Friday, November 28, 2008

Shopping, the Kwach and Ev Way

We've been in negotiation for the last few days with a woman selling an antique wood burning stove on Craiglist. It's been absurdly difficult; at one point Lori had to use me as a surrogate because the negotiations fell through. Geneva Accords? Feh! Nothing! Those pussies should try bargaining with an antique seller via e-mail.

However, last night, in my firmest mommy font, I put my foot down. It's now or never, Woodstove Lady. Put up or shut up.

She crumbled like the streusel on yesterday's apple pie.

So this morning we got up at the crack of 8 o'clock and headed for Barnhart, MO with out little truck to pick this up:

It's in decent shape...needs a few repairs, but overall sound. It's got pretty green and cream enamel and six burners, a wood box and a couple of warmers up top. It's exactly what we wanted. In fact, Lori saw it's twin in an antique shop a few years ago, and we've been visiting it ever since.

So we hit the road, me driving and Lori in charge of the radio and sorting the two weeks accumulation of junk mail that always collects on the seat next to me. I stop at the mailbox every day on my way to work, and I'm pretty good about taking the real mail in when I get home, but I tend to leave the sale fliers and credit card ads in the truck.

Lori was reading the Bed, Bath & Beyond flier, which was loaded with expensive, useless crap. I mean loaded. They had a battery powered soap dispenser, an automatic towel warmer, a cool and warm wind blower for your feet, and an automatic device to press your pants on the a pants clamp, sort of.

We got into a conversation about what kinds of people would actually buy this stuff. Could you imagine walking into someone's house and seeing their heated foot blower, pants flattener, and electronic hands-free soap dispenser in use? No. That's the kind of crap people give to their Dads when they still haven't got a gift and it's Christmas Eve at 8 p.m. We don't own any of that kind of stuff. In fact, any of that stuff that we used to own broke long ago and has joined their crap-gift sistren and brethren in the rapidly overfilling county landfill. Now we pretty much own stuff we use.

So we drove up to Barnhart, looked at the stove and listened to the nice man lie about it for a little while. He was having trouble with the lying though, since he was being pestered from the moment we pulled into the driveway by Meghan, a small child who was the spiritual twin of our eponymous Hunter (Don't Take Your Guns To Town, Hunter). Rather than the pleading requests for "a few minutes to talk to the people, Honey," Meghan really needed to be dragged out to the yard by the elbow and threatened with a horrible death unless she shut the hell up right now and let Daddy finish selling the stove so they could eat next week.

We finished up our business over the background noise of Meghan's ceaseless demands, decided that we could fix the defects in the stove, and handed the nice man $300. He helped us take it apart and load it in the truck, made a perfunctory effort to sell us more crap, and we headed for home.

But you know us...home is not a linear process. We decided to take old Route 61 instead of I-55 and go through some of those old town with antique shops. We stopped in St. Mary's, MO at their big antique store, found some accessories for the stove, and discovered the secret truth about commerce: nothing is ever new.

The antique store carried a variety of cast iron pants flatteners (and some plug-in varieties) as well as several wood-powered foot warmers and a manual soap dispenser in an easy to use bar form. Handy!

We left there and continued down Rte. 61 through some of the brilliantly named small towns of South East Missouri: Lithium, Herculeneum, Festus, and Whispering Hills. We figured Lithium is where you go when the Hills start whispering about you specifically.

When we drive, we talk. A lot. About anything, no matter how stupid. So with that in mind, we drove into Jackson and admired it's large stately courthouse, marred only by it's green copper dome. Lori said, no...that was fine, it was just it's patina.

We decided that Patina would make a fine name, as would Levitra, Januvia, and Boniva. We actually knew a poor kid who's mother had named him Courvoisier. She should be shot.

By the time we got home, we'd driven 230 miles and peed in some of the finer gas stations in Southeast MO. This was our route:

We can drive 200 miles without leaving the county (we hit every little gravel road and roadside marker and highway fatality shrine in a 30
mile radius. Who knew there was such entertainment riches in our little county??), So the distance was nothing. But this time we actually left the state, and turned a 4 hour errand into a 9 hour social critique. That's a good day!


Kwach said...

I was sort of amazed at the number of things that have always existed but we never thought about it. Waffle irons and cute little muffin pans that make cute little decorative muffins? Pioneer women had 'em ... in cast iron. Bundt cake pans? They had 'em ... although you can barely lift them. Popcorn poppers to use in the fireplace, electric butter churns you screw to the top of a jar and even cute little fold up travel-sized pants flatterners with different fabric settings before such a thing as a steam iron ever existed.

Buying accessories for the wood stove is going to be a fun (if expensive) proposition!

Angie said...

That sounds like a perfect day to me - I'm envious!

Jazz said...

A battery operated soap dispenser? The mind boggles.

Course my mom in law has a battery operated pepper mill and a plug in jar opener and...

I'll stop now.

xup said...

What a gorgeous stove. We had one just like it when I was a kid, but we just used it in emergencies when the electricity went off -- which was during any small wind, rain or snow. It was the best. I want one now.

Kwach said...

XUP ... I've been trying to find out exactly what kind of stove it is. The name has been obscured by a bad repair job on the door. I'd like to know who made it so we'd know how to find repair and replacement parts. Was the one you grew up really like this one?? I can't seem to find one like it on any of the antique stove sites.

Anonymous said...

Try Montgomery Ward - Trojan Model.

Anonymous said...

Okay - you guys live near - or at least went by Red Bud, IL? That town was so small - if there even was an actual town there - that I am surprised it rated even a dot on any map. I had a friend who lived somewhere in the area at one time and had her "country" place on a teeny, tiny lake (puddle, more like it) near Red Bud.


Kwach said...

Gail, Red Bud is one of our favorite little towns to drive through! It has beautiful old houses, a quaint but well-kept downtown area and pretty farms all around it. It's a tiny town, but it seems very livable. Unfortunately, it's a long way from anywhere someone could work.

Kwach said...

XUP ... thank you! I looked up the Montgomery Ward Trojan stove and it's the closest thing I've found yet. The Trojan I found online was Circa 1910 and I think ours comes from the 1930's, but they sure are similar!