Thoughts At The End Of Our Sixth Calendar Year

2012 was a very important year for Possets. I had been in the same mode (basically) since I founded the company and felt that after half a decade I should try to see if anything needed adjusting. I was doing well, my customers seemed very happy but I was afraid that there was something I wasn’t seeing or that something could be improved. I took a survey in the spring and that was a subtle but very important event.

After reading what you had said, I could have gone on much as I had and still done well but it was obvious to me that there should be more of some things and less of others at Possets and so I wanted to effect change.

The most important change was the philosophy of the perfumes themselves. I had started Possets as a gourmandy fragrance house specializing in the sweet and pretty foody fragrances, and very true to the food scent, too. I loved that art could imitate life and lots of you agreed. Alas, so many of the foody ingredients are top notes, and they don’t stay around for very long despite the fact that they are gloriously beautiful.

In my past, before Possets, I was great at making “oriental” fragrances; perfumes redolent with bass notes and resins. When I was an aromatherapist and natural perfume maker that is mostly what I turned out. I felt like it was far too easy after a few years and so I put that part of my craft away to concentrate on the foodies. Imagine my surprise when the famous 2012 survey turned up a big clamor for oriental perfumes. I had noticed that the resinous blends I had produced sold very well, but the question was,”Is that a fluke or is that a serious trend?” I thought I would add the heavier blends to the line up and they were very popular indeed.

I think today that Possets is more of a well rounded company in terms of its offerings. I have managed to make a blend which will satisfy just about any taste from aquatic (The Shipman) to foody (Abraxas) to the classically beautiful perfume preference (Hatshepsut). The key to me was the continued exploration of the oriental fragrances. It was like returning to my place of origin and knowing it again for the first time.

On rediscovery, I have also found more places to obtain new and fabulous ingredients, and have learned some very esoteric things about those ingredients, too. The elements of the East, the wizardry of the West kick off my imagination in ways I never thought that I could go, good ways.

So, as I look forward to 2013 and the SEVENTH year of Possets I am even more excited than I was when I took off back in 2006. I have a great many ideas brewing for themes, perfumes, blogs, videos, and more. So, stay with me because you won’t be sorry. Possets will always strive mightily to deliver the maximum of pleasure to you at the minimum price, with the best customer service, and with the most fun that I can conjure up.

One other interesting observation I made was that the written aspect of Possets was much more popular that I had thought, and the visual aspect of Possets (the images) were less important that I assumed. I love to write and I love to use images but when I asked you about both, the word won out handily over the image. That also made me question the use of images in graphic design on the site, and I believe that using fewer larger pictures more effectively made a bigger more impressing effect on the viewer, and I have done that and it looks like the right balance.

There were other considerations. I got a laser printer which gave more saturated color to the labels and printed matter. I bought new labels which are much more oil proof but keep the flexibility of customization that I have to have in such a quick turnaround business (if I can’t follow my creative bursts, then Possets isn’t Possets any more). I learned a lot about blogging though trial and error; and I also learned that while it’s nice to be able to do everything yourself, you get to a point where it is foolish not to hire someone who is an expert to do those things which you have to retrain yourself to do once every year.

So, I think that Possets has become a tighter and more professional business, but it has retained its original charm and earnest desire to be your favorite perfume company. That is the attitude I want to continue with, and I don’t think that will change. I am trying with all my might to keep prices down as far as possible which elevating the quality of the product continuously. I have valued each and every one of  you and am so grateful to you all for coming along with me on this endeavor. I actually never expected nor particularly wanted to found my own company or be an entrepreneur. I just took Entrepreneurial Studies in grad school because I liked the teacher (Dr. Henry Morgan from Boston University), little did I know that I would actually use those lessons in my daily life!

All the best to you in 2013. Don’t let the 13 on the end of that year scare you, that is just another sign of opportunity. We at Possets Perfume wish you: joy, prosperity, good health, and abundant love. —Fondly, Fabienne from Possets® Perfume

About Cambienne

ImageWhen I first started Possets, I got the idea of making a special perfume (called Cambienne) which would mimic the seasons of the year. So, I made up a master flask at the beginning of each year and that perfume was the base. I would announce it was for sale and sell it until the amount in the master flask was down to a portion of what I started with. Then I would stop the sale of Cambienne, take the master flask and mix the next batch of perfume based on what I saved from the previous batch. It is a challenge and many was the time when I was a bit nervous that I would ruin what I had worked to hard to make and have to stop the entire experiment. Did I have enough of the previous blend to keep its character? Did the previous blend overwhelm the next one? Would the old and the new compliment each other or cancel each other out?

Cambienne was to be like a family, each “child” carrying the seeds of its fore-bearers but having its own personality. There should be some similarities to the previous versions but each would have its own character and the complexity would grow with each new perfume and at the same time be compatible with the evolving year. That was a pretty tall order, but I wanted the challenge, I had to prove to myself that I was worthy of the task.

So, January would start off as cold earth; and as we moved into February, the fragrance would turn more sunny but the original icy component was much in evidence still, but in addition I would perhaps play around with the idea of Valentine Day (chocolates a whiff of red rose?). As the year progressed the fragrance would slowly turn more floral and warmer until we got to June when I changed it to be quite rosy indeed. And so it wove as the year progressed until it reached the dark and resinous fragrance which I favor in the fullness of the calendar year.

As the years have worn on, Cambienne has changed in its philosophy a bit. I got away from strictly following the course of the year and tried to follow the phases of a woman’s life. I brought in the smells of various holidays and sometimes events which were not related to the passage of time. I liked the idea of time running its course through the year, though, and somehow no matter how intriguing the alternative possibility is, I return to the flow of the year and I think that is where Cambienne will stay.

As Possets has grown and my library of ingredients has expanded terrifically,  Cambienne has gone from being a fun novelty to an eagerly awaited serious perfume. It has evolved from a big experiment to an exercise in stretching my wings as a mature perfumer and taking calculated risks. The most difficult to execute are, of course, the deep and resinous end of the year blends. They are also the scariest because they contain the seed of the entire previous year (I have no backup of that) and they contain the most expensive ingredients, too. If I don’t mix it right, the whole year would be ruined.

Now when I put together a Cambienne, I am using that bit of thick syrupy dark brown patchouli I was saving for a special occasion, the precious sample I bought of an elusive oude from a tiny source, or a famous mixture I made as an homage to the great perfumers who have gone before me (like a divine chypre I just made up that slid into a recent Cambienne). I fashion the entire creation around astounding ingredients and I think the end product is a gorgeous thing.

One of the features of Cambienne is that it is limited. Since it is based on the previous Cambienne, there can only be so much made at one time. The rest of my blends are made to be available at all times during their initial run (and during Retours) that makes Cambienne a departure from the norm. Somehow, making a limited amount makes it sort of scary but appealing, it mirrors the high wire act I feel I am performing when I am making it (one slip and the entire year is ruined).

The end of the year brings a lot of tasks for me to perform to keep the business running smoothly, the kind of thing which doesn’t interest you. So, to keep me happy (which always involves making perfume) I will fire off a few iterations of Cambienne and I surely end up falling in love with them.

I am thinking of decanting a limited number of poppets of Cambienne in each batch next year and putting the collections up for sale as one entire group  (that means the Entire 2013 Cambienne Collection would consist of one each sample sized vial of every Cambienne I produced that year–call it The Cambienne 2013 Set). and offer that at the beginning of 2014. There would be a very limited number of those collections of samples of Cambienne and it would be a lot of work to do them but I think it might be fun in the long run. You can kind of put time in a bottle that way, or at least in an organza bag. You could also regard the way that Cambienne changed over the year at close range and at your own pace.

If you like that idea, drop by the forum and let me know. Here is the link to it.

 

Cambienne is a perfect compliment to Possets. Possets Perfume is always changing to become better and better; evolving Bottled Happiness! Have a very happy holiday season, and an excellent New Year. Fondly, Fabienne from Possets Perfume

Be Merry!!!

To everyone: please let me wish you a wonderful and very merry end of the year festivities, no matter how you celebrate. The one thing I wish for us all is hope. It sounds a funny thing to want; not as romantic and ecstatic as love, not as commanding and solemn as faith…but without hope you are lost. People who suffer depression are often void of hope, and that is what makes us so sad for them. Hope should really be represented not as an anchor but as a life vest. It’s what keeps our heads above water in the worst and roughest of times. And so I wish you hope, the ability to look forward into time and imagine the best despite the past, and because of what you are. Sincerely, Fabienne Christenson, President and Perfumer, Possets Perfume

M (A Restaurant Review In Cincinnati)

From the first second you enter, you know this place is going to be a success. You can feel it on your skin. The man who meets you at the door is happy up beat and polite. This is a neighborhood eatery (!) and it’s what you would expect in Palo Alto. Sleek interior, not so Haute Chic as to make you feel uncomfortable. An open kitchen featuring The Wood Fired Oven is key, nice variegated butcher block tables, short sweet menu and wine list. They are opened until 1! Hooray. We go there.

Clientele are all ages and well dressed without being The Angsty Hipster Achingly Trendy.

Menu is divided into four categories. There are first courses (I had the roasted vegetables), Pizzas (I chose the basil, buffalo mozzarella, and tomato sauce classic one), meat courses (beef, pork shoulder, fish, and one other… I think it was chicken), and finally there are gratins as a separate category, casseroles of home-like goodness. We did choose the pork shoulder and skipped the gratin this time.

You are encouraged to share and we did, all courses we had were divided between my husband and me. If it was to be skimpy we would find out.

The service was unflaggingly attentive but not smothering. There was one order which was missed and a longish wait for our meat course but that is minor and expected with a new restaurant.

The waitress brought us our wine (a good Argentine Malbec) with the pizza and roasted veggies. Have to say that the veggies were far more spare than I thought they would be and the actual roasted vegetables were hiding in small bits under the lettuce leaves, BUT we were presented with three “rosettes” of a salami which was local and shaved paper thin with a stack of about 4 thin pieces of toasted baguette. I divided the vegetable plate and we ate.

I noticed one strange and wonderful thing about that salami.. it tasted and smelled like spring flowers! How did they do that? Just like the scented jonquils that we have in our back yard! What a wonderful thing in December!

The tiny lettuces were perfectly seasoned and the bits of bread were fine with olive oil. The  “vegetable plate” was a success!

Next was the pizza. I ordered a plain and classic version of the divine pie and was not disappointed. The crust was wonderfully thin, the toppings were well oiled and not dried out despite firing in the oven. A delight!  Some serious thought had been put into this one.

By the way, I have eaten at “wood fired” places which REEKED of smoke and touted themselves as sniffy grill restaurants, very expensive etc. This one was not smoky at all but the food was grilled to perfection.

Our pork shoulder arrived about 20 minutes after ordering it (a long time) but it was delicious! The crust was perfect and perfectly seasoned. Tender and juicy, what was not to love here? Oh, and it was accompanied by wonderful grilled Brussels sprouts. Both things were perfectly caramelized.

We opted out of desert. There was a bonnie apple pie with a cheddar gelato (!!!) which looked quite yum but we wanted to be good. Actually all of the deserts looked great but we were sated even after we had split everything!

We found friends who were dining there too, they came to the table to post mortum it all and told us that they had the beef and it was tough (which was a disappointment), and their desert pie was very late in arriving after being ordered.

The bill for all of that came to a mere $66. Wow, quite worth it and we were happy as can be when we left. So I would say this is a great place. We are going to come back  and have a late dinner soon! I am looking forward to that!

I Do A Restaurant Review-Local 127 in Cincinnati…It's Local

I don’t go out much. I don’t want the extra empty calories, water weight from too much salt, and high prices. Saying that, I do indulge sometimes and thought that I would share what’s not too high calorie, what’s not worth it, what is worth it, etc. So, here is my first review, Local 127 in downtown Cincinnati. Of course, your mileage might vary, and I hope it does. However, this is not a dieters’ delight, mon freres. In a nutshell: too many “novelty meat” high calorie choices, too much foo-foo PC cooking. 

Local 127 in Downtown Cincinnati- 

Local 127 is so fashionable and PC that you mentally check yourself for any offending raiment as you walk in. The service is really lovely though, all of the personnel make you feel as if you are eagerly anticipated without being foppish or intrusive. The interior is nicely decorated, a bit dark but comfortable and the theme isn’t overwhelming. 

The menu is brought. It is quite extensive for a one side menu. It’s Local, Fresh, Organic. Don’t forget: It’s Local. 

OK, I get it. Now on to what’s for dinner. Well…uh…uh…uh…. 

If you like hog bellies, chicken necks, half cooked duck, liver, toes, innards and “novelty meats” you will get a huge kick out of Local 127. Really. They do know their way around parts which I never cook. 

The wine list is OK. I ordered a wine from Alicante in Spain (due to the fact that my Spanish teacher was from there). It came. It was fierce. It had the tang of “been opened for a while” backing up the experience. BUT the waiter was very nice about it, and brought me a glass of Innocent Bystander whilst taking the Spanish wine away and off the check. 

Innocent Bystander was considerably more expensive but forgettable, alas. Not bad but… 

Back to the search for something edible. Pickled this, poached that…nothing particularly normal to eat, and I wanted normal. My eyes lighted on meatloaf with “cheesy grits”, mushroom gravy, and homemade ketchup. OK, that was normal and I ordered it. 

The salad we split was divine! It came with a paper thin flatbread smeared with a tang-less garlic comfit. The greens were fresh, the mandatory goat cheese was nice, the watermelon pickles were not unpleasant, the dressing was perfect. If the rest of the meal was to be this good, I was in luck. 

The advent of the entree was nigh. Mine came in a ceramic pan with high sides which made it slightly hard to cut and eat. However, it was a thing of beauty. A rather large square of well seared meatloaf looking like a coveted end piece. I dug in, I was hungry. 

It was lukewarm at best. This was not the piping hot meatloaf it should have been. It was good but good isn’t excellent. This one had obviously been sitting there waiting for the other entree of the duck cooked in sous vide style (as I am sure the poe homage to hipsters). 

It was good. Did I mention it was local? The cheesy grits were a puddle without any evidence of grit-like objects there. The mushroom gravy was excellent, tasting like mushrooms should taste with great strength and character. Homemade ketchup? Hard to screw up. 

Underwhelming. I was hungry so I tucked into it in earnest. Quelle horror to see that the inside was pink! Was this thing cooked? It looked cooked, it had to be. I asked and they had heard that before. It was some special process the chef put upon the loaf which made the interior raw pink. It’s cooked all the way through, honest. 

It felt cooked in my mouth, not the over yielding smoosh of raw hamburger but a good resistance to my teeth. I ate it all. 

And it was good. 

My date had the duck and pronounced it “the best duck I have ever had”. That is very high praise from him as he is The Sniffy Eater deluxe. The skin was crispy, the interior was as close to raw as you could get and still eat it without calling the EMS guys to save you. He loved it. He is ultra temperature sensitive and complained not a bit about its being cold. He was very happy indeed and ate all of his dinner. Every speck. 

The duck was cooked sous vide. Sorry, I am tittering. He loved it and that is all that counts. 

We ordered coffee and it came in a French Press. It was accompanied by whipped cream in a cup, a variety of sugars and sugar like objects. No liquid milk or cream or half and half. It was piping hot BUT it was not real strong. Not at all. Kind of cafe Americano strength.

I left less content than I could have. It was a fun experience and on many levels it was great. 

I woke up at 3:45 a.m. and had a huge debate with myself as to whether or not I was going to throw up. The debate continued for quite some time. I managed to keep down my expensive meat loaf and a few sips of water but that was real. Real real. I suspect that the meat was cooked some “new fangled” way and that all the bacteria were not quite rendered harmless. 

It could have been: canapes from the prior engagement, unwashed hands on a glass or piece of cutlery, a stray lettuce leaf which missed the sprayer, or the meat just wasn’t really cooked enough. I will never know but I am really not in love with Local 127. Yea, I know it’s local local local.

True Bathos-The Quest Begins Part 1

Long ago I went to Europe for the first time. I encountered a “bidet” and loved the fact that I could wash myself really clean with a minimum of fuss. It’s for washing your nether-bits and is like toilet next to the toilet but it has water running into it for washing. Very civilized and when you are done you are really clean.

I made up my mind that when I grew up, I wanted a bidet in my house. Years later, I was still bidet free. However, a trip to the Middle East changed that.

I went to a destination wedding in Dubai, the fabled city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Everywhere you went there was a sprayer attached to the wall next to the toilet in every bathroom, public and private. What were they for? How did they work? Since I didn’t run into other women with whom I might strike up a conversation about this piece of equipment, I just kept my questions to myself and thought I might look it up later.

It turns out that device is known as a shattaf and it’s my key to owning a bidet of my own at last! It is something like the sprayer you can get on your kitchen sink, the kind which sit next to the faucet. After you are through in the bathroom, you take off the shattaf, turn on the water and spray yourself with warm water to get really clean. Whole process takes very little time and you are Clean when you are through. Toilet paper is too absorbent to be really gentle because it’s going to stick to you and disintegrate, it’s meant to do that to keep the pipes from clogging up.

American bathrooms don’t have any room for a bidet, bidets are very expensive to buy and install, and you have to clean out a bidet after you use them (or you should…think about it). A shattaf is small, inexpensive, doesn’t have to be cleaned every time you use it, easy and inexpensive to install, and unobtrusive in general.

In the next installment of True Bathos I will tell you about how I found a hand held bidet in the USA. It wasn’t easy but there were some amusing moments there. This tale of questing and suspense over bathroom fixtures is brought to you by Possets Perfume, Bottled Happiness! 

True Bathos-Quest for the Instrument-Part 2

Now that i knew what a ‘hand held bidet’ was, and realized that I could have one then I had to find one and procure it. So, where would I search? The internets, of course! Google is indeed your friend and with a few taps of the keyboard I found that hand held bidets were obtainable from quite a few Houses of Esoteric Bathroom Fixtures around the United States of America. Great! There were even videos of the venerable Dr. Oz extolling the virtues of the ‘hand held bidet’.

I delved into this topic with all the zeal of a missionary converting heathen souls. It seemed that everyone was selling hand held bidets. This was a phenomenon which reminded me of “The Crying of Lot 49”, a world swirling all around us that we don’t see…yet.

Of course there were high end places with gold plated dolphins on the handle which shot H2O at you in any mode you liked, there were cheap plastic things which looked like they would be aimed at a head of lettuce rather than your parts, and there was everything in between. I was exhausted. Two for one deals, “bun warmers”, spray heads from Mars practically. I thought this was all wonderfully strange until I stumbled on the line of Google which sobered me up: hand held bidets were available at Home Depot and Lowes!

What the heck? I thought this was going to be the ultimate bathroom accessory which no one would be able to identify but me and here it’s a common household item? Hmmmm.

I called a likely supplier and looked and compared and asked. There were options to explore and one of them was the addition of hot water to the cold and thereby getting a nice warm shower instead of a bracing zesty one on my lady bits. This made everything all different, it would now have to be installed by a true expert. OK, it’s worth it.

So, I talk it over with my husband, he is wise in all things to do with plumbing. He says he will buy one for me. Great. He does. It’s a beauty from Italy and it looks like a fluted column with a thumb trigger on the side. Nicely chromed with a chic silvery metal hose.

In addition, there is a thick tube-like separate piece which needs to come with it if you want warm water to play upon you. It mixes the warm and cold waters and is very comfortable. The part is a 9 inch long chrome device with a dial on one end and a knob on the other. Choose your temperature (in classy Centigrade) and then turn it on with the knob. Only one problem, it is as heavy as lead. It is made like a deep space module and looks terribly ready for action. I love it, it’s the lap of luxury, ladies.

Now, for the plumber to float in and hook up my dream machine. I am poised on the brink of bliss…or am I? Stay tuned and find out.

Will it work out flawlessly? Of course not. No. No way. Tune in for the scintillating next phase of True Bathos! For a blog story for frustrated sophisticates from Peoria to Peru.

True Bathos-The Dramatic Complication-Part 3

We have a wonderful plumber in my neighborhood, Aufdemkamp’s Plumbing*. Tim Aufdemkamp runs the company as his father did and his father’s father, and dating back to the Jurassic Period in Germany when men were men and pterodactyls flew free and dined on ancient wursts. So, I call Timmy and ask him to have someone come and install this device in my bathroom. “OK,” says Tim,”how about tomorrow?” This is great. I prepare the cabinet and make sure everything is ready.

Dan the plumber arrives promptly at 9:30, just as promised. He is a trim man in his mid 30’s, clean and neat, and he has a helper with him. They go upstairs in a solemn way.

There is some discussion taking place and I hear my name called. I go up and see my husband with the two plumbers and they don’t look happy.

“I can’t install this thing,” I am told by a taciturn Dan,”It’s too big and heavy and besides that I would have to….” I am so confused right now that I can’t hear what he is saying. I am getting stories about what sounds like broken physics. What is the big deal? Just hang the darned thing on the side of the cabinet, hook it up and let’s go. I’ll pay you for it.

Nope, no way. Dan is convinced it’s going to drip, pull out of the wall, leak, AND bring the ceiling down in the living room underneath (perhaps killing the occupants).

Dear God. Somehow I doubt that it’s that dreadful an outcome. I offer an idea,”I can put a drip pan under it in case it leaks a bit after I use it.” What brilliance! I am so proud of myself for solving one tiny part of this hideous conundrum that I feel like someone else should shoulder the burden of Dan’s other misgivings.

No, not, no way. Nein, comrades. Dan is now looking at me like a Doberman which is trying to decide which side of my throat to tear out. His eyes are perfectly expressionless, that’s how I know he is filled with wrath. So he plays his trump card.

“What do you want me to do?” Of course he knows I know nothing about plumbing or about death by collapsed ceiling so he figures I will give up and call another plumber, apologize and grovel.

Wrong, very wrong. I gather up the courage to use my secret weapon: elegant sarcasm.

“Well, Dan, I don’t know. Somehow I missed Plumbing in college,” I say in a flat voice.

Dan gets it. BUT he presses his advantage as uber-craftsman. My husband wanted him to install a new faucet as well. He picks up the new faucet assembly and announces that it is thoroughly substandard and will certainly fail within a year and a fortnight (my terms, not his). And, as they have learned to say,”I’ll put it in for you if you want me to, but I’m telling you, it’s going to give out on you in a very short time.”

OK, take that you smarty-pants pinko customers! On top of it all, Aufdemkamp charges a hefty fee to knock on the door. We hand over a check for nothing except being upbraided by the plumber.

I am undaunted. I WILL prevail! If it’s the LAST THING I DO!

Well, will I prevail? Or will I bite the dust? Tune in and find out in the next installment of True Bathos, high amusement brought to you by Possets Perfume, Bottled Happiness.

*This is a fake name, Aufdemkamp is an semi-famous Cincinnati name conveying Old German craftsmanship, etc.

True Bathos-I Draw A Bead On the Problem Part 4

I am standing forlornly in the doorway watching Dan the plumber drive off with my $72 service fee and nothing to show for it. I feel like a 2 volt motor hooked up to a 5,000 volt source. There is a solution, I know there is. One thing that Dan did suggest, go to Van Schmeer’s Plumbing Store and look for a better faucet. I call to arms.

“Husband, we must to Van Schmeer’s,” I cry. I look so wild that he doesn’t dare countermand me. We get in the car and drive to the showroom.

Van Schmeer’s is an overpriced plumbing store which specializes in foo-foo fixtures of the latest wheeze. They don’t sell “sinks”, they sell “vessels”. They don’t sell porcelain tubs, they sell Carrara marble, hand crafted, hand decorated, bla, bla, bla. We enter. There are chandeliers (!) hanging from the ceiling. The showroom is immense. A lady is sitting at a reception desk and gives us the fish eye (at this point I look like the Witch of Endor, and my husband looks like he desperately wants to get away).

“How may I help yoooo?” she coos. Thin smile.

“We are looking for a bathroom faucet,” I say trying to sound normal instead of homicidal. I realize I sound like I am growling, I try to tone it down.

“Mmmm, yessss. We have an associate who can attempt to assist you but I believe he is busy at the moment, I will escort you to Anne as she is free,” says the receptionist.

Anne is a very very very skinny woman of about sixty, dressed in exceptionally nice skirt and sweater and whose neck is wrapped in a wildly expensive Burberry cashmere scarf artfully draped to show off the fringe of it. She is also one of the most nervous people I have ever seen in public. She bites her lips, the inside of her mouth, her fingers. She is trying desperately to keep a grip on it, and she does know plumbing.

We talk, she steers the conversation into the hand held bidet area and then she really starts to probe about what I want. Of course they do have a wonderful bidet which is fully self contained and does everything. For the mere price of $5000 for the bidet and installation is, of course on us. Then there are extras we can add on and…

No, I don’t have room for it. Thanks, let’s talk bathroom faucets.

How about redoing my bathroom? That is an option, she could re-outfit the entire thing to the latest and greatest…

That’s not why I am here, honestly. I feel like I am fighting a giant squid. She gets the hint and decides we really need to talk to John, the resident specialist on all things about plumbing.

Somehow we are now in front of John. He is a monument to indifference. We do not want the Power Wash Bidet in custom gold leaf with the insta-dri package for only $49,000? We talk hand held bidets. Things get Very Complicated. I start to doubt my sanity. It feels like the back of my chair suddenly disappeared and I am falling backward through warped space/time.

John tells us that the hand held bidet (wretched thing that it is) will surely leak. It will certainly cause the floor to collapse eventually. Quelle horror! This is the same thing the plumber promised. John says that we should consider putting it in the shower, so that when it drips it will do so in the tub. Makes sense.

Where do we live? Hyde Park. John sits bolt upright. He fixes a beady eye on my husband. “We have found that shower walls in Hyde Park are reinforced with concrete and steel which make them virtually impossible to drill into! We could try to hang the hand held bidet there but getting hot water into it will be well neigh impossible if you have the concrete and steel that we usually find in situations like this…you would be wasting your money and our time if you attempted to cut into the shower wall under those circumstances.”

Great Caesars’ Ghost!!! Oh my! Ohhhh noooooo! We are doomed. DOOMED! The Man has spoken and we, who know nothing of plumbing are doomed. Alas!

John takes out a thick dark pencil and carefully writes out a series of part numbers for things we would need to continue such a foolhardy act. Again, he fixes my husband in a baleful stare. I am sure that John is wondering how my husband could be the poor dupe of a foolish and vain woman like me. He hands us the paper and then makes it clear that he has devoted all the time he intends to to our petty request.

Again, physics have bent. The map of the universe has shifted. The seeds of massive destruction lurk just behind the innocent looking tile of my shower! The very floor under my feet in the bathroom will give way unless excellent care is taken and large money spent at Van Schmeers.

We stagger out of the showroom. I feel like Adam and Eve belched from the Garden of Paradise.

We now see the subtle depths to which Hard Sell in “Upscale Retailers” has descended. Am I daunted? I have one last trick up my sleeve, and I am willing to play it! This grand diversion is brought to you by Possets Perfume, Bottled Happiness.

True Bathos-Dateline L.A. Part 5

I bought my hand held bidet from a company in Los Angeles California. They are rather sophisticated and hard bitten out there, and I can certainly deal with that. At this point my recourse is limited, either get fetched off immediately to the local madhouse, or call L.A. and talk to a resident technical support guy and ask him to talk to the plumber and help him see a solution. I call Bidets4U and talk to Gus, the salesman who sold me the hand held. Gus is not happy. Gus sounds like he would love to be in the next room just so he could get up, march into my office and smack me. Actually, he is fed up not with me but with the usual assortment of oafs he deals with who don’t understand how to put in a simple hand held bidet. He thinks that Dan the plumber was totally stopped by the idea of a bidet in general, and that sapped him (Dan) of his usual plumber’s rationality and reduced him to a jabbering obstructionist.

I am afraid I share that view of Dan. I don’t think that Dan liked being presented with an alternative plumbing universe. I think it froze his brain. Dan is probably drinking right now.

Gus snarls that he sent the full explanation to me to forward onto the plumber. I allow as how I did that. I make it clear and I deeply resent being put in the middle of this situation and I would profoundly and eternally be grateful to Gus if he would help poor Dan see the light. Gus agrees and a conference call is arranged, mercifully without me being involved. Good, I don’t have to come up with more sarcastic remarks.

After Gus confides in me that he doubts Dan’s competence, parentage, and general worth I gently remind Gus that it is not my fault that I have fallen into the company of troglodytes. Gus has to laugh. Disaster averted and salvation possibly at hand. I hold my breath. I will call Aufdemkamp tomorrow.

The solution is at hand. I hope so anyway. Look for the final installation (so to speak) of True Bathos coming up soon. Brought to you by Possets Perfume, Bottled Happiness.