Yes, the downstairs level of the house was taking shape, but it was becoming painfully obvious that we needed more furniture.
And although we could barely stand the thought of launching another assault on the San Juan shopping mall, we had no choice.
So we duly boarded an early flight the next morning, buckled our aching bodies into a rental car, and set out, with a sigh, for a second round of marathon shopping at Plaza Las Americas, the vast, sprawling mall on the outskirts of San Juan.
Our list was long.
In the furniture category, we needed a sofa, two comfortable chairs, a coffee table, and a bookcase for the downstairs living area, side chairs for both bedrooms, and (since we’d moved the rattan dining set we’d originally bought for the upper floor to the downstairs space)…
…a new dining table and chairs for upstairs. The new table, we decided, would need to seat six to accommodate the occupants of our about-to-be-launched three bedroom rental.
Our list of miscellaneous items was even longer:
A second television; a dorm-size fridge and microwave for the kitchen; bedspreads, mattress pads and sheets for all the downstairs beds; a rug for the bathroom; and all the other things you take for granted unless you happen to be setting up housekeeping for the first time.
Our first stop again was Sears, which, though hardly our furniture emporium of choice back in the real world, had yielded a bumper crop of good deals for the Vieques house the last time around. Also, this particular Sears included a mini-Pier 1 tucked conveniently within its walls (alas, now closed) and it shipped to Vieques at a very cheap rate. What wasn’t to love?
But luck wasn’t on our side this time. The sofas in Sears were too big and those in Pier 1 too small. The dining tables were pseudo-Mediterranean monstrosities almost as big as our house, the chairs mini-thrones more suited to a mock medieval banquet than a vacation home.
After a couple of hours of retail sturm und drang, we finally managed to buy the bedding we needed in Sears and two rattan armchairs and a bookcase in Pier 1.
That done, we dashed over to the electronics section where we found the TV we wanted, along with a small refrigerator and an inexpensive microwave. For shipping purchases, all of our selections were painstakingly assigned a single order number, a process that involved several long and spirited discussions among the sales associates and a number of phone calls back and forth between various departments.
Once this exhausting transaction was completed, we dashed up, famished, to the food court on the top floor…
…and wolfed down plates of tacos and rice in the midst of rowdy teenagers who never seemed to be in school.
Four hours till our flight back to Vieques and tons more to buy.