Third time lucky

After failing in Sydney and Houston, last Friday I was in the right place (the San Francisco Swatch store) at the right time (an hour before opening on a stormy weekday).

I was #2 in line, and according to Mr #1, who is semi-professional speculator / dealer, I was pretty lucky to get in so far to the front. By the time the store opened there were about 10 in line.

When the doors opened, I was pretty excited. But sadly the staff killed that feeling quickly. I hoped for “Welcome to Swatch, we’re so glad to help you achieve your collection goals” or “Wow isn’t it cool that we get to share this pop culture moment together?” What I got was “One at a time!” and “Step back, DO NOT block the door” When I approached the island with the samples, the guy just stood there, waiting for me to name a planet. You don’t get to look at or touch or interact with the merchandise in any way. They don’t ask you if you’d also like to buy the special San Francisco souvenir watch.

My friend Paul had a specific set of choices, and luckily the limited stock on hand included a Mission to Mercury, one of his top picks. So yay! My mission accomplished. There were no Mars watches in stock, so I didn’t have to make a Sophie’s Choice between his pick and mine. Maybe I’ll get up early one day this week and try the shop on the Las Vegas strip…

No dog for you!

We finally made it to Costco this week. Overall, it was not quite as great as we had hoped. We spent over $400 anyway and got some nice stuff, but somehow the experience didn’t quite live up to the expectation. Also, our house just doesn’t have the storage we’ve enjoyed previously, so that giant package of _________ is pretty hard to accommodate.

Much of the tone of our visit was set right at the beginning… see that empty condiments station up there? No hot dogs! You gotta have a hot dog at Costco… you just gotta!

You say potato, I say couch

We bought this couch used about two months ago. The proximal reason for needing a new couch was that our landlord warned us that if Misty damaged his leather furniture we would be liable. Fair enough… our cats have ruined multiple sofas over the years.

Since there was an element of sacrificial lamb in play, and since being renters makes us wary of investing too much in house stuff, and since things are just insultingly expensive, the decision to buy a used one was easy enough. And anyway, we like the hunt. The one we found has good bones, but the upholstery was in bad shape, sun faded and starting to shred in a few places.

We were encouraged by YouTube to believe we could re-cover it. Lee has done quite a bit of sewing back in the day, and has time these days, so why not?

So, then, what fabric to use? We went to a bunch of stores, and looked at zillions of fabrics, but there were really only a few that we liked. The grey nubby fabric we picked got instant cat approval.

Of course, we also needed a sewing machine, but that’s the subject of another post…

Lee started with the cushions. She was able to re-use the zippers, and soon all six cushions were done.

For the main body of the couch we had to decide between a slip cover or a true reupholstery job. Slip cover won out. Easier, and due to the couch’s relatively square shape we felt it would look good without a lot of tucking and gathering.

It turned out great! We sat on it for a few weeks and then Lee made a few adjustments and put the bottom hem in place last week. If you look carefully of course you can tell it’s a slip cover, but basically it looks great. And it’s long enough to take naps on, something the old sofa lacked.

When we add up the cost of the couch, the delivery service, the cost of buying more upholstery fabric than was actually needed, and even the sewing machine, we’re still comfortably under the cost of a new sofa from the store ours came from. And so far, Misty hasn’t felt the need to abuse it (much), so we should get to enjoy Lee’s handiwork for a long time.

Chairy Red

We found this great old chair at a garage sale last weekend and brought it home for $20. Sadly, however, it turned to be the dachshund of armchairs…

Not sure why we didn’t realize that before buying…

But just a few days later Isabella came over and loved. She’s got this little landing at the top of her stairs and it will be perfect there. Happy ending!

Marble Mountain

Halfway between Da Nang and Hoi An you pass through a stretch of road lined with shops selling carved marble stuff from little trinkets like we bought to giant Buddhas suitable for a town square.

Turns out there’s a quarry nearby. And you can tour it.

After riding up in the fun external elevator, you wander around a bunch twisty little (trails and) passageways, all alike. There are pagodas and carvings and views…

The view from Seawatch Point is a-changing.

Some of the carvings depict important cultural icons. Can you make out the symbology of this bench?

The boys climbed up into a cave and couldn’t find the girls on the other side, so the visit got truncated a bit. But we still had time to exit through the gift shop.

Hoi An market shots

Hoi An streets are lined with vendors. Most obvious are the hundreds of souvenir shops where scary ladies cackle You Buy! Cheap Price!

But there’s also everything you need to eat, set up house, cure what ails you, and probably get a new identity if you know where to look.

Here’s a whole liquor store in a little cart.

This is to suggest that the handicrafts are actually made here, but I don’t think that’s actually true. Prov is our best market shopper. He’s not afraid of the scary ladies like I am.

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