Monday, December 31, 2012

Pre-Monday Rambles

I have to be at the hospital pretty early in the morning, so I'm writing this on Sunday.  There's still so much to do!  I'm getting a little cranky and stressed at this point.  I've been eating so much crap that I'm actually bloated and gassy.  Stress-eating combined with holiday feasting is never a good idea.  Ever.

We went to the big flea market at the fairgrounds yesterday.  Keith actually went with me, which doesn't always happen.  I had a lot of fun.  One of these days, I'll do a Junkin' Memories post about my history with this particular flea.  It's kind of part tradition, part junking, part something else for me.

In terms of actual merch hunt, the only time to go the big flea is New Year's and Labor Day, when they have the special antique wing.  There are a lot more vendors there and much better chances of scoring.  The parking fee at the fairground is just too much these days to go every month, like I did in the old (pre-booth) days.

The antique wing is great for three reasons.  First, it's a chance to see a lot of cool stuff in one place.  I've always loved browsing the antiques!  Second, it's a good chance to do some research and learn about things.  Finally, there are the dollar booths!  Yay!

There are always several dealers who are dumping a bunch of items that they got in bulk buys, box lots, and estate clean-outs.  They've pulled the big dollar items for their stores, which is where they'll make their money.  Everything else they sell at a buck a throw, just to get rid of it.  Sometimes, there's even overstock from their shops that they're tired of looking at.  Nothing is organized, but you can find some great bargains, if you're willing to dig a bit.  I'm always willing to dig!

Unfortunately, because of the surgery, I had to go on the first day of the flea market, instead of the last day, which is what I usually do.  On the first day, the items are two bucks each, which pretty much cut down on what I could buy.  Bummer.  I did find a couple of dollar booths, just not as many as there will be tomorrow.  I scored this awesome, clear Pyrex bowl for a buck!  It's huge!

I'll have a couple more posts on the flea market later in the week.

This afternoon, we headed out to look for post-Xmas clearance.  I've had such a sell-through on Xmas stuff that I definitely need a restock for next year.  For the most part the markdowns still aren't high enough for me, but Target had just hit the magic number!  I got quite a bit of stuff--more than I usually would.

I like to get several small stashes of Xmas from different stores, so that I've got a variety when the next year rolls around.  I'm kind of afraid right now that I'm going to miss the big markdowns due to the surgery. If they go low on Tuesday or Wednesday, I'm going to miss out for sure.  To be on the safe side, I decided to get a larger stash from target than I normally would.  I'll have a little less variety next Xmas season, but Target stuff is nice, so I should be okay.

I've still got a couple of blog post to finish for next week, a couple of YesterNook posts to write for the week, and laundry to do.  I know I'm not going to have them on very long tomorrow, but I would prefer to go into the hospital with clean undies.

By the time you read this, I'll most likely be in surgery, unless you're catching this early Monday morning, in which case I'm checking in and waiting for my turn to be sliced.  I haven't told Nigel and Sixtus what's going to happen.  I want the little bastards to be caught off guard!

Hopefully, I'll be back at the keyboard pretty soon!  Take care y'all and be safe this New Year's Eve!


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Special Musical Guest Sunday

Welcome to the last Sunday service of 2012 here at  First Ed-boro Episcabaptecostalicterian Church of God in Jehovah Jesus Christ of Saint Margaret-Mary-Vladimir-Athanasius-Bartholomew in Eternal Holiness and Mercy!  We've certainly got a special treat for you this morning.  Our musical guest is Sister Mary Clarence and her group of trained musical penguins.  You'll love watching them harmonize and dance and clap their little flippers!

Wait...what?

They're....not...penguins?  Are you sure about that?  Those puffy little white chests look awfully penguiny to me.

Oh....they're nuns!  Now I get it!  (Before I forget to mention it, the special offering this morning will go to help the Right Father Reverend Priestly Holy Brother Pastor get a new pair of specs.) 

Maybe we should just let them sing.

Take it away, sisters!



Salve Regina, folks!

Friday, December 28, 2012

When all else fails....

You can never go wrong with an Emmylou Harris video. especially one where she's accompanied by a dulcimer and nothing else!  If there is indeed a heaven, and by some clerical error I end up there, this is totally what it will be like.




Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Post-Holiday Babbling

Maybe that should be "Inter-Holiday Babbling"?

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday.  We sure did here.

I got Keith these:



 And he got me this:


It might seem like I came out a bit ahead on that deal, but he loved the house shoes!  In fact, when he opened the package, he said to me those three little words everyone wants to hear from their partner:

"You're a nut!"

Chiquito liked the house shoes too!
There were other presents, but those are the highlights.  I was genuinely surprised by the Nook.

I'm off work until mid-January, so I'm trying to catch up on some stuff and get some rest, at least until my surgery next week.  I'm going to try to post every day until I go the the hospital next Monday.  I'm going to clean out some old stuff that needs to go up, so I can take the items I'm posting about to the booths.

I need to get out to the booths to tidy, but as long as it's freezing rain/light snow/nasty out, I'm keeping my tubby butt inside.  I absolutely cannot get sick right now.  

I'm also hoping to go ahead and schedule a few extra posts through the end of next week, so that there is some content here while I am in the hospital.  When I get home, I'll do a quick update to let you know how things went.  I'm not totally sure how long I'll actually be in the hospital.  I'm thinking only a day or two, but my primary care doc thinks it'll be three or four days.  Neither the surgeon or the hospital has been very clear on that point, so I'm just playing it by ear.

As soon as I can, I'll put up pics of the scar where Nigel and Sixtus used to be.  I'll make sure it's not a bloody mess before I do.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Monday Rambles

Okay, so I'm going to have to put the vintage cards on hold for next year.  At least it gives me a whole fricking year to get the dang things scanned and posted.  Works for me.

I spent the last few days of last week, including the dread end of the world day, in the dark with no lights or heat.  I was still house-sitting and a transformer blew across the street due to very high winds.  The crews worked on it for several days, and the power would flash back on and then cut out again.  This also happened to be the time that the temps dropped to true winter levels.  Dark and cold.  I almost started to believe that the Mayans were right.

I hope everyone is ready for tonight and tomorrow.  I finally got Keith's presents wrapped over the weekend.  We'll probably go to midnight mass tonight.  That's one of our off and on traditions. Maybe Santa will come while we're out.  I've been good.  Really.

Sales have been strong this month, until the beginning of last week, when they slowed to a crawl.  Things picked back up by Friday, though.  It did kill the momentum I had built up a little, which is frustrating.  Still, I am only sixty bucks off last month's total sales at the Peddlers Mall, and we still have a week to go (but the store is closed tomorrow).  I usually have a really good day after Xmas sales total.

Looking back at what has sold, I can make some preliminary conclusions:

Ornaments (new and vintage):  MOSTLY SOLD OUT
Wrapping paper:  SOLD OUT
Cards:  DID NOT SELL WELL
Dishes:  SO-SO SALES
Gift Items:  50% SELL THROUGH

I'm not going to end up with too many leftovers to store.  The gift items will be left out, just shifted around.  New stuff sat good prices is a good thing to have for tax season, which is our busiest time in this business.

My pre-surgery tests went well last week.  Nigel finally stopped bleeding and all the bloodwork was good.  There was a bit of a scare about my blood pressure, which was waaaaaay high.  I've never had blood pressure issues at all, mind you, even during stressful times.  The culprit turned out to be the cold meds I've been slugging in my dread fear that  I was going to get sick and could not have the surgery.

In other words, my hypochondria-driven preventative treatment designed to keep me healthy enough for the surgery almost made me ineligible for the surgery.  The irony, it burns.  I went back to my doc on Friday and my bp was normal, so it's full steam ahead.  This time next week, Nigel and Sixtus will be gone.  I, for one, can't wait.

Happy Merry Ho Ho, Folks!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Rambles

Nigel is bleeding again and I can't seem to get enough pressure on that spot to stop it. It's not like copious amounts of blood, but even just a small trickle of blood coming down one's neck is unsightly and disconcerting.

My pre-surgery tests are scheduled for Wednesday. If it hasn't stopped by then, I'll see if they can put a good pressure dressing on it. To make matters worse, I'm pet-sitting right now, so I'm bleeding in someone else's house. I'm terrified of ruining the sheets or the furniture.

I have no internet connectivity of any kind there, plus my laptop keyboard seems to not want to work, so I am typing this at work. Not sure when I'll get anything else up this week. I have to stop by the house tomorrow and pick something up in the morning, so maybe then.

I tried to make some fudge for a holiday party at the Peddler's Mall on Saturday, but it turned into a disaster. I've been away from the holiday candy-making too long. I hope I haven't lost the touch. I'm the keeper of the grandmother fudge recipes. I have one from each side. Maybe I should just subtitle this one "Fudge and Blood."

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Holiday Traditions? We has 'em!

One of the fun things about selling vintage Christmas items is imagining all the holidays those items have seen.  How were they used in holiday traditions?  That's kind of a fertile ground for thought:  Holiday Traditions.  Most of us have some variation on them.  For example,  I haven't yet posted the Hardrock, Cocoa, and Joe video, which has become one of my traditions for the blog.  The certainly do fit in with the vintage theme, don't they?
 


I'm thinking a lot about those holiday traditions these days, since a few of them have come to an end. There won't be a gift exchange with my mother this year the Saturday before Christmas, followed by a trip to the breakfast buffet.  I'm still having a harder time dealing with that than I would like to admit.

When I was a kid, about the first grade, I made a Christmas Eve devotional in Sunday School.  It was a pretty simple deal:  Sing "Away in a Manger." Pray. Sing your favorite carol. (I chose "Deck the Halls.) Read the Christmas story.  It was written on a piece of construction paper and decorated with crayon drawings and Christmas stickers.  Mom kept it tucked in her Bible and, every year, we would do it on Xmas Eve before we opened presents (another family tradition).  Even after she and I had both moved past our church days, we kept it up. It was a sweet little part of our Christmas.  It bothers me that I have no idea what happened to it.

Some traditions tend to evolve over the years, even here at the blog.  Usually, I bring up Suzy Snowflake at about the same time Hardrock comes out.  This year, I present a slightly more modern version of Suzy:



If her Exorcist-style spinning head creeps you out, here's a more traditional version:



What are some of your traditions?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Holiday Cheer

I've got a touch of a cold that I am desperately trying to both kick and keep from getting worse.  My pre-surgery tests are next Wednesday and I am terrified that if I am sick then, they'll postpone the procedure, even though it's nit until the 31st and I'll definitely be all well then.

I'm also sick to death of not having time to blog properly, dammit.

There's only one solution for all this trouble:

HOLIDAY MUPPET VIDEOS!!!!



Actually, there's very little that Muppet vids cannot fix.  

DING!  DONG!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

This one is for Shara

In one of her recent update posts, Shara (aka monkeybox) asked folks to "decorate the bejeebus" out of their homes and share the pics with her, since she was doubtful that she would be able to do much decorating this year.  Thankfully, since that post, her mother has taken a turn for the better and she seems to now be on the verge of decorating.  I'd still like to do my part anyways.

We haven't decked the halls of our manor in a few years now.  Between booths and jobs and stuff, there's just no time or space any more.  This is the third Christmas without Mom, and there's still something that's not right about that.  The last holiday that she was alive, we didn't decorate either.  It just didn't seem right.  It's not like I'm a Scrooge or anything.  The same feeling isn't there for me these days.  Maybe it will come back some day.  I haven't even baked or made candy for the last few years, either.

Anyway, since I don't have decked halls to show off, I thought I would include the following shot from one of my booths instead.  I think she'll like it just as well.



That's my little chorus of vintage Anna Lee mice, all for sale at YesterNook.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Belated Monday Rambles

Welcome to another chapter of my so-called life.  Things are just too damn hectic right now, and I have no idea how to bring them under control.  None.  I feel like Chiquito is my life organizer right now.  Work wraps up next Thursday for a three week hiatus, so there's a lot to do there before the break.  I'm trying to get some things done at home before my surgery at the end of the month lays me up for a bit.  Both booths are running through merchandise right now and I can hardly keep up with them.  It seems like everywhere I look all I see is more stuff that needs to be done.  That doesn't even count anything holiday related!  Ack!

I know I sound like a broken record on Mondays, but I feel like the blog just kind of fell apart this month, after doing so well for so long. It's a little discouraging.  I hope you're all enjoying the Cthulu carols.  That may be the only holiday spirit (heh!) you get from me.

I had a couple of nice customer encounters while I was working at the booth yesterday.  Usually, I just try to get me job done and work around them, but from time to time they want to talk.  I met a couple of Coke glass collectors and helped them find some other booths that also carry them.  I also had a lovely chat with a woman who told me that she always makes a point to come to my booth when she's in.  She said she always finds something there.  Then, she turned around and snatched up four holiday bowls!

I need to get a pic of my Christmas display before it all sells away.  I'm down to only three sets of boxed ornaments.  My dishes are selling well.  Individual ornaments always do good for me too.  The gift items are starting to move, finally.  I need to get a Craigslist post of them up.  Can't believe I haven't done that yet.  I'm out of wrapping paper, but my Christmas cards, Holiday music, and tree toppers don't seem to be moving at all.

Chiquito has taken to waking me up in the middle of the night for attention.  If he doesn't get it, he attacks my C-PAP hose or my pillows until he does.  Sometimes, I just want to sleep.  Thing is, he'll just lay there, if I'll put a hand on him, but he almost always tries to lay down behind me instead of in front of me, which causes problems.  When I'm sound asleep, I'm not keen on rolling over, which means the shenanigans start.

A couple of nights ago, I'm fussing with him and trying to get him to stop bothering stuff and either lay down or leave, when Keith rolls over and says:

"Angela Merkel is coming to take care of that!"

"What?"  (The only response I can think of to a statement like that.)

"Angela Merkel will take care of him."

"Chiquito?"

"Yes!"

"But Angela Merkel is the Chancellor of Germany!"

"I know!"

And then he goes back to sleep.  In the morning, he doesn't remember the conversation at all.  Apparently, Chiquito and I are causing an international incident.  Or something.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Secret Origins

Continuing the story of Nigel and Sixtus.

I've always had lots of moles.  My mom's side of the family is pretty moley.  Most of mine are just flat spots of color, but I do have a couple of not-so-attractive protruding ones.  Thankfully, those are all on my back.  I'm the only one that ever has to deal with them.

The mole that turned into Nigel was one of those flat spots of color on my neck.  He was small, light brown, and fairly unobtrusive before he went wild.  A couple of years ago, I rubbed my neck while I was sitting around watching TV and noticed some bumps on the surface of my skin that had never been there before.  When I looked in the mirror, I saw they were forming on top of this mole, which had grown larger and darker.

I knew about the darker and larger part, but the bumpy was something new to me.  People had been asking me about that "dark spot" for a while, but I passed it off as nothing.  Somehow, I convinced myself that it always looked that way and was therefore okay.  It wasn't until after I noticed the bumpiness that I looked at a picture from 2006 and realized that it didn't look the same.  That it used to be small and brown, not big and dark.

I started checking it every few days to see if it was getting bumpier and that was how I discovered Sixtus.  My hand strayed off the mole and I felt a small, hard lump under my skin.  I thought it might be just a swollen gland, but I couldn't find anything corresponding to it on the other side of my neck.  That's when I first realized that I had a problem.

This was a couple of months after Mom died, so the cancer idea was pretty strong in my mind.  I'm educated and aware enough to know that all the signs are not healthy and point to something serious.  The problem was that I had just lost my job and had no insurance.  It may have been a dumb thing to do, but I decided the best course of action for the moment was to keep quiet and keep an eye on things.

I wasn't going to let it go forever.  If it had gotten noticeably worse, I would have done something.  As things stood at that moment, though, I felt discretion was the better part of valor.  I was still sorting out my employment options, for one thing.  I didn't want to take any action that would cause this to get labelled as a "pre-existing condition" and not covered by any future insurace policies.

Keith was another concern.  I knew how much he would worry about it and I was afraid he would try to make some heroic gesture that we really couldn't afford at that moment.  I knew it was very risky, but keeping quiet seemed like the best option at that time.

Time passed.  I started getting some decent part-time work.  The booths started doing well.  I was in a place that really made me happy.  I just had no benefits.  Nigel didn't really grow that much, although the mole got splotchy and ugly.  Sixtus just acted plain weird.  Sometimes the lump seemed bigger.  Sometimes, it seemed smaller.  It was really hard at times and not so hard at others.  It was not like anything I had ever heard of.

This past summer, I was able to get insurance coverage through Keith's employer, who added domestic partner benefits.  I figured I still needed to wait a few months, to get out of "pre-existing" land.  I also picked up a gig with really steady hours and some regularity descended upon my schedule.  It looked like things were going to work out and then something threw a spanner in the works.

In September, my neck swelled on that side and turned red.  It was warm to the touch and very tender.  That was a scary moment and I finally told Keith the whole thing.  He freaked out on me, got justifiably mad at me, and insisted I get medical attention immediately.  I wanted to hold out until January, just to be safe with the insurance.  I also wanted a few months to bank some co-pays, because I knew there would be more than one doc involved.

He would not go for it, so I struck a Faustian bargain with him.  I would talk to our doctor about it, if he would make an appointment to get some things seen to that he had been putting off.  I am not above a little emotional blackmail.  Of course, right after I did this, the swelling, redness, and pain all went away and have never come back.

Due to my schedule, I couldn't see my doctor for afew weeks.  After that things happened pretty quickly--referrals, ENT doc, dermatologist, biopsies, scans, more biopsies, consultations, and now a scheduled surgery.  After Sixtus comes out, he's going to be biopsied again, and the results of that biopsy, plus what they find when they open my neck up, will determine if I need any other cancer treatment.  I'm thinking the surgery will be the end of it, since the scans didn't show that anything had spread.  I could be wrong, but I feel like I'm almost out of the woods.  I guess we'll see.

The biggest hassle for me right now are the little annoying things.  Nigel bleeds a lot, sometimes at really awkward moments.  That has been worse since the biopsy.  Monday night, I ended up in the ER because of it.  It was a totally unnecessary visit, but Keith was insistent.  I'm also getting really tired of doctors. 

More than once, I've gotten really pissed off by one who either schedules something for me without consulting me, talks to me like I'm an idiot for insisting that everything work around my work schedule, or really seems more interested in getting his cut of the insurance pie.  Through this whole process, there have only been two doctors that have taken my concerns into consideration and let me make the decisions.  One of them is our primary care doc, who is wonderful.  The other, thankfully, is the surgeon who will be performing the procedure.

By the way, the name Nigel comes from the ENT doctor, who biopsied that spot.  He kept referring to the "nodule" on my neck, except that it sounded more like "nojul" when he said it. It was a short jump from that to Nigel for me.  Sixtus comes from the radiology folks who did the scan and biopsy on the lump.  They kept thinking it looked more like a cyst on the ultrasound.  My odd brain turned that into "Sixtus" and they both had names.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Adventures of Nigel and Sixtus

I've picked up two new friends in recent days, so I thought it was about time to introduce them.  They've been hanging around a lot and are having quite a bit of impact on my day to day life.  Let's start with a photo, shall we?



That multi-colored blotchy thing is called Nigel.  I'm not sure if you can make him out or not, but next to him is a kind of lumpy spot.  His name is Sixtus.  They live on the right side of my neck.  Well, Nigel lives on my neck.  Sixtus is more like inside my neck.  The consensus is that he's made himself comfy on my right parotid gland.  He might be related to Nigel, but we aren't sure about that.  Nigel, you see, is a malignant melanoma.  The red spot is because he bleeds from time to time.  Sometimes a little.  Sometimes a lot.

Yes.  I have cancer.  Even as I type this, feel like a bit of a fraud saying that, like I'm going for the dramatic or something.  I know cancer.  I've seen cancer.  My mother died of cancer.  I was there.  Keith's brother died of cancer.  This is cancer.  Me?  I've got an annoying spot on my neck that bleeds sometimes. 

I'm not saying this out of false modesty or denial or anything else.  I know what melanoma is and what it can do, but I feel like just about everyone that knows about it wants to shove me in some kind of a convenient box that I really don't want to be in right now.  I think there are other people hurting and tired and sick and worried from this disease or other medical situations, and they are the ones that need attention and concern.  Not me.  They're the ones who need it and deserve it.  I'm just trying to live my life and deal with this thing until it comes off.  It's an annoyance and an inconvenience to me, but nothing near the level other people are dealing with.

The coming off of Nigel and the coming out of Sixtus (always knew he was gay) is scheduled for December 31.  Happy New Year to me.  We won't know for sure how much stuff will be removed with Sixtus until they get in there.  The whole parotid may have to come out.  Lord, I hope not.  I'm also not sure how they are going to replace the skin they remove with Nigel.  I fear having bits of my buttocks attached to my neck.  Around the house, I'm already referring to myself as a "buttneck."

They've been on the scene a while now, but I have held off on writing about them until now, because I really didn't feel like drawing attention to something that is going to be gone soon.  However, they have been really asserting themselves into my life more and more lately and it's getting on my nerves.  I needed to start getting this off my chest (and neck).  There's more to their story, but I've said enough for right now.  I'll continue later.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Monday Rambles

Gaaaaah!  Last week sucked!  I ended up with no time to do anything.  Got hit with a double whammy at work and it just took the life right out of me!  Nothing got done.  Well, work got done.  But that was it.  Nothing.  I'm discouraged and disappointed about that.  Seriously.  I mean, this is it.  It's post 200.  And I have nothing to say, because I really had no time to plan anything.  Oh well.  Story of my life, I guess.

Still, compared to what's happening to other people, I really have no room to complain.  I'm just tired and cranky with too much to do.  I know I've asked this before, but please go back over to Monkeybox and show Shara and her family a little more love.  They're having a helluva a time right now.

I'm gonna try to get caught up this week.  Work should level out a bit, hopefully.  I managed to get a couple of projects caught up tonight, so I'm kind of ready for the week ahead.

Booth sales were strong last week.  I'm totally out of wrapping paper, now.  Still have too many of my Christmas dishes and holiday gift ideas, though.  Still November ended strong, saleswise.  The extra week in November after Thanksgiving has been playing tricks with my mind.  It feels like it's later in December than it actually is, so I still have time for more stuff to sell through.  It's weird.

Geez!  This has got to be the most pathetic blog post ever.  I almost don't want to post the damn thing.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Have Yourself a Lovecraft Little Christmas!

Despite appearances to the contrary, I'm not really all that into the Lovecraft mythos.  It just never really clicked with me.  However, there is something about a choral group that bases its music on the tales of Cthulu and the like that appeals to my inner nerd, not to mention my twisted sense of humor.  So, in honor of the season, I present Cthulu carols!









Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Rambles

Well, Black Friday was a mixed bag, boothwise.  Had a really good day at YesterNook, where I put out a ton of vintage Xmas AnnaLee dolls, but only a so-so day at Peddler's Mall.  It wasn't a bad day there, per se.  It was just a normal day.  I typically have a good BF there, so I was a little bummed about that, especially since I spent most of Wednesday there re-working the space and getting ready.  However, Saturday redeemed everything with 81 dollars in total sales there, followed by Sunday with 84!  Woo hoo!  Let the holiday shopping begin!

I'm a little concerned that few of my gift idea items are selling, but I think my set up may be to blame.  It's way too crowded.  I've got a new idea I want to try out to alleviate some of that.  Plus, I've not done my Craigslist ad yet.  On the other hand, I've sold out of all my wrapping paper and all my Disney Christmas items.

I had a kind of disturbing experience while shopping on BF.  I was in a thrift that was doing a half-off sale and had a cart loaded with stuff.  The aisles at this thrift are very narrow, and there is no room to get a cart through the clothing racks, which have bins on top with merch in them.  I left my cart at the end of a rack and was looking at stuff in the bins, when I hear a "clank" from my cart.  I turned around, and there's some woman digging through my cart!

Now, there's only like eight people in the shop, so it's pretty obvious who has carts and who doesn't.  I shout at her to get out of my cart and she grunts at me:  "There's carts all over the store.  I didn't know."  Like hell she didn't.  When I came in the store she was digging through the large donation bin at the front of the store, and it has a LARGE sign on it that says the items in that bin are not yet for sale.  She knew exactly what she was doing!

She managed to snag some stuff out of my cart before I caught her.  I saw one of the items sitting on a shelf later.  She didn't want it because she had chipped it while rummaging around in my cart.  She also chipped something else in the cart that I really wanted to buy.  The nerve of some people.  Seriously, I would never do something like that.

Later on, we went to Half-Price Books for their sale.  I managed to get all of my holiday gifts there, so that worked out nicely.  My sister-in-law and I have similar tastes in mysteries, so buying for her is always fun.  Now that my niece is totally a teen-ager, she's a bit more of a challenge.  I also found several vintage board games at one of them for a buck a throw.

My usual plan of action there is to load my cart up with possibilities and then sit down somewhere and sort through them to decide what to buy.  Since they frequently only have one copy of many of the things I am interested in, I tend to grab it before it's gone and then make the actual buying decision later.

So, I loaded up my cart and found an empty chair to sit in and started going through my choices.  It usually takes me a little while, since I like to thumb through things, read a few passages, etc.  I'm in the middle of this process, when a woman pops up in front of me and demands to know where the stuff that was in the chair is.  I tell her that the chair was empty when I sat down.  She tells me that there was a vest and two books there.  I repeat that the chair was empty.  She then reaches for my jacket, which is in my cart, and starts to pick it up to look under it.  Excuse me?

Right at the point where I'm about to tell her to get her hands off my stuff, a staff person intervenes and tells her that her stuff is at one of the registers.  They thought someone had forgotten it, because it had been laying unattended in  the chair for over half an hour!  Sheesh!

Basically, twice in one day, I had my shopping cart violated by odd women.  I hope that's not an omen for something.

This is going to be a busy, busy week.  New group starts at work.  Out of town meeting on Friday.  Booths to stock.  Posts to write.  Cards to scan.  Books to read.  Junk to price.  Lots to do.  My desk has become an out of control mound.  I cannot find my camera, which I need to finish a couple of posts and also for some Craigslist postings.  Too much to do!

 Guess I'd better get on with it, huh?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thoughts on Black Friday

That title is a bit of a double entendre, actually.  These are both thoughts about Black Friday and thoughts that I am having/writing during the morning of Black Friday.  It works for me.

My relationship to Black Friday has changed a bit over the years, due to a couple of reasons.  One is the change in my income/status caused by the loss of my last full-time employment a couple of years ago.  Even now, when I'm in better economic shape thanks to a good part-time job, I'm not nearly as up on BF as I used to be.  There's also my realization that I simply have way too much stuff.  I really don't need any more.  Really.  That's one of the reasons that I started re-selling.

On the other hand, as a re-seller, I have a bit of a vested interest in any day where people go out and buy stuff.  I just want them to buy it from me.

We used to be dedicated BF folks.  We'd plan our day, get up early, wait in line, etc. I do need to make it clear, however, that we never lined up the night before, never shopped on Thanksgiving, and never, ever got into the madness at Wal-Mart.  We may have been dedicated, but we weren't fanatic.

The past couple of years, I've gotten up early for the Half-Price Books gift card giveaway, shopped there, and then gone home and gone to bed.  This year, I'm going to go for their sale, but I've kind of given up the idea of getting that 100 dollar gift card.  It just ain't gonna happen.  We will be heading over there later, as it's kind of my one-stop shopping for holiday gifts these days, but not until a more reasonable hour.  

There's a lot to Black Friday that can be seen as unsavory, or at the very least should give one pause for thought:

  • It's out of control.  It's not just the insanity at Wal-Mart, either.  Wednesday evening, we stopped at the grocery to pick up a couple of things for Thanksgiving dinner.  There were folks already lined up at the K-Mart next door.  That's out of control.
  • It encourages excess, whether it's greed, consumerism, or bad behavior.
  • Where does the money go?  Who truly benefits from this frenzy?
  • What about the workers?

Given all this, is there another way to "do" Black Friday?  One alternative is an outgrowth of the Occupy Movement called Buy Nothing Day.  It's an extremist kind of reaction, and, like all such reactions, it's got a few problems.

For one thing, it's indiscriminate.  The organizers make no distinction between corporate big boxes and small, locally-owned businesses.  The smaller you are, the less able you are to take the hit of no one buying anything from you.  I fully admit to the inherent self-interest in this comment.

It's also overly simplistic and idealistic.  A couple of pages about BND postulate that it will lead to the decline of the capitalist system.  Really?  While I do think we all should approach our interactions with the system carefully and thoughtfully, I think we do so in order to make those interactions as ethical and decent as possible.  It might in the end lead to societal change, but that's more of a happy, unintentional result, rather than a goal.

It's limited in scope.  I know that BF is an easy, bloated target of consumerist madness, but there are 364 other days of the year where we exist as economic beings.  If you're actually going for societal change, then your efforts need to be made on more than just one day a year.

Finally, it's not always practical.  Food.  Medicine.  Gas to get to work.  There are things that have to be purchased on any given day, including this one. 

I've kind of been thinking about this ever since I heard a news story about BND last year.  Unfortunately, I didn't get around to writing anything at that time, so now is that chance to get it off my chest.  What I'd like to see is a spectrum of "days" developed to counter not only the frenzy of BF, but the whole holiday season.  This is an approach that can also be carried on throughout the year, if someone chooses.  Here are some ideas:

Buy as Little as Possible Day:  A retooling of BND that takes into account necessary shopping.  It could also be called Necessities Only Day.

Buy Local Day:  Make a point of doing the bulk of your shopping at locally-owned businesses.  Keep more of your money in your hometown.

Shop Small Day:  This one already exists.

Shop Secondhand Day:  Yard sales, thrifts, flea markets, etc. would be the focus on this day.  Extending the life of items, putting them back into use, and keeping them out of the landfills are concrete ways to counter the "must have more" consumerist mentality that pervades BF.

Make it Yourself Day.  Use What You Have Day. Give Back to the Community Day. Shed Your Excess Stuff Day.  Buy American Made Day.  There are all kinds of ways to extend this model throughout the year.  You could sit down with your 2013 calendar and identify several of these deliberate days throughout the year, maybe even several a month.  This is a way to make conscious economic decision-making a regular part of your life.

Once again, I acknowledge that there is a lot of economic self-interest in several of these suggestions.  What do you think?  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gratefulitude

Happy Tofurkey Day, Everyone!

We made great time back to Louisville on Tuesday and actually made the whole trip in one big chunk.  That's not really the way we prefer to do it, but we got past the point of no return and just kept on going.

We were actually quite surprised about it.  Going down, we got caught in a massive construction slowdown outside of Memphis.  It took 3 hours to go about 12 miles!  We were prepared to get stuck in that again, but we cruised right through the same spot with no issues.

Our early arrival back home meant that I had a whole afternoon to spend at Peddler's Mall getting ready for Black Friday.  A lot of the items I had put out before we left sold while we were gone, which was a good thing.  I had kind of ran out of room for all my Xmas stuff!  I was able to totally rearrange and completely restock the area, so I am totally ready!  I have a few more Christmas items to go out, but for the most part, it's all out.

We're now prepping our annual vegetarian feast.  I'm pricing up stuff that I haven't had time to get to recently.  I'm going to spend the afternoon working on my junk room, which has become impassable again.  Tomorrow, I'll head to YesterNook and put out my last vintage Xmas stuff.  I think I'll hit a thrift that's doing half off, then to Half-Price Books for their sale.  I'll get my gift-shopping done there.

If you're watching my post total, you'll see that 200 is just around the bend!  Woo hoo!

I'm planning on getting some posts done and scheduled this weekend, so you'll have some content this week.  Hopefully, you'll read about some recent acquisitions, recent travels, and other thoughts in the next few days.  I've also found a huge stash of vintage Christmas cards, so "Your Vintage Christmas Card of the Day" will be returning, once I get some scanning done.  I'm also working on a couple of "Junkin' Memories" posts and a "This is How We Do it" post.  Plus, I've got a kind of a personal issue to talk about.  Stick with us, folks.  There's lots to come!

In the meantime, please go over to the Monkeybox blog and show Shara some love.  Her family got dealt quite a blow a few days ago.  There's always a personal side to just about every headline you read.  It's sad how often we forget this.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mini-Monday Rambles

Just a really quick note to let everyone know that I am still among the living on this planet.  Right now, we are in Arkansas, wrapping up our annual Thanksgiving-ish visit with Keith's family.  We head out tomorrow and will be back in Louisville for our own feast.  Regular blogging should resume about that time.

It's been a whirlwind trip, as usual, but I did get some quick junking in.  Finds include an awesome vintage suitcase with all hardware working, plus two keys!  It was a dollar.  I love, love, love small town community thrifts.  I also found a box with like 30 volumes of manga in it for a quarter apiece.  The biggest community thrift wasn't open, unfortunately.  I also got attacked by a Chihuahua in a Santa suit at this dinky Mom and Pop thrift place I stopped at.  They had nothing but crap, but when I turned to leave the dog ran and jumped up at my leg, barking and snarling all the while!

I always end up wishing we had more time when we come rushing in like this.  Too much to do and not enough time to do it!  Maybe next year!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Junking Show I Could Get Into (If It Were Real)

To be honest, I hope to get in a bit of junk-shopping while I'm at my reunion.  I may be more excited about that than I am about seeing people that I haven't heard from or thought about in decades.  A change in junking environment does a body good, you know.

Like a lot of junkers I know, I'm pretty much over the whole junking TV craze these days.  I'm hoping it's a trend that's faded, because all it really does is make things more difficult for us, because there is always some yo-yo who says that he saw 'the Pickers give 600 bucks for one just like it."  Everything boils down to commodification on those shows.  What can they get out of it?  Very little respect gets paid to an object's history or uniqueness.  They could care less about how cool or awesome it is.  No one has any joy over finding something that they can use to provide someone else an unforgettable experience.  It's stuff without any soul whatsoever.

Whether they're picking or junking or buying units or going to other auctions, there's always an obvious element of unreality to the whole deal, which is especially obvious if you're a real-life junker.  It's time for the whole thing to just go away and let us junk in peace.

However, there is one show that I would fall in line behind, if it ever made it to the TV screen:  Lake Dredge Appraisals!  Check this out:



Isn't that just the perfect parody of all of those shows?  It's on the Onion channel on YouTube.  It's definitely worth checking out.  Quite honestly, it's one of the best things on that channel.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Nerds Unite!

I'm off to my 25th college reunion this weekend!  I'm also wondering how the hell that happened?  Are they sure 1987 was twenty-five years ago.  I'm sure I'll have lots to say afterwards, but in the meantime, it's videos this weekend.

First up the Nerdfighter Anthem!  If you're not cued into the whole nerdfighter gig, checkout the vlogbothers on YouTube or just google it.  Makes me proud to be a nerd, I tell you.  We make the world a better place, you know.




Thursday, November 08, 2012

October Sales

Just a quick wrap up at last month's sales and a look ahead to the next couple of months.  October ended up pretty good at both spaces.  I did have some slow days, but I also had my highest day ever at YesterNook.  While I do wish that there had been a touch more regularity throughout the month, I really can't complain.  I'm moving furniture at YesterNook again and my books are selling well there too. 

The Halloween display at Peddlers Mall did really well.  I had another 75-80% sell through on it, which is the same rate as last year, but with a larger amount of merch this year.  All my skulls eventually sold.  The large skeletons sold, but the smaller ones did not.  I think it's because they were supposed to have eyes that light up.  Since these didn't have batteries in them, they didn't and folks were probably leery about that.  Next year, I'll get some cheapie Dollar Store batteries and put them in, then raise the price a buck and see what happens.

One thing that did not sell well was the costumes.  I still had over half of them left, including an expensive baby costume from Carters.  Next year, it goes to YesterNook.  I think just having them all in a tub hurt the sales, so I'll have to come up with a new way to display them next year.  In the meantime, I'm not buying any more.

I've pretty much wrapped up my post-Halloween clearance shopping.  I scored some of the most awesome skeletons ever for dirt cheap.  They're going to get priced and head to storage for next year.  I'm already excited about it!  The display will be awesome.  I ended up with about four tubs of stuff again.  That amount seemed to work well this year, so I think I'll stick with it.  I'm not ruling out picking up some stuff at a yard sale or thrift, particularly mock tombstones (which sold well) and vintage stuff (which is so freaking hard to find), but I think Halloween 2013 is set.

Now it's on to Christmas!  Oh yeah, and Thanksgiving.  My mother used to say that she wanted to buy a bunch of frozen turkeys and put them in her yard, because no one ever decorated for Thanksgiving the way they do for Halloween and Christmas.  I've got a nice Thanksgiving thing going, but it's not really that large.  If I make it too big, I have lots of leftovers.  I did find some Thanksgiving stuff already on clearance with the Halloween stuff, so I bought it to add to my display.

My Christmas stuff is already selling well.  My new gift items are moving nicely.  I put about a third of them out, and I'm already going to have to restock.  That's a good sign.  Decorations are selling too, especially Snoopy and Disney stuff, and I haven't even put out much of the newer items yet.   I'm anticipating a good holiday season.

We'll have to see how that goes.  Check back next month for more!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Belated Rambles

Okay, so how about some belated rambling?  Sound good?  Here we go!

Like I said on Monday, I spent most of last week sick with a bad cold.  My whole routine was: stagger out of bed, take Dayquil, go to work, stagger home, take Nyquil, go to bed, repeat.  If I hadn't planned out those birthday posts weeks ago, then I wouldn't have had anything on the blog at all.  There really wasn't a lot to write about.

Thankfully, I was starting to get better by the time of the birthday celebration.  As usual, the birthday weekend was devoted to my favorite activities:  eating out and second-hand shopping.  In the days before I had a booth, I was looking for stuff for my collections and such.  Nowadays, it's a merch hunt, although I did find a cool stash of old comics for myself.  Since the yard sale season has pretty much died (more on that later), the birthday event is kind of like my really big push to make sure that I'm stocked enough for winter.

As I get older, it's surprising to me how tired I am at the end of the weekend.  Wheeling a cart around a bunch of vendor malls is a lot more tiring than you would think!  It's also surprising to me how the secondhand retail scene has grown in this town.  I used to be able to hit just about every thrift and flea market in town in one weekend.  Now, it's just not possible.  In fact, there are a couple of stores that have been open for a couple of years now that I have not been able to make even one visit to yet!  I keep worrying that we've reached or exceeded our carrying capacity and that there's going to be some contraction in the market, but it doesn't seem to be happening yet.

As usual, it was a lot of fun and I got a lot of cool stuff.  I feel better prepared for the colder months now.  In fact, I might be able to get by for both booths without having to make too many merch runs during the cold months, except possibly for furniture.  Seems like a good deal to me.

We did hit one yard sale (actually a church sale) over the weekend.  There weren't many listed, and most of them seemed to be scraping the bottom of the barrel.  This particular sale has been one of my favorites, but it usually happens much earlier in the year--February, to be exact.  Going from being one of the first sales of the year to one of the last really hurt it, I think.  This is the kind of church sale that allows a bunch of people to set up, but also has a large area of stuff that the church is selling.  I think the date switch put the sale so late that most church members had already had their own sales, so they only had their leftovers.

I did buy a few things, but nothing really special enough to post about.  A couple of oddball things happened, though, that are worth mentioning.  I asked a lady how much this cubby organizer thing for a kid's room was.  None of her stuff was priced.  She responded with the old "How much will you give me?" b.s.  I said, "Three dollars."  Then she said (and I quote verbatim here):

"How about four dollars? No, make it $3.50, then meet me in the middle at $3.25.  No, let's just go with three, like you said."

In other words, she countered her own counter-offer and did my negotiating for me and came out at my price!  I've never seen anything like it before.  Ever.  I resisted the urge to ask if she had sold much that day.

There was another lady with a bunch of electronic stuff that was not priced.  If someone asked about something, she would look it up on Amazon using her iPad.  Whatever someone had a used one listed for on Amazon was the price she quoted and she refused to negotiate because "I could get more for it on Amazon!"  I wasn't even interested in her stuff, yet I really had to suppress the urge to go over and tell her to put the damn stuff on Amazon, then wait six months or more for it to sell (if ever).  Seriously, you're going to turn down someone standing in front of you with cash in hand for a mythical 20 bucks more you could make on a website where you will never, ever actually list the item?  Someone needs lessons.

I spent the actual birthday day working my booth at the Peddlers Mall.  Last Monday, I had started rearranging to prep for the post-Halloween merch shift, but didn't get done because I wasn't feeling well.  I kind of left everything half done and then had not been back due to my cold.  In other words, I had a lot of work to do to get back on schedule.  Interestingly enough, I sold several more Halloween items in the days after Halloween, including the last of those damn skulls.

I pulled the Halloween stuff, rearranged the booth, tidied, and put out a ton of new stuff, including the start of Christmas.  I made a new Thanksgiving display, since my other one was getting a little tired.  The first round of my holiday gift idea items are out, with more still to come.  It all cleaned up rather well.  I forgot my camera, so you'll just have to take my word for it.  Keith commented on my working on my birthday, but the booth recognizes no such special occasions.  Afterwards, I started making my rounds of Halloween clearance to stock up for next year.  More about that in my sales analysis post.

I'm betting I'm not the only one who stayed up too late last night watching that nail-biter of an election.  Now, it's time to pull together and get things done.  I'm in.  Are you?




Tuesday, November 06, 2012

DFTVA!

Image courtesy of the vlogbrothers


I'm off today, due to the election.  I've been working on some things online most of the day, but I'm getting ready to stroll over to my polling place and vote.  I'm hoping I won't be alone over there.  Sometimes, the place is practically empty.  I'm also hoping that many of you have either already voted or will do so this afternoon.  This one is important, folks.

Honestly, I fear for my country.  Not because of who might win the election, although I do have a pretty definite preference there, and I do think that the other guy will do some pretty crappy things if he's elected.  I also know that my guy will not be able to do everything that he would like to do should he win. He'll even up doing some things that I do not approve of.  But none of that is what I am afraid of.

No, I am afraid because of the nature and tone of political discourse over the last two decades.  You don't have to be up on current events to realize how nasty and polarized things have gotten.  It used to be that the rhetoric would ratchet down after the election as officeholders had to turn to try and work together.  Now, however, it continues 24-7 through the entire year.  As a result, we see how little is being done.

Never would I have imagined that one party would simply declare itself the "party of no" to everything a President proposed, even if it were beneficial or even if the idea started from them.  No President has had to suffer as many indignities over stupid issues as this one has.  And you know it will be worse in the future, no matter which one is chosen.

I fear because we are losing the ability to be civil over differences, to agree to disagree when needed, to find ways to compromise and work together.  Compromise means creating a solution that neither side is completely happy with, because both sides have had to make concessions.  It means moving forward with solutions that may not be totally ideal, but that will make improvements.  Compromise used to be what made politics function and prevented gridlock.  Now we've got too many players who refuse make any concessions whatsoever and demand that those around them do the same.

Never before have we had a climate of such increasing ferocity, rigid definitions, and litmus tests.  it seems that to identify yourself one way or another means that you have to totally embrace a list of positions or be called a traitor to the cause.  Thinking for oneself is not allowed, nor is asking questions.  Worse yet, this climate has allowed us to start defining people on the other side, without listening to individuals, by lumping them in huge categories and insisting that this is what they are like.  Further, since they are like that we should not have to listen to them, work with them, associate with them, or even be related to them.  Polarization creates stereotypes.  Stereotypes create further division.

Perhaps saddest of all, so many of these shrill polarizing voices come from outside the political arena itself.  Personalities and commentators have so much influence over the public discourse.  Outside interest groups can pour so much money into campaign ads that do nothing but further their own interests, not the common good.

Please, vote today as you see fit.  Vote your own reasons.  Vote your conscience.  But then remember,  after the polls have closed and the votes have been tallied, no matter who wins or who loses, we are all Americans.  We all want what is best for our country.  To get there, we have to work together.  We have to listen to each other.  We don't have to totally agree, but we can recognize good arguments from the other side.  We can be open to each other.

If we can't, I fear for my country. 

Monday, November 05, 2012

Monday Scrambles

It's been a really hectic day, and I'm just too wiped to think and write coherently.  I was sick most of last week, so I didn't get to work on Monday Rambles throughout the week like I normally do.  Taking all that into consideration, I'm postponing Monday Rambles (with its birthday wrap up) until Wednesday this week. 

Tomorrow, I'm planning on doing a political post.  If that's not your bag, just skip it and pick up with Wednesday's Monday Rambles.  There are some things I need to get out of my brain.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

And today, I am 48!


Finally, after my false start last year, I am hitting 48.  I'm actually excited about this birthday, because 48 is such a cool number.  How cool?

Well, for starters you can divide it evenly by 3.  All of my life, I have been obsessed with interested in numbers that are divisible by three.  It is a magic number, you know.



Beyond that, it ends in 8, which is an even number, which makes it divisible by 2 as well.  And, since it is divisible by both 2 and 3, that means that it is also divisible by 6!  Yay!

Carrying on, 48 is also divisible by 4, 8, 12 and 16!  It's just a giving fountain of divisibility!  A plethora of divisors!  Yay, 48!  Yay, me!

Numbers fascinate me.  Can you tell?

Remind me of how excited I was about 48 in two years, when I'm crying about the big 5-0.

Our picture today is courtesy of the ever-so-kind Monkeybox, who uses it as part of the decorations for her birthday.  It's a box of vintage letters and numbers for birthday cakes.  When I saw it on her blog, I had to ask to use it here, since I was turning 48 and it says "48th Birthday" on the box!  Awesomeness!  Vintagey goodness! 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Almost Here!

It's tomorrow, btw.



The times on each person are the amount of time each is in the vid.  Cool, huh?  At least I'm getting older in a world with TMBG!  And Keith!  And my kitties! 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Rambles

Brrr....chilly temps have moved in.  It's Fall at it's most lovely fallishness!  I love it! Yes, I do.

Haven't been hitting too many sales lately or thrifts either.  I'm awash in junk and desperately trying to get organized and ready to shift into Christmas mode later this week.  The five extra hours I was able to add to my work schedule is having an impact on my junk schedule, and I have yet to fully adjust.  It'll come in time, but I need to be more settled right now than I currently am.

I did go to the Fall Book Sale held by the library this weekend.  Of course, I went on Sunday, which was box day.  It was very odd this time.  For starters, there were about a third fewer books than normal, and less than a quarter of the normal Sunday crowd.  Not sure what that was about.

Then there was the organization of the books, or lack thereof.  Typically, everything is laid out Dewey Decimal style, which makes it very easy for me to hit topics that sell well for me (like Religion and History), avoid ones that will make me buy too much for my own use (like Mystery), and ignore everything else.  This time, however, there were a couple of tables of children's books, tables for Mystery, Sci Fi, and Romance, half a table of Biography, a couple tables of General Fiction, and everything else was dumped on a half dozen tables marked "Unsorted" or "Mixed."

I've never seen anything like it at this sale before.  I had to slog through everything to find useable books.  I still came up with my usual three boxes, but it was a lot more work than normal.  I wasn't really happy about that, for sure.  I'm kind of guessing (and hoping) that the act of condensing stock as things sold led to the creation of these jumbled tables.  I hope it's not the wave of the future.

Speaking of books, I've been re-reading some of the John Carter, Warlord of Mars books by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  There were some volumes of the series in a batch of books I bought a little while ago, and I decided to run through them before selling.  It's kind of like being 12 again.  I am enjoying them, although the almost 48 year old me is noticing things that the 12 year old me would have been oblivious too, like the overall datedness of the series, the stilted language and the repetitive nature of the stories.  It's been good as a lark, but I don't think I could do a steady diet of it any more.

I'm crazy busy this week, but I do have posts lined up.  They're a bit lighter than usual, but I'm laying the groundwork for an event of immense personal importance.  You'll understand what I mean tomorrow.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Spooky Special: Danse Macabre

And, finally, graveyard music meets high technology.  There's something soothing about this one.



I hope you enjoyed my Halloween treats for you this year!  Have a safe and fun time this year!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Literary Corner

A Poem What I Have Wrote

By Michael Edward Mitchell
Age 47

Hypotenuse!
You big recluse!
Why must you be so obtuse?
You still look better in chartreuse.

Oh my friend, Hypotenuse!
Stop being such a silly goose.
Cease your torrent of abuse!
Just go put on your silk charmeuse.

We're already late to the damn party.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Monday Ramble That Wasn't

What a week last week was, and what a week this week will be.  I pick up extra hours at work starting this week, which I'm kind of looking forward to, but am not totally sure I am ready for.  I have a lot of ideas for what I want to do, but I've not had time to put anything to paper and actually plan it out.

I've also got another matter going on that's going to take some time this week.  I don't want to say anything about it just now, because there's still a lot that I don't know, but in a couple of weeks, I'll be able to fill you all in.

We went to dinner and a play Friday night for a birthday party for one of Keith's friends.  This was someone we both used to work with ages ago.  I looked around the table at all these people we've known for years, but haven't seen for a while, and couldn't help but think:  "Damn!  When did we all get so old?"  I'm planning on going to my 25th (!) college reunion next month.  I wonder what that's going to be like?

Sales were up and down all week.  The up's were waaaay up and the down's were equally so.  Sigh.  I'm starting to think Louisville is at a saturation point of re-sale vendor's malls and it's starting to effect sales.  I can think of like two dozen off-hand.  I'm thinking more here of the flea market-type malls, as opposed the the more secondhand store kind of place like YesterNook. 

There were special events at both stores on Saturday.  I went and helped out at the YesterNook event, which was fun.  It was kind of Halloween-themed, so I went in costume as the Mad Monk of Schnitzelburg!  (Schnitzelburg is the name of the neighborhood where the store is located.)

Flee the Mad Monk!

I got the costume last year at Halloween clearance sales.  The wig I got on sale this year.  It was 4 bucks.  (It looks it too!  But I felt a "mad monk" needed "mad hair.")  The crucifix I am wearing is an antique.  I felt that was in keeping with the nature of the store.  It was actually the first item I ever bought when I was beginning my collection of religious items.  It was five dollars in a now-defunct antique store on the same street as the auction guy.  That was in 1987.  How's that for a junkin' memory?

That hair drove me nuts, by the way.  It got in my eyes and face all the time, especially when I was trying to work on anything.  That cheapo polyester robe sure makes me look fat!  The wig was hot, hot, hot!  I cannot figure out how Dolly Parton does it.

I had the best one day sales ever during the event at the YesterNook, which is way cool.  I got rid of several large, pricey (for me) items.  I didn't do as well at the other event, but I've now sold all of the skulls, but one!  Yay! Skulls gone!  In fact, if I can move out the last skull and a couple of Halloween buckets, I'll be down to less than half a tub of stuff.  I'm at about 75% sell through now, which is what I did last year.  I'd like to bump that up to 85-90%.  We'll see.  

I hit the motherlode of furniture at an warehouse sale on Saturday.  I got a vintage office chair, two stools, two cool black chairs and a couple of industrial retro mail sorters for less than thirty bucks.  I've already flipped the black chairs for enough to pay for the whole load!

The sale was at an old printing firm that had gone out of business.  The people who bought the building didn't want to throw everything away, so they were trying to sell it.  Prices were just  kind of okay, but the guy started making deals on everything I was looking at and it turned into a festival of bargains!   

Here's a point to ponder:  Everybody I've ever known in my life named "Eddie" spelled it just like I do, with "ie" on the end.  I've never known, met or heard of anyone who spelled it "Eddy."  So why is it when I order something that requires my name to be written on a receipt, it always ends up as "Eddy"?  Seriously, people!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Spooky Special: Danse Macabre

And now the Johnny Depp version!  Enjoy!



Fun Fact:  Depp was my first major post-coming out, same-sex celebrity crush!  And he's still quite fine, even after all this time!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Don't Forget!

I'll be there.  In costume even!  It'll be fun.  Everything in my booth is 20% off all day long.  Other vendors will be having sales too.  Plus, there will be candy.  You know you like candy!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Comic Buy

Eddie-tor's Note:  I have been trying to write a Junkin' Memories post about comics for a while now, but I can't seem to keep it from being four or five parts.  They've been just so intertwined in my life for so long that it's hard to be brief when I talk about them.  While I wrestle with that issue, another opportunity to talk about comics popped up for me.  Let's see if I can do this one in just one post.

A couple of weeks ago, the best local comic shop was having a sidewalk sale, which they do every so often.  It's the kind of thing I never miss, if I can help it.  It used to be that I was looking for finds for my own collection.  Now, I go looking for stuff to sell.  When the comics are a quarter or less, I can usually find it, too.  I sell a lot of comics, you know.

My relationship to comics has changed over the years, but this store is still kind of special to me.  It's the first comic shop I ever visited, way back in my senior year of high school.  My best friend and I came up right after Christmas that year.  It was an amazing experience for me.  So many comics in one little spot.

That was 30 years ago, and when you consider that the store has been open for 35 years, that means that I have been shopping there, in one form or another, for most of its existence.  Most of mine too, now that I think about it.  Even though I am not a regular any more, one of the managers still knows me by name.  It's that kind of place.

Anyway, back to the sidewalk sale.  Usually, these sales are about clearing out overstock of titles from the past couple of years that didn't sell through as expected.  I'm looking for these "event" issues that were hyped up and sought out then, but have cooled waaaay off now.  If I can pick several up in the 25 cent range, I can make decent money reselling them at a fraction of the cover price.  It's a strategy that seems to work.  With prices of comics these days, not everyone can afford to run out and buy every issue of the big crossover story any more.

When I was digging around in the boxes, though, something else happened.  I found memories.  For some of us, the nostalgic aspect of junking is a motivating factor.  It's just that instead of striking the nostalgia chord  by buying something to keep, we buy it to pass on and strike someone else's nostalgia chord.  I've found that it's just as satisfying to own something for as long as it takes to sell it, as it is to hang onto it for life.

You have to understand that when I was a young lad trolling the quarter boxes at flea markets and in shops, they were treasure bins.  Classics from the late sixties and early seventies would fall into my hands.  Eighty page giants.  One hundred page specialsClassic stories.  Classic art.  I built an awesome collection a quarter at a time.

This was pre-eBay, pre-internet, when things were abundant and cheap and you never knew what you would find.  Quarter boxes haven't been like that for years, if you can even find them these days.  Mostly, they're fifty-cent boxes any more.  For a few moments that Saturday afternoon, things were almost like they used to be.  I was finding treasure scattered amongst the merchandise.

This was one of the first Marvel comics I can ever remember buying with my own money.  I got my copy at the old drug store on the square in my hometown, the one with the soda fountain where they cut your hot dog in half down the middle and fried it on the grill.  They never had very many comics, but they did have a few on their magazine rack.

What If?  (first series) #4


I was never that into Marvel as a kid. I just always preferred the color and wonder of DC's to Marvel's angst and bombast.  But I liked the Invaders.  Until I got into the X-men a few years later, it was the only Marvel comic I followed.

Superboy #208


This was a reminder of quarter boxes past.  You used to be able to find these old giants all the time.  You sure can't find them on eBay for that price!  I didn't get to the sale until about one o'clock, so I was surprised this was still there.  Kids these days don't know what they're missing.  I already have this one (and the Invaders above), so they'll go to the booth to be passed on to someone else.

My mom would go through these phases when she would try to "clean up" my comic collection.  Mind you, this was in the late seventies and early eighties.  Mainstream, newsstand comics were pretty tame in those days.  One year for my birthday, she got me a whole stack of Spire Christian comics.  Another time, it was a bunch of these literary adaptations.

Marvel Classics #18


After Wonder Woman and Teen Titans, this was my favorite title, drawn by one of my favorite artists.  I am pretty sure I have both of these, but I'm hanging onto them until I know fir sure.  I've been paring my collection way down over the years, but some things you keep.

Two more Superboys, for which I did not note the issue numbers.


Finally, a find I could not believe.  You never find these Classics Junior issues for a quarter, even when they're in rough shape.  These babies are keepers.  I've always loved the Classics Illustrated titles.  I read a ton of them when I was young and they were still being published.  I think my mother may have had a hand in that as well.

A gaggle of Classics Illustrated Juniors


One of the wonderful things about junking is that you just never know what waits for you when you set out.  This is true no matter what the reason you go out searching for junk.  Sometimes the unexpected find is tangible and will bring you dollars.  Other times, it's just a memory that makes you happy.  I'm not sure which I prefer more.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Challenge of Chiquito

You can sing the title of today's post to this tune.  Indeed, how does one solve the challenge of Chiquito?

It begins with trying to take a pic of some newly acquired merch.


It was six years ago that I announced his arrival into our household.  He was a cute little kitten and a hyper little bundle of energy.  At the time, I kept saying "Wait until he turns five or six.  He'll start slowing down and grow out of this manic energy."

Suddenly, the help appears!


Well, he's now six and he still runs through the house, climbs on everything, tries to pull pictures off the wall, incessantly demands attention, and just wreaks general havoc.  Keith keeps looking at me and saying:  "You said he would grow out of this."

I try to remind him that Kosh was quite the hell-raiser when we first got him, as well.  In fact, Kosh didn't calm down until he was about three, right after we brought Chiquito into the house.  Kosh seemed to mature and settle down all at once after that.  I suggest that we try the same approach with Chiquito, but Keith just doesn't seem to want to go for that approach.  I think he's afraid the newcomer and Chiquito would band together and gang up on the rest of us!  

Ooo, does that card have a tassel on it?  Why, I do believe it does!


Next year, he'll be considered a senior cat.  At seven, you have to start getting geriatric check ups for your kitties.  I'm wondering if he's going to be an old man swinging from the ceiling fan.  The answer to that scares me.  He may not be slowing down as he gets older, but the two people in this house certainly are!

Is this the face of a guilty culprit?


As I am writing this, Keith is in the kitchen yelling "Get down!"  That only means one thing. We have to keep dishes on top of the fridge and boxes on the cabinets to keep him off of them.  We've never been able to break him of jumping on top of them.  If he gets up there, he claws at the ceiling tiles.

In his defense, he is cute, sweet, cuddly, funny, silly and an excellent mouser.  How do you solve the challenge of Chiquito? 




Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dorothy

This past Saturday, we pulled up at a sale, and I realized that I recognized the building.  I turned to Keith and said, "Honey, it's Dorothy's place!"  All of a sudden, we were both lost in memories.

Dorothy passed away about ten years ago, after a life of rabble-rousing and hell-raising.  She had lived in an apartment in that building for decades.  Back in the days when we were young and idealistic, she was one of the core members of a group called Honesty.  We were Southern Baptists.  We were gay and gay-friendly.  And we were determined to try and change our church.

Dorothy was in her late 70's when I met her, I think.  She smoked a couple of packs a day most of her life and had the loud, gravelly smoker's voice and cough to go with it.  She spoke her mind, no matter what the circumstances.  She also had two cats, a sweet long-hair named Gypsy and a stray tom that she took in and called Clyde.  He was huge and not very friendly.  Dorothy and Clyde had a running battle to see who would control the household.  Those cats were her family, and she turned one room in her apartment over to them.

I met Dorothy when I was in the process of coming out.  I was a young, active Southern Baptist raised in church, and I had dated several different women over the years.  I struggled for a long time to make the pieces fit together.  Eventually, I settled on bisexuality as kind of a temporary stopping point.  I identified as bi when I joined the group.  Dorothy told me later that she was thinking, "Poor thing.  He just doesn't realize he's gay."  It took me a few more weeks, but eventually I figured it out.
  
Dorothy and I kind of clicked right away, but ours was never an easy relationship.  I've always been bad with returning phone calls, and she would get mad at me for weeks over that.  Eventually, she would forget why she was mad and say something like: "You little shit, I can't remember what you did to make me mad, so I'm not mad anymore.  Get over here and give me a hug!"

We liked the same soap operas, so she would save her soap magazines for me.  We would look at them and argue about which actor was the cutest.  After we got our first cats, we would swap cat tales.  I had a few houseplants when we got ours, but could not keep the cats out of them, so I put them all on the porch.  I promptly forgot to water them and they died a slow, withering death.  One time when she was leaving our apartment after a meeting, Dorothy looked down at the pathetic, withered pots of plants and said, "Eddie, your flowers are looking lovely!"

She was truly a treasure, and we were privileged to know her.  Eventually, the group disbanded.  Slowly, but surely, we were all leaving the church and didn't see the need to keep fighting to change it.  Most of us realized it was a dysfunctional, abusive relationship, and the best thing for us was to get out of it.  Dorothy advocated strongly for keeping the group together.  I don't think any of us realized that we were her primary source for socialization.

We kept up for a while, but then slowly drifted apart.  A few years later, we got a call that she had passed away.

It was kind of odd to buy stuff out of that yard.  We ended up telling the kids that were having the sale all about her.  It turned out that two of them were living in her old apartment!  Yard sales are often about memories, but usually it is the memories of the people selling their stuff.  Sometimes, someone shopping will find something that they used to have and remember it.  This is the first time I can remember that I've gotten lost in memory over the place having the sale.

We're no longer quite so young.  We're no longer quite so idealistic.  We're no longer Southern Baptist.  We are, however, still gay!  One thing we'll always carry with us from those days is the memory of Dorothy and how she touched our lives.