Saturday, July 12, 2008

1905 Auction

Saturday, July 12, 2008

So, I went to the auction. Amazing.

I'm aware that the economy is tanking. I most certainly have noticed gas and food prices. But tonight really hammered it home.

One of the reasons I hadn't gone to any of George's auctions in a long while is that he has gained quite a reputation, and, especially in the summer, he gets interior designers from NYC and Westchester coming in. They bid high, because they already have customers for the stuff, and will just pass the cost on to them. George also gets antique dealers from all around the five county area. The past several years, there have been no bargains for little folk like me.

The auction hall is usually full to bursting, all seats full and people standing around the walls. Of the 450-500 items he usually has, only a few items get no bids (usually carnival glass).

Tonight, the seats were maybe 1/3 full, and many perfectly nice things got no bids.

I don't understand it, because the items were unusual and beautiful, and in great condition, even the primitives. Except for instances like the auction of the Bob Guccione mansion contents, we are never told where the stuff came from. From the looks of things tonight, I'd say a high-end antique shop went out of business.

Becs, your Gustav Stickley #637 oak library table:

went for $600. (The light patches are just in the photo.) They had a page from the original Stickley catalog showing that table, and it was listed at $25 ($38 with a leather top).

The following photos are a Biedermeier dining set. It's not my taste, but the Biedermeier style tends to be high quality, solid and heavy, and gorgeous wood. Individual pieces normally sell for over $2,000.
The buffet:

China cabinet (light spots are reflection off the shine):

The entire set sold for $300. Even if one doesn't need a dining room set, you could throw a mattress on the table and use it as a bedroom suit!

The next two are late nineteenth/early twentieth century sets. The upholstery on the first set glowed. It is a very pretty set. The second set is mahogany with mother of pearl inlay that I could see working perfectly in a modern foyer. I believe George dropped to as low as $50 as an opening bid, but I don't think either of them sold.

My haul? I bought this table:

and paid a tenth of what I was willing to go for it. The top is marble. The base looks like carved wood, but is actually ceramic. It's 29" high, and about 38" across, I think.

I also bought a lamp. All the above photos were scarfed from George's website, but he didn't have a photo of my lamp out there. There were about 500 items at auction, but he had photos of only a handful. This picture happens to be one I found online and saved several months ago when I was searching for a Victorian-looking lamp for my desk. It was exactly what I was looking for, but it was several thousand dollars.

The lamp I bought tonight is very similar. It's genuine circa 1920s, not a reproduction, rewired, black instead of brass, the base is a bit less gloppy, and the lilies are yellow shading into orange. I like it.


I almost fell off my chair.

George was not happy.

1904 Saturday

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Last night was nice. Perfect weather, perfect companion, enjoyable performance.

Maybe we don't see each other enough. We always walk hand-in-hand, this after 16 months of dating. We held hands during the play - doubly. He held my left in his left on his lap, and my right in his right on my lap. It feels like we're too old for that kind of thing, yet I can't imagine it otherwise.


I overheard a conversation in the bank. It's actually a credit union, and membership has its benefits, like signature loans. I have a standing arrangement whereby I can write a check up to several thousand over my balance anytime it's necessary, and it's covered by a loan.

A man who looked about late 20s or early 30s walked in and asked for a signature loan, very important that he have the money immediately. The rep asked if he was a member, and he said no. She said he'd have to be a member to be eligible for a loan with no security. He asked how to be a member. She said, "You open an account."

He produced a third party check for $100, which he said he would deposit to open an account. He then went on to say that he'd keep the account until he got the loan, and then he'd close the account and leave the $100 there. "You can keep it." It was important that he get the money today.

Ok, I can believe a youngish guy not knowing how banks work, but he was accompanied by an older woman, who, from the way she spoke to him I believe was probably his mother. She was carrying an infant. I can't believe she thought this ploy would work.

I finished my business and left with my head reeling before the end of the conversation.

Friday, July 11, 2008

1903 Shakesp3are

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Man and I are meeting in Garrison tonight, to attend a performance of Twelfth Night at Boscobel.

It's an experience. There's video here from the Cymbeline performance (which I will be going to with Mensa in about two weeks) that gives a small hint. The dark arcs you see are the edges of the tent. They use the inside of the tent and the lawn beyond as the stage, with the Hudson River and West Point as a backdrop.

The tent:

I have a thousand things to do between now and 5:30, like clean the litter boxes, deposit some checks, wash hair and clean me up, find something appropriate to wear preferably not from the laundry pile, pick up stuff from the post office, clean out the car, put together a recycle load for tomorrow, and map the route.

So, g'bye.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

1902 Splitting Up

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A note on the previous post - Jay was clean on everything tested, all the hepatitis variations, all the STDs, everything. The only surprise was that he had only one kidney, and a dried-up walnut where the other one should have been.


The sisters are dividing up the late father-in-law's estate. One sister wanted to sell all the stock and distribute the cash. One sister wanted to distribute the shares, because the market is in the toilet. I don't know what the third sister wanted, but they decided to distribute shares.

There's really no difference, even if the market is so bad, because although it's a bad time to sell, it's also a good time to buy, so it doesn't make much difference to me. The one thing you don't want to do is sell and then just let the cash sit.

So anyway, I got the word that I'm to open an online brokerage account to receive my shares. I spent some time doing that today. (I don't like the brokerage they chose - I think their costs are too high, but I don't expect to be with them long.)

There's one thing that disturbs me about distributing shares. If the stock is sold and the proceeds distributed, then everyone gets the same. If, however, shares are distributed, there is a potential for inequity.

Depending on the history and future of the company, $1 worth of stock in company ABC can be of greater intrinsic value than $1 worth of stock in company XYZ. For example, there's a big difference between $1000 in Exxon (future recovery), and $1000 in Millennium Cell (possible bankruptcy).

I don't know how many different stocks they're looking at (having been ousted from the executor position I'm no longer privy to that information until the accounting), but I sent them a note suggesting that shares be distributed by count in any one company. Divide the number of shares by the number of portions, distribute to the parties proportionately, sell any remainder (a maximum of six shares in every case), and distribute the sales proceeds. That's fair, everybody gets exactly the same, and it heads off any later claims of inequity.

Mainly, I want to let them know that I will object to any division that leaves me with all the crap stocks, even if the current value is nominally the same. And I can't assume they already thought of that.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

1901 Yeah, Sure.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

There are a lot of public service spots on TV urging people to get tested for HIV. They assure people that it's simple, no big deal, and absolutely private.

Well, when Jay was scheduled for his first brain surgery, they wanted him tested for everything under the sun, including three different strains of HIV. Three. I didn't know that three different tests were required for a clean slate. When the results came back (after a week), the local lab had screwed up and tested for only two of the three, because they weren't equipped for the third but didn't see fit to tell us that up front, and we had to make a rush trip to Albany Medical Center to have the third redone on an urgent basis.

I was left with a question no one has answered. Three tests? Three strains? The surgeon said that the usual test is geared toward the most common strain, and does not detect other strains. So, um, does this mean that if a person tells you they've had a recent test and it was clean, that means only that he/she doesn't have the most common strain?

It also looks like the medical community is more concerned with protecting their own people than the general public. Did YOU know that there are multiple strains (perhaps more than three by now), and getting a clean test doesn't mean you're uninfected? Yeah. Didn't think you did.

And maybe it was simple, just drawing some blood, but it was not something we wanted to repeat, not at the local hospital lab, anyway, because of the way we were treated.

When we first went in, the woman behind the counter was pleasant and cheerful, "isn't it a nice day?", offered us juice, said she was able to take him right in, blah, blah. And then we handed her the prescription form.

She took one look, stopped smiling, and gave Jay a dirty look. Didn't bring the juice. She disappeared behind a door, and we overheard an argument over whose turn it was. Two more women stuck their heads around the corner of the door to take a look at us. She came back out, and was not merely short, she was downright nasty. Double gloves. "Sit here. Stick your arm out." Prod prod. "Other arm."

My big strong husband was afraid of needles, and his blood vessels tended to hide, and nurses who knew him knew to be patient and gentle, or he'd faint on them. She tortured him, and seemed to like it. It was a very bad experience. He was pale and shaking when we left.

I guess she judged him as a not-nice person, what with needing THREE strains of HIV tested for. She wouldn't have treated anyone like that who came in for a blood count or whatever, even if that person was more likely to actually have undiagnosed HIV. The prescription pad said "Bad and Dangerous" to her.

Where did you get your training, lady? ALL blood is dangerous.

She was highly unprofessional, and downright nasty, and I'd have liked to report her, except that we knew we'd have to go back for other tests (like Dilantin levels) in the future.

So, I can't understand why more people don't saunter in and get tested.... /sarcasm off/

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

1900 Zapping Ivy

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I bought Roundup today and zapped all the poison ivy I could find. And then I found more. I've got the small-leaved low-growing variety, and the medium-leaved bush variety, and the huge-leaved tree-climbing variety.

Back when the Hairless Hunk cleared all the vines off the trees in the side yard (Virginia Creeper, wild grape, and poison ivy), he just cut them at ground level. I told him then that I wanted the roots killed, so he should either spray them before cutting or cut and then paint the fresh cuts with turpentine or kerosene, because if you don't kill the roots, they'll come back even stronger. A young plant with a huge root system can grow very fast.

He didn't do either.


The small rather attractive "tree" in front of the tall tree is actually poison ivy growing up the tall tree, back before it got cut down. The bottom of the poison ivy leaves is about 7 feet above the ground. It's now growing back, and the individual leaves are about 10" long. It's laughing at me and my puny spray bottle of Roundup.

Monday, July 07, 2008

1899 Lesson Learned

Monday, July 7, 2008

When you're rushing to get out of the house, and you're going to see The Man, and you're in the shower, and you're shaving your legs and therefore have a razor in your hand, and you can feel some coarse hairs on your chin, but you don't think you have time to tweeze, DO NOT, under any circumstances, shrug and shave your chin.

Two days later, ingrown hairs.


Sunday, July 06, 2008

1898 Nothin'

Sunday, July 6, 2008

We went nowhere in particular, and we did nothing special, and it was good.

Now I'm tired and hungry.