Catalogs Save the Day

Julie is a friend who should have a blog, but doesn’t. Her last Nirvana appearance was to upgrade my beaver trapping apparel. She is funny, cute and smart. She is a freelance writer at home with her three children. Today I am taking advantage of her blogless situation by posting the following story that she wrote:

Catalogs Save the Day
By Julie Blair Riekse

Confession: I am a total catalog junkie.

On any given day about 6 p.m., you ™ll find my four-year-old twins floating in the tub while I perch atop the potty playing lifeguard. On my lap is usually a pile of dog-eared mags selling wares from J. Crew, Garnet Hill or my new favorite from England, Mini Boden.

While others might ply their minds with the national section of the local newspaper or a book of historical fiction, I prefer to segue into my evenings with something akin to Valium.

My husband, of course, thinks thumbing through a wrinkled copy of Pottery Barn Kids: Spring 2008 is a total waste of time. He is one of those intellectual types who memorizes maps and learns foreign languages in the space between shampooing and conditioning.

Mostly he worries that the glossies will actually hit their mark and lead to a purchase.

I guess I should tell him that PBK is the only reason I have yet to resign my post as stay-at-home mom.

Just looking at a picture of a color-coded playroom where children appear to share the mint green retro kitchen set gives me strength to make it through the bedtime battle then straighten up my own bomb-damaged rumpus room.

Moreover, I find that catalogs make me a more creative mother.

Wow,  I ™ll think to myself as I stroke a forefinger over the $36 splat mat  advertised in Land of Nod. I could make one of those out of the black trash bags to spare my new beige carpet the devastation of tempera paint. 

And so I do.

In addition, my catalog habit has resulted in healthier eating for our family.
I look at the apple-cheeked models in the Baby Gap Fall ad campaign and mentally remind myself to purchase organic grapes while at Sprouts later in the evening.

Occasionally, my catalogs even help me make friends.

While my husband has colleagues at work with whom to converse, I have Elaine,  the operator at The Company Store.

Last Wednesday, when no girlfriend was available to take my calls, I spoke with Elaine about the potential purchase of a duvet covered in sunflowers.
Well,  I told her, I ™m really cold down there in the Snoring Room at night so I think I need a new layer to add to the bed. 

The Snoring Room?  she asked. Why are you down in that guest room all by yourself, dear? You should have him get the Pillar Procedure. It stops 98 percent of all nasal reactions without the noise of one of those machines. My Earl did it five years ago and we ™ve been back up in the master together ever since. Totally saved our marriage. Well, it was that and the cruise to Mexico. What's your zip code, again, Honey? 

75022,  I respond.

That's Dallas.  Elaine says. If you can do the drive to Galveston, you might want to consider the Caribbean Royal Cruise Line. 

After 55 minutes on the phone, Elaine and I hang up.

I am thus completely refreshed and ready to scrub the pans in the sink.

Catalogs, too, give me a sense of the passing of time and encourage me to savor the precious moments with my own children.

My favorite Delia's model ”the one with the large blue eyes and the crooked front teeth ”has really grown up since she became the retailer's go-to girl three years ago. Last Christmas, her perfect mane was in pigtails now they ™ve got her sporting these too-short miniskirts that make her look like a hussy despite the patterned schoolgirl knee-highs.

I swear. They grow up so fast.

I close my catalogs and put them away.

Gingerly, I lift my twins from the bathtub and gently wrap them in their towels.

Now, we're ready for a good book.

Julie Blair Riekse is the President of the Metrocrest Parents of Multiples and a freelance writer. When the time comes, she always recycles her catalogs.


  1. Brilliant post!

    Dude, I’ve totally had a conversation like that with an operator before 🙂

    Seriously, this woman needs a blog.

  2. texasholly says:

    I know! That is what I keep telling her! Maybe we can all just get together and have an intervention pushing her into an addiction?

  3. I love them too. I do find myself gabbing away with those ladies too. Im glad Im not the only one.

  4. Jenn @ Juggling Life says:

    Definitely. Start a blog. Of course it might cut into her catalogue reading time!

  5. She so needs a blog! Then she could take her labtop in the bathroom and watch the twins take a bath.

  6. Momo Fali says:

    I feel so much better knowing I’m not alone in my addiction.

  7. says:

    I’m such a junkie, too. I love me some catalogs.

  8. skinny fat chick says:

    This is hilarious and I think everyone can relate in some way. I totally steal ideas from catalogs! She definitely needs a blog.

  9. Lizz @ Yes, and So is My Heart says:

    That was fantastic. If she ever starts a blog, please be sure to let us know.

  10. Lisa@verybusymomwith4 says:

    I am pretty sure I get every catalogue out there if she ever runs low 😉

  11. On a limb with Claudia says:

    I used to love catelogs then I just got… well done. I don’t know when or why it happened. It just happened. Maybe because now I have the internet?

  12. I have a few I get and the kids and myself love to look through them! My hair update is posted!

  13. I cannot believe I’m even going to admit this.

    I’ve had to ban my four-year-old from looking at “kids” catalogs. She gets WAY too obsessed with “wanting” things. It’s so wrong.

    Oh, and that Land of Nod Splat Mat? Covet it.

  14. Julie. You need a blog. Seriously. Eight weeks ago I thought I didn’t need one, either, but seven weeks ago something snapped inside of me and I did it. What I have learned from that is that you’ll have a thousand “Elaines.” You will have instant fans. Get a blog!

  15. Mini Boden. I Love Mini Boden. It’s like I’ve gotten a new novel or Brain, Child in the mail. The adorable clothes, the adorable British names. Sigh. Great story! She’s awesome.

  16. Elaine A. says:

    What’s the name of your future blog again? ; ) Yep, it’s time.

    I love me some PBK but I called it off since all it did was make me cry at the “beauty” and want to max out my credit card.

    I’m a magazine kinda gal myself. I get like 8…

  17. Brilliant! I didn’t even know that Delia’s was still around. I used to shop from there back in high school. Eeep!

    I always grab the shoe catalog from Nordstrom on the way out and slip it in my purse. So the hubby doesn’t know.

  18. Tina in CT says:

    I’ve had some nice conversations with the sales associates in customer service at American Girl.

    Your friend needs to write a book. She’s another Erma Bombeck.

  19. the planet of janet says:

    excellent! bravo!

    get that woman a blog! pronto!

    (and make me stop using exclamation marks please! now! thanks!)

  20. Manic Mommy says:

    She’s clearly brilliant and hysterical but when she starts talking about the go-to girl with the crooked teeth, I’m reminded of that Robin Williams movie where he plays the psycho in the Fotomat booth.

  21. Last week I bonded with a Pottery Barn phone clerk – she had the curtains I was ordering. 🙂

  22. Suz Broughton says:

    Holly, you obviously aren’t giving her the proper blogging pressure. She should have a blog. I think every writer should.
    Nice story! I can relate.

  23. jill jill bo bill says:

    Bring Julie to our meeting on Sun and we will initiate her into our blog gang. I will bring the brass knuckles. I also have that addiction, only with cheesier magazines. I blogged on it last week. Did she copy me?!

    (…add chains and switchblade to arsenal…)

  24. Angie's Spot says:

    Julie is a great writer! And yes, she totally needs a blog. I have a crazy catalog collection that I actually keep in a filing cabinet. You know, just in case hubby deems them ready to recycle before I do. 🙂

  25. frogpondsrock says:

    mmmmm an intervention sounds like a great idea.. Maybe if you casually mention that if she starts a blog certain Tasmanian bloggers might be inspired to send her Australian catalogues lol mmm just a thought..

    Can you please tell Julie thanks for the giggle..

    cheers kim

  26. I thoroughly enjoyed that! And not just because I have every single one of those catalogs. Mini Boden is the very best.

  27. Here is the saddest thing you will ever here:
    Very few American catalogs will ship to Canada. And I live in Canada. Sob.

  28. Domestic Accident says:

    Oh, I’m sad for you.

  29. What a precious story! I’ve had an experience like on ebay before, then realized the laugh was worth the money.

  30. Loralee Choate says:

    Awe…this melts my heart.

  31. Jerseygirl89 says:

    What fantastic pictures – I love the idea of the ongoing series.

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