Friday, August 24, 2007

It's curtains for you!

I have been on a rampage the last week or so. Anyone who has tried to shop for curtains on a budget can understand the stress of this seemingly impossible endeavor. My poor children had to watch from afar in the land of neglect while dear old mom spent all of her spare minutes surfing the internet in search of the illusive designer curtain at discounted prices. If such an animal exists I certainly did not find it. What I found instead were headaches, disappointments, and frustration. I think the rest of my family found that last one too. Except toward me instead of the man who decided it was okay to sell one striped window panel for $69.99 hardware not included.

After hours of surfing and multiple trips to Target and JcPenney I came to grips with purchasing plain-colored tab top panels. Even though they were nothing even close to my original dream curtains there was something satisfying in buying eight curtain panels for fewer than eighty dollars (for those of you wondering, it’s hard to buy even four panels for this price). I had high and foolish hopes that this would put to rest the curtain demons that had been hounding the part of my soul that cares about curtains, and that I would no longer be dreaming about panels, valences, and sheers and could get back to dreaming of things more pleasant. Like Alan Rickman’s voice.

I had read warnings from fellow curtain hunters in the reviews posted on Target’s website about the variance of panel lengths from one package to the next. This complaint seemed relatively common, so why I thought I could escape without experiencing it I don’t know. Perhaps in my delirium I felt impervious to the attack of the curtain-making machine they have hidden somewhere in Pakistan that makes these curtains. How wrong I was. After having washed and dried (according to the product directions) the four burgundy panels for my large living room window it has become painfully obvious that two of these curtains are now three inches shorter than the remaining two. I knew they were a teeny bit shorter before they went into the wash, but I was tired of Target at this point. (I believe if I see another red and white bulls-eye I may go into hysterics). So at any rate, I decided I could live with it. But three inches? That’s another story; don’t ask me what I am going to do about it because I honestly do not know. Yes, I could cross my fingers and exchange them for another package of potentially mismatched panels. But even then they could turn out to be like the favorite pair of jeans that are fine for the first one-hundred washes only to be foiled by the infamous one-hundred and first washing that renders them no longer capable of buttoning. Thankfully the four green panels slated for the dining room miraculously came out the same length they went into the machine.

As a small child I think I had good instincts about curtain shopping. I hated it. My mother was operating on an even tighter budget than I am and any time she wanted to look at curtains we all groaned because we knew it would take all day, and we would be given no food or affection, nor would we be allowed any sleep during the trip. With glazed eyes we would nod like crazed lunatics, “Yes, yes, we love those curtains! They are the most perfect curtains ever conceived of by man! Please buy them! Buy anything, something! We must be given access to toilet facilities and nourishment!” It really was a most horrendous experience. Of course I now understand that it was horrible for my mother too. On top of the curtain-shopping stress she also had the “I’m-shopping-with-four-children” stress to add to it.

So, in closing, I would like to thank the makers of fine chocolate for helping me through this (not that I have any fine chocolate to consume); and, more importantly, my husband, who promised not to seek a legal separation during this time of hardship and stress; but who has instead poured his energy into resisting the urge to throttle me at the mere mention of the “c” word.

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