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This is a photo of the end result of 12 hours of shopping with Julie and Tony: a mattress and a table cloth. We literally drove in circles all day long – I started counting my u-turns (averaging about five per hour) although the number of times I was in the wrong lane far exceeded the number of times I had to turn around (I was in the wrong town twice). This is extremely irksome to a worrywart (I can get  from Berkeley to Burlingame via the Bay Bridge and San Francisco with zero lane changes).

Obviously we lack some shopping skills (we currently do not have shops where we live so we have an excuse – Tony is very excited about buying jeans in person instead of via the mail);  we didn’t think to get sheets, pillows, and blankets. We only ended up with the mattress because we called Mattress Discounters at 6:15 p.m. and asked how much the least expensive mattress they had was that we could walk out of the store with that night. Travis the mattress guy pleaded with his supervisor on our behalf. He was the only salesperson we made happy all day.

It took us another hour to drive the six miles home because a random grandmother happened by as Tony was tying the mattress in the truck. She had a friend whose mattress ended up as a road hazard on the freeway not long ago. So we took the backroads and learned A LOT about our new community . . . for instance, there is no way to get from Mattress Discounters to our place in Sausalito without going on the freeway, but there is a really cool park at the top of the mountain in between the two (and it’s foggy up there).

The experience was reminiscent of our Rajdamnoen adventure in Chiang Mai. However, if we were in Thailand, Tony would skip tying the mattress down, hop in the back of the truck on top of the mattress, and we would call ourselves a bus.

As we snuggled under the table cloth and a scarf from India Kip gave me, it reminded me of another night we spent under a table cloth in 1985 after our ice chest drained on our sleeping bags as we drove to a campground in Lassen National Park. Somehow the thought made me very happy. In a lot of ways it feels like we are going back in time in our marriage – we are on the upside of what The Economist magazine calls the U-Bend of Happiness.