While putting together a list for last Saturday I saw that it was the Madrona neighborhood sale day. But due to my growing feeling that annual neighborhood sales tend to start sucking after a while, combined with a pretty lackluster report from last year, I decided we might as well just stick to our neck of the woods. There was that one sale which boasted of having a Kenny Rogers black velvet painting … tempting, but maybe not worth crossing town for when there are plenty of sales closer to home.
We weren’t sure if Karl was going to make it or not, but when I showed up at Meghan’s house at 8:15 he was already there — possibly a first! Our first stop was a sale that had started at 8:00, right around the corner. It was a bust, but the next block down was having a block sale starting at 9:00. We made a quick drive by since we were right there. Only two sales were getting set up and neither of them seemed like they would be worth coming back to.
We headed to another early-starting sale. They wanted $30 for this space painting.
We left without purchasing anything, then noticed their sign. What were they starting to write – “HUGH” sale?
We hit a few more duds, made a coffee stop, and then it was just about 9:00. There was a sale which had mentioned vintage items and sounded fun, so we decided to pass over some closer, iffier sales and head straight there.
It turned out there were three sales all at the same corner. At one of them we spotted a cute little brindle-y dog wearing a tiny pack. Somehow, this led to me singing “Brindle in a Backpack” to the tune of the Smiths’ “Girlfriend in a Coma.” (“I know, I know, he’s really cute!” — uh, don’t ask.)
We were amazed and a little freaked out by the moving, singing Caddyshack gopher.
One of the sales did have plenty of vintage clothing – but all ’80s. It looked like someone had raided Alexis Carrington’s closet.
Karl and Meghan each made some scores here, but I don’t think I bought anything — if I did, I’ve already forgotten.
There was another sale nearby and when we pulled up, Meghan said “Oh, here’s my sale again!” She started chatting with the seller, and Karl mentioned having looked at the records. I was really confused trying to think why I had no memory of being there before and finally Meghan mentioned they’d hit it when I was out of town. As we drove away, we spotted their signs. I would’ve asked the seller if she was from Northern California (homeland to people who say “hella”) if I’d seen them earlier.
Next we hit this big corner sale.
It was mostly kid stuff, but Karl pulled out a few records. When we got to the car he pointed out that one of them had his own price tag, from when he sold it at a record swap for $10. He had just repurchased it for a buck.
At another sale I was looking through the books and found one called “Cat Repair Manual” — my mind kept trying wanting to make it say CAR, but it was CAT. The seller said, “Yeah, nothing in that book is stuff you really want to do at home. I take my cat to the vet.” Which seems like a good call to me. Later I was telling Meghan about this, since she’d missed it, and Karl said “Oh, you mean Cat Surgery for Beginners?” The confused and horrified look on her face was kind of amazing.
Next on the list was an address on Aurora Avenue. This seemed a little suspicious, since it’s a busy highway known primarily for its sketchy motels and late-night activity.
The sale was in a regular old house — we thought it was funny to see the second “redo” sign of the day. It’s like the surprise sunshine was messing with everyone’s writing skills.
There wasn’t a ton of stuff inside, but there was a ton of ancient makeup!
Meghan picked up a bottle of foundation which had completely separated into clear liquid and tan cakelike gunk. The sellers said that some relative had lived there and she used to be in the cosmetics business, but now she was getting out and moving away. Now she was getting out? Judging from those products she got out about twenty-five years ago.
We got back into the car, drove off and … where’s the list? It was gone! I’d left it on the dashboard and to my great dismay, it seemed to have blown out the window. “Okay, now we’re FREESTYLING!” Meghan joked, poking a bit of fun at American Pickers. I did remember a listing at one address, then we saw signs for another. Somehow the two locations sort of merged in Meghan’s mind, and she drove to a spot right in between the two of them. When she realized she had to choose which way to go, she turned and drove around a roundabout …. then proceeded to drive around it three or four times, just for the fuck of it. I’m still laughing just thinking about it. We decided that going around in circles worked just as well as a unicorn chaser to clear out any leftover bad sale vibes.
We eventually got to the intersection where the signs had pointed us. No sale! We couldn’t figure it out — there had been signs everywhere, up until the actual intersection, which had nothing. We were sure it had to be there somewhere, and backtracked until we saw … this?
Thankfully, the real sale was across the street. It was big, and looked full of crusty treasures.
It was a pretty odd mix. It seemed like it had been pulled out of a garage or basement where it had all been sitting for god knows how long.
At one point Meghan dug through a box of clothes and something reeked so bad of mothballs that I could smell it from thirty feet away — and this was outside! There was also a large, strange selection of books, but they were all on the musty side.
To save Colleen the trouble of asking, let me go ahead and say that I didn’t buy the sex manual. Or anything. But Meghan and Karl each picked up a bunch of stuff. Meghan’s total for everything was $2.10 and the lady refused to take her dime. Karl racked up a bigger total, I think something like five whole dollars.
Next was a sale that seemed okay, until I heard Karl ask how much something was and the seller said “It’s $30. Because I could get that much if I sold it on eBay …” Karl calmly replied, “Then I think you should do that,” and walked away. I found a pair of cute kids’ boots, and asked how much. “$10,” the seller said. Not completely unreasonable, since they were in decent shape, but between her previous eBay comment and the tweaked-out look in her eyes I decided to just walk away. As we left Karl pointed out that she had been eating ice cream out of a pint container. Keep in mind, it’s like 10 a.m.
Meghan suggested that since we no longer had a list, we should head off to Madrona, where we knew there would be a bunch of sales. Despite my misgivings, I couldn’t really argue with her logic. On the way there we saw a bunch of well-placed, clearly-marked signs. Great arrows and directions — everything you could want in a sign. We found the place easily … and were greeted with this.
Grim, right? The sale continued inside, but it was all boring and overpriced. When we went into the kitchen, Meghan looked around. “I kind of want to wash my hands,” she whispered, still feeling the ick from the funky crusty sale. “Do it!” I said. After a moment of hesitation, she tiptoed over to the sink and did the speediest hand wash ever. The seller came into the room right when she had finished, obviously having heard the sink come on and wondering what was up. She saw Meghan drying her hands with a paper towel, but didn’t say anything.
On to Madrona, and look who we found: Kenny!
He was $100. I don’t think they really wanted to let him go.
The sellers had a ton of great vintage stuff, most of it priced much more reasonably – not dirt cheap, but fair. At one point Karl randomly told the woman about seeing a book called “Cat Surgery for Beginners,” then started up some pointless banter about her prices. After a while, she sidled up to Meghan and asked, “What is wrong with him?” Meghan explained that he was just trying to be difficult. The seller made a comment about how he must be hard to be married to, and Meghan quickly assured her that neither of us were married to him. He did end up purchasing an awesome tiger rug from her for $5, so I think it all worked out.
All in all, the neighborhood sales were actually decent. They didn’t seem as super-baby as I’d expected, based on Meghan’s recap from last time. Like this sale had a bunch of music t-shirts … with bands you don’t see too often at yard sales, like 45 Grave and the Dead Boys.
They also had a goth section. (And it was all sitting out in the sun! Oh, the irony.)
We hit a little rummage sale with these wacky paintings.
And then we meandered on through the neighborhood, eventually getting into a ritzier area. We spotted signs for two sales at the end of this street.
After driving along some winding streets for a few minutes, we found it.
We climbed up all those stairs and found a few things set out on the deck
But there was more inside … and more stairs. When we made it up to the main living room we saw people just kicking back on the couches, taking a rest! There were yet more stairs leading up to a bedroom and bathroom upstairs. But there wasn’t much there. I got the feeling that most of their really good stuff hadn’t made it into the sale.
We were astonished to find this sign up in the bathroom — something you really don’t usually see. How civilized!
And we were even more amazed by this needlepoint sign we spotted on the way out.
We decided that was a fine sale to end the day on. Here’s the trunk shot — we wanted to show you the tiger rug, but ended up covering up a lot of the other stuff in the process. Dang!