Monday, August 11, 2014

Mechanical Difficulties

We still are a little behind. This post chronicles the first weekend in August. We hope to catch up soon!

The weekend was once again upon us. The week started off with good news...Monica's mom was moved to the Rehabilitation Center on Tuesday which meant her leg infection was well on its way to being healed. Now she will have to develop the strength to walk again. This will take several weeks, if not months, but it is a necessary step towards full recovery. 

Our Saturday arrived with one car in the shop (Monica's inspection was due) and one car on the road. It would be Rob's car that took up on the day's adventures. We would have to finish our stops early so we could pick up Monica's car by 2 pm. That would be fine because we were due at Rob's sister's house for a barbecue in honor of his mom's birthday. With only two prospects on our list, this seemed like an easy, pressure-free task., especially since the two stops were very near to each other. With a short list in hand, off we went!

Both stops that we chose were in the same town which, we figured, would help keep us on schedule. Stop #1 was a familiar site. It was the sale that was "postponed due to illness" last week. Today, the sale was on and we were eager to see what was in the old basement that was pictured in the ad for this sale.

Before we even got a look at the basement itself, we found this odd little closet that was at the bottom of the staircase. It was filled with little statues that the owner of the house had made. Sitting in the middle was one thing that was not crafted by the owner's hands...a tiki mug...made in Japan for the Hawaii Kai Restaurant which served its last patrons nearly thirty years ago. We had found our first purchase of the day!

The basement was old and, in the corner, was this cool, old refrigerator

There was also a cool bar in the basement which Rob searched thoroughly without any finds there. We did find a few good things though. Aside from the tiki mug, we found a great apron, a couple of records and a vintage Christmas card. On to stop #2 !

We arrived at stop #2 in just a few minutes; anxious to see which of the "50 years of stuff" would appeal to us.

There was a pencil sharpener near the entrance to the basement...always a good sign! 

The basement was large. Half of it was like a cellar. It was cool and comfortable and there were signs of Spring (though we knew outside felt more like summer). 

The rest of the basement was finished. It had a great, old floor

There were three floors with many rooms to search. Monica found this leopard hat though she chose not to bring this one home. We did, however, take home some great curtains, a couple of Christmas things, some barware and a few other things.

As soon as we left stop #2, we realized that we had missed a phone call from the mechanic. Monica's car was ready but additional work was needed soon. She needed three new tires and the right axle was going (at a cost of a little over $500). The work couldn't be performed that day but would need to be done within the month. We scheduled it for the following week. Rob's car had a $500 repair already this month. Our cars were failing us a bit.

Oh well...we finished our saling for the day and had plenty of time to pick up Monica's car and get ready for the barbecue. About five minutes into our ride, Rob's car started overheating. A quick check under the hood and the problem was evident...a ruptured hose in a spot that could not be accessed easily. We were 30 minutes from home at this point. We bought a container of antifreeze, filled the radiator with one third of the container, turned on the heat full blast (to draw heat from the engine) and got on the parkway to head towards the mechanic. This would be tricky because a tow from the parkway would cost us $300 but, at the moment, stopping for red lights and stop signs would not be the engine's best friend. The plan was to drive the car until the temperature gauge was almost in the red, take the next exit off the parkway and rest the car so more antifreeze could be poured in and we could resume the journey. Our first stop was halfway home and we found a place for the car to rest and it was right by a place where we could get some breakfast. To make a long story short (maybe it's already too late for that), we stopped two other times, made it to the mechanic, exchanged cars and made it to the barbecue and enjoyed a great night despite the mechanical difficulties.

Sunday found us ready to do our errands and household chores but still find time to relax together. That was our plan. The refrigerator had a different plan for us. We discovered a small puddle in front of the refrigerator and lots of food inside starting to defrost. Rob pulled out the refrigerator, pulled off the back panel and cleaned the coils and hose. The fan was working. It looked like it was a failing condenser. Mechanical failure again! We quickly got all the perishables to Monica's sister's house. She lives just five minutes away and has an extra refrigerator/freezer in the basement. No food was lost!  

Our landlord brought a loaner refrigerator to us on Monday and bought us a new one on Wednesday. We knew we had a lot of work to do. Both the old refrigerator on its way out and the new refrigerator on its way in would need to meet our staircase. Our kitchen is on the second level of the house. Wall hangings would need to be temporarily removed and furniture would need to be moved if the refrigerators were to navigate the tight corners. To complicate matters, one of our bookcases toppled Tuesday morning. We are awaiting the perfect bookcases for us and, in the meantime, we have been using those cheap, modular built-in-yourself metal bookcases that many kids use in college. Rob toppled one last year. Monica bumped into the other one and it collapsed (Monica suffered a few bruises on her leg). Rather than reassemble it, we did what we did with last year's collapse...boxed the books and dispose of the bookcase. To make another long story short (already too late), Rob and our landlord moved two refrigerators on Wednesday and all our furnishings were moved back in place shortly thereafter. Our food has now returned to our house!

Back to our finds at the two estate sales. Here is what we got:
A couple of records

A pair of Easter plates

An old package of Scuff Kote, some Tupper measuring spoons (they were called Tupper before changing their product line name to Tupperware), a small ornament and an old  Hans Christian Andersen book (with Danny Kaye's likeness)

A tiki mug (made in Japan), some old shot glasses (featuring Indians..."Rob's people") and some glass cocktail swizzler sticks

Some Christmas decorations

An old apron

An old fiberglass curtain. We got a pair of these

It was a weekend that was filled with unwanted surprises and went by so very quickly but we got through it together. We both decided to take a vacation day on Friday so a three day weekend is on its way. Our plan is to spend it having fun and we will...barring unexpected mechanical difficulties.


  1. I am confused about the refrigerator. Did you buy that vintage refrigerator? Does it work? Doesn't it have to be defrosted?

    1. We wish we bought a vintage refrigerator! We rent this house so the landlord was responsible for the refrigerator. He bought us a new one that will be left behind here when we eventually move from here (Rob)