Sunday, July 27, 2014

Plan B

We are a little behind again. This post covers last weekend, We will catch up soon! 

Another three day weekend was upon us! We have been trying to extend one weekend a month and the one for July was approaching. Monday, July 21st was a vacation day and we were very excited about it. We live pretty close to New York City (Manhattan, as outsiders would call it) but neither of us had gone to the city in years and we decided, a few weeks ago, that Sunday would be the day. We had a restaurant picked out for dinner and we would walk around the city the remainder of the day and just simply enjoy the beautiful weather. Then, through circumstances beyond our control, the plans looked to be in serious danger!

The Long Island Railroad had called for a strike and set their walk off time as 12:01 am on July 20th...that would be Sunday! We needed to take the railroad! Driving in the city is tough when parking spaces are at a premium. We wanted to make this day stress free and finding a parking spot every time we made a move just would not work. We prepared Plan B in case the strike could not be averted. We would have fun regardless! 

On Thursday, the announcement was made that a settlement had been reached and there would be no strike! Sunday would be our trip to the city! With one uncertainty removed from our lives, we turned our attention to Saturday saling. There were a lot of choices this week though none were clear cut so we made a big list of potential stops...eleven in all. We knew we would never make them all due to distance and time constraints but we would do our best. We chose the stop we liked best, headed in that direction and our saling adventures had begun.

On the way to our first stop, we got the call. Monica's sister let us know that Monica's mom was going by ambulance to the hospital. She had a leg infection that was not responding entirely to the medication that the doctor had prescribed a few weeks earlier and she had fallen twice within the last week. Monica's dad made the right decision...get better treatment. As it turned out, she was on the way to the hospital located in the same town as our first sale. Monica's sister suggested that we go to the sale first and then the hospital where she would be settled in by the time we arrived...and so we did.

Our first stop was a pretty easy choice. The sale was run by one of our favorite tag sale companies and, since no one sale showed us a whole lot of anything, this sale was as good a place to start as any.

There were plenty of rooms to search and there was an old pencil sharpener (always, a good sign!) but we did not find a lot here. We left with a record case, one record, a few charms and a few cookbooks. 

By the time, we got to the hospital, Monica's mom was comfortably set up in the emergency room and was in good spirits. She was weak but not in any danger and, after a couple of hours, we left her in Monica's father's care and made plans to return in the evening when she would have a room. There was nothing left to do except continue on with the day's journey...and we did.

We narrowed our list down to the ones located between the hospital and our house so we could maximize our time. Luckily, there were several that fit this criteria and we had our course set. We expected to be able to make five more stops. We arrived at stop #2 which was a house most recently owned by a 94 year old attorney. Monica was ready! 

There was a great old screen door located inside the house. At one time, this was probably the entrance to the house but an extension was added and now it was the gateway between the house and a garage.

The kitchen had been modernized at some point and new appliances lined the kitchen walls...except for this oven which was probably the only evidence of an old kitchen that was now just a memory.

This bedroom had not been updated since inspired by The Brady Bunch. Groovy! It was an interesting house but we did not find much to take home. We took home four  cookbooks for a $1 

Stop #3 was a sale run by one of the biggest tag sale companies in our area...and one we really like. 

We loved the great metal awning above the side door

The basement floor was great too!

Rob explored the bar area in the basement

The bar counter top was green and speckly!

We found a pair of elf blow molds in the basement but one was broken and both had price tags above what we were willing to pay. We did find a few things worthwhile...a pair of old Christmas stockings and a Santa blow mold cookie jar. They would join us on our car ride home.

Stop #4 was listed as having "50 years of accumulation". There really was some great old furniture on the lawn but nothing that really fit our decor (nor did we have room for it) and there was nothing inside. Stop #5 was "grandma's attic". It was also just outside and nothing seemed to belong to Grandma at all (unless Grandma loved playing Nintendo). Neither sale found us opening our wallets.

Our sixth and final stop of the day was pretty close to our house and was run by a tag sale company who we have not visited in quite some time. We like them and it was good seeing them. 

The house had many cool rooms and definitely had a lot of older things. A collector of ceramic pigs would have gone hog wild here! None of the pigs said "buy me" to us. We did find an old plastic Santa candy holder, a glass and a couple of stirrers and they became ours.

As we drove home, we spoke about what we knew was running through both of our minds...Plan B. It just wasn't a great idea to spend Sunday in the city when Monica's mom was in the hospital. The city would still be there later in the year. We would still have fun on Sunday. We had Plan B.

Here are some of the things we got on Saturday:
A couple of records

Some books

Some Christmas things

A record holder for 7 inch records and an old pink elephant glass

A "Powerful Magnet" still in its package (made in Japan), two cocktail stirrers, an Archie Andrews button and a couple of old charms (a clown and a harMONICA)

We were back at the hospital Saturday night and, again, late Sunday afternoon. Monica's mom has a bacterial infection of her legs which is especially of concern since she has diabetes. She also had a slight heart arrhythmia (later determined to be caused by the stress of her situation and it will go away). Our earlier trip to the hospital on Sunday was so we could put Plan B into effect...and we did.

Just down the road from the hospital was one of our favorite restaurants...Palace Of Wong. It has been around since 1969 and remains pretty much unchanged since then. It has great neon lights outside...

...many great neon lights!

The menu offers many exotic drinks...

...served in Tiki mugs and enhanced with tiny umbrellas. Rob had a Mai Tai. Monica had a Zombie. 

In truth, we shared them both together

The food was great, as always. It was a great dinner out.

Although we did not get to take the Tiki mugs home with us (though we did take the little umbrellas), they were glad we came and smiled at us as we left.

After dinner, we took a drive just a few miles south to Long Beach. The docks were completely destroyed during Hurricane Sandy and were not rebuilt until last summer. It was our first look at the new boardwalk.

We had a great walk to help digest our food along the beach

It was a beautiful summer evening spent together. Plan B was a success

Monday was our day off and we spent it catching up on errands and visiting some thrift shops

These were some of the thrift shops we visited. We went to many and had a great time even if we did not find much. Thrift shops are not what they used to be and we did not expect to find too much. We did find a few things though.

Our thrift shop record and one doll from the early 1960's for Monica

Evening hospital visits became our every night routine during the week except for Tuesday night. Little Anthony and The Imperials were playing a free outdoor concert Tuesday evening and Monica's dad really wanted us to take him...and so we did. He spent the entire day at the hospital and, during the evening, Monica's dad, Monica's sister, Monica's brother-in law and our niece and nephew went to see the concert. They did not disappoint and it was a nice show outdoors on a beautiful, cool summer evening.

It has been a very busy week. Monica's mom had minor surgery on Friday to remove a small piece of her heel and she is doing well. We expect her to be in the hospital for another week or so and then onto a brief stint in rehab before going home. She will be okay, though, and that's all that counts. Everything will be fine. We have each other's hand and that will keep us moving along steadily on the path that has become our adventures amongst the ducks. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Along The Route

Back to the standard two day weekend. Fourth of July was in our rear mirror and it was a full five day weekend. It seemed long. There will be another one next week but we took a vacation day on July 21st so the return of the three day weekend is just on the horizon but enough on that. We had a two day weekend first and there was no reason to discount it. We wouldn't think of doing that! 

We started it a little early with a free concert Thursday night. The various townships has free concerts during the summer. We can always find a few that we want to see. Thursday night was Peter Noone (with his Herman's Hermits though none of The Hermits were original members). We took Monica's dad with us and it was a great show. He is a great showman, very funny and still has a good voice. This is the second time we have seen him. The weather was beautiful and he didn't disappoint!

Our estate saling this week began early...well, sort of. There was a sale that was advertised that had two pictures of things we really would have liked. There was a great Santa head blow mold still in its original box (probably 1960's) and there was a knee hugger elf (and you could see the "Japan" sticker on its back. The sale began on Friday which is always a disadvantage for us. We could have waited until Saturday and gotten there early but we still would not have been first on line and, of course, the things we saw could have been snatched up on Friday. The sale ended at 4 pm on Friday and Monica had no chance of getting there by the close...but Rob did. He would just have to leave work early. Rob really didn't want to go without Monica (the experience together means more than anything we could ever find) but, after continued "encouragement", Rob agreed to go and represent the both of us.

At around 3 pm on Friday, Rob pulled up the house hoping to bring home what we saw in the pictures...and maybe more! The sale was run by one of our favorite tag sale companies and they were happy to see Rob. It was a quick stop. There was no basement to search and no attic to explore. In fact, three of the rooms on the main floor were cordoned off leaving just a few places to roam. There was a side room that held most of the Christmas stuff but neither of the items in the pictures were still there. They were both purchased earlier in the day by two different people. The stop was a brief one and Rob was on his way back home by 3:30 pm but he did not leave empty-handed. 

One creepy Santa and one Easter egg tree accompanied Rob on his Friday afternoon ride back to our house.

It was a start but our real saling was saved for Saturday and the list looked pretty dismal. There were not a lot of prospects and the ones that showed the slightest potential were spread out all over the place. And then, there were the suspicious ones. The ad that said that they were uncovering "vintage treasures" every week sounded too much like they were having a sale EVERY week...and probably not having a lot of success. We ruled that one out. There was the ad that included the phrases "flea market finds" and "fair pricing". We think that the flea market, in general, is pretty overpriced nowadays. We weren't interested in paying flea market prices plus a "fair pricing" premium. There was also an ad that seemed to focus on old bicycles and there was a great one that interested Rob but it really looked like the seller restored old bicycles for a living. We knew that there would be no bargains there. So, with no clear cut favorites, we chose to start at the "60 years of accumulation" sale and to decide where else to go afterwards.  

We arrived at Stop #1 with the hope that "60 years of accumulation" would bring us plenty of finds. It was the second day of the sale so some of the good stuff would probably be gone but you never know! As it turned out, it was a quick stop. There were three rooms to search on the main floor and nowhere else. Yes, there were items that certainly older. No, there was not much to interest us. We found one lone Tiki salt shaker (missing its mate) and that was all we bought here.

So, after getting some breakfast, we had to decide where our next stop would be. There were four other choices and they were spread out all over the map. None of the remaining sales were within 40 minutes of each other. There was "Nana's packed house", "80 years of accumulation", "estate clean out" and the one we eventually selected. It was the only one of the four that had any preview pictures...and in one of those preview pictures, we spied some vintage creepy Santas. We made our choice. 

 After a long ride, we made it to the site of Sale #2; an enormous house that was obviously quite old. The sale was run by a tag sale company whose sales we frequent and we have found many great things through them. Of course, it didn't hurt that we like the people at this company a lot. That also made the choice easy.

 There were four floors and the house had to be over 100 years old. There were many twists and turns and lots of rooms though none were "diggers". The items were easily accessible except for those that resided in boxes. That was the only real digging. The variety of items was interesting. We did not buy the little horse in this picture though we could tell he was glad we stopped by. You could barely hear him say that, though, because, well, he was a little hoarse! 

We searched quickly through each room and we found the creepy Santas early on. Unfortunately, one was broken (and marked $20) and the other was marked $30. No thanks. Would we find anything else we liked? If we did, would it all be overpriced? We were starting to get that sinking feeling. 

The very next room proved to be our favorite. There were a few boxes inside the room and, at the bottom of one of them, were six vintage Christmas stockings. These, if reasonably priced, we had to have! A tour of the rest of the house yielded an old blow mold Santa and an old chicken squeak toy (marked Japan). $10 for all seemed like a fair price and they became ours!

We knew that we would not be able to make any other sale on our list but that was okay. We saw two places on the way to this sale that appealed to us and they were right next door to each other.

The first was a thrift shop that was new to us. We searched the aisles and found a cool record so it was a worthwhile stop.

The second was a bowling alley with a giant bowling pin on its roof. When you find something oversized sitting upon a roof, it is always worth a closer look. A surprise roadside attraction along the route! 

We stepped inside just to look around and found a Penny Press that makes elongated pennies for fifty cents (plus your penny, of course). We made one, of course. It is a souvenir of our day! 

On our way home, we found another place worthy of parking the car...Hot Diggety Dogs. It is a small roadside restaurant known for their hot dogs. Having a giant hot dog on the roof is reason enough to stop!

A brief rest, from the road, a great hot dog and a great day together!

Here are some of the things that we found on Saturday:
A Halloween record

Some Christmas things

A Tiki salt shaker (made in Japan for Hawaii Kai) and a chicken squeak toy

The trend of beautiful weekend weather continued and we talk a walk through town on Saturday night. There was a free concert by The Amigos Band and we stopped to watch. They play a mixture of country, folk and blue grass and the band is made up of a bassist, an accordian player, an acoustic guitar and a drum. It's a pretty unique sound and they were pretty good!

Sunday found us running errands, doing housework, tending to our garden and barbecuing. We both had to work on Monday (it was just a two day weekend) and we wanted to be caught up on all that we needed to do around our house. We would not have much time after work on Monday. It would be circus time!!! 

A few weekends ago, we went to Children's Festival and Safety Day with Monica's sister and her nieces and nephew. One of the local radio station had a booth where you could spin the wheel and win a prize. Rob won and we won tickets to the circus!

Cole Brothers Circus has been around forever and neither of us had been to the circus since we were kids!

The signs showed us that there were lots of things to thrill us!

Rob loves clowns but there is always reason to be wary!

Rob met one of the clowns and he was very friendly and posed for a photo op...

...and he did not seem upset by the writing on Rob's shirt at all! 

Inside the big tent, there were horses...

...and tigers! 

The tigers were as intrigued by the clowns as we were

And, of course, they were great performers

There was a performing dog show

The world's largest cannon shot an acrobat into a net. There were lots of acrobats at this circus! 

There were elephants...

...and they performed

It was a great night at an old fashioned circus that was just like the ones we remember going to as kids!

The whole weekend was beautiful and filled with smiles and laughter. Some of our weekend was planned and some became surprises as we went along the route. You just never know what you are going to see but, when the person you wish to share it with has their hand in yours, it is always wonderful.