Saturday, January 10, 2009

Why Spare Sheets Are a Necessity

When Jeff and I got married, we bought a brand new queen-sized bed. Of course, neither of us used a queen-size bed before we married, so we had to buy new sheets--which we would have done anyway, but it meant that our old sheets couldn't be used as spares. We decided to splurge on the new sheets; we used gift certificates and cash gifts from our wedding to buy some super-luxurious, 1000-thread-count, wonderfully soft and smooth sheets. But they were ridiculously expensive, so we only bought one set.

We planned to buy another set of sheets, but we kept finding other uses for our hard-earned money, such as getting out of debt. And we didn't have a spare bedroom in our old place, so ours was the only bed in the house. I seriously dislike trying to fold fitted sheets, so I didn't like the idea of pulling out spares to put on the bed when I washed the sheets anyway, because I wanted to wash the fitted sheet, then put it back on the bed, thereby avoiding the need to ever fold it. So there was no need for spares.

When we found out that we were moving to Egypt, we also discovered that we were going to have a spare bedroom. We figured we'd need it, since both of us have family members who intend to come visit us. We realized that the time had come to buy some spare sheets. So we did. We bought a super-soft but inexpensive set and left them nicely folded in their tiny little space-saving packages until our shipment arrived in Egypt. Then we took them out and washed them prior to folding them up and hiding them away in the guest room to await their usefulness. One slight problem: the flat sheet disintegrated in the washer. It was very annoying, but we couldn't exactly head back to the store and return them, so we threw away the flat sheet, kept the fitted sheet and the pillow cases, and decided to buy more. But we never got around to it.

Oh, what a mistake that was!!

Yesterday afternoon, Jeff asked where Cleo was. I didn't know, but I didn't get up to look; she likes to nap on the bed or hide behind the refrigerator, and she always comes out eventually. Jeff agreed with this reasoning; he went back to surfing the internet, and I went back to reading my book on the sofa. A couple of hours later, Jeff mentioned that Cleo still hadn't come out . . . and I went looking for her. I knew we hadn't closed her in anywhere, but she does sometimes manage to close herself into our bedroom while messing around near the door, trying to get toys that she's thrown back behind it. Sure enough, the bedroom door was closed. I opened it, and Cleo came trotting out. I didn't go in; I just let her out and returned to my book.

Fast forward to 11:30 last night, when I've finally finished my book and realized how tired I am. (Jeff is still on the computer.) I go to the bedroom and start getting ready for bed. As I empty my pockets onto the nightstand, I glance over at the bed and--hold up, wait a minute, what is that? That brownish stuff on my green duvet? Oh, no, surely not . . . but yes. It was. While Cleo was locked in our bedroom, she had no access to the litter box, and apparently, she had to go.

In the process of cleaning it up, Jeff and I realized that Cleo had tried to be a good little kitty and bury her mess . . . thereby getting her poo on the duvet, the flat sheet, the fitted sheet, and two pillowcases. Oh, and the stuff that was on the duvet soaked through onto the down-alternative comforter as well. Great.

While I pre-treated everything and put the sheets in the washer to soak overnight, Jeff went scrounging for sheets and blankets. We ended up with our spare fitted sheet and two matching pillow cases, but no flat sheet. Instead of the comforter and duvet, we had two light blankets and two light throws. It was plenty to keep us warm, especially since we knew we could actually turn the heat on if we needed it. We put the softest blanket on bottom, but it was still pretty scratchy, especially considering that we're used to the 1000tc sheets. It's a sign of how spoiled I am that I tossed and turned until 4am, when I got up and put on some super-soft long pajamas so that the blanket didn't touch as much of my skin . . . after that, I slept fine.

We got up this morning and I let the washer finish the cycle. We were lucky--the poo all came out of the sheets. They're back on the bed now, with nothing to indicate how gross they were yesterday. The duvet still has a stain; it's in the washer for its second cycle now. I've been thinking about replacing it anyway, as it's no longer the nice hunter green that it used to be--it's faded quite a bit in the last two years. The comforter is in the dryer . . . it still has a little bit of a stain, but we won't put it in for another washer cycle since the first one left it with a couple of holes, since the washer apparently wasn't quite big enough. Oh, well, it'll be hidden inside a duvet or under a bedspread anyway.

The moral of this story? Simply this: if you want to sleep well while your poo-stained sheets are soaking in the wash, you should have a complete spare set of sheets, not just the fitted sheet and a couple of pillow cases. Oh, and if you ever notice that your cat is missing . . . go make sure she isn't closed up in your bedroom. Your bed is the thing in there that most resembles a litter box.


  1. WOW. Let me just say that when you mentioned possibly turning on the heater I just stopped and sat here in absolute awe

  2. Actually, in the bedroom, the first step would have been to turn the A/C off . . . we like it cold at night so we can use the comforter. We've been using the heater in the living room for a few weeks now. (I really like the dual units so we can control the bedrooms separately from the living room.) It still isn't cold by U.S. standards--the low tonight is supposed to be 53--but it's chilly. I've been wearing thicker long sleeves during the day and using a jacket when I was out at night.

  3. Actually, let me clarify that . . . we have the A/C set so that it *will* come on if the temperature gets above a certain mark, but it's been a while since it actually *has* come on. We're not really running the A/C in the middle of winter. (I know, I'm so spoiled.)

  4. Hi Deborah,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving comments!

    Sorry about your sheets. Good thing the stains came out.

  5. Deb - I just read your blog entry. My wife and I are contemplating a move to Maadi from Minnesota. I chuckled at the heater comment as it is expected to dip below O F again this weekend. We are wondering if you could comment on green space or parks nearby for kids to run and play.

  6. Daren-Welcome to the blog, and (potentially) welcome to Maadi! For the record, I do think it's colder this year than last--last year apparently was uncharacteristically warm, even for Egypt--but it's still just light jacket weather.

    Green space and parks ... you may want to rent a villa or ground floor flat with a garden. It is green in Maadi, much more so than in Cairo itself, but I wouldn't say that there's anywhere the kids can run around. Depending on where you put them in school (assuming they're school age), they could have nice green campuses. You could join a sports club, but I'm not sure how much they cost. A good family outing would be to go to Al Azhar Park (, which is huge, green, and beautiful, I think even with a playground in one of its many areas, but it's 20-30 minutes away, by the Citadel. There's also the wadi, which is a popular family outing, but it's desert landscape.


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