Friday, November 20, 2009

Back to my roots

When I originally started this blog, I thought it would be thrift-specific and a chronicle of my dealings with people at the thrift store, on Craig's List and a chronicle of The Compact. It evolved into a personal journal of sorts with occasional cute stories or photos of the kids and that's how I intend to leave it. A personal journal with occasional thrift stories and occasional kid stories and photos.

Well, folks - today is a thrift story. I had the good fortune to pop into a thrift store yesterday and today. We're getting ready to potty train Ramona so I needed an additional 10 pairs of thin knit pants with elastic waists. 'Cause that's how we roll old-school at the Quimby house (no $.40 cent pull ups here for potty training a 2 year old). I also wanted to take my time with Christmas shopping for the girls and really have enough time and opportunity to get things I know they will like.

Background: I have occasionally purchased a piece or two of very high quality children's toys. Typically hand made out of wood or fabric, once you buy one of these and they have your shipping address, there's no end to the catalogs you receive. Beezus and I love looking through these catalogs - she for just looking, me for familiarizing myself with "what's out there" and for the brand names common to these sorts of time honored and time tested toys. Beezus has particularly looking at the doll houses recently.

Yesterday at the thrift store I found several knit dresses in various sizes for the girls to grow in to, a couple pairs of pants for Ramona, a GORGEOUS Rothschild dress coat and matching hat for Beezus, a sweater for me, and . . . a MATCHING baby doll crib and bouncy seat for Santa Claus. I was pretty excited thinking I have gotten my mojo back !

Then today at a different thrift store, I wandered onto the left side of the store. Now, this thrift store is the size of your average target - and it is divided into two sides, each bearing a different name. You MUST NOT EVER take purchases from one side of the store to the other. (Doesn't make sense to you either? You're in good company.) The left side of the store is called Unique Thrift has brown carpet and the right side is Value Village and has a tile floor. Generally, most regulars routinely go either left or right first. Until recently, I was a solid right side shopper. I thought the aisles were wider, the children's section more well stocked, and the prices lower. I frequently would not even go over to the left side. Today, for some reason, I found myself going left first - AS IF PULLED MYSTERIOUSLY THERE BY SOME FORCE. As I wandered by the section where the "big" toys are, I saw some unpainted wood out of the corner of my eye. Upon closer inspection I found that it was a Ryan's Room dollhouse. I hesitated - the wood itself was in good condition, but some child had been permitted to use neon craft paint on it. (Yes, Elaine, I know that is normal, but I think my heart stopped beating a little bit.) But the wood is true wood, not laminate, so the paint can be taken off, and the ladder was there, which is pretty important, and there was probably 20 pieces of furniture (unfortunately all painted day glo colors). It was marked $34.94. I hesitated - Mr. Quimby and I are REALLY trying to save money and while I knew at the time that the dollhouse likely retailed for over $100 I was nervous about the work it might take to get the paint off (it's not a good paint job). As I stood there considering it, I flung myself on top of it anytime somebody walked by lest they think it was unspoken for. I decided that it was a justifiable purchase, since it was on my mental Christmas list.

I take it up to the register, and the woman tells me that it's 50% off, because all big toys are 50% off today. I kid you not, I kept repeating "oh my gosh, oh my gosh" and then I proceeded to GET TEARY. Seriously - who cries at the thrift store? Evidently I do.

After that stroke of good luck, I suspected that my mojo was DEFINITELY back. I found a BEKA wooden easel. Marked for sale as $4.94, it was also 50% off. (People - the retail price of the model I found would have been $143.00 !!!) Made in the good old US of A, heavy as shit, I could barely get it up to the register. Then I found a ton of leggings for Ramona, a kid sized backpack for Ramona (EVERY SINGLE MORNING there is debate over who is going to carry Beezus' backpack out to the car. Every single morning, Ramona asks Beezus, Beezus says no (which I totally support), Ramona cries, Beezus then yells at ME because Ramona is crying, and then Beezus gives her backpack to Ramona thereby reinforcing to Ramona that if you cry you will get what you want. Awesome. How do you solve that? Buy another backpack for $2.42. )


Fiona said...

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! You always were the best thrifty I knew Mrs. Q! I am so excited for you (and envious - I wanted to buy this dollhouse too, but ain't going to).

And you have reminded me that I need another backpack for EXACTLY the same reasons. Especially as they are about to go to the same school.

Well done!

V said...

Funny, this whole week I'd been thinking how much I miss VV & UT and the amazing bargains I'd found there and how I'm never going to get that lucky ever again.

From UT--I got the near-complete FridgePhonics (missing a y) & the WoodTown set that now lives with Connor & Helen.

And who can forget the amazing Thomas train haul from the VV near me in Baltimore last year?!

I am so glad you struck gold today--which now shoots to the top of your list of 5 best thrift store days, right?

AwwwTrouble said...

Wow! Jealous! I really prefer the left side-feel like I get better clothes there. Congrats! We'll have to go early in December.

Elaine said...

Actually, Ellen, I would've been so horrified by the paint on the dollhouse that I would've considered it ruined, and not allowed it into my home. Glad you're up for redoing it. The easel though - definitely!! Glad the mojo is back!

dc604 said...

1st, you cry at don't even think twice about tears, they just are....the dollhouse looked great, just paint it before you give it to them, it needs to look a little nicer so they will respect it! Give them a set of nice stickers and they can decorate it. all the other stuff sounds great! can't wait to see Ramona utilizing her own back pack!

dc604 said...

1st, you cry at don't even think twice about tears, they just are....the dollhouse looked great, just paint it before you give it to them, it needs to look a little nicer so they will respect it! Give them a set of nice stickers and they can decorate it. all the other stuff sounds great! can't wait to see Ramona utilizing her own back pack!

Ryaanne said...

Simply good Karma TSM! You deserve it!

T said...

mrs. q. i enjoy reading from afar and will be coming to dc at the beginning of january. i must do at least one morning if not two at VV. i don't think i've ever gone into the left side. probably because i started going with you. my friend j is potty training now as well. she got "pull ups" via an internet diaper sales lady. they are cloth washable and re-useable diapers. very very useful! i still think the two of you need to meet. she's been through a lot of stuff you have. anyway this is becoming a novella. ciao dearie!

Stacy said...

What amazing finds! I had to laugh because we have a Ryan's Room dollhouse...and it's been painted in all sorts of obnoxiously bright splotches of color :)


{sue} said...

ZOMG! SCORE! That is AMAZING! I personally have had good luck on the left side. My ginormous armoire came from there.

Snork Maiden said...

Haaa. I love your blog. I just found it the other day, and I'm excited. I bought a $2 wetsuit the other day, and I have NO kids. Just friends with kids. I mean. I paid $400 for mine. A $2 wetsuit? I didn't know how to leave without it. You did some awesome shopping! Post pictures of dollhouse!


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