Saturday, October 10, 2009

Uptown Saturday Night

I know that you must imagine our life here in North Portland as a sort of Noel Coward-like round of parties and scenester hipness, an opening here, a gala there, a cocktail soiree' everywhere, with Mojo and I lending cachet and tone to what would otherwise be a vulgar NoPo menage.

But in fact, we are a sadly domestic little pottage. Today, for example, we went down to the Build-a-Couch place in Sellwood to pick up our new ottoman and then to the freakishly huge Goodwill Outlet on SE McLoughlin. The Bins.This place is...well...it's...

Hard to categorize, is what it is. There's a great story about it in the Portland Mercury here, which I'll just excerpt a bit from:
"...an ancient warehouse on the desolate McLoughlin highway. The Acropolis strip club resides across the street and rickety trains rattle by daily, filling the air with piercing whistles. Inside this warehouse, the floors and walls are concrete, and the windows are painted over so that no natural light can seep through. Flickering fluorescents cast a yellowish hue over the already pallid shoppers, who sort through piles of dusty discards with fierce intensity and hollow eyes."
No, we didn't find a stuffed monkey in a clown outfit, syringes, cash or a pair of pants full of diarrhea. We found a couple of clothing items (a little snowsuit for Missy, soccer shorts for the Peep, a Cruz Azul jersey for me), some books, including an awesome Young People's Guide to Celibacy from the Sodality of St. Mary circa 1961, fake flowers and this terrific souvenir coconut from Hawaii.It was also filthy in a kinda skanky way, and as advertised, smelled unfresh and featured a truly outstanding selection of beater vans in the parking lot. We retreated back up to North for treats and lunch at the Grand Central Bakery on North Fremont. Everybody got their cookies (sandwiches for the grown-ups) in order to regain enough energy to go run and play on the playground over at Boise-Eliot Elementary next door.

Kids, little and big, enjoyed playing in the last warm sun of October. Mom and Dad enjoyed lazing like cats in the sunlight and stretching out on the picnic table.

Finally we got back in Bob the Subaru to get home and nap (for Missy) and relax (for Daddy) and to head out for yet another Goodwill - this one our little neighborhood GW - for Mom and the Peep. Who returned with two nearly-new IKEA armchairs! Score, Mom and Peep! (oh, and the Peep also tracked down a wooden sword, all the better for smiting sisters with...)At which point I was struck with some sort of kitchen madness. So as Mom and Boy played with the computer or played chess......I went into the pantry and started hauling out stuff and cooking it. We had a lovely rump of "Honeybaked Ham" which was cut up and made into a quiche Lorraine. And since there was then a leftover pie crust...and it is October...it was time for pumpkin pie, of the classic "made-with-evaporated-milk" variety. I'll be the first to say that evaporated milk is Satan's bile duct drippings, but the one thing it IS good for is making pumpkin pie.After the hambone was flensed for quiche, here I was with the lovely bone itself...and there was a carrot...and split peas...and an onion. So there had to be rich, savory and smokey-ham split pea soup.Mmmmmm. So the house is quiet now, and the only remains are the litter of little Miss' "art project" on the floor by the television, where juice and quiche and pizza and art and Kai-lan had made for a perfectly wonderful evening.Hope you, too, had an uptown Saturday night.

12 comments:

Red Sand said...

Sounds like a lovely day indeed.

Lisa said...

That is a lovely day. I would love the bin Goodwill, and you found two great IKEA chairs at the other :) It satisfies the hunter-gatherer in me.

The boulangerie would set off the day nicely.

Lisa said...

p.s.-- How nice for all the you can cook! ("She may be weary/Women do get weary".) I was just considering making quiche Florentine myself.

Barry said...

Sounds like a great day; and the soup would have been welcome when the autumnal night chill set in.

rangeragainstwar said...

FDChief,
We went to ikea recently and wanted to buy the chairs that you show on your essay. But sadly they wouldn't fit in my mini cooper so still no chairs at home. I guess the field table and chair will continue o suffice.
We both yardsale and do thrifts. My dream is to find a vintage guitar.
jim

FDChief said...

RS, Lisa: It was a very good day.

Lisa: I read a friend's comment on Facebook recently saying that she "wanted a wife", and my observation was that my wife HAD one, since I do pretty much all the cooking and half the laundry, cleaning and kid-rearing. The only drawback is that I'm a terrible dish-washer and casual about where Missy's overnight pullups tend to land when they come off in the morning.

Barry: I had it for dinner with a rich, smoky porter. It ruled. Plus I put up about 5 quarts in the freezer.

Jim: for some reason our local Goodwills are a magnet for used axes. But I suspect that the quality is fairly spotty. I did see what looked like a pretty decent acoustic last time I was at the big GW on Grand, but between the time I spotted it in the case and I circled back again someone had picked it up! They're real finds...

walternatives said...

We have a couple of those types of Goodwill outlets down here; are yours called "The Blue Hanger" too? It's eerie to witness the people lining up to dig in when new stuff is literally dumped into empty bins and then shoveled out when it's not sold. Personally, if I'm in the mood, I love it there.

Great score on the Poang (I think) chairs; Hans loves his. In his home province, that soup is called Snert.

FDChief said...

W: I think the GW outlets here are all called generically "The Bins", although that may just be the one we went to on McLoughlin. They're just like the Blue Hangar you describe: the folks there roll out the big blue trolley bins, the crazed pickers descend on them, and the remnants are rolled out to the waiting trucks to go to the landfill.

I had fun, both bin-diving and people-watching, but I think Mojo was a little squicked out by the grime. At least, she thoroughly hosed down the kids before allowing them to eat!

They are Poangs - we had the cheap version before and the difference in quality is evident. We do like them. Almost as much as I like "snert". I'll have to start calling it that; since everyone else in the family can't abide my pea soup, it'll get me some good groans and yucky-faces!

Lisa said...

Your wife is a lucky lady.

I excel at dishwashing.

FDChief said...

Lisa: I cannot imagine you not excelling - or at least doing your best to excel - at anything. Your public persona suggests a sort of one-woman Ministry of All Talents.

Anonymous said...

Ah, John, you are the answer to a dream...a man who WILLINGLY goes to thrift stores .....and who COOKS!! Be still my heart---your Mojo is a lucky woman. And I bet she knows it!

Lisa said...

I do love cooking simple, good food :)

In addition to your domestic generosity, your kind appreciation of the feminine does make you the answer to a dream.