Friday, August 26, 2005

My "Toy" Estate, NRFP

Weekend Assignment #74: Forget about the things you need -- Tell us about something you want. Preferably something useless and/or expensive. In other words: Toys! Something fun and/or sparkly and/or indulgent that you don't already have but wouldn't mind getting, if someone were offering.

Extra Credit: Do you
really think getting that toy would make you happier?

One of the homes I found driving around on Saturday. Toys, huh?  I don't suppose a million-dollar midcentury modern home in the foothills qualifies, does it?  'Cause that's what I want.  It would be the work of a known architect (it doesn't have to be Frank Lloyd Wright), at least 5,000 square feet, in perfect condition and unadulterated in design, on an undivided five acre parcel.  The landscaping would be an intriguing combination of modernist design, desert wilderness and English garden.  Tuffy would have a one-acre estate of her own.  Dozens of birds would nest on our property, especially near the small stream coming down from the mountains.  Coyotes, javalina and tortoises would stop by on a daily basis, and mountain lions, bobcats and coatimundi would put in an occasional appearance.  It would also have a bathhouse and an amazing lagoon-style swimming pool, a stable for the retired thoroughbred race horse the previous owner threw in for free, a 1,000 square foot built-in library, a four-car garage, a private gym, and best of all, room to have every single thing we own instantly accessible, and all the pretty stuff on display.  Every piece of furniture we own would be replaced or reupholstered or refinished as needed, supplemented by large purchases from Herman Miller and IKEA.  My office would have room for all my files, both computers, and lots of workspace for paper printouts and digital media.  John would have the perfect workspace for downloading or reading or writing.  And every room of the house would be energy-efficient and perfectly climate controlled.

(Neither of the houses shownhere is quite good enough, but they're the best I found on Saturday.)

Hmm.  Better make it a two-million dollar home.

That's what I want.  Really.  I want it badly.

Instead I've got this:

Please don't let there bemold!!!  Please!!!

Please don't let there be mold!!!

The mold tester came to the house today.  Donna from Snoops Inc. was friendly and knowledgeable, and the testing was high-tech and thorough.  But I'm $524 poorer, John is seriously bummed out, and I'm now seriously aware of water stains and such that were little more than background noise to me before.  (I should add that this is NOT representative of the house as a whole.) We'll have the mold test results around Monday.  The roofer doesn't even come by to do the estimate until a week from now.  And I hope to talk the appraiser into coming onto the roof about the furnace thing.

Okay, I'll confess that a something-million-dollar house probably isn't a toy.  It sure would solve a lot of our problems, though.

My second choice would be a new, top-of-the-line Honda Elite scooter, to replace my 20-year-old one with all the broken parts.  I have no pictures on that, though.  Not tonight, anyway.

All right, you want me to covet a toy?  Something a little less ambitious than a "major purchase" house or vehicle?  Then let's go back to the subject of Barbie dolls.

Three repro Barbies: Commuter Set, 25th Anniversary, and Solo in the Spotlight.
Commuter Set Barbie, 35th Anniversary Barbie (reproduction of the 1959 doll), and Solo in the Spotlight Barbie.  NRFP.

Poor imperfect Bubble Cut!  Green ear and all!
Iwant every vintage repro Barbie on this page, and several more besides.  Heck, I want the original dolls, in mint condition, of course.

I'm actually doing better on the Barbie front than on the gracious living at home front.  I have 3 of the 24 dolls on that page, and a number of other reissue dolls not shown there.

My collection of vintage Barbies isn't quite as impressive as some of you seem to think it is, but it's pretty satisfactory.  I have all of the fashion dolls I had as a child except one unknown brand "Peggy" doll (no great loss), plus several types once owned by Cindy or Lori or neither.  Condition is an issue with some of them, because after all, I don't have a thousand dollars or more to throw at this collection.  I'd be happy to just get a few more complete vintage outfits for each of them, in very good condition, instead of bedraggled bits and pieces with torn seams and broken snaps.

Silken Flame Barbie and vintage counterpart.

Silken Flame Barbie and the real thing - except that one shoe is missing, the other broken, the dress won't hold its shape, the purse won't stay closed, I don't have the gloves, and I'm not quite sure where the hat and belt are right now. (Update: I found the shoe.)

But failing that, I'd like to have the rest of the repros.  They display better than the less-than-pristine older Barbies, and aren't as vulnerable to green ear and such, largely because they no longer ship with the metal accessories that used to cause such problems. On the other hand, the repro dolls have issues of their own:

1.  Some of the repros are expensive even when first issued, and appreciate in value.  That means that I can't just buy these things as they come out - I couldn't afford it! And the fact that they appreciate is nice, but it means I have to be more careful with the doll.  That 1999 Commuter Set Barbie I displayed next to my vintage bubble cut on Monday is now going for $150 on one website, half again as much as the most optimistic value for my 1964 doll.  (I did see the Commuter Set available for $75 on another website.) With a price like that, I don't dare do anything but leave it in the box.  I've never even opened the booklet that came with it. I've had the doll on display in its open box for years, and its hat and clothes are all dusty now.  Uh-oh!

2. NRFP.  To a hardcore collector of dolls, Star Wars figures, Hot Wheels or whatever, NRFP means "never removed from package."  "NRFB" means "never removed from box." The moment you open a sealed package, as I did, very carefully, with my Silken Flame repro, you lessen the value of the thing.  35th Anniversary Midge, 30th Anniversary Francie. So how are you supposed to play with the dolls, or even look  at them close up?  All you can do is display them in the unopened packages, which are bulky and fragile. They don't photograph well, either.  Eventually they go in a storage box, because what else can you do with the darn things? Tonight I discovered that I had some of my photo albums and photo boxes sitting on top of an open box containing my repro Midge and Francie and Silken Flame Barbie.  All three packages were slightly crushed.  Drat!  The Francie was crushed when I got it, but the Midge used to be mint.

35th Anniversary Midge, 30th Anniversary Francie.  NRFP, but I prefer my less-than-mint, vintage Midge and Malibu Francie.

Well, maybe you can get around the NRFP problem by buying two of everything.  Open one for display and close examination, and put the other away in a closed storage box.  That way, one doll appreciates, and the other one can be enjoyed directly.  But when these things are $50, $60 or $75 new, that doesn't seem like an acceptable option.

So how do I answer Scalzi this week?  What one frivolous and expensive toy do I want?  Assuming that I can't have a genuine, MIB (mint in box) #1 or #2 Barbie from 1959, I guess I'll take an out-of-production, hard to find Suburban Shopper™ Barbie® from 2001. I've always liked the summery and casual bluestriped dress ensemble from 1959 that's reproduced here.

Delivery instructions are available on request.


P.S. Extra Credit:  Happier?

The house - definitely

The scooter - probably

The dolls - maybe.  For a while, anyway.


debbted said...

Karen~Fantastic entry; I enjoyed the fantasy house so much, chuckled at the reality and perused the Barbie collection. Today you get Sassy's entry award for "most thorough & well phtographed without being boring one bit" Smiles, Deb
Read my camera wants and sales adventure story here :-)

ryanagi said...

You need to add a 3 bedroom guest house for ME! LOL

jevanslink said...

OMG -- I am falling on the ground!!! Javelina and coatimundi would stop by?  A dream house OR a scooter?  OR a Barbie?  My sides ache.  Mrs. L

gaboatman said...

The house sounds nice, but you will probably have to up the price tag by at least another million and a half, LOL!  I hope you become a fabulously sucessful author and this dream is a reality for you one day.  Oh, the scooter and the dolls were nice, but I'll take the house any day!

fisherkristina said...

Oh, wow, you are a big dreamer!  The house, the pool, the gym, the library, the office, and everything else!  Wow!  Oh, can't forget the stable for horsey!