Having lived in an apartment in D.C. for many years, we’d gotten used to lots of furniture in a small space.
Sometimes a tad too much.
But in Vieques we felt like we had the opposite problem—the house didn’t seem quite furnished enough.
Despite our best efforts to wrangle sofas, chairs and dressers out of the hands of unwilling Fate and into the cavernous, high-ceilinged rooms of our vacation retreat, the place still seemed rather sparsely decorated.
At least to me.
So when I read online that Martineau Bay…
…the island’s boom-or-bust resort that had changed hands three times in the past four years, was liquidating its furnishings to make way for its next incarnation (a W Hotel), I felt more than a tremor of excitement.
But when was the sale to begin? No one seemed able to tell me, not even Jane.
I called the hotel’s main number. Although the man who answered the phone didn’t speak English, I eventually got my point across through a combination of persistence on my part and patience on his.
However, the information I extracted was on the meager side:
Was there going to be a sale?
How long would it last?
Until everything’s gone.
For one brief, crazy moment I thought about calling Daniel—he was sure to know all about the sale—but almost immediately nixed the idea.
So I called the police.
This was a trick I had learned growing up in a small town. My friends and I thought nothing of calling the police station to ask what was showing at the movie theater, what time the bowling alley closed, the name of the fire chief’s dog.
Our theory was that if the police were doing their jobs even reasonably well, they should know just about everything that was going on.
And as odd as it seems nowadays, they never let us down.
So I called the Vieques police. The chief wasn’t available but his perfectly pleasant bilingual deputy was.
He knew all about the sale. It had begun the weekend before and was likely to go on for months. There were hundreds of pieces of furniture. He was certain I’d enjoy good shopping when I came to the island in three weeks. He even gave me directions to the warehouse where the sale was being held.
I couldn’t wait.
Twenty-two days later—the morning of our first full day back on the island—Michael and I were standing in the middle of a huge warehouse crammed full of hotel furnishings. There were hundreds of everything—pictures (the same print of a seashell over and over again, ad infinitum)…
…upholstered benches, lamps, candlesticks and (occupying most of the space) row after row of very large armoires in two distinct styles.
Although Michael seemed notably underwhelmed by the selection, I positively drooled. Getting even remotely decent furniture to the island had been a herculean task and here was an Aladdin’s cave full of furnishings less than a mile from our house.
I wanted one (if not two or three) of everything. And yet I knew I’d have a hard time convincing Michael.
For one thing, he was sure to balk at any large expenditures after our slow rental season.
Second, he’d undoubtedly make the boring argument that we didn’t actually need anything.
And finally, as I knew from previous experience, he would be standing at the door within ten minutes anyway, panting to leave.
I comforted myself with the thought that the armoires would be too expensive for our limited means.
But maddeningly enough, they weren’t. In fact, they were shockingly affordable.
Heart racing, I moved up and down the aisles, making a mental list of everything I’d like to buy, totting up the bottom line.
It didn’t come to much.
But out of the corner of my eye I could see Michael standing near the open door of the warehouse, already giving me the evil eye.
Time to strategize.