My husband has always considered himself a modern, renaissance man with a heavy touch of old school respectful values. He is open minded when it comes to music and design and follows along as I try to explain what an artist was expressing in an art gallery. But as modern and upbeat as he seems to be, there are things that he carried forward from growing up and one of them is his preference for a comfortable reclining chair.
My husband’s father was famous for going to sleep every night in his reclining chair. Acting like he was watching the television show and sometimes surprising us for really still being awake. It was part of the tradition of the household and everyone respected it. Little did I know that my husband would end up picking up this tradition and so it came as quite a surprise to me when his response for a birthday gift was indeed, the chair.
It has to be known that my husband asks for very little. Give him his outdoor fireplace and a deck to relax and he is a happy camper. So, of course, when he asked for a reclining chair, I wanted to make sure that it was one that was comfortable and would last. I already had the feeling that he was emulating the behavior of his Dad and if that was the case, the chair would get some good use.
The right reclining chair has to have the ability to adjust the back to the correct level as well as the footrest extension. In his case, he didn’t want leather or even faux leather, but wanted a microfiber material. He said it would be more comfortable, kind of like sitting on a nice blanket. Given the fact that he would probably be having a drink or snacks I also knew that microfiber was easily wiped clean.
When the day came that the chair arrived I didn’t think he would be as pleased as he was. He centered it in just the right place. Took his shoes off, adjusted it and kicked back. That’s all that he wanted. That was it. He watched TV for about thirty minutes and the next time I looked around, he was asleep.
My best friend was never a wine drinker, in fact the entire time that I knew her she always preferred beer. She and her husband actually took up making their own beer for quite some time and so I was absolutely floored when she announced that she fell in love with wine.
A lot of things change when your best friend moves away. You lose all of the updates of the many small and large things that happen in their lives that just aren’t conveyed in phone calls or emails. This was what happened when suddenly, my beer drinking friend developed into a wine connoisseur. As with everything, she didn’t just enter the world of wine, she embraced it whole heartedly.
When we finally had a chance to visit her she proudly escorted us through her collection of wines. She had domestic, French, some that had been made locally and even some from countries that I didn’t know existed. Her wine bottles were kept in the ‘spare room’ and were carefully layered on the shelves of an old bookcase. Beside the bookcase she had a small array of various wine glasses and then proceeded to show me the correct way to ‘cork’ a bottle of wine.
It was just by chance that my best friend and I happened to get married in the same year and we often gave each other quirky little wedding gifts. It was, however, apparent to me that this year’s gift to her was going to be one that she would not only use, but greatly appreciate. I decided to get her a wine rack to replace that old bookshelf.
She didn’t have a huge collection of wine as she was perpetually buying and sharing it, so I purchased a lovely wine rack that would hold about twenty four bottles. The underside was slotted so that she could hang her glasses and on the top she could use it for entertaining with cheese and fruit. Upon arrival, she unpacked the box and immediately called me. Her voice was incredibly excited and she said “how did you know?” She had been looking for a wine rack for a long time and just hadn’t found one that she liked.
Watching your child move out of the house can be a stressful time. Half of you is happy that they are going to become independent while the other half is yelling inside your head that they are still too young. You are trying your best not to be the overbearing mom and at the same time keeping a list of all the things they need.
This was the case when my son left home and seeing his face I remembered how I felt when I moved away. Excited, a bit frightened, but most of all exhilarated. We gave him the usual amount of older furniture to outfit his apartment and he loaded everything in a truck and he has his best buddy drove off into the sunset.
The first number of weeks he called quite a bit, asking questions about how cable was hooked up or how to set up an automatic deduction in his checking account. Then things settled down and we checked in with each other about once a week or so. In the following months he and his best friend moved to a couple of different places, each time looking for that perfect apartment. On the last venture we all agreed that we would be heading their way and would stop in to see them. Little did we know that when we arrived they were in mid-stride of yet again packing up.
We sat down on the few pieces of furniture that remained in the place and shared an evening of pizza and beer. I looked around and saw that they had their microwave propped up on a counter, surrounded by all of their seasonings and some of their cookware. After a great visit we returned home and my son called me to let me know they had finally found just the right place and they wouldn’t be moving for a while.
As a ‘home warming gift’ I ordered him a microwave cart, with wheels, and lots of storage drawers with doors that closed. In this way, just in case they decided to move again, it would be easily rolled, containing all of their spices and kitchenware. It was probably the best gift I ever gave him because in a year or so, they moved again.
We don’t actually have what one might call a patio, it is actually an enclosed back deck. When we bought our home we fell in love with it, especially because it had a spa. We have managed to maintain the wood in excellent condition and have had a number of lesser quality patio sets over the years. Now that it was time for a new set, my husband and I discovered just how personal a set can really be.
When our son was young we didn’t buy anything nice for the back deck because he and his friends hung out there and typically there was always something that was spilled, broken or ripped. Now that he had moved out of the house, it was our time to enjoy the back deck and I decided that I wanted a circular rattan look sectional with gorgeous red pillows. My husband, however, had other ideas and began telling me the advantages of an L-shaped set with lighter colored pillows that would contrast the wood.
I was quite surprised that he took an interest in the type of patio furniture we would have, but since he had plans of having his friends over for barbeques that would now not be interrupted with yelling kids, I figured he had a right to make his own choices as well. After much discussion, I made my case for choosing the set I wanted and he basically let me know that he just didn’t like it. My reason for a circular set was that it would be more comfy. It had a glass table in the center and we could sit around and talk. His reason was that the L-shape was more spread out and he and everyone in attendance could talk while he was barbequing in a more open setting.
Marriage is all about concessions and continues that way throughout life. We have concessions about various duties that we have around the house and each one gives 150% to the efforts. One of the things that my husband was not real good at was cleaning. So when I looked at his L-shaped patio set and saw that the cushions he insisted on were white, I reminded him that if we got the set, he would be responsible for keeping it clean. The next week, we ordered the circular set with the red cushions.
When we bought our home we loved the construction and the layout but knew we were in for a challenge when it came to the bathrooms and the kitchen. It was built in the 1980’s and was complete with Formica ‘everything’ in the typical style of the day. The hurdles that needed to be overcome meant we had to gut each of the rooms and do a complete facelift on everything.
Kitchens are fairly easy to redo as there are so many styles and we definitely wanted to replace the white with strips of wood-look, with solid kitchen cabinets. But bathrooms are a lot more personal and I had a particular decorating concept in mind for those. The master bathroom had a 72” Formica cabinet with the traditional large industrial mirror and two drab white sinks. There was no difference between this bathroom and any of the cheap hotels that you had ever been unlucky enough to get stuck in, and it had to go.
The first step was to make a decision on the color scheme and I decided that a black cabinet was absolutely required. We were doing the shower in an ash grey slate and a black cabinet would allow any complimentary colors, depending upon the mood. Due to my husband’s habit of slamming drawers, I had paid extra to get soft closing drawers in the kitchen and I wanted the same for the bathroom. Since I make use of every possible space, I wanted to use the ‘end cap’ as a bit of shelving.
The sinks had to be unusual and while I loved the idea of ‘free standing’ I could see my husband dropping something on them and there they would go. I found the perfect look with elevated sinks that stood out over the cabinet, and yet were sturdy and strong with rectangular round edges.
The best part of all is that this set came with two matching mirrors! Once we had everything set up I quickly removed the ghastly large mirror and when the two mirrors were hung, it was a perfect situation. The final ‘color for the moment’ was lavender in towels and room accents and finally, we had a bathroom that we could love.