Sunday, August 2, 2009

Let's Dish

S.O.S. -- that's my motto: Stay Outta Stores.

If you don't go in stores, you don't buy stuff. That said, like my friend Philip, I do occasionally allow myself to be lured into late-night, on-line shopping. The other night, I was just ready to hit "Buy" on a crazy purchase -- a $69.95 vegetable bowl -- when I realized that this bowl was not the solution.

The solution was shopping, going into real stores.

The problem (doesn't every solution have to have a problem?) was this:
In preparation for moving, I meander around the house asking myself what I treasure. That, apparently, is how you figure out what to take and what to leave behind when you head out to a new life.

Now, I like my dark green Bennington Pottery dishes, but I treasure my whale-and-dolphin pattern Mikasa dishes because they were a gift some years ago from my Five Favorite Female Friends. So no contest. The ocean-theme dishes will accompany me to San Francisco, where, by glorious coincidence, there is an ocean.

I have enough Bennington Pottery dishes to feed 10. I have enough Mikasa dishes to feed four. I am selling the dining room furniture, as I anticipate renting a small place. Fine, I thought. I'll feed no more than four people at any one time. But I sure could use a serving bowl. I found a vegetable bowl that matched my dishes at With tax and shipping, the price was over $70.

The time was 1:23 a.m. Just before I clicked on "Buy," the voice of reason intoned: "STOP! You can buy plain white serving dishes, probably several of them, for this much money. Just go to a store."

I scored big time at my first stop: white Dansk serving dishes (big bowl, platter, sugar bowl, cream pitcher), originally $84, marked down to $14.95. Perfect. Done. Outta there. Mission accomplished.

No -- wait. Maybe, I thought, I needed to buy another set of dishes that complements the whale dishes, in case I need to feed five or six people at once. It could happen. And from what I understand, paper plates are frowned upon in California.

In 24 hours, I visited Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohls, Crate and Daryl (er...Barrel,) Pier 1, Target, Tuesday Morning, Marshall's and TJ Maxx. I strolled up and down the Housewares aisles, clutching one of my salad plates so I could try to match the blue on the sea creatures. I bought some pretty blue Melamine/Bamboo dishes with white bowls. Thank goodness that's over, I thought.

My waking thought the next morning was this: I hate plastic dishes. Furthermore, I don't want blue dishes. I took everything back and started over. Hmmm -- the whale dinnerware has a smidgen of pale yellow in the pattern, on the nautical rope. That's it! Yellow dishes! Perfect!

I raced off to Kohls. They had yellow Fiestaware. Too bright. They had a mellow yellow stoneware. Humming along with the old Donovan tune, I held up my whale salad plate. A match! It looked really nice, and the dishes were on sale. Loading the yellow dishes into one of those horrid canvas carts, I noticed that the Food Network dinnerware also was marked 30 percent off.

White dishes? Really? Stark white?

I held up my little plate. The background, of course, is white. The whales and dolphins are a soft, muted blue, and there is that bit of yellow I mentioned earlier. The round white dishes looked great next to my ocean-theme plate. The square white dishes looked even better! And next to the plates was a set of three Food Network serving bowls -- oval white bowls, in graduated sizes. On sale.

The Food Network dinnerware is mine now. Did this 24-hour bout of compulsive shopping get me closer to a moving date? No. But somehow it feels like progress.

"I bought new dishes," I said to a friend this afternoon.

He replied, "Oh, did you need new dishes?"

What a silly question...

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