My husband hates for me to involve him in my thrift store purchases, meaning he doesn’t want to repair, paint, inflate or otherwise have anything to do with the things I buy that “need a little work.”
“Quit buying that thrift store junk,” he’s said than once. He harbors a special dislike for anything inflatable.
The first thrift store inflatable I bought was something called a ball pit. The kids could climb into a balloon-like pit and toss plastic balls down a chute, or, as in the case of our kids, lob balls from the pit across the room at anyone hapless enough to be passing through. It took one hour for my husband to inflate the ball pit and the kids enjoyed it for 14 minutes before one of them punctured it with a metal nail file.
The next inflatable was a gigantic red rolling ball with a transparent exterior. The picture on the box showed several laughing children tumbling down a grassy hill inside the wonderful rolling ball.
I brought it home and said to my husband, “Isn’t this great? Can we blow it up before the kids get home from school.”
He was relieved to see that the ball came with its own air pump, then dismayed to discover the pump didn’t work. Thus began the hard and grueling task of blowing up a ball that could easily contain a mid-sized pony. This took some doing, and by the time it was only one quarter inflated, my husband’s face had turned an alarming mauve. But he got it done, and by the time the kids got home the ball stood ready to launch!
We rolled it to the top of the hill and the kids climbed inside. With a mighty heave, we shoved the ball down our grassy front yard. At the bottom, our laughing children tumbled out. “That was fun!” They shouted. Then they headed inside.
“Where are you going? Don’t you want another turn?” We called. But they never played with the giant rolling ball again.
I promised my husband no more inflatables, but one month before Christmas I couldn’t resist an inflatable outdoor snow globe. I tested it at the thrift store and the pump worked fine. The giant snow globe housed a rotating Santa, elf and reindeer surrounded by swirling snowflakes. Even my husband was happy when he discovered the pump worked.
The globe inflated in no time and we secured it with stakes driven into the hard winter ground. As we headed off to a Christmas party, I anticipated returning home at night to see the glowing Santa and his entourage rotating in the globe’s spotlight.
But a fierce wind kicked up sometime during the party. The temperature plummeted, snowflakes lashed sideways and we fought wind gusts as we struggled to our car. I worried about the globe. Would the stakes hold?
We rounded the bend, turned into our driveway, and where the globe should have been, there was…nothing!
I cast desperately around the yard for signs of the rotating Santa. Finally, several hundred feet from where we had staked it down, I spotted the snow globe. Or rather, what was left of it. The entire thing lay flattened as a collapsed circus tent.
“I’m done blowing up thrift store stuff,” my husband said.
“Me too. No more crap,” I agreed. But that was before I spotted the inflatable monopoly game. It actually blows up into both a game and a game table, so that you can set it up anywhere and play monopoly.
We haven’t blown it up yet.