Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Shopping - an endurance sport?

Arriving in Boston from Dublin means you are seriously jet lagged for a few days.  Naturally we were all tired the night we arrived but I hoped - after all the excitement of such a big house move, that everybody would sleep in until a civilised hour on the first morning.  We managed to stay in bed until four am L (that’s nine o clock back in Dublin so it wasn’t as bad as it sounds.) Because we were all on camping beds with sleeping bags, my husband had the rather lovely notion that we should all sleep in the same room.  It was a nice idea but it did mean one up = all up the next morning and so everybody was showered and dressed by five am on our first day in our new home.
I know usually the early bird catches the worm but there were no worms in our house, no bread, no milk, and no cereal and even if there was we had no plates, glasses or cutlery to eat with.  Clearly we had a lot of shopping to do and so we headed into town to see if we could get something to eat.  Gladly Wellesley, like everywhere else in New England opens early, real early.  We were able to get the kids fed and watered before six am.
The rest of the day was a shopping extravaganza.  Now, I know we women are famed for loving to shop but this wasn’t like that.  We headed first to the appliance store and bought an enormous washing machine and a separate dryer.  Funny I never used one in Ireland.  From a young age I had the notion that dryers eat electricity and ruin clothes – both good reasons for not wanting to use one but here I knew it would be essential.  With four months of snow outside, drying the old-fashioned way simply isn’t an option.   One thing that I did find remarkable is the size of the machines.  They are simply huge.  I knew that everybody says everything in America is bigger but this dryer could carry one of my older kids and the washer could double up as a kennel for Hogan our (big) golden Retriever.  So both machines were purchased and due to be delivered within a day or two.

Then we headed to the furniture shop.  The beds, I had bought on line and were to arrive later in the afternoon but that still left the necessity for four sofas, five arm chairs, a kitchen table, dining room table and eight seats for each, four study/writing desks, five chairs to go with them.  We needed eight occasional tables, 12 bedside/reading lamps, three free standing ones,  a complete suite for the basement/den, two large flat screen TVs and suitable stands for them, eight chests of drawers, seven bedside lockers and some other small bits and pieces.  Here’s were I remind you of the power of local knowledge.  My cousin’s wife told me about Bob’s discount Store.  I don’t even know if it’s just local to Massachusetts or it’s all over the States but I kid you not, we furnished a large family home almost completely for less than fifteen thousand dollars.  To move all our gear from Ireland would have cost more than buying everything new here.  We had been dreading the day in the store but the first nice surprise is the sales assistants are openly begging to do business with you.  They are clearly on massive commission and so they will do anything, literally anything to help you get what you want.  The real icing on the cake though, was that a quarter of the store is given over to a FREE candy store with a large flat screen showing kids’ movies.  Customers are encouraged to let their children watch a limitless amount of movies and eat as much candy as they want while the parents browse.  It works a treat.  On the few occasions I’ve had to go back to Bob’s over the last year, the kids are always very happy to oblige.  There’s limitless coffee and cookies for the adults too.  I think that’s where the kids had lunch on our first day; living in America – at an all you can eat sweet shop!

By mid afternoon we had the house furniture and white goods done and then we decided it was time to do a quick food shop before calling it a day.  The supermarkets definitely deserve a separate story but for now I’ll just tell you that we went to our local medium sized store.  While the kids threw anything that looked familiar into the shopping cart, I went off in search of customer information.  There was a lovely middle aged woman with a broad smile waiting for my enquiry.
“Hi, I’m just wondering where your wine department is,” I smiled politely, acutely aware of how strong my Irish accent is.
“I’m sorry, what did you say?” Suspicion as opposed to misunderstanding shadowed her face.
“Your wine department, you know to get a bottle of wine,” I tried again.
She looked visibly affronted.  “We don’t sell wine or any alcohol in these premises.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I stuttered, not quite sure what I was apologising for.  “Can you tell me where the nearest place that I can purchase alcohol is?”
She shook her head.  “Wellesley is a dry town.  You can’t buy alcohol here or anywhere near here.”
I didn’t even know what that meant.  I remembered studying the American prohibition in a very boring history class but that went out with the dinosaur, surely.  What did a dry town even mean?  I knew that I had drunk wine when I was in holidays in Florida, New York and Colorado so what kind of town was this I wondered as a mild sense of panic began to settle in the pit of my stomach.

No comments:

Post a Comment