Saturday, July 18, 2009
"When you come along to auctions with me, it's always fun. Because I never know exactly what you're going to do."
Thus spoke my husband this afternoon. And he's right. Strange things often happen to me at auctions. I bid on weird things, or get carried away and bid on everything in sight. Or both.
This one seemed very straightforward. It was an estate auction at a home on Lynnhaven Inlet in Virginia Beach. There was nothing there I was very interested in; I was just going along so I could spend the day with Todd. There was an anvil there that he wanted, and some old hand planes, which he collects.
Once I got there and walked through the house, I was even less interested. The house was about 40 years old, and it looked (and smelled) like an incontinent elderly person, and possibly one or two incontinent elderly dogs, had lived there without any type of housecleaning service for a very long time. It also smelled like it had possibly been flooded during Hurricane Isabel and never fully dried out. And apart from a few very nice old pieces of furniture that I couldn't have gotten because I have no room for them, I didn't see anything that floated my boat.
After Todd missed out on the anvil (thus ensuring a continuation of the Great Anvil Quest he's been on for about fifteen years) and picked up a small hand plane and a very heavy vise (which was spelled "vice" several times in the auction catalog, which prompted me to ask Todd whether he had bought Lust, Gluttony, or Sloth), we decided to run out for some breakfast and then come back once they got to the house items, because Todd had found two more large hand planes buried in a wooden box in the attic.
When we got back, we stood around in the house and watched various things get sold. The furniture all went for dirt cheap, which was painful to watch. Auctions always make me wish I had a bigger house so I could scoop up the bargains!
I was standing in the living room, looking through the passway into the kitchen, when I saw that someone had left the cabinet doors above the stove open, and there I saw this large bowl:
I hadn't seen it before when I peeked through the kitchen cupboards, probably because it was up so high and I am freakishly short, as I believe I've mentioned before. I couldn't see it too well, but I could tell it had Christmas trees on it, and I figured it was probably Pyrex.
And right at that moment, the auctioneer hollered that everything in the kitchen cupboards would be sold as one lot. In a flash, I threw up my card and got the contents of the kitchen for $7.50. Todd just looked at me for a moment, and then said, " We're going to need a lot of boxes."
Well, that didn't turn out to be too much of a problem, because I only ended up taking about 25% of what was there. It was like a very dirty, musty treasure hunt, opening each cupboard and drawer to see what was inside. And it could be--and was--absolutely anything.
I got a sail for a boat. I got a fire extinguisher. I got about 15 rolls of toilet paper and a bunch of light bulbs. I got an ancient and filthy Oster blender. I got an R-rated Virginia Beach mug that Todd is going to take to the office as a prize for their ongoing "Where's Waldo?" game. I got a replacement part for a toilet, and a Sylvania "sun gun" for movie filming, both in their original boxes.
I got a package of napkins and two packages of Puffs tissue (all sealed.) I got six bars of Zest soap. I got a crystal bud vase. I rummaged through a dark bottom cupboard crammed with Tupperware until I got queasy from the smell of the carpet and jumpy from the fear of what might jump out at me from the depths. So I just took a small aqua Tupperware bowl with a lid and a cool green Tupperware colander.
I stood on a stool and dug to the dark corners of each cupboard, cringing every time I touched something. I quietly gagged at the insect remnants in the depths of drinking glasses. I tried to hold things between my thumb and forefinger so my germ exposure would be as minimal as possible.
When Todd pulled down the Christmas tree bowl from the top cupboard, I was delighted to find these inside:
I already have two punch cups just like these, from some long-ago flea market trip. And they're Anchor Hocking, not Pyrex. I guess we'll be drinking eggnog this Christmas.
A few more finds dripping dry after a painfully hot scrubbing: a Lu-Ray platter, four small cracked and chipped Lu-Ray bowls, a flowered Knowles china platter, four Pyrex custard cups (I collect these), and six highball glasses etched with a Gothic C:
Since my last initial is C, and since I love this size of glass, I took them. There were also some tall thin tumblers and a couple juice-sized glasses with the C as well, but since those were some of the glasses that had the insect parts in them, and since they were too narrow for me to get my hand down to the bottom and scrub them thoroughly, I left them behind.
In the very back corner of an upper cupboard, I spotted this gem:
It was filthy and still had about a cup of ancient coffee grounds in it. At least I hope those were coffee grounds.
I got this huge glass vase and a saltine tin, which is so dirty I can't decide whether I want to take the time to scrub it the way it needs to be scrubbed. I already have one just like it.
And I got this tiny, badly crazed Lu-Ray sugar bowl without a lid. It's so darling! I think it would look very cute with a tiny succulent planted in it, don't you?
I also got a huge sterling silver ladle that Todd thinks might pay for everything both he and I bought at the auction. How much is silver worth right now, I wonder?
Plus carpet tape, masking tape, a small espresso percolator, a plastic cover for microwaving food, two Christmas candles with fake greenery around them, and a giant lazy Susan with wooden wedge-shaped bowls that fill the whole thing, and a cup for the center to hold dip, I suppose. I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do with that, but it was too cool to pass up.
But I did pass up a lot--a LOT--of stuff...a wok, a Cuisinart, a cast-iron pot, coffee pots, baking pans, Tupperware, glasses and mugs and plates, most of which was rather disgustingly dirty and sticky. Some people came along behind me and took a bunch of the things I left behind.
Todd missed out on the lot that held his hand planes, but then was able to buy the planes from the bidder, because the bidder only wanted the wooden toolbox and a couple of the other things inside.
A dealer bought most of the contents of the attic as one lot and mentioned that people could dig through it after he'd taken what he wanted. I went upstairs and picked up:
A couple of booklets about crocheting doilies, not that I know how to do such a thing, but as you can see, now I can "Learn How!"Leaflets with instructions for crocheting a "Jolly Santa" and a "Perky Poodle" bottle cover. I do not know why someone would want to make such things, nor what their purpose might be. Maybe to decorate Aunt Myrna's annual Christmas present of peppermint schnapps?
Some cool vintage wrapping paper and a kid's science book.
A children's dictionary and a Reader's Digest condensed book (1961), which caught my eye because the cover is Christmassy and very pretty. Might look nice in a Christmas display, no?
And a small stationery box with a few old cards and tidbits--I'll flip through them later on.
I didn't expect to come home with three boxes of...well, let's be honest...junk, but that's what I like about auctions. You never know what I'm going to do!