Monday, November 30, 2009

Where Have All the Auctions Gone?

Its that time of the year when I go into auction withdrawal. Outside, on-site auctions are over for the season here on the tundra. And inside auctions are few and far between. Those auctions that are held are over-attended and too expensive for someone who is as hopelessly cheap as I am.

I will just have to live on my current inventory, which is only about 2-3 lifetimes full of stuff. Maybe I'll just sort at my storage and take photos of stuff that I already own. I can also take photos of Gypsy Lea's because our December sale starts in a little more than a week. I have a couple of ideas to share, a couple of sales to report and my normal bits of junk to preview. I guess that I will keep Hogs a-blogging, maybe with some of the strange thoughts that float through this old brain.

Mr. Flannery

25 Days 'til Christmas

circa 1912

Mr. Flannery

Sunday, November 29, 2009

26 Days 'til Christmas

Circa 1920

Mr. Flannery

Its Mr. Flannery's Birthday

circa 1956

Mr. Flannery

P.S. - Its Gypsy of Gypsy Lea's birthday today too. Same date but much more recent year.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday??

What's so black about the day after Thanksgiving. There's cold turkey and pumpkin pie in the refrigerator, football on TV and good weather on the tundra. It was 40* and sunny on November 27th, nothing black about that.

I was watching TV with good friends yesterday and tracking the 4 AM openings here and 5 AM "door busters" there, I decided that I wasn't going to participate. I'm not getting up at 3 AM to get to some retail store by 4. Babe, as is his wont, woke me up at 7. Babe and I fed the cats and then I fed Babe. A shower and shave later I was ready for errands. I had groceries to buy, banking to do and the 2nd day of an estate sale to check out.

I got to the Walmart in Buffalo at about 8:30. Busy, but no crazy crowds. I went in and found the $128 HD TV that I had looked at the night before was still in stock. So were the $24 4GB MP3 player and the 4 GB flash drive for $8. No early bird crowds to jostle, no bleary eyed drive in the middle of the night. Nothing black or hectic about my trip.

I went to the estate sale and bought 2 old leather chairs and an ottoman. They are already at Gypsy Lea's for the December sale. Then home to install the new electronics. Babe was more interested in the large number of geese on the lake than he was in the HDTV. I set up the TV -- looks great. And then went outside to put my new tires and wheels on my ATV. Babe watched, but liked to keep an eye on the geese.

I spent the best part of Black Friday at Dave Miller's auction in St. Cloud. I guess that everyone who had been in the malls this morning was at the auction this evening. Kris and I both liked the brass button panel from a 30 floor elevator. I was willing to bid $35-40. It sold for $285. Needless to say neither of us was the successful bidder. I got varied odds and ends, but really don't like the idea of so many people at my auction.

It was a very nice day, nothing black about it. I even shopped the early bird sales, but only at the fashionably late end. I give thanks that I didn't feel compelled to get up at 3 AM for an MP3 player.

Mr. Flannery

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thoughts on the Day Before Thanksgiving

Today is the heaviest travel day in the year. Airports are crowded, highways are jammed. So in honor of these travails, I present the following photo to show that things could be worse. (Especially if he is sitting on Thanksgiving dinner).

Milestones in Transportation

Me, I'm not traveling today. I will drive a few miles to Kris and Mike's for dinner tomorrow. The following photos are from my day at home.

Babe was impressed with our turkey. He sat next to the oven the entire time that it was cooking.

Swan butts. Out of the south facing windows.

Pileated woodpecker, which look impressively terradactyl-like to me. Out the west facing window in my office.

Mr. Flannery

Tomorrow is a Great Day

Mr. Flannery

Monday, November 23, 2009

Why I Give Thanks

Its the time of year where many of us prepare a list of the things for which we give thanks. I love Thanksgiving, it may be my favorite holiday. Its probably not the most spiritually important, Easter, or historically important, 4th of July, but it has real meaning for me. Besides it has everything: great food, good friends, family, football, a long weekend, more football, great leftovers and real issues to contemplate. That's all great and a little bit irreverent. But I want to be a bit more serious.

I believe that my "thanks" can all be rolled up into one sentence. I thank God that I was born in this time and this place in human history. America, which I believe has been divinely inspired, is the basis for all the things that I am thankful for.

America permits me to learn of my God and my place in His plans without interference from King, President or Great Leader.

America permits me to learn, explore, raise and improve myself for my own gain and my own reasons.

America permits me to fail or succeed and fail and succeed again based upon my own merits and work.

America permits me an unimaginable standard of living that is plentiful in food and housing and comfort.

The great promise of America has given me all that I am thankful for. I am thankful to be an American with freedom to worship, think, learn and work the way that I want.

Mr. Flannery

Sunday, November 22, 2009

More Signs of Christmas

The nice weather here on the Tundra last week allowed Kris to put her Christmas signs and art projects into production. Most of the signs and projects involve the use of parts from dismantled pump organs and other recycled scraps. The signs were all ready for sale at Gypsy Lea's during our special Zonta Sale.

The stockings are from a pump organ. It had levers that were activated with your knee.

Mr. Flannery

Gypsy Lea's at Zonta Christmas House

Kris, Gypsy and Kate set up our shop's display at the Zonta Christmas House in Sartell, Minnesota. The house is a 6500 square foot contemporary on the Blackberry Golf Course. They selected a medium size bedroom with walkout access to decorate for Christmas.

The owner's bed with our touches starting to show.

Denny & Pete J.'s tin and mirror over Kris & Mike's pump organ parts mantel.

Rather than logs or greens the firebox is decorated with musical instruments and garland.

Christmas Skates?

Everything had to carried in, set up and finished in 4 hours on Friday. Then everything had to be out on Saturday evening. Lots of work, lots of hauling and Mr. Flannery had nothing to do with any of it.

Mr. Flannery

Friday, November 20, 2009

Junkin' Outside My Comfort Zone

It is a beautiful day here on the tundra. Sunny and 52* at Noon. It was a day to work on some automobile and ATV issues before I go to work at Gypsy Lea's this evening.

In addition to my GMC pick-up, which is my vehicle of choice, I drive a 1991 Acura Legend. I determined that the reason I did not have any dash lights at night was failure of the dimmer relay. I stopped at NAPA and asked them to get me a replacement. I had this same problem about 4 months ago and they got me the relay overnight. This time they could not even locate the part, not even the part that they sold me 4 month earlier. Anyway, the nearest Acura dealer is about 50 miles away in the Cities, so I was looking for a closer alternative. I live about 4 miles from French Lake Auto Parts, which is one of the biggest junk yards in Minnesota. I decided to get the part there. They do not pull dimmer relays from any cars, but I can go out into the yard and pull one myself. Not a problem. I know where the part is on the car and I have a pliers and screw driver in my pocket to perform the extraction.

He pulls out an aerial photograph of the junk yard. Then he circles a few specks at the outer most portions of the yard and says "there should be a couple of really old Acuras somewhere in this area".

The sign from the 1950's entrance to the yard.

The new and improved entrance.

Along my scenic route to the Acuras.

The skeleton of a Farmall, sun baked and warning passersby that we are entering dangerous territory.

I started my death defying trek to the nether reaches of the yard. A couple of days later I reached the frames and wrecks of some of Japan's once finest vehicles. A Lexus here, a Nissan there. And there were some European bodies scattered around too. A BMW, a couple of Audis and a nice 1974 Mercedes 450 with bumpers that may just fit my 1974 450 SLC in my garage. I couldn't find an Acura. Infiniti yes, Mazda plenty, but no Acuras. I found a 1992 Honda and a 1990 Honda. That's as close as I got. I pulled the dimmer relays from both Hondas and headed back to the office. The guy said they may work but his book doesn't cross-reference them for my Acura. He said "Merry Christmas", you can have them and see if they worked. They didn't. But the car ran better without any relay and it did with the defective relay.

So it was off to Andy's Auto Repair in Annandale. They didn't have the part in stock, but one of the mechanics had a relay from a Toyota in his tool box and it works. But then we noticed that my right tail lights were out. It is strange to have all 3 bulbs burn out so I had them check it.

Andy's Auto Repair are good guys.

They started tracing the wires in my Acura. I decided to walk over to the neighborhood restaurant for lunch. Well the usual short drive to the store was considerably longer when on foot. (And I still do not understand how the walk can be uphill both to and from there). They found a broken wire, so I am now hoping things will work better.

I headed back to Flannery Bay, having done my walking for the day. It is time to unload my truck. I attended an auction last night so there was a lot of junk there. In addition, Steve had mounted 4 new tires for my ATV.

The truck with ATV tires and other good junk.

Some great tapestries and another box of bowling pins.

A soon to be painted double gooseneck lamp.

Now I get to put the tires back on my ATV. Babe will probably help.

Mr. Flannery

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lions & Tigers & Dentists -- OH MY!

Damn, damn, damn. I broke a filling out of a tooth today. So I am off to see the dentist. I'd rather get a haircut or a body part removed. And this appointment may get in the way of attending an auction this afternoon.

It is a wisdom tooth that broke. I guess that I will 25% less wise after this appointment. Damn, damn, damn.

Mr. Flannery

UPDATE - I survived the dental appointment, but just barely. He had to pull the remainder of the decrepit tooth. There was a "minor pinch and pressure" that the dentist described when he started, but the searing pain to the top of my head where the 5 inch roots attached and putting his feet on my shoulders because he needed leverage were a bit much. I checked with my stupid little brother about the loss of wisdom. He stated that because I swallowed a portion of the tooth, while I may lose a small amount of head wisdom, as the tooth settles through my system the increase in my "wise ass quotient" will more than make up for it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gypsy Lea's Does Zonta Christmas House

We are going to have a special sale at Gypsy Lea's this weekend. We are breaking our 4 days per month rule and having a special 2 day sale related to Gypsy Lea's participating as a decorator in the Zonta Christmas House.

Zonta Club is a charitable organization. They sponsor an annual decorated Christmas House as a fund raiser. They procure the use of a large house, get local businesses to decorate a room in Christmas finery and then sell tickets to tour the house.

Gypsy Lea's participated as a room decorator in 2008 and is going to do a room again this year. The open house is next Friday and Saturday. Kris, Kate and Gypsy are going to haul everything to the house on Friday morning and will have the room all spiffed up in time for the 3:00 PM opening.

Last year was our first Zonta Christmas House and we really didn't know exactly what to expect. We found out that we might be able to couple up our participation in the project with sales at the shop if we are open at the same time. So we are going to be open 3:00-10:00 on Friday and 9:00-6:00 on Saturday.

Kris and Gypsy, with significant help from Pete J. and Kate, will take responsibility for the set up and break down at the House. I will limit my participation to working the counter at the store during the two days of the sale. A business has to keep its eyes open for an opportunity and we are all hoping that the Zonta House exposure will open our shop to new customers who will be back for our regular sale dates.

Mr. Flannery

A Painting Dilemma

I'm in a dilemma concerning what to do with two painted furniture projects that I have been working on. The first is a large bench with a lift up seat. I painted the bench a satin black over the hard light yellow enamel that it used to wear. My problem is with the bench seat (the portion that lifts up for access to storage). I have sanded and stained it. Now I am wondering whether I should paint the seat top rather than just staining it. I have a brownish green paint in mind. What do you think?

Then there is this dresser. I painted it like a Swedish flag about 5 years ago. I have scuffed it with sandpaper and am contemplating shabbying it with some stain to dirty it up a little. I have the chrome handles ready to be reattached. Now I am wondering whether I should bother spending any more time on this item. Will it sell? What other techniques can I apply to make it saleable? Its a cheap dresser and it will burn well. Again, what do you think?

Mr. Flannery

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Flying Stuff

The occasional sale at Gypsy Lea's has been wonderful. I got to the shop at about 10 AM Saturday and did nothing but write up sales continuously until after 2 PM and Denny was writing all of that time too. Kris, Kim D., Pete J. and Gypsy spent most of the afternoon hauling more stuff out of our trucks and the storage space in the shop.

Our hand made candy has been a roaring success.

This corner, above the jewelry counter has been changed and reset at least three times since Thursday.

And this is the 3rd or 4th dresser to occupy this floor space.

I sold a nice Buffalo plaid wool jacket and a great
Hudson Bay blanket coat.

Mike likes to clean and refurbish hand powered post drills like this one.

And even the faux logs in the fireplace look comforting.

Mr. Flannery

UPDATE - I worked all day Sunday at Gypsy Lea's. It was another good day for all of us at the shop. I did a rough total on sales before I left and it was the best Sunday in our short (18 month) history. Big pieces, furniture, mirrors and anything Christmas was flying out the door. Some photos and a note on our special sale on next weekend tomorrow.