Yesterday Kurt took a half day, since he’s done teaching for this round of classes. We piled into the van and went ‘sploring.
It’s one of my favorite things to do, ‘sploring. You just get into your car and head out. The only slight downside to going ‘sploring here where we live is you cannot get lost. I live on an island with two main roads. Everything leads back to our home.
But yesterday we crossed the Pell Bridge and headed south, instead of going north like we would if we were going to Providence or Warwick. Kurt figured I’d love seeing the coast and taking photos. He was right, of course. How can you resist the sight of the coastline, especially as rugged as the New England coast is? You can’t.
We found ourselves in Narragansett, which is where I took this photo. This was at Capt Roger Wheeler State Beach. It looks so empty and desolate now, but just think how packed this place will be in the summertime.
It’s such a change from Washington, though, where there weren’t any sand beaches. Where I lived, all the beaches were rocky; there was no way you could go barefoot. When I would go to the beach with my friends who lived in Indianola, we had to wait till the tide went wayyyyyy out (and the tide goes out really far in the Puget Sound) so we could enjoy the beach. Even then, we couldn’t lay on our towels and soak up the sun until my friends had placed their float on the beach. When the tide was out, the sand was still wet, and the coastline was entirely rocky. I don’t think laying on the beach would be very comfortable with rocks poking you all over.
Kurt figured that since we were already on the other side of the Pell Bridge, we ought to maximize our time and head up to Warwick. We grabbed some dinner at my new favorite Italian grill (they have the awesomest crusty bread that you dip into olive oil that they’ve added all these herbs to). The kitchen is open at this restaurant, and as we were being seated, the chef was causing whatever he was cooking to flame up. So Grace yells at the top of her lungs, “MOMMY!! FIRE!!!!!!” I was sure she was going to start a stampede out of the restaurant.
We were on our way home, taking the scenic route, when we went past a Building #19. See, Angela had told me about this place. I had to check it out for myself.
When we moved here to Rhode Island, I noticed we had a store called Ocean State Job Lot. We checked it out one day, only to find that OSJL is pretty much the bastard cousin of Big Lots (for my overseas readers, Big Lots is a store that sells overstocks and clearance things, everything from furniture to household items to toiletries to food, and usually it’s not exactly the cleanest of stores). OSJL is even dirtier than a Big Lots, and sells even more questionable items. Some things are okay, like the play kitchen we bought Grace for her birthday, but I wouldn’t trust a lot of things sold there.
Angela had said that I would find Building #19 even worse than OSJL. I thought she was joking. Folks, she wasn’t joking. If OSJL is the bastard cousin of Big Lots, then Building #19 is the redneck, inbred, backwoods, unacknowledged, bastard second cousin to Big Lots.
When talking about it with Angela one day, she had mentioned to me the smell. I wondered if it was worse than the smell of Big Lots, and she assured me it was. Yes, folks, it was indeed. It just hits you as you walk in the door. I cannot even begin to describe it to you.
Apparently Building #19 gets its merchandise from stores’ overstocks, but also when a store goes through some kind of natural disaster and cannot sell its merchandise any more. Most of the stuff is just sort of flung onto shelves or into bins; there is no organization of any kind, except to separate items by their categories. Shoes were all organized by gender and size, but good luck on finding matching pairs. There were a lot of shoes on the shelves missing their mates, and even more just flung wherever they landed.
The clothing section was just amazing. In the Intimates Department, there was for sale a granny nightgown, complete with a high-neck collar trimmed with lace, done in dark green camouflage flannel. I also found a pair of men’s long underwear in a green waffle weave, only it had a hole in it — and not one of the holes it’s supposed to have.
The book section wasn’t bad. We actually got a couple of books there, for at least 75% off the cover price. I got a hardcover novel on William Shakespeare for $5, which I really couldn’t complain about.
Grace enjoyed the book section. There were so many books right at her eye level, and she sat on her knees to read them. I’m sorry I let her do that; I don’t think the floors have ever been swept in this place. She was covered in dirt by the time we left. Any of the merchandise that touched the floor was also covered in dirt.
They had signs all over the store that were really tongue-in-cheek. One read, “No, really — we just cleaned!” There was also “Don’t Wake the Manager!” and “Suffer a Little — Save a Lot!”
You can see the website here, though they really make the merchandise look a lot better online than it does in person.
I tell you what, it was certainly an experience going there. I’m not so snobby I’ll never go there again; they’ve got some great deals. Besides, it’s amusing to look around and see what they’re trying to sell. It’s an adventure!
I might just make sure I’m up on my tetanus shots before I venture in there again.