Monday, June 23, 2014

Birmingham Bound: Road to Roadshow Part One

Good morning!!

Wow, what a weekend! I told you I was getting into something crazy these past few days, and if you're following me on Instagram, you know that that crazy thing was the Birmingham leg of the 2014 Antiques Roadshow tour! I have wanted to go to the show pretty much since they've had the show, and now, friends, I have. While I'm not going to be retiring on any of the items I brought, I did have a whale of a time, and I'll give the whole scoop of the event tomorrow, I thought I would start off the week with the activities that precursed my getting winked at by Mark Wahlberg (yes, that happened-- yes, it was amazing).

Friday morning, we woke up bright and early to go to the Minute Clinic and make sure my leg wasn't going to fall off-- at my brother-in-law's birthday dinner on Thursday night, I was greeted at the door by Noah, his old dog Monster, and his new dog General. I don't know if it was my charm bracelet jangling, the sound of the doorbell, or my stupid face, but something sent General into a blind canine rage. He gnashed his teeth at me, barked twice, and bit the uppermost part of my right leg pretty good before I literally slung Matthew in front of me to keep the beast at bay. Eugh! Talk about completely crazy right out of the gate! Somehow, in my twenty-eight years on the planet, I had never been bitten by a dog up until this point, but there you go-- something to cross off my bucket list. Noah was ashen-faced with remorse, said the dog had recently had all its shots, and had never done anything like that before in the several weeks they'd had him... I just bring that out in people. At any rate, Matthew patted my hand to get me through the "I'M GOING TO DIE NOW, AREN'T I?" phase of the malady, and we stopped at one of the in-the-CVS locations. The nurse practitioner was super nice and told me just to keep the one part of it bandaged and it didn't look like anything I would die of. Phew!

After that wild start to the weekend, we went on to the next order of business-- there was a slammin' estate sale just around the corner in Crieve Hall, and I couldn't help but pop my head in.

Look upon this, people:

I promptly did a Gomer Pyle "GAW.LEE." at the sight of this General Electric stove and cabinet system. One, it looks like it just came out of the box in 1965 (when the house was built); two, it's GORGEOUS. comes with these matching cabinets, which, you probably thought were just Youngstown style metal cabinetry.

Think again!!!! This is the refrigerator and freezer for the kitchen! COULD YOU DIE?! The two panels on the left are the refrigerator, and the single panel on the right is the freezer. AND IT STILL WORKS. There was still a Marie Callender spaghetti dinner, some frozen peppers, and a quart of Fudge Revel ice cream in it at the time of the sale. 

The switches for the stove range:

There was also this early microwave, which reminds me of my favorite scene in the whole of the movie American Hustle. "I told you not to put metal in the science oven!". Due to my near deathly fear of inadvertently setting fire to my house, even without metal, I couldn't in good conscience buy this twenty five dollar relic, but oh my God, high fives to whoever did.

Downstairs, there was a forlorn basement that had once had a much more vibrant life...look at this shuffle board design built into the floor tiling! JUST LIKE IN THE MAGAZINES.

Here's me in the basement, trying this on for size and not looking pleased because I couldn't tell if Matthew was taking the picture or not and it was about ninety degrees OUTSIDE of that coat, and much hotter inside of it! ("Long-sufferin' Bab" would be the name of his Delta blues song, bless him). But I did end up buying this 1930's velvet coat for $15 because it was missing the buttons and "not real fur", in the words of the woman running the sale. This is the same style coat as my beloved (and real fur) flea market find, so I'm thinking it might be from as early as the late twenties'. I have a stash of buttons I've saved from otherwise destroyed coats in one of the drawers of my vanity at home, gotta get to making use of that come winter on this beaut.

The night before, as I was drinking Lemonkickers (lemon juice, lemon vodka, sprite = heaven) and googling "how you can die from a dog bite", I found a whole spindle of blank cds in the desk drawer, which prompted me to burn nine cds for the road. I've been using Freegal, a downloads service the library subscribes to where you can get seven songs a week for free, to fill some holes in my music collection, and thus we ended up with the following: four Bruce Springsteen records (Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town, Nebraska, and The River), one and a half Journey records (Escape and some of Frontiers), a mix cd of mostly the Zombies and early blues songs, a Sophie Tucker compilation, and a "best of" George Jones cd I've been working on. The Possum was in the cd player when I took this picture, but here's the rest of the spread, on one of the five Vera cloth napkins I found at the estate sale (a dollar apiece!).

Here's Bub doing the driving and looking particularly regal:

The ride down was pretty uneventful-- we listened the Boss and drank coffee and gabbed, and three hours later, we arrived in Birmingham! When we got to the hotel, they'd accidentally booked us in a room without a jacuzzi tub (#firstworldproblems), so we ended up getting a room with a completely more-than-we-needed suite and said jacuzzi tub for the same rate as a regular room. We're already winners!

Here I am taking a selfie while Matthew investigated the tub situation. Note, regular tub. I love going on trips like this where something goes wrong and Matthew "takes care of it" without me even having to talk tersely to anyone. It makes me feel confident that when we have little guys, he'll be a good dad on these kinds of family vacations for years to come.

Alabama sunset-- wasn't this beautiful?!

We went shopping downtown before the Roadshow on the second day. There was a record store up a long flight of steps called Charlemagne Records, and I had to snap a picture of the actual cassette tapes they still have for sale. Unlike record albums, I'm pretty sure magnetic cassette tapes have a shelf life which these have exceeded. Ever since I invested in an 8 track of John Lennon's Walls and Bridges in high school, left the room for a second, and came back to a lurching, dirgelike version of one of the songs, accompanied by the tape spooling out the side, I have no faith in tape-format music (even though 90 min maxell mixtapes made up a good 60% of music collection up until college). Yet here they are! Even in the theft deterrent cases!

There was one kind of frou-frou antique mall I didn't like much, and then another that was more my speed a block or two away, but VERY. EXPENSIVE. For what it was, anyway. I contented myself to window shop and take as many pictures as possible of things I would like to buy, such as this Couroc tray set (with real constellation patterns inlaid! $65):

Did I spy, with my little eye, a FREAKIN' Drexel Precedent chair? YES I DID. With one of the cables in the back broken, this cheery-though-not-original-print on the cushions, and the $125 price tag, I passed. But not without a little heartache.

This hat and ermine stole might have belonged to the same woman, if the hat had been anything less than $40, I would have had to buy you see all the feathers and frippery dripping from its velvet brim? I looked good in it too, but was too bashful to take a pic. $75 and it stays in Alabama.

I thought it was chintzy of them not to throw in the photo with the stole it depicts! The stole was $195 and the picture an extra $25. Shame!

A much more reasonable place was What's on Second, an oddities and antiques boutique on Second Avenue. Prices were exactly on point for a retail vintage/antique place, and there was stuff e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. They used to have junk stores like this on Second Avenue here in Nashville. My dad used to take Sus and me there in the summers where the places were exactly like this-- air conditioned (kind of) on the main floor, slightly less air conditioned on the second floor/former office area from when this was a 1910's store, and if you had the courage to hit the third floor/former inventory area, prepare to be steamed alive, as it was completely unairconditioned and hotter'n seven hells. 

The thing I was most impressed by? This 19th century needlepoint of George Washington. Can you imagine some Victorian era woman carefully shading in the eyebrows of our nation's first president with black thread? If it wasn't $400 (and believe me, it WAS four hundred dollars), I would have had to have this. But I'll content myself with the photo of it. I'm trying to get more brave about taking pictures in wouldn't believe the number of things I see out on my travels and just fail to document, and that's a darn shame for someone who blogs five days a week, amirite?

Last but not least, this grimy parking meter IS NOT DIGITAL...I haven't seen one like this since they replaced the downtown ones to digital in the late 90's. You put your quarters in, then turn the knob-- an "EXPIRED" flag briefly appears before the mechanism notes the number of minutes you've paid for. Nostalgia! I didn't notice that a bird had left its mark on this meter until after I took the picture, but here it is in high res for you, sorry not sorry.

Well! That covers all the things we did up UNTIL Roadshow-- tomorrow, I'll give you the top to bottom skinny on what goes on at a taping of Antiques Roadshow. It was really fun!

Until then, what do you think? Have you been to Birmingham or Alabama on vacation? What are some of your favorite things to check into when you're out of town on a weekend getaway? Which of those treasures should I have broken into the piggy bank over? Let's talk!

That's all for today, but I'll see you back here tomorrow with my AR rundown. Until then, take care!


  1. Oh poor you! I am so sorry about the dog bite! I was bit in the hand by a dog I had been petting seconds before, it was quite a shock.

    In happier news, you look great in that velvet coat-and now I feel I must try the Lemonkickers-yum!

    I can't wait to hear all about the ARS experience!

  2. So sorry to hear about your dog encounter. They can sure scare you when they bite you. I was bitten once right on my eyelid by a dog when I was about six and I always have a bit of a fear of dogs when they bark at me. Love all the pictures of your adventures. So cool about the Antiques Roadshow! Can't wait to read all about it. I love this show!

  3. i can't wait to hear about the roadshow! and i'm so pissed i didn't go to that sale in crieve hall! i wasn't looking closely i guess.i didn't see any sales that looked good when i looked!

    i have only been to birmingham for thanksgiving at my cousin's house. we didn't even go to a gas station there. is the city worth a short visit?

  4. First off, the dog bite-- yikes! I had the misfortune of getting bit on the back as a kid, while doing a cartwheel, in a bikini; I definitely feel your pain. Hope you heal quickly!

    Secondly, that estate sale-- what a time capsule!! You always have such good luck with coats. And it's too bad the price on that hat was so steep, I'm sure it looked amazing on you.

    And lastly, I cannot wait to read about your Roadshow experience and get the lowdown on that Walberg wink. Antiques Roadshow is the one program my beau and I can agree on watching, wonder if I can talk him into attending a taping someday?

  5. I have that same microwave 'Radar Range' bought for 15 dollars at Goodwill. How my husband and son made fun of me five years ago for that and how they aren't laughing now when it is the best microwave we've ever had. Made in 1975 and still going strong!. I wish I had known about that estate sale and I'd have bought the one there too. Looking forward to your Antique Roadshow post.

  6. Whoa! What a weekend! That house is crazy good! Especially with the shuffleboard!




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