The world ends in a puff of feathers

Last Sunday was my birthday, and my exciting day was spent searching for a featherdown duvet inner for my son’s bed. It was a bright, sunny day, but I was squinting through my sunglasses and feeling like I could have stayed home to nap. I had a tiredness hangover. For the previous two nights, Master Seven had ended up in my bed complaining he was cold, and then falling asleep starfished in the exact centre of the mattress while I hugged the side and thought bitter thoughts. So neither I nor my husband slept well for those two nights, and when we woke up in the morning, we looked at each other bleary-eyed and agreed that a new feather duvet was needed to keep our kid in his own bed where he belonged.

It turned out the only time of the week I could feasibly go out hunting for a duvet inner was on my birthday, so I loaded the two big kids into the car and off we went on our merry (tired) way. We went to that store that I don’t need to name but you’ll know where I mean when I say that everything is always on sale there. In fact, if you ever pay full price at this particular store, I will think there is something wrong with you, because There. Is. Always. A. Sale. On. Now. For. A. Limited. Time. Which. Is. Actually. Always.

We got out of the car and immediately my children proceeded to try out every single porch swing that was on display outside the store. For 15 minutes they sat on swings, laid on swings, leaned back on swings, pushed each other on swings, elbowed each other off swings, and determined that the one we need at our house costs $1100 and has a lay-flat seat. There was a lot of heated arguing about who was going to be allowed to sleep outside on the lay-flat swing seat when they convinced me to buy it and bring it home. Meanwhile I was half-asleep in a faux wicker lounger.

Finally they roused me from my slumber and we ventured inside, where I immediately forgot what I was there for in the first place. Does this happen to anyone else? It’s the same when I go to the supermarket. If I don’t have a list in my hand, I will walk through those doors and forget that all I came for was bread, milk, and nappies. And I will leave with a trolley full of random stuff and not a single loaf of bread, bottle of milk, or pack of nappies.

After Miss 13 reminded me “Duvet inner, Mum!” with a teenagerly roll of her eyes, we wandered around the shop for about three hours before finding the bin of duvet inners. It was only vaguely in the same area of the store as the signage that stated “BEDDING” so obviously I was thinking too narrowly when I beelined for that section. The sign told me that the duvet inner we wanted was $400 marked down to $149 (I told you, everything is always on sale) so we grabbed one and went to the till. I was doing mental maths and willing my bank account to actually contain $149 when the nice guy who was ringing me up said, “That will be $500.”

“But it’s on sale,” I squeaked, alarmed and a bit confused. “It’s supposed to be $149.”

“Oh, this *is* on sale,” he replied. “The regular price is $600. The $149 one has a package that looks like this.” And he showed me in the store flyer that the cheaper duvet I wanted was in a package that looked exactly like the expensive one except there was a coloured stripe that was red instead of purple. He had to get a magnifying glass out of a drawer to point out the difference because I literally could not see it.

“Ahahaha, I must need to get my eyes checked, so sorry!” I babbled as Miss 13 rolled her eyes and Master Seven asked me why he can’t have a $500 duvet inner. We went back to the bins of duvets and this time it only took us two hours to get there because we had to weave around the checkout area, which seemed to be full of Christmas clearance stuff my kids wanted to look at even though Christmas is OVER EIGHT MONTHS FROM NOW.

When we arrived back at the duvet bins, there was an angry couple blocking them. He was pawing through the bin, dumping duvets on top of each other as he looked for a particular size. She was holding two duvets and hissing at him that NO, that WAS NOT a KING SINGLE, that was a SUPER KING and they are NOT THE SAME. He’d hand her a duvet and she’d chuck it back, furiously muttering about his lack of duvet-hunting skills while he angrily snarked back that she should bloody climb into the bloody bin herself and do it. Their entire discussion was carried out at sub-conversational sound level so all you could really hear was growling and murmured sarcasm. It was fascinating but a little scary.

“I don’t suppose you could hand me a single?” I ventured, since I couldn’t get to the bin myself. Both of them turned to me, eyes flashing, lips curled. “THERE ARE NO SINGLES,” the woman barked. “IF THERE WERE HE WOULD HAVE BLOODY FOUND THEM BY NOW.”

“YOU CAN BLOODY TAKE YOUR BLOODY FEATHER DUVETS AND” the man started, but I didn’t think I needed to know what she could do with her bloody feather duvets. I don’t want to think about bloody feather duvets at all.

“So sorry,” I said, grabbing the arm of one child with each of my hands and steering them to the exit as fast as possible. We veered straight past the porch swings and to the car, and once we were inside, we locked the doors and then we looked at each other, wide-eyed, a little breathless.

“Mum, that man and that woman were mad at each other,” Master Seven finally pronounced.

“Over duvets!” Miss 13 added.

“Let’s go get a birthday cake for me, shall we?” I decided. “We can leave the duvet inner for another day, and you can just wear a jumper to bed for now.”

Katherine Granich

Editor, Tots to Teens

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