Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Veganopolis & The Bins

We had such an adventurous day yesterday that when Amber called at 8:50pm, I thought for sure someone was calling in the middle of the night. We’d been asleep for a while by then. I didn’t have any concept of what time it was when I stumbled to the phone. She invited us to dinner with her dad in a couple weeks and I said, “You’ll have to tell me this again later,” although I remember what she said. I was sleeeeeeeeepy.

After a slow start in the laundry room in the basement (grrrrrr) we rode the MAX downtown to have lunch at Veganopolis (check out their website). It’s always nice to be pleasantly surprised by a new eatery. I had a vegan grinder (salami) on grilled ciabatta with a side of potato salad and Keith had the special---a vegan chick’n taco salad. (Chick’n spelled with an apostrophe so they don’t have to always explain that it’s fake chicken, as if the word vegan in front of it….at Veganopolis….didn’t give it away.) We shared a cupcake for dessert. My sammy was excellent, but it was really the bread that was the star of the plate. Excellent bread can make a very mediocre sammy a star. So I will try another sandwich next time to test this bread theory.

Keith’s taco salad was also excellent with a very tasty tangy dressing. The cupcake was a little dry, but the 3” of frosting on top counteracted that. German chocolatey goodness. It was busier than I thought it would be---we were there right at lunch rush hour, though. The Cutest Vegan of the Day Award goes to a little old man, maybe in his 70s, who was there just as we were leaving. He had on his khakis and button down short sleeve shirt and tennis shoes and on his shirt a button that said Vegan. Amongst all the tattooed/Goth/health-nut-runners there, he was out of the ordinary.

We had an appointment at 1:00p to see a $75 king-sized bed that was advertised on craigslist. So we drove to Hazel Dell (north of Vancouver) and immediately regretted that decision. We pulled up in the apartment complex and I thought, “Well, it’s kind of dumpy, but for a $75 bed, let’s see.” When they opened the door and 5 little barking monsters greeted us along with a guy who showed us in to his apartment, I knew we should just turn around and leave. The place was filthy. But we were there, so we went and looked at the bed out of mild curiosity more than anything else. It didn’t appear to have anything wrong with it, but it was a little junky-- hey it was $75 and she let me know on the phone that they weren’t “firm on the price.” But who knows how many dogs had peed on it. When I asked her if it was in good shape she said, “Yeah…” and I thought, Well, surely there’s more to the story than that. Keith tugged a little on the ratty bedspread, but no was offering to show us the real goods. So while Keith and I were trying to figure out how to get out of there without being completely rude to these strangers we talked about Oh it might be too big for our bedroom…I don’t know if it will fit…. After we had finally escaped, Keith confronted me. “Okay, we need a code. If you don’t like it, you say ‘It’s too big.’ Or ‘It’s too small.’ I’ve been to Mexico, I’ll sleep on anything, it’s up to you.” I say “Well, then if I say, ‘Do you think it’s too big?’ then that’s a legitimate question about whether it will fit.’ He says, ‘Yes, then I will answer that question.’” Glad we got that settled. After almost 10 years together we now have a Code for Getting Out of Deals We Really Don’t Want to Be In. So that was an hour of our lives we’ll never get back and we decided that any future furniture shopping would be done within Portland, preferably within our neighborhood.

For afternoon entertainment we decided to go to The Bins. The Bins is an outlet store for Goodwill. This is not like a Nautica outlet or a Ralph Lauren outlet. This is like a dumpster outlet. Keith said it’s one step up above dumpster diving. Everything is in these giant dump truck-style plastic carts on wheels for your digging pleasure. Clothes are all mixed together: baby clothes and sleeping bags and men’s underwear----all in the same cart. Household goods are likewise not sorted. Lamps, toys, kitchen sink, 3-ring binders---all in the same cart. It’s mayhem. It’s great. Once you get into your rhythm.

On our virgin voyage we clearly looked like amateurs wandering from cart to cart, perusing the goods, being picky about what we looked at. The seasoned veterans were pulling armloads of clothes into shopping carts, taking them to the end of the aisle and sorting from there what they were going to take. One lady had gloves on; this was clearly not her first time. When Goodwill employees wheeled out new carts, people lined up to be first to see what treasures were about to be offered. There is a “strict rule” that you don’t touch the cart until it is in place but after that it’s fair game like the last piece of cake at a Mormon family dinner. When I Googled “The Bins” to get an address, several articles from the local weekly papers came up and I was disturbed to read that items such as snakes, bats (the animal), broken glass, and even dirty diapers had been found in The Bins. I let Keith in on that before we got there to see if he was still game. He wanted to find some T-shirts, and we didn’t have anything else planned for the afternoon, so we went. You definitely feel the need to take a shower after The Bins, some hand sanitizer is a definite must, but if you are in the mood to wander around and people watch and maybe snag a good item here or there, The Bins is cheap entertainment. We scored a cute tablecloth, a small rug, a 1991 Guns’n’Roses T-shirt for me, a shirt for Keith, a lined sweatshirt for me, a tote bag, a curtain that we’re going to make into a bed for Lazlo, and a few other random things and it came to $10.20. Up to 20# is $1.39/pound, 25-50# is $.99/pound. We were taking the bus home or we might have been hauling home a lot more.

1 comment:

ara said...

got to love the bins. it was once my church. i still have excellent finds from there, as does szm, from her visits to portland (choice out-of-town guests deserve the bins, too.) nostalgia tour.