The Loh Life is writer/performer Sandra Tsing Loh's weekly take on life, family, and pop culture in early 21st century Southern California.
Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh


My 16 year old was complaining about too much light in her bedroom—   Her curtains are too gauzy—  It makes it hard for her to sleep in 'til noon, which she considers her right in summer— 

Because I know nothing, I foolishly said, "Let's get you some blinds!"

Swirling a fresh cup of coffee, a divorced mom taking care of business, I contact my virtual "husband"—  Angie—  Who has a list.

I type in "blinds"—  Do I mean "custom blinds"?  Sure!  Here's a 10% off coupon—  I'm printing money!  For a highly-rated custom blinds guy named Roger—  Within two hours he's at my house for a free estimate!  Hashtag Winning!

Roger is charming, friendly, conversational.  He oohs and aahs over our old Craftsman house, with its large, beautiful, slightly "unusually-sized" windows.  Thatshould have been the tipoff that another custom-zero was being custom-added to the price, but I thought nothing of it.  Oh no!  I offered Roger a cup of coffee—  He asked what I did for a living—I said I was a writer—  He asked what kind—

Now I know that this is called "bonding" and you should not do it when getting a quote unquote free estimate—  I realize I should have said, "I am unemployed," and burst into tears rather than trying to make my career sound so lucrative.  Roger then spends what seems like half an hour—he's thorough!—measuring two windows—  Then he goes to his truck and returns with a thick, beautifully bound binder.  Full of blinds.

Not just blinds.  And I quote: "Window treatments of your dreams"—  And I thought, "Who dreams of window treatments?"  Someone, because there were honeycomb ones, blackout ones, vertical ones—  With different kinds of pulleys, cords, and stylish valences—  In complicated colors like Banana Ice Milk and Taos Midnight Persimmon—  I start fearing that aromas will be next!

Bottom line?  For two bedroom windows, it will take three weeks for the custom shades to arrive.  Cost?  $1500.  "They will look amazing!" Roger enthuses.  Inwardly, I agree.  They will be the most amazing thing in my teen's messy bedroom piled with laundry, makeup, art supplies and crumpled tissues.  We just want something to block the light.  After Roger leaves—  And the air is thick with mutual disappointment—  I eye a poster board from my younger daughter's science fair project.  I contemplate simply nailing blankets over the windows.

In the end, I give my teen a nice new sleep mask.  Great solution!  Although that night I do indeed dream. . . of window treatments!

Next week: House Painting Hell!