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Shopping for some headaches

The only good news from our consignment-store adventures is my Christmas shopping is done

The weekend started out simple enough. We mixed it up a little by going to lunch at a restaurant we don’t normally frequent. On the drive home, Penny asked, “Do you want to stop at that new consignment store on the way home?”

What I really wanted was a nap, but I sensed that she wanted to go, so I said, “Sure.”

She gave me ample opportunity to back out as she had been in the store before. We both like browsing through other people’s old junk, though, so we went.

Seconds after entering the store, Penny fell in love with an antique, walnut, Victorian bed. Having been in the antiques business, I have a pretty good idea of what such a thing is worth, so I didn’t even look at the price tag. Victorian beds are out of our price range.

Penny was curious, though, so she flipped the card over. In this order, the words were piqued, peeked and peaked. Her curiosity was piqued, she peeked at the card, then her interest was peaked. All within half a minute.

In the meantime, I spied an oak secretary desk with curved glass on the bookcase — like the one my grandmother had. We already had a similar cabinet, but I promised it to our daughter.

Like Penny, I looked at the card and thought, “Wow, that’s a good price.”

Then I walked away.

While I was in another room pawing over the merchandise, Penny was in the front asking the clerk whether the prices on the two antiques were negotiable. They were.

We had not planned on making any major purchases, but it got to the point where we couldn’t afford to not buy them. Penny suggested that they could be our Christmas presents to each other.

Well, that makes my December simpler, so I agreed.

Now we just had to find a way to get them home. Fortunately, my friend Larry wasn’t busy and he has a truck. We got the pieces home and I went about setting up the bed.

We took out the old bed, swept and mopped the floor and brought in the “new” bed. Before Penny sees this I will point out that by “we” I mean “Penny” when it comes to the sweeping and the mopping.

Anyway, the bed was too short. I had suspected this could be a problem as the old Victorian beds were typically what’s called a three-quarter size. This one was wide enough but was a little too short for the mattress.

There are two other beds in the house and I thought their mattresses might be a little shorter, so I tore them apart to get to the box springs. Each set was tried and each was too long.
Houston, we have a problem.

It was getting late, so I slept on the problem. I had to sleep on something; the beds were all torn apart. I came up with an idea to replace the pegs on the sideboards with lag screws and use the bolt heads as pegs. I could tighten the bolt heads against the headboard with nuts and washers.

When I took the hardware off a side rail, I discovered that my plan was not going to work. I also discovered a patent date of 1866.

I had some walnut shelving in the garage, so I quickly cut pieces to extend the side rails. I was able to modify the hardware enough to make everything work. We were back in business, so to speak. By the way, the modifications I made are reversible so I didn’t hurt the integrity of the antique.

In an hour or so, the bed was ready for the box spring. It was still a tight fit with the extra two inches, but it all went together.

That’s when Penny realized the bed was now about seven inches higher than the old bed. Not only was her nightstand too low now but she would also need a ladder to get into bed.

We found another piece of furniture in the house to swap out the nightstand, but it was wider than the previous piece, so now the desk on the right was crowded. We swapped the desk with a dresser from another locale.Pretty soon, we had rearranged the entire room and our weekend was gone.

And it’s all because we decided to stop at the new consignment store.

Now Penny says she needs a new bedspread to go with the bed.

Sorry. My Christmas shopping is done.

©Copyright 2012 by David Porter who can be reached at All rights reserved. These bargains can get expensive.

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