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Little glitches make life interesting

It is curious to me how, on a bed in our house, the fitted sheet hugs the mattress perfectly but the matching flat sheet is too narrow to tuck in either side.

The sheets came as a set, but it appears that only one fits the mattress properly.

This is in our daughter's bedroom and what invariably happens is that, during the course of the night, the sheet travels down to the foot of the bed under the comforter and ends up in a ball. Sometimes one of our cats discovers it -- the cat that doesn't roam around all night knocking things off dresser tops -- and happily nestles in. The whole mess makes bed-making a time-consuming task on busy mornings.

While this is hardly a dire situation, the sheet is just one of the items in our home that is goofing off on the job.

There are others. We have a contemporary paper napkin holder that doesn't hold its contents properly (you grab one napkin, and the rest end up on the kitchen floor.)

We have lazy tongs incapable of grabbing even a cube of cheese.

We have a toilet roll dispenser that, every time you go to refill it, springs off onto the floor and breaks apart in two pieces.

We also have a magnetic clip afraid of attachment.

These are everyday mundane objects -- not some trendy item I bought for aesthetics alone, even though I knew function may be forfeited. I have, for example, a set of wine glasses with stems so long the glasses tip over if you even breathe on them.

I never use them -- why would I? -- but they sure are pretty to look at.

A few weeks ago, I bought on impulse caddies designed for corraling plastic tubular hangers. It's better than piling them on the closet floor, I thought, when I spotted them at the store. I grabbed two, walked by the shelves of bed linens -- I think I heard the flat sheets snickering at me -- and headed toward the register.

"What a great idea," I said to the cashier, handing over my money.

I got them home, envisioning instant order. One problem: My hangers didn't fit on them.

Nor did the plastic clips I bought last summer. These modern version of clothes pins are supposed to attach to the hangers to accommodate skirts, etc.

Handy, but my hangers are too thick for them. So I gave them to my mother. They fit her hangers perfectly.

"Maybe you're doing it wrong. Next time you're here, I'll show you how to do it correctly," she said on the telephone.

Sure, I'll hurry right over.

I know it's just not me. Every week I see books and articles devoted to simple home solutions to everyday problems -- from finding the end of a roll of tape (stick a bingo chip or button on the tape's loose end!, suggest the editors of Martha Stewart Living) to dealing with lone socks (fill with catnip, knot the ends and give kitty a new toy!, urges a writer for Knight Ridder Newspapers).

As for those bedsheets, I do believe they have their shortcomings -- even though I didn't measure them and don't intend to. Our tape measure always jams, anyway.

Maybe sometime I'll find an answer (it won't be duct tape, some people's solution to everything). For now, the cat is happy with the arrangement. Our daughter doesn't really care where her sheet ends up as long as she has help making the bed.

And, besides, I have a closet floor full of plastic hangers to deal with.


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