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Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Time Event
Corey the Human Hanger
This week Melinda and I are visiting Melinda's parents, on a trip bookended by weddings (in Pasadena and Princeton). I spent much of today shopping at Woodbury Commons in NY with Melinda, her mom, and her mom's friend Ino. Although Melinda doesn't like shopping I sort of do (in fact, I like buying, not shopping per se, but that includes buying new clothes) so we all made the day of it. Melinda got a new dress (for the upcoming wedding), a wallet, and shoes (wedding and otherwise); I bought jeans, chinos, two dress shirts (to match the new dress), and shoe polish for my aging Eccos (the model of which is no longer in production, apparently); Melinda's mom and Ino each bought a few articles but spent an unimaginable amount of time (probably 2 hours -- I have a poor imagination) in the same store (Chico's). Everyone seemed to be happy in the end, event Melinda, although here happy really just means amusingly less grumpy than she'd have been after a shopping trip otherwise.

The women on this trip felt that Melinda's new dress really needs a shawl or petticoat or some other weird little bit of shear fabric to wrap around Melinda's shoulders in order to complete the ensemble. We stopped at a hole in the wall in Norwalk to buy fabric so Melinda's mom could sew something together for the job. The fabric store (I think the name of it was "Fabric Store") was nestled between two forgettable businesses in a strip mall that's barely hanging on, but the store has no fewer than 10,000 bolts of fabric. We didn't see what we wanted upstairs (the cutting table is buried in rolls of fabric 8 layers deep) so we were invited to the basement -- where most of the seemingly thousands of bolts are stored. It was kind of like being in the glass supply store -- any color, any material, any cost, could be yours. We found about five different off-purples that ought to work but we headed upstairs and into the light to see them against the dress. This is where my talents really came to shine: I held the dress and kept my mouth shut. This worked pretty well for a long time but eventually the woman helping us (and co-owner) asked me for my opinion. I gave one that agreed with hers: that the lighter, contrasting pastel purple was more suitable for this task than black. And, really, it was; the black looked too much like a funeral veil. Okay, fabric selected, back to the car with the dress and we're done.

No, not that easy. First off, there's the matter of thread(!) that needs to be selected, and matched to the dress and the chiffon or whatever they were going to buy. So, fetch the dress and hold it. Then, something about wanting beads on the ends of the little mini-coat, so there's a selection of beads. We reach an impasse at some point looking for 10mm beads but I happen to spot some nice silver and pink bi-color beads that meet Melinda's mom's approval. I'm now twice on the hook for any failings of this project should it come to that: I said "not black" and chose the beads. Melinda says I can put the dress back but I don't believe her - and again I'm right: need to select thread for the tailoring in of this dress project. Now we're done with color matching. We can't leave before we get a few more needles (sewing machine and beading) but finally are done.

A fabric store for these women really is what an independent hardware store (not a Loew's or a Home Depot) is for building-oriented people (stereotypically, men). Melinda's mom would describe what she was going to make, the owner suggested how to do it and give some tips, using terms that I don't understand (do a what's-it stitch around the edge and wrap it around the something-or-other and voila you're done). Some materials didn't work, we were shown more materials, then some hardware (beads) that would be nice accents. Tools (needles) were needed but could be bought on site. I was reminded of my project to build open-sided cubes for Iron Puzzler earlier this year.

It wouldn't be a typical road trip with Melinda's mom without finding someone whom she knew in some unexpected place. Three doors down from Fabric Store was an oriental food store ("Oriental Food Store") whose proprietors were ... I don't even remember - probably the parents of a child whom Melinda knew for some short period a decade ago. Anyway, we had a visit, everyone but I spoke Chinese, and Melinda and I toured the tiny food store and spotted dried foods and meats from all parts of the world (well, at least all Asian parts of the world). Despite being such a good boy during the fabric store part of the visit, as Melinda assured me I was, we skipped having a Dunkin' treat and headed home. Every minute we spent not in the right lane on the freeway was a scary one but, technically, 55 mph *is* the speed limit, and going at or just below the speed limit ought to be safe. Just no one else is apparently a safe driver.

Tonight also: dinner at Hope Pizza (tasty!), watched Knowing (weird, sort of lame, and not recommended), ate cheesecake dinner (also tasty!), and listened to and watched a thunderstorm roll over the house. It's around 80F in the bedroom tonight (ugh) but it's about time for bed.

Tomorrow: New York City.

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