Estate Sale

Wall Art #16

I don’t know how long this mural has been on this wall. I noticed it for the first time a few weeks back when Cindy and I were driving home from an art sale in West Lafayette. I finally got around to driving back to get this picture last week.

***

Back in 2014 I wrote about a day trip to visit a number of graveyards that I took with my friend Mary. Well, This weekend she invited me accompany her to an estate sale. She thought I would be interested because they advertised that there were jazz paintings included. I had never been to an estate sale, and since I had nothing else planned, I accepted the invitation. That and I enjoy her company.

We met Saturday morning at a Starbucks near the site of the sale. I’m not much of a fan of Starbucks, but also I’m not so snobbish that I would refuse to meet there. I arrived early, entered the establishment, and stood in a short line to order and get my coffee. I hadn’t brought my laptop, so I pulled out my smart phone and stared at it to better blend in with the other customers. I sipped my over-priced bad coffee while waiting for Mary to arrive.

I had ordered a plain black coffee and then understood why so many people get the more exotic drinks. They needed to overpower the flavor of the black coffee. Oh well; too each his own.

Mary arrived right on time. We sat and chatted for a bit. We talked about family, mutual friends, and Christmas plans. Then it was time to set out for the sale.

The sale was in a neighborhood filled with expensive homes. I thought there might be some interesting things on sale for prices I couldn’t afford. The house was a a two story house with a finished basement. It sat on the shore of a pond. It was a nice setting. We started in the garage where there was absolutely nothing that interested me. We moved on to the kitchen where I had my first surprise. The cabinets were open, displaying jars of all types of spices that had been opened and partially used. There was no way to tell how fresh, or how stale the spices were.

Mary explained to me that anything we bought would be for the marked price, but at 1:00 p.m. the prices would be cut by 50%, and the next day any remaining items would by cut by 75%. I doubted that there would be much left. We moved into a small room that appeared to have been a den. There was a wet bar in the room. There were also built in bookshelves that held some books ($2 each). One full shelf of the books contained cook books, except for a Weight Watcher’s Guide stuck amidst the cookbooks. It seemed out of place to me.

There were a lot of bookcases in the house. With the exception of the built-ins, which were high quality, most of them looked pretty cheap. In fact, most of the furniture looked low quality considering the house and its location.

I decided that I wanted to check out the basement next, because I saw a fellow carrying a jazz painting from there. We went down, and sure enough there were jazz paintings and prints, as well as other items that were of no interest to me. Most of the jazz themed items didn’t appeal to me, but there was one print that I liked. I had two reasons for not buying it. First, I thought it was too expensive, and second I had no place to hang it. I considered coming back in the afternoon when the price would be lower, but then the fellow I had seen earlier came back down and took another painting. I decided the print I liked would be gone before I could come back.

When it was time to leave we walked into a room where Mary could pay for the items she wanted. There was also a man with a carton full of knick-knacks that he wanted to purchase for 50% off. A woman explained to him that he would have to wait until 1:00 p.m. but he was having none of that. The woman went off to find someone else who would talk to him. I looked around the room and saw a row of liquor bottles to be sold. About half of them were open and partially consumed. Who in the world would buy an opened bottle of booze? Maybe an alcoholic would; but even when I was drinking at my heaviest I wouldn’t have done that. While I was driving home I started to wonder if selling booze without a liquor license was legal in those circumstances.

It was an interesting experience. That said, I don’t think I’ll do it  again anytime soon.

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Quite the evening

Morning on the deck. looking at our open bedroom window.

I took this picture from our deck around 7:30 this morning. It was quiet and peaceful, just me and the birds and a stalking cat. I scared the cat away. May it never return.

***

Yesterday evening, sometime between 5:30 and 6 a friend, part of Cindy’s expanded family, called Cindy to say that she thought she had broken her arm. She had gone to her daughter’s volleyball practice and since she had been a star volleyball player in high school, she was helping her daughter warm up. Well, she was not as agile and her footwork wasn’t quite as good as when she had been in high school. To make a longish story shorter, she fell backwards and injured her arm. She called Cindy to ask her to come and pick her up to take her to Urgent Care. Cindy was, at the time, cooking dinner for guests and asked me to pick our friend up. So I did.

I drove to the high school where I found our friend in her car in the parking lot. She asked me to drive her car since she had her toddler son in his car seat. I agreed and we set out to Urgent Care. When we got there we unloaded the toddler, assembled his stroller, put him in it and went inside. She was told that it would be at least 1 1/2 hours before she could see a doctor (let’s take the urgent out of Urgent Care) and they did not have the facilities to cast her arm if that was needed. So we went back to the parking lot where we put the toddler back in his car seat, disassembled the stroller, and loaded it into the car. We set off for the emergency room of one of our local hospitals. But first we stopped at our house and left the toddler with Cindy and our dinner guests.

When we arrived at the emergency room I noticed that they had a large sign on the wall that said “Emergency Room Welcome Center.” I think the Welcome Center part was supposed to take some of the sting out of the Emergency part. There didn’t appear to be many people waiting, so we were encouraged to think that the wait would not be too long.

Sitting beside us was a woman in a wheelchair accompanied by her husband and three adult daughters. Before long another four members of her family arrived. Our little part of the waiting area was getting crowded.

Did I say our wait wouldn’t be long? We sat there, chatting, for about an hour before our friend was taken into an examining room. I decide to stay in the waiting room. No sooner had our friend disappeared behind a door than one of the daughters marched to the desk and asked why our friend had been taken before her mother. The woman at the desk explained that while the mother may have checked in first, they took patients in order of severity of the injury. The daughter scowled and went back to her chair. One of her sisters asked what the counter person had said. The first sister said that she didn’t know. What?

About another hour passed and the woman in the wheelchair was still sitting and waiting. At that point another of the sisters marched to the desk and asked why her mother hadn’t been seen by a doctor yet, after all they had been waiting for two hours. The counter attendant looked at her computer screen and said, “No, you have been here one hour and forty-five minutes and we see people based on the severity of their…” never making eye contact with the daughter. The daughter said, “HOW CAN YOU…” And at that point her father said, “Come over here and sit down!” never looking up from his smart phone.

She grumbled but meekly returned to her chair. Then she started talking to her sisters, loud enough for all of the people in the waiting area to hear, “How can they tell if one injury is worse than another?” One of her sisters who was dressed in pink opined that her sister was just upset due to pregnancy hormones.

Then the pink sister started talking about her upcoming wedding. I tried to tune her out. It was difficult since she was standing directly in front of me. By the way, I had offered her my seat, but she had turned down my offer. At one point I heard her telling her family that she got nervous when she thought about sex and started twirling her hair. At that point I looked at her and thought she looked as if she had been around the block at least a few times, but that’s just between you and me.

Finally they called the mother’s name and told her she could take two people back with her. Pink sister took control of the wheelchair but her father stood up, put away his smart phone, and told pink sister to sit down. He was taking his wife back by himself. And he did. At that point, five of the seven remaining family members left to eat dinner.

I waited around another half hour and finally approached the counter attendant and said that my friend had gone back around an hour ago and… At that point the attendant looked at her computer screen and said, “No, it has only been forty-five minutes…” I broke in said that I just wanted an update on her condition. The woman never regained eye contact with me but said that I could go back and see my friend.

So I did. I got there in time to see her wheeled away for X-rays. When she returned she had a cloth on her forehead because she had passed out from pain when they were moving her arm around for the X-rays. We were sure that there was at least one break.

After a while a nurse came in and confirmed our speculation. It was a broken radius near her elbow. They gave her some pain meds, waited a bit and then started splinting her arm. After that they put her arm in a sling and sent us on our way. That was around 10:15 p.m.

I have to say that for an Emergency Room, nobody who worked there seemed to treat anything as an emergency. There was no hustle, no bustle, no sense of urgency. Maybe they need to rename that part of the hospital.

2-2-1 revisited

While patiently waiting for vaayadipennu to finish publishing the most recent N-N-1, Anju and I decided to revisit our original concept, 2-2-1. We went so far as to try to take our pictures at exactly the same moment. Trying to determine the date and time for this momentous project turned into an “After you Alphonse” routine until I remembered that a gentleman should never argue with a woman. So I decided that we would take our pictures on Thursday, May 4th at 7 p.m. in Penang, Malaysia. Let’s start with Anju. I hope that you enjoy the result.

I came face to face with one of my many scary zombie dreams in real life, as part of my job. As someone who has a ‘cliché’ fear of crowds, I’ve never actually had to face this fear head-on. Living in highly populated cities just means you learn to manoeuvre out of stressful, overly crowded situations. Not this time. I had to attend an event in Penang (Malaysia) with over 20, 000 highly passionate people in one small arena for the duration of a week. For most of that time, I spent in a circle similar to the one in the photo. I now feel equipped to write a short story about zombies!

Meanwhile, 11 time zones away.

Lafayette Courthouse Square

It was a dark rainy morning in Lafayette. It was so dark that I had to lighten the picture in order to make out the courthouse with the scaffolding around the dome. You can tell that it is still raining from the glistening streets and the rain drops that were on the lens.

There weren’t many people on the street even though it was a non-holiday weekday morning.I suppose they were avoiding the wet. The scaffolding is there so that the dome can be repaired and painted. It is evidently a long process because it was started in the autumn last year. I’m pretty sure no work was done to the exterior that day.

Fun times

What we did Saturday night
What we did Saturday night

We don’t often go out on Saturday nights because for years Saturday night was card playing night for Cindy. We broke the pattern yesterday evening.

Our evening started with having dinner with friends at a good Italian restaurant in downtown Lafayette. I decided to be less adventurous than normal when eating Italian, I had the baked ravioli. It was great!

From there we moved on to the concert at The Long Center. We knew right away that the audience was excited to be there. How did we know? Well, the director of the center came out to welcome the crowd. He started ticking off the improvements that had been made since the previous season. New curtains had been installed to reflect the original curtains from so many years ago. The audience applauded the curtains. The sound system had been upgraded. The audience applauded the sound system. A new concert grand piano had been purchased. The audience applauded the piano. He mentioned the roses in the vase that had been supplied by a local florist. The audience applauded the roses. By then I was sure that the audience was starved for entertainment. Finally he advised the audience that we were in a cell phone free zone for the duration of the concert. And so the concert began.

I’m sure that many people who read Classical Gasbag have no idea who Judy Collins is. If you are interested, she was a famous folk singer in the early 1960’s. She expanded her repertoire to include show tunes and pop music. She is now in her 70’s and is obviously still performing. As I looked around at the rest of the audience, I noticed that there was only a handful of people there who were under the age of 60. I may be over estimating the number of people younger than 60.

Judy Collins certainly has good pipes for a woman in her seventies. The songs she sang progressed from her early music to the most recent recordings. She interspersed the songs with stories of her early and later career, dropping names of famous people as she went on. We in the audience found it charming.

On Sunday afternoon I went to the movie and saw Logan with my grandson Mason. Over the past few years we have gone to a number of superhero movies together. It is something that we both enjoy. At least I think he enjoys doing it with me. I can’t think of a reason why a high school senior would want to hang out with a geezer like me rather than spend time with a high school girl. I hope we can continue spending time together like this for a long time.

To Las Vegas and back 2016 – Days 9 through 14

Taken on a morning walk
Taken on a morning walk

As I said in my post about Day 8, I made no notes about our week in Las Vegas; and my memory of that week is jumbled (to say the least) and fuzzy. So I am doing just one short post about that entire week. I’m afraid that will have to suffice.

I did manage to get up each morning and go for a walk. Mornings before the heat became unbearable were the best part of the day as far as the weather was concerned. Spending time with friends and family, not talking about what was happening in our house was the truly best part of each day. It was tough getting through an hour or two without a phone call or a text or an email about our house.

So during the week on the insurance front there was:

  1. No return phone call from our insurance agent.
  2. An insurance adjuster called and said that our Gold Star (that’s their name for it) policy would only cover $5,000 dollars of damage.
  3. We were told that if we found evidence of a broken valve somewhere we could file a separate claim for more coverage, but at that point the insurance company would drop us.
  4. The insurance adjuster told us that we should stop trying to contact our agent because she would not be returning our calls.
  5. That is when I decided that when this is over I shall be writing a scathing letter to our agent and the president of the company telling them what I think of their so-called customer service. They won’t be winning me back with a mass produced Happy Thanksgiving Day card.

There may have been other insurance developments, but those are the ones that stick in my mind and in my craw.

On the happier side, we were able to spend a lot of time with Lee, Michelle and Wyatt. I think we celebrated Wyatt’s birthday three times that week. One of the celebrations was at a pool at our timeshare. At that rate, Wyatt is going to grow up to be like his Grandma Cindy who celebrates a birthmonth rather than a birthday.

One night Cindy cooked dinner at Lee and Michelle’s home. Mary brought along a bottle of wine. I didn’t know that Lancers was still available. Mary seemed to think that it was an excellent vintage. She also enjoyed Cindy’s and Michelle’s selections. Mary once again tried to prove that in vino veritas is a constant. I was glad on the drive back to the timeshare that we kept the paper towels in the car.

We usually take in at least one show when we’re in Vegas, but this time we didn’t make it. We attempted to see a play, but it was sold out. So, we went to the movies twice. First we saw Sully, in which Tom Hanks put in another fine performance. Later in the week we saw Hell or High Water. I hadn’t heard anything about that movie, but I really enjoyed it. Cindy and Lee expressed displeasure at the lack of a concrete ending, though Cindy later changed her mind. I liked the open-ended conclusion.

Mary and George left on Friday so they could get home to spend time with Mary’s son who was on leave from the army. We drove them to the airport and bid them farewell.

That’s about all I remember from Monday though Saturday of that week.

To Las Vegas and back 2016 – Day 8

Wyatt
Wyatt

Let me start with a confession. After we got the news about our plumbing disaster, I stopped making notes for future blog posts. Oh, I made a couple on the trip home, but not while we were in Las Vegas. I didn’t even take any pictures for the first few days of our week in Sin City. Most of the pictures I did take were of our youngest grandson, Wyatt. This is the first picture I took after our arrival three days earlier. End of confession.

You may be wondering why we didn’t immediately turn around and drive back to Indiana. That’s a legitimate question. First, Trina and JR were back there, looking after our interests; and Trina encouraged us to stay and try to enjoy our vacation. Second, Cindy had gone online with her laptop the previous evening and had filed our claim with the homeowners insurance policy that we had been paying into for twenty-six years. She had also called our Insurance Agent and left a voice mail asking her to call us back immediately. Third, we wanted to see Wyatt who would be celebrating his third birthday while we were in Las Vegas. And fourth, we had friends flying in from Indiana who would be staying at the time share with us. What could we do in Indiana? So we drove to Las Vegas.

The drive from Kingman, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada takes approximately ninety minutes. We were both anxious to get on the road, so we skipped the free continental breakfast, and instead got coffee and breakfast sandwiches from a fast food place. Cindy even let me drive, so I was very careful through the somewhat mountainous stretches.

Cindy called ahead to our time share to find out when we could check in. They told her 4 p.m., which meant we would be waiting a long time once we got to Vegas. So we called Lee and he told us to come to his house to wait. That was good.

When we arrived, Wyatt was taking a nap and would be down for quite some time…we were not to disturb him. So we sat and talked to Lee about what was going on back in Indiana and in Las Vegas. Mary and George’s flight from Indiana would be coming in later in the day. After a while I started to get antsy, and though it was only 2 p.m., I decided to leave Cindy with Lee and drive to the time share to see if we could get in earlier. When I got there, I was happy to learn that we could get in immediately. So I checked in, got key cards for all of us, drove to our building, and unpacked the car. It felt good to be doing something useful.

The rest of the day is pretty much a blur to me. I drove back to Lee and Michelle’s. Later Cindy and I went to the airport to pick up Mary and George. We took them to the timeshare, and we went out to eat. That’s about it for my memory.

A few things

Kathryn
Kathryn

I was lucky enough last week to have lunch with one of my favorite people, Kathryn. We don’t get to see each other nearly often enough, but I wanted to give her a birthday present from Cindy and me in person. As you can see in this picture, the present was a watercolor by one of our favorite artists, our granddaughter Macey. It was a great time, although we had to cut it short so that Kathryn could return to work. I’m already wanting to set a time to see her again.

***

Here’s an update on To beard or not to beard. Only two readers gave me feedback on whether I should grow a beard, and they were both positive. Outside of the Classical Gasbag readership I had three other positive comments and none that were negative. But here’s the thing, I don’t want to grow a full beard because keeping one trimmed can be very time consuming. But so is shaving to keep a smooth shining face. What’s a guy to do? I am compromising and plan to keep the grizzled look for the time being. It is actually easier and less time consuming to trim the grizzle a couple of times each week.

***

The Thumper Challenge. Remaining silent rather than say negative things is not as easy as it sounds. I was able to do it for approximately forty hours, with around twelve hours of the 40 in sleep mode. Then I lost control while watching a politician being interviewed on television. Since then it has been a struggle. I believe, however, that being aware of each infraction makes it easier to maintain in the long run. I started the challenge afresh this morning and have been able to maintain my silence.

I am wondering though if I am suppressing too much of what makes me the person who I am. Should I be allowed to say those nasty things aloud when only Cindy is with me? Or is it better for myself and the world at large if I curb my tongue? I honestly don’t know.

***

Finally, I was thinking late last night that maybe I would write a volume of short stories. My problem is that I tend to write the title first, and then try to create a suitable story to go with it. In fact, I started jotting down story titles without a clue as to what the story should be. Here is my list:

  1. Sage Advice from Barnacle Bill
  2. Mellisandre Visits Ancient Persia
  3. Beware the Hedgehog
  4. Calliope Green’s Magic Turtle
  5. While Crossing Illinois
  6. Lady Caroline’s Conundrum
  7. Whist for the Unwary
  8. A Popsicle for Petey
  9. Gertrude the Ravishing
  10. Simpering Sam’s Sophisticated Serenade

By the way, the volume of stories would be titled The Locust Tales. If any of you would like to use one or more of these titles, feel free. All I ask is that you send me a copy of the story so that I can see how your imagery. You can reach me at houseman@comcast.net