Mar 3, 2010

In pursuit of pretty things

For Valentine's Day, Garry offered the sweet gesture of getting new bedding for our bedroom. Although I was perfectly content with the set we had, it was about seven years old. I enjoy change for the sake of change (at least on this scale), and getting new things is always fun, so we began the search.

Finding something we both liked -- and that was significantly different from what we had -- presented quite a challenge. Finding something we both liked that was reasonably priced was even more difficult. We scoured internet sites and made several shopping trips (all with kids, some with Garry and some without) in search of the perfect thing.

Along the way, various degrees of spectacular misbehavior morphed into a horror film that just might play through my mind every time I enter my bedroom.

The first scene is at Ross, where Zachary is in charge of the shopping cart meant to contain Gavin. Gavin is climbing over, under, into and out of the cart, and Zach and Tyler are racing up and down the store's main thoroughfare as Garry and I look at throw pillows. Suddenly we hear a terrible crashing sound. I leap into the aisle to find the shopping cart on its side and Gavin sprawled on the floor. No one is physically injured, but my blood pressure spikes 50 points.

Another scene unfolds at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Lexi is screaming, and three boys are running amok. There is an issue at the register with coupons and holds and insufficient stock. A simple transaction takes 20 minutes, but we find a gorgeous duvet cover that meets all criteria. It has no coordinating pieces -- pillows, bed skirt, curtains, and the like -- but it will become the central decorative element. No stores in the vicinity carry anything remotely coordinating with said element.

One shopping trip includes a stop at JoAnn Fabric & Crafts. I go in the morning so as to reduce my entourage to two. While I wait in line at the cut counter to put four bolts of fabric on hold (the new plan: if we can't buy pillows, I will make pillows), Gavin plays in the basket of the cart while Lexi cries in her carseat, which is perched atop the cart. I engage her in blanket peek-a-boo. When the cutting lady calls my number, I realize Gavin has escaped from the cart and is nowhere to be seen. I frantically call his name, realizing he has probably been gone for at least five minutes. Compassionate mothers leave the line and fan out around the store. I hear Gavin before I see him; he is laughing as a stranger chases him towards the front doors. I put fabric on hold and leave, sensing that my head is about to explode.

Later that night we all return to see the fabric on hold. Garry wants to explore other options. As we meander through the store, Tyler, who is happily pushing the shopping cart with Lexi strapped inside it, wanders down a wide aisle. Garry and I peruse the decorative trim section and supervise Gavin. In my peripheral vision a slow-motion scene unfolds. Tyler is running down the aisle full-throttle, pushing the cart ahead of him. I yell for him to stop just as he crashes into an end-cap full of knitting needles. The sound of metal on metal, of baby and six-year-old screaming, of surprised adults running, rings through the store. There are no broken bones, no blood, and no ruined merchandise. A bruised chin and a loose tooth seem to be the only casualties. We make another small purchase, place another hold, and refuse the manager's request to file an incident report.


This morning I bought white sheets and a bed skirt online. I measured pillows at home and made a final trip to JoAnn's. I laid out my purchases on the bed at home and took a picture.

Then, tonight, I carefully folded everything into a plastic bin and secured the lid. I have fallen out of love with the idea of new bedding for now.

Perhaps in another season, when the memories of its purchase have faded a bit, I will bring it out again. I will press the duvet and the crisp, white shams and arrange the bed skirt just so. I will wash brand new sheets and dress my pillows in newly-fashioned covers. I will paint my bedroom walls a fresh, spring green and adorn the window in something flowing and lovely. It will feel like a breath of fresh another season.

But for now, my Valentine gift is in the attic.
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