Cat surgery for beginners

Posted by Jenny in Junk In My Trunk, Sale Tales | 14 Comments

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.

Outer space painting

We left without purchasing anything, then noticed their sign. What were they starting to write – “HUGH” sale?

HUGH - I mean, HUGE yard 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.

Sidewalk sale scene

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.

Mechanical gopher

One of the sales did have plenty of vintage clothing – but all ’80s. It looked like someone had raided Alexis Carrington’s closet.

Rack full of '80s

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.

Hella yard sale

Next we hit this big corner sale.

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.

Sale on Aurora

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.

Sale inside

There wasn’t a ton of stuff inside, but there was a ton of ancient makeup!

20-something-year-old cosmetics

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?

Is this really the sale?

Thankfully, the real sale was across the street. It was big, and looked full of crusty treasures.

Sale - Time Out

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.

Odd doll, odd stuff

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.

Trio of books

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.

Book spread

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!

Black velvet 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.

T-shirts for sale

They also had a goth section. (And it was all sitting out in the sun! Oh, the irony.)

The goth table

We hit a little rummage sale with these wacky paintings.

Large illustrations

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.

Signs down yonder

After driving along some winding streets for a few minutes, we found it.

Sale Here

We climbed up all those stairs and found a few things set out on the deck

Estate sale 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!

Can use restroom

And we were even more amazed by this needlepoint sign we spotted on the way out.

Backdoor friends

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!

Junk in My Trunk 6-12-10

14 Responses to Cat surgery for beginners

  1. Crusty treasures! Eww! That is a fitting description for most of the yard and estate sales I’ve ever been to.

  2. Can use restroom. That impressed me the most. Of all that. Yes, I’d love to see that at a sale. At all the inside sales! I’ve used many a bathroom at estate sales. Once, after I’d tinkled and put TP in, I found out the water was cut off. Oops.

  3. Brittany says:

    Kudos to Karl for his ebay comment. My bf and I are always shocked at what people think things are worth because, “That’s what I could get for it on e-bay”. People have unrealistic ideas of the value of their junk.

  4. astrid says:

    i really love the tiger rug.

  5. All that gross old makeup… Why was it not congealing at the bottom of a dumpster?

    Seriously. It’s like those sellers were thinking, “Maybe one of these cracked plastic lipstick tubes is a rare limited-edition that collectors would be willing to pay $1 for.”


  6. Melissa says:

    “she had been eating ice cream out of a pint container. Keep in mind, it’s like 10 a.m.”

    And your point is…? LOL

  7. Mattie says:

    Someday I have to go to Seattle. You have the most amazing views and architecture there. All those steps up to that house – and it has glass block walls!

  8. Bethany says:

    That velvet Kenny Rogers is the best! Love the tiger rug too!

  9. Karen in Tacoma says:

    So, I don’t see the Kenny Rogers’ portrait in the trunk shot – you did buy it didn’t you? 😉 I laughed out loud at that and then at the $100 price. Also, regarding the “Nancy” post in your last blog – her sentiments are not those of the rest of us. I look forward every week to your posts, and always laugh out loud at your humor. Thank you for Yardsale Bloodbath!

  10. Linda says:

    Many times I would have killed to see a sign actually inviting me to use the bathroom. Wouldn’t have the guts to use it otherwise. I have speedily washed my hands though. Some sales just make you feel icky!

    I love the tiger rug and Kenny on velvet pre-botox!

  11. grannyann says:

    I loved this weeks pics of sales and your commentary. I think no matter where you live you find the same stuff at garage sales. We went today and got only a few little items. No earth shaking things. Did get a shower curtain, a short shelf, some kids books (this was the best deal). My daughter got some t-shirts for the girls to wear around the house and several other things. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

  12. Jenny says:

    Thanks everyone – loving all of your comments. I was saying to Meghan that sometimes I sorta feel like I’m writing the same post over and over (just with different photos!) … so it is really cool to know y’all are still digging our blog. Thank you!

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