Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Friday morning, before M. left for work he said, "Get us a carpet for the living room to cover up all the wires in there." He was teasing, but I decided to go ahead and look around for something. There are so many stores and they all have a ton of carpets. I wound up going to a store nearby and asked if they had any carpets larger than 8x10. A young man took me to the upstairs showroom and showed me about six of them. I saw one that I liked and he was trying to convince me to have it delivered without giving me any price. He said that he couldn't give me a price, only his uncle could that. He took me to another showroom at the entrance of the shopping center where he introduced me to his uncle and father-in-law, Abdullah and Mohammed.

Abdullah was dressed in white and Mohammed was in black. Abdullah explained to me that he and his brother Mohammed had just returned from Friday prayers, and that Friday is their Sabbath Day. Mohammed never spoke a word; he only looked at me and it made me very nervous. I was starting to get paranoid because not only were my ankles showeing, but my skirt was just short enough that my knees showed when I sat in the chair.

Abdullah asked me what I wanted to pay for the carpet that I liked upstairs, and I told him I had no idea of its worth. He said, "No worries, we'll take it to your home and you and your husband can decide." Abduallah also said that he could tell that I really liked that carpet, and then he pointed to the CC camera next to his desk. I was really getting paranoid!

I finally relented and walked back home. After sitting in the living room for about 20 minutes, I decided that I didn't think that that carpet would work with out stuff. So, I got the pillow off the sofa and walked back to the store.

I told Abdullah that the first carpet I selected wouldn't work, so he took me back to the other showroom and showed me even more carpets. I selected one that I liked and again, he refused to tell me a price. He took me back down to the other showroom with his brother Mohammed. There, Abdullah asked me what price I thought the carpet was worth. There was no way I was going to offend those dudes!!! I told him the amount that I could afford, but I did not want to offend them. He assured me that the carpet I selected was within my price range, but still refused to say how much they wanted for it exactly.

The next morning, Abdullah, Mohammed, the nephew, and a helper brought the carpet and laid it nicely in the living room. They also brought a runner (the nephew saw me looking at it). This time Mohammed spoke to us and even smiled. When he did speak, his voice cracked, so I'm assuming that he had laryngitis or something.

Abdullah went into his spiel about how special their Persian carpets are, etc. Finally, he mentioned a price and M. said, "My wife said that she told you what she could afford. How 'bout we split the difference?" Still, our price was too low, but at least we were getting somewhere. It ended up that we increased a bit more and they "threw in" the runner. Since it was more than we had anticipated, we needed to put it on a credit card. They tried to do it through the phone here at our apartment, but there was no answer. We offered to go back to the store to pay for it. They were relieved to hear that. They took us in their BMW (nice car!!) and they made the nephew and helper walk back to the store. Once inside the store (and after the nephew returned) Abdullah had the nephew and helper give us cardamom tea with cream and sugar and tuna salad sandwiches.

They were very hospitable and our conversations with them made for an interesting day.

Saturday evening, we went to see Patti Austin performing Ella Fitzgerald tunes at the Esplanade. She was wonderful! She sang Satin Doll (one of my favorites) and also did some scat numbers the way Ella would do them. We were very impressed with the concert hall. We had balcony seats, yet we could see her and hear very well. We went to dinner afterward at the Esplanade outside. There was a band performing various rock tunes for free by the Singapore River. A big thunderstorm rolled in and our evening was over.

Yesterday, we went down to the pool for about an hour and a half. M. swam about 25 laps and I laid in the sun until I got too hot and jumped in. It's hard to swim with a splint on my hand; I'm not that great a swimmer anyway.

After the pool, we went around the apartment and placed our favorite pictures on the floor where we want them hung. The walls are concrete so a hole has to be drilled to hang them. A handyman will be coming tomorrow at 10. The relocation company pays for his services for 4 hours. I think he'll be able to get them all hung for us in that length of time. We're going to put the model sailboat above the sofa.

Speaking of sofas, since the movers trashed this one carrying it up 24 flights, the relo company is paying to have it reupholstered. I've decided to go with a green chenille. The guy will be here Wednesday to pick up the sofa. He is going to take the arms off of it so that it will fit in the lift. When he's finished with it, he'll do the same thing and finish upholstering it in our living room.

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