage sales, but, when it came down to it, I would walk away with a 25 cent necklace that I would never end up wearing.

About two years ago, I realized that garage sales were not worth my time. Estate sales were the thing. Garage sales might have one cool vase amid mountains of Disney VHS movies and slightly rusty crockpots, but estate sales had quality merchandise. Entire walls of blue Mason jars. Complete sets of dishes and silverware. Picture frames, chairs, side tables, platters.

Thankfully, my husband is a shopaholic and enjoys going to estate sales with me. We have recently discovered estate sale stores and funky antique shops.

When we walk into an antique store, Mike will immediately point to a window pane or door and say, “You love that.” He knows my two weaknesses for home décor: chipped paint and rust.

“Yes,” I say. “I love that. Let’s get it.…never mind. It’s three hundred dollars. I could probably make it myself, anyway.”

“No, we already have two window panes and a door. And we still haven’t found a place to put that antique picture frame you got from the Allegan Antique Fair.”

But he’s not immune to the power of the antique store either.

“Sarah,” he would exclaim, “come to the glassware section! Look, they have eight water glasses for $1.50!”

“Yes, but we already bought some from that other place.”

“But how can we not buy them? They’re a dollar fifty.”

And so began our collection of glasses, wine glasses, vases, and mugs. Everywhere you look in our apartment there is some bright blue gravy boat or flowery tea cup and saucer. I love the look of all of that old stuff.

My point is this: when I get on a certain track, I go wild with it. It’s not that I need one or two nice vases to put on the table. I need all the vases. I need all the old-looking, fabric-covered books. I need all the eclectic picture frames to hang on the wall in a picture frame collage without actually putting pictures in them.

I’m pretty sure I have a problem.

Sarah (VanderMolen) Sundt

A born-and-and-raised Grand Rapidian, Sarah (’12) is now a seventh grade language arts teacher in the Seattle area. She has been living there since the summer of 2015 with her music teacher husband, Mike. She loves reading, watching Netflix, playing games, watercolor, and walking at the off-leash dog park (even though she does not have a dog).

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