We had finally bought our dream house in Vieques. Now we needed to furnish it.
Having just dropped a few hundred grand on the house itself we weren’t exactly panting to rush out and spend more money, but we realized we had to make every minute count while we were in Puerto Rico.
So we took a deep collective breath and headed for San Juan’s Plaza Las Americas, a huge, hyper air-conditioned mall so generic it would have felt completely at home in Omaha or Atlanta.
What a way to spend a winter afternoon in the tropics.
We made a beeline for Sears, a store we wouldn’t normally associate with home furnishings but which, in Puerto Rico at least, held several irresistible attractions:
(1) it offered one-price shipping on any order of furniture and appliances regardless of volume;
(2) there was a Pier 1 franchise within the Sears store that participated in the shipping deal described above; and
(3) it was fun imagining Daniel and Rod trying to cope—emotionally and otherwise—with the humiliation of signing for a truckload of boxes from Sears.
So let me set the scene.
Michael and I have drastically different shopping styles.
His might best be described as Slash and Burn, all fire and action, while mine would be characterized (charitably) as Slow and Dithery.
But I stepped up. Time was against us and I knew it.
We started with sofas. I was drawn to an off-white canvas classic, but Michael wasted no time in pointing out that a white sofa in a rental property was an invitation to disaster.
After a brief flirtation with a red contemporary, we finally concluded that a neutral-colored three-seater was our best choice.
Moving over to mattresses and springs, we chose a middle-range queen size set in five minutes and were done.
Next we literally sprinted into Pier 1 and, trailed by a bewildered adolescent clerk with acne and a clipboard, picked out a dining table and chairs, a bedroom suite, several side tables and a bookcase.
With ninety minutes left on the clock we headed for appliances. At lightning speed we selected a 32-inch TV (bigger and nicer than anything either of us had in D.C.), a refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, washer and dryer.
Then we jumped in the car and headed for the airport.
The whole thing was exhausting.
Frankly I couldn’t wait to get back to Washington and have a nice rest at work.