Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Sonoma Drooler

One of my siblings gave Blowfish an online Williams Sonoma gift certificate for his birthday last month. It has changed the man. Maybe forever. Blowfish does not "shop" unless you count going to Concours D' Elegance car shows.  He has lived a life where what he needs magically appears with no effort on his part. He does fuel his own truck and will go to the  grocers or stop in at a bakery or florist shop to bring home the apologies but that's about it. Until the transmission of his online gift certificate he had never, ever shopped online. In fact the old fish had no idea what to do with such a gift.

One morning he was wandering around  restless and grumbling  until he  eventually ended up in my studio.
"Hi "
"Hi "
" Can you help me with something?"
Over the years I have learned to not just automatically agree to these seemingly innocuous requests.
" Probably. What is your issue?"
" I don't know how to use the Williams Sonoma gift certificate. Do I print it out and go to a store?"
" I think you can use these in an actual store. There isn't one here but  there is one in BigCity.  If you want to go we can certainly do that. However, if you want to preview your options you can shop online."
" How do I do that?'

And thus was Pandora's Box opened.

In his young mans career Blowfish worked his way through Manhatten's world of artists in the publications business making a splash by becoming an executive art director before reaching 30. He is a serious, ummm make that a very serious critic of all things graphic, typographic and photographic.  Blowfish's other great passion in life is food. The Williams Sonoma website is a joy.
It is  photographically beautiful. Especially the food pictures which,
trust me, speak to the foodie of our household. There are beautiful
screen layouts, beautiful graphics, great typographic choices and there is even a section on Chefs with interviews and recipes. And there are books. Very beautiful cook books. The man drools.

For weeks now I have been summoned to his office to once again have a look and extended conversation about his latest "find" on the website. This is the old mans version of the young mans wishbook from Sears.
Like so many of his generation he spent hours perusing the pages and thinking a million "what ifs". Now he has discovered he can not just "wish" but actually "shop" without ever leaving his executive  leather womb.
My sister has no idea what she has given this man.  Or me.

In our home we each have our own office or studio. Mine is upstairs, his is downstairs.  Since his discovery of the Williams Sonoma website I have no need to go to a gym.  Trust me when I tell you I no sooner climb the stairs  when he calls out, "Fishy! I need you to come look at something!"  Somehow these requests are always urgent.  Like about a Kitchen Island. He wants one. Williams Sonoma has one called "The Bastille" which I am sure looks awesome in Wine Country decor but it is not a fit for our Pond house. Also his gift certificate will not buy this thing and certainly not pay the shipping. I reminded the starry eyed fish man that in order to have proper clearance for an island we needed to change to a counter depth refrigerator. To do this would require  remodeling part of the  cabinetry because the new refrigerators are too tall for the current opening.  For a while he looked dejected but then it was  back to  the  website for him and back upstairs for me.

While my fanny was still hovering just above my drafting  chair the call came out,
" Fishy! You have got to see this!"
" Busy!"
" Come on down here!"
I stomped over to the  stair landing knowing he would be at the bottom landing eagerly awaiting my appearance so he could shepherd me off to see his latest find.  I love that he still has enthusiasm for life and experiences but his timing could use some prudence.
" Blowfish, there are things I need to get done now. How about I come and look at all your choices later?"
" Okay. We can do that.  But right now I need you to come downstairs and look at this find!"
" No"
" What?"
DramaFish clutched his chest and began buckling at the knees to illustrate his discontent with my response.
"Blowfish, please, no drama. I will be down later and you can show me then. Okay?"
Grinning he said, " This will only take a minute and you probably need a break."

 I definitely needed a break.

As I descended the stairs I said, "I am coming to have a look because your inability to choose a gift and send a proper thank you is  bordering on rudeness. You really must make a selection and call or write your thanks for the item selected"

As I came through the door of his office there on the screen was a beautiful photograph of cookware. Ruffoni copper cookware with the cast ornamental  knobs on the lids.  I turned to look at that fool of a man I married and  there he was looking all puffed out and proud. "Blowfish. This is like going to the Concours  where I assure you  we cannot afford the hood ornaments never mind the automobiles.  Ruffoni is fabulous cookware but if we brought home even one piece of that you would want a new dual fuel stove and a complete appliance change out and a Kitchen remodel. Could you please just try to be rational ?"
" It is not all that expensive".
" Right. So you did not notice it cost more than the Bastille!"
" Well then will you please help me make a selection? I seem to be unable to choose."
" Start with what you might actually need, not want."
" Oh good idea! I have been missing waffles since you declared the old waffle iron a health hazard.  Maybe they have some good choices."  While he sat down to his giant I-Seek screen,  I slipped back upstairs hoping he would be so busy studying every word and every image about every waffle iron known to mankind ...I could actually get back to my studio and produce something creative.
No such luck.
" Fishy! Come have a look at this!"
As I again went down stairs I thought about the sister who gave Blowfish this gift.
As little girls we would sit  together on our Mama's Chippendale sofa sharing a magazine where we would pick our favorite thing on every page. Hours of our lives were  spent on this past time.  Sometimes we were  companionable, sharing our thoughts and expectations of a life in the making. Other times we generated nothing but friction as our diverse interests began to be expressed. I am ashamed to tell you how old I was before realizing the  life I picked on the magazine pages was never to be.

As I once again entered his office Blowfish said,
 "This is it!"
There on the screen was Cusineart's  Griddler for making pannini and other grilled wonders. The marvelous thing is the grill plates are interchangeable  with Blegian waffle plates all of which are removable for cleaning. Anyone who has ever seen Blowfish make a waffle will understand why I celebrate this feature. I am sure he will order it soon. Right after he finishes reading all the recipes for Pannini and Waffles. He wants to have an inventory of things to offer when he invites my sister to breakfast.


moi said...

That griddler is a most excellent choice! Aunty will be along to have something to say about the copper cookware, I'm sure :o).

S.B. is currently searching for a new sofa for the living room. Yes. S.B., not Moi. Set his sights on one of those fancy-schmancy leather sectionals with chaise and headrests and ergonomic everything from Norway. Come to find out, the company that makes it is shut down for the next six weeks. The ENTIRE company. So that the ENTIRE company can go on vacation. To the South of France, I would assume. Bully for them, but not for us. Plus, the sofa costs more than our Jeep.

Next . . .

He remains undaunted, however, determined to find something similar that can be delivered before the Second Coming and not require a second mortgage. In the meantime, like you, am getting in extra workouts running into his office to yay or nay his latest find.

Aunty Belle said...

of COURSE Aunty gonna say git them copper pots!! HOW can ya pass them up?? Fer a pannini? oh, wait, Blowfish be Eyetalian, ain't he?

But, Aunty is obessed wif' copper--
see "my" copper 1937 Rolls Royce Phantom III here:

Aunty Belle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pam said...

This is so funny and such a great Fishy post! Williams Sonoma brings out the best in a man. I'm married to the cook, so he loves LOVES to walk through that store. W-S gift card. Hmmmm. Hmmmmm. Tell DramaFish that he made a great choice.

fishy said...

I am anticipating a complete Kitchen equipment overhaul in the coming months. Now that he has discovered this online addiction he will return again and again and Sonoma only knows what will be arriving on our doorstep.

He actually came UP stairs to ask me in all innocence if I had a PayPal account. I shoooooed him out without answering.

Does SB understand those vacationing Norwegians are partying hearty because Americans pay vast sums of money for an item with no trade in value??????

I actually have clients who forked over the $10,000 for a Duxiana bed only to discover the beds and the Dux only linens do not live up to the pricing. I understand they are made in Sweden not Norway but I think the same foam technology is used for the sectional of SB's dreams.

In addition to the workouts, this new discovery for Blowfish is creating PDD in my life;
"Project Deficit Disorder".
I actually told BLowfish during a recent summons that this was not a movie so I did not need to see everything to follow the plot!

Those Ruffio pots are some kind of wonderful but I am not letting them into my house. I cannot even keep the copper bottoms of my Revereware polished never mind whole pots. And there is the issue of never getting himself out of the Kitchen ....

Be forwarned! These internet gift certificates are a high risk introduction to mens online shopping. Notice it was not Moi who was seeking an imported sofa of expensive proportions. It was SB who remains "undaunted" by price or logistics.

What is next?
I expect I will be summoned to the Kitchen to see what Blowfish has created in the Griddler and Moi will never again meet a deadline because SB will want her to come snuggle on the investment.

Buzz Kill said...

Shooping in a Williams Sonoma isn't quite as exciting as going to the Craftman section of Sears, but it's pretty close. I have a Williams Sonoma and a Sur La Table within 2 miles of the house and I'm afraid to go in either of them. Even though I do the cooking, The Mrs gets pissed if I bring any cooking stuff home without first debating the pros and cons of ownership with her.

I bought her a really nice waffle iron for Christmas (because she likes me to make waffles for her and the one we had was a POS) and I caught all kinds of hell for getting her a kitchen gadget.

No ma'am, I won't be shopping at either place anytime soon.

fishy said...

I confess I too like the Craftsman section of Sears. In fact I was just there to purchase my very own shop vac. I love the thing! It holds only 4 gallons of water but sports a 5hp peak, has the smaller gauge tubing and accessories which are perfect for cleaning out my car.

Blowfish asked why on Earth I bought "that thing" since his was available for my use. I reminded him his shop vac is older than Mermaid, does not have decent crevice tools, has tubing of a diameter to rival an elephants trunk and produces more noise than suction.

I think he is secretly pleased I bought this equipment but I think it hurt his feelings I bought it without including him. I bet your Mrs. still eats your waffles.

Anonymous said...

Hi All,

I have been out of pocket and see there is a crossroad here. I’ll volunteer to host a Haiku Monday Tuesday with a deadline of Midnight in Australia Tuesday this week. We’ll get back on track after that.

The theme would be simply BEAR – because I was looking ta them this weekend.

If that works, come join me at


PNW Gal said...

I'm also a big fan of SEARS... the entire store and wonder if the high end stores really are selling anything better?

I do, however, love that Moi's SB is the one researching the next couch.

And.. it's me, Boxer....