Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Rain, Hair, and Undressed Beds

(or Life in Rainy Rural America)

The weekend was drismal. We must have gotten over an inch of rain on Sunday alone—and several inches of mud. When I fed dogs yesterday and this morning, I thought my shoes would get sucked off.

At least I could feed horses under the run-in shed. But yesterday both mares were water-logged. The only thing worse than a soggy horse is a shedding horse. My two mares are shedding handfuls of hair at a time.

Because I have to wait for Cupcake to finish her “soup,” I groom Melody to give her something to do so she doesn’t hand over the gate and intimidate Cupcake. I run the shedding blade over her and watch her hair cascade to the ground. Birds will use the hair for a soft nest-lining. Sometimes I go into the stall (while Melody glares at us) and scrape hair off Cupcake. Cupcake has LOTS of hair. I’ve already clipped her head, her armpits (or whatever they’re called), and a strip down her neck so she won’t get too sweaty. I clipped off enough hair two weeks ago to knit a pony, and she still has plenty more.

For the last couple of days, I’ve returned to the house wet, muddy, and covered with hair. (Note to urban readers: this is the norm in rural America.) I then shower, have another cup of coffee and read The Roanoke Times—such as it is (or, more likely, isn’t). The RT contains very Linklittle in the way of actual news—and much of that is poorly written. (Do journalism classes now encourage students to use as many prepositional phrases as possible? as many passive verbs as they can?)

Anyhow, the Sunday Roanoke Times ran a full-page reprint of a Better Homes & Gardens article, “Sleeping beauties: Don't just make your bed — dress it.”

Notice the empty space at the bottom.
Apparently when the RT runs out of words, they just leave space.

Here's a closer look. (Note all the bleed-through from the other side of the page.)

A copy of the article is here (albeit without the numerous large photos the RT used to fill the page, the empty space, and the bleed-through). Apparently other content-hungry papers reprinted it, too.

I thought the article was a hoot, even though it wasn’t supposed to be. Who has time to “dress” a bed? I do well to get mine made up before I go out to feed hungry critters. Plus my bed is usually occupied by at least one cat—Foxy, Camilla, Dylan, and Eddie-puss have sort of a time-share arrangement regarding the bed.

Foxy insists upon returning to bed after she's made her morning rounds.
I can't make up the bed until she finishes her morning nap.

Some of the article’s suggestions just aren’t practical for a rural lifestyle:

Hideaway bed: A bed skirt isn't just for looks - it's a perfect solution for keeping underbed storage out of sight. Plastic bins will easily slide under the bed.

And cats will push them out again. Under my bed is the perfect storage for boxes of books and piles of magazines. The cats periodically reshuffle them. Also a border collie sometimes sleeps there. Cats also like to hang by their claws from the bed ruffle. I assume that’s some kind of cat exercise because they periodically kick it, too. When the carpet cleaner comes, the bed ruffle provides a hiding place. At least the cats think they’re hiding. Anyhow, my bed ruffle is decorated with paw-prints and cat hair.

The grand finale: Drape a coordinating throw over the bed's foot for a final flourish.

And a cat will promptly roll up in the throw. Another cat will jump onto the rolled-up cat. Or, worse, a cat will hack up a hairball on it.

Time and again: Choose an easy-to-work-with neutral for the parts of the bed that you won't change frequently, such as the headboard and bed skirt.

It’s even better is you select colors that match whatever critters sleep on your bed. Or whatever they hack up. Do real people actually have fabric headboards? In my house, a farbric-covered headboard would make a great scratching post.

Note that I do not have a fabric headboard.
I do have a washable comforter and shams, though.

Camilla rearranges pillows on the made-up bed.

Tucked in: Give your bed a tailored look by tucking in the quilt only along the foot of the bed.

Obviously the author has never had an ingrown toenail or leg cramps. Where do you put your feet if the quilt is tucked in? And how does a cat hiding under the covers get out easily?

Old style: Look to vintage linens as another source of less-expensive fabric (they're also low-maintenance - they've likely been washed many times and can stand up to more).

Uh, most of my linens qualify as “vintage.” Even the pilled-up places on the sheets are old enough to be “vintage.” When my linens become more “vintage” than I can stand, they become shop rags or animal bedding. (Truth be told, most of my possessions are "vintage.")

Coincidentally, I just bought a "vintage" quilt last Friday at my favorite boutique (aka Goodwill). It's not very old, though, and I'll use it to "dress" the sofa, not the bed.

This twin-size quilt cost $6.99. I hope I didn't pay to0 much.

Now, if y’all will excuse me, I need to finish my coffee, put on my "vintage" barn shoes, and slog through the mud to shovel some “vintage” manure out of Cupcake’s and Melody’s bed—er, stall.

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Blogger Amy Tate said...

The RT is getting worse. At least the article produced a good blog post.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Robyn said...

Oh my goodness! I love the quilt!! Reminds me that I need a goodwill/dumpster fix!
Great shopping - do hope it was senior day.;)

12:25 PM  
Blogger Roanoke RnR said...

Shhhh, don't tell anyone but there are some days I don't even bother making my bed. Today's one of them.

2:35 PM  
Blogger CountryDew said...

I agree with you on the RT. I am wondering why I keep buying it. It's grown very thin and pitiful.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

Your book review on Sunday was one of the brighter spots.

9:40 PM  

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