My four-woman book club was at my house the other night, and I’m so glad because it’s only when company comes that I look at our ratty salsa-stained napkins and think, “I really should buy new ones,” and then of course it’s just a baby step to buying a new tablecloth because you simply cannot put old napkins on a new tablecloth and naturally then you need new coasters because the old ones just will not do and before you know it you’re lugging two big bags out of Target and thinking, “But I just went in for some new napkins” — which, we all know, is Target’s Master Plan to Take Over the World. Or, at least, to make a dent in my bank account. I was practicing what to tell my husband (the on-the-defensive offense of “How can you ask me if I just bought these? I’ll have you know I take our household budget very seriously and I can’t believe you think I’d just go out and buy some new things. And furthermore …” was a possibility) but so far he hasn’t noticed, so I figure I’m safe. Or maybe I should just come out and tell him. Sort of like the other morning when I was at Older Daughter’s house with 3-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable while she and my son-in-law were out. I was puttering and didn’t notice that the Captain had gleefully unrolled a whole roll of paper towels in the hallway to “make a sled.” Yikes. I knew this contravened a Mommy rule and I wasn’t anxious to have another — another! — black mark on my grandmotherly babysitting record. “Uh-oh,” I said, as unsuccessfully tried to re-roll, “what happened here?” With that innocent look of “What? Who? Me?” that’s perfected so early, the Captain shrugged and said with no irony whatsoever, “The paper towels got long, Kacky.” Brilliant! Genius! Our ticket to redemption! It wasn’t a lie because that’s exactly what happened. “Right!” I said. “That’s what we’ll tell Mommy when she asks what happened.” We practiced a couple of times and I thought all was well, until Mommy came home and the Captain forgot his lines at the crucial moment: “I’m sorry, Mommy. When Kacky wasn’t looking, I took the paper towels and rolled them out in the hall.” Ouch — a double whammy of confession and implication. But it wasn’t so bad, since both the Captain and I escaped with only a stern warning look. And of course we talked later about the importance of always telling Mommy and Daddy the truth — and leaving Kacky out of it.
In an effort to demonstrate to my husband that I can be responsible and frugal, I’ve stayed out of Target recently because I can’t go there without spending at least $50 — even when I had no intention of buying anything. (But it’s all cute stuff I’ll probably most likely need sometime maybe! And at a fantastic price!) But over at http://www.suburbanmatron.com/, Becky’s obsession hunt for the new Orla Kiely line got me curious, so I wandered into our local Target purely for research purposes and to help out a bloggy friend. And she’s right: There’s disappointingly little of the Orla Kiely things available — a few storage boxes and closet organizers. That’s too bad, since her prints are so fresh and cheerful and springlike. I would have loved to have loaded up my cart with the Melamine dishes that look so wonderful online but are backordered several weeks. But it was not to be. (Insert here the sound of my husband sighing in relief.) So I was forced to wander around and buy look at other things. That’s how I found my new favorite snack: Praeventia cookies. Am I the only one who’s never heard of these?They’re made from whole oats and other good-for-you things — red wine, cocoa, green tea, orange zest — and come in handy pouches so you have to think before you devour the whole box. Plus, they’re satisfyingly tasty and crunchy. The best part? The shape! I’m telling you, those little hearts just make you smile to look at them. They’re perfect for Valentine’s Day, too. I found them in the cookie aisle at my Target and I’m going back for more. Just don’t tell my husband.