Months ago (really?!), while I was packing and purging, sorting and sifting, tossing out and throwing out, boxing stuff and burning stuff, I came across an electronic dart machine that I picked up at a yard sale or an auction or somewhere. For $1.00. I never opened it, never checked to see if it worked. I shoved it aside, then later put it out at my moving sale where it did not sell. (I’ve since shopped online and learned it is worth about $75 new.)
A couple of weeks ago, I came across it again. It looked to me like it needed batteries, but upon closer inspection I discovered it required an adaptor. A 9-volt adaptor to be exact. And, as a matter of fact, I knew I had a bag of those lying around somewhere too, if someone hadn’t bought them. And guess what? I did, and they hadn’t. Suddenly, I had a dart board (complete with lights and sound) for my newly evolving barn-space. But no darts.
Walmart.com to the rescue. Have you ever bought darts? Online? Doesn’t sound like a big deal, does it? Didn’t seem like it to me either. At first.
Soft tip or steel tip? Soft. Then there is the issue of weight, and the flights. And how many to a pack. Well, you know me (or you should by now), and I went for the cheapest available. After all, I might have time for only a game or two before the house sells. Done deal. Six (maybe eight) bucks and change, site-to-store, in about a week. The anticipation was unbearable.
Almost immediately, I receive a confirmation on my order. It tells me my order should arrive in about a week. Perfect, I can pick it up on Friday in time for the weekend. Scott is equally excited…Monopoly has gotten a little boring and it’s too nice to sit inside the house. The barn feels much more like an adventure. Four days later, I receive a message that my order has been delayed. Not to worry, the message assures me; I should hear something in a few days.
A few days pass. I finally decide to call the help-line. The operator tells me that it’s bad news. The order is lost in cyber-space. He happily re-places my order and we wait another week. Finally, on the next Friday, I get the eagerly-awaited notification that my package has arrived and off we go to Walmart to pick it up. Dana asks me if I want to open it and inspect the contents. No, it sure feels like a pack of darts to me. When I get the package home, much to my dismay (that’s the nicest word I can think of!) I discover that I have somehow inadvertently ordered steel tip darts. Darn it! I immediately get back online to place a new order, which incidentally took three times as long. Eventually I find what I’m looking for (I think) and place a new order.
This order goes through without a hitch and a week later I finally have my darts. Soft tips, heavy metal barrels, pretty sparkly flights. Let the games begin!
We are playing on a concrete floor. By the third game, we have broken two tips and wrecked one flight (no extras included in the $12.00+ package) and are down to one dart. Sometime during the course of the night, I mention to Scott how nice it would be to have a pool table…there’s plenty of room…but that would be just-plain-silly. I also happen to own a bowling ball, but that certainly doesn’t mean I should install a bowling alley, though I probably have the room.
In the meantime, I manage a workaround for the darts with duct tape (gotta love that stuff!), but it’s a little aggravating, so the next day I start calling around town to see if anyone carries darts/parts. Nope. So online I go to place an order for replacement tips. Easier said than done. Turns out soft tip darts (yeah, all by themselves, not to mentions shafts, barrels, flights, weights, etc!) have all kinds of specifications (1/4 inch, 3/16 inch, 9m or some-such-thing) as well as being a bit more expensive. I make my best guess, using a ruler and a magnifying glass.) The best price I can find is $12.00 for 12 replacement tips, no flights, free shipping to my door in about a week. Fine. Done.
One week later, the box has arrived, but I have bigger plans…the City-Wide Yard Sale, my favorite holiday. We are up at 6:00 a.m. to get going before it gets too hot. I’m not really planning any big purchases (I am moving, after all!?), but I haven’t gone to an auction, flea market or yard sale since last year. I am in withdrawal! My first stop is at a flea-market ½ mile from my house. Oh, my, lots of furniture. The closest thing I have to a couch (and the only piece of furniture in my living room) is a log futon, with cut-up pieces of foam from Damien’s camper functioning as a mattress. Very bad on the back, hip, neck, body. Oh, my, what a pretty couch – blue with stocky wooden feet and lots of GIANT throw pillows. And a matching loveseat. And holy cow, is it heavy! Obviously, very well made. How much did you say? $150.00? Really? And you can deliver it? Sold. (I did the math: the pillows alone would cost $140.00 at Walmart. It is, by far, the nicest furniture I’ve ever owned.) And the seller threw in a dresser for $10.00. I have no doubt that I could sell the set tomorrow for at least $300.00. In fact, when the guy delivered the furniture, he told me that several other people had offered him that much, but he had promised it to me, so he turned them down. (And, yes, I believe him.)
So the yard-saling was a blast. Scott was getting tired of getting in and out of the car,and it really was getting hot outside, but I was all-in and having the time of my life. Other than the furniture, I spent maybe $20, including $5.00 on a stereo cassette player (I’ve been collecting cassettes since I bought my car – it has a player), and got lots of little things that will add pleasure and enjoyment to my life and, if I can’t take them with me, I will not be out of a lot of money. Late in the afternoon, as we were heading home, hitting a few stragglers on the way, Scott shouted that he saw a pool table. I didn’t believe him, but what-the-hay? Sure enough. As I shopped the tables, Scott told me he would wait in the car. As I was checking out, I asked casually how much they wanted for the pool table, fully expecting an answer of $250-$300. There were six 30-40-something-year-olds sitting on the porch and they all looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders. As I dug in my purse to pay for my other purchases, a woman said, questioningly, “$40?”
I rolled my eyes and looked to the heavens. She said, “Is that bad?” I said, “No, that’s crazy. And so am I. I’ll take it.”
P.S. The pool table came complete with everything (including delivery) except a triangle. I hurried to an amusement-supply store here in town (really!) and they had a triangle for $4, plus they had darts and tips and flights and all sorts of fun stuff. Twelve darts (the kind that they have in a bar with sturdy, plastic flights, just what I’m used to!) for $4 and fifty (50!) replacement tips for $4. Oh, and I bought a big rubber mat at a yard sale for $1. I still haven’t even opened my box of $12 for 12 (they will be returned at my earliest convenience), but I’m in business. (If the city wants to give me a zoning permit, lol). Or maybe I’ll just have a really long going-away party. When the time comes. Or until the time comes.
PPS. New photos of my party-palace to be posted soon. Wish you were here. Stay tuned.