So I'm sitting in my office minding my own business and Nikola, a woman I barely know, walks in and says "so I hear you're really into pinball."
"I'll take it" I said.
"You gonna make me spell it out?"
"Try me" she says.
"OK, let me guess. You were in high school, and your Dad thought that a pinball machine would mean that you and your sisters and brothers would hang out at the house, and he'd be able to keep a better eye on you. But now you're all out of college, and the thing doesn't work any more, and none of the kids want it. So what machine is it?"
"Umm, wow. It's a Bally Future Spa."
"A fine machine. What's Dad want for it?"
"Nahh, he's gonna get mad when you tell him I got it running again. Is he a wine drinker?" (My wife is in the wine business.)
So I borrowed a couple of strong teenagers and a van, and off we went with a decent case of wine. The machine looks good, and it's all there. It's my first solid state machine, but how hard can it be? So I asked her Dad "what do you do for a living?"
"I'm an electrical engineer."
Umm, well, now I get why his daugher is named Nikola. As in Tesla. And he gave up on this machine. What am I getting into?
But a fair amount of googling later, and a small box of connectors from Digikey and cutting off all the brown melty parts, and learning how to crimp new ones on, and we're in business.
And it really is a fine machine, with some of the weirdest cabinet art in pinball. It remains a favorite, and will never leave the collection.