The Deal of the Year

Today is Michael's birthday, and I'm contributing to celebrations by being in at work for the afternoon, nursing a freshly sprained ankle. Ugh.

Knowing I was going into work for few hours, we decided to celebrate yesterday. We took an easy family day, which was SUNNY for the first time in 8 days! Woo hoo and *gorgeous*. According to our landlord, the last time there were 7 consecutive days of rain in NYC it was 1903. The hundred-year rain :). It was "It's my park day" so we went and volunteered our services at our favorite park, and got to plant daffodils and spread mulch with pitchforks and rakes. Some good arm exercise for someone (me) who gets zilch, and a piece of cake for michael who's actually lost a bit of weight, gained muscle, and is getting toned from all his gallery art-shlepping and renovation work.

After a late lunch and getting Douglas to bed, Michael played with a new computer game his sister sent him, and I ran off to the grocery store and for a quick check of the Pratt Art Fair to see if there was anything worth seeing. I took the granny cart for groceries, and for the drawing pads that I hoped to get at the huge Pratt Art Store just down the street. I was feeling a little chagrined that I didn't have any presents really for M, just a copy of a CD he wanted, and two books on order that haven't arrived yet. I'd gone hunting for pulleys on Friday, per his request, but both hardware stores close to work were closed. I knew it wasn't about presents, but K does up family birthdays SO deliciously (and never seems to get spoiled herself) that I was wishing I at least had *something* for him on that day.

After an abortive run thru the closing-up-early fair, I trotted over to the Art Store via the back student entrance. I'd had a sneaking suspicion that there might be a sale, taking advantage of the fair traffic, and a "75% off Sidewalk Sale One Day Only" poster tacked to the gate confirmed it. I walked in the front door, parked my cart, and hear the first "store closing in 30 minutes" announcement, it was alerady 5:30. I followed the signs, and the murmer and shuffle of intent shoppers, to the corner of the second floor. I was greeted by a 15 x 25 foot area with rows of boxes on the floor, scrambling students with buckets of brushes and supplies, and the gleam of "DEALS" in every eye. I saw no prices, but heard 75% off everything, and then heard the phrase "make me an offer." A phrase no true deal-hunter can ignore! I saw 6 to 8 cartons of paint tubes, almost-empty boxes of brushes, and some misc other supplies like greeting cards, canvas holders, and stretchers.

Figuring the most coveted by mvb were always paints and brushes, I went straight to the paints, found the box that had the brand I thought to be best, and asked the arms-crossed-master-of-the-sale "how much?" Of course I got the "make me an offer" and I had to make the first move. I knew paints are $5-12 per tube, and the box had probably 75 or so in it. Figuring that lowballing in the extreme was a safe place to start, I offered $10 for two boxes full :) His "No way, can't do that" was expected, so I countered with "You tell me how much for this one box." He studied me for a second, demanded "buy two" and waited. I said "Fine, these two then, how much?" After his response of "$40" I managed to wait a polite second or two before saying "I'll take it!" and he hauled them off to the cash for me. Doing the math, after Michael lovingly counted and categorized them all at home, I paid 23.5 cents for each tube for about $1200 worth of paint. I call that the deal of the Year!

Flushed with the excitement and pleased as punch with the Coolest Present in a Long Time deal, I went back in the hopes of finding brushes which I know he's needed for a long while, and got a decent selection of tiny ones, though the larger sizes were all sold out. I was very thankful I'd taken the cart, as the paint turned out to be 25lbs and adding groceries to that, I had a pretty heavy load and had fun getting it up the front steps.

We ended up with a late dinner, after Douglas proudly painted watercolor pictures of Captain Bluebeard and Captain Brownbeard while M sorted his loot.

A highly enjoyable day :) Happy Birthday Michael.