Moving someplace new is always challenging, and the move to Spain has proved to be no exception. But who knew that our biggest glitch thus far would involve – drumroll, please- a fitted sheet?
Our lamentable, laughable tale started in our bedroom. The bed in the master in our apartment here was smaller than Mark and I wanted. We’re both big people, and my darling spouse has hinted that when I’m asleep I view the bed the same way Alexander viewed the world, i.e., as territory to conquer. So we investigated what’s available and opted for a “super-king,” which is European for “actually not as big as a US king-sized but made for Americans who can’t get over everything needing to be enormous.” A friend got us a great deal on a solid frame and mattress and even arranged for delivery of the new bed and disposal of the old one. Now, we thought, we’re in business!
Mark and I did realize that new, larger bedding would be required. We strolled down to a nearby linens shop and encountered our first complication. Spanish sheet sets, you see, come in two varieties. The Nordic variety does not contain a top sheet. Presumably this means that the Millennial disdain for top sheets is Scandinavian in origin, but we will leave that line of inquiry to some aspiring sociologist in search of a dissertation topic. Or perhaps a linguist will determine whether “going Nordic” is the bedding equivalent of going topless at a beach. Anyway, the other variety of sheet set, or the Correct kind, as we refer to it, includes a top sheet. A friendly salesperson helped us select two Correct sets, ran our credit card, and reminded us not to wash these items in water over 40 degrees (Celcius) because they will shrink. Okay, hurdle overcome; sheets and pillow cases acquired.
Flushed with success, we ventured out to an even bigger linens store the next day. Thank heaven we had rented a car, because a duvet for a super-king is remarkably large and bulky. The duvet cover is small and easily transportable in comparison. What stopped us in our tracks, though, was new pillows for the pillow cases. It turns out that the standard Spanish pillow is narrower than an English bolster pillow, which turned out to be the size of pillow case from the sets we’d bought. And nobody in Spain sells EBPs anymore. Whether this is a reaction to Brexit or the settling of an old score from a long-ago futbol match I don’t know, but it was awfully disconcerting.
Here’s an aside; skip this paragraph if meandering storylines bother you. Our experience raises an interesting question: does every country have a slightly different-sized pillow, kind of like having a unique flag? If that’s true, given the proliferation of nation-states these days, there must be some pretty unusual cushions upon which to rest one’s head. There may even be an office at the U.N. whose mandate is to make sure that an emerging country doesn’t snag some other country’s shape. Can’t you see the correspondence now? “We regret to inform you that your application for Upper Bomswaznam’s national pillow has been rejected due to its being identical to the recently-approved Argostanian pillow. We suggest shaving an additional two centimeters off the bottom left corner before you resubmit your design.”
Anyway, world affairs aside, we trotted our orphan pillow cases home and puzzled about what to do. In the end, we stuffed our old pillows in and discovered to our delight that extra fabric in the pillow case doesn’t affect the quality of your sleep. Hooray! Honestly, I felt kind of smug about transcending national differences and being flexible in my practices. So happiness reigned in our casa until yesterday, when, stupidly, I decided that it was time to wash the sheets. Efficient soul that I am, I ran the washer during breakfast, remembering to use the 40 degree setting. That may have been my smuggest load of wash ever.
After breakfast I trotted the sheets and clothespins up to the roof, as our dryer is a big ball of fire 93 million miles from the Earth. Another even more efficient soul had pinned their bedding up first, and I noticed that it was so windy that one sheet that had only been attached with two clothespins had been torn from the line and was lying was on the ground. To be nice, I repinned my neighbor’s sheet and set about putting up my laundry. Then I decided (smugly) that MY sheets weren’t going to end up on our roof, so I put not two but NINE clothespins on EACH SHEET. NINE. And I left my laundry flapping in the hearty Mediterranean wind.
Everything was great until about 5pm, when Mark volunteered to go get the laundry off the line. He had an odd look on his face when he brought the basket into our little living room. “Did you hang up the bottom sheet on the line? It wasn’t there when I got the clothes.” I assured him that I had, and he nodded. “I figured you had. Since it’s been really windy all day, I looked around for our sheet. It’s not on our roof, but there’s a wadded up ball on the roof of the building next door that may be it. I got the number of the building administrator, but she doesn’t speak very much English. I think she said to go to the bar on the ground floor of that building when it opens at 7 and get the keys to building and the roof to go see.”
Well, sheet. The universe had noticed my smugness and given me exactly what I wanted. My sheet was not on my building’s roof.
Suffice it to say that said sheet is still MIA. The bar had building keys but no roof keys. This was in keeping with the building, which has no elevator, so Mark discovered the lack of a roof key after climbing five flights of stairs. The building administrator still has no English, so we still have no sheet. But hope survives. Either one of the small piles on the next building may be our bedding (see attached picture), so we may ask a friend to help us with the administrator.
In the meantime, we’re using the other bedding set and get the giggles when we talk about our adventures in linens. And actually it’s probably a claim to fame. Most people have been three sheets to the wind at some point, but we’re one sheet to the wind. Now there’s something to be smug about!