Earlier in the week we had a brief debate about whether to stay in our area or branch out. There were some interesting neighborhood sales, but our neighborhood advertised at least three block sales, plus a whole lot of other stuff, so we just stayed close to home. Karl came along for the ride and we got an early start.
There were two sales advertised as starting at 8:00, but one wasn’t even there … perhaps because it was threatening to rain (though miraculously it stayed dry all morning and even got kinda sunny). We made an early coffee stop and then headed to the first block sales, where things were just getting set up. One of the sales had a huge mound of clothes in the garage and everything was only 25 cents. We each took a spot around the pile and started digging. I found some boring-but-worth-a-quarter items, then pulled out two cute vintage sweaters, including one ’50s beaded yellow cardigan in great shape. For 25 cents!
This sale also had a bunch of fifty-cent books. I grabbed a bunch of those too, but was wary of this batch.
I pointed that last one out to Meghan, who actually opened it up and flipped through the pages … until we both laid our eyes on a truly horrifying photo. I will not even attempt to gross you out by describing it, but let me just say that Meghan slammed that book shut faster than I would have thought possible. Karl heard us shriek and wondered what was up. I handed over the book, telling him “Don’t open this unless you never want to have sex again.” He stared at me quizzically for about two seconds, then curiosity got the better of him and he opened it up. Sure enough, after flipping through a couple of pages he slammed it shut with a pained yelp. I don’t think he really recovered all day.
Next door Meghan discovered a cute old wood table that I purchased for $3 thinking it would be a good art-project table for my daughter. It was too big to cram in the car so I said I’d get it later. When I did, it was quite a bit bigger than I’d realized — not sure it was really a wise purchase, but for $3 I can always ditch it later if I decide it’s just not working out. The seller told me how it had been their kitchen table when they lived driving around in a hollowed-out school bus for a couple of years, then later they sawed the legs off to make it into a coffee table. (She also confirmed that someone next door was an obstetrician/gynecologist. Which explains them having that book, but even so … I really think there are things that just shouldn’t be put out at your yard sale for anyone to see, and that is definitely one of them.)
We hit the next block sale and it was decent too. The third one didn’t appear to be happening — not sure if everyone just got scared off by the possibility of rain, or what. Then we wasted some time driving around looking for a sale that Karl had read the ad for (and remembered it said “records”), but couldn’t remember the exact address. We never found it, but we did find signs for another sale that hadn’t been advertised. We were excited until it was down an overgrown, slightly creepy alleyway. Karl hummed the banjo tune from Deliverance as we bravely walked in. All we found when we got there was this … times about twelve.
Yes, it was one of the dreaded “tool sales.” We barely even pretended to look around before splitting.
We hit a few more decent sales — nothing extraordinary, but each of us found a few cool things. Then we found two sales across the street from each other. One of them had an amazing formica table with a set of chairs … which had already sold. Meghan did pick up some cute shoes there. We then walked across the street, perusing the goods. Meghan and Karl were yelling back and forth and they must have said each other’s names, because the strangest thing happened: the seller said “Oh my god — you’re Meghan and Karl? Is that Jenny? Are you guys from Yard Sale Bloodbath?” We were stunned to find ourselves at the sale of someone we’d never met before who reads our blog. It was cool, but completely unexpected! I told her I felt like we should take a picture, but she urged me not to. So I’ll just tell you that it was a good, solid sale — plenty of items, fairly priced, nothing disgusting or disturbing on display. We each ended up with stuff — I bought a poker set (chips and cards in a cute little travel case) and a few still-sealed soaps.
Our next stop was a house where I’d been to a sale years before and picked up a working ’70s Technics turntable for $5. Unfortunately, there was nothing I wanted to buy this time around, but there was a grade-school boy who shouted, “Card tricks! Twenty-five cents!” I made Karl give him a quarter and he proceeded to do a very long trick in which he repeatedly asked, “Um … is this your card?” We felt bad that he seemed to be screwing it up, but it turned out to be an elaborate setup for a grand finale where the right card was revealed.
Next we went to a sale with boxes and boxes of books, all old and slightly crusty. I debated getting a home taxidermy handbook but decided to pass. I think that was a wise decision. Karl found some records, including this questionable item. At first he just laughed about it, but somehow he ended up falling under its spell and was compelled to bring it home.
It was 10:30 and the trunk was already pretty dang full.
Since we weren’t far from Meghan’s house we decided to make a quick drop-off. Then we headed back out … to lame sale after lame sale after lame sale. Really. I think I bought one item the entire rest of the day. We wondered if we had somehow jinxed ourselves with the early dump or whether that was just the way it was meant to be.
After a whole lotta nothing we decided to call it a day and get breakfast. While unsuccessfully looking for parking we saw a sign for another sale, so we headed off that way. It turned out to be in a new house, built in the same spot where a guy Meghan had dated long ago used to live. Meghan mentioned this fact to the new owners and they said, “Oh, the Rat Palace?” Meghan told him that actually her ex kept the place pretty tidy, but they continued to say “Rat Palace” about ten more times … it was very odd. They seemed to have plenty of money but no taste. We didn’t really like them, or their stuff.
Hoping to end on a better note we headed off to just one more sale. Once there, it took us all a few minutes to realize that the two people standing around weren’t the sellers, just fellow shoppers. In fact, the “sale” had ended, and written in chalk on the ground was “TAKE STUFF, LEAVE $.” There was a glass jar with “Donations Please, P.S. Karma” written nearby.
One of the guys shopping said something about how we should be sure to leave some money, since the people were moving and needed cash. They seemed to be examining every item on display, debating whether to take it or not. They left and put some money in the jar. When Karl went to put in his offering, he discovered they had left a whole nickel. Nice! Meghan took a few things and made a small donation; I took nothing and left nothing. As we drove off we debated the odds on whether the money in the jar would be stolen, and whether the nickel-leavers would end up coming back later to do it themselves.
All in all, not the most mindblowing day, but we all ended up with some decent items!