This is all Venus's fault. She was mad at Lauren and not accustomed to sitting in one place like a rock, like a molded jello, like, well, ME, all day. Venus is accustomed to having a mad run while Lauren jogs. (For Venus, a walk would be a mad run. She may be a bull dog, but she's the kind of bull dog who resembles a vietnamese pot bellied pig more than any canine I ever saw.) I’m only pet sitting, and a poor substitute for Lauren, who for Omri and Venus walks on water.

Anyway, on the day in question, Venus decided to run around with Omri, her companion in crime. (Omri is a fairly goofy, eager to please, hyperactive Golden Retriever whose only real fault is an obsession with carrying around all of his toys in his mouth at the same time, and a tendency to bark at everything that moves.) Play time for Omri and Venus is mad circles on my bed, (the venue being something of an equalizer of their disparate statures) and playing tug-a-war. Only Venus and Omri elected to play this particular tug session with my feather comforter.

So after picking feathers off the floor, the bed, the dresser, on top of the fan, the hall, swimming my coffee, my bathwater, not to mention my teeth, I bundled the comforter into a trash bag and relegated it to the circular file, trailing feathers behind me. No more warm and cozy. No more toasty nights. No more feathers. Back to fighting the dogs for spare inches of tattered velour and a corner of a twin-sized quilt that has seen better days.

That was it.

Of course, I got the coupons in the mail. Discount coupons, they send me mailboxes full of them all of the time with a big "PREFERRED CUSTOMER" stamp.

And then the temperature dropped, my temperamental furnace decided not to run, and a foot-deep layer of tattered blankets failed to keep me from freezing. It's only November and all that loomed ahead was the chill prospect of a bitterly freezing parade of icy nights marching on till spring.

Empty wallet notwithstanding,I had a change of heart. I dug out the store coupons.

I checked Overstock first, but the comforter I was looking for cost twice what it did when I bought it last year. So I went to the store website, this particular department store where I've had a PREFERRED CUSTOMER card since before this millennium, a card with a zero balance because their prices are too much for me unless I'm desperate. And Lo, their veterans day sale presented me with a discount and free shipping. (Even if the sale price was more than 2x what I paid on Overstock.) I found The One. 500 thread count, 108 x 84, 600 fill power and marked down from $300.)

Soon to be nestled all snug in my bed, visions of comforters dance in my head, and me in my onesie (without any cap) will soon settle down for a warm winter's nap…

(You can keep your Michigan winters in Dearborn. I can't even handle February south of the Mason-Dixon line.)

Blowing the dust off my credit card, I went online to order. I let the shipping option do what it may, since the discount had something to do with shipping. And I waited. And waited. In fact, I could write that 6 times for each of the 6 days that crawl by. Then I decided to go online and check the order to see what the tracking says. Surely it would be here soon. In this Fed-Ex world, six days is a lifetime.

The online ticket says it shipped on the 13th with a 6 day shipping time—but no revealing via what service, nor when it will arrive, nor where on the globe it is right now.

So I searched for a phone number. Of course there is not one. I called a local store, which transferred me to my choice of Spanish or English;
-then my choice of credit rep, local, or online;
-then my choice of leaving a message or hanging on for customer service.
-Then I hang on and on and…finally, #1 comes on.

"Where is my comforter?" I ask
"Your sale did not go through. Let me have your social security number, your drivers license number, your birth day, a description of the card and the code on the back…"
I give her the information.
"It didn't go through," she said, "A code Y came up, I have no idea what it means…Hang on, let me transfer you to the credit department. It's their code."
So I wait, and wait and…

#2 comes on the line…

"Where is my comforter?"
"I need your information please"
I give her the information.
"It didn't go through," she said, "A code Y came up. I have no idea what a code Y is. You have to go in to the store and show them your card."
"Excuse me?"
"We issued you a new card. On the 15th, so the sale didn't go through."
"That's not possible. It was shipped on the 13th. That's what the tracking says. Was it shipped and then unshipped? I don't need a new card. I need the comforter. Why would I need a new card?"
"Everyone was shipped a new card on the 15th."
"That doesn't make sense. I buy something, and you ship it, then send me a new card because I'm such a great customer, that you unship my last order?"
"I have straightened it out for you—I don't know what this code Y means, but I can send you to ordering and verify, and we will get this out to you, with the discount, and no shipping charge."

#3 comes on the line…
"you will please to order? Codie why?"
"Excuse me? I can't hear you, and I have no idea what you're saying."
"Gofofgo? Haque em imella shopping? Gofofgo helping you?"
"Can you please give the phone to someone who speaks English"
"I for to speak"
"What? what are you trying to say?"

Music plays and after about 10 minutes, cuts off.

I call back.
#4 comes on the line…

"Where is my comforter? Am I a customer or not?" I give her the order number.
"Apparently not ma'am. There's no such order. Can I have your phone number and address, your social security number, your driver’s license number, your birth day, a description of the card and the code on the back?"
"This is the fourth time I've done this today, but I was disconnected. I think customer service was speaking English but it sounded like they were calling from the asteroid belt on Planet Boulliabaisse.”
"I'm sorry ma'am. I'm in Ohio. When I look up that code, there is no such order. When I look you up all I see is a code Y. I've never seen a code Y before. Wait, there it is. But the date of your order is 12/31/9999. Other than that, everything looks good."
"So, I ordered a comforter 7989 years from now that shipped last week and was cancelled because I'm such a good customer I need a new card? All I want to know is when will I be getting the comforter? I don't want a new card, they do bad things to your credit."
"I can send you to Accounting and they can verify your order."
"I'm not paying for this twice," I tell her, "If you try to bill me for something in 9999, I can guarantee you I won't pay."
"Hold for Customer service…"

#5 comes on the line…
"Where is my comforter? Has this been shipped?"
"I have the Blue Ridge Bedding, 500 Thread Count 108" x 84" King Down Comforter Featuring soft, Siberian white down fill wrapped in a smooth, 500 thread count damask stripe cover shipping to you-it should be there by Tuesday at the latest. I have taken off the shipping charge and applied the discount and the promo code from your original order is applied."

So now, I wait for Tuesday.

We'll see.