Saturday May 17, 2003 11:56 PM
A rainy Saturday purchase

When I went to bed last night I was pretty sure it would be rainy today and it was. We got started a little late, but the day felt productive even if the feeling was somewhat illusory.

Ruth wanted to go by Lowe's today to get some potting soil and plants to put in the big planter she bought the other day to put out front of our church building and I wanted to get a new stereo to replace the decrepit old boombox I use on the back porch.

Though it got decent reception, I had to a jam quarter into the slider-style volume control to force the dirty contacts together in order for it to play and it had a tendency to eat cassette tapes. That didn't bother me too much, but the other day when I was working on the scout I discovered the old radio had finally come to the point where it would no longer play CDs. Temperamental, crackly volume I can put up with, but a boombox that doesn't play CDs is kind of pointless. Ah well, easy come easy go, I suppose. I've had the thing since 1995 when a then-coworker gave it to me. He'd found it in a dumpster and tinkered with it till it worked. It's served me well for about 8 years, but now it's time to replace it.

We also had to go by our insurance agent's office since the check due at the beginning of the month hadn't gotten around to mailing itself yet...

So after we'd gotten ourselves and Isaiah dressed, we piled into the van and ran some errands- the bank, the insurance, and the post office (where there were no postcards in my box), and then went to Lowe's to get some plants. Ruth selected a very harmonious array of some, uh, plants.

There were a couple of different kinds of green, leafy-ish ones and a couple of kinds of flowers. All I really remember is that there were some petunias because they didn't have any of the kind she really wanted. We also picked up a replacement cord for the small flourescent lamp we leave out on the back porch for use after dark. Nijal had chewed on the cord some time ago and with the flexure over the past few years, the cord finally gave up the ghost last winter.

This acquisition taught me one useful fact: don't buy specially made lamp cords. When the stupid thing rang up for $3.79 I instantly decided that the next time I need a new cord for some appliance or lamp or something I'll buy the ˘99 extension cord in the bargain bin, cut the end off it, and save over two dollars. I advise you to do the same.

Next on the agenda was a hop across the street to the big-box discount store for the replacement for my trusty old radio. I didn't want to spend a lot of money, but I didn't want to squander my hard-earned bucks on cheap junk either. Ruth pointed at the cheapest one on the shelf.

"Hey, look- this one's only fifty-seven ninety-five. I think that's the one we should get."

"Yeah, but this tuner knob... It's just cheesy- it cries out 'I'm ready to break any day now!'", I replied not bothering to mention that the thing looked like the cheapest one on the shelf when the one next to it for only twenty dollars more not only looked like a better investment, it looked cooler, too.

"Well, I don't want to spend two-hundred dollars on something you're going to leave out on the back porch."

"Who said anything about two-hundred dollars? I didn't even say anything about one-hundred dollars, but I don't want that cruddy one on the end."

"OK, OK. Hey, here's one on clearance. What about it?"

"Hmmm. Two-hundred forty Watts, five CD changer... That sounds great. How much is it?"

"Oh. Uh, it was two-hundred ten and now it's one seventy-nine..."

"That's more than I wanted to spend and I don't need the temptation of two hundred and forty Watts. I like this carbon colored one for seventy-nine."

"I think there was a sixty dollar one at the other store..."

"Yes, there was and it was just as cheesy as that fifty-seven one over there."

"Well, Isaiah and I are going to go look at that clearance stuff over there for a minute. We'll be right back."

She walked about eight feet away and stopped to look at the marked-down stuff she was talking about and I got down the box of the model I'd decided I was getting. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it came with a remote. I suppose I'm showing my home-electronics naiveté when I admit to such a feeling. I guess pretty much everything comes with a little remote these days (unless it's got a feeble analog tuner like the one Ruth had suggested), but I don't buy stuff like this very often.

Like I said, the guy had fished my old one out of a dumpster over half a decade ago and given it to me. The other CD changer/stereo we have inside somebody gave us too. Come to think of it- I've never bought a stereo before in my life! This was more of a special occasion than I'd thought. Huzzah!

She didn't hassle me over the extra twenty bucks though it was kind of a hassle getting the big thing into the cart. Isaiah had to get out of the seat to fit the box in the back of the cart. The thing wasn't small to begin with and the added two inches of styrofoam around it and a box around that made it somewhat unwieldy but we got it home with no problems.

After lunch at home (left over pizza from the other night while we all watched an episode of House Detective, one of Isaiah's favorite shows, I'd taped while we were out) Ruth took Isaiah with her while she went to get something somehwere and take some stuff to her folk's house.

While she did that, I took the old boombox off the top of the cabinet on the back porch to make a place for it's replacement and cleaned up the general clutter that unfailingly accumulates out there. When I'd straightened-up the porch to my contentment, I sat down and fixed the lamp while I listened to my new stereo.