We had many friends suggest shopping online but I wasn't too keen on that. First of all I hate online shopping. I want to feel the fabric. I want to compare it side by side. I want to see the colors up close. Online outlets do their best to give good descriptions and high quality photos but it's not the same. Shipping costs and shipping times were also an issue. What if things got held up at the docks in a shipping strike? What if they didn't fit and we had to return them? I just didn't want to deal with that and so I was willing to pay a little more--OK a LOT more--to take the prospective missionary on a shopping spree in shivery cold Utah. Dave didn't want to miss out on the fun so he came along too.
One week before Heath was due to report to the MTC we left Hawaii. In his bag Heath had only a white shirt, a pair of dress shoes, a couple ties and a couple pairs of socks that would continue on into the mission field. Everything else was purchased when we hit the ground in Utah.
With just 4 shopping days we had devised a general plan ahead of time. It looked something like this:
Friday--1)purchase suits 2)check out the local thrift stores for a cheap short-term winter coat (he has to be a climate appropriate coat when he arrives in Nova Scotia). 3) start hitting the discount stores looking for sweaters, accessories, slacks, luggage, etc. Discount stores include Costco, Sams Club, Ross, TJ Maxx, Burlington Coat Factory
Saturday-- Continue discount stores, concentrating on getting all his slacks. If we bought them at Costco or Sam's we would have to purchase, try on at home, return if sizing wasn't correct, and repeat until the sizing was correct.
Monday-- Make a final decision on luggage, begin shopping for the odds and ends like toiletries and shoe shine kit.
Tuesday--Pick up the suits from being tailored, frantically find anything that has evaded us to this point.
Next we wanted to touch bases with a few friends and business associates. We visited with some co-workers and former students on the BYU campus. We stayed with our friends the Ramirez'. We had lunch with my college room mate Tracy, and her husband. We watched a football game with Dave's college room mate Derek and his family. We spent a few hours with my favorite childhood cousin, Teresa.
Our last goal for the trip was to eat at a few restaurants that we don't have in Hawaii. We enjoyed eating at In and Out, JCW Burger Boys, Cafe Rio, The Lion House, Chick-fil-a, Krispy Kreme, and Happy Sushi. Every day we were so full. We ate way too much while we were there (and are paying the price for it here. Gotta run a few extra miles for the next few weeks).
Ultimately the trip was successful and surprisingly fun. We enjoyed spending a week with the boy. We were able to find everything we needed without much trouble thanks to the overabundance of stores in Utah. And Heath entered the MTC on Wednesday, on time.
Here's the list of what was required for his mission:
- 2 Two pant suits
- 10 White shirts
- 3 Sweaters
- 6 Ties
- 5 Slacks
- 2 pairs Shoes
- 12 sets Garments
- 12 sets Socks
- 2 belts
- Baptism and Temple clothes including white slacks, white tie, white socks
- Coat (He will have to buy a heavier one in the field when he gets there)
- Boots (He will have to buy these in the field)
- Cold weather accessories like gloves, hats, scarves
- 3 sets Thermal Underwear (we bought one set of UnderArmor and 2 sets of regular, cheaper thermals)
- Exercise clothes
- Athletic Shoes
- 1 Jeans
- 2 T-shirts
- 1 Sweatshirt
- 2 Pajamas
- Books: True To The Faith: A Gospel Reference , Jesus the Christ, Our Heritage, A Brief History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints , and Our Search for Happiness.
- A journal
- Pens, pencils and other study aids
- Conservative waterproof Shoulder bag
- Clothes hangers
- Bath towel, hand towel, wash cloths
- Passport holder
- Toiletries: shaving supplies, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, shampoo, deodorant, lotion, combs, etc.
- Shoe polish kit
- First Aid kit
- Sunscreen, lip balm
- Sewing kit
- Wind up or battery alarm clock
- Laundry bag
- Small Flashlight
- Inexpensive watch
- Small inexpensive camera
In addition to all these things we had to buy he also spent money on the following items before leaving:
- International Drivers Permit
All in all we spent $2000 on all of this. We perhaps could have spent less on a few items we opted to spend more on. We were sure to buy suits that were heavier weight material and that had some spandex in the material to accommodate Heath's broad shoulders better. We bought him thicker white shirts. His sweaters were all wool or cashmere (the cashmere one we got a great deal on, $15!). And his socks were also weather rated and warm. We bought him one set of Under Armor Thermals and those were super pricey, but we had been told over and over that they were the best on the market and that he would need them. We'll save up for another pair.
We also saved some money in a few places. We were able to find an awesome watch at Kohls. The cashier at Bed Bath and Beyond gave him a $5 discount on his flannel sheet set when she found out he was going to Canada, Halifax--her brother was going to the same place and entering on the same day! We found his shoulder bag at Burlington for $15. Everywhere else similar bags were $50 or more. His suits, shirts, ties, shoes and coat we got a package deal on from Steve at Mr. Mac. He really treated us well and he even threw in some extra socks at the end.