AROUND MY house, weekend early morning hours are for relaxing. It's a small indulgence but worth it to recover from the weekday grind. A little extra time to linger over breakfast, checking out the newspaper sale ads and enjoying an extra cup of coffee before tackling the endless chores on my gotta-do list.
But a neighbor of mine -- we'll call him Lou -- sets aside weekend mornings for his favorite pastime, treasure hunting at flea markets and yard sales.
Lou spends hours during the week poring over classified ads, checking local for-sale boards and watching for handmade signs announcing sales.
Like a general mapping out his battle plan, Lou's Friday evenings are set aside for planning his weekend shopping attack. The ritual includes gassing up his van and visiting the automated teller machine for an infusion of cash.
Bright and early on weekend mornings, he's off on the hunt -- but for what, I'm not always sure. Most weekends, Lou seems to have been successful in his quest, arriving home late, loaded with dubious treasure.
Ever the storyteller at heart, he'll talk for hours about his latest haul. That he pours hours into the effort never enters into the conversation. It's the quest for the best buy that spurs him on.
As my kid would say, "Lou, you gotta get a life."
Ask Lou, however, and he'd say, "That's life."
For Lou and all of my bargain-hunting neighbors, mark your calendars for these not-to-be-missed events:
Pine Grove yard sale
Pine Grove Village Community Association will sponsor a neighborhood yard sale from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow off Fort Smallwood Road on Appian Way.
More than 20 households will participate, and the association will have spaces to rent at $8 each for outside sellers in the community park on Sandy Beach Drive.
Angie Bois, community spokeswoman, said parking could be a problem if the crowd is big. Signs will be posted along Appian Way to the designated parking area, giving visitors a chance to enjoy a walking tour through the neighborhood, she said.
A 'Fabulous' event
Galilee Lutheran Church presents its annual Fabulous Fall Festival from 9 a.m to 2 p.m. Oct. 16 on the church grounds at 4652 Mountain Road.
Shoppers won't want to miss the huge Junktique, loaded with gently used merchandise, or a selection of silent auction items up for bid.
For the kids, there will be lots to do, including games, crafts, pony rides, a moon bounce, pumpkin-painting and scarecrow-making.
Hungry visitors can buy barbecued chicken, cooked and served by the church's men's group on the front lawn. Other menu items include homemade soups, salads and baked goods.
Proceeds from the festival will be matched by the Aid Association for Lutherans, and donated to ministries including Birthright, the Orphan Gain Train and the Lutheran Council for American Indians.
Talents on the block
Pasadena United Methodist Church, 61 Ritchie Highway, will hold a silent auction starting at 6: 30 p.m. tomorrow in its fellowship hall.
In addition to interesting objects, congregation members and friends have donated a number of talents to be auctioned. Purchasers will have up to one year to redeem the services.
Bidding will close at 9 p.m.
Those attending can also enjoy homemade apple desserts that will be on sale.
Proceeds will benefit local and foreign missions supported by the congregation.
Methodist flea market
United Methodist Women of Magothy United Methodist Church will have their annual flea market from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 16 at the church, 3703 Mountain Road.
Tables are available for $10.
The women's group will sponsor a table, and there will be crafts for sale and a silent auction featuring Teenie Beanie Babies.
The men's group will sell lunch items, refreshments and homemade baked goods.
Information: Carolyn VanDyke, 410-255-5220, or Renee Heck, 410-255-6874.
Apples and more
Solley United Methodist Church, 7600 Solley Road, will hold its Apple Festival from 11: 30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, rain or shine, on the church grounds.
Commuters can stop by for pit beef and ham, beef barbecue, homemade crab soup, hot dogs, baked goodies and beverages.
Dessert is homemade apple crisp, served with ice cream and a drink.
The cost is $3.50 for adults and $2 for children under age 12. Carryouts are available for $3.50.
Proceeds will benefit church projects.
Zip some soup
The Women of St. Andrews Episcopal Church are taking orders for their Souper Sunday, starting after the 10 a.m. worship service Oct. 17.
Members will cook and sell bean, chicken noodle or vegetable beef soup at $5 a quart.
You can bring a container for soup pickup or carry it away in the zip-seal plastic bags that will be provided.
Proceeds will be used to help repair steam tables in the church kitchen.
Soup orders: Pat Morris, 410-360-9270.
Anglers to meet
The Pasadena Sportfishing Group will hold its monthly meeting from 7: 30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday at the Orchard Beach fire hall on Solley Road.
Outdoor writer Tim Sherman will discuss fall fishing at Ocean City. He will offer tips and techniques for fishing along the beach and from the bridge and jetties at the oceanside resort during the fall.
Dave Nolan, PSG spokesman, reminds those attending the meeting to bring canned goods or boxed nonperishable food items to the meeting. They will be donated to the Harvest for the Hungry holiday food drive sponsored by the Pasadena Business Association, he said.
Those donating canned goods will be entered in a drawing for a custom-built perch rod.
Also back by popular demand is a visit by the guys from B&B; Knives. They will be available for honing your favorite filet or hunting knife or scissors.
Membership in the PSG is free and open to anglers of all ages. No smoking is permitted in the hall.
Food and beverages, sold by the fire department, are available before and during the meeting.
Information: 410-HEY-FISH, or www.heyfish.com.
Island golf, fall festival
Gibson Island Country School has two annual fund-raising events this month, the fall Marketfest and its 10th golf benefit.
The Marketfest will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 16 on the grounds of the school, at the eastern tip of Mountain Road just before the island causeway.
The golf benefit will be held Oct. 22 at Gibson Island Country Club. The $125 entry fee includes lunch, prizes and awards.
Proceeds from the golf benefit will go toward the school's Campaign 2000-Building on Excellence capital project, which involves significant building and grounds upgrades.
Entry forms and information: 410-255-5370.