Garage Sale, and an Early Morning Science Experiment

My parents were in town to visit my Auntie Angela and Uncle Leon. The two of them live in Westmont, where they also have a dental practice (that occupies the first floor of their home). My mom was in town to have some work done, and ended up having two root canals. They were only planning a short visit, but ended up staying through Saturday to help Angela and Leon with a yard sale.

Early Saturday morning, Liz and I hopped in the car and made our way over to Westmont.

Inside the house, I got a quick tour from my mom. This is their living room, which serves as the “waiting area.” Liz is relaxing and checking out a magazine.

And hey! It’s a copy of Dental Economics and my uncle Leon is on the cover!

Down the hallway, there were rooms like you would expect to find at any dentist’s office. Here, my Uncle Leon is showing some x-rays to my mom.

The view from the patient chair is pretty fantastic, as it looks out into the back patio area, which has a small pool with koi.

Stepping across the water, the room opens up to a lot of green plants, some seating, and a TON of sunlight.

Outside, even more beautiful scenery and lovely small pond.

Outside in the front driveway. My dad had been manning the tables out front, and I think he was having a good time. According to everyone else, my dad was in rare form – engaging all the customers, pitching the wares on the table, bartering.

He’s been out of the restaurant business for some time now, but he’s always had a good way with people. It was great to see him in action again.

Inside, my Auntie Angela and my mom, chatting with Liz. While we were in the garage, we came across a box of old silver items that they had set aside. The topic of cleaning them came about, and I remembered some kind of easy trick to cleaning silver. We went inside, I started checking YouTube… and we found a makeshift recipe that was close to what I remembered.

While we were searching for supplies in the kitchen, my cousin Christopher joined us and helped with the experimentation. First… we heated up some water and added in a few tablespoons of baking soda.

Then, we added in a piece of aluminum foil.

Finally, we added in the silver item. There was some kind of chemical reaction that was supposed to happen, that was supposed to make it clean up instantly. We let it sit for about 5 minutes and just waited. While it ended up cleaning off a bit, it was nowhere near as dramatic as I had hoped.

We tried another attempt (using OxyClean and some salt) with mixed results. I ended up finding the video I was after, and learned that the magic ingredient was not baking soda, but rather water softener.

Here’s a brief flashback. For some reason, while I was a graduate student attending OSU, I’d catch odd programs on the local PBS station. I’m not sure if I started watching Haley’s Hints super late at night, or if it was during the weekend, when I was hungover and stuck on the couch.

It’s a pretty funny image to conjure – me in a messy, graduate student apartment watching a TV show all about cleaning tips and tricks. For whatever reason… I found the show pretty fascinating.

Unfortunately, our attempts to clean my Auntie Angela’s silver were less than stellar. The pieces were cleaner, but far from shiny. Still though… it was a fun thing to do, and felt incredibly geeky: a random science experiment, early on Saturday morning.

Liz and I stuck around a bit longer, but ended up leaving after a few hours. I think my parents stuck around until the late afternoon, and helped close down the garage sale.

And just in case anyone is wondering how to easily clean silver the right way? Check out this hint, right from the source:

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