Sunday, August 22, 2010

Other Duties as Required Redux

When I tell folks I'm a librarian I'm often told how nice it must be to "sit around and read" all day. I rarely sit and while I do read, it's usually to groups of children and it's most always children's books.

My job is  never boring and some of the most interesting bits fall under "Other Duties as Required". These duties have included everything from serving coffee to walking a pit bull.  Just when I think I've done it all, yet another new adventure pops up.

This week's "other duties as required" included Dumpster Diving. 
We'd received 10 Activ Wands for our Promethean Activ Boards and I'd cataloged them and set them aside so the teachers could come and pick them up.

They were in a box, along with the packing boxes behind the circulation desk.  We arrived the next day and they were gone. Most baffling since the custodial staff never touch what's piled behind the desk unless it has a sign saying "Basura" taped to it.  All the laptops were in their places so we didn't think they were stolen - why would a thief take those and leave the iBooks? 

My assistant, who speaks Spanish called the custodian who told her that the computer tech guy told her they were "trash" and to throw them out.   Still haven't figured out why he came to that conclusion.  Computer guy is sometimes a few fries short of a Happy Meal. 

Slight heart failure - they cost $60 each and were certainly not trash.  

Off the dumpster we trekked.  Lucky for us it's the beginning of the school year & it hadn't rained in some time..  While it was piled full, it was all clean paper and cardboard.  The dumpster on the last day of school is full of sticky party food debris - not to mention animals attracted by sticky party food.

I was the one wearing tennis shoes so I climbed in and started routing around - and there under piles of paper were our boxes, the installation CDs and the wands.  Deep breath and great cheer.

Out I clamored and back to the library we went,, wands in hand.  And no, we never told the teachers where those wands spent the night. 

And I got to add yet another duty to "Other Duties as Required".  Perhaps Dumpster Diving needs to be offered as a library school elective? 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

First You Have to Kiss Some Frogs.....

The toys and games I unearthed at The House O' Stuff are selling briskly.  Someone just paid  $249 for a Disney / Mickey Mouse Roller Coaster set.  I keep wondering just where this recession is that folks keep talking about.

Speaking of talking about, people often comment on how "lucky" I am to come across all this junk that I turn into treasure and manage to resell at a profit.

I always hear "I never find anything at thrift shops"

Me: "How often do  you shop at one?"

Answer:  "It's been 3 or 4 months". 

Me " I troll the thrift shops 3 or 4 times a week". 

There is some luck involved - maybe 10% but the rest is just plain hard work. 
When it came to The House O' Stuff, the 10% was living in the same city as the toy hoarder.
The 90% was hard work was: 

  • ·        Going to every estate sale I could and getting my name on the-mail lists
  • ·        Scouring their e-mails and pictures looking for a likely candidates.
  • ·         Attending a great many Frog estate sales
  • ·         Making nice to the estate sale dealers so that they will make nice to me. Th
  • ·         In regards to the House O’ Stuff making the time to park my carcass in line for an hour and an hour a half the day before so that I’d get in the door in the first group
  • ·         Showing up on time the day of the sale (believe it or not, some folks were late and lost their hard won place on the list)
  • ·         Spending at least 3 hours at the sale for 2 consecutive Saturdays in a row
  • ·         Busting my backside to get all the STUFF listed, packed, photographed etc. so that it would sell.  Doesn’t matter how much it is worth – I’m not going to make any money if it’s stacked on the pool table!
Everything was either at Amazon or E-bay ready within a week of purchase.
So, yes there is some luck involved but there is a great deal of very hard work as well. 

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Folks...It's Time to Start Your Smartboards

It's the last night of summer vacation.  
In preparation of getting back on the hamster wheel I have:

  • Clipped & filed coupons
  • Put away the laundry
  • Packed up the Saturday garage sale finds for FBA
  • Written as many E-bay auctions as possible and listed some of the Legos
  • Paid bills
  • Fiddled with my money on
  • Hauled stuff out to my car
  • Made my AM Smoothie so I can grab it and go
  • Pulled some CDs for my listening pleasure (no kids yet)
  • Emptied the dishwasher
.....and last of all  laid out an all black outfit to wear tomorrow....... It's 98 degrees outside but              
      Summer is officially OVER

Friday, August 06, 2010

Return to The House O' Stuff

There was so much stuff in The House O' Stuff that the estate sale dealer opened the place up for another weekend sale.  The ad gleefully burbled  that they'd found 3 hidden rooms and the pictures showed another toy store's worth of toys including Legos.

I learned last week (as folks tried to buy them as I stood in line to pay for them) that Legos are well worth buying.  Once again the dealer (Heaven bless her) used a sign up sheet with strictly enforced sign up times.

Said list was slated to make its first appearance at 5pm the Friday with the sale opening at 8am on Saturday.   At 3:30 my lawn chair, my Kindle & I joined the line where a quick count showed I was number 9.  Whoo Hoo!   I'd be the first group in the door.

I showed up at 7:45 the following morning to find a line of over 100 people and quickly slipped into my spot.  At exactly 8am, not 7:50 and not 8:01 they started calling out names. Once inside I scurried up the stairs looking for Legos.  Luckily for me everyone else was looking for Star Wars and luckily for them Star Wars are not my forte. We co-existed beautifully.  I struck gold, or rather Legos in the second room and quickly assembled  a stack higher than my head.  Sets in sealed boxes, sets in open boxes, boxes of mixed sets  - it was all there.

The dealer cleverly stationed minions (easily identifiable by their red shirts) in each room.  Their job was to keep the peace and carry your purchases downstairs and put them on the sold tables. Very wise strategy since not only did it keep the buyers in house where they were guaranteed to buy still more stuff, it also kept the pilfering at a minimum.  2 minions proceeded to carry out my selections while I stood guard over the rapidly diminishing pile.

Once the Legos were safely stowed I set my sights on the games.  There were stacks everywhere and I quickly gave up trying to research them and grabbed titles that had "sell appeal".  I gathered up all Space and strategy games in sight and also found some Puzz 3D puzzles.  Every time the stack outgrew my arms a minon appeared and carried my purchases downstairs.

I took a final pass around one of the rooms and idly opened an amoire which chock full of  untouched videos and DVDs.  The advent of DVD made most of the videos worthless (lots of musicals, because the former owner was a Queen) but there were still a few cult gems hidden among the songs and dances.

By some odd coincidence I'd also worn a red shirt and that, coupled with my scanner convinced many of the buyers that I too was a minon.  As the morning wore on I started getting queries.

Buyer "Where are the Legos ?"
Me "Sorry they are already sold."
Buyer: "Did you see any manual typewriters?"
Me  : "No, but if I do I'll come find you."
Buyer: Where are the kaleidoscopes?"
Me : "In the room over there"

Buyer:  "Which room has the Stars Wars toys?"
Me: "The room around the corner."
Buyer:  Are you sure there aren't any more Legos?"
Me :"I don't think so"

Buyer:  "But the pictures showed Legos!"
Me:  "Yes, but they went first thing this morning".  
I just didn't tell them who took them "first thing this morning!".

After 3 hours my eyes and sinuses called calf rope so I went downstairs to survey my pile.  It was a very LARGE pile.  So large they'd run tape around it to keep it intact.  The dealer took a look at it, rolled her eyes and said $300.

Sold!  I paid and commenced to loading it into my car.  By this time the line extended around the block and the folks waiting looked on hungrily as I crammed boxes of games, Legos and puzzles into my Cube. Much to every one's amazement it all fit.

I then spent the rest of the week sorting, pricing and packing the  spoils.  I found out that The Dear Departed shopped garage sales and thrift stores - I recognized the red grease pencil that Family Thrift uses to price their items. Odd things came out from under the Lego boxes including  some Lincoln Logs and a framed print.  Pictures of the house had made their way onto the Internet and I discovered that some folks on my thrift list knew about the house and were most curious that I'd gotten inside.

The Dear Departed was a hoarder of stuff. Games, toys, books, records, music, cell phones, videos, you name it, he had in duplicate and triplicate and God knows how many icate.  It was actually rather sad to think of him, living alone with all his toys, shuffling his way among the paths
he'd made among the boxes.  The estate sale had so much stuff but nothing to indicate what kind of a person the former owner was - other than someone obsessed with piles of things.