It’s been raining cats and dogs for a week now. While Malaysians might love the rain, too much of it can be inconvenient and a hindrance. What sometimes started off cosy can slowly turn melancholy. Back in March 2020, the government announced the Movement Control Order (MCO) to curb the infection rate of COVID-19 that was spreading like wildfire. Staying at home any longer after the three months of MCO can be frustrating as it is. The dark and moody days made it even worse for me. However, somehow there was a turn of event. I dare say… Here’s how I gave a twist to a gloomy day by building an elaborate Blanket Fort.
Rain, Rain, Go Away
The day was particularly hot and moody. It was worse that I had an especially heavy load of laundry to dry outside. Asian mothers oddly find it mandatory to take out nearly every bedding from their household and have them washed once a year, or it could be just my mother. So it was ‘that’ day of the month.
I couldn’t help but mumbled my way into lifting heavy bedsheets and blankets. Mumbling is my coping mechanism. It was odd how my mother was also holding her exhaustion like it was nothing. For one, she wasn’t mumbling. She’s far better than an average adult and a very understanding woman. Then she opened her mouth and said calmly, “When bad things happen, good things will always follow. It will rain later.” It took me a while to digest her words but I felt hopeful and my temper simmered down despite the scorching sun mocking at us both.
1. Rain Check: Laundry Fails
The wind did promise a shower later in the evening. Eventually, the sky darkened and what started with fat droplets, rain soon started pouring with a roar. It was when realisation dawned upon me that I had to go retrieve the dried clothes from earlier. All hope and calm had evaporated, leaving me with the same annoyance. It sucked that I needed to shower again because I was drenched from the rain.
If not for the rude intrusion of the rain, the bedding would have been dried too. However, I didn’t plan on doing the laundry again, anyways.
2. Faux-Winter Season
My mother and I have always loved cold and chilly weather, the winter being our favourite aesthetic season, of course. However, the temperature inside my house was not as cold as the winter. Though Malaysia’s geographical position makes it devoid of the four seasons, it is not free from the monsoons around the year. It was cold enough for us to grab a pair of socks for our cold feet. So my mother and I sat there on her bed and watched camping vlogs. Isn’t it the most therapeutic thing to do while it’s raining? Then I saw the huge pile of blankets staring back at me, challenging me to fold them away. All I wanted to do was to go steal a nap whilst it was raining, but in the back of my mind, I had something else brewing.
I remembered one of my favourite influencers, Courtney Steeves, doing an ‘indoor camping’ during the quarantine. Sure, she was in Minnesota, United States. The weather must be much colder than in Malaysia. Perhaps, we can make it work with the air-conditioner and fewer blankets? The idea slowly started to feel enticing so I let go of my napping plans and turned to my mother.
1. Down The Memory Lane
Back in my childhood days, building Blanket Forts, (also known as, Bed Forts) was considered to be a mega ‘construction project’. The nostalgia of me and my cousins assigning each others’ roles to build a fort hit me at that moment. We’d build our fort with supplies of anything that was lying around the house. A lot of creativity and physics went into making a stable blanket fort that is safe for dwelling overnight. Mind you, the fort also needs to hold up in case of an invasion from ‘intruders’ (parents).
When I suggested this wild idea to my mother she merely tutted at me. She looked at me for a second longer. Her eyes narrowed as though I had said something ridiculous. The thing is, I was all psyched up for the ‘project’! “Be a good sport! If we’re going to be lazing around, we might as well have fun!” If people can go out and have fun surviving in the wild, then there is a better chance of us having even more fun in the comfort of our home.
2. Supplies For The Blanket Fort
I was already making an elaborate sketch of the fort in my mind and a mental list of the things I needed:
- Blankets (four king size and one single size)
- Two sturdy chairs
- Half a dozen laundry pegs to hold the blankets
- Four sleeping pillows
- A garland of fairy lights for aesthetics (at least five metres)
3. How To Build A Blanket Fort
The idea was thrilling, so much so that I was ready to roll off the bed realising that my mom wouldn’t be participating unless I roll up my sleeves and get to work. Soon, her face stretched into a toothy grin when I brought in two chairs. If I didn’t know her better, there was excitement in that smile. She was in.
I placed the chairs facing away from each other and placed a large blanket bridging on top of the chairs. I clipped the blankets in place with two large laundry pegs to the chairs, then, I made sure the backdrop was enough to cover the opening.
Having completed setting the foundation and the roof I worked on the flooring. I placed a huge, downy comforter on the floor and tucked in the corners neatly to fit inside the perimeter. Next up, I used another piece of blanket to overlap the roof and hang on the front. The two ends of the blanket met down adjacent to each other, giving the fort a nice door that can be flipped open. We decided to use a frail, old blanket for the door so that it will be breathable when dwelling inside. The rest of the blankets and duvets were washed cotton. A fluffy texture is important for comfort.
Netflix And Camp
So we weren’t going to build the blanket fort to sit in it and do nothing because obviously, I had movie plans. And the thing about movies is that, you can’t spell them without saying ‘popcorn’!
1. Cherry On The Cake
Fortunately for us, we had a packet of buttery microwavable popcorn. The packed kernels of popcorn were popping and bombarding the bag in the heat of the microwave oven. My mother”s contribution to the ‘project’ was making hot chocolate for me and coffee for herself. As soon as the kernels finished popping, I went back to the Blanket Fort to make final adjustments. I placed a small table and then put my laptop on top of it. With the movie ready to play, and the pillows positioned comfortably, I hung the garland of fairy lights as the cherry on the cake.
2. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
The rain had eased off from its previous whoosh and pouring and was now drizzling peacefully. It was cold and cosy enough to start watching a movie. So I asked myself, “What better to watch other than a fantasy movie?”. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is an all-time favourite and it was streaming on Netflix. The movie opened with a quiet, mysterious melody. My spirits were lifted with the sight of snowfall and making of chocolate bars.
The Rainbow After
Some might call it childish, a waste of time, even. It is no doubt, a time-consuming activity. Instead, I could have called it quits and gone for a nap sulkily.I did indeed had to wash the beddings again in the end, but it was all worth it. What I will cherish the most will be the process of building the bed fort, and it was even merrier when my mother joined in. With that, I realised that sometimes it is important for us to find happiness on the inside instead of looking for it elsewhere.
“But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – Albus DumbledoreJK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of azkaban
Do It Yourself (DIY)
We’re all wired very differently from one another. Perhaps, building a Blanket Fort might not be ecstatic to everyone. Maybe some might like activities like ‘glamping‘ and no one is too old for whatever crazy endeavour that makes them happy.
But if the idea of building a Blanket Fort excites you, then stores like Muji and Kaison have an array of washed cotton bedding varieties perfect for bedding and cosy indoor activities. Alternatively, if you choose not to risk going out, then most of the supplies can be bought at Life WareHouse Malaysia. Since these are online stores, it is convenient. These aesthetic decorations stores make it possible to re-live our most nostalgic moments and create a new one along the way. In the future, I’ll be more inclined to do things out of my comfort zone because I know it will be worth the memory.