Sunday, March 27, 2011

I'm an American Picker

This weekend I went to a Seven Seas Estate Sale in Clinton, TN with Joel and Kristin Friday night and to the most incredible rummage sale ever on Saturday at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.  I bought 3 items at the Seven Seas sale, which Joel believed I intended to resell but I did not.  I bought a board game from 1968 called Dynamite Shack where players wear super huge thumbs and try to pick up dynamite sticks and put it into this shack before the roof blows off.  It can be worth around $60 and mine has all the pieces but I didn't buy this one to sell.
The game still works perfectly and, needless to say, William LOVES it.  He loves any game and anything that scares/shocks you.  At the Seven Seas sale I also bought "The Girl Who Played with Fire" for a dollar and a UT troll to put on my desk at work along with my buddha, my desktop Dwight, and the Sunsphere. ($5 total at Seven Seas)  Overall, though, I was a little disappointed with the estate sale.

Saturday, however, I struck gold at the TVUUC rummage sale.  I went crazy.  I bought an oriental runner rug for $2,

I had honestly been looking for one and couldn't find one that I liked and they were all around $150 so $2 was doable.

I also bought a 1988 pink Barbie RV for $2, two early 1990s Easy Bake Ovens for $1.50 each, a working 8 track and record player for $5, a Schwinn Bantam girl's bike from the 1960s or 1970s with training wheels for $15, and a really awesome motorcycle toy for William for $2, and an awesome wooden kids table with two chairs for $5 for the set.  The total for my first trip was $34.

Then I took the Barbie RV, one of the easy bake ovens, the thing that is evading my mind right now directly to Nostalgia on the way home.  Then Ben asked why I didn't put the 8 track/record player out and I realized I had left it at the TVUUC after paying.  We went back and they still had it, thank God!

After dropping Ben and William home, I went back to the TVUUC at noon because they had 50% off from noon to 2pm and they had a huge box of wooden Thomas the Train trains and tracks and other stuff that was marked $50 (which would have been a deal) but I thought $25 would be more reasonable. It wasn't there when I returned but there were plenty of things I still wanted.  I bought soccer cleats for William for $0.25, really phallic looking iron andirons for $3.75, a framed and really cool New York poster for $1.50, a 12" bike to replace William's or resell for $5, a really cool pillow made from a wool oriental rug for $1.50, an old Radio Flyer ride on toy for $1, and a shredder for $0.50 (which I plugged in and tested with a couple of pieces of paper at the church- and we had honestly been thinking of getting one of these recently too). The total was $12.25 because I think they miscalculated by a dollar or so AND they threw in a free Tremont (GSMNP) coffee mug.  Then I went back to Nostalgia to put out the andirons, poster, pillow, 8 track/ record player, and the old Radio Flyer ride on toy and the Barbie RV had already sold for more than 10 times what I paid for it!

Today I sold the Schwinn Bike for $60 (I had listed it on Craigslist for $75).  I have also listed the kids table and chairs and the kids bike on Craigslist.

I'm pretty excited about the purchases but there were several other things I should have bought to resell including an antique Raleigh bike in great condition for $17.50 (likely worth $300+), two girls bikes with training wheels for $2.50 each, two high quality jogging strollers, a pack and play, a very nice huge custom high (thick) pile rug, 5 or 6 car seats for $1-$2.50 each, a huge custom abstract original oil painting, and possibly a nice pre-lit Christmas tree.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Day the Pipes Burst continued...

To continue...

Since we had no water after the pipes burst we had to stay with mom.  Here are some of the things that happened there.

I kept getting tripped up on something the whole time I was in the bedrooms, the bathroom, or the hall but I couldn't see it.  Finally, Ben said, "What am I getting caught in?  I can't see it."  So I knew I wasn't crazy and I began to investigate it further.  I reached down to feel the thing and followed it to its source.  It was fishing line and it was literally all over the house.  Ben asked mom why she had fishing line and told her we were getting all caught in it and she said, "Oh!  I have been getting caught in something too!"  There's no telling how long she had been stringing the stuff around because it was everywhere.

Mom offered to make chili for dinner but needed us to get beef.  She asked Ben to get ground chuck to which he replied he would get ground round because "Elizabeth won't eat it if she sees how fatty it is." I said, "I know that ground chuck is fatty.  I don't care what you get because I won't eat it anyway."  When we were going to the store Ben said, "What else does she put in her chili?"  He wanted to know this because, like me, he has learned not to trust anything she serves because there's just no telling how long she's had the stuff.  Around 2008 we found a sausage in her freezer that had expired in 1994 and she defended serving it.  We believe it had even moved houses with her- maybe even twice.  But like I told Ben, even if all the ingredients were new, I still wouldn't eat it because her dishes are never clean.  And I mean they are REALLY dirty.  Ben laughed it off but when we returned and she started making it she was using the same pan that she had used that morning for eggs.  I heard Ben in the kitchen say to her, "Are you sure that chili is going to fit in that pan?"  This was cracking me up because I knew he had seen the dirty pan and was trying to get her to change to another, hopefully cleaner, one.  He came out. looking frightened, and said to me, "Do you know what she was trying to cook the chili in?  The skillet she used for eggs this morning."  I laughed and said I told him so.  He said, "No. It's not just that it was dirty.  She did try to clean it but there were still little brown bits of egg all over it.  But that's not even the problem.  It was a skillet.  The beef wouldn't have even fit in it, much less all of the other ingredients."  Of course needless to say Ben checked before bed and she had left the eye of the stove on, a recurring problem.  

I'm tired again so I'll stop here but I'll more to this one later.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Day the Pipes Burst

Let's start at the beginning.  I felt terrible Sunday and was in bed taking a nap when Ben started screaming, "Get William!" then ran out of the house.  I had no idea what was going on for a few minutes 1) because I had been dead asleep and 2) because no one told me.  This part is still sort of blurry but at some point I wandered to the staircase where the door was open leading to the basement and saw a river spewing out near the ceiling right between the basement and garage.  Then I woke up.  The pipes had burst.  Ben came running back in and out of the house for the next few minutes asking where to turn the water off and screaming while I was frantically on the phone dialing information for Roto Rooter.  Roto Rooter was all booked and had no one available for emergencies which for some reason gave me some solace that we weren't the only ones going through this emergency.  So then I tried to get on the computer but somehow couldn't find a good central location for plumbers.  I ran around the house like a chicken with its head cut off looking for a phone book and found one more quickly than I would have imagined.  I called Mr. Rooter whose number had been disconnected and Cedar Bluff plumbing who evidently didn't have weekend emergency service.  Then I called some random company called HEP that had taken out a full page ad in the phone book (making them legitimate in my eyes at the time) advertising emergency service and they did have someone available.  That someone turned out to be Ralf.  Now before I continue I want to preface this with several things...I do not discriminate, especially against Mexicans because I love them and would move to Mexico in a heartbeat.  But I seriously doubt that Ralf was a licensed plumber if he was even a legal citizen.  I also think he may have been retarded.  I don't know how to put it delicately- he seemed retarded.  Ben also told me later that Ralf had spelled my name "Alizabeth" and that is how it would be spelled alliteratively.  Ralf knew less about plumbing than I did and he said it would cost us $300 just to cap the fucking pipe until someone could come out and fix it for an additional fee that we assumed would be considerably more than an additional $300 later.  I could go on and on here about how I ended up submitting a complaint on them to the Better Business Bureau but as I was telling one of my coworkers about this today she asked me who the company was and I said HEP and she said she sees their commercials all the time and proceeded to google it.  See for yourself- it will tell you a little something about the company:

If I had seen this before I called I would not have even used them despite our desparate situation.  In the meantime Ben finally ran next door to our neighbors house and luckily he was home and saved the day.  He knew where to turn the water off at the street, he had a wrench to turn it off when it was stuck, and he had a wet vac to vacuum up all the water.  All of a sudden after I called all the plumbers I remembered that the first thing Ben had screamed was "Get William" and I hadn't seen William for the past 15 minutes or so.  When I finally regained consciousness I started screaming for William and couldn't find him anywhere.  When I finally found him he was under his bed playing some sick joke on me.  I'm going to pause here because this story isn't half over but I'm tired and the second part has to do with staying with my mom since we didn't have any water and, if you know me, you know that's an even better story.  Let me also say here though that we came back to the house to meet another plumber on Monday (the next day) and as soon as we got home Ben went down and started trying to tear all the drywall off the wall.  I told him to just wait for the plumber because we might not have to do all that.  Sure enough he ruined part of the wall for no reason.  Luckily, however, he was not strong enough to break through most of the drywall.  I should stop making fun of him though because today is his 30th birthday and I love him.