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Monday, March 15, 2010

Dig Report 3/13/10...Wordy, but worth it!

  This weekend was a test, a test to see how far I would go to feed my curiosity.  With the threat of rain, most folks planning to have a sale roll up their signs, and shutter their garages like Floridians preparing for a hurricane.  True, I wouldn't want a bunch of strangers plodding through my house, even if I am selling the place, or I am 6 feet under.  The rain doesn't stop everybody, and if this storm wasn't proof enough, I don't know what is.  

I had noticed an estate sale advertised in Norwalk, CT.  At that distance, there has to be some kind of draw, some item in the ad that screams "Buried treasure- not so buried!"  Nope, I would have passed this up like many others that far away, but while the heart may be a lonely hunter, with a bored six-year old in the house, your psyche can quickly become a motivated buyer.  AVA didn't need to twist my arm much to point me toward Norwalk, and in a blink we were out of the house.

This is not a trip I would recommend in a driving rain storm, but I didn't know the extent of the risk.  Until we reached the other side I-95, it was challenging but not deadly, yet.  The sale was managed by a service, and as much as my photographer wanted to take pictures, It seemed a little like bad timing, so the camera stayed in the car.  The house was packed with many collectibles: Blue glass, Hummels, antiques, all with a thick patina of Marlboro ash and smoke.  It didn't make us want to stay, so we cruised quickly though the living room and the bedrooms.  Seeing the lights flicker and hearing the wind grow louder made it difficult to look carefully at the thousands of items strewn about the house. Maybe out of a sense of self-preservation, we headed for the basement.

AVA made a bee-line for a huge exercise ball at one end of the basement, while I found a pile of books at the other end.  She made her desire known as she pawed and rolled the ball around her person.  I looked at her and said, "you don't need an exercise ball! You're the perfect weight for your height."  She pointed her secret weapon at me, but I am impervious to her dimples, which are mainly for melting senior citizens and the dimply-challenged.  Her pleading drew me to her, and I, knowing that a long-distance chide would not settle her, made my way to her through the clutter. At the half way point, I scanned a set of shelves and there was something that I recognized.

  I am a dyed-in-the-wool gadget-ologist. If it has buttons, or a screen, switches, lights, plugs, or connectors, or any combination of the above, and it looks like it might work -  you got me.  You know my kryptonite. I picked up the box - it had weight.  I opened it up and there was the radio and the charger! Missing was the antenna and manual, but I had my bargaining point.  I knew what this was (I'll explain how later); a triple band heavy-duty radio that can transmit like a portable Ham Radio and receive just about every band under the sun. A million features and possibilities and here it was in my hand - with no price. My gadget-ologist heart was racing (or maybe it was whirring and buzzing).

I had a price in my head ($20) and I was prepared to haggle to keep it near that.  Now, I am not one of those foxy types that will ask a wheelchair bound senior how much the gold-plated Uzi is.  I know what this radio is worth, but right now I am taking a chance, because it may not even work.  I didn't go right to the head of the estate sale service, I asked the first person I saw, a lady, who had been tossing out $50 and $100 dollar prices like they were frisbees, immediately shrugged and handed it to the boss. Amazingly, he shrugged too, looked back at her, and then at me and said, "$10?" I nodded and asked if he would keep it for me behind the check-out table.  

The rest of the sale was a blur, there could have been gold bars for a buck, but I couldn't get my heart to stop racing.  We made our way through kitchen and told the guy we were all set.  Back in the car I marveled at what I had found (above).  The Yaesu VX-7RB is what I love about hitting the sales. I find myself buying things I have no right to own, have no license to use, and almost no idea how to use it, but I can't wait to try. Don't think I have forgotten my little buddy, she managed to find a cute little hollow body zither for $10 that we haggled down to $5. On the way home she strummed to her hearts content, and so did I.  

We made it safely home, though no thanks to bumper-bumper traffic on I-95, which we avoided, only to be stuck for 30 minutes in stop and go on the Merritt when a branch blocked one of the lanes. The people going south were stopped dead for much longer by a large tree that had fallen across the road. I had known the radio was a keeper because it was my second one.  At Brookfield estate sale 3 years ago I had found the VX-5R (below-gave the antenna to the VX-7!) in a Ziploc on a table in the garage for $20 (talked  them down to $15). I didn't know what it was at the time, but the internet told me I had picked up a $250 radio for a song.  This day I had found the next model up and paid even less.  The most ridiculous feature on this radio, and the most apropos for the day - It's submersible!


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