Building a four-bedroom house in the tropics took a long time. Furnishing it and finding art and decór will take a long time, too. Maybe longer.
We jump-started the process by buying our former tenants’ furniture, and thankfully for us they have great taste and an eye for quality. (Shoutout to the former tenants, yo!) We came up empty scouring the furniture stores for a sofa, so our designer found one, and she designed a master bedroom bed for us as well.
This trip, we’re again sans wheels, and our first priority was stocking up the kitchen with cookery, and things to cook. And trips to the market take an hour or two, tops. Furniture shopping is a time suck, especially around here when most sofas and tables seem a little overworked designwise.
When it came time to get a dining room table for our terrace, we were in the mood for a good discount. We went to the Altabrisa Sears hoping for sales on a coffeemaker and some other kitchen odds-and-ends (do butter dishes exist in Yucatán?) when a big, fairly rustic table caught my eye.
It was in the Pier 1 Imports store-within-a-store at Sears, which I’ll reiterate is a separate company and much nicer than your typical north-of-the-border Sears. Called a Parsons Table, after the famous New York design school, the table was chunky, solid and very heavy and made in India from mango wood, which I googled on my friend’s smartphone on the spot to see if it was a suitable hardwood.
I was looking for something more modern, but the simplicity of this design appealed to me, and it was priced about a third of what my top-choice tables were. We mulled the price, and then went over to the coffeemaker area to get a decent drip model. Thankfully, we had the clerk there pull one machine out of its box, and thank goodness we did. The photo on the box was obviously photoshopped to make it look shiny and grand. The real thing was plastic-y and toylike. We grabbed an Electrolux model instead. But in the meantime, the sales person wrote down a new, even more compelling price for the table — almost 30 percent off. Between the discount and the current exchange rate, it was hard to say no. Still, I didn’t jump at it. We paced around some more. Then, out came a matching bench. Also discounted, this one at 20 percent. It could be there the next day, they said. Sold.
They would wrap up that very table and load it on the truck that night.
It was due Friday morning, but it didn’t arrive until early afternoon. I was so happy to see it carried into the house, I couldn’t complain.
Since I had gone to Sears without room measurements, I was a little worried about how it would fit. I was happy to see how well it really did work within the terrace’s dimensions. And the bench would mean we’d have to buy fewer dining room chairs.
The movers were almost out the door when Paul called me back to the terrace. Our table apparently had a rough ride. A small but conspicuous chip had marred one of the table legs. There was a chip on the bench, too. In fact, the whole table looked a little worse for wear. Was this even the same table? Fridays are crazy at Casa Nana; it’s when all the cleaning, pool and garden workers come, and we had even turned away a team of contractors who showed up unannounced to do I-don’t-know-what. I just didn’t have time for this. I had hastily signed for the table before really looking at it, and I wasn’t even sure if a discounted floor model could be returned.
We were invited to list our complaints on the delivery truck paperwork. And we could call the sales person to send over someone to touch up the table. We never even got around to it. There was too much else to do. We’d have to do our own touch-ups some other day.
Two blocks down, Oliva Enoteca was opening up. There was some activity there one day, and we poked our heads in. Furniture was being moved out. It wasn’t perfect, we were told. I wish we had the energy to be such perfectionists in our house. We’re trying not to dwell on all the marks, scars, dings and scratches that have begun to accumulate. Houses here cannot be pristine for more than five minutes.