Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Why is All Mid-Priced Furniture Crap?

The excitement never stops here, people. My son, age 12, is about to get the third dresser in his short life. The first one was thoughtfully purchased by friends from our registry at a baby store on Avenue A. It was $400 and doubled as a changing table. Unfortunately, the plywood bottom of one of the drawers fell out almost instantly, and I would drive myself insane trying to keep it pushed in. Two year later, we got a new dresser from Pottery Barn Kids for around $500. It is called the Kendall, and matches his trundle bed.  The finish didn't last very well, and it was starting to get too small for him, and I was considering replacing it. Then a week or so ago, one of the drawers fell off the track and wouldn't go back on. I took a break from ruining everyone's fun to call Pottery Barn. I  had a frustrating conversation with the service agent, who is even better at ruining people's fun than I am. She basically accused me of willfully breaking the thing. Then she said that since the shoddy dresser was 10 years old, I should not be surprised that it is broken. Something about normal wear and tear. Which is just bullshit, and the fact that the majority of the goods we buy quickly fall apart is one reason that our planet is covered with trash.

(I have this Ethan Allen furniture which my mom bought me in the sixties. It is not to my taste, what with the vaguely colonial hardware--I keep meaning to go to Anthropologie and get some more appealing drawer pulls. But this hideous bedroom set is incredibly well-made. The drawers will never fall apart.  I am bound to it, and it to me.)

What to do? I can't bring myself to go to Ethan Allen. I might live in the suburbs and own a kicky pair of floral shorts from Talbots, BUT I DO HAVE MY LIMITS, PEOPLE.

Pottery Barn isn't getting any more of my money, and they have thousands of dollars of it already. I have never bought a single thing at Ikea. It is inexpensive, but anything that cheap, in my opinion, REALLY has to be garbage. And you have to assemble Ikea furniture, which will involve a lot of cursing and frustration on the part of my husband. So, in desperation,  I am about to spend $800 on a dresser from Land of Nod.  I am worried it is going to fall apart too.

Thoughts? Has anyone bought anything at Land of Nod? Any furniture suggestions?

Also,  R.I.P. Helen Gurley Brown, who I am certain never spent much time worrying about the quality of cheap bedroom furniture. She was too busy explaining what we should do on the bedroom furniture. Oh, I am hilarious.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What is Wrong With Boys?

I'm taking a quick break from ruining everyone's fun to ask a question that has been on my mind: What is wrong with boys?

I have been observing my son and his pack of 10 to 13-year-old friends like an anthropologist. (Or sociologist? Psychologist?) Behaviors, which appear to be innate and impervious to the civilizing influence of a good home,  include: pool games such as Sharks and Minnows, the object of which seems to be drowning each other. Underwater wrestling, until at least one competitor is near death. I actually asked the boys: "Please explain to me what is fun about that." They stared at me blankly.

The point of another game, called "Taps," seems to be whaling a ball at the opponent's head until a concussion is achieved.  On land the boys play games such as Zombie Tag, Cops and Robbers and Capture the Flag. Grouped together, these activities could be referred to as "Lord of the Flies." Or maybe "The Hunger Games."

I asked my husband if he had any insights, and he said: "They are boys."

Men and boys really are different. And not in a good way. Which reminds me of a Lynda Barry cartoon from The Village Voice, which I had posted on my bulletin board for years, called "Why I Like Men." I couldn't find it on the internet but I can quote it pretty much verbatim from memory: "Why I like Men: Well, for one thing there's their big muscles. They like things that are on fire and loud noises. I cannot explain why I like to kiss them. For life is filled with such mysteries."

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Mom Who Ruins Everyone's Fun

Please allow me to introduce myself. I'm The Mom Who Ruins Everyone's Fun. This is quite an accomplishment. Any mom can ruin her own kids' fun, just by making them wear sunscreen and eat fresh fruit,  but who among you can ruin everyone's fun?

What's more, I have been informed that "everyone thinks that I am the mom who ruins everyone's fun." Just yesterday, while I was stretched out in the shade trying to read my third Nora Ephron book in two weeks,  I saw a kid strongly knee another kid in the stomach. It was like a pain-inducing move I learned in a women's self defense class back in the 80s, except that one was to the groin. The aggressor's parents were not around, so I said: "I saw that. That wasn't good." Then, I made sure the child writhing on the ground had no internal injuries. This, apparently, was one of many fun-ruining actions.

I was also spotted handing a kid a napkin.

Here is my theme song.