Archive | 1:30 pm

You Get What You Don’t Pay For

18 Nov

Words that don’t go together:

Martha Stewart Living    +    Free

Yet that didn’t stop me from signing up for a free subscription to the magazine months ago.  I always drooled over its glossy cover in line at the grocery store, so when I had the chance to have my very own copies to snuggle up with my husband’s homemade canned goods, it seemed like a no-brainer.

To be fair to Martha, I very rarely crack the cover.  The babies spend more time paging through Living on an average month than their harried mother.  Sometimes I even catch them ripping out articles for future reference.  But I have more important things on my plate.  So due to stuck-on food particles, I rarely get a chance to apply Martha’s hints and tips for an elegant life.

Then earlier this month I took a vacation.  That’s right.  No children.  No dirty dishes.  Just me, Lutheran Church Music, and an incredibly gracious set of friends willing to house me.  Their home provided a delightful respite.  Quiet.  Well decorated.  Breakable objects placed less than five feet high.  Adult conversation.  Scotch.  Panera bagels from the food co-op.  Lap.  Of.  Luxury.

My dear friend also has what I can only assume is a free subscription to Martha Stewart Living.  And so one peaceful morning as I nibbled on my Breast Cancer Awareness Cranberry Bagel I perused the pages of the December issue looking for some great Christmas ideas.

Next to a schedule of complete strangers’ birthdays was this helpful tip: use floral wire to replace a missing hook on your ornaments.

Floral Wire.  Because I have a large stock of that readily available?  You want a helpful tip Martha?  Use a twist-tie.  Now those would provide an “instant fix.”  In fact, I’m pretty sure that the babies have one hidden under the couch cushion, so I probably won’t even have to leave the room to get my plastic bobbles hung on the tree.

Maybe this wouldn’t be an easy solution for Martha, though.  She probably bakes all her own bread.

Finding her helpful hints lacking on the helpful aspect I moved on to stocking stuffers.  The boys are growing tired of second-hand Hot Wheels and Tic Tacs.  Maybe there I would find some inspiration.  Crayons.  That showed some potential.

Not just any crayons.  The retired colors.  Maize and friends. For only . . .

That’s right.  $14.  For eight crayons.  $1.75 a crayon.  I do not feed my babies gourmet foods.  And unless the Burnt Umber is so unappetizing that it prevents the wee ones from ingesting the entire box, then it’s just not worth it.

On to home decor.  Obviously, we don’t need much help here.  Our boys seem to have a great handle on creating a individualized atmosphere full of fresh ideas, but it never hurts to incorporate a few new projects.  This one showed potential:

Poking Christmas lights through cupcake holders?  That is right up our alley.  We will do this.  It will look . . . well, . . .probably not a lot like that.

At last I made it to the section titled “With the Kids.”  Now Martha was speaking my language.

I do not want to entice them back in.  They’ll be in of their own blue-lipped accord soon enough.  They need to stay out a long time.  And not so I can spend two hours constructing marshmallow snowmen for them to dive-bomb into their hot cocoa.  No.  I need time to do laundry.  I need time to shower.  I need time to blog.  Martha, I’m afraid you do not get me.  You had me at “free” and then you lost me somewhere amongst the homemade foiled wrapping paper and the $9.10 glitter.

I suppose everyone will be saying that all of this angst against Martha is really borne out of jealously.  It’s true.  I freely admit it.  Someday.  Someday.  But in the meantime I’m going to go comfort myself in the one Good Thing she and I seem to have in common: