Monday, July 15, 2013

Having a Hot Time on the Yard Sale Trail

I’ve noticed lately that even a retired person can appreciate a long weekend. (Make that a happily retired…no, ecstatically retired person!) After spending years of garaging almost entirely on Saturdays, I now go out on Fridays as well. Which makes Friday feel like Saturday…and then I get Saturday again! Gosh, what a great system. Of course, it also means that I actually have to look at my days-of-the-week retirement clock to be sure what day of the week it is. I’d hate to miss a day of garaging…or some appointment on a weekday.

day clock

After we saw each other at the dog park, I picked up Judy for our Friday morning adventure. Her house is about 5 blocks from mine, which is handy. Handier still was that our first sale was halfway between our homes…and when we arrived we saw the lady having the sale was an acquaintance from the dog park! After greeting Cider the dog, I asked if she was moving, because I know she plans to make a big move at some time in the future. “No,” she said, “but I recently helped a couple of other people move. I’ve been in this house fifteen years, and I decided to get rid of stuff like I am moving!” I’m sure whatever cash she made from her sale will come in handy, because she’s on her way to Ireland today! Her sister is an airline pilot, and together they are taking their grandmother for a wonderful trip to the west coast of Ireland.

Our next stop was a few blocks away (our neighborhood has been a great location for sales recently) – two sisters in colorful summer dresses who ARE moving. To Alabama. They said they’d lived there before, so they knew what they were getting into weather-wise. (We’ve been having perfect summer days, with high temps of about 80. As they say, don’t get no better than this!) Now, in between these two houses, our conversation for some reason had turned to house cleaning, and Judy said something about preferring to clean her floors “the Cinderella way.” Yup, down on her knees…but at our age, knees hurt when you do that. “Don’t you have knee pads?” I asked, and she’d never thought about using them. “You need knee pads,” I assured her. And there they were at this sale! Well, the tag on them said something about soccer knee pads, but they were nice thick, cushy pads and the elastic bands fit her. So now she has knee pads. I’m not sure her lovely vintage hardwood floors will be Cinderella’d more often, but it will hurt less. And she can go in for soccer if she wants.

She also found something fun for their dog. Buddy is actually her son Jake’s dog but Judy and I know each other because she brings him to the park, and he and Zoe grew up together.

Buddy & Zoe & the big stick

So Buddy got a present from this sale. Too cute to pass up!

Good Buddy box

All the supplies it originally held are gone, but it’s a great lunch box. Judy laughed when she read it. “I don’t know,” she said. “We’re always calling him Bad Buddy when he chews something up. Maybe if we call him Good Buddy he’ll improve.” But so far it hasn’t worked. Found out this morning that Buddy ate her cell phone on Sunday. Ohhhh, bad, bad Buddy!

One stop was advertised as a “retirement/moving sale.” There was a lot of…okay, junk. Old chairs that had been left outside to weather. Pieces of furniture – in pieces. And that was just on the driveway. We cruised quickly through the garage, which had vintage tools and photography equipment, and through some basement rooms, one of which had lots and lots of vintage linens. I bravely resisted all temptation there (only because I was not unduly tempted by anything). I would have bought the tablecloth that was stamped with a pine cone design, ready to be embroidered after all these years, but another lady had already snagged it. Dang – it would have been perfect with my Blue Spruce Winfield china. Another room had hundreds of knicknacky things, figurines and vases and more junk. I was rather bemused by this.

greatest fun maker!

I had no idea that “The game of bean bags” is “the greatest fun maker on the market,” did you? This looked like a felt bird, ready to stuff with your beans, with instructions to make some kind of board to throw him through. All other forms of fun just pale in comparison, don’t they?

Another room had shelves and shelves of books, with lots of titles about antiques and collecting, as well as several vintage hats. And lucky me, my hat model was close at hand!

vintage pillbox hat

We were especially charmed by the hats with veils. Don’t they give Judy a mysterious allure?

 petals and veil hatpillbox hat with veil

But this had to be the most amazing one: a felt beret thickly covered with feathers that were held in place with netting. I’ve never seen anything like it.

amazing feather beret

Back out in the garage I noticed a counter loaded with old sheet music. I’m talking hundreds of pieces. I saw a John Thompson beginner piano book and showed it to Judy. “I still remember the first two piano pieces I learned from this,” I told her, and sang them. (Quietly. I’m no singer.) The lyrics that were burned into my brain at age six were 1) “Here we go, up a row, to a birthday party” and 2) “Dolly Dear, Sandman’s near, you will soon be sleeping.” I may not know what day of the week it is without checking my retirement clock, but I can still sing those. And I bet I have now triggered memories for some of you and you’ll have those inane little tunes stuck in your head for the rest of the day! An elderly lady came up to us and asked if we play, and we started chatting. Turns out it was her house where the sale was being held – but not all her stuff. I think other family members had brought a lot of stuff  in. We talked for quite a while, and we learned that she is 81 and loves her house, even with all its stairs. (Ours is a hilly neighborhood and most houses are built on multiple levels.) Her grandmother lived to be 109, though her mother died at fifty of breast cancer. She and her younger brother were taken in by an aunt who had a farm near Hood River. Her aunt wouldn’t let her learn to mile the cows, even though she wanted to,  because “if you know how to do it you’ll be stuck with it for life.” (Smart aunt!) She never had piano lessons but she did play the violin (as I did) and for a while the viola, and was in a community orchestra in her youth. She’s lived in that house since 1962. I think her children must be pressuring her to move somewhere smaller and without stairs, because she said several times that she has no problem running up and down stairs, and she doesn’t want to move. So if the retirement and moving were referring to this lady, she definitely has other ideas!

We talked so long that the morning was running down, and there was still a neighborhood sale we meant to go to. So we grabbed a bite to eat and headed to south Salem, and here our day took a turn. Just as I turned onto the street we were heading for, Judy commented, “It looks like smoke is coming out of your engine.” These are not words you want to hear…especially when you can see smoke yourself. And a quick glance at the temperature gauge shows the needle at the hot end. We pulled over and discovered a crack in the radiator, so we ended the morning waiting for a tow truck and for my husband to rescue us. My beloved green convertible is at the auto shop, awaiting its turn for help. Don’t know yet how bad – or how expensive – the news will be.

We won’t let it crimp our style next weekend though…we’re going to the beach! I will of course miss garaging (and blogging) but I should be back the week after. My fingers are crossed that I will still have enough disposable income for garaging!



  1. OMG..... the hat with the embroidered crest??? that is the Serbian national crest! did it have a cross with four "c"s in the corners on the top? I have one very much like that my grandfather brought back from the "old country"!!

    1. Next time I'll look more closely at what I'm photographing!

  2. finished rest of blog.....poor baby car!!! hope it is easily mended!

    1. All fixed by Wednesday, and only the radiator was broken (or borked, as the Cheezeburger cats say). So no head gaskets blown or anything. Whew!

  3. I'm glad your car was fixed quickly. Love the hats.


I really love your comments. Thanks for coming along on my thrifty adventures!

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