How NOT to Drive to Maine or the Not-Benefits of a Cell Phone

Reporting from Maine here, the weather is sunny with a slight overcast.  Do I sound like a reporter yet?  I’ve been seeing some old friends (not old in age of course) and making some new.  However, I know that there are some friends that I won’t get a chance to see because after I got to my girlfriend’s (her leading me the last half hour), I decided that I was not getting into that car again until it was time to go home.  My little dog, Sam, is also a neurotic mess but he loves my girlfriend and has turned traitor and follows her around instead of me.

I have no schedule, can’t find anything and just can’t seem to relax as much as I like but this isn’t so much a vacation as a trip to be with someone who has had some pretty bad luck for the past month.  However, it makes me happy to see how many friends that she does have and all the support that is around here for her.  I think it’s the difference between Maine and New York.  Even living next door to family I doubt that I would have half the support.

As for my trip from Wolcott to Brunswick – it was pretty normal for ME.  It started with leaving at about 9 am in a bit of snow which I was out of by the time I reached the throughway.  Sam, my puppy, was excellent and curled down in the passenger seat.  We stopped at the first rest stop to do some business then hopped back into the car and headed east.  We stopped at the next rest stop because I had too much coffee and then I realized that I had forgotten my cell phone.  Oh the sinking feeling that you have several hundred miles to go with no phone in case of an emergency!  It took me until the next rest stop to realize that I could buy a new, cheap one with minutes just to carry for the trip and let my husband know that  we were doing all right.  We were lucky and they had cell phones!  I got it working but then it died because it needed to be charged.  At the next rest stop I purchased a package of seven sizes to make sure at least one fit.  However, when I opened the package none of them fit the hole into the phone or the connection to that thing you put into the lighter.  I realized that the connection into the lighter was defective in the connecting part also.  However, the NY rest stop store that sold it wouldn’t exchange it or give me my cash back because I had opened the box.  There was no manager available of course and I grabbed a comment card, told them what I thought and went back to the car.  At the next rest stop they didn’t even sell phones.  I stopped at every rest stop to find a charger to fit from there to Massachusetts 495.  By then I had accrued a purse full of wires and connectors and things to plug into the lighter.

I’m not crazy about 495 but I will do anything not to drive in Boston.  Every driver in Boston thinks that he/she is the only person on the road and if you are a wuss like me you sort of stay in one  place while cars whiz in front of you and beside you.  495 was good sailing until about half way to 95 it stopped.  I did not go over 10 miles per hour until 95 and this was at 3 pm on a weekday.  Of course, there were drivers that kept insisting on changing lanes because they thought that the other lanes were faster and there were drivers zipping by on the shoulders.  The only fun part of all that was when we passed those people that had changed lanes :o)  

 By the time Sam and I reached Maine it was dark (and of course we had to stop and attend to some business in New Hampshire – another rest stop!)  My girlfriend had told me to call her when I reached New Brunswick but I couldn’t find New Brunswick and stopped in Portland to call her.  She didn’t answer.  (this was because I was supposed to call her home phone instead of her call phone that I was calling).  Then I realized that I was on 95 and should have been on 295 but there was a very nice man at the gas station who told me how to get to 295.  By then I was exhausted and since my girlfriend wasn’t answering, I decided to spend the night at a hotel.  I thought I could find her house but I was just plain too tired and needed Ma Bell to call my husband to tell him that I hadn’t yet driven into the ocean.  Of course, there were no dogs allowed in any of the hotels that I stopped at.  One of the Managers finally told me of one in New Brunswick.  I go there on the verge of tears and was  able to check in.  What a relief! 

I wanted to bring all my luggage to my room so that I could look for my cell because all my numbers were in it, including my husband’s office telephone.  No bellhop but the Manager pointed to a luggage carrier.  So holding Sam in one hand and four very heavy bags in the other I finally made it through the door.  They had put me on the 3rd floor of course (but at least they took dogs so you can’t complain) which meant maneuvering a huge luggage carrier through teeny tiny doors and making sure that Sam (who had never encountered an elevator, got on before the doors closed.

The luggage carrier had a stuck wheel so I cursed and complained down three halls while hitting the walls with the carrier about every 10 feet or so.  Finally got the door open to the room with that silly card, pushed everything in and just stood there thinking about bedbugs.  So, Sam and I dismantled the beds but didn’t find any.  Luckily it was very warm in the room because I didn’t use any covers.  I called my husband, said goodnight, walked Sam and slept.  My husband said that my girlfriend had called three times and had given him her house number and asked why I didn’t call.  I called my girlfriend and she said that I was about 8 miles from her.  I said I didn’t care so she said she would meet me at the hotel the next morning.

The next morning she helped me with the bags (funny that she could get the carrier to go straight!), I followed her home and here I am.  My husband called and told me that the state police had called him (he about had a heart attack) and told him that they had his cell phone and that it was all pink and sparkly.  He said that they seemed relieved when he explained that it was his wifes.  Unfortunately, they had to send it to Albany who would send it home.  Fine.  I was here and I haven’t gotten into the car since.  And besides, my girlfriend explained to me that the reason that the charger(s) didn’t fit was because I was putting it into the wrong hole.  I haven’t told my husband that yet because I know he will call me Lucy Ricardo again.

Later I’ll tell you about my antique searches and how they went.  Noodles!

Posting Things on Cyberworld and the Acrobatics Involved

A mostly uneventful day is always appreciated.   As usual, I have been trying to take care of that silly wire basked of paperwork that I have but as usual I have just reached the point where it was yesterday when I stopped.  I’m wondering if there is a subconscious stopping here because where I stop is always right at the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance renewal of my sales tax Certificate of Authority.  I did go out to the shop because I had some furniture listed on Craigslist and some people wrote and wanted more pictures and some measurements which is quite acceptable.

After going out to the barn I realized it was colder than it looked!  The ground was frozen with slush on it which made it a trick to get out there and when I entered the shop I thought I would do just a bit of fluffing up (arranging) as long as I had made it safely out there so, I actually finished the kitchen area which had been so disrupted when I purchased the display cabinet for my antique utensils.  Now my gate-leg table is set with the blue bubblewear and old horn, bone and bakelite silverware, etc.  Nothing broke.  I was a bit afraid that touching it when it was so cold would crack it but, I suppose it was because I had gloves on and the glass temperature didn’t change so much.  It’s very hard to get a shipment of glass and to leave the box closed until everything reaches room temperature to take it out to look at it.  I’m somewhat of an instant gratification person like my older sister.

I then emptied off the dresser and vanity that someone wanted additional pictures on and took several pictures to send them.  I probably should have waxed it but it was rootin’ tootin’ cold out there and even with gloves it was getting harder to feel my fingers, much less to find the buttons on the camera.  So, it was time to do the same with the brocade sofa.  I turned around to go to it and I noticed all this white stuff on it!  Danged if the snow hadn’t come through the cracks of the barn door and made miniature snowbanks all over it.  After sweeping it off I knew that the wet would show and although I also knew it would not be ruined, I knew it would look like stains.  So I turned the cushions over and removed the wet arm cover and proceeded to take some pictures.  In five minutes I realized that probably the best pictures would have been of me standing on things, lying on the floor, climbing under tables and pulling and hauling it to the middle of the room to capture the back part.   After finishing I decided to clean up tomorrow and backed up and knocked my mission mirror over and broke off some coat hooks.  I thought maybe I should be done for the day so I turned off all the lights, carried everything to the house, slipping all the way, then went to get the mail, slipping all the way and back to the house, slipping all the way.

Putting things on cyberworld is actually harder than having someone come over and look at the thing, sit on it and then decide to like it or not like it.  Actually for large items it is quite a bit of work.  After the pictures have been taken I have to upload them onto the computer, find them, rename them (because they just have numbers) and then edit them by cropping, etc.  That is a lot to do with 25 photographs.  Then I had to reply to three sofa questions and one vanity set by giving them the measurements, finding the photographs and attaching them all to the letters and sending them out.  After this I wait to hear if the people even were interested in the first place.  If so, we have to make an appointment.  But, it makes it so worth it if someone likes it well enough to buy it.  I don’t understand these people who post one (or no) picture that is fuzzy and don’t give a good description.  The time they took to post the item has been wasted because (at least with me) I don’t even look at it due to the fact that there are so many other, well done items to look at.

So, now I’ve finished and can erase my camera and file my pictures on the computer.  I don’t suppose that you could sell things very well online if you don’t have a fast connection.  I’m lucky in that my husband is a computer analyst and my computer is connected to his and he has a landline and I am fast, fast, fast.  It only took me one day to do all that. :o)

I am going to TRY to do that renewal now.  Noodles :oD

Veterinarians, antique knives, and Subarus

Some days you just gotta take a break, well, at least part of a break.  This morning I tackled my inbox again which mystically filled up to higher than after I worked on it yesterday.  I’m trying not to look at all the things on my desk and now also on my drop leaf table that I’ve purchased and need to log in or that I need to clean or repair.

I’m still reading my old knife book and have decided to buy a knife for myself.  There are 100’s of kinds to choose from so I think I’ll get one with a pen blade, a curved saber blade, a wood carver’s blade and maybe another blade like a skinning blade in case I’m stranded in the woods.  The handle can actually be made of anything as long as it fits my hand.  It would be nice to get one that will lock open and I love those ones that open with a spring.  I mean, why break your nails opening it?  I’d like to have it have a ring to attach a chain on to it and I don’t care what the shield looks like.  (Do I sound like a professional yet?)  Who knows?  I may have some good ones in my shop that I just didn’t know were good; which is why I’m reading the book.I would like to get a Remington but don’t know if they make them any more.  Does anyone out there know?  Actually, I’m enjoying the knives as much as my Staffordshire Comfort Dogs and my miniature dogs and my postcards and my linens.  I guess I’m a jackknife of all trades ;o)

Please someone save me from all this inventory!  Drop by at Aussie-Magic Antiques, 6150 Powers Rd., Wolcott, NY 14590; (315)594-1905;

After I looked and pushed around a lot of paper this morning my sister and I went to have a late breakfast.  I could eat breakfast all day.  She is pretty social and seems to know most of the people here and is kind enough to explain who they are and how I would remember them.  I really hate it when someone I graduated with comes up to me and says “guess who I am, Debbie!” and I have absolutely no idea.

Then we came back here and picked up my Rat Terrier, Spider for a trip to the Vet.  It was way to cold to leave her in the car when we ate.  I’m running out of Vets here in NY.  So far, I haven’t been thrilled with any of them.  I know that it is happening all over but I am tired of them thinking of money rather than the pet.  My first try was a Vet that my other sister used.  I liked him but his receptionist was obnoxious.  I’m not the type of person to give money to an obnoxious person (when they are working for me) so I complained to the Vet.  It happened again and I decided I would drive about 5 miles further to another Vet.  She worked out all right but insisted on shots that I didn’t want to have my dogs have and rather than aspirate a tumor (which was a fatty tumor) she insisted on surgery to remove it.  Then when Miss Marta, my Australian Terrier got ill we had to take her to the emergency clinic in Rochester and they said it was probably a pulled muscle in her neck and gave her pain pills and muscle relaxers.  They also caught on to the fact that she had Coccidiosis (which meant that there was a good chance all three of my dogs had them).  I called my regular Vet when she got in and repeated what the clinic said and asked her for some worm pills for all three.  Of course she said that she had to see them.  I was seriously unhappy that poor Miss Marta had to be stressed out more by packing her up and taking her to the Vet so the Vet could tell me she had a pulled muscle in her neck and also unhappy that I had to go in and prove that the other had Coccidiosis when there is a 90% chance that dogs that are together all have it.  So, there is a Vet that likes her money before she likes her patients.  Then I went to another that was about 40 minutes away and was not pleased with him at all.  No reason, just instinct.  SO, my Vet now is a Wellness Vet (which is a big plus) a woman (another plus) handles emergencies 24 hours a day (plus) does not insist on vaccination shots every year, recommends every three years, and just says fine when I say “none please”.   In fact, she actually believes that I know my dogs better than she does.  I just don’t have the equipment to treat them.  Now I even can’t give my dogs their shots because the Vets lobbied and you can buy only a minimum of 12 or something like that.  But anyway,  I got Spider right in.  She has a lump which I was sure was a fatty tumor but I needed to make sure, it was time for her three-year rabies (state insists before granting a license), a “geriatric” (geeze I hate that word) blood panel which I insisted on.  She did an aspiration on the lump (which the vet before should have done), it was a fatty tumor and other than Spider not being willing to bend her legs on the table, everything went fine.  Spider is one of those canines that has great teeth and even though she is 10, she has never had to have them cleaned.  I think it is because we give them raw beef bones from the butcher several times a week.  (WARNING:  DON’T give them those small round bones.  My Borzoi slipped one over her lower jaw past her teeth and we had to take her in to have a Vet use a bone saw to get it off :o(  At my new Vet, the receptionists were extremely warm and friendly, the vet was only about 15 minutes late in seeing us and the place was clean and not crowded.  When it was time to pay, one of them told me that the Vet wanted to see Spider again in 6 months.  I said “no” because I know when my dogs need to see a vet.  It may be before that, it may be after.  Then she gave me the bill of $218.  YOUCH!  At which time I told her that was the reason that I didn’t come in every 6 months.  Meanwhile the other receptionist was talking this other client into using Hills Science Diet.  The lady asked if she could get it somewhere closer and the receptionist said no.  I plugged my ears and left.  I cant’ keep making enemies every where I go.  You can get Hills Science Diet at any Vets because the Vets get part of the proceeds from selling it.  In fact, they get paid to sell it.  It was one of the brands that was recalled with the melamine in it from China.  It’s expensive and gives my dogs horrible dandruff which is a “no-no” when you are showing them.  I, personally, love Wysong.  You can google it directly through the company or find a retailer closer to you.  It isn’t cheap but it is great and I don’t think it is much more than Hills.  I also use it for my cat who has a urinary problem.

On the way home we stopped at the liqueur store whose owner was bemoaning the fact that he has his first theft of merchandise.  The thief put a bottle up his sleeve!  The owner said he just called the sheriff because he didn’t want to confront the guy.  I don’t blame him at all.  He said he wouldn’t have caught him except for the fact that he had cameras.  Until I became one, I never realized what a hard time Store Keepers had to make ends meet.  All the odds are stacked against them.  I have a small business permit and New York Tax Department just notified me that small businesses have to renew their permits now every year.  Only  $50!  But the money isn’t the hard part.  Dealers come in and buy things from you and if they let you see a copy of their permit and sign a paper saying what they sell, etc. then you can let them buy without paying taxes if you sell it to a person in New York State.  Since you can’t take a copy  of the permit because it’s illegal, we have forms that they fill out, sign and date and we keep them on file.  Sometimes it is awkward to get these numbers and information the first time around.  The second time they say “use the old one” but you can’t because they now have to prove that they have had them renewed.   Also, having had a dog kennel and boarding small business in Maine, I can see why people are disgusted in NY.  A tax form that takes 2 pages in Maine is a 5 pager in New York.  So, “lets help out the small businesses!”  Right!

Then it was to an antique co-op that I don’t stop at very often and I remembered why.  I did purchase a Native American Beaded pin (which they didn’t know that was what it was) and some fur stretchers (I have to look that up) that had lovely designs on them.  I plan to use them as fan blades on my ceiling fans because the ones we have just plain don’t match any of my antiques.  I think I can trace the old ones and learn to use a jigsaw and have my husband put them on.  I hope.  That was all that I would buy.  I asked if they had a Dealer discount and they said “yes, on individual items that are over $10 you may have 10% off”; it didn’t matter if your total was $2,000.  The items that you get discounts on had to be over $10.  Now I hate to call anyone stupid but I really think that they aren’t using their heads.  I know I’m new at this but I give a 20% discount on any total over $1 to any dealers that fill out my permit form (as above).  I get a LOT of business from dealers.  They buy a lot at one time to make it worthwhile to come to Wolcott, I get rid of old inventory, and if I have marked things up even 30% I’m getting rid of inventory and not losing money.  I know enough that I have to move my things in order to draw in new clients and to keep them coming back.  I know I would have purchased more had I received a 20% discount.  Well, they get to look at those pretty things a while longer which is maybe what they want.

After this it was head home and drop off some paperwork at my Niece’s.  Well seeing as they have a very sharp hill down to the creek and then back up a sharp hill, it was very exciting with my sister telling me to put it into 4 wheel drive but I had all wheel drive so that was no good.  But the Subaru was wonderful.  It’s a VERY nice car for the winter snows and ice.  Spider and I are now home safe, sound and exhausted.  If you have any advice or comments on my fans, please let me know.  In fact, just drop me a line to say that you hate my column, don’t give a hoot about my column or can’t live without my column.

As my friend Boyce used to say when he left, “noodles”!



Trust or How to Become Suspicious or What is a Bolster?

I think I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again but being a store proprietor/manager/sales person/peon is probably the WORST career path that I have ever taken because it plays on my defective “trust”.  Now, I’m not saying that is the only defective thing about me because I also have a broken “on/off” switch that goes from my brain to my mouth.  There ARE things that you can think of but that should never be said.  I just happen to have a mouth that works the same time as my brain and I don’t have a chance to hit the “off” button.  But anyway, back to the subject of trust.

Most of the time I run around moaning about what the world has come to and why is it that I am 60 years old and still trust everyone?  You choose:

1.  I’m a wee bit slow in the learning curve.

2.  I’m a wee bit stubborn in changing my thoughts and feelings.

3.  No one can be trusted and I’m just noticing it now because I’m in charge of Aussie-Magic Vintiques.

Since the snow has been floating down along with the temperature, I’ve been sorting through my books on antiques.  For me, the written word sinks in better than the verbal memory wise so I’m a big reader of both novels and non-fiction.  Most of my non-fiction consists of books on old glass, old china marks, old bottles, old postcards, etc, and, at the moment, old knives.  The reason for the old knives is that I picked up a batch (lot) of them at an auction and before I marked them all for $5.00 I decided to make sure that one of them wasn’t worth $1,000.  Also, when I sell online or in person, people tend to ask things like “how many bolsters does it have?”  In person I get away with not knowing the answer by smiling at them and handing them the knife and saying “here, why don’t you examine the knife yourself” but online I have to find out what the heck a bolster is.  I can either find out or I can send them pictures of the knife open and closed and from every possible angle so that they can see for themselves.  So, I got out the old knife book (by the way, I believe that the bolster is the piece of the knife holder that divides the blades) which brings us back to the whole “trust” thing.

In this old knife book they don’t describe the knives but have pictures and have copies of the advertisement that the knife maker would send to the dealer to encourage him/her (not probably)  to sell the maker’s knives.  I started noticing the display cases that the maker was saying would come with the company’s knives and also started noticing how they were “theft proof”,  “easy to get out from the back of the case”, “easy for the customer to see all the knives without having to handle all of them”.  And then, I noticed the warranties from the companies;  “guaranteed against breakage, rust, damage BUT the persons must send the knife back so that the company can prove that there was a crack after forging or that the knife had not been left out in the elements”.  These were all ads from around 1904.

“What?”, you say. “YES, from 1904!”  That is what I said!  People were actually dishonest in 1904!  And here all this time I thought that in the old days there used to be honest people with work ethics and a conscience.  BEEP, wrong again!  So, why, with the process of evolution wasn’t I born suspicious of people?  Does everyone have to personally get burnt to be suspicious or is it that slow, stubborn, “Rebecca of SunnyBrook Farm” defect in me?  So, I’m slowly learning and since I am 60, my husband is slightly disgusted at how slowly I’m learning and keeps asking when I’m going to start making money in the shop instead of just spending it.

So, I ask you.  Is it better to be slow, stubborn and innocent or is it better to be suspicious and have a gun under the counter, television monitors and one of those things that beep when you exit the door of the shop.  People do take all of those things for granted and don’t blink an eye about subjecting themselves to being filmed without permission and zapped when they go through doors so I guess everyone else has caught on.  So, why don’t they write books about how to become suspicious?  Really, someone out there could make a fortune on that.  They could give seminars and classes and speeches.  Go for it people!  I’ll actually buy your book if it doesn’t fit in my purse.  ;o)

Roller Skating in the Dining Room

All quiet on the home front here.  Mainly it’s quiet because it is snowing very hard and snow does tend to muffle sound.  Speaking of which, we just had ceramic laid in our kitchen and dining room because we have three terriers and we have a policy of “no rugs allowed”.  The dining room now echoes when you go in there and I keep putting more and more things in there to give it a warmer feeling.  Now, mind you, I don’t think I have ever had a new piece of furniture.  I love old, used things that are individual.  That room has mirrors on all the walls, small mirrors, large mirrors, white-painted framed mirrors, gilt mirrors, etched mirrors, beveled mirrors all in different shapes and conditions.  This was because the room had only a sliding door and no windows for light so the mirrors made the room seem bigger and brighter which I love.  However, I HATE the echo.  So, I decided to experiment with the things I put in it.  I would put in a piece of furniture and then shout “hello” and if it echoed I figured I wasn’t done yet.  If I lived in a city close to someone I suppose they would have concluded that I had a loud parrot living here.  So, the ceramic has been laid, the upper half of the walls are painted white with a tinge of tan, and the lower half is paneled.  The upper half has mirrors with Icart prints (they must have Borzois in them) interspersed in them.

First comes the dining room table.  I spent years finding this table  because I got the chairs first and they were dark oak.  Golden oak is everywhere but not the dark oak so now I realized why they were in my price range at Brimfield.  However the table is beautiful.  It is square and has 6 leaves that slide into the top of the table when you open a little door so that they can be stored.  This is not a small table unless you put it into my diningroom.  After inserting three leaves, the table looked a little better there.  Add the 6 chairs which are dark stained cane on their backs and a dark turquoise velour upholstery on the seats.  For the first time, they all fit under the table (except the master chair arms) even with the large circular pedestal under the table.  However, it still echoes so by trial and error I now have an enclosed fireplace, a 1930’s cream and green Glenwood stove, a primitive wooden chair, a very large primitive hutch (cream and green of course) which holds my white ironstone dishes and my white linens, a very large, primitive hanging cupboard with glass front with a cream and green cottage style dresser under it, the large sliding door with drapes, a commode with a wonderful bird lamp with a fringed shade, a sea captains desk, a huge buffet with a mirror that my husband inherited, a round fringed hassock and a large, dark bookcase with a mirror and 6 shelves full of my genealogy and area history reference books.  After the last “hello” it still echoes.

So, I throw a cream and green comforter (another item inherited from my husband’s family) over the dining room table and it still echos and I realize that after I put the furniture in the room I STILL have enough room to put on my skates and use the room as a roller skating rink.  What happened to my cozy little farmhouse?  Thinking about it, I realize that by putting down the ceramic it was like Alice in Wonderland and the room had stretched.  I knew I hadn’t shrunk.  I could never be that lucky so it HAD to be the room.  Oh well, I entertained my daughter and her husband for dinner and with the fireplace going it really wasn’t that bad.  No one had to ask anyone else to repeat themselves because they couldn’t hear someone.  The dogs slept in front of the fire on a throw rug  (Those are OK because you can just dump them in the washer) – the rugs, not the dogs and all was right in the world again.

I guess a house is just cold until you light a fire and put some people and dogs in it :o)  Stay warm and cozy!

Buying in Horse Country

Today, being another no-snow January day, I ventured off to pick up some glassware that I had purchased about 10 miles away.  I don’t like to drive when there is something between my tires and the road but this has been a most unusual winter.  I really hate to let Mr. Gore know that I am enjoying this global warming business.  For tomorrow I’m down on my knees praying for a huge snow storm because I’m scheduled for three cavity fillings at 10:00 a.m. and I hate going to the Dentist.  Getting off the subject, all this hate for Dentists started when my Mother decided to take us girls to a local Dentist that was learning how to straighten teeth because he was giving her a deal.  That jerk pulled seven of my permanent teeth and all of them were pulled the same way.  He would sneak up behind me with the needle and stab me.  I’m very happy to think that he also hates me because of the teeth bite scars on his hands.  Thinking about it now – I wonder if that’s why he was pulling all my teeth?

Back to current times, it was actually a nice drive into unknown territory.  I was planning on stopping off at the Auction Barn to pick up a check but they were closed.  They are probably resting up after a very big New Year’s sale.  The countryside that I was traveling was full of horse farms and even though they were all muddy, it’s always nice to look at horses.  This is a pretty depressed area though and the rest of the homes were not quite as nice as the large horse farms.  A lot of the horses were thoroughbreds because we’re within an hour of the Fingerlakes Race Track.  I only had to turn around once to find where I was going and would not have found it if the woman that I was visiting had not told me that she had large “massage” signs at the end of the driveway.  I think that the wind and rain has worn off any numbers that were on the postal boxes.  Who needs house numbers anyway?  Usually directions around here consist of “well, I’m right across from such and such’s place”  or I’m the second brown house on the left” or “I live where so and so used to live” and when you miss and hit the end of the road you just turn around and count backwards.  There is something to be said about country living.

Like a good Seller, she had put her Rottie in the back yard and the Corgi was pretty mellow so I didn’t even have a problem getting up to the trailer!  She met me at the door with my items and asked if I wanted to see more.  These I had found on the Facebook WCNY.Antique Attic boards.  She said she didn’t know much about antiques and was selling these for her mother.  Another Bingo!  No one had even been through them yet!  And then another Bingo was that she would ask me if I knew anything about each item and I could honestly say that I didn’t.  I did recognize a pretty hobnail ribbon fan vase that I think was Fenton which I told her but the rest was pretty much a gamble on pricing between her and I.  We made our deal, were both happy, chatted for quite a while and off I went.  Then I realized that I had never paid for my initial two items and that she was a lot like me.  I had the money folded, she took it that way and never counted it because it would look like she didn’t trust me.  Just like me!  So, when I got home I shot her an email telling her that I would mail the money to her.  She will learn that lesson I fear.  Always have the Payer count out the money into the Payee’s hand.  Ms M and I have this thing going about $20.00 bills.  Seems like we always underpay or overpay that amount.  Either way, I am learning to stop, take a deep breath, don’t talk and count those bills slowly because I’m either shorted or the other person is shorted and it makes the one person look like they did it on purpose and once they are gone there is really nothing you can do unless you have lots of chutzpah (which I do not)!

The rest of this day I actually got some paperwork done although you still cannot see me when you look into the office because of all the things on my desk.  I save the fun part of logging in new things for a reward when I get the ugly things like paying the bills done.  A little OCD here…that and the fact that if anyone is ever going to get audited it is bound to be me.  And, that’s another story altogether.

So, goodnight after a pretty good day with one more person and dog friend made.

Display your Goods Right

What a beautiful day it was here in Wolcott.  I sort of feel guilty about enjoying the climate warming but last year was so very, very horrible.  After totalling my car the year before that, with all the snow last year I was basically a mole and never went out of the house.  Someone came to visit me and said that I should really get out more so I asked her what she meant.  She said she could see only one set of tiny footprints going from the house to the barn!  This year there is no evidence because there is no snow.  I adore it!

The people who came yesterday came back to see some of the things that they were interested in.  Since the barn is cold they do it in spurts.  When they get too cold they come back and look again.  I have to admit that there is a lot to look at.  I love “bling” and I have four cases of vintage and antique jewelry.  Then there are two cases of military medals from the civil war and WWI and knives and padlocks and men’s things.  All very cold items for bare fingers and if you keep your gloves on you end up being so awkward that it’s like playing dominoes with them.  The little miniatures are the same way and the glass, of course, you don’t want to touch at all unless you have gloves on.  If you purchase glass you should make sure to let it warm to your house temperature before you touch it so that it doesn’t crack or break.  I guess yesterday when they bought a very large vase of marigold carnival glass that had a hairline crack on one side that when they took it home they handled it too soon and the crack went all around the vase.  Luckily it is just a hairline but they can’t use it for flowers.  I have to say though that I had marked the tag accordingly.

This gentleman and I seem to have the same taste.  He really liked the Civil War horse bridle rosettes and the rosettes that had glass covered dogs and horses on them.  I have a brooch that is made the same way only with two circles attached together.  One circle has a glass covered golfer and the other a horse.  It is unique because it is not glass covered paper but is glass covered celluloid/metal/whatever.  Now I just have to find someone who likes golf and horses.  I suppose you could combine the ideas and it would be good if you like polo.  Do let me know at  if you are interested in seeing pictures of any of my things.  It would be much warmer than coming over and handling metal and glass with bare fingers.  Burrrrr.

The nice thing about people coming to shop is that while they are there I get to pick up and sort items in the store.  I actually have an incentive to clean out the isles and find places for new things.  A lot of the work that I did today was to move boxes upstairs that I had out for the auction and yard sale and to file all my acquisitions of postcards.  Postcards are very hard to file.  For instance if you have a picture of Canadian Mounties where do you file them?  Under Canada or under horses or under Canadian Mounties?  Usually I file under greeting cards: Christmas, Easter, etc. Then another box for New York State under counties.  For Wayne county, which is where I am, I file under town.  Then for the United States I, of course, file under state.  (New York is included in this box and then divided into counties.  Then Wayne into towns).  Then there are the boxes of overseas and foreign countries.  This is interesting because so many country names have changed so which do you file under?  A lot of people want World’s Fair items but since I file under location they must know where the Expositions were.  I also have to try to remember this filing system because when people come in and ask, I feel really stupid when I have to run over and find them myself.

Anyway, I got the whole first room cleaned up.  I can reach the cash drawer now without stepping over ladders, stepstools, boxes and packing materials and people can do the circle without having to step over things that aren’t even for sale by me and are certainly not in their correct places.  Tomorrow, if it is again warm I will tackle the living room area, the salt and peppers, the oriental china and the office, books and maps area and the kitchen area.  I think that the kitchen area will be the most difficult because I just purchased a second-hand wooden shelf unit that held candles to hold all my utensils such as the cream and green hand mixers, etc.  Since I just put that unit in today, it meant that I had to move out everything that was in the corner where I was going to put it so now you can’t even get into the kitchen area.  This is what happens when I buy or sell a big piece of furniture.  Perhaps it will still be warm three days from now and I can get to the bedrooms that have all the clothing in the wardrobes, the quilts, the toys and the bedroom furniture.  I purchased a dressmakers model at an auction this winter and then found a head made of straw and have some shoe lasts and I can’t wait to dress her in vintage clothing such as bloomers and poodle coats :o)  This summer I’m going to take her up in the top of the barn and place her on a rocking chair in front of the large floor to ceiling door, get a grey wig with a bun for her and some knitting needles and then point a light at her so when people drive in they will think she is the mother of Norman Bates rocking in the window upstairs in the movie Psycho.

Anyway, I stayed out there from about 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (when the dogs need feeding or they try to commit suicide).  I wasn’t frozen when I came in but I had nice rosy cheeks and actually felt like I had accomplished something.  And, I made some money!  Well, I did until I figure out what I paid for the items that I sold.  LOL!

So, keep hoping for nice weather and perhaps I can finish the second room.  Do come over and help me.  It’s lots of fun!

You Don’t Have a Job

I think one of the things that bothers me a lot is when a friend/neighbor/family member asks me if I want to go out to lunch or go shopping or ride with them to such and such a place and I answer that I can’t because I have too much to do.  Then, they reply “well, what do you have to do?  You don’t have a job”.  Or, someone will tell me they wish they had my job because I don’t have to go to work.  I find it so difficult to respond to them and I even wonder why I should care to justify myself.

It’s true, I love my job and not very many people can say that.  I like being around antiques, wondering where they came from or what they have gone through and feel badly if something can’t be re-purposed or is melted down for its metal content value.

It’s true, I don’t have to go far to get to my principal place of business which is in my side yard,  unless you count the mileage traveling to someone’s home to find that the article you were interested isn’t what you wanted at all or traveling to an auction while hauling a trailer to sit several hours while everything is being sold way beyond your means or you know that if you buy, you can never resell at a profit.

It’s true, I can keep my own hours because I work 24 hours a day.  If it’s 20 degrees below 0 and someone calls to view the shop, out I go because I don’t get paid regularly and only get paid in accordance to how hard I work.  When not out being nice to people so that they are happy to come back I am at my computer logging in merchandise, logging out merchandise, balancing books, doing tax returns or repairing broken items.

It’s true, it really isn’t like a real job because I don’t get sick pay or unemployment during the slow times or disability if I hurt my back moving something.  Nor do I get a paid vacation.  In fact, if I DO take a vacation, I usually visit places where I can purchase merchandise and I have to close the store which means I, again, am not making money but spending it.

It’s true, my employer is the best employer in the world and she sends me to school (meaning to the computer and the book store to look up glassware, types of quilts, etc) whenever I want.

It’s also true that I don’t have to deal with vicious office politics.  I only have to deal with people interrupting me because I don’t have a job, laundry, dishes and yard work.  And, it’s true that I don’t have to pay rent on my barn (only the mortgage payments) and even people who say I don’t have a job expect to get a discount on my merchandise because they are my friends/neighbors/family members.

It’s true, I’m not going to get laid off without knowing way ahead of time and I’ll never get fired so it’s a balancing act I suppose.  Luckily, I have another source of income from my husband because I cannot imagine how a business could be started up without that other source!

So, I love my not-job.  And, I should just smile when other people say I don’t have a job because we all know that they are just jealous and would give their eye teeth to be doing all the great things that I do all day and not have to be looking at the clock because I know I’ll be doing those great things much later than they work at their non-jobs.  Tally Ho!!

How to Withstand your Yard or Barn Sale

This past Fall Aussie-Magic Vintiques had its annual end of season sale.  I held it before Labor Day because the Sodus Bay cottagers were still around and, of course, more people means more sales.  I held it in conjunction with a huge yard sale in front of the barn and Ms. M. brought a lot of things to add to the yard collection.  We had a huge turnout with probably 1,000 people coming and it served very well in getting my business name passed around and in getting it on the map.  Of course my Mentor (Ms. M.) was there or I would have just closed up and run as far away as possible because it was the strangest sale that I have ever gone to (as Buyer OR Seller).   The first strange thing happened before the sale started.  We were out putting up tables, marking things, getting tarps ready in case it rained and generally just getting ready.  The signs were ready to be placed on the road intersections the next day and the advertisements had already hit all the papers and all the web sites to bring people from out of the county and locally.  As we were setting up,  a car drove in and asked if we were open yet.  Ms. M.  and I glanced at each other and decided “why not?” so they came in and started shopping.  Then another car drove in and we found out that the local paper had put the start date as that day!  So, I didn’t have time to get nervous and we just started to roll.  Ms. M.  took care of the outside sales while I covered the register and she was in and out as needed.  She works so hard that she puts me to shame!  I  did get  nervous the first few hours  when it was really busy and people were waiting for me to ring things up.  Unfortunately, when I get nervous I always make mistakes on change, etc.  After a while I start relaxing but the beginning was terrible.  So that day turned into:

Day #1:  That was also the day that a customer came in and purchased a few things (almost everything was on sale), we finished the transaction, she went back to her car and a few minutes later she came back in and stated that she never got her change.  Everyone that had been standing around the register remembered me giving it to her (it was only $12) but she insisted and since the ex-customer is always right, I gave it to her again.  Anyway, we made it through the pre-first day alive and healthy.  Ms. M. was bee-bopping around covering things outside and I was dragging around trying to do the same.

Day #2: Since this day was the official starting day which was advertised in everything but the local paper, this day was absolute insanity!  Ms. M. is close to all the Dealers and there were a lot of them there.  Of course she knew them all by name and would introduce them to me and I would remember the name while the introduction took place.  Since she knew most of these people she was at her best in showing them what they wanted to look at.  But, being Dealers, of course they wanted to deal and me, just learning, had marked the items for as low as I could go as it was.  It was very difficult because I don’t like to do it that way.  I like to say that this is the lowest that I will go and then have that final but they expect to get it lower because it’s all a game.  Someday I’ll be that way but not quite yet.  It was very, very cold and windy so that I wanted to keep the barn door closed a bit but couldn’t because I was supposed to be watching things outside and helping Ms M out.  So, amid this insanity a gentleman comes in and says “so, you didn’t sell your house”.  I said “no”.  He asked me my name again because he wanted to know who my sister and I were.  I said “my sister?” and he said “yes, your sister; the one who was helping you sell the house”.  I said that “no, my husband and I owned the house so that couldn’t be possible” and he said “oh yes! He had toured the house and it was definitely your sister and you”.  Since all non-customers are right, I agreed, smiled and pretended to go back to work wondering if I was going to make it through this day.

Day #3: It rained hard all day so we left the things outside covered.  If anyone wanted to see something Ms. M. would, of course, know where everything was exactly and would go uncover it.  So, sales were slow.  This was the day that someone stole my prized baby cup that was yellow and had puppies and chicks  around the border.  They did leave me the saucer.  The next day someone came in and purchased just the saucer.  Strange?  I don’t think so.  We closed early but I guess not early enough.

Day #4: It was cold and rainy with the same scenario as yesterday except the missing cup.  Instead, during one of the sunny times when we ran out and uncovered the things, a well-known volunteer firefighter lifted a garlic press.  A garlic press?  Why a garlic press?  Of course the indomitable Ms. M. witnessed this and strode over to him and said “J—, I can’t believe you just did that.  How would you like it if word got around about you stealing a garlic press?  I want you to put that right back where you got it and then you can pay for the rest of the things and leave”.  Well, J— turned purple, put back all of the things he was going to buy and practically ran to his truck and left.  Which reminds me, one time a truck stopped and two men got out and started looking at things.  Ms. M. was out the door in a flash and said  “Hello Mr. S., How are you doing today”.  When they looked up and saw it was Ms. M. they went back into their truck and left.  Obviously, Ms. M. had caught them at one time.  She did speak sternly to me one time and I’ll never get over it.  She can make one SCAREY face!  Note: This is the reason for the Dealers to hang around at the back of the auctions.  This way they can pass the word on things like who bounces checks and who is a thief, etc.

Day #5:  It was cold but not much rain.  I think we only had to put the tarps on once.  Things went very smoothly until the State Police came and told us that someone had reported that we were selling liquor without a license.  We let him search the premises, of course, and I told him that he could HAVE the cranberry juice I was drinking because I hated it but he declined, said it must have been a prank call, and left.  It may have been a little old lady vendetta but we won’t get into that today.

Day #6:  A truck pulled in and asked us if we were missing a dog.  In the truck was a blonde and white Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that seemed quite happy to be riding around with the gentleman.  Ms. M’s first thought was that the man was trying to dump off the dog but I didn’t care.  I didn’t want the dog to end up on some dead-end country lane and have a horrible death so I told him that no, we weren’t missing a dog but I would take him and keep him here during the sale and maybe someone would come and claim her.  She was the sweetest thing.  After drinking some water she settled down on one of the blankets we were selling.  After about an hour I decided to call the town Dog Catcher to see if someone had reported her as missing.  He said he would be over to pick her up.  He seemed like a good man and told me he would find a great home for her because she was so friendly and small.  Right after he left another car pulled in and asked if we had seen a dog.  I told him that the Dog Catcher had just taken her so he should call him.  Expecting to be thanked I was appalled  when he yelled at me for calling the dog catcher because the dog belonged to a friend of his and now he would have to pay for a license and get her shots!  So, since the non-customer is right I apologized.  Yeesh – people.

So that is the end of the saga of one strange yard/barn sale.  Is it luck or is it just me?  I have to say that my husband calls me Lucy Ricardo but I swear that this business is going to be a success!!!!