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Mary Rea | Bargain hunting week is here

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I don’t know if anybody told you, but Monday is the start of National Bargain Hunting Week.

My husband and I have certainly done our share of bargain hunting ... especially when we were building our house. It was a do-it-yourself project we’re still trying to complete 35 years later. Coming up next is putting down a matching floor throughout the house. Right now we have five different types of flooring, ranging from painted particle board in the bedrooms to the kind of parquet in the kitchen that was popular back in the ’80s.

The living room floor is car decking we bought from a friend back in 1978, after it sat out in the sun for five years. The funny part is that people constantly tell us how much they love our weathered living room floor and ask where we got it.

The floor in the office area is bargain pine we bought on sale. We put it down ourselves. After the boards dried out there were semi-large cracks, which my husband filled with what he had on hand (another bargain) that didn’t match the boards or the finish.

We originally put a cement tile roof on the house, believing a salesman over in Sun Valley who guaranteed it would work great in sub-zero temperatures. After replacing hundreds of broken tiles each spring for three or four years, we finally sold the roof to some fellows from the Colville Reservation. They had some other use for the tiles and agreed to remove them at no charge.

As a mother of two boys and a husband who doesn’t always pay attention, I was the one who encouraged the purchase of a bargain urinal. It never got hooked up. My plan is to sell it at a friend’s yard sale as a planter.

Then there was the time I went to an estate auction and bought a thousand jars for a dollar. Once I sorted out the canning jars, I was left with 918 mayo and pickle jars I didn’t know what to do with. Another case of bargain hunting gone bad.

Keep in mind all this happened when we were young and stupid. Except for that pillow my husband saw on an infomercials a few years ago for $9.99. It ended up costing $49.99 by the time he paid shipping and handling. Or the time I purchased the garage sale crock pot with bad wiring that nearly set the kitchen on fire.

Like I say, there’s nothing like a bargain.

Mary Rea of Mazama is the author of the novel “Ladies Night Out.” Her blog is at She can be reached at