Would you attend a Hello Kitty convention?
Marty Garrett and Salumeh Eslamieh gave up their garage. All for Hello Kitty.
The married couple turned the garage of their San Francisco home into a showroom. It contains most of their Hello Kitty collection. Glass cases hold hundreds of Kitty items. They include a rotary phone from 1976. There's also a gumball machine from 1983. A four-foot-tall statue of the Sanrio character stands in the corner.
The couple met and bonded over the little white cat. Or, the little girl with kitty ears and whiskers, if you prefer. They will travel to Los Angeles this week. They will attend a celebration of the character's 40th birthday. It's called Hello Kitty Con. The four-day festival is dedicated to all things Kitty.
It's already sold out. More than 25,000 fans are expected.
Garrett and Eslamieh, both 32, were Hello Kitty fans before they met. There are pieces of their collection throughout their house. The couple keeps a mini Hello Kitty kitchen inside their real kitchen. They painted a skylight above their dinner table with Sanrio characters.
During their courtship, Garrett worked at a Sanrio store. Eslamieh would often visit. When the store closed, they bought its giant sign. It's on display in their showroom.
They made a trip to Japan to visit PuroLand. That's Tokyo's Sanrio theme park. They went to Honolulu's Sanrio Cafe on their honeymoon.
"You have to like cute things. And that's just not some people's personality," said Eslamieh. She is a college professor.
Garrett is an elementary school teacher. He collects video games, too. Now he has 676 of the 677 original Nintendo games.
Some of the couple's collection is kept in Garrett's his fourth-grade classroom at Lawton Alternative School.
"And especially that he's a man," Eslamieh added, "it gives boys license not to have to be so macho."