The Humor and Life, in Particular Web site
author:  Margie Culbertson

June/July 2007 Humor Writing Contest Winner
Best Very Short Humor!

Catalog Convulsions


Kristine Lowder

I can't decide. Torn between pages 13 and 43 of J.C. Penney's Spring Home Values Catalog, I flip–flop across pages like a bullfrog in a warm beaker.

The catalog's front cover pictures a beautiful bamboo and orchid comforter set with mosquito netting and gently billowing curtains. The headline claims, "Every day home values that fit the way you live."

Yeah, right. And I'm the tooth fairy.

I suppose I should quit while I'm ahead. But the Belinda Bedding set featured on page 43 won't let me:  "Airbrushed flowers with delicate embroidery accents grace a white background." Now we're talking.

A veritable femme fatale of cotton and lace drips lavender and lilac over a scalloped bed skirt and floral underskirt. The scene makes my non–guy heart thump like a brass band. The'delicate accent pillows and lilac shams, flanged with scalloped edges" don't slow me down much.

I've never laid eyes on a more estrogen–enhancing bed set. Then there's the curtains, soft white and lavender confections that wave in an amethyst breeze like pennants over Safeco Field. A bouquet of lilacs perches nearby, laced with a satin ribbon inside an alabaster vase aboard a pristine ivory night stand.

Finally. A real bed set to replace the sagging denim stuff some Guy selected shortly after the discovery of fire. Yea verily, I've died and gone to Lady Land. I resist that Belinda photo like I've sworn off chocolate.

It's the thundering refrain of four guys on patrol that skids me back to my senses. Belinda Bedding with four versions of Dale Earnhardt toting a crate of Pennzoil in and out of our pit stop? I ought to have my head examined.

I sigh ruefully, settling back into my padded cell. Then I flip the catalog backwards to page 13. Don't ask why I do that. I always read catalogs from back to front. I'm not sure how this got started, but I suspect this habit may have its genesis in 18 hours of back labor and an A.W.O.L. anesthesiologist. But that's another story. So is non–guy anything in our house, which occurs with the frequency of Haley's Comet.

Catalog and drool wipe in hand, I succumb to temptation and sheer stupidity as "Honolulu Bedding" bounces off page 13 and into my lap. Anything not mostly white or stainless steel is worth a second glance, yah? Honolulu isn't quite as soft and sleek as Belinda, but it looks a lot sturdier—a major consideration in Guysville, USA.

The polyester/cotton bed set dribbles "Hawaii" like a Pacific sunset. Brilliant hues of emerald green, island blue and blushing coral splash the downy comforter, ruffled bed skirt, sheets and pillow shams.

"Turn your bedroom into an exotic retreat with this bold tropical bedding," the ad copy enthuses. They aren't kidding. Coordinated like a Fred and Ginger dance routine, tropical dashes of rose, marigold and hyacinth glide across sheets, draperies and a blouson valance. On sheets that breezy and buoyant I figure I can drift off to Maui every night–or at least make it to the nearest mud puddle.

"So, what did you find?" I ask the Big Guy later as he unearths the haul from his latest Wal–Mart run.

"They didn't have much to choose from," he explains, "so I got this." Which is how we got our current bed set, a kind of blue and yellow cross between Salvador Dahli and Mary, Mary Quite Contrary on a bad hair day.

"Hey, it was on sale," the Big Guy says. Like that matters. Well. At least it's not stainless steel.

©Kristine Lowder

About the Author: 
A "recovering Californian," Kristine K. Lowder was born and raised in San Diego. She graduated from Biola University with high honors in 1982, married The World's Smartest Man in 1983, and moved to Washington with her husband and their four sons in 2002.

A former aerospace professional with a background in marketing and public relations, Kristine now holds a real job as a professional mother and homeschooler. She reads, hikes, dabbles in tennis and is deathly allergic to anything resembling Math. She also tent–camps with The Guys and loves MacEddies. (She admits to the last two only when threatened with the imminent demise of her private chocolate stash.) Her work has appeared in more than fifty ezines, including Long Story Short, Blessings for Life, SheLovesGod, OurEcho, Whatever is Pure, the ChristianMagazineOnline, and Blessings for Life. Kristine has authored nine books to date and is currently at work on her next title.

You can read more of Kristine's writing at her website:  Visit her site by clicking HERE.

Her favorite quote is: 
"Laughter is not only the best medicine but the best revenge, although being rich and handsome and outliving all your enemies are good ones, too."
—Patrick F. McManus

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