Friday, December 16, 2011

Making Adjustments

For two weeks, we've been getting slow, soaking rain. Just what we've been needing here in Central Texas. For the first time since Labor Day, I felt like I could risk bringing some of the family treasures back from the storage unit in Austin. I was happy to reach the point where I could feel good about bringing things back home because I was tired of looking at the bare hooks on the wall and heading to my office to look up a family record before realizing that it was not in residence.

So early last Saturday Mojo, Coco and I headed to Austin to rendezvous with David and load up Big Red to bring things back where they belong. This week the house has been looking much more normal with the familiar faces beaming down on me from their accustomed places on the walls.

Tilman and Matilda Wilcoxen have resumed their positions in the foyer to greet arrivals.

Baby Lucy Mason, "Aunt Duff", and Elmo Hodge have returned to their spots in the stairwell and on the opposite wall the fragile wedding certificate of my Wilcoxen grandparents and the 1920 photo of Cora Mobley Hodge and her mother Mary Caroline Mobley are back in place. That stairwell has looked mighty bare for the past 3 months.

I hauled back a half-dozen small grocery bags of baby books, Bibles, school records, and assorted small heirlooms that are normally stored in the camel backed trunk in my office. As I started to unload the bags, it occurred to me that it would be smart to line the lower compartment of the trunk with larger bags and repack everything inside. If I ever again have to evacuate, all I will need to do is open the trunk and lift out the bags.

In the smaller upper tray, I unloaded the small pieces and then put a folded bag on top of the tray. All I will need to do is scoop the contents of the tray into the bag and go. Finally, I clipped a list onto the bag to remind me of various items that are located around the house (like the portraits lining the stairwells) that need to be rescued and that might be overlooked in a moment of panic.

It makes me feel good to know everything is back home where it belongs and that I've taken a couple of preventive steps against the possibility of future evacuation.


Friday, December 02, 2011

My First Estate Sale

You should always look for new life experiences, right? Many, many years ago, before I was interested in things old, I attended an estate auction in Missouri with my Aunt Syble and Cousin Amanda. I can't remember too much about it, probably more interested in checking out the boys at that point in my life. I remember it was a nice day and I remember the steady progression of new lots being brought up to the front and offered for bids. I can't remember if Mother bought anything.

Decades later I have discovered an appetite for antiques and when sis-in-law Karen mentioned that there was to be an estate sale of the belongings of a dear friend of hers who recently passed away unexpectedly, I decided to take a day of vacation and tag along with her and really participate in an estate sale. The friend was a collector and had amassed a considerable amount of Texas Pottery and Texas history books, both of which make me salivate. I've lately been watching Cash & Cari on the HGTV network and figured I had an idea of how things would go and I was ready to jump into the estate sale fray. Or so I thought.

The estate sale was set to begin at 10 a.m., but we needed to show up at 8 a.m. to get a number, hopefully an early one that would get us inside before the good stuff was snatched up. I set my alarm an hour earlier than usual, hauled myself out of bed in the wee hours, and prepared to head for Austin. First surprise of the day was opening the door and discovering the blessing of rain - a slow, soaking rain, the kind we folks in Bastrop have been hoping and praying for. Not the best weather for an estate sale, but I am not ever again complaining when the good Lord decides to send some of the wonderful wet stuff our way. It was a little hairy driving to Austin during rush hour on slick roads with a bunch of drivers who have forgotten how to drive in wet weather, but I arrived only a few minutes late and Karen and I headed over to the estate sale location.

Second surprise of the day. Nobody was there at 8 a.m. to pass out numbers and the word was that nobody was going to be there and we were expected to behave ourselves on an "honor system" of noting times of arrival. Yeah, that always works in Austin. Nevertheless, those of us who were early arrivals assigned ourselves numbers and Karen and I went in search of breakfast. We decided on Java Cafe and it turned out to be an excellent choice. We were well fed and back at the sale site a little after 9 o'clock. The crowd had thickened, but was surprisingly well behaved and those of us who had been the early "registrants" were allowed to take our places at the head of the line without any fuss. That turned out to be a doubly good thing since the sale organizer announced that the first 12 inside would be given a 10% discount to compensate us for the foul up in the registry process.

We stood in the rain for an hour, waiting for the doors to open. We were able to observe the sale personnel traipsing in and out and we recognized what would become the theme for the day. The lady in charge was a - uh - word that rhymes with "witch". Apparently she was not at all happy that the good Lord decided to bless us with rain today, or she hates her job, or she got up on the wrong side of the bed, or she had a kink in her colon, or she ascribes to the Basil Fawlty business plan that all would be well if it just weren't for the pesky customers you have to deal with to generate income. Whatever her problem, she did her best to ruin every one else's mood so she would not be alone in her misery.

But we were not to be so easily daunted. The venue was cramped, the hordes were grabbing items out from under your nose, the checkout line was slow, but the mood of the shoppers stayed pleasant despite Miss Wicked Witch of the West. Karen found several items to add to her Tonala collection and a lovely paperweight. I came out with a big pile of Texas history books (2 of which I've been looking for a long time and 2 of which were signed), two small figurines to use in a dollhouse somewhere, a few items that will become Christmas presents, and a pile of unopened DVDs for a TV series I loved back in the day. As we were checking out, Miss WWW made a last attempt to spoil our day by grabbing our purchases and roughly jamming them into a box and telling us to hurry up and leave, but we persevered with our good moods. All I can say is I'm glad I don't have to live with or work with her. She is one sour persimmon.

We made a quick stop at El Interior on the way back to the house, then rested a few minutes before Karen left to babysit grandbaby and I began to slowly make my way back home.

I decided to stop by Central Market at Westgate and pick up a few food treats for the weekend. Once I got to the shopping center, I drove around to see what else is there and was surprised to find two stores I used to love in residence. I prowled through Back Home and Whole Earth Provision Company and thoroughly enjoyed reacquainting myself with their offerings. Finally, I did a round of expensive grocery shopping and hit the slick road back to Bastrop.

About half-way between Austin and Bastrop is Berdoll's Pecan Farm which I almost never get to visit anymore because I hardly ever drive that way, so I impulsively grabbed the opportunity to visit them. That turned out to be an expensive stop, too. If you have the chance, check them out.

The rain had almost petered out by the time I got back to the house, but the air was still heavy with cool moisture and the Central Market tortilla soup was a perfect early supper. Followed by the Central Market bakery peach pie. And a few roasted pecans. And a session on the couch perusing my new stash of history books.

Good day. Sorry to disappoint Miss WWW.