Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Basketry and Irony

Somewhere around five years ago I was at Target when I was hit with the need to make an impulse buy (okay, one of many). I found an amazing tightly-woven basket on clearance – I think it was on sale for $20. It had a shape I couldn't resist. Tapered-square and modern and clean, a shape you would expect to find in a fine sushi restaurant.

It was quite large and sat nicely on the living room floor since the day I brought it home, holding nothing more critical than a few blank VHS tapes and some labels. Oh, but the value it added to the aesthetics of the room.

Then my husband sprained his ankle and Diesel was suddenly out of a mid-day walk. He had to wait as patiently as possible for me to return home from work at the end of the day to take him to the dog park for some exercise. Diesel got a bit bored as
Mark (my husband) checked for new motorbike accessories or VW alloys on eBay. He went in search of a stick to chew and came upon the basket with the square shape. It fit his needs sufficiently and he started gnawing on a corner. Mark, suspicious of the noise coming from the living room, hobbled through the house on a beagle search. Damage done. A mere ten minutes later I arrived home from work. Why did I finish my time sheet before I left the office? The basket could have been saved.

I was crushed at the state of square basket and was quite sure I wouldn't find another to replace it. Besides, replacing it would be wasting the 95% of unharmed basket and I didn't have the heart to do that. Just to cover the replacement option however, I spent an entire afternoon and $20 in fuel looking in all the local World Markets, Targets, and Pier 1s I could think of. No replacement available so basket repair was my other option.

That online search certainly didn't come easily either but I won't get into the gory details. A stroke of luck found me connected with East Troy Basketry, so I made the call.

The owner, Eileen, was an absolute pleasure to speak with. She didn't typically do repairs but understood my plight and agreed to give it a go. Thank you!

So I spent another $10 on gas driving the 80-ish miles to East Troy and back one Saturday afternoon. features Cleo, the shop English spaniel, on the About Us page. On a whim, I brought along some photos of Diesel (further evidence that I am an over-the-top dog mom) so she could see who damaged the basket. Being a dog-lover, Eileen encouraged me to bring Diesel along when I came back to pick up the repaired basket.

So I did.

She loved him and kindly insisted I allow him off-leash to meet Cleo and wander around her shop of baskets and basket-making supplies.

And all I could think was: Isn't it ironic that I'm here to pick up a basket that this beagle damaged and he's wandering freely around a shop of baskets?

Postscript: Eileen did an unbelievable job repairing the basket. Looks as good as new and I very much enjoyed my visits to her shop!


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