Saturday, January 14, 2017

Friday, January 13, 2017

Still, It Would be Cool

Eight years ago I spotted a small ad taped to the front window of a Goodwill store. The ad was for a new website:

"Participating Goodwills from across the country offer for auction on the site a wide array of art, antiques and collectibles as well as new and nearly new items pulled from their vast inventories of donated goods. From unique one-of-a-kind items to estate pieces, the depth of resources is enormous."

So, it was like eBay, but I'd be bidding on stuff that was donated to different Goodwill stores across the US. That bummed me out a bit. The presence of this site meant that the good stuff was going to be cherry-picked behind the scenes, and I have to compete with a nation of thrift shoppers to buy it. Booo.

That wasn't the case, though. When I first tried, the site was under most people's radar, and I was scoring some pretty neat stuff. Retro video gaming wasn't as popular in 2009 as it is now, and I picked up some fun cartridges and game systems. I also bought some LPs that I had been on the hunt for, and I even scored some artwork. I had two of the Goodwill paintings framed at Michaels, and they are hanging on our walls at home. Both are heavy on atmosphere.

This one was painted by Reg B. Strange, and that is a real name. I like the depth and what looks like an angel or a ghost leaving glowing footprints on the floor of the castle.

J. Cain painted this one. To me, it symbolizes the warmth of home when the rest of the world is stormy.

(Earl, get off the counter.)

Here's the category selection at SGW•C:

See the last category in the middle column? One day I clicked on it, and I spotted the vehicle of my childhood dreams.

"Daphne!" I was in the basement and shouting in excitement, "There's a fire truck for sale on!"

Her one-word reply came swiftly down the stairs, "No."

I kept shouting. "But it's a fire truck. Do you know how cool it would be to own one?"

It took Daphne a moment to stop whatever she was doing and come to the stairwell. "Brent, where we would put a fire truck?" It was a logical question.

"It's not a full-sized one. It's a mini-sized fire truck. You know, kinda like the short bus at school. We could park it out front in the street. PLUS, no one has bid on it. It's only $1,500!"

"Don't you dare bid on that!" Daphne was now walking down the stairs. " What on earth would you do with a fire truck?"

I spun the computer chair around and smiled at her, "What couldn't you do with a fire truck? We could use it to wash the house... water the lawn... and your garden... we could have a car wash... and a dog wash. Oooo! I bet we could drive it in parades! I'd let you ring the bell and work the sirens. I'll just drive and wave. It will be a blast!"

"You're not serious are you? I can see it in your face."

"No. Not really," I admitted. "But come look. Check it out. It's a real fire truck."

I turned my chair back to the computer screen, and Daphne leaned over my shoulder. "Yep," she commented, "that's a real fire truck." She squeezed my arm and walked back to the stairs. "And you aren't going to try and buy it. Right?" Deflated, I mumbled in agreement. 

For a moment there I had dreams of rescue vehicles and Dalmatian puppies... Dang! I forgot to tell her about the puppies. Maybe that would have been the tipping point? Nah. That wouldn't have worked, either

Now I'll never be featured in Vintage Fire Truck & Equipment. Sniff.

I had hopes of buying something else as cool, but Adam Fisher from Time Magazine ruined my chances. How? He told everybody else about SGW•C:

The game was over once SGW•C made it on the Best 50 Websites list. The bidding became much heavier, and the winning bid amounts skyrocketed. Boooo, again.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I Shall Call Her Dinner

Sorry, Charlotte, Dianthus was made into a Tex-Mex stuffed pepper with cheese.

If it makes you feel any better, she was delicious. Thanks, Daph!

Monday, January 9, 2017

It Also Makes Me Want to Bid

I suppose this eBay listing is supposed to be funny, but it makes me sad.


I don't understand at all.


Monday, January 2, 2017

I Shall Call Her Dianthus

Char spotted the largest red pepper that we had ever seen at a Hy-Vee grocery store today. 7.5 inches won't get us to the state fair, but it's still impressive.

Here's Char's version of Rene Magritte's The Son of Man.

After handling it in the store, the pepper took on a personality in Char's mind, and she wanted to keep it. "This is my baby, Dianthus, " she declared. 

Char kicked out her pocket trumpet, and made Dianthus a bed. Mom is a music teacher, and she was not pleased.

Later, while Charlotte was playing school, Dianthus found herself in the classroom's seating arrangement. 

Bo didn't feel like picking on the new kid. He was too busy "studying."

Okay, this is cute and all, and I'm really happy with Char's imagination. But real school starts tomorrow, and I'm hoping that Charlotte will get caught up in the "back to school" excitement and forget about Dianthus. What is she going to say while we are eating veggie omelettes, and she spots the strips of red pepper? I don't want to have the "You ATE my baby!" fight. 

Really. I don't want that fight. 

Not at all. 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

What's Your Resolution?

I just brought home the grungiest pinball machine that I've ever seen with the nicest backglass that I've ever owned.

It was manufactured in Spain, and then it was beat up in a French cafe.

The Criterium 75 machine was then imported to Cascade, Iowa (?) where it sat in a basement for almost 40 years. I spotted it on an eBay auction that didn't sell, and I bought it through email.

I asked the 80-year-old owner if he had ever played the machine, and he shook his head no. I don't know why, but I guess there's something going on with the European electricity exchange. Also, the playfield's plastic surface is now curled up in sections like potato chips.

In 2017, I'm going to fix this pile and play it!

So.... What are you going to do?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Airing Her Out

There's no school this week, so the Monsons are on vacation. Make that a staycation. We haven't gone anywhere. In fact, we have barely left the house. Charlotte spent Saturday (except for church), Sunday, and Monday in PJs. There's nothing wrong with that, but by Tuesday morning Char was driving us crazy. She was about to explode from pent-up energy.

It's too cold for the park, and we thought about the play place at the mall, but our little girl is now too big for that. She's also too big to spell out words around. I suggested to Daph that we look up the open hours at "P. U. M. P.", and Charlotte jumped up and said, "Pump it Up! Are we going there?"

Well, it looks like we are now...

(Note to self: I want carpet like his for my basement.)

On Tuesdays for seven dollars (parents are free), you get an hour and a half of "open jump" access to their two rooms of inflatables. That's the length of a typical kids movie, and a heck of a lot cheaper.


Slides and smiles!

The cliff dive was scary, but she conquered her fear of heights. 

Even the video games made her exercise.


The whistle blew at 1:00, and Pump it Up had wore her out. That's a great deal.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Thank You Note

Char let us sleep all the way to 7:05 a.m. That's a record... in a good way! She ran into our room waving Santa's note and these passes to Adventureland that she had found in her stocking.

She exclaimed, "Mom! Dad! Look what we got from Santa! Oh my gosh, I love this guy!"

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

She's Makin' the Lists and Checkin' Them Twice

Here are our Christmas stockings. Charlotte took it upon herself to write our Christmas lists for Santa. Char didn't want any help; she was sure she knew what we all wanted.


Char's List:

Squinkie Christmas
Squinkie Houses
A Squinkies Tree house
A Squinkie Carnival
Lots of Squinkie Sets
Lots of Squinkies
And a tortoise

Mom's List:
Dark Chocolate

Dad's List:

Both Daphne and I think Char nailed it.

Here's hoping you get what you want this Holiday Season!
(Maybe you'll get a tortoise...)