Friday, November 27, 2009
The Big Haul
Recently, BFF Richard bravely agreed to accompany me to Richmond to bring back a plethora of vintage treasures. The part of this effort that required real fortitude: Richard was in charge of driving the moving van that had been provided by the self-storage company where my ‘warehouse’ is located. Not having ever driven one of these behemoths myself, I was thrilled when he made the offer.
BFF Sharona had planned to join us, but alas the truck had bucket seats that could only accommodate two persons. I’d graciously offered to let her and Richard manage the move, but Sharona demurred.
The truck itself was….well, functional. It was one of those 12-foot box things, built strictly for utilitarian purposes. Comfort certainly never entered the equation. Nonetheless, I positively drooled over the prospect of owning one for The Shop! However, recognizing my endless trepidation at driving such a vehicle, I’ve decided that one of those ubiquitous white cargo vans is a slightly more realistic target for my eventual business transport needs.
The trip to Richmond was extraordinarily uneventful. Even with the constant rattling and the bone-jarring suspension, Richard and I enjoyed a quick and easy journey south on Interstate 95. Since we had use of the moving van just until mid-afternoon, there were only two stops on our itinerary: Class and Trash (of course!), and my mother’s house in Ashland (a few miles north of Richmond), where I had over the past year stored many pieces of my collection. Based solely on logistics, C&T was at the top of the short list of stops. (The fact that C&T’s ever-changing inventory might yield a whole new crop of vintage bounty had absolutely nothing to do with making them our priority!)
Oh, Dear Readers, imagine my glee at driving up to C&T with an empty moving van! It was as if I were a famished infant being offered its mother’s milk-laden breast. (OK, I’ve officially crossed over into The Land of Bad Analogies. Mea culpa, mea culpa.) Suddenly the possibilities were endless (well, the limits of my credit cards did place some restrictions on my impending shopping experience). For the first time, my choices were not bound by the space limitations of the Passat! Couches and tables and beds, oh my!
This being Richard’s foray into the land of Class and Trash, he began by idly wandering around the first floor. Meanwhile, I embarked on my typically manic initial survey of the shop’s current offerings. As a Soldier of Vintage Fortunes, I have honed my skill at targeting the most desirable items on C&T’s floor within minutes of entering the front door….Dark brown 1960s vintage swivel chairs at 10 o’clock, check. French-style rectangular dining table dead-ahead -- Roger that. Vintage Martha Washington armchair on the left, just around the corner…LOCK ‘N LOAD!
Having successfully completed the first round of recon, I escorted Richard to the second floor of the C&T emporium. Here, Kenny and Lisa allow other vendors to display their wares in loosely bordered areas. (To a less seasoned C&T shopper, it’s not immediately apparent where one vendor’s space ends and another begins. I, however, have mentally mapped the second floor terrain, and therefore have a feel for the key areas on which to focus.)
My quick yet efficient survey of the top floor soon yielded one of the most unique curiosities I’ve every found there: a pair of 1950s-vintage highly stylized porcelain dog figurines. I literally gasped at the cleverness and artistry with which these canines were fabricated! Complete with tiny foil labels which declared them as being manufactured by “Norleans, Japan”, I scooped up these treasures before any other vintage décor hunter could claim them. Richard, who in the meantime had been exploring the less glorious collectibles, appeared somewhat perplexed at my excitement over these objects. Cretan.
Back now to the wondrous furnishings awaiting me on Floor One. Mindful of the clock (we had only a few hours before truck return time), I began to feel pressured to select from among the glorious pieces of vintage finery positively screaming to be chosen for my already saturated collection. Vintage Vertigo coupled with time constraints is a deadly combination! And, as Lisa and Kenny (and their new comrade Richard) kept reminding me, there was an empty moving van in the parking lot! All that space, and all these pretty pretty things! The voices in my head had reached a crescendo!
STOP. Take deep breath. Exhale. OK….now try to think clearly, Howard. I was able to regain some semblance of control and began to make thoughtful choices from among the delights surrounding me. The French-style dining table, for its graceful lines and subtly bleached finish. Yes, that would be the piece for this day (after all, two dining tables, four dining chairs, and an antique farm table purchased on previous visits were already stacked together outside awaiting loading). But, what about that pair of ‘60s swivel chairs, delightfully covered in dark brown velour? Aren’t they the embodiment of FABULOCITY?!? Just as I was about to walk away from these hip iconic pieces, Larry (C&T’s houseman of sorts) innocently asked if the matching pair was to be loaded into the awaiting van. I broke. My resolve crumbled. Witnessing my display of anguish/ecstasy, Larry decided it was best to abscond with the swivel set before I could veer into another lane of emotions. Yes, Dear Readers, the chairs are mine.
By the time I’d euphorically completed my transaction, Larry and Kenny had loaded up the day’s booty into the box truck. Richard and I had spent all our allotted Richmond time at C&T (it took him forever to decide on two vintage prints and a frame!), so we decided that it would be prudent to forego the trip to Ashland. After all, most of the items housed there could make their way to The Warehouse piecemeal in the Passat. Although, as you can see from this pic, there was room aplenty in the van’s box to fit many more monolithic pieces vintage furnishings. I showed such restraint, did I not?!?
With the northbound traffic moving uncharacteristically swiftly, we made it back to the storage facility with time to spare. This allowed us to thoughtfully unload the latest additions to my collection, so as to plan out the most effective use of my quickly dwindling storage space. Hoping that no other space leasers needed to access the units adjoining mine, we hauled the day’s bounty to the second floor, and lined the corridor leading to my space with a multitude of tables and chairs. OMG, would everything fit?!?
Once again, Richard proved his worth by strategically planning how to best utilize the available space. Pausing to artistically photograph each item before it was placed in The Warehouse, we managed to fit in all of them. Granted, I’ll need a cherry picker to access some pieces now located in the hinterlands of the storage unit, but fiddle-dee-dee, I’ll worry ‘bout that tomorrow.
Many, many thanks to Richard for all his assistance. And, I’m sure all the other I-95 travelers that day praised him for keeping me from behind the wheel of that big ol’ butch truck! Howard driving a moving van….What a frightening thought!