Thursday, November 02, 2006

I Bet Y'all Think This is A Door

To the untrained eye, this appears to be an ordinary door. In this case, it is the door outside the tiny, weird vestibule outside the bathroom in our oddly-constructed house. Don't ask me why they just didn't make the bathroom bigger, or give it a closet, when they built it back in 1946. Instead, we have two doors, and a funky little space between them.

So it is one of those doors that is always left open. Every house has such doors. Doors left permanently ajar, with dead space behind them.

That bit of vertical wood you see on the right? That is the doorframe for the bathroom itself, which I am standing in as I take the picture. So the white door remains open at all times, as there is no need to close two doors to go to the bathroom, unless you have alarmingly serious issues with modesty or privacy -- issues requiring therapy and medication.

When you live in a small, strangely constructed house outfitted with small, strangely constructed closets, you clearly need to come up with desperate solutions for your yarn stash.

I like to make use of whatever dead space I can find. And the dead space behind this door is perfect for yarn-stash storage.

Look how much stuff you can hide behind a permanently open door which ordinarily wouldn't even provide enough useful storage space to hide a Boogeyman. Not even a skinny Boogeyman:

Yup. All those Tidy Cats buckets are full of yarn. Sure, I could go to Ikea or Office Depot and spend a whole bunch of money for more attractive storage units.

And I just might, if they were going to be out in public or something. But when you get all these handy, airtight, cat-proof buckets for free every time you buy cat litter, why let them go to waste? And when that door is open flat against the Wall O' Buckets 99.4% of the time -- creating a virtual closet -- why worry about decor?

PSSSSST: just in case someone in the product development division of Tidy Cats, Inc. happens to be reading this -- as you can see, we use your litter -- or at least our cats do -- but it would be absolutely fabulous if y'all used a shrink-wrap label, which could be removed, so your customer can have an unmarked, translucent storage container after the litter is used up. You could still emboss "Tidy Cat" on the lid. And you could put one of those little starburst things on the (removable) label that says, "Free storage bin with every purchase!" Don't worry, I won't forget what kind of litter to buy. Just include a peel-off coupon for the next tub of cat litter, and be sure to use the kind of label adhesive that doesn't leave sticky gunk behind. See? I just saved you the trouble and expense of a focus group. You can pay me now -- in cat litter, please.

Hanging on the hook on the back of the door is one of my favorite knitting bags ever. It has precisely the right dimensions to hold a sweater-sized project. I got it at the Dollar Tree. A dollar for a knitting bag is good. Very good. Especially if you are a bagaholic.

It is made out of some sort of thick plastic shower-curtain material (all the better to shed Louisiana rain) and it sports a panoramic view of tropical fish cavorting about a reef. It even has a little matching zippered coin-purse thing inside which holds stitch markers and stuff.

And it is soooo magpie-gaudy, my head immediately sprouts pink curlers every time I pick it up.

Speaking of Gaudy...

Crazy Aunt Purl ( is right. The clothing manufacturers have clearly lost their minds again with the formal-shorts thing. It was wrong when it was inflicted on us by Boy George in the '80s. It was wrong then, and it is wrong now. It will never, ever not be wrong.

I live in Louisiana, babygirl. Home of the Great Outdoor Convection Oven. I know all about shorts, and here is everything you need to know about them:

There are six basic categories of shorts:

1. Dress shorts, tennis shorts and golf shorts, which are essentially tailored pants made out of khaki and twill and stuff like that, cut off at the knees. Golf shorts and tennis shorts are acceptable only if you are actually playing golf or tennis. Dress shorts are usually worn by people who have inherited money, when they go to eat lunch at the country club or when they have tailgate parties before football games. You can tell they have inherited money, because anybody who runs around in lime-green shorts and a navy-blue polo shirt with pink anchors all over it clearly doesn't have enough sense to earn any significant money by their own reckoning. They also are not smart enough to wear long pants in an open football stadium when it's 45 degrees and there's a stiff wind off the river. Do you really want this guy to choose a mutual fund for you?

2. Daisy Dukes, which are essentially denim bikini bottoms, which nobody has any business wearing unless they are 19 and can be sent home for summer vacation in a mailing tube.

3. Sports shorts: surf shorts, boat shorts, running shorts, hiking shorts, bike shorts, that sort of thing. Also known as athletic shorts, sports shorts are perfectly acceptable casual attire on hot days and for knocking around the house or running errands in mild weather. Sport shorts, unlike golf or tennis shorts, are not Real Pants Cut Short. They started out life as shorts, they were meant to be shorts, they are usually made of nylon, cotton or some sort of microfiber, and they are intended to be sweated into. Sports shorts are acceptable attire at your neighborhood pub or coffeehouse.

4. Ho shorts. Do I really need to explain this one? Okay, just in case you have never been to the big city, Ho Shorts are similar to Daisy Dukes, only a lot shorter, and not made of denim. Ho shorts are narrow strips of shiny material which are worn around the hips for about five minutes before they are taken off.

5. Bush shorts. No, not the President. He doesn't need the wrong kind of shorts to look stupid. Bush shorts are made of khaki and have lots of pockets and flaps and stuff. Unless you are Steve Erwin, Jeff Corwin, a geologist, an archaeologist, a zoo employee or a wildlife biologist, don't wear bush shorts unless you are prepared to look extra-stupid when someone runs up, rightfully expecting you to know what kind of brown bird that is up there in the pin oak, and you don't know what kind of bird it is or which tree is the pin oak.

6. Work-uniform shorts. These are uniform shorts worn in hot weather (not in winter) by people like bike patrol cops and the UPS guy, and are only appropriate worn by the abovementioned people while they are on duty, especially if the UPS guy has good calves and is bringing you more yarn.

People up north -- or at least most of the ones in New York who design clothes -- seem to think that "dress shorts" are something that Southerners and Californians can actually wear in the winter to go to work and parties and stuff like that. I can't speak for California culture, but ...

NEWSFLASH: Real Southerners (unless maybe they are in Miami) don't wear shorts of any sort in the winter, even on mild days, because, by January, unless you are lucky enough to have an ethnic heritage where you have some pigment in your DNA, your legs are too damn white to be seen in public.

Another thing to consider: Southerners do things the traditional way. You simply cannot wear Formal Shorts to a Formal Occasion in the South. Not if you ever expect to be invited to another one. If you do get invited to a wedding or a coming-out party or a Mardi Gras ball or a fundraising dinner, you damn well better have on a suit or tux with Real Pants if you are a guy. If you are a gal (or the entertainment), you'll need a cocktail dress or a gown. Yes, even if it's August, and the wedding is outdoors, in the daytime.

If you are from the North, and you visit the South in the winter, you can tell the Real Southerners from the Tourists because the Real Southerners are the ones wearing long pants, mud boots, a sweater and a raincoat when it is 38 degrees and drizzling. The Tourists are the surprised-looking people in golf shorts and flowered shirts. They usually have to buy real clothes about fifteen minutes after they get off the plane. In fact, you can buy real clothes at the airport -- that's how confident we are that people from Wisconsin will show up in January with nothing but shorts and flip flops.

What, you may ask -- and rightfully so -- does any of this have to do with knitting?

Mambocat hereby issues a formal press release:

November 2, 2006: The Knitting Asylum wishes to announce that we have no plans whatsoever to design sweaters, knee socks or any other garment or accessory intended to be worn with, to coordinate with, or even to be in the same closet with, the latest incarnation of Dress Shorts.



At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Barbara-Kay said...

You know it's a good post when you ask DH to read it - and every 3 seconds he calls out the good parts!

Thanks for solving the controversy over the difference between Daisy Dukes and Ho shorts. Some people thought they were the same!

At 5:47 PM, Anonymous Nancy said...

I remember formal shorts from 1966. Wool, with cuffs, and a matching vest. Worn by the cheerleader who eventually ended up wearing the Ho shorts. Ouch! I can't believe I'm writing this. Can I really hold a grudge this long? It must be the wine talking!

At 6:23 PM, Blogger LizKnits said...

oh my god... that has to be the best reuse idea I've ever seen. You make my little environmentally-conscious heart warm.

At 9:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you, thank you, thank done said it all!

At 7:53 AM, Anonymous Marianne said...

Oh how funny, You covered it all on the shorts...
I'm loving your tidy cat containers....I'll have to ask my muggle friends who have cats for their empty containers, and I'm hoping like crazy that the tidy cat people will take your recommendations to heart....have you tried contacting them for real? it'd probably save them money in the long run,eh? Thanks for the post, it was great.

At 8:52 AM, Blogger sogalitno said...

as if the wall of tidycat wasnt enough to warm my heart (i am actually taking a quick computer break while i redo my basement storage area - just finished rearranging boxes etc and now the big task - going thru the yarn boxes and seeing whats what and whos where.

anywho - thanks for the shorts definitions - its great to get the real southern point of view out there for the world to see!

go girl!

At 9:15 AM, Anonymous K. Anne said...

Have you tried UNDU to get the labels off the containers? It might work. Someone else mentioned WD-40.

At 12:35 PM, Anonymous lisa said...

Hey, I live in Hawaii. Formal is shorts, for the most part. People get married in shorts, go to graduation in shorts and if they're really dressed up wear real shoes instead of "slippahs" which most of the world knows as flip flops.

Formal shorts, however are not realistic. They're just too formal.

Besides, formal shorts and a jacket or dress up shirt? Hate to say it, but you'll look like the short kid in the Munsters.



At 12:13 PM, Blogger Dez Crawford said...

Lisa, you are right. Even in Hawaii, which is so far south it no longers qualifies as Southern, formal shorts wno;t wonk. In fact, I think formal shorts would be even more ridiculous in a world where people where almost nothing BUT shorts.

K.Anne, Those aren't stick on labels. UN-DU and Goo Gone anre great stuff for real labels, but Tidy Cats actually silk-screens the label onto the bucket. Marianne, I have not tried conacting the Tidy Cats people for real, but hey -- that's an idea!

Thanks for all your comments.



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