Rings Are On The Way

Monday was a flurry of activity because in addition to the usual "crunch time" for estate sale work, the house cleaner, plumbers and HVAC technician all made their appearances as well. I had received a call the week before from AA Service, formerly Unique Indoor Comfort. My parents have always used Unique, going back to our home in Park Ridge and I had been using them for the past number of years as well. Last year when I had the HVAC units serviced (there are three - the main unit for the house, one to keep my second floor bedroom climate controlled and a mini-split in the garage) I was told that the main air conditioner was leaking and I needed a new unit. I thought this was strange because I never saw anything leaking and the unit was working great. When I moved to Mount Prospect, the mammoth turquoise unit original to my 1950 home was still in place, but about 8 years ago it finally gave out and I had to replace it. I know modern products do not last as long as vintage ones but I was hoping I could get more than 8 years from it.

I thought I was being called from the Palatine location but it turned out it was the Northbrook location. For some reason they had my phone number but Mother's name and previous address in Northbrook. I needed the HVAC maintenance to be done and the toilet in my second floor bedroom had not worked since we came back from Scottsdale and I was ready to have it fixed. I went ahead and scheduled the appointment.

The Unique technicians in the past have all been nice but never spent more than a half hour working on maintenance. The technician from AA Service spent about 3 hours cleaning and checking everything. I was really impressed and told him so. He was very humble and said he will always perform his job to the very best of his ability. What a way to be!

On the plumbing front, the head plumber was not all that familiar with my type of toilet (I have a wall-mounted version, with flushing buttons on the wall to save space) but he gave it a go. He was able to pop off the cover, take the parts out, reinstall them and it worked! I was very appreciative because it had been such a pain to run down a big flight of stairs every time I had to go. They performed a whole house inspection and found that the line from the house to the village had standing water in it and was quite clogged with tree roots. This is the price to pay for having such beautiful maple trees surrounding the property. I believe I am the only remaining corner home in the neighborhood which has all their original trees. They also worked very hard to have the line jetted out (as opposed to rodding it out.) The machine is so powerful it slices the tree roots and flushes everything out to the village. The camera fogged up when they first examined the line due to the standing water so the plumber said he would come back once the camera dried out to be sure everything was pushed out to the village. My sink upstairs has been draining slowly and the plumber suggested Green Gobbler, rather than paying big money to have the line rodded out. I ordered it on Amazon and it is due to arrive next Tuesday. The product is very highly rated with nearly 25,000 reviews. I am looking forward to giving it a try. I was only charged for the jetting job and the HVAC maintenance. The whole experience was impressive and I would definitely recommend AA Service.

In the evening, I decided to resume sending the C'est La Brie's newsletter. The last newsletter I had done was this past October, just before we left for Scottsdale. It was such a whirlwind while we were there I did not get into the groove of continuing it. I do have new subscribers from my Shopify store and not everyone is Chicago local anymore. I would like to keep everyone up to date, especially since I have gotten the online store going.

On Tuesday, in between working on the estate sale newsletter, I started to go back in time and post unsold items from past vintage Native American jewelry purge lots to all of the online marketplaces. The photo above represents the May 7, 2023 purge. All of the unsold pieces are online except for the turquoise pendant necklace with red spiny oyster shell beads. I do not know its origin so I will include it in the jewelry caravan. I was told it is Santo Domingo but I think it is non-Native, falling into the category of Southwest Style.

Since we have been back to Mount Prospect, we have not had time to do proper grocery shopping but after checking on Mother, decided to take a trip to Trader Joe's. I picked up ingredients to make some items from scratch including chicken salad (but with Greek yogurt as I do not care for mayo,) granola, chocolate peanut butter energy balls, naan pepperoni pizza and organic ciabatta rolls for turkey sandwiches. I also bought some items for quick meals such as turkey burgers, sweet corn and burrata cheese ravioli, gluten free breaded shrimp for tacos and Mexican style roasted corn. Also a bag of arugula which goes with just about anything! For dessert, I got the very popular dark chocolate peanut butter cups and chocolate hazelnut sandwich cookies. My favorite shortbread cookies with the chocolate centers were nowhere to be found!

Leave it to Kuochun to be unconventional - after buying all the groceries, he wanted to go to Potbelly and carry out lunch to take home. I splurged and got a meal deal with a Cookie Butter shake. All beef meatballs are not my favorite but Potbelly uses beef and pork so I got a meatball sandwich and regular chips. Kuochun decided to get a Cookie Butter shake at the last minute too. I said are you sure??? I enjoyed the sandwich and chips but preferred the Oreo shake I had gotten from Potbelly last time. The Cookie Butter shake had a very strong flavor of Salerno butter cookies and they even put their version of one on the straw of the shake. The woman behind the counter was moving so fast she gave me two cookies. I do my best to avoid artificial flavors and colors and it tasted artificial to me so I will not get the Cookie Butter shake again.

Our estate sale schedule this week had an unusual element as we had a condo sale which ran from Wednesday-Friday due to association rules. I was busy helping Mother get to another follow-up appointment with her primary doctor, catching up on her laundry etc. While waiting for the laundry I polished a bunch of nice quality sterling silver rings (54 in total1!) and I am planning to get them priced and into the jewelry caravan next week. I also polished some fun sterling silver Southwest Style jewelry which I will make a jewelry purge with and then post unsold items online later. I have a feeling though that these items are going to be a big hit! I also got started on polishing the hundreds of budget-friendly pieces I have purchased since I have been back including earrings and pendants.

On Thursday between estate sale work, I took a little break and made homemade granola for the first time. I baked up a storm as a kid so even though it has been a long time, baking is like riding a bike. It all comes back to you! I found a recipe for Insanely Good Granola and thought that was the one to try! It has rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds, coconut, cinnamon, salt, coconut oil, honey and peanut butter. The recipe called for dried cranberries as well but I ended up not including them. They forgot to say how to incorporate them and it did not make sense to me to bake them. They are not even needed as the granola was fantastic! The ingredients all come together, no particular ingredient stands out. It just tastes good! Every other day for breakfast I have been eating a yogurt parfait with the granola and blueberries. On alternate days, I am drinking a Ka'Chava shake with organic milk which is also delicious and has lots of fruits and vegetables in it. The recipe made enough to fill two medium size Ball jars and one of my medium size 1940s glass canisters. Sadly, Mother is not interested in trying it but that means more for me! So far, so good with my meal planning. I do not need a great deal of variety so I have been eating the little turkey sandwiches every day along with the lentil and potato curls from Trader Joe's. I have been having one mini peanut butter cup after lunch and one hazelnut cookie after dinner. I figured Friday night is a good time to make the pepperoni naan pizza and Saturday the ravioli. Sunday night is crunch time with posting ads for estate sale extensions and jewelry purges so it was a quick dinner of rice and turkey breast. I have been recording everything in a calorie counter app called NutraCheck, I had to switch to a new one since the free one had become too buggy. The planning and recording is extra effort but worth it!

On Thursday and Friday, I posted the unsold items from this jewelry purge lot to all of the online marketplaces. I originally posted the purge April 30, 2023. They are all out there except for the second paperclip chain necklace. When I originally shot the photo, the two necklaces were linked together. I sold one and need to shoot a new photo with the single remaining necklace only. I also need to find the earrings at the lower center. I had them sold but the buyer flaked. I know I brought them home with me, they are somewhere! I was also able to use a Google image search to find the artist on the badger paw belt buckle. This will definitely help get it sold now that it is identified. 

I posted two jewelry purge lots Sunday evening - the first one was a portion of my Leo Feeney collection since I was so inspired by selling the earrings in the online store last week. All of these pieces have brilliant blue Sleeping Beauty turquoise in common. Unfortunately there have been no takers so far. In my opinion this time of year is the slowest for online sales but I keep going because I want to be ready for the holiday season. I see last year I did not post any jewelry purge lots between Memorial Day weekend and mid-July. I did check eBay completed items for Leo Feeney and every listing was successful so I know these pieces will go into the right hands once I put them online. I have more Leo Feeney pieces coming including two Christmas tree pins, two pendants, two cuff bracelets and a pair of gorgeous peridot flower earrings.

The second lot was vintage Native American jewelry as usual, a mixture of new arrivals and a few oldies but goodies that need to go into circulation. The watch with the large Sleeping Beauty turquoise encrusted watch tips has sold, the other pieces are available. The person who purchased the watch will repurpose these fabulous tips into an Apple Watch band and resell it. She made an awesome choice, it is going to turn out beautiful!

I am going to wrap things up here, this is more than enough to report. I do not think I will have as much time to work on jewelry as I have six, five and five estate sale packages to complete over the next three weeks. I want to keep the momentum going so I will do my best to fit jewelry work in. See you next time!