Good week, with an amazing deal and a visit and some good work. But before I get to that, file this one under karma, or at least under Interesting Coincidences.
Last week I wrote about getting more organized in my work – and I've been doing pretty well, except for the last few days, about which more later – and about how it's fine to have a dream, but you need to plan for how you're going to achieve that dream.
And then I got this in a fortune cookie.
"Acting on a good idea is better than just having a good idea."
A coincidence, sure. But still, the kind that makes you go, "Hmmmmm."
Spent a few hours Saturday at an estate sale in Old Metairie. The house belong to a guy who recently turned 100. His wife had died years ago and his family was moving him up to where they could help him out. It was a big house
Anyway, there was decades and decades of "things." The owner and his wife had obviously traveled everywhere, he appeared to have been a sailor, he had been active in several carnival groups. As a fellow reporter once said after coming back from an interview with a little old lady who had been collecting for decades, "The Knick knack shelves where chockablock with bric a brac."
We picked up some interesting items, including a small Chinese vase that might be worth exactly what we paid for it – $15 – or around $250. Doesn't matter. We got it because we liked it. Same with the Scandinavian pitcher. A couple of vases. And we got a tuxedo that almost fits Max – whole thing, jacket, ruffled shirt, cummerbund, bow tie and pants. Well, the pants will never fit him. The previous owner was a tall man. But Max will grow into the jacket soon and the shirt already fits. Ten bucks for the whole outfit.
But the big thing was a set of Noritake China. There was a big stack of dinner plates – 14 I think – small plates, saucers, a tea ... there were a LOT of pieces. The only thing missing was most of the cups. There were only three left. Cups break, ya know.
And they were asking $65.
I don't know a lot about China, but I know that's not a much for that much dinnerware. Hell, that much Melmac plastic would have cost more than that. I looked the pattern up online. It''s a discontinued design, but it's by no means worthless. Plates were going for $10 a piece. The creamer was listed at about $35. The sugar bowl was listed at $15. And on and on.
They wanted cash, so I had to run to a nearby bank ATM. When I got back Tori was wrapping it in paper and packing it into a plastic bin, with a bemused look on her face. She had approached the women running the sale and said she wanted to buy the China. One of the woman said, "Great. How about $40?" Tori said, "Sure." They even threw in the plastic bin and paper.
As a writer I don't do a lot of bargaining and haggling, but it seems that's backwards. When you're negotiating a sale, you don't lower the price after you've made the sale, do you? We were prepared to pay the listed price. Tori said we were going to buy it. I would have thought that was a done deal. I guess they just like bargaining.
Anyway, we've got several hundred dollars (at least) worth of China. Not sure what we're going to do with it. Maybe give it to one of the kids, maybe sell it online. But even if we just use it to replace the department store stuff we use now, we're way ahead of the game.
Also last week, we had a visit from Robyn, one of Tori's closest friends and of all our Oregon friends the one she's known longest. We hadn't seen her in two and a half years, when she came out to New Orleans to help us through the firstAlex birthday since she died. Before that, while we were in the V.I. she was in Australia. Then she moved to L.A., which she hated, and now she and Daniel have moved to Knoxville, Tenn. (Long story not to be repeated here.)
Robyn had loaded up their stuff and was driving across country in a Ford pickup with a 4-cylinder engine, so progress was slow. But she got here earlier than expected. We expected her late Thursday, but after a short stop at an extremely noisy motel on the Texas/Louisiana border, she decided to hit the road and arrived in our driveway at 3 a.m. Instead of knocking on the door or window, she and her cat Owen slept in the front seat. So when I got up at 6, there they were. I knocked on the driver's side window and she jumped about as far as you can jump in the cab of a pickup.
So she and Tori had a good day together, then she had a "bonus day" when she slept in until almost 11 a.m. – which she never does. The road had taken its toll and she needed the extra day. She and Tori got extra time together, and Robyn made it to Tennessee on Saturday after a grand motor tour of the deep South – Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.