Eight sevens are fifty six

26 Jan
From house and home

We have narrowed it down to one store, but there are still three types to choose from.

We have come back to this store with the benetton in mind. Those beautiful colours, yellow and orange and blue, will represent a new life, replacing the maroon and green that I would normally choose.

‘Yep,’ I have said with conviction as we discussed it outside the previous shop, ‘That’s definitely what we’ll do.’

‘Okay,’ the mister has said. ‘Let’s go.’

It is fun. Shopping is fun after all. The boys want orange, the mister wants yellow, and I have always loved the two contrasting with dark blue.
We will buy eight towels. Four dark blue, two yellow and two orange because the orange goes with the blue and the yellow goes with the blue, but the yellow and orange don’t mix.

I imagine our bathroom. It will look beautiful. Two blue towels and two orange one week, with two blue and two yellow the next. And the towels not being used? They will sit in a neatly folded, stable pile with their sides lined up just so.

New colours, new towels, new life.

Shopping is fun.
But then…

I take one final look at the tag.

‘How much is two hundred dirhams?’ I ask my walking currency convertor.

‘About seventy dollars,’ he says without needing to pause for conversion.

‘Seventy bucks? For a towel? F**k.’

He nods, patience in his eyes. He knew we’d be back at this point and he knows what’s to come.

I bite at my bottom, inside lip. I like that callous I have been growing.

On the one hand, I have been promising myself new towels. New towels and sheets to replace the fraying, thinning sets we’ve left behind. New towels is part of the excitement of the move. Who doesn’t love new sheets and towels bought in matching sets.

But seventy times eight is…’Eight sevens are fifty six, aren’t they?’ I check my calculation, although I’ve always been good on my eight times tables, it’s the nines I really can’t do.

The mister nods.

F**k. On towels.

‘These are nice too,’ I say rubbing at the nautilus towels. They are made from 100% hygro cotton which sounds wholesome, don’t you think. They are thicker, better quality. And I’ve always like maroon.

The mister nods.

‘I mean those benetton ones are beautiful colours and all, but you’re just paying for the name.’

He nods again.

‘That’s against everything I believe in.’ Pause. ‘Isn’t it?’

Another nod.

‘I like this colour.’ I point to the maroon in the hygro cotton which we have earlier ascertained are better – even good – value towels. ‘Do you?’

‘I’d be equally happy with that,’ he says. (I wonder whether he knows he only uses ‘equally happy’ in particular situations).

He gathers the orange towels back from youngest boy, the yellow towels back from the oldest and with nothing in their hands they start slapping each other again.

Okay, well, how about if we take four of these for now, and then, in another few weeks, if we see some others we like, we can buy four more. We drape the towels around ourselves, deciding on the bath sheet rather than the oversized towel.

‘Four of these please.’

‘I’m sorry, sir, we only have three pieces.’

Clearly we can’t take three, what kind of set is that for a family of four. Small conference, but it’s fine, no problems, simple solution we’ll just take two bath sheets (for the adults) and two oversized towels (for the children).
Here’s the facewashers.

But wait!

There’s no matching footmat!

We agree that we need a footmat, although we don’t agree that the footmat must match the towels.

I stroll along the shelves.

‘What about these? I like these,’ I say pointing at the Gant (I’m learning a lot about brands and labels today).

‘They’re the same price as the benetton.’

‘Yeah, but they have stars. Look at the stars.’ I pull one out, hold it out for the mister to rub. ‘And they’re better quality, aren’t they? And see…there’s a footmat to match.’

Truthfully, however, I think that the footmat has been dyed with a slightly different die than the towels, for they are both maroon, but in slightly different shades.

In which case, I think, we could get the maroon stars footmat to go with the maroon hygro cotton towels. Actually, I quite like this green in the stars, no, that hygro cotton green is too washed out. Or (and this is not a bad idea) we could get the orange and yellow benetton with the blue in the hygro cotton, but I’m not sure about the footmat then, cos I don’t like blue for a footmat. So what about a white footmat? White? We could get white towels. White towels are beautiful. Is there white in the hygro cotton?

How long have we been here now? I would not be surprised if it’s been an hour. How many towels have we looked at? I would not be surprised if it’s eighty six.

The fluff and the dust and whatever other shit they put in towels when they manufacture and package them is flying around us. I can see it in the air and feel it clogging my lungs.

‘I wish they’d turn that music down. How are we supposed to think with the music loud like that?’

The boys are sliding along the floor, poking each other, calling out ‘pillow fight’.

The mister keeps his calm.

And I start to cry.

‘It’s okay,’ he says and holds me. I rest my head on his chest. I could really let go now. I could cry and cry and cry. ‘It’s silly,’ I say. ‘It’s silly to cry like this.’

He says: ‘it would be, if it was just about the towels’.

Still to come on Adelaide from Adelaide in Abu Dhabi:

– how a commitment to zero waste ended in a saucepan filled with rotting orange pulp;

– how to dry a king size quilt cover in a life with no washing line;

– and How Adelaide Plans to Celebrate her 40th birthday with a current total of No friends (in close enough proximity, I mean, not wanting to cast nasturtiams on what are the Best Friends in the Universe and with whom Adelaide would ordinarily spend magnificent celebratory times).

UPDATE Oh no! I didn’t mean to sound so down about my birthday. It will still be rocking. The mister will think of something. He always does.


12 Responses to “Eight sevens are fifty six”

  1. m January 26, 2009 at 12:24 pm #

    here’s a warm adelaide hug (and i mean warm, have you seen the forecast for this coming week!) – *HUUUUUUUG*

  2. meli January 26, 2009 at 12:25 pm #

    sounds like you deserved the yellow and blue and orange towels, anyway.

    i’m turning 30 this year, with potentially no friends on hand… maybe you should ship some over.


  3. SQ January 26, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    Your mister is brilliant. And you are too.

    Your 40th is important. Thinking, thinking, thinking …

    And do they not have laundrettes that do service washes in Abu Dhabi?

  4. dogpossum January 26, 2009 at 1:59 pm #

    I hear ya, sister. I spent two hours the other day in BedBathTable then Myer buying a set of towels and a set of sheets. I bought one lot (in BBT in their ‘home’ brand, ‘assisted’ by a lady who turned out to be a saleswoman with mad skillz) then went to Myer and saw the Sheridan stuff on sale. But they only had white. White’s not so good with a family as dirty as ours… well, a family who’s not so good at cleaning itself. I spent _so_ long looking at the towels. They didn’t quite have matching sets in anything but white in the on-sale Sheridan. I went and looked at the sheets. Bought cream. A mistake, but 1000 count Egyptian cotton – a set with extra pillow slips for $200. Then I went back to the towels.
    I ended up getting gorgeous blue ‘dry glo’ ones in Egyptian cotton. Turned out they were the same brand as the best quality towels I’ve ever owned (and still own, 15 years later).

    By the end of it my sore foot hurt so much I was limping and teary. I had to have a sit down. At one point I said to a sales lady, “I wish my mother would just buy these things for me. I really wish she would.” I do.

    We are looking at birthdays in a new town as well: it’s not so bad. You have your family. When I first moved to Melbourne I had no one. You can do something nice with your family.

    At any rate, better to cry over mismatched towels. Because you’re right there with all that absorbent cotton. Hope things feel better soon, you brave adventurer, you.

  5. Mummy Crit January 26, 2009 at 3:08 pm #

    Nines are actually easier than eights…or at least you can check it by seeing if the two digits of the answer add up to nine…6X9= 54 … 5+4=9…but that wasn’t what you wanted to hear was it?

    Hooray for the understanding mister, and $70 for a towel is just silly.

  6. Lynne January 27, 2009 at 2:25 am #

    Oh I understand completely. Towels are so HARD!! And they have to match.
    Happy birthday on the 4th. If I knew where to send it, I would send a whole card this time (do you remember the half card?). Hang in there – you’ll look back on all this one day and smile.

  7. Kath Lockett January 27, 2009 at 2:40 am #

    Fucking towels can do anyone’s head it – especially when it’s cluttered with a heap of other stuff that would make you cry regardless of price, fluff and time spent in a manchester store.

    Hell, I only moved to Melbourne and was sitting outside with the rabbit yesterday wondering why I wanted to burst into tears…?!

    Chocolate always helps though. As does Love Chunks (or Mr, in your case).

  8. Kath Lockett January 27, 2009 at 2:41 am #

    Bugger – the first line should read ‘in’, not ‘it’. Where’s my coffee?

  9. Pen January 28, 2009 at 10:46 am #

    Hope you do find something special for your birthday. Our wedding present towels are looking ugly…stress.

  10. Pavlov's Cat January 29, 2009 at 3:57 am #

    Yesterday it was 45.7 here and the lemon tree has a whole lot of shrivelled black things on it that used to be leaves, if that restores even the tiniest bit of perspective.

  11. squidfisher February 1, 2009 at 3:09 pm #

    Hello. Congrats on the novel almost coming into fruition. The Mod and I would be keen to have your email address or any kind of address. Or something. Especially with your birthday nearly upon us and all. Please email us?


  1. Honestly, I am sitting here grinning like a Cheshire Cat « adelaide from adelaide - May 12, 2009

    […] (beds, lounge, table, chairs, that kind of thing), but the mister, no doubt still thinking about the towels, has agreed that it does not need to be a consultative process and I should go alone one […]

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