The Duncans responded very graciously when we confessed that we had kinda-sorta-actually-and-we’re-so-sorry-please-forgive-us-it-was-totally-an-accident-but-you-have-one-less-fan-now-and-it’s-all-our-fault. Jared came in to inspect the damages. He thought that he might be able to find a replacement blade, but we insisted that he take enough money to buy an entire fan, just in case. With that settled, we turned our attention to our usual breakfast of cereal.
This day’s schedule included an early visit to a local craft store. Celia was planning a birthday party for Harmony in the following week and wanted to buy supplies for making decorations. Banish your mental picture of Jo-Ann or Hobby Lobby: we pushed open the glass door of a little shop and stepped into what could have been the lair of an indiscriminate hoarder with a penchant for paper products.
On one side, a fascinating jumble of miscellany filled the glass cases that stood shoulder to shoulder to form the counter. At the very end of the row, a large shelving unit failed in its attempt to impersonate a glass case, but it did provide double or triple the display area for all manner of paper, binders, folders, etc. Close behind the counter, wall-to-wall shelves overflowed with school supplies, books, and other things. On the other side, in a similar arrangement, cases and shelves held items ranging from ribbon, beads, and cloth to stickers, calendars, and more books. Framed pictures and other decor for sale filled in most of the remaining wall space.
While Celia busily rummaged for bits of this and sheets of that, I found myself drawn to a piece of wall art consisting of three painted vases of varying size. While I generally try to avoid buying dust magnets, the vivid blue roses on an olive green background tempted me sorely; I knew what room of our house they belonged in already. Examining them closer, I found the price tag and mentally converted from Dominican Republic pesos to United States dollars. My calculations did nothing but further weaken my determination to return home without useless knickknacks.
I backed away and leaned against a counter, staring at the set as pros and cons and ins and outs and ups and downs chased each other around inside my head. I thought of the boxes of decorative items already packed away and taking up space in our garage. I thought of the last debate like this I had been in with myself and the number of times in the following 20 years I had regretted walking away. I teetered precariously on the brink of purchasing, yet clung tenaciously to my former resolve.
When Celia zipped by me again, I snagged her. “I’m going crazy here; help me make a decision!” came out as the lame confession, “I keep looking at that set of wall vases…” She talked to me; she talked to the clerk; she beamed as I handed over one of my bills and received a tightly wrapped package in return.
“Keep them wrapped tight;” she translated for the clerk, “they’re very fragile.” I nodded in acknowledgement and followed her and Jessica back outside, still somewhat dazed. Jared met us with the car and we returned to the Duncan’s house, where I showed Ben my first souvenir. He seemed to like them. Celia told me that not only were such sets made there in the D.R. and very popular in the homes, but that this particular set was one of the prettiest she had ever seen. All the better. At the very least, I assured myself, I can’t regret not buying them now!
A lady from the neighborhood came and made our lunch: beans and rice, chicken, tayota, hard-boiled eggs, carrots, and leftover brownies. Afterwards, Celia and I enjoyed making songbird-themed party decorations together, despite the fact that the power went out for several hours. We also stayed behind again when Jared, Ben, and Jessica went to Boruco for the second evening of Bible study.
While they were gone, some visitors included two girls that came inside to play with Arianna and Harmony. I listened as they talked, trying to follow the conversation. During a lull, I asked if they were sisters, and they informed me that they were cousins.
Later, Celia discovered and treated a pair of bites that seemed to be bothering Harmony. Located on one of her lower legs, they appeared to be about as far apart as the pair of bumps that had so badly stung my palm earlier in the week. How very strange!
I only helped a little to make the burritos tonight. Celia shared cookies and chocolate candy for dessert. Everybody got back late, we ate late, and we went to bed – blissfully unaware of the further adventures that awaited us…