Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Today was an adventure. Actually, every day is some sort of adventure, but today involved a tiny road trip and driving is not one of my favorite things to do, so the element of adventure was ripe from the start. The element of danger was introduced when I got sidetracked in the morning (on the computer, of course) and consumed a mere one-third of my usual coffee intake and no breakfast. Oops.

The key components to the day were my favorite thrift store in Cambridge, Massachusetts (where you can buy stuff by the pound), my friend Nancy (who is in town for the week), and Rte 2. If you are familiar with central Massachusetts, you may recognize Rte 2 as the pathetic excuse for a primary road running east/west from western Massachusetts to Boston, and which still boasts some of the original curves, ruts, and potholes from the Colonial days.

I tend to swear a lot on this road. At least today's company was an adult who served in the military and probably has heard worse than what may come out of my own mouth. When I am with my young nieces it is a challenge of monumental proportion minding my language.

The drive into Cambridge wasn't too bad. There was construction, but it was outside rush hour, so the traffic volume wasn't too horrible. The Garmin navigator was programmed, and we made good time arriving at a spot that seemed close to our destination flag on the tiny map, so we parked in the first  spot we saw, loaded the meter for the maximum one hour capacity and began to walk to the store. It was a lovely day for a walk -- not too cold, not too humid. We were excited about the possibility we might be the first people in the door when they opened for business.

That's when things went a bit wonky.

We walked on what we thought was Broadway, and when we determined it wasn't, consulted my cell phone mapping, and took a side street. At an intersection, we saw a Korean restaurant, which we thought would be a great spot for lunch. Once on the correct street, we walked in the direction of the store.

Cambridge does not seem to be very concerned with visible numbers on buildings for emergency services purposes, and it took a while to see any street numbers displayed. When we finally found building numbers to check, we were in the low 300s. Our destination was number 200.

After 15 minutes of walking since leaving the car, we were still not at the building we needed, or even on the correct block, and concern over the time on the parking meter set in. Calculating that we'd have roughly thirty seconds to shop before we had to return to the car to feed the meter more quarters, we headed back to the car to drive to the shop. We congratulated ourselves on our bonus fitness activity. There are bright sides to nearly everything.

We drove to the shop which turned out to be about a mile from where we had first parked. Luckily, there was a parking spot across the street from the store with a two hour meter. We had enough quarters left for 1.5 hours. And we headed in.

The "By the Pound" room was heaped knee high with clothes, with a small footpath around the perimeter. It reminded me of the fitting rooms at work, but better, because here I don't have to rehang any of it. 

 A sliver of the treasure pile.
A woman sat in a corner of the clothing sorting through items, and her friend sat at the opposite side of the room, doing the same. We weren't the first ones there, but we had still beat whatever crowd might arrive on a Tuesday morning. And we started picking through the stuff.

Jeans. Sweaters. Coats. Weird bits of fabric. Shirts. The odd sock. Sheets and comforters with way too many shadowy stains of questionable nature. Name brands (7 for All Mankind, Ann Taylor, H&M) and no-name stuff. Sizes from toddlers to plus-sized adult. All in one heap. It's a treasure hunt and a test of patience and endurance. I wished I'd had breakfast and my usual caffeine dosage.

I was hoping for something like the beautiful white Irish knit sweater some girl snatched from my sight the last time I was there, but no luck. I scored a vintage navy blue long coat, a long gray skirt, and a summer floral wrap beach skirt, weighing in at 4 pounds for a total of $6. Nancy got more pieces than I did -- shirts and jeans -- weighing 3.2 pounds. She was the winner of the "more for less" portion of the shopping. But really, we both won.

Our next quest was the Korean restaurant we had seen earlier. It seemed pretty straightforward, a couple turns, and boom, there it was. The tricky part was a total absence of parking. None. No parking allowed on the street, no parking lot. We did three loops looking for parking on nearby side streets, and gave up. We decided to eat at a Chinese and sushi place back in Leominster. And it was good.

It was a fun day. We got cool new old stuff we like. We ate. Win-win-win. Time to start some laundry and freshen up the duds.

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