plate envy

I told you I was busy this week... I've been getting ready for my friend's baby shower on Sunday afternoon. Do you remember those baby pictures I took last week for the birth announcements? I saved one back for a special shower gift and here it is...



Don't panic. That baby wasn't really supported on my kitchen scale with only a towel. My genius brother helped me stitch together images from the photo shoot into this lovely final product. I could never, ever have done this on my own. You should have seen him at work. I sat there like I was helping, but in fact, I was trying to soak in all of his knowledge, which would be impossible, but I tried. He combined two scales from different shots (photographed without the baby, of course) and placed the image of the baby, who was photograhed on my folded up shower curtain. Since babe wasn't very cooperative that day, it required a "head replacement" photoshop surgery... whe chose the least stressed face to be placed on the most relaxed body.


I have to dearly thank my brother because of course I get to take this marvelous creation to the shower and recieve all of the oooohs and aaaaahs it will ilicit from the guests.


And now, on with my sad plate story. I never picked a china pattern when we got married, it didn't seem too important. Of course, we've ended up entertaining Ben's business associates a few times and I sorely wished I had some decent china. While in Winners a couple of weeks back, I found this Noritake set, marked down with scandalous prices. The dinner plates were $9.00 each, the salad plates $4.00 each and the bread plates were $2.00 each. The pattern was subtle and timeless and what a saving - I snatched up as close to a twelve-piece set as I could, leaving the cups and saucers (I probably shouldn't have) behind.


For a while, I contemplated selling them on the internet at a profit... this seemed like a "good investment" and then while I was cleaning off all of the nasty red markdown stickers, I realized that in my excitement, I'd mistakenly picked up two salad plates that didn't quite match. And I only had eleven dinner plates.... hmmmmm... so much for selling them as a complete set.
Then I reasoned, that after all, since I'd always wanted china, I'd probably never get any again at a saving like this and I really should keep them. I could put the two slightly different salad plates at the two ends of the table and nobody would notice, right? All I would have to do would be to track down one dinner plate on eBay or here.


This turned out to be the first major disagreement Ben and I have had in our married life. After building and renovating two houses and navigating countless travels and child raising, our Waterloo ended up being this china...




You see, Veto doesn't think we are "china people"... what are "china people", exactly? And he was none too thrilled about having twelve place settings, as that represents a big crowd, I suppose. Men think, if I need to buy dishes, I will buy four dishes, because there are four people in my family, I suppose. Notwithstanding Christmas and entertaining, I thought that the savings really dictated a set of twelve. Surely, I reasoned, we would regret it later if we only bought four or six settings.


Purchasing plates like this represents to most men a completely frivolous and scandalous investment. Christmas only comes once a year. Our everyday plates are perfectly good for guests. Fancy china is pretentious. What am I, made of money?


So, being on the verge of hysteria without my hormone patch firmly in place, of course I burst into tears and sorely regretted purchasing that china, at any price, if it upset Ben or made him in the least bit unhappy. We've lived without china this long, right? But just look at that pretty (mismatched) place setting....



In the end, the china sat on the counter for about a week, one of those funny sore spots in a relationship that nobody wanted to address. It was like the elephant in the room. I had no place for it, and I couldn't sell it because it was mismatched, and I hesitated to return them, but finally I resolved to pack them up and take them back to the discount chain from whence they came. Then, Ben said "don't you take back that china" and I guess he realized too, that we could probably use it and it wasn't worth a drop of discontent.


So this week, while the Fan helped me by repainting my front hall closet (a monumental job) I spent a few minutes cutting felt circles to put between the plates and carefully stacked them up. I ordered a replacement dinner plate from the internet and justified completing the set because when it's all over but the crying, I paid less for all of the dishes than I would have for one five-piece-place setting at a department store.


Maybe we needed to have a little disagreement, just for the sake of it. I only hope that when I sit down to dinner at Christmas, I don't look down at my plate and remember how bad I felt one summer, just for a few days.

10 comments:

MJ said...

Oddly enough, proper English china was a big requirement on my dh's wedding gift list. He didn't care what it looked like but it had to be bona fide English bone china. We have an 8 place setting (complete with veggie bowls, platter, creamer/sugar/teapot) etc. Bring Veto by sometime & we'll pull it out. We don't use it frequently anymore (just X'mas usually) but as K & N get older,we'll be doing more entertaining again & will use it more regularly! I am so delighted that my set is dishwasher safe (but beware of what detergents you use).

Incidentally, you didn't ask: check out Echo's in Vancouver for remnants next time and/or in case one of them break!

MJ said...

Oops, forgot to mention: that baby on the scale is super cute! Make sure to share all the oohs & ahhs with that brother!

scrappaleica said...

first off, I LOVE the adorable baby on the scale, I tried looking a few years back to find an antique one to really place my babies on & take pics. (see I must've been thinking like a true lunatic!) But anyways, totally had the china discussion. I repainted my house in drastic red's & browns and now my beautiful china was an eye sore against it. As much as I loved it, I knew I'd never use it. So I gave it to my sister. Then I bought the awesomest modern almost square shaped china. I actually have enough to sit 30 people(which is no where near enough plates for Christmas at our house, but all the kids use the oversized dessert plates. Only once did Jim ask about the price(which I never did tell). He asked how much use we'd actually get out of them. So now I've made the serving platters part of my kitchen decoration & I use our fancy wear EVERY time we have company. What's funnier is the set I gave away cost twice as much as this set, but I smile every time I use this set. It is a manlier set anyways compare to my old set, so truthfully I think Jim likes this one better. Sasha, make your best meal ever and serve it for Ben, he'll forget about the plates instantly.

Anonymous said...

Did you mention to Vito that with all of our family at a dinner table (like a standard Christmas) even 12 plates wouldn't be enough?

-The Bug

June said...

The baby picture is fantastic!

You don't have to feel bad when using the china--it was merely a different point of view on both your parts and was satisfactorily resolved.

Saucy said...

Uncle Bug is correct. With five people in Jan's family, four in mine, the Secret Weapon, the Fan and Bug himselft... that's exactly twelve... yikes! I'll keep my eye on Winners in Edmonton over the long weekend. If there's any left at all, it's bound to be marked down to like, a dollar a plate.

Saucy said...

Uncle Bug is correct. With five people in Jan's family, four in mine, the Secret Weapon, the Fan and Bug himselft... that's exactly twelve... yikes! I'll keep my eye on Winners in Edmonton over the long weekend. If there's any left at all, it's bound to be marked down to like, a dollar a plate.

the feathered nest said...

The baby picture is just adorable! I didn't register for china either - we weren't into "that kind of entertaining" LOL! Through the years I've picked up lots of transferware that I use. It doesn't all match, but people seem to get a kick out of looking and seeing what plate they have LOL!

Manuela

mlafayette said...

I hope you enjoyed your first scrapbook class last night. I did... I came home and posted pictures of my pages on my blog:

http://connectingwithothers.blogspot.com/

I will also post pictures of the baby when he/she arrives...

Can you e-mail me name and phone number for the furnace guy? We are doing our energy evaluation in a few weeks so we can have a new furnace before winter.

Thanks,

Michelle (mlafayette@shaw.ca)

Shelby Alexis said...

Hi, I've been reading your blog backwards as is my style and felt I had to comment on this china debacle. At the young age of 17 I found an almost complete set of 8 violet pattern by Heinrich & Co. that dates back to the 50's. It's been used for every holiday dinner wherever I am and although the price tag was steep for my young age I love it and felt it was a good investment for my future which is what count's. Your pattern is beautiful and sounds like quite the steal.