Thursday, July 24, 2014

I need to know.

Before I get started here let me just say that this much I already know:  I am a vintage dish junkie and therefore have NO BUSINESS whatsoever prowling around the dish aisle of a Goodwill thrift store BUT once I’m in the store I feel it’s my moral obligation to check out every. single. aisle. including the one with the lame used sporting goods (deflated soccer ball or random golf clubs anyone?) and so there I was.  

Doing my civic duty in the dish aisle. In the name of junking. Which sounds an awful lot like junkie.

For the most part I kept my hands to myself but while eavesdropping on two people discussing Pyrex (free continuing ed class over in housewares!)  I spied some pretty little plates and here comes a(nother) confession:  I have become THAT PERSON. The one who whips out her phone in Goodwill to google the item in her hand before making a potentially heinous mistake involving fours of dollars by taking a pass on something that maybe she should have bought but didn’t.  Because of the fours of dollars involved.

And now I’m also that person who refers to herself in the third person.

And it was just four dollars.

I really don’t know how to explain that part of the equation. It’s not like they cost forty dollars because then PROBLEM SOLVED.

The tipping point. 

Back to the dishes. The magical, pretty dishes that had many interesting things happening. A nautical theme. Not one but two marks on the back (mad googling begins here!) and those marks involved the words ENGLAND and FAMOUS ARTISTS. Surely those are good signs. And the crazing. I love crazing. And they were pretty. And I’d never seen them before. And they were pretty.

Oh that crazing...

Hands over four dollars.

Despite my frenzied googling at the store and later again when my dishes and I got home, I still couldn’t determine specifically who the “famous artists” were and somehow not knowing disturbs me.  If I were putting the works of “famous artists” on my merchandise (and adding a second china mark specifically explaining that they were made by “famous artists”), I would say in BIG HUGE LETTERS who the “famous artists” are.

A painting by a "famous artist." 

And now I feel as though the internet is keeping secrets from me. Because everything about everything is on the internet by now, isn’t it?

I will keep looking.

Monday, July 7, 2014

On getting keyed up at an estate sale

Last weekend netted one of my dream scenario estate sales. All of my lax, random criteria were met or exceeded: family run, out in the country, piles to pick through, displayed nicely but not too nicely, very reasonably priced and there were OUTBUILDINGS (2 of them!).

So many campground signs.

Bonus! (and possible new criteria): The sale was being run by four handsome brothers.

There was just one little flaw at this otherwise perfect sale and I’ll simply refer to that as The Barnacle.*

While passing by the giant FREE pile on my way to the good stuff in Building #1, The Barnacle, who had stacked her purchases next to the free pile, greeted me by saying, “Don’t touch those! They’re mine!” even though the only touching was WITH MY EYES as I walked by.

So many enamel numbers.

 I filled a box with my purchases and left it with brother #3 in building #1 while I headed to building #2 which was manned by brother #4. 

Years of experience with sleeping in arriving at estate sales hours after they’ve opened has forced me to fine-tune my ability to detect things that were missed or skipped over by earlier buyers.

So many interesting old keys.

I reached for a massive ring of keys that had been overlooked because it was hanging between studs on a garage wall and *like magic* there at my elbow was The Barnacle. She hovered behind me to see if I was buying the keys while her husband yelled out from across the garage, “Hon! I can’t believe you missed those keys your first time through here.”

Sorry, Hon.

I now had an estate sale shadow following me and I didn't know why since The Barnacle appeared to have been finished with her shopping when I arrived. Maybe it caused her anxiety to see me swooping in and making piles of the things she rejected. Maybe she thought I knew something about the junk that she didn’t. Maybe missing out on that ring of keys caused her to question all of her life choices. 

We'll never know. 

So many Wheaties cereal prizes - Frank Buck explorer's sun watches. 

I do know at this point there were only two shoppers in this 3-car garage, myself and The Barnacle, and as I dug through a very small box, she suddenly appeared again, standingrightnexttome, and stuck her hands in the same small box where my hands were already busy rummaging.

What exactly was happening here?!

Much to my surprise, my outside voice, which would usually try for a more diplomatic approach at first, just blurted out “Are you stalking me?”  #personalspace

And I was completely ignored. 

At this point I had to make some decisions.

Should I get into a Barnacle-Stalker girl fight in a (handsome) stranger’s garage at an estate sale?

No. Because that is a completely ridiculous idea.

So many old Pacific Northwest license plates.

But if I did, would it affect my ability to buy the stuff I had left behind with (handsome) Brother #3 in garage #1?

Probably. And that would be NOT GOOD.

Could The Barnacle take me down pretty easily?

ABSOLUTELY. Small rambunctious pets have knocked me over. I was no match for her.

So I stepped away from the box and The Barnacle. 

Why? Because there is so much junk in the world, more than enough for everyone, that it’s just not worth being another Barnacle at an estate sale. And I’m more than okay with that.

I did buy the keys. All 446 of them. Sorry, Hon.


*To describe a tenacious person or thing.