Thursday, August 28, 2014

In The Zone

Setting our routes for our Saturday saling adventures isn't always easy. The area that we are normally willing to cover stretches about 90 miles from east to west and another 25 miles from north to south. This covers three counties. It is a big area. After gathering our list of potential sales, we have to prioritize them and then figure out a way to maximize the number of stops we can make in the time that we have. Do we target one sale on the edge of our area or do we forget about that sale and five or six other sales that are closer to each other? The decision is not always easy. 

This particular week found us considering four sales and, luckily, they were in one zone. We could make all four easily. Of course, selecting the order in which to visit them is another challenge but we manage to come to a consensus before our journey starts. The zone in which these four sales resided was perfect because Monica's mom was scheduled to come home from the Rehab Center that morning. If we were needed to help her father, we would be no more than twenty minutes away. This was good! With the volume turned up on our cell phones and with a route in place, off we went!

We arrived at stop #1 and, for the second week in a row, encountered the dreaded line. It was not totally unexpected. Since we wanted to be ready to respond quickly if Monica's dad needed help, we wanted to get into the zone early and we arrived at stop #1 a few minutes before it opened. The sale was described as the sale of "the entire contents of a 1954 home". This caught our attention and it was, by far, the most intriguing description on our list. We also knew that there would be a line because there was a wide variety in old car parts in the basement which we knew would attract dealers and classic car enthusiasts alike. The line outside was a little misleading as we found out that they had actually opened the sale up a few minutes early and the first wave of people were already inside (some lined up as early as 4:30am to get first crack at the car parts). We waited patiently for about thirty minutes and got our turn inside.

There were several floors to search and we began in the basement. The floor was old and we like seeing things "untouched" from the house's original birth. This floor was a quick visit. The basement was almost entirely filled with the car parts that drew so many early birds. We found only one or two of things of interest here.

This is one of the bathrooms...a sea of green broken only by the pink of the toilet

The other bathroom was yellow. A close examination of the counter top and...


We spent an hour in this house and searched everywhere including this attic which was too small to stand in. We had to climb up a ladder and squeeze into a small doorway to get in! When our search of this house was over, we found a package of party lights, some Thanksgiving candles and honeycomb decorations, a record and some books. 

After stopping for some breakfast, we got the call. Monica's mom was home but we would not be needed. She was tired and just wanted to sleep. It had been about six weeks since she had been home. She was entitled to rest in her own home at last and we were so happy that she was there! 

So we moved on to stop #2 which was simply a garage sale that mentioned "vintage Christmas". It was as advertised. Although it was a quick stop, it was a productive one. We found a knee hugger elf, an elf girl made in Japan, a set of vintage Christmas curtains and some Christmas cake toppers from the 1970's, still in their original packages.

Stop #3 was also a garage sale and mentioned the word "vintage" in their ad. There was not too much there but we did get a wooden tiki to hang on our wall.

Stop #4 stated there was "vintage throughout the home" and it was run by a tag sale company that we know. There were no great pictures supporting our feeling that we should go here other than one picture that showed us that the house has a lot of clutter throughout. Clutter often means digging. This is good!

The pictures in their ad did not do this house justice. There was a lot of clutter in the basement.

The basement was really cluttered...

Really, REALLY cluttered

We did not have much time to work. We arrived at 1:15pm with an expectation that the sale was going on until 3pm. The sign on the door told us otherwise. It was ending at 2pm and we had a lot of work to do. We did the best we could in the time allowed. We found lots of vintage greeting cards, some books, some Lake George souvenirs and a few other things. It was a shortened day but a fun day and we found a lot of fun things to bring home.

Here are some of the things we took home with us:
A record

Some books. The designer's handbook on the upper right was still in its original mailing envelope (bottom right)

A Better Homes and Gardens magazine (Christmas edition - 1955) and a Keyboard Fun book

Some Peanuts paperbacks from the 1960's

Some Lake George souvenirs from the 1960's. Rob went on vacations here when he was a kid. We will go there soon together

Birthday cake toppers and candles

A wooden tiki that stands about two feet high. Monica named him "Trader Rob"

A set of party lights that is still in its packaging

Two decks of cards, two old picture viewers, a giveaway plastic bonnet, an old ruler and a great plate

Vintage Valentine's Day cards

Vintage baby cards

Vintage anniversary cards

Another vintage anniversary card

Vintage birthday cards

More vintage birthday cards

Some more vintage birthday cards

A few more vintage birthday cards

And a few more vintage birthday cards

A pair of full-sized plastic Halloween trick or treat bags

Two small Thanksgiving honeycomb decorations and a pair of Thanksgiving Gurley candles

Various cake toppers

Christmas cake toppers and a small bottle brush tree

Christmas cake toppers still in their packages (made in Hong Kong) and two elves (both made in Japan) 

A set of vintage Christmas curtains

A vintage Christmas flyer, a Santa die-cut giveaway from a bank and a vintage Christmas card

We knew we would spend a lot of our Sunday doing errands and household chores (and we did) so we decided to do something fun Saturday night

We went out for dinner at a local Chinese Restaurant. It has been around a long time but little remains of its original dining area now

There were some fun decorations inside though...

...and a funny looking dragon keeping watch over the dining room

The menu told us that exotic drinks were ours for the asking (we knew this in advance)

There they were! We ordered a scorpion and a pineapple passion, both of which we shared. These were legitimate scorpion bowls! We peaked at the bottom...Orchids of Hawaii...made in Japan.

It wasn't our favorite Chinese Restaurant but they DID have great scorpion bowls and Monica DID get to wear the drink umbrellas in her hair. More importantly, it was a night out together and that is always reason enough to smile. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

No Children. Bring Flashlight. Bring Gloves. Bring Masks

This was a partial description of one of the sales last weekend that caught our eye..."No Children. Bring Flashlight. Bring Gloves. Bring Masks". Interesting and eye catching. The former owner of the house passed away at 104 years old. Her husband had lived to the age of 94. This house could really have a lot of interesting things. Of course, if we decided to go here, we were being warned to wear what nearly amounted to a hazmat suit. This was definitely an intriguing description. Before we even got to the weekend saling though, we had to overcome the flood.

The's what happens when 13.27 inches of rain falls in just six hours. Between 4am and 6am alone, 9.5 inches of rain fell. That amount of rain was unprecedented on Long Island and we were right in the hardest hit area. To put things in perspective, the average rainfall total on Long Island during the June, July and August months combined is 11.68 inches. We knew a rainstorm was coming. No one was prepared for this. The infamous Hurricane Sandy, while devastating to great portions of Long Island, was not a great rain event. It was a storm surge event and a wind event but not a rain event. Long Island saw an average of 2 inches of rainfall during that storm. 

This is what our parkways looked like (picture courtesy of

This is the intersection two blocks north of our house (picture courtesy of This is late in the morning when the water had subsided quite a bit. Rob made three trips to see if he could get through; the first at 5:30am and the last at 9:00am. Impassable. We both had to stay home from work.

Our house took on 3 inches of water on the main floor but only ten feet into the house. Our garage also received some water beneath the garage doors for the first time since we have been here.  Some boxes got wet in the garage but nothing was ruined. We just moved all of the dry boxes, removed the contents of the wet boxes and put those things into new, dry boxes. It did take a few hours and we did have to run two loads of wash to clean the towels and some wet clothing from two of the boxes but we did not lose anything. In the hallway downstairs, Rob had staged some old VHS tapes so he could label them and many were ruined but none that he felt were critical. Everything turned out fine. 

So as Saturday arrived, we were dry and ready to go saling. We had the "No Children. Bring Flashlight. Bring Gloves. Bring Masks" sale to consider as well as a few others.

The sale that contained this picture was not one of them. While Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby or Cindy may have made this one their first choice, we had other ideas. When our list was finalized, we had four potential stops. We decided not to make the hazmat stop our first of the day. We figured there would be a line and we figured we might come out so dirty that we might be tempted to go straight home after that stop. We would save that one for later.

Stop #1 was located two counties away but it was only a 45 minute ride. It was an old house and there were not too many pictures associated with this sale but we did see one thing we liked...a cool tiki bar. We don't have room for it so we weren't going to buy it but we did see some cool tiki mugs on the bar and that was definitely on our "want" list. When we arrived, we encountered the dreaded line!

Even the cicadas had to wait to get inside!

There was the tiki bar and Monica was thrilled to see sitting in front of it, even if it wasn't in our immediate plans. Unfortunately, nothing else was either. The tiki mugs were gone and there was nothing else even remotely interesting. It was on to sale #2.

Our three other sales were in an area that was about 30 minutes away. We still decided to save the "No Children. Bring Flashlight. Bring Gloves. Bring Masks" sale until later. Sale #2 was a "packed vintage house" which sounded good to us until we arrived and saw another line. This one was about 15 people deep and the sale had started about 45 minutes earlier. This one could be awhile. We decided to move on and get some breakfast. Waiting around could cost us at least an hour. We had another stops to make!

With breakfast checked off on our list, we moved onto sale #3 which was described as having four floors to search. The basement was cluttered enough to consume some of our time but the other floors were neat and quick searches. We spent about thirty minutes in this house and came away with a dish, two records, one cookbook and a few assorted 1970's bubble gum cards. 

One stop left..."No Children. Bring Flashlight. Bring Gloves. Bring Masks". Monica was not waiting for a picture to be taken...this was the sale we were curious about all day! This sale was the buzz all day. At the previous sale, we ran into one of the guys who works at one of tag sale companies whose sales we frequent (he had the day off and was doing his own shopping). He told us that he had heard that they found a cat skeleton in the house while getting the house prepared. This was, of course, not substantiated, but we were prepared for anything! We also found out that the recently deceased owner was 101 years old, not 104. This WAS substantiated by her great grand nephew who was at the sale

Some of the items were dragged out onto the front lawn and we spent fifteen minutes searching before venturing into the house itself

One peak inside the front door told us that this house would fall somewhat short of being pristine inside.

There was clutter all over. The kitchen counter top was once pink. This is as close as we could get to it

The tiles on the wall leading down to the basement were multi-colored and very cool. Pink, blue and yellow. It took only about two minutes inside the house to understand why the sale was labeled "No Children. Bring Flashlight. Bring Gloves. Bring Masks". There was a distinct and almost overwhelming odor of cat urine throughout the home and there was recently disturbed dust everywhere! 

There was also a mounted pencil sharpener...always a good sign! 

There was a really cool pink cabinet upstairs that we were definitely tempted to consider. We both knew, though, that we might not have a place for this right now and our attention turned to what we wanted now

Every floor required a pretty thorough search. This is a picture of the attic. We had to climb over debris, search through boxes of clutter and dig, dig, dig! At least this floor did not have as strong an odor as some of the other floors. The basement was fine, the main floor was vented by having the front door open but the second floor was pretty brutal. All indications pointed towards that floor being a favorite of the cats who once lived here. 

We found this hat on the top floor but it was ruined beyond repair. Monica was sad about this but we found so many other things. We spent two hours at this house (with the occasional break to get some clean air outside) and found lots of Christmas things, cookbooks, greeting cards and lots more. It was everything that we hoped for and more!  

Here are some of the things we brought home with us:

Some records. The one on the bottom right is from Hartz Mountain Products. We looked all over for the cover! 

Some cookbooks

More cookbooks

More cookbooks...

...and more cookbooks!

Christmas cookbooks

Books and pamphlets

A vintage plastic apron for Monica

A pair of hats for Monica. The one on the left is ready as is. Monica will create something with the one on the right

Various bubble gum cards from the 1970's...Star Wars, Welcome Back Kotter and Wacky Packages. We already have so many of these from our childhood

An old toilet paper caddy. It will require a little work to restore this but not too much. We already have its companion hamper, also in turquoise.

An old Jack O'Lantern candle, an old plastic Easter grass bag (we have plenty of old Easter grass to store in it), a Chiller Theatre button from 1963 and an old large paper trick or treat bag

A pair of ceramic clown ash trays (made in Japan), a vintage starburst dish, a nude girl bottle opener (Rob has named her "Goldfinger"), an old tiger purse (with blinking eyes), a LILCO potholder and a Smokey The Bear figure from the 1960's.

A plastic pocketbook missing its handles (Monica will use this to store things) and a bunch of ceramic items made in Japan: an atomic salt shaker (missing its mate), owl salt and pepper shakers, cat salt and pepper shakers and a dog and doghouse pencil sharpener/holder set

Vintage cards

More vintage cards with its box. The set originally had sixteen cards. There were eight left

Vintage Christmas cards

Vintage foil Christmas cards

More vintage foil Christmas cards

More vintage foil Christmas cards...

...and more vintage foil Christmas cards

A Christmas bottle opener (marked Japan), vintage Christmas wrapping paper, paper plates and gift tags and a small bottle brush wreath

Vintage Christmas fabric. We have washed them since this picture and they came out great!!!

Vintage Christmas towels still in their boxes...

...and here they are!

Vintage candy dishes

Some reindeer. The one on the left and the salt and pepper shakers beside it are marked Japan

Some Kreiss ceramic Christmas pieces. All are marked Japan. The pigs in the front are salt and pepper shakers

More Christmas things. The snowman, second from left, is a two piece stackable snowman with one piece being a salt shaker; the other a pepper shaker. The Santa on the right is a hanging bell. 

It was a very busy week and we spent Sunday finalizing the cleanup from the mid-week rain. We weathered the storm and we weathered the "No Children. Bring Flashlight. Bring Gloves. Bring Masks" sale. Hand in hand, we know, we can always and will always weather anything that comes our way...together.