Monday, April 11, 2011

If you give a mom a trailer...

It all started yesterday (Sunday) afternoon. I ran to Sam's Club to buy their last (display) model of a "Gorilla" brand commercial shelving unit. Great stuff if you can find it!!! We already owned one just like it, and when I went to buy a second one, I was told they were being discontinued. Since I bought the display one, they sold it to me for only $40!!

While at the store, I spotted a wooden playhouse like we wanted for the backyard. The kids had made some money selling lemonade, and we were also going to have a yard sale this weekend to sell off some of their old stuff for some extra fun money. I went to see how much it cost just so I'd know how long we needed to save up for. It was $250, but they had none left on the shelves beneath the display model. I didn't give it another thought, since I was busy dealing with the big, metal shelving unit.

After church last night, we went out for pizza at Whole Foods, and I forgot my phone there. I have never left my phone at any store before, but yesterday I first forgot it at Sam's Club (they ran it out to me on the way out), and then at Whole Foods at night. The store was already closed by the time I realized, but when I called them they said my phone had been found, and placed in the safe (???). My plan was to get it sometime today. 

My first thought upon waking up today was "I bet you Sam's Club would sell the display model of the playhouse, and maybe they'd reduce the price like they did with the shelving unit." It's funny how us moms must just be processing all this information even in our sleep, because I had forgotten all about even having looked at the playhouse. 

I ran over to Whole Foods to get my phone back, and since Sam's was only a couple of miles from there I thought I should swing by and try my luck. Indeed, the display model was the last one left. A manager was called to assist me, and he said they could reduce the price by 20% to $200. I asked him if that was as low as he could go, because it was more than our kids could afford or my husband was willing to pay. He asked me if it was broken or messed up at all, and I said that I thought it wasn't, but that I hadn't really looked at it all that much. He said "Well, lets just go see." When we got there, he pointed to some scuffs on the painted trim, and then told me he could knock the price down to $175 because of that. Still, we were not planning on buying a playhouse just yet, and that was still a lot of money even though it was a great deal. I asked him "How about $150, or $160?", and after thinking for a minute he agreed to sell it for $160.02!! That is almost 40% less than the original price. Plus, it was already assembled, saving me at least 2 days of work. 

I called my husband to ask him if we could buy the playhouse, and he agreed to cover the remaining balance on it for the kids since I had asked him not to give me anything for my birthday this year, and because he is just a nice guy and a pushover when it comes to me asking him for anything. 

My next problem was getting it home. Thankfully, my good friend "L" from church is always so happy to help, and she has a real "can do" attitude when it comes to getting stuff done. Six months pregnant and with a 1-year old in tow, she picked up a trailer at U-Haul, and hitched it behind her truck (that the playhouse would not have fit in). 

Just as she was doing that I remembered that last week, someone on Freecycle had given us a Tuggy sandbox, which I was supposed to pick up this afternoon. With all my seats folded down, it would have fit in the back of the van, but it would have been a lot of trouble, and messy. The lady giving us the sandbox didn't live too far from where my friend was getting the trailer, so I asked her if she would mind too much picking that up, too, while we had the trailer. My friend was super-cool with that idea, and met me at the house of the lady with the sandbox to pick that up first.

We then headed back to Sam's Club, where we loaded up the playhouse in one piece. Well, we didn't load it up ourselves, we just watched the employees do it. This one guy kept saying "You can't do it! You can't do it!" and it really was quite the joke. It just barely fit on the trailer, and I was very much hoping (and praying!) that we would be able to get it back to the house in one piece - we were about 12 miles from home.

Right across from Sam's Club was a place that sold landscaping rock, sand, dirt etc. by the ton, so "L" suggested we stop there to have them dump some sand on the empty half of the trailer, which would be much cheaper than buying sand at a home improvement store. It was a brilliant idea, so we stopped for that next. We bought the sand based on what amount looked "right", and I about died when I heard it was 900 lbs!!! The fact that it had been raining and the sand was wet didn't help, but still.

Finally on our way home, five hours had passed since I had first left the house that morning. Only three of the kids were with me, because the other three were still sleeping or in their PJs when I left. It was now past lunchtime! 

We first unloaded the sandbox from the truck. Then, before we could unload the playhouse, I had to get all 900 lbs of sand off the back of the trailer. We borrowed a wheelbarrow from a neighbor, and I started shoveling. My husband was having a crazy busy day with business calls and such, and was not able to help almost at all, except with lifting which I would not let my pregnant friend do. It actually wasn't bad at all. 

The sand and sandbox unloaded, my husband and I carefully took the playhouse off the trailer and set it up in the yard. It had made it through all that long, bumpy ride unscathed! The kids were so thrilled! The house is set up in the shade of a large tree, which will help keep it cooler on sunny days. They filled a toy bin with plastic dishes, cookware, and play foods that they are going to keep in the house for pretend play.

So much work for one day, but it would have been so much more if I actually had to haul AND assemble the house. So glad that we also stopped for the sand while we had the trailer - at $13 for the whole load, it was dirt cheap (no pun intended), and pretty easy to unload.

Last but not least, I managed to make my "how-combative-can-you-get-about-tacos" tacos for dinner. The boys are off at the gym with my husband as I am typing this, and I feel so tired that I am sitting down blogging in the middle of the day rather than doing overdue chores. 

Miriam was so sweet. She asked me: "Mommy, can you not sell the house when we all grow up and get married? That way we can always hang out in there?" What a precious blessing our children are! So very worth all the work and trouble! 

A long day, but a good one. Special thanks to my dear friend L - I could never have done it without her!


  1. What an awesome deal! I saw one of those @ my Sam's this past Sat. It looks like so much fun.

  2. Ya did good! Mothers can do anything. It's funny how one small thing (like leaving a phone behind) can trigger a whole set of actions that lead to something you could have never pulled off in the normal day to day!

  3. So cute! I love Freecycle for finding great deals like that.

  4. What a great story.

    Which is why I think it would be so fun for your children to actually write and illustrate a little book about your adventure.
    "When You Give a Mom a Trailer," indeed. Perhaps a creative writing assignment for school?

  5. The playhouse is just lovely Zsuzsanna! What an action packed day! Phew...I was exhausted just reading about it! Your children all look so delighted, especially Miriam!

  6. Ha ha!! That's great. You just cannot pass up a bargain! :) Cute house.

  7. I love that the playhouse has a picnic bench and kitchen, so many fun possibilities! I just hope that none of your wonderful felt food creations end up marred by the sand. :)

  8. The kids sure look happy! The house looks super cute and that's the coolest sandbox :)Too bad you had to do so much in one day lol. Good thing you had your friend to help!

  9. What a cute little playhouse and sandbox! Looks well worth the busy day!

  10. Here I go again-sorry- but when we had a sandbox,years ago, we bought sand just for sandboxes. It was pesticide-free,asbestos-free,etc. Our sandbox had a top because when we didn't have a dog for a few years we had to watch that the neighborhood cats wouldn't use it for a litter box.

  11. Very fun!!! I'm sure the little kiddos were so excited!!! Way to go, mom!! :)

  12. Watch out for scorpions and snakes in that playhouse and sandbox.

    There is some stuff on the internet about what kind of sand is healthy for sandbox (there is a certain kind to avoid)

  13. Wow! That is an awesome deal and what a cute little house for your babies to play in!

  14. Wow, what a great day of bargains!! Was the U-Haul trailer costly?

    BTW, you really have assembled a great blog, and I have picked up several helpful household management tips from you. Thanks!

    .....and must say....ANNA....what an absolutely precious baby! She just jumps off the page and grabs at the heart.


  15. Sarah, you are so right! I made it very clear to the children that only the PLASTIC play foods and dishes were allowed outside. Hopefully, they'll remember to stick to that.

    Taryn and anon @ 2:37 pm, the sand is "play sand". We bought it from a place that specializes in selling landscaping supplies such as rocks, etc. I am sure that there are many neighborhood playgrounds that need large amounts of play sand, which is why a place like this would carry it. The sandbox comes with a lid. In 5+ years of living here, we have never seen a scorpion or snake anywhere on our property or in this area of town, even at parks, etc.

    Carrie, thank you, I am glad you are enjoying the blog. Isn't Anna just the sweetest little doll???!? The trailer was just under $20 for the day. It is a really good deal. You just need a vehicle with a trailer hitch.

  16. Wow!!! How fun and what great deals!!!

    I can't figure out freecycle just yet but I need to. ;)

  17. The manager may have been inclined to mark it down more because it was taking up space and he wanted it gone as much as your kids wanted it. Either way that's awesome.


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