Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Tale of Three Katelets

Once upon a time, there was a Katelet. Katelets are fascinating creatures, and if you don't know one, some explanation will be required so that my story can be fully appreciated. Three primary descriptors come to mind when I think of what makes a Katelet:

1. Katelets are fastidious. They are overly particular about a great number of things. Anything even slightly negative in a Katelet's world must be dealt with -- anything plain or unseemly is decorated, any flaw is repaired if possible and concealed if not, any minor irritation is removed, and Katelets are extremely innovative in the ways in which they accomplish such things. No germ of any kind is permitted within a thousand foot radius of a Katelet or it will be immediately annihilated. No insects of any kind are permitted on any surface of anything that might possibly touch a Katelet, including outdoor furniture, play equipment, or sandboxes, or they will be whisked away if fortunate, or sentenced to death, if not. Any living creature that is not human is highly suspect to a Katelet, and a good many humans are highly suspect as well. One must be particularly cautious when approaching any environment housing a Katelet lest one commit a Kately offense.

2. Katelets are scatterbrained. Never ask a Katelet anything involving geography. Katelets are unaware of obscure facts, like that England is an island, for instance. Don't ask a Katelet anything about math, either, lest you overtax her Kately brain. And even general knowledge is fair game at being beyond the scope of a Katelet's awareness, such as realizing that Xerox makes copiers. Despite these seeming deficits, however, the intelligence of a Katelet is actually far superior to most other people who are not fortunate enough to be a Katelet.

3. Katelets are endearing. This quality is actually all-encompassing, as a Katelet's fastidious and scatterbrained ways are part of what makes a Katelet so endearing.

So keep those traits in mind as you read about my most recent encounter with a Katelet as these characteristics will certainly come into play.

A fourth trait, actually, is that Katelets are cold. Always. But that fact is irrelevant to our story. Which can now begin.

It just so happens that my best friend is a Katelet who lives much further away than any friend should, and the time had come for my annual trek to Katelet Land. It should be mentioned that despite the fact that it is August, this particular Katelet was seen on more than one occasion wearing a sweater. This is better, however, than last year's April visit, in which this Katelet wore a winter coat, despite the 70s temperatures. But as I said, the fact that Katelets are cold is not part of our story.

A week before the big event, our Katelet had a vision. Excuse me, a Vision. It deserves a capital letter. For many years, a bulletin board has hung on the wall behind Katelet's computer, on which were thumbtacked various papers of importance and pictures of her two little Katelets. Well, this Katelet's vision was to have a more sophisticated bulletin board. One covered in fabric and dressed in ribbon. And scrapbooked. Aha... it began to become clear to me just where I fit into this Vision of Katelet's. You see, Katelets do not scrapbook. Prairie Roses do. And so when I made my excursion into Katelet Land, I came armed with scrapbooking supplies, specifically those in the color families of sage green and lavender, the colors which Katelet had decided the Vision must consist of.

Now, the average person could make such a vision become reality without too much difficulty. But Katelets are not average people (nor would we want them to be). Katelets are, lest you have forgotten, fastidious and scatterbrained, yet endearing. And cold. But that's irrelevant.

And so work on the Vision began. And so did a series of unfortunate events that made the Vision much more complex than any Vision ought to be.

Step One: Order pictures. This should have involved a few simple clicks of the mouse, but no... we're dealing with a Katelet here, remember? The pictures were selected, uploaded, and then when ready to order, Katelet discovered that she had no idea what her password was. She attempted to enter everything she could think of, but alas, nothing worked, and there was no option available to have the password sent. A discouraged Katelet left, thinking it impossible to now order her pictures. Fortunately, I was able to find a way to have the password emailed, and later that night, the photos were ordered.

Step Two: Pick out fabric and background papers and pick up pictures. After much deliberation, Katelet decided to select her fabric at the far-away JoAnn's as opposed to the close-to-home JoAnn's, since the far-away JoAnn's was a larger store and was not far from the Walmart where the pictures were to be picked up anyway. So off to JoAnn's we went. Of course, anyone so particular as a Katelet was unable to find exactly the fabric that she saw in her Vision, but she settled for the best she could find, a sage green silk shantung. She had carefully measured her bulletin board, of course, and ordered a couple inches extra just to be safe. The background papers were another matter altogether. It took a great deal of time, involving spreading the fabric out on a table and laying dozens of different papers out across it before our Katelet finally settled on a few that met her high standards, or at least those which came the closest, as nothing truly meets a Katelet's standards except a Katelet itself. And then there was the ribbon! Nothing was good enough there, either, of course, but Katelet finally settled for sage and lavender spools of ribbon.

And then it was off to Walmart to pick up the pictures. Now this Katelet had mentioned that the Walmart was far far away, so I didn't think anything of it when we drove for quite some time. Katelet pointed out roads that relatives lived on, and even drove me through the parking lot of the school where the two little Katelets attend. I began to become a little confused when I started recognizing streets, however, and when at last our Katelet pulled into her very own neighborhood, I could keep silent no longer. "Weren't we going to Walmart?" I questioned. Yes, you guessed it -- our Katelet had left JoAnn's, gone specifically to the area where Walmart was located, driven right past the street and straight on home without stopping. I did warn you that Katelets are scatterbrained, right?

Step 3: Cover the bulletin board with fabric. Our Katelet set right to work on this task. Until this point, she had not decided what to do with the bulletin board frame. She now discovered that she approved of the look of the fabric tucked in beneath the frame, yet still wrapped all the way around it. A border of ribbon could then separate frame from board. The only problem was, she needed about another inch of fabric to be able to accomplish this. Technically, there was enough fabric to just reach. But of course, Katelets are fastidious creatures, and this wasn't good enough, despite my assurances that it looked perfectly fine. So more material must be purchased.

Step 4: Buy more fabric and pick up pictures. Hmm, aren't we right back at Step 2 again? This time, our Katelet decided to go to the near JoAnn's and hope they had the same fabric. They did, and our Katelet had a larger piece cut this time. However, when she attempted to use a Michael's coupon to purchase the fabric, she was informed that those coupons were not good on cut fabric. She said she had printed another JoAnn's coupon (specifically for the purpose of using it on this fabric, and placed carefully by the door so it wouldn't be forgotten) but in typical Kately fashion had left it at home. Those people wouldn't budge. They would hold the fabric for her until she returned with the coupon. A third trip to JoAnn's and the second trip to WalMart finally resulted in the completion of the preliminary steps. Now work on the Vision could begin at last!!

Now keep in mind that the fastidious nature of Katelets has been mentioned. Assisting a Katelet in such a project requires much patience and a sense of humor. I pulled out numerous stamps and stamp pads. "I don't think I want stamps," she commented. I started to crop photos. "NOOOOO, you need more head room!" she gasped with each picture. We rounded the corners of the photos. "I have decided I don't like rounded corners," she said when the task was complete. I demonstrated various artistic positionings of colors and frames and papers and accents. "It's not part of the Vision," she would say each time. "You need to SEE the VISION." Well, it's mighty hard to see a Vision that exists only within a Katelet's head. And yet, after two days of such working conditions, the Vision was complete. It turned out beautifully -- so beautifully, in fact, that the oldest little Katelet decided she wanted the bulletin board in HER room to become a Vision, as well.

I kid you not. Back to JoAnn's for more fabric, more ribbon, more accents, more scrapbooking papers in some wild colors, to match the preteen interests of said little Katelet, who is actually quite opposed to any insinuation that she is a Katelet at all and who worked very hard to hide her Katelet ways during the creation of her very own Vision. Back to Walmart online to order more pictures. And would you believe that our grown Katelet had forgotten her password AGAIN? "No problem," says I, "you should still have the email where they sent it to you." "But they made me change it when I logged in!" she said. "And I don't know what I changed it to!" I did warn you in advance that Katelets are very scatterbrained. Fortunately, one of her guesses worked this time and the photos were ordered.

And so work on the second Vision began, with things going much smoother, as the oldest little Katelet puts forth great pride in NOT being like her mother. "Do you like this?" I asked, showing a possible arrangement, or making a suggestion. "That's fine," she would say agreeably, and then add with a proud smile, "Aren't I easier to work with than Mom?"

But of course, two Visions in one week would simply not be enough. The littlest Katelet of all declared that if the other two Katelets had Visions, she must have one as well. But hers was NOT to be a Vision. Oh no -- this little Katelet would have a bully board! Fortunately, our grown Katelet had not yet made the Walmart run for the pictures, so it was decided that another small bulletin board would be purchased, and the littlest Katelet would indeed have her bully board. And so our Katelet went off to Walmart, leaving me and the two little Katelets to begin work on Vision #2 and the Bully Board. She was gone a very long time. We began to wonder what might have become of her. "She's trying to decide between two bulletin boards that are a half inch different in size," I speculated. Do I know my Katelets or what? I was certainly close! Sure enough, when she returned home, she had a bulletin board that was one inch smaller than the other one, after having searched numerous stores for one that was exactly the same size.

Then came great consternation from all three Katelets over which little Katelet would receive which board, because you know of course that a one-inch strip on a bulletin board allows its owner to include so many more pictures! Long story short, the oldest little Katelet -- the agreeable one -- very nicely took the smaller board, leaving the more finicky little Katelet to have the big one for her Bully Board. This littlest Katelet of all has already formed many Kately habits, and reminded me very much of her mother as we worked. "I don't want the corners rounded," she said determinedly. "I don't like that color. I don't want my picture cut like that. I don't like this idea or that idea." She was able to be encouraged along at a faster pace than her mother was, however, not to mention the fact that her board was half the size, so before too long, both little Katelets had a finished product they were satisfied with, and none too soon, for my visit came to an end that very day.

And what on earth we would have done with ourselves all week without all of these projects and complications, we will never know...! I won't even go into all the trouble caused when this Katelet wanted to post pictures of the Vision to a message board. Nor will I mention the fact that when the Katelet had difficulty finding the sage and lavender bedding she had planned to get for the bed in the room which houses the Vision, she actually considered tearing the Vision apart to do it in PINK and sage instead. Now THAT would be positively criminal!

P.S. I mustn't end this post without mentioning that God certainly has a sense of humor. We went to church Sunday morning, before the major work on any of the Visions had begun, when the Vision was still just an idea in the head of a Katelet and had not yet become reality. One of the songs in the worship service? "Be Thou My Vision."

P.P.S. "What would you like for lunch?" asked the Katelet one day. "We have ham, scalloped potatoes, peanut butter, fluffernutter..." "WHAT?" I asked. "Fluffernutter," she says, and after some discussion, I was able to determine that the item she was actually referring to was marshmallow fluff. Now I must admit that I didn't believe fluffernutter could truly be a real word at all -- surely this was some bizarre Kately concoction. I informed the Katelet that in my world, marshmallow fluff is an ingredient used in a dessert, not an item one would offer when giving lunch choices! (This comment of course caused us to instantly recall a very unusual conversation from the previous year about Katelet ideas on redesigning grocery stores so that the aisles are organized by category: desserts, snacks, sandwich sides, lunch foods, lunch sides, dinner foods, dinner sides, etc. This Katelet was quite perturbed when informed that her concept of what constituted each type of food didn't exactly fit the rest of the world's -- I mean, honestly, doesn't everyone expect cookies and brownies to be in the breakfast aisle!?) Anyhow, back to fluffernutter -- The oldest of the two little Katelets googled the word and we discovered that it is indeed real, although the term is actually used to refer to the sandwich consisting of the fluff and peanut butter combined. I have to say it truly sounds like a dreadful mixture to me. So I am dying to know -- has anyone else actually heard of FLUFFERNUTTER??? And have you EATEN it?? And survived? Do share!!

P.P.P.S. DISCLAIMER: Any negativity about Katelets presented in this blog is intended to be tongue-in-cheek only for the entertainment value of my readers -- all four of you. :o) In reality, all three Katelets are dearly loved just the way they are, and if you have no Katelets in your life, let me be the first to offer my condolences.


Big Mama said...

I think that I may be a Katelet. I've often gotten in my car only to forget where I'm going and seriously, England is an island?

Rebecca said...

ROTF, Zoie!!! Do you know your Katelet or WHAT?!?! I was laughing so hard I could hardly see to read... made my day!

And YES, I am intimately acquainted with The Fluffernutter. In fact, my in-laws gifted my children with a small VAT of marshmallow fluff a while back, prompting me (foolish mother!) to explain the concept of The Fluffernutter to them, at which time (and periodically since then) I was required to make a special trip to my (alas, woefully inferior to Wegman's) grocery store (you know, the one Katelets refer to contemptuously as a "convenience store") to purchase cheap cottony white bread with which to construct The Fabled Fluffernutter.

It's been downhill since then. ;o)

Everyday Housewife said...

Your story made my day,for sure!
Too cute!
You must have a wonderful sense of humor as well as the patience of Job.
These people just sound spoiled to me. LOL!!!

Prairie Rose said...

Oh no. Katelets are fastidious. Katelets are scatterbrained. Katelets are endearing. And Katelets are cold. Katelets are most certainly NOT spoiled!!!