Letterpress List No. 68: Seeking Treatment

Generally, Shop Boy is a bit timid about returning purchased items to stores. Something about embarrassment over inconveniencing people and a fear of not having the proper receipt and all that. You know, the usual “own your personal space” thing that so irks Mary.

But I’ll make an exception for shag.

Mary had her mind set in home-decorator mode, but somehow spun her inspiration dial a bit too far backward, like to the 1960s. The goal was a sprucing-up of the latest industrial space Typecast Press took over. We tidied up the room a bit for the holiday party, but soon few of those guests will be able to recognize the place. Mary has a plan.

See, there are two 10-foot by 10-foot windows in the big room, the old, rusted steel frames still doing a pretty good job of holding in the glass panes but doing a lousy job of being pretty. Add some crazy chicken wire over the whole things and …

We went looking for window treatments. Where?

Let Shop Boy just say right here that a couple of consecutive Swedish meatball breakfasts will stick to a lot more of you than just the ribs. (Yes, Shop Boy is feeling the holiday excesses. You know, the Most Wonderful Time of the Year usually dumps certain of us into the worst. That’s a topic for another day.)

But IKEA — not to drop names — has a bunch of cool, cheap, funky and, OK, lost-in-translation furniture and stuff.

The first time we visited the store, about 10 or so years back, was on a hunt for a shower curtain that would allow us to retrofit a little upstairs bathtub. Mary’s dad, Wayne, is a really tall dude, and this was to become the guest bathroom.

Well, IKEA was still a bit new to American soil, and tastes, in those days, so Mary had to poke Shop Boy a few times as I goofed and giggled my way across the showroom over … the rat motifs. Apparently, the Scandinavian folks long ago formed a sort of “well, they ain’t going anywhere” detente with the Norway rat that now borders on a love-in.

The store had “happy rat” scenes on children’s blankets and sheets. Swear. And they were all over the shower curtains, too. (Mary and Shop Boy canceled their Stockholm vacation plans on the way home.)

On our latest visit, we found a few anatomically impossible stuffed animals — what do the Swedes know? I mean, the rats ate all the giraffes there, right? On the whole, the store now seems a bit more … American. And we stumbled upon perfectly long cotton-ish curtains right off. But mostly what we found was shag.

At first, Shop Boy thought Mary was just having a little fun with me, but then there they were going through the checkout line: two 6-foot by 8-foot black shag rugs. (All right, they were probably 77 inches by 94 inches, but that’s just another part of the IKEA magic.)

We hauled the things over to the studio, scoffed a bit when we noticed the “made in China” tag (!) and unrolled one of them. “Ooh, that’s ugly,” Mary’s mom said helpfully, saving Shop Boy a little breath and a mean look from Mary.

“I don’t know,” Mary said after walking around and over the rug a few times. “There’s just something … wrong about them. I think we should have gotten the orange shag.”

Rats! Back to IKEA.

Anybody up for meatballs?


Letterpress List No. 68

Actually, folks, once Mary got a look at the orange shag laid out in the store — a field of rough, tangerine, sub-arctic tundra — she went instead for a pair of gray/black, reversible, even-textured, wool-ish rugs. Shop Boy didn’t even have to beg.

You also might have noticed that the posts have been less frequent here. New year, new job. Shop Boy’s first office, with a view of bricks! But busy. To celebrate, how about an hour’s worth of music to work, shop, blog — or to, um, shag — by? Most of these tunes should be available in the usual places. Goofy or great video links are from YouTube. Look for more posts soon.

AM RadioEverclear (Mary embraces shag but cringes at Art Alexakis, the lead singer. My world is upside-down.)
Thick as a Brick Jethro Tull (A view is a view.)
Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, BabeBarry White (Shag on, dude.)
You Owe Me Nothing in Return Alanis Morissette (From the album Under Rug Swept. ;-) )
Holding Back the YearsSimply Red (Can’t turn back time … and that feels like a really long time ago, doesn’t it?)
Hey GoldmemberBeyonce (From the Austin Powers sequel. Yeah, baby.)
WaterlooAbba (Sweden’s own.)
Somewhere in TimeIron Maiden (Always feels right. OK, maybe that’s just me.)
Magic Carpet Ride Steppenwolf (Far out, man.)
Lay It DownRatt (Seeing is believing.)
It Wasn’t MeShaggy (No good.)
You Know That I’m No GoodAmy Winehouse (Carpet burns.)
The Rain, the Park and Other Things — the Cowsills (Time warp.)
Another Brick in the WallPink Floyd (Lovely.)
A View to a Kill — Duran Duran (No Rear Window stuff yet, thankfully.)

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