Thursday, June 18, 2009

Confessions of a Catalogaholic

I am a catalog-aholic. For me, the best part of shopping is browsing. OK, the best part is finding something that actually fits, looks good and I can afford, but the browsing is how you get there. Catalogs allow me to browse without walking from one end of the mall to the other, something dangerously close to exercise.

Catalogs also show me a wide variety of items that I hadn't realized I couldn't live without. Items so specialized, so unique that they never actually make it to stores. Merchants realize they are never going to sell enough of these items to justify shipping them out to the stores where they would just take up valuable display space while gathering dust.

Things like the Margaritaville Trio frozen concoction maker.

I do love me a good margarita, but I don't make them very often. Crushing up the ice for a frozen margarita is just too noisy and time consuming. When I want a margarita, I want it now! I lusted after the original Margaritaville frozen concotion maker, which combined a high-powered ice-crusher with a blender.

I fantasized about building my own little Margaritaville-themed bar on the deck. I imagined a little grass hut-type awning, a string of parrot party lights, a neon light shaped like a palm tree, a pink flamingo just because, comfy chaise lounge chairs and music by Jimmy Buffet, natch. The centerpiece would be my shiny, stainless steel Margaritaville frozen concoction maker.

The only problem? I have a one-margarita limit. Two margaritas and my head is pounding like a, like a, like a really loud pounding thingy. I just couldn't justify all that snazzy-ness for one margarita every now and again.

But now.

Now there is the Margaritaville Trio frozen concoction maker. An even larger ice shaver with three -- count 'em THREE -- "independent blending stations" for a combined 72 ounces of margarita-liciousness. Available for your very own home usage.

It boggles the imagination! Of all the things in the Williams-Sonoma catalog that I desire but have absolutely no need for, this one takes the cake. It is the apex of margarita technology. The perfect blending (as it were) of consumerism and consumption, of impracticality and, well, that pretty much sums it up.

And I am lime-green with envy.

It's not just the Margaritaville Trio frozen concoction maker, it's the lifestyle that would cause someone to need the Margaritaville Trio frozen concoction maker. Who really needs to make a combined 72-ounces of frozen drinks at the same time, at home, often enough to justify the cost of such a machine? Other than Jimmy Buffet, that is.

And if you could afford it and needed one, would you really want to spend all your time standing around making 72-ounces of frozen drinks? Or cleaning up after a bunch of people who could drink multiple 72-ounce batches of frozen drinks? And if you could hire people to run the machine and clean up after your friends, would you really spend your time looking through catalogs?

I think not.

I think this is one of those products destined to be in the sale catalog next time around. And so, to save the good people at Williams-Sonoma the stress of worrying about how they are going to get rid of a warehouse full of Margaritaville Trio frozen concoction makers, I will volunteer to accept one at no charge.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

This Space for Rent

I read an interesting article in the Cedar Rapids Gazette recently. It was a morning much like any other, as the royal family shared the paper and discussed important issues and world events.

"Darling children, what would you like for breakfast?" I called. "Lucky Charms or Cinnamon Toast Crunch?"

"Our Kellogg's Pop Tarts are already in the Kitchen Aid toaster, Mother dear," the Little Princess and Prince replied. "Would you please pour our Sunny D for us?"

"Of course, dears," I said. "It's right here in our GE refrigerator, right next to my Tropicana orange juice. I'm glad I remembered to pick up more Eggo Nutrigrain waffles."

"Hey, save the sports section for me," His Royal Highness said with a chuckle, knowing full well that we always do. "My heart-healthy bowl of Quaker oatmeal is almost done cooking in the Kenmore microwave oven, then I'll join you around our table from the Kalona Furniture Mart."

"What are you planning to do today, Mother dearest?" the Little Prince asked.

"I think I will do a few loads of laundry in our Maytag washer and dryer this morning, "I said. "Then you could help me make Kraft Mac and Cheese for lunch."

"Can we have Oscar Meyer hot dogs, too?" he suggested.

"I'd much rather have tuna casserole, made with Velveta Shells and Cheese, Chicken of the Sea tuna and Green Giant peas," said the Little Princess.

"That sounds good," the King said. "I see we're out of Campbell's soup, so I'll have to grab a sandwich at Subway. Maybe I'll get a bag of Sterzings and a Coke, too."

"According to the weather report on WMT AM600, this would be a great day for a ride on our Schwinn bicycles," the Little Princess said.

"I'd much rather stay home and play on the Wii," the Little Prince complained.

"If you'll put on your Nikes we'll walk into town for a Well's Blue Bunny ice cream treat," I offered. "But first it's into the shower for you two! The Dial soap, Suave shampoo and Cannon towels are all ready for you. And don't forget to brush your teeth with Crest!"

"Oh my goodness, look at the time on my Timex watch!" I said, turning to Hubby. "Honey, you'd better lace up your Timberland boots and drive the Honda Ridgeline to work."

"But first I wanted to draw your attention to this interesting article in the Gazette," said the King. "Did you know that some Bloggers earn money by mentioning product names in their blogs?"

"I am shocked! Shocked, I say," I said. "More than that, I am shocked and appalled."

"Shocked and appalled that you didn't think of this earlier?" he asked.

"No!" I said, vehemently shaking my head. "I would never compromise my principals by shilling for a product for cash!"

Not when they could write me a check.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hairy Tale

Got my hair cut last week. Added a little color. Nothing big. A little gray here and there. Just for kicks.

My friends have been trying to get me to color my hair for a long time. I must admit, the gray really "pops" with this cut. And it looks totally natural! If you didn't know better, you might think it came from years of worrying about and looking after kids, a husband and an aging mother.

I think the new color makes me look more mature. And to be honest, I was getting tired of looking so darn young. It was such a hassle being carded all the time. Having to wear the "teacher" badge at the high school so no one would think I was a student. Assuring strangers that the Prince and Princess are my kids, not my brother and sister.

It had only been a couple months since my last style change -- which I loved, loved, loved. But I was feeling restless and, as I'm still afraid of needles, a tattoo was out of the question. An Ahm naw ge-in my tuh pier! Ah doe cahr wah deh seh, you tah fuh-y wih a pier tuh. (Sound it out, people.)

Besides, I enjoy trying out new haircuts. It's a thrilling little battle of wills between me and my hair. I want it to curl this way, or poof up that way. My hair wants to lay flat, or stick straight out at odd angles. Eventually we come to agreement -- meaning I give up and let it do what it wants. Then it's off to the hairdressers for a new cut and a rematch!

My new 'do is supposed to look like pop-singer Rhianna's, although the gray reminds me more of Jamie Lee Curtis's hair. It's a toss up. I could easily be mistaken for either one. OK, I might have to add colored contacts, but then, for sure.

When it's not humid and the nozzle on the hairspray isn't all gunked up and I have beaten my hair into submission, it's kind of "poofy" at the crown with a straight "swoopy" over one eye. This is not to be confused with the mullet, which is "party" in the back, "business" in the front. However, the swoop over the eye does add a "business" element to it, as it reminds my family of Kate Gosselin of "John and Kate Plus Eight." Channeling Kate has really helped me get in touch with my inner bi... I mean, inner assertiveness.

The Royal Family likes the new hair cut. Or they've been too afraid of my inner-Kate to disagree. It's a win-win. His Royal Highness reserved comment, looking at me nervously until I confirmed that yes, I had gotten my hair cut. At least he noticed this time, although we do need to work on his enthusiasm and sincerity.

The Little Prince took one look and asked "Whadup wid' da' hair, Mom?" as he headed off to become a rock legend on Guitar Hero. Who is this little hoodlum, and what happened to my English-speaking boy? Maybe I should see if they have Baroque Hero, or Orchestral Hero for Wii.

The Little Princess didn't get the whole color thing. She suggested I replace the gray with blond highlights.

"Gray is the new blond," I said.

"Wow, you have a lot of blond hair," she said.

Who says blonds have more fun?