Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas and there are no sales this weekend (at least not in Atlanta)

The lights of Hardendorf. The short circuiting goose is no longer featured in display. Posted by Hello
As expected there are no yard sales to be found this weekend. Christmas actually falling on a Saturday destroyed any chance of sales around here. The Saturday holiday has implications for non-celebrators such as the orthodox Jews around Toco Hills. Normally these folks would go ahead and have a sale around Christmas time but with the holiday falling on the Sabbath there is no chance that anyone will see the keppan-wearing folks who dwell ironically in a subdivision called Merry Hills having sales. When I worked for an orthodox organization I always felt it strange that so many of my students lived on streets with names like Holly, Merry, Reindeer and of course Christmas.
I had considered just randomly driving around the Lawrenceville Highway area in hopes that some Hindus may have clutter in their yard. Maybe I could find a large Ganesh statue with a missing tusk for fifty cents. Maybe the Bosnians, Buddhists and Copts (who knows when they celebrate the holiday?) of Clarkston might be having sales.
But sadly in today’s AJC, the 805 section of the classifieds was empty and no notices were seen on any nearby utility poles.
I wondered if this was true all over the nation. In cosmopolitan cities such as Los Angeles I found two moving sales in the classifieds of the LA Times. Among the items offered were a bed, furniture, house wares CD’s and clothes.
San Francisco had two sales advertised in the Chronicle one was a moving sale with an Ikea TV stand, a desk and a lot of picture frames. In the Pacifica area there was an event termed a “Quality Relocation Garage sale” scheduled for Christmas day and the day after. This offered furniture, antiques knick-knacks, a TV and a VCR. The ad noted great stuff everything must go. This is the real holiday spirit.
Closer to home in The Miami Herald I found one sale on Christmas day in Palm Grove. This sale strangely offered mature plants and trees with the note “bring your shovel” perhaps this is a south Florida tradition of having the neighbors descend on your property on Christmas day armed with gardening implements to tear up your yard. Appliances, a lawn tractor, tools and odds and ends were also promised.
Checking on the far side of the world where it’s summer I found no sales scheduled on Christmas day in the classified ads of newspapers in Sydney or Melbourne. Perhaps I should check some of the English language papers of India. Someone may even have a broken Ganesh figure for sale.

Illuminated icons of winter Posted by Hello

A piebald Jesus Posted by Hello

Mary after reconstruction efforts. Posted by Hello

Saturday Dec. 25, 2004

Hardendorf Ave. Lake Claire - No yard sale but lots of holiday décor

Since this journal is about things in other people’s yards and that no other people have things for sale in their yards I should note what’s in my own yard.
Aside from easily storable paper items such as brochures for failed roadside attractions, one of the things I am always on the outlook for at yard sales are plastic interior illuminated Christmas yard figures. My collection started over ten years ago when I purchased a snowman at an after Xmas sale . The following year I acquired a Santa. I later inherited from Cindy’s parent’s two oversized candles. A friend gave me a Nativity starter set about seven years age. The starter set had only Joseph and Mary. For a number of years I used one of Cindy’s old childhood baby dolls (who did not glow) for the baby Jesus figure. Later a friend who came to our Christmas party said he had a baby Jesus figure he wasn’t using and gave it to me. The baby figure has peeling paint that gives the skin a piebald look. When the figure was given to me it was not wired and I rigged the light myself. But Cindy sometimes claims that this is the reason the whole set blows a circuit when it rains. At a yard sale I found the greatest addition to the collection when I came across four wise men and a Shepard. The wise man is not the lost magi foretold of somewhere between Amos and Nahum but just a back up copy of Caspar. Since he’s kneeling I have considered customizing him to give the set another Shepard.
The penguin was the last traditional figure added to the collection when I found it at a Target store a few years ago. The penguin was pictured in a Creative Loafing column on tacky Christmas décor a few years ago. Two years ago a friend secured Gloria, the flying angel for me from a post Xmas sale at Wal-mart. I was hoping to add a sheep to the scene this year. But these are hard to find. There was one on the internet for thirty some dollars but I am hoping that in my constant visits to sales a better priced one will work its way into my life. One on again off again figure in the set is the goose. We used the goose when we first set up the scene this year. But he kept falling over and was removed. In addition the power also was getting tripped a lot when the goose was lit. The goose was never intended to be used in an Xmas display. But it has a good bit of history. The goose, which was sold as a lamp was one of the first items of home furnishing I purchased after graduating from college. It has survived a house fire and numerous attempts by Cindy to sell it at yard sales. He may not be a full time figure in the scene but he is a survivor.
A few of the figures aside from the piebald Jesus are showing some signs of wear. Baltazar, the Frankincense bearing Ethiopian, was blown down by the wind and suffered a blow to the nose this year. Melchior is missing one of his plastic jewels. It fell of last year when I was getting him down from the loft in my shed. But Mary has the most extreme damage. When Mary was given to me she had a piece of her head missing. The head wound has expanded over the years. This year Cindy in an act of homespun art restoration fixed Mary’s noggin with some Tupperware and a plastic garbage sack. The figure is looking better than in years past but her condition is at best -guarded.
This is the first years that the display is around the water garden. To prevent hapless trespassers from falling into the water while handling the electrified icons we have placed an old door from our home over the pond. This undoubtedly makes for an even gloomier winter for our goldfish (the same ones who survived the savage raccoon raid a few months ago). It’s not only cold in the water but dark as well. Perhaps they will turn white like the trout someone put in the underground lake at the Lost Sea near Chattanooga.

O’Henry Lane - Storyville

There is not much I can say about this seemingly sad sale that a young married couple was having in their front yard. Among the items there were long beautiful strands of the wife’s hair with a note that said they could be used for a human hair wig. The man was selling an old but quite attractive pocket watch that had been in his family for a long time. The watch needed a fob.
I bought nothing but wished them a merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

My Tree is Up, Sales are Down

New row homes, but not in the advertised location. Posted by Hello

A new urban bunker Posted by Hello
It is now the week before Christmas. I am on vacation unprepared for the holiday. Well I am not totally unprepared since we did purchase an oversized tree that was marked down since it had a damaged top. Once in the house this treezilla was totally unwieldy and the only way I could find to keep it from falling over (which it did as soon as the last ornament was hung) was by placing two fifty pound sand bags on its base. I am fortunate to have a friend that has a lot of sand bags since he lives near one of our city’s malfunctioning storm sewers. Regardless I’m off work well rested and oready to head to whatever few sales may be happening this weekend. The sales are quite sparse. The online AJC only had a short column of sales less than 20 total of which only a few were inside the perimeter. I did not go to one estate sale, which was up by Northlake because I feared the holiday crowds around the Mall.

A bag of plastic lemons (and one lime) Posted by Hello

December 18,2004

Irwin St. - Old Fourth Ward.
This sale was advertised in the paper as being in Inman Park. It was not. The sale was at least two blocks over the railroad tracks and not more than five blocks from the MLK birthplace. It’s a garage sale in the rear of this new row of faux 1920’s style row homes. The row faces some still decrepit looking housing across the street. As well as this strange new cinder block edifice that looks like the bunker of the future. I follow the signs and wander into the rear garage. There is no one there. The seller is inside the row home avoiding the frosty morning temperatures.
There is not a lot here. I find on a table some ugly almost deformed looking paper mache fruit and vegetables. In a paper shopping bag I find over a dozen plastic lemons. He must have either become fit or given up getting in shape for he is selling his copy of “Fit for Life” along with a jump rope and a VHS pilates instruction tape. There are a number of new looking home furnishings for sale, including a very nice black and white cowhide. On the floor is what looks like an unopened gift box of bungee cords. There is of course the omnipresent unmounted, but fully assembled ceiling fan. The seller never shows himself the whole time I am there. Some cold and disoriented looking Mexicans wander in and examine the gift box of bungee cords. Finally a man comes out of the warmth of the house picks up the cowhide and walks away with it.
I buy nothing.

Oakland Ave – Grant Park, Sale of Treasures

I should have looked more closely at this ad in the AJC but the selection of sales was so slim I was led into this deception by a lack of proper foresight. The ad was placed under Garage Sales. But this is just some dealer trying to sell a bunch of stuff he’s purchased at real garage sales. Out of indignation I did not even go onto the parking lot of the small warehouse that holds the so call treasures. This being the season of good will I refrain from entering the premises and arguing with the proprietor over deceptive practices. The only good thing to come out of this was that next to the site was a Quonset hut I had never noticed before. I am always happy to come across these mid century relics that are so quickly disappearing from our urban landscape.

Patterson Ave.- East Atlanta, Moving Sale

This was a true moving sale located inside of an old bungalow in East Atlanta. So this was the only event that I attended today that was truthfully advertised. On the porch swing are a few indiscernible items and two old charred pizza pans with a sign over them proclaiming “free stuff”. Passing the unidentifiable freebies I enter the house. Inside are neat stacks of unwanted staff that smack of a prosperous life as well as a life that is being left behind. At the door is a full and fairly new computer system for $350. There was an additional monitor with the relatively high price of $60. Scattered about are an intercom system, a sand blasting kit, 2 boxes of weather seal, some xmas lights still in the box, a small toy penguin, a hammock that look as it had never been used, a large plastic spider, the pig mania game, a box of old candles and a pair of inline skates. In the kitchen is an assortment of seemingly high quality and nearly unused cooking items. Among the kitchenware is a set of eight mugs that looked as though they had some liquid suspended in them. The suspended murky liquid only goes halfway up the mug. Maybe the intent is for the user to have to decide if his vessel was half full or half empty. The user could also ponder what was that liquid is and what it is doing there and hoping it does leach in into what user may be imbibing.
In a back room I find some men’s clothing. A collection of t-shirts trace the journey of one man’s life. One proclaimes, “I got shaved” another “I climbed the great wall”. Another is from the Hard Rock café in Beijing (some bad food after wall climbing) and another endorses the drinking of Inca Cola
Neatly arranged on the floor are a selection of books. Among them is a very tiny copy of “joy of cooking” it’s about the size of those miniatures bibles printed small so that troops can carry them into battle in their shirt pockets. The ones that often save lives by stopping bullets from hitting the fighter’s heart. But this miniscule cooking tome did not have a bullet lodged in it. Some normal sized books include A Lonely Planet guide to Antarctica, “Clicking” by trend guru Faith Popcorn, “I could do anything if only I knew what it was”, “Guerilla Marketing” vols. 1-4 of” Tales of the City”, “What Color is your Parachute”, “Close the Deal”, “How to spot a bastard by his star sign”, two Harry Potter books, “Ice Bound”, “Conversations with God” “Men with out ties” and “The Dr. Cookie Cookbook”. Some other media includes a VHS copy of “Pretty Woman” a DVD of the first season of Survivor and a set of six audio tapes entitled “Develop your own psychic powers”. On the mantle are a number of CDs including titles by Bette Midler, Madonna, The Village People and Bridget Bardot. I was planning to purchase an Ofra Haza CD when I found Cindy had removed all the money from my wallet to buy something at the Candler Park Supermarket this morning.
I buy nothing.

This is not a garage sale! Posted by Hello


Quanset hut next to the false sale. Posted by Hello

Free stuff, if you can figure out what it is. Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 12, 2004

A stately Druid Hills manor. Posted by Hello

A small ranch style home. Posted by Hello

The holidays are upon us and I have a headache

As the holidays draw closer their effect upon yard sales and my ability to attend the sales is more evident. This morning I awaken late and badly hung over from drinking too much gin at the Inman Park Christmas party. If there are any sales I’ve missed a lot of stuff. Ignoring the tasks that I need to attend to such as finding out why my light up nativity scene in the front yard keeps tripping the fuse and going dark. I blame the problem on the wet weather. Cindy keeps insisting the problem is caused by my use of cheap extension cords. I ignore the whole issue and head for sales and hope for the weather to get better and the electric navity (which also includes Santa a snowman and a penguin) to become illuminated once again.
So foggy headed I get out of bed, into my car and search for whatever sales are around. Driving in this condition is not pleasant. In my quest I encounter traffic far worse than usual and signs for pancake suppers that in my murky headed condition resemble yard sale signs that cause me to turn off on street that have no sales.

A welcoming sign on a cold morning. Posted by Hello

A lifetime supply of tupperware. Posted by Hello

Saturday December 11, 2004

Arlington Dr.- Virginia Highlands

At this sale I find a cold looking couple wrapped in heavy coats and scarves watching over a meager selection of stuff on the front porch of their craftsman bungalow. The most imposing item there is an old electric stove that will more than likely be in the street awaiting rescue by junkers by mid afternoon. Among the items on the porch are a electric ice scrapper, some plastic stemware with flamingoes on the stems, a old flatbed scanner for $5.00, a few men’s ties and an old Sony Cd player that is identical to the first Cd player I ever purchased. There are CDs by Jewel and Metalica and a VHS copy of the Bevis and Butthead movie.
I buy nothing.

Normandy Dr.-Druid Hills? Estate Sale

This sale was advertised in the AJC as a Druid Hills estate sale. This is more appropriately the fringe of Druid Hills. The sale is not in a stately manor house that one would expect in Druid Hills proper but in a small two bedroom ranch. But this being the dead season I’ll take what is offered in the way of sales. In the yard is a welcoming sign that says Garage Sale Whole House. The house does not have a garage but rather a carport and as I approach the piles of refuse and clutter I spy and old brass spittoon. Just past this symbol of the old south are five large boxes of Tupperware type containers of all shapes. This estate is one of remarkable redundancy for the there are three microwave ovens, two toasters at least three electric can openers and endless other repeated devices. Past the carport and inside the kitchen I am immediately met by a massive set of incredibly ugly Pfalzgraf china. On a shelf in the same room is a cryptic sign proclaiming “keep clean in order” with Thai characters saying the same thing or who knows what below it. In the dining room I find a double Cd entitled “Quiet Music for quiet listening” as well as three Cd’s by Yanni.
Back in the bedrooms there is a great pile of blankets strewn upon the bed. On the nightstand I find a crossword puzzle dictionary and a sign that says “day sleeper”. The bedroom closet is packed full of women’s clothes neatly sorted by color. On the closet door is a shoe rack filled with shoes including a pair of bedroom slippers with Santa heads on them. In the other bedroom are bookshelves. On one are two bowling trophies with the name WS Beavers on them. Among the books found are a number of cookbooks of local interest including “Puttin’ on the Peachtree”, “Dogwood delights” ‘The Dillard House cookbook” and “Georgia on my menu”. Other books include “No more cravings”, “Field guide to retirement” an Alice B. Toklas biography and “Flying” by Kate Millet. Wandering around I come across a box filled with old hand mixers, a UGA mouse pad with a picture of Uga on it, a plastic bag containing five cigarette lighters and two ice buckets with penguins on them. Back in the carport I notice a few things I missed on the way in. Two larger items are a large artificial Christmas tree in its original box, and a portable pet safety ramp also still in the box. The pet safety ramp is recommended for older arthritic dogs. It states that it can prevent injuries from picking up pets. I wonder if this means injury to the pet or to the pet owner. There are also a number of holiday decorations strewn about. One of which is a candle that looks like a totem pole with Santa figures on it. On the ground is one of those early cells phones the type that came in a pouch with a shoulder strap. I also take note of a small oval shaped massager named the Lady Bug. I throw the switch on it and the bug starts vibrating and rattling across the table.
I buy nothing.

Give your feet the Christmas spirit. Posted by Hello

Sleeping in the day requires a lot of blankets. Posted by Hello

Was the estate owner a night owl? Posted by Hello

This mechanical vibrating bug can be a ladies best friend. Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Unwanted items in a nest of gingko leaves. Posted by Hello

A strange face provides a needed frame. Posted by Hello

Saturday December 4, 2004

After last week’s Thanksgiving lull I find several very well stocked sales. These must be the sales that people needed to have but never got around to them before the holidays.

McLendon Ave.- Candler Park

Arrayed among a blanket of bight yellow gingko leaves is a great collection of unwanted stuff. On a dresser in the front yard I find three framed prints of departed icons, MLK, RFK and Andy Kaufman dressed as Elvis. Nestled in the gingko leaves are a lawn mower and a hedge trimmer. Next to these implements are a large framed poster of Steve McQueen from the movie Bullitt and an Ansel Adams poster. Giving reference to the sellers past I find two black lights, a 70’s cut leather blazer, a table lamp that makes moiré patterns and a book of Rush sheet music. Toys that are on sale include an electric Nolan Ryan strike zone game and a pair of laser tag pistols still in the box. On a table I find an old issue of Modern Bride, some silk flowers, a Palm III, an old cell phone for .50 cents and sewing patterns for biblical costumes. Some books include several titles on literary theory, two works on Jung, “ Writing with a purpose” and “The selected writings of Samuel Johnson”
I buy nothing, but later return to buy to buy a large etching of a cross-eyed woman because I need the frame and the glass for one of my roadside memorial photographs.

N. Highland Ave. Virginia Highlands

I found this sale by following the well made and displayed yellow signs to the front of an apartment building next to the CVS drug store. Under a tree are several tennis rackets, a artificial Christmas tree, a Hello Kitty backpack, a child’s bike, ski boots, an unopened package of chalk in the shape of butterflies, an faux red lemon, a commemorative tile from the boxing event of 1984 Olympics and an unopened box of electronic Hulk hands. There are two autographed framed photos one of the crew of the Starship Voyager, the other of Don Adams and Barbara Feldon from Get Smart. There were many boxes of books and books on tape for sale. The audio books include- “Asking for Trouble” The Best of Romance” and “The herpes virus”. Among the books are ‘Modern Pagans”, “A guide to rare animals of the world”, “Inside Mayberry- a handbook to the Andy Griffin Show”, “Understanding Abnormal Behavior” and “Simplify your life” Some of the suggestions of the last book are “sell the damn boat” and “learn to laugh”.
I buy nothing.

Morningside Dr. Morningside

This is a very organized looking sale but there is not a lot here. A six-foot Christmas nutcracker looms on the front stoop, acting as a silent sentry guarding the collected clutter. On one table is a lot of old and undistinguished Christmas decorations, on another table is a unopened meat tenderizing tool that looks like something that was used at Abu Ghraib. Also found in the yard are a pair of churches, some tiles with the name of spices on them, and a small empty frame that celebrates the millennium (one of the greatest nonevents of our time). There is a book entitled “The little book of Christmas joy” some of the hints for joy are “never give your credit card number out on a phone call you did not initiate” and “allow extra time to navigate the Christmas traffic”. There is also a pie rack, a wine rack and a treadmill.
I buy nothing.

Reeder Dr.-Morningside, Estate Sale

Approaching the house I encounter a gun cabinet in the middle of the walkway. It’s priced at $250. Inside I find this to be a true estate sale. By the time I arrive a lot has been picked through but there is still much that addresses the lives of the former occupants. In the living room I find and consider buying two albums of postcards one of cars from auto shows the other of trains. But they are priced at $40 each and I’m short on cash at the moment. When I wander into the dinning room I notice that here is the same small millennium frame I saw at the last sale, this one like the other has no photo in it. It seems that the turn of the millennium was such a nonevent that people did not even bother to have their picture taken when it happened. Perhaps this was the fault of those calendar geeks that kept insisting that the 1/1/2000 was not the real start of the millennium that people needed to wait till 1/1/2001.
In the kitchen I am happy to find second hand food. On the counter are a few canned vegetables including two cans of beets. On the floor is a plastic container with several food items including two cartons of matzo. While I was there a man was negotiating the price of the box with the matzo perhaps they will still be fresh in time for Pesach. There is a room off the kitchen but it is not another kitchen so this house was not Kashrut. All I find in the back is the laundry, a large upright freezer and a crepe maker still in the box. On the kitchen wall is a plaque stating “she who indulges bulges”. On the counter are a number of glasses. There are two souvenir tumblers from Dodge City and several glasses with the Busch beer logo and the phrase “toe tappin’ goodness” which is a statement I have never associated with any beer especially Busch.
In one of the bedrooms I am delighted to discover some old mail. The letter written in 1946 states “…next time you decide to become pregnant don’t force Buster to take a shower every night.” Near the letters is a wedding album with the original negatives still in it. On the bed is a collection of men’s caps most of which have Braves logos on them.
In the other bedroom I find a glossy 8 by 10 of a scantily clad seductress holding a bottle of Tequiza. Across the picture is written the cryptic comment, “To Jason, Coors gives worse nightmare beer”
In one closet was a collection of old Opera Lps including recordings by Eleanor Steber. In the same closet was a mass of old photo albums, sadly more than I had time to fully peruse. I glanced through one with the label “ Storm of the Century”. The storm was the snowfall in Atlanta in 1992.
I purchased a small 3.5 by 2 inch picture of Cristobal in the Canal Zone from the 1930’s for 25 cents.

Create costumes for your very own living nativity scene! (sheep not included) Posted by Hello

Insted of putting lights on a tree stuff them into a severed head. Posted by Hello

Will this tree find a new home in time for Christmas? A buyer gives it a close inspection. Posted by Hello

A message for Jason. Posted by Hello

Friday December 3, 2004

Altamont Dr. -Oak Grove, Moving Sale

Oak Grove is an older suburb that I am not too familiar with. It’s just a place I pass whenever I make the long drive to Northlake Mall. After I turn off N. Druid Hills Rd. I notice yard signs railing against large infill housing construction. Like a lot of older suburbs the ranches are now being razed to make way for McMansions that not only raise property values but also block out the sun.
In front of a 1960’s style two story colonial is a sign proclaiming Garage Sale Now. I like the positive emphasis of the sign. So I first head to the garage but find that the sale is inside. Near the front entrance is a metal outdoor dinning set or 4 chairs and a table next to it is a foreboding pitchfork impaled into the ground. Inside the home I am sad to find that nearly everything is gone. A few lone items ring the perimeter of each room. In the living room is a large old painting of animals lined up to board the ark before the deluge. In the nearly empty dining room I find decorative tiles of the Hermitage (The one in Tennessee not the one in Russia) and Monticello. The owner was undoubtedly a lover of presidential homes. In the den I find a number of books, mostly on religion and travel. There is a 1978 Guide to the USSR, a copy of “From here to retirement”, "A brief course in German” and a Billy Graham book in Polish. There is also some sheet music of a comic opera entitled “The Captain of Plymouth” and a book of sheet music contains 20 Scarlatti sonatas. On a shelf in the den is a Duraflame log still in its wrapper.
Upstairs I find rolls of Christmas wrap, a deep red shower curtain, an ashtray from Guatemala, an old portable typewriter, a large collection of ladies belts, a small collection of ladies bifocals, a WXGZ TV 32 year pin, a pair of crutches and a sweater with a image of a woman hanging clothes on a clothesline embroidered on it.
I buy nothing.