going once…

The Shelter Harbor Inn, about 20 minutes south of here, had been sold. A farm in the 1800’s, an Inn in 1911, a music colony for composers, a little destination resort with 24 rooms, large restaurant and two tennis courts, Shelter Harbor seems to have been in our little corner of Rhode Island forever.

Son Will worked in the catering department for many college summers.

But it had been sold to a pair of local entrepreneurs who intended to gut the place, totally redesign it (the Hollywood designer was there to hang out for a while) and reopen as a live music venue with a restaurant.

Even the signs were on sale.

Saturday was the big day for the auction. I’d seen the large white tent for over a week, but I hadn’t intended to go. Being deathly afraid of buying something unnecessary I’d decided it was best not to be tempted. But Banjo Man? He woke me before 7 AM Saturday morning, calling “Let’s go, the preview is at 8!”

This was the same man who had been suffering from a toothache for the last four days. He’d been eating chicken soup–I’d made a vat of it in the crock pot–and downing Tylenol.

So off we went and, thank goodness, there was a ton of old stuff but not “old in a good way”. The inn had fallen onto hard times a few years ago, so there were lots of bargains in the “furniture tent”. After roaming through the furniture and then the various rooms on the main floor, Banjo Man declared there was only one thing he wanted: a metal dolly in the “tool tent”.

“That will be the last place they auction off,” I warned him. But one of the auctioneers assured him that they would get there sooner than later.

He fibbed.

I found a comfy chair and settled in–until they sold the chair (there were two dozen of them). Then we left the Inn and went down the road to have breakfast.

Arriving back less than an hour later there hadn’t been much progress. They were auctioning everything from the long oak bar to a case of paper cups. A lot of the stuff looked like it should have gone straight to the dump.

Lots of interest for the hundreds of pots and pans and baking sheets. I repeatedly told myself I no longer had a need for a dozen baking sheets and kept my hand from waving in the air.

There were two rooms filled with dishes and glasses. Tables, cloths, chairs, everything! I did lose my mind for five minutes and bought four bentwood chairs (from the lounge) for $5 each.

A temporary solution to our chair problems.

We need dining room chairs, but I am so tired of making design and decorating decisions. Banjo Man is super fussy about seating and I just don’t have the energy. These will do, at least until next fall when we can shop with more enthusiasm than desperation.

Here’s something I insanely coveted:

A catering cooler.

I wanted this for no other reason than I thought it would be a cool thing to have for a party. Banjo Man said it was falling apart and wasn’t impressed. It was in the tool tent and went for $5.00.

Ah, the tool tent…

It was now FOUR O’CLOCK and we had been there for 8 hours. At 3:00 I took a break and drove to Wendy’s for a cold drink and then to Home Goods to look at pretty Easter things. Banjo Man stayed behind and watched as more dishes, more glasses, more chairs, etc. were sold before the crowd went down to the tool tent.

The stuff under the tool tent was all that remained and at 4:15 Banjo Man, me and one of the auction crew were the only people in the tent. They tried to round up more people to continue the auction, but could only come up with two more as everyone else had bought what they wanted or left empty-handed. No one was interested in a dozen toilets, porcelain sinks or boxes of electrical outlets. Imagine that.

Needless to say, Banjo Man won his dolly for $5.00. To me it looked like a baking pan on wheels but my husband declared it the bargain of the day and proudly shoved it into the back of the car with my $5 chairs.

He was beyond thrilled which, my friends, clearly illustrates the difference between men and women.

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