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Lisa and her daughter, Francesca Serritella, have teamed up to bring their hilarious and witty perspective on the everyday life as mother and daughter in their weekly essays which you can find in their latest collection, due on July 7th, Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat? With stories that will have you laughing out loud one minute and tearing up the next, Lisa and Francesca connect with readers on a deeply emotional level because of the honesty they bring to their stories and by the time you turn the last page you will feel like you just found two new best girlfriends. Earlier collections include Have a Nice Guilt Trip, Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim, Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog, My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space, and Best Friends, Occasional Enemies.

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Chick Wit: Barbarians at the Frontgate
Lisa Scottoline | May 23, 2015

Today I’m reporting from the front gate of suburbia.

As well as the Frontgate.

We begin when I wanted to buy a new chair for outside, because I like to read or work in the sun and I have only two chairs.

I know what you're thinking.

One person for two chairs, what's the problem?

There are five problems, and they all happen to be dogs.

Often when I come outside with my book or my laptop, the dogs are already occupying both chairs. If I move them off of one chair so I can sit down, the five of them spend all day fighting over the second chair.

Most people would solve this problem by training the dogs to stop fighting.

But these people never heard the expression, You can't teach an old dog new tricks.

I'm the old dog.

I gave up teaching my dogs anything, and I try to avoid most of my problems, in this case by buying a new chair.

In other words, some people buy dog beds, and other people buy dog chaise lounges.

Anyway, the chaise lounges I have are ancient wrought-iron affairs with basic green cushions, and that's what I wanted.

So I picked up the one of the three hundred catalogs that come in the mail, which I usually pounce on and thumb through, fantasizing.

The Frontgate catalog is porn for suburban women.

Everything in the catalog is color-coordinated, monogrammed, and effortlessly glamorous, and I am none of the above, except for effortless.

Which is Frontgate for lazy.

Not to pick on Frontgate, because I looked at a bunch of other catalogs, and you can't just buy a simple reclining chaise longue anymore, because they don't make them.

I’m here to tell you, exterior furniture has lost its mind.

In every catalog, there were pages and pages of exterior furniture, and none of it looked like it belonged outside. There were fancy long couches with matching club chairs, end tables, dining room, and coffee tables, as well as loveseats and even a chair-and-a-half.

To fit your butt-and-a-half.

All of it looked nicer than my inside furniture.

There were at least twelve “collections” of exterior furniture, with names like Hamptons, Palm Springs, and Palermo.

Surprisingly, there was no Philly.


The photos showed fleets of overstuffed furniture beside pools and gardens, but it would have been more appropriate in a living room or a conservatory.

You have a conservatory, don't you?

It's next to the library, and Colonel Mustard is waiting for you there.

With a wrench.

Every catalog had pages of multicolored of fabric options for the megacushions in an array of different styles, such as tufted, piped, double-piped, or knife-edge.

For the felony-lover in you.

I flipped the page, looking for normal-weight fabric in basic green, and then I came across “outdoor rugs.”

I blinked and blinked.

This concept was new to me.

Evidently, now we need outdoor rugs to put under our exterior furniture, to “protect against hot and cold patio and deck surfaces for luxurious underfoot comfort.”

I thought that's what why we had “shoes.”

Not only that, but there were massive gas grills, stainless steel refrigerators, and tall patio heaters. There was even a TV with a giant projection screen that you can watch outside. And finally, there were curtains, so-called “outdoor draperies,” and their purpose was to “help you define the ultimate outdoor room.”

What’s an outdoor room?

I thought rooms were supposed to be inside.

And the whole point of going outside was to not to be in a room anymore.

Hence the technical term — out.

Isn’t this inside-out?

Or upside-down?

I felt dizzy from the possibilities.

If I get an outdoor rug, do I have to vacuum it?

Or do I need an outdoor vacuum?

Do I want to food-shop for an outside refrigerator, too?

Where will I lose the remote for the outside TV?

Hint: check the azalea.

And what’s next, moving the bathroom outside?

Oh wait. We used to have outside bathrooms, but we brought them insisde.

Back when we were sane.

Bottom line, is it really a good idea to construct a second house in the backyard of the first one?

The thought makes me tired.

I’m going outside to lie down.

On the grass.

The ultimate outdoor carpet.

© Lisa Scottoline 2015

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