THE SONIC BOOMER
Today is a Red Letter Day for me. Today is the day I spend a huge amount of money on something I never thought I would need or want — a re-paved parking lot at one of my stores.
This lot was in pretty good shape when we bought the place four years ago. However, due to increased traffic — Shoppers found us! They like us! Yay! — and the fact that I’m situated in a very convenient spot for hundreds of vehicles wanting to turn around, it began disintegrating.
At first, I tried to fix it myself. My son Charlie helped. He had worked on Wellington’s road crew for a while, and he showed me where to buy tar mixed with tiny stones. We cleaned out the worst pothole and filled it, then ran over it a few times with my car to help it settle. That cost less than $1,000 and held us for about a year while new potholes quickly opened up wherever they possibly could, hoping for the same treatment.
One of the things I used to like about my store was that it has great “frontage.” Situated horizontally on the parcel, you can almost window-shop while you park. You can slowly tool along the vast banks of display windows and begin salivating about all the cool antiques inside.
I don’t like great frontage anymore. A long, horizontal building means a long, horizontal parking lot, which is almost like putting hundred-dollar bills end-to-end and then running over them with a steam roller.
But something needed to be done. The most envious of the potholes was now about 8 inches deep, and I was afraid someone was going to lose a tire — probably me. So, I called an asphalt guy.
“I can do it for twenty-five,” he said.
“Twenty-five hundred?” I eagerly asked, ignorant fool that I am.
He looked at me funny. “$20,500,” he clarified.
“Oh.” I was shocked.
So, I called my husband. Mark has more than 50 years of experience in construction, and he had estimated the job to be worth about $15,000. Evidently, that was then. This is now.
The asphalt guy and I settled on $18,500 because, according to him, he had all his machinery and a crew of 20 working about three blocks away, and I told him he could start right away.
Never mind that the store would be open with no way to get to it.
Never mind that I rent booths to other antiques dealers, most of whom had spent the week blissfully gathering merchandise that they were eager to put into their booths.
Never mind that I would be paying a clerk to rattle around inside the store just in case someone found alternative parking and a pathway into the store.
The asphalt guy promised one day service.
So, Merry Christmas to me.