I have been dying to tell you this story for months. In fact, since March I have been aching to tell everyone what an amazing find I had scored, but the problem was that I had not yet obtained it physically. Then, Victoria wrote this post about her Craigslist find, and I wanted to cry. “It’s not fair! I want to share my amazing coup and I can’t.” So, I waited, because I too had found an amazing wardrobe on Craigslist, but I was not able to pick it up yet.
Is it not beautiful? Would you not want to get it in your house as soon as possible? Here is the story of how it came to be in my possession.
In March, I was trolling Craigslist one evening, because that is what I do on a regular basis to make sure that I am not missing out on anything much to Douglas’ chagrin, when I came across an ad for a gorgeous wardrobe with an excellent price tag. I wish that I had taken a screen shot of the ad, but I did not want photographic evidence of the piece in case I did not get it in the end.
I emailed the owner, giving him my phone number and telling him that I would be able to pay cash and pick it up any time. We have a truck. It would be easy. He (we will call him James, which is not his name) called me the next day and arranged a time for us to go look at the piece that weekend. I was beside myself with joy. That Saturday, Douglas loaded his tools in the truck and off we went to get our wardrobe.
When we got to the house my excitement grew. This antique looked even better in person. It was in excellent condition and was obviously an expensive piece. I could not believe that it was going to be mine for only $350.
You are probably wondering why I could not tell you the secret until this week if all of this had occurred in March. Well, while we were at the house James gave us the “but.” You know what I mean. “This piece is yours, but….” “Everything is perfect, but…” “The realization of your dreams is in sight, but…” In this case the “but” was “…but you have to wait for our house to sell.” What?! Why would you put up an ad for furniture that you did not want to get rid of right away? I reluctantly agreed to the conditions. After all, what could I do? If I did not, then James could just go find another buyer who would. The owner held all of the cards. I left the house feeling awful.
A couple of weeks later, I felt even worse. I received an email from James asking me for $100 to show that I was serious and would purchase the piece when it became available. Oh no. I had a sinking feeling that this was a scam, but the pieces did not add up. James lived in a large, expensive house full of stunning antiques. He did not seem to be hurting for $100. I called him, and explained to him that $100 was a good deal of money to me, a teacher, and that I was concerned that something could happen beyond our control and I would lose my money. I tried to stress that I did not think that he was trying to scam me, but that sometimes things happen. For example, heave forbid he were to die before selling his house; I would never even know what had happened to him. In the end, we agreed that I would send him $50 and he would knock $25 off of the price. I sent him the money in good faith and hoped that all would go well.
Then, I did not hear anything from James for a very long time. In June I sent him an email informing him that I would be traveling a lot that summer. I gave him Douglas’ phone number so that he would have a second contact person, particularly for when I was in Costa Rica and would not be able to receive phone calls. James responded that they had several offers on the house, and he was confident that it would sell soon.
When I returned from Costa Rica we still had not heard from James. I was tempted to contact him several times, but I chose to be patient and wait to hear from him instead. That was one of the few times in my life that I was able to exercise such patience! Finally, on July 31, I received a phone call from James informing us that the house had sold and they would be moving out on August 10. He told us that we could come any day the week of August 05 to pick up the wardrobe. We were leaving August 04 for Montana! Great. After waiting all those months, was I going to lose my wardrobe anyway?
In the end, James told us that we were free to come by at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, August 02. He needed to leave by 10:30 to get to New York City, but he was sure that we would be able to load the wardrobe in an hour. I am sure you know what happens next. Famous last words, right?
Dismantling the wardrobe was undoing a three-dimensional puzzle. There were screws everywhere and there were seemingly hundreds of things to take apart. It took about a half hour to get the pieces ready for extraction, but that was the easy part.
On a side note, check out Douglas’ calves. This is what first attracted me to this man.
Once everything was in pieces, we tried to take the first part down the stairs. That was not going to happen. We tried turning it every which way, but it was really heavy and there was no way that it was going to fit with us carrying it. Only the smallest piece was Douglas able to carry himself. By the time we gave up, Kevin needed to leave for the city. Fortunately, his wife offered to stay so that we could continue working.
First, we went home to get the handcart. That made things easier, but it still took almost a half hour to get each of the three main pieces down the staircase. It was frustrating work, but finally we finished.
Next we had to try to fit everything in the truck. That was another puzzle, but luckily Douglas and I both excel at puzzles. We were able to get all of the pieces inside.
Once we got home, we had to unload all of the pieces and find places to put them. We did not have the tight staircase to deal with, but bringing everything up onto the porch and through the kitchen was challenging. By that time, I was exhausted, and even Douglas the Ironman was getting tired. Pieces of wardrobe were everywhere.
About five hours after we began we finally had everything in our house safe and sound. Unfortunately, there was not time to put it all together before we left for Montana. That is why my post two weeks ago only hinted at the secret.
Later this week, I will share the story of reconstruction. In the meantime, let us admire the beauty once again.