Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Saturday 4/22/06 Selling in the Rain

The calm of Saturday morning was disturbed by pouring rain and the sound of occasional thunder. Knowing that this weekend was normally one of the peak sale times I week out to see what determined individuals would still persist in having yard sales.

Lakeshore Dr. - Lake Clair “Yard Sale”

On Friday this event was heavily advertised with multitudes of posters place up and Down McLendon Ave. When I arrived there were two tables sitting outside the garage of this Tudor home. One was empty, on the other was a vase, a pair of computer speakers and cardboard box filled with golf balls. Everything was soaked and the seller was not in sight.

W. Ponce Del Leon Ave Decatur “Yard Sale”

This event was advertised in the AJC and on Craigslist. I parked on a side street and carefully made it across four busy lanes of Ponce De Leon. In the back driveway I found a vast collection of clutter covered in wet plastic sheeting. It was difficult to tell what was under the plastic. I made out some Dutch wooden shoes, stemware, and electronics. In the adjacent garage was some stuff that was not covered, including a scale model of the Titanic, a fur jacket, a number of plush toy bears and some garden tools. The rain slowed down while I was there and the sellers decided to remove the plastic covering from their clutter. Removing the plastic only served to dampen a lot of the stuff underneath. But when the veil was lifted I found a wire mesh replica of a wooden shoe, a lot of glassware (which was not affected by the moisture) squirt guns whose presence in the rain seemed redundant, a painting of a girl and a dog, several painting of cats, a bucket filled with boom boxes as well as several other electronic contraptions. I checked out a leaf blower to use in my show at the Contemporary and was somewhat afraid as I held the device while it was being plugged in. Overall there was far more things ruined by putting them out for sale in the rain then there were things sold. I bought the leaf blower and a jigsaw puzzle of an industrial plant.

Wet cat art

Water pistols in the rain

Wooden shoe rendered in wire

Wooden shoes under wet plastic
Dellwood Ave. Oakhurst “Year Sale”

This was a smaller event in the front yard and on the porch of a craftsman bungalow near the East Lake Marta Station. The sellers had enough sense to get the paper and electronic stuff out of the downpour. Soaked and in the yard was some furniture, a dozen old paint cans, a few men’s shirts, a tiki torch, a metal filing cabinet and a disassembled ceiling fan(It does not matter if the fan is damaged by the rain since no one ever buys a disassembled ceiling fan). On the porch they kept books and other things that did not hold water well.
I bought a wet shirt.
Cavanugh Ave. - East Atlanta “Moving Sale”

This sale was out of the rain and in the basement of a brick ranch house in a very old suburban style enclave in East Atlanta. When I wandered in the owner was doing a hard sell on the high quality of his Kenwood stereo system to a potential buyer. In the large basement there was a pool table, an oversized console TV and a large plaster replica of a cobra. A bar ran parallel to the pool table. Atop it was a ceramic bull and bullfighter. Other collected clutter in the space included a barrel full of garden tools, some Xmas lights, two tables stacked with neatly folded clothing and a large computer monitor resting in a chair. I bought nothing.

Cobra in the basement

Matador and bull

Monday, April 24, 2006

4/21/06 Genteel = packrat?

Fayetteville Rd. - East Lake “Estate Sale”

This sale was advertised as the estate sale of a genteel southern woman. While there are romantic connotations linked to such nomenclature, one might surmise when observing this estate that genteel is just another word of packrat.
The sale was inside a downtrodden brick one-story home on a road in East Lake. Overgrown vegetation made it difficult to see much of the exterior of the residence. A handicap ramp lead to the front entrance but even this was in dreadful condition as it was partially covered in the unruly vegetation. Inside the home was crowded and confused. The living room had the most order as the sellers had set up their tables for displaying an array of costume jewelry, a few watches and some other small things they felt merited attention. Also in the room was a table covered in old newspapers, naïve paintings, old mail, assorted dusty small décor items and a large full size pump organ. The dining room was far more chaotic with two long tables of fabric pile nearly up to eye level. Around the walls of the room were more naïve paintings, some of animals and one of a pensive looking woman holding a flower. In one of the few spaces not covered in assorted bolts and scraps of fabric was a framed wedding picture along with some silk roses that had more than likely adorned the cake for the same wedding. In a corner on a bookcase was a shelf filled with letters some dating back to 1912. A few books on the same piece of furniture included “Soap Opera Café”, ‘God Can do it Again”, “How to live on Your Income”, “Surviving Poverty” and “The Sir George’s Book of Hand Puppetry”.

Piles of fabric

Wedding memories amid clutter

Feline encounter with a fish captured on canvas

Artwork mixed with old news.
The kitchen was chaotic, dirty and delightful. Old metal cabinets were crammed with kitchenwares. Spatulas of every size and shape spilled out of crowded drawers. But sadly no old food was put up for sale, perhaps purification had taken places and the sellers felt that there were limits on certain commodities.
One bedroom was filled with old Xmas cards, a manual Remington typewriter with a place still in the cartridge carrying the typed instructions- “some one please go to the door….”. Nearby was a large dress form and a pile of sewing implements. Another bedroom held an extensive but unremarkable collection of dolls. One cardboard box was filled with inexpensive plastic baby dolls covered in clear plastic. Another box held a disheveled collection of knitted doll clothes perhaps for the naked babies in the prior box. A bed was piled with a variety of dolls only a few of which seemed to be distinguishable. Broken doll parts littered the room.
The third bedroom held a mixture of clothing, sewing items, small décor pieces, ladies hats and cheap electronic devices. Among the electronics were clock radios, off brand water picks, flashlights and personal security alarms. Boxes of Cds and cassettes held works by country artist as well others simply labeled mood music.

Drawer in chaotic kitchen

Baby dolls covered in plastic
There was an extensive basement (which seemed bigger than the first floor of the home itself.) On this lower level the decrepitness continued. Countless shelves held countless copies of the AJC magazine, PTA Journal and Heating and Air conditioning trade magazines. A large partially disassembled model train set occupied a large portion of the room but many of its parts were missing. A desk was filled with ancient paperwork, that included 40 year old bills, a few more current road maps, a diary over 50 years old and a deed dated 1912. Nearby was an old yellow stained refrigerator that appeared to have been once covered like some ancient mummy with layers of adhesive tape. The basement also contained some old exercise gear including a belt vibrator, some Xmas decorations and some furniture.
I bought the diary.

Deed left in basement

Refrigerator once wrapped in tape.

Old exercise gear

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Saturday 4/15/06

This morning the AJC published a feature on yard sales in their real estate section with me shown as an expert on front yard commerce. While I may have unwittingly developed and expertise after spending far too much time on weekend mornings there is much I do not understand not on what is sold and what profit is made but why people own these things to begin with and why they no longer want them in their homes. This is the real knowledge I seek in my addiction.
Hardendorf Ave. - Lake Claire “Yard Sale”

When I perused the Craiglist sales this morning I has delighted to find this sale less then two blocks from my home. The sale was in the side driveway and carport of a brick bungalow that a new owner had purchased within the past year. Under the carport were a number of tables with a selection of mismatched clutter. Most notable was a card table containing a vast assortment of snow globes. Among the usual snow scenes of tourist locales was one with what appeared to be lost and confused looking toddler in a snowstorm and a strange soft snow globe made of some icky silicon type material that housed a plastic Maine lobster in clouded water.
On the other tables were some pepper lights, an assortment of glassware and a mug that said “Mexico- catch the next revolution. Other stuff scattered about included a VCR labeled “works sometimes” a clock with a toy train that runs along the rim, several creatures made of wicker, a pizza cooker, a candle shaped like a rock, a jigsaw puzzle of the world, some Halloween décor, a decanter shaped like a chef, a large collection of ties and several vaporizers.
I bought the snow globe with the toddler.

Wicker chicken in a basket

Rock shaped candle

Array of snow globes
Vanoy St. - Edgewood “Yard Sale and Fundraiser”

This relatively small sale in the driveway of a small house in Edgewood was helping to pay for the medical bills and a prosthetic of a woman who was involved in an auto mishap in front of the Decatur YMCA. Strangely I was at the YMCA the day of the accident. Among the stuff there was some stereo components, several shower heads, a large massaging apparatus, a an elaborate wooden box holding a fancy set of metal chopsticks, a clock with images of sushi, a go game, Reminising- the game for people over 30, A boxed set of video tapes entitled “Yes you can make your dreams real”, a fancy Metallica box set of cd’s and a Ouiji board. In a box of books I found a bible, a home brewing guide, “Work Like Your Dog”, “Resume Kit”, “Confessions of a Shopaholic” and “Sexual Magic”
I bought the last book I mentioned.
Miller Ave. - Candler Park “Sale for Winky”

This was yet another fundraiser. It was much larger than the prior sale but this event was for a cat that had been attacked by a dog. It seems that poor Winky, an indoor cat climbed through a hole in the screen porch and fell victim to a wondering stray dog. The attack resulted in high vet bills. No less then three adjoining homes were involved in helping speed Winky’s recovery. The sale was also highly organized as with flyers distributed around the neighborhood and t-shirts printed for the event. Ironically on the morning of the sale finding a parking space on Miller Dr. was nearly impossible since there was this conflicting dog parade event in nearby Candler Park that attracted hundreds of dogs and their owners. I do not know if Winky’s attacker was marching in the parade. Among the clutter assembled before the three homes was a new looking tire, a waffle maker, several smoke detectors, a framed poster of a bottle of wine, a model semi truck, a filing cabinet, a bean bag rocking chair (the concept is almost unthinkable), a weight bench, a chair with three identical clocks resting on it, a bin full of toys and an unopened copy of “The Men are from Mars Women are from Venus Game”
Other things scattered about included a picture disc player (a truly outmoded tech item) some decorative balls covered in feathers and a model of some third world hut.
Among the books I found “The Kosher Creole Cookbook”, a book on Hurricane Katrina, “Taxi Driver Wisdom”, “The Love Songs of Sappho”, “Scavengers in Space” and “The Case of the Lonely Heiress”.

Clocks in a chair

Katrina and kosher cookbook
On and near the front porch were a number of artworks including a painting of a boy with clenched fist, a painting of a gnome and an R. Land designed vomit bag. Also visible on the porch was the hole in the screen the Winky jumped thought that led to her fateful encounter with a canine.I bought the book of taxi driver wisdom

The hole that lead to Winky's fateful encounter.

Painting of angry boy

R. Land designed vomit bag

Gnome painting
East Lake Dr. - Druid Hills “Moving Sale

There was not a lot of interesting stuff in front of this brick home. The house was scheduled for a major renovation that must have included installing central air since four windows AC units and two windows fans were arrayed near the driveway. Other stuff included a lot of graphic arts manuals and a supply of fancy paper, a large TV with a guide book for TV repair resting on top of it, an unassembled Ikea product of unknown use, a plastic squid, a large selection of large plastic toys and a stack of boxes of tea.
I bought some of the fancy paper to use at work.

Divested air conditioners

Squid and Zen
Highland View – Va. Highlands “Street Sale”

It’s getting to that point in the season when neighbors are getting together to have joint street sales. The first house on the block was a moving sale while four others were homeowners that simply wanted to clean out their residences of excess junk. The moving locale had a pod parked in their driveway with a gigantic Xmas wreath leaning against it. Other things in this yard included an elaborate coffee maker, a Zen garden kit, glassware, exercise gear, and a set of golf clubs. Some books there were “Get out of My Life”, “Stranger in the House”, ‘”Slave to fashion”, “Confessions of a Shopaholic” and “the Ultimate Bruce Springsteen Quiz Book”.

Gigantic wreath alongside moving pod

Metallic jack o lanterns
The other homes featured a wide selection of clutter. One yard had a large collection of cow figurines. One notable figurine was a Xmas cow in an outhouse. Other stuff in the yard included a bulldog mask, a rug shaped like a duck, two bronze jack-o-lanterns, and a gallon bottle of glue. There were several noted original pieces of art including one large abstract signed by Fancu. At another sale across the street a British gentleman watched over a large pile of toys that included a realistic looking toy Dirt Devil.
I bought the bulldog mask. The woman who was moving gave me a large pilates exercise machine for free. She said she could no longer use it because of a back injury.

Original Francu

Clawfoot goblets

Water fowl carpet
Clement Ave. -Virginia Highlands “Yard Sale”

This final sale was up a long driveway and outside the rear garage of a large brick home. Most of the stuff there was dirty and looked as thought it had been in the garage many years. Among the stuff there were some popular novels, a can of multi color hair spray and the wing of some large unknown bird in a plastic bag.
I bought the wing for 25 cents.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sunday 4/9/06

Saturday was a blowout. There were tornadoes late Friday night and all yard sale signs were stripped from their post. When I drove around on Saturday morning I could not find one sale. Sunday saw great weather so I got on my bicycle for a ride over to Midtown in hopes that some of the cancelled sales being held near the Dogwood festival would be happening.

5th Street - Midtown “Yard Sale”

After a long bike ride that took me from Edgewood to Grant Park and Up to the Tech campus I headed through Midtown hoping that some of yesterdays canceled sales might be happening today. This sale was in the front yard and side driveway of a home that was broken up into several apartments. The seller told me she had just come back from living in Hawaii and was clearing some clutter out of this building. The iron fence in front was covered in Mardi Gras beads, and a sled was hanging from the fence near the stairs. In the front yard was a tub full of bottled water in hope of sales to Dogwood festival goers, another tub filled with plush animals and a third with spools of ribbon. Two tables in the front yard held some candles a coffee maker, some glassware and a hair curler. There was a lot more stuff around the side but most appeared to have that look of junk that was stored in a basement for too many years. Here I found some clothing, a few CD, a pair of walkie-talkies and some luggage.

I bought a bottle of water.

Tub of plush

Tub of ribbons

sled and fence bedecked with Mardi Gras beads

7th St. - Midtown "Yard Sale"

This sale was a bit smaller than the prior one but the stuff appeared to be a lot newer. Piled up in a driveway I found a box of books one of which was “Beer Drinking Games” a large framed print of Munch’s “The Scream” and an original oil painting of w woman in a leotard. Three celebrity dolls still in their boxes included an Aaron Carter, a Beyonce and a James Dean. The Dean was selling for $10 while the newer celebs were just $2 each. There was a rack of men’s shirts, some computer games, a voodoo kit and a plastic Jesus. Leaning against a fence was a large golden paper mache’ xmas nutcracker figure.

Celebrity dolls.

Wonam in leotard.

Large golden nutcracker

Highland Ave. - Inman Park “Moving Sale”

This was the largest sale of the three sales and had stuff inside and outside this small home on Highland. In the frnt yard two women watched over a large collection of plastic toys and children’s clothing. Among the toys was a large yellow plastic car racing set with a figure eight track. Near it was a set of toy drums with a flame motif and a pile of plush toys topped with a Twinky Winky, the noted Teletubby with questionable gender issues. Also outside was a large box filled with jars of silkscreen ink and two stacks of faux plaster books that may have once held up a coffee table.

Faux books

Flaming drums and teletubby

Inside the house was a mess with lots of art, art supplies clothing and a sink with dirty dishes. A small bookshelf housed “What to expect in the Toddler years”, “Witchcraft in Europe”, “Creativity”, “Baby Let’s Eat” and “The Penny Whistle Party Planner”. In front of the bookshelf was a pair of small gel plastic jellyfish. Above the shelf was a lamp with a fake fur shade and a bongo drum. In the back rooms of the shotgun home was a closet full of clothing including a USPS mail carrier’s shirt. A wide selection of painting and artwork hung about the rooms including a magic eye print, a oversized abstract and a painting of a clown.

I bought nothing.

Fur lamp with drum

Happy clown painting

Books and plastic jelly fish

Friday 4/7/06

Mt. Royal Dr. “Estate Sale”

I went here to meet the photographer from the AJC who was taking my picture for a feature story on yard sales that’s coming out later this week. After capturing me in various poses examining selected items, I began my inspection of the assorted clutter. The driveway of this small ranch house off Briarcliff Rd was dominated by a large gray sectional sofa. Behind it was a disassembled ceiling fan placed on a chair. Two large wing chairs also occupied space in the driveway. Also outside was a Sony amplifier and a large curved brush that the seller said was for use in the shower.

Inside the sellers were set up in the living room. That area contained mostly a vast selection of popular hardcover novels by writers such as Steele, McBain and Crichton.

In the dining room was a full set of china, some candles, an old Yashica camera, a Decatur Federal Ashtray and a poster of Ellis Island. On the wall was a remarkable large portrait of a lady in a resplendent dress holding a camellia. In the window of the same room was a old bottle containing a clear liquid labeled “Pain Oil”