It’s a short story – long. I had to rent a van. It wasn’t easy (pretty much impossible) to do on a Saturday afternoon near 5PM in rural Maryland.
We were at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. There is an auction tent where “umpteen” spinning wheels and looms are on display for inspection before being auctioned. The auction for weaving stuff begins in the afternoon at 1PM. It was cold and rainy (really cool and “drizzily” until it really rained). “We need a picker,” Colleen said to me. ??? “A what???” I replied. I should never have asked. There were two on auction. Retail, I had just seen one selling for $450 after I knew how to identify one reliably since I had never seen one before until the name was mentioned. It’s full of nails and nasty. Waterboarding would be a vacation if you threatened me with this device. Yeah, sharp nails!! The bidding began at $100 and soared upwards in $25 increments. I still had my hand up and to my utter surprise it sold to me at $250. Don’t ask. It was a bargain? It’s heavy but not too large to fit into the car. The other picker went later for $750.
The second story begins with a LeClerc loom that was auctioned later. Since I was not in the market, there is no picture. The bidding started at $200. No bidders, so the bidding started again at $100. The crowd was listless and the auctioneer admonished and cajoled the crowd. “This thing is worth at least $1500.” What the heck. I put up my hand. I intended to drop out before long. Meanwhile the thing sold to me at $200. A bargain? You bet! A bench was included. That alone retails new for $500. What did I know? Nothing, nada, innocent, naïve – that would be me. Colleen was dumbstruck. The auctioneer had only described the loom because it was to heavy to haul outside the tent. So I had bid and bought a loom, “sight unseen.” Yeah, and, we don’t need another loom.
“Ummm… how are you getting this thing home?” And then it occurred to me that it might be too large to fit into the car. There are no places to get a truck or van. Ah! … went online, got a Uhaul. Yay? Arghhh! It had to be returned to the same location. Darn! The silver lining was we got the loom home and went back the next day to do Day 2 of the festival. It’s still heavy and we had a heck of a time getting that thing inside and up the stairs. In the future, I’m keeping my hand in my pocket. Oh! Yes, the van rental was near the cost of the loom. But it was still a “bargain” according to list price, and, with a bench thrown into the deal. Note to self: stick with small objects that will fit into the car…or leap before you jump…