Monday, February 16, 2009

shopping extravaganza with Ed

Yes, shopping with Ed. There is a pattern there and it’s one worth noting, if only because it is always so predictable. And it says a lot about him. And about me. And it’s all fine, if you can look beyond the perimeter.

I don’t often buy canned foods, but occasionally it happens. If Ed’s around I ask him to open the can.

Then I get the comment: you have the cheapest (this is a good thing), clumsiest, most worthless can opener on earth.
(It’s true: I think I purchased it for 59 cents, maybe forty years ago.)
I can’t afford a replacement. (This is not entirely true, but translated, it means: I am not willing to spend money on a replacement.)

Still, my hands are the weakest part of my anatomy and twisting that piece of junk is getting to be hard.
I’ll get you a better one -- Ed tells me.
Let’s go.

We are at Target. The range in manual can openers is quite significant: from $1.99 to $14.39. Ed points to the $2.99 model. Get this one. I have it, it works well.
It’s ugly.
Okay, which one do you like? I dare not say the $14.39 model, but it’s true – it’s a Kitchen Aid and it has red handles, matching the color of my Kitchen Aid tea kettle.
This one is okay… I point to the one just under, at $13.99.
But they’re all the same design! – Ed says with patience, but not really comprehending. Made in China. Same cutting blade, same grip.
Yes, but somehow it looks different.
I’ll buy you the $2.99 one.
No, forget it. I’ll buy my own. I fork over $15 for the red-handled one. Ed feels sorry for me and slips $15 into my purse. Every day is Valentine's Day.

We’re not done yet. So long as we are in shopping territory, we take a look at something that has been on the “to get” list ever since the bank down the street turned a blind eye on its malfunctioning outdoor thermometer. It used to be the first thing I looked at each morning (I can see it just outside my condo), but for whatever crazy banking reason, it’s busted and no one seems to care.

Understanding my temperature anxieties, Ed purchased a thermometer for my balcony for $6.99, but we could not read the screen against the glare of the sun. Back it went today.
We inspect the Target option, then the Menards option. I like the Target one better -- I say.
The name… (The brand name is Oregon and there is a picture of what must be Oregon pines.)
You know, I don’t think you’re joking.
Still, I am not unreasonable: It’s okay. I’ll settle for this one – it’s $3 less.

But two minutes later, at the sadly defunct Circuit City we find an Oregon deluxe model for 50% off. Such a bargain! Ed is jealous.
It reads barometric pressure, doesn’t it?
Yep! (Smugly, as I hug the Oregon box with the pine trees.)
Okay, I want one too, for the sheepshed.
So long as we're here, how about picking up the Sony flat screen? (My TV is the size of a laptop.) It’s 25% off. Ed pulls me away and I know that we are done shopping for the season, if not for the year.

We stop for coffee at my favorite Dane County café. I notice that the patron whom I had photographed back in January is there again. And today she again matches the paintings on the wall, this time picking up on the reds rather than the purples.

001 copy

I think to myself how style is important, how the handles on the can opener are pretty and how spending pennies on a warm color is worth it.

I go back home, past the bare fields of a receding winter…

005 copy

At the condo, I put my new thermometer outside and note that the temperature is 32.2. I unwrap the can opener and with great affection place it in the drawer. I wont really see the redness of the handles, but I know they are there, stunningly radiant in the drawer.