We parked across the street from 4422 Lareina Drive, wondering what we were getting ourselves into.

“I think I see something,” I announced to my friends, craning my neck to see the enormous sculpture behind the house. A canopy of trees and a privacy fence made seeing the Cathedral of Junk from the street almost impossible. Good thing we had an appointment.

As we approached the house, the “Do not knock, baby sleeping” sign forced us around to the side where we entered the backyard through a chain-link fence. The owner Vince Hannemann,  a small, unassuming man, met us at the gate along with his dog, a part-Australian shepherd named Smoky. My friend slid a $10 bill into Vince’s hand while I reached down to scratch Smoky’s ears. The smell of a campfire hung low in the cool Austin air. It was November, but unseasonably cold.