I try to remember that when at estate sales and flea markets because now, with eBay, I find comfort in the knowledge that I can always sell my "mistakes".
But I can't always gain what I never had.
When living in a really cool New Orleans apartment, the landlady let me borrow a large "farm" type table for a party buffet. It fit perfectly in my vintage yellow and black tiled kitchen after the party but the table was painted and chipped "Clinique" green. She wanted $35 for it and I passed because it was the wrong color and did not appreciate "shabby chic" in 1991. It would have looked great in the living room or even bedroom but I was only thinking kitchen at the time. Every single place I lived after that could've used that table and I have been kicking myself ever since.
When I was a newbie to the roadside grab or pseudo dumpster dive, I spied an antique metal sewing machine base on the side of the street.
"Stop, I want that!" I shouted to my boyfriend.
"What do you want with someone else's trash? No way."
I explained to him that those bases are highly collectible and a perfect table base. Convinced, he drove around the block and as we approached the same spot, a wizened old black guy had it on his shoulder, riding away on a bicycle. Those things are heavy! Boyfriend said, "Well, you know you live in a good neighborhood when folks pick up your trash before the dump trucks arrive." I stayed pissed for at least 10 years. Long after I kicked him to the curb.
For the last 7 years or so, I have been on the search for the iconic Emeco 1006 Navy chairs to replace my wiggly and rickety antique dining chairs.
I have 2 vintage models but need 10 more. eBay sometimes offers them but at astronomical prices. Brand new from Emeco: $412 each. They can be spied in every dang commercial and cop show you see on television! (For $1120, you can get the highly polished version.)
Can I even express my adoration when I gaze upon those shiny chairs? When I say I like shiny stuff, don't think cheap glitter or tawdry lame'. NO! Imagine aluminum, stainless steel, sterling silver, chrome, and mercury glass. I long for these chairs like some women long for children.
(Should I regret not purchasing the cheap Kmart knock-off when they were available?)
Good things come to those that wait
Several years ago, I spied a guy carrying a wood table with ecru chipping paint to the curb. Not at all embarrassed, I slammed on the brakes, ran around the truck to lower the tailgate. The guy turned around the look at me like I was crazy. "You are getting rid of this, right?" Yep. Mine now. Two neighbors approached me in the next 2 days when they spied it in my garage. "What are you going to do with that table?" Doggone buzzards, tryin' to get my pickins'! It almost fit in between my bathroom niche. Dad sawed an inch off each side of the top and it looks great. So many folks have asked where I found such a perfect table. One street over and it was free!
Last year, when I helped organize our local museum's "attic sale", I spied a really cool table base made from, you guessed it, an antique sewing machine pedestal. It was topped by a ginormous, heavy and super thick slab of glass. At the end of the day, the director said she would call an early shopper that offered to haul off the glass if no one bought it. What about the base? Did he want that? No. ((swoon)) That is the only thing I wanted. Take it, she said. WoooooHoooooo! Mine now. (It is not in my house yet but I have a home for it, as soon as I re-do my bedroom.)
So, several months ago my sis Rikki Tikki Tavi attended a mutual friend's party and reported that they have "my chairs". Huh? They have the very chairs you keep moaning about. Husband salvaged them from New Orleans office after hurricane Katrina, cleaned them up and brought them home. Wife hates them. Rikki Tikki, being a truly fabulous sister, told them that I would gladly take them off their hands. Wife says she would love to trade my antique wooden chairs for their cold and uncomfortable metal perches. Husband declined.
Still waiting on those or some other chairs to find me. I'm waiting!!
*(Still regret the $290 Donna Karan wrap around skirt that was slit up to there that I wore exactly once.)
What do you regret NOT buying?