Today we discovered the joys of country auctions... specifically, a building-materials auction down at the fairgrounds. Our neighbor Bill called Mike early this morning and basically said, Get down here, they've got a bunch of stuff you've been looking for. What a zoo! I've never been to an auction before. The auctioneers (a father-son team) doing that rapid-fire singsongy thing, hordes of contractors & good old boys milling about looking at cabinets & tubs & sinks & tile & whatnot, the women tending to gather in the back riding herd on the kids. Mike bid on & won some very nice 2 3/4" unfinished oak flooring, enough to do the whole 1st & 2nd floors, and at a bargain price -- we paid less than half of what we would have paid at Home Depot. Such a deal.
The bidding was a little crazy, but we managed to come out of it OK. There were three pallets of the flooring, which were sold by the board foot, and Mike determined that we needed two of them; but he got into a bit of a bidding war with another guy & had to go up to 75¢ before his rival dropped out. (The previous three pallets, in a wider board, had been won at 55¢ by our electrical contractor, who is building a house down in Centerview.) Still a bargain, the stuff goes for at least $1.40 - $1.50 at the home warehouse stores. With multiple-unit auctions, when you've won, you tell the auctioneer how many units you want, and if there are any left they auction those separately. So Mike told him he wanted two pallets & they went on to auction the third. No one was all that interested in a single pallet; auctioneer père was pressing Mike pretty hard to bid it -- he dropped the bid increments to 2.5¢ to keep him interested -- and something was nudging me at that point, telling me we'd need it. So we got the third pallet for a paltry 42.5¢. Later, we checked our calculations & realized we had done the math wrong & would need nearly all of the square footage of three pallets. Score!