It might not be the most convenient time, what with the holidays upon us and all, but I have recently discovered a little store by the name of Crate and Barrel. Normally, I am a Target gal; I’m not comfortable if I’m not shopping in a store that sells both lingerie and yard rakes, greeting cards and motor oil. I am very loyal to Target. I don’t cheat or do any shopping on the side; I don’t read anyone else’s fliers and circulars. I like one-stop shopping. Or so I thought, until sassy Crate and Barrel came along.
It might not be the most convenient time, what with the holidays upon us and all, but I have recently discovered a little store by the name of Crate and Barrel. Normally, I am a Target gal; I’m not comfortable if I’m not shopping in a store that sells both lingerie and yard rakes, greeting cards and motor oil. I am very loyal to Target. I don’t cheat or do any shopping on the side; I don’t read anyone else’s fliers and circulars. I like one-stop shopping. Or so I thought, until sassy Crate and Barrel came along. It all began one night last week, a night my family was driving me absolutely crazy. My little boy whizzed by me in shorts, a tee shirt, and cowboy boots, even though it is almost winter. For some reason, he had our fussy old cat on a leash and was ‘walking” him upstairs, humming the theme song from “Wheel of Fortune” in a continuous loop. Junk was piled high on either side of our small foyer, and family members were slouching by in their sweats, headed for the TV. Clean laundry was on the dining room table waiting to be folded – laundry that inexplicably always contains one toddler sock, even though my youngest is now eight. The fish water was cloudy, the dust bunnies were giving birth again, and the pipes were clanking because the heat was on. My dog walked by sheepishly, head angled away from me, with a styrofoam coffee cup in his mouth. Suddenly, I needed some air. “I hate to shake everyone up, but I really need some alone time, some time to ‘just be,’ to clear my head.” They all stared at me in a friendly, unfocused way that said, “We didn’t catch any of what you just said,” then they turned back to the TV. I headed for the door, grabbing my coat and purse. Where was I to go to escape my dull house and my messy, crowded life? I suddenly remembered a new two-story Crate and Barrel store that just went up, and I decided to see what it was all about. Could there really be a store that survived selling only crates and barrels? And why weren’t they closer to the docks? I entered through a revolving door when I got there, and I revolved from the cold, dark night into a home furnishings store filled with soothingly neutral colors and modern, softly-played holiday music that made me catch my breath and fumble for my ATM card in my purse. “What is this place?” I breathed, pushing my disheveled hair behind my ears and wishing I had plucked my eyebrows – this store was too good for me in my sneakers and college son’s high school soccer warm-ups! Beautiful people drifted by carrying beautiful things in their beautiful hands, and I wanted in on the action. An employee said, “Welcome to Crate and Barrel,” and I said, “I need a lot of what you have here.” She laughed knowingly, and pointed to the escalator, leading upstairs beyond this ground floor of soft Bexley throws and giant coffee cups and muted Marston table linens. “Is heaven up there?” I breathed, and she answered softly, “Almost, ma’am. Almost.” Up on the top floor, I was astounded – whole rooms of understated tan, cream or chocolate brown-colored fabrics and furniture sat; rooms with no junk, no personality, no past – a framed drawing of a sailboat costing hundreds of dollars brought tears of peace to my eyes. I noticed that other escapee-moms just like me were lounged out on beds and sacked out in leather club chairs, tears misting their eyes. “Look,” one pointed, with an un-manicured, dry-skinned hand, and we all followed her gaze and sighed, clutching our designer knock-off purses – a sample five-piece bedroom with no laundry, no junk mail, no stray socks – in fact, the only adornment was a vase of dried berries and a round black mirror – before I knew it, I was wrestling another quick-acting, exhausted mom for the bed. “I live here now!” I grunted, pushing her down, while she clambered back to her feet and said, “You can’t make me go home – there are kids there; everywhere! The answering machine has twenty messages, and I haven’t grocery-shopped in a week and a half!” I got under the covers, still clutching my purse. “I said I live here now, sister,” I said, pushing her hands off the abstract-art duvet. “Do me a favor – call my house, have them forward my mail, and wish them all luck for me – and can you hand me that throw pillow and the fuzzy quilt? And ask them to turn up this nondescript music a little more? Thanks!” You can probably guess the rest – they made me go home. So I did – with a credit card application and a smile. I’ve never been one to cheat, but I’m not going to tell Target about this just yet! Contact Deirdre at www.exhaustedrapunzel.com.