Saturday, April 14, 2018

A Bedroom for Grown Ups

FYI, this is what our master bedroom looks like when it is cleaned up. I took a few bags to Goodwill, moved clothing to the clothing bank (where they give it out to needy persons at no charge) and had several bags that went to the dump. Scary, huh.

To start at the beginning, 42 years ago we got married and my mother-in-law let us borrow a bed. We had a small dresser from somewhere and a bench where we piled clothes. We used our first income tax refund check to visit Value City Furniture and came home with a bedroom set from the ad, a full size bed, two dressers (one with the infamous hutch style mirror of the 1970's) and two nightstands. We returned her bed. 

About two years later my grandmother passed away and, since we are the family that remained in town, we were the recipients of all the furniture that no one else wanted. At the same time my husband's co-worker experienced a horrible house fire so we gifted him our Value City bedroom set, along with mismatched living room furniture, etc. 

For our master, I moved in the four poster maple bed that I used since I was a little girl that was in her guest room. I used the vanity above as my night stand, a pine dresser from the 20's that was my great aunt's for my dresser, an oak dresser that was my grandmother's for my husband and his night stand is a walnut dresser with 4 drawers on the bottom, two sets of small drawers on either side of the pedestal mirror on top. This one is from the late 1890's. You may notice a trend of mismatched woods. I never followed through on refinishing anything so three of the pieces do almost match since the varnish has turned black. The room is not large and it is like sleeping in a thrift shop with the walls lined with furniture.

April 2018. No more! I want to live like a grownup!

For our #RetireeRoadTrip for April, we went to the furniture store! It is the same store where we ordered our Amish made dining room set. Unfortunately the Weaver family who built our wonderful table and chairs do not make bedroom sets. But the Miller family does!

 The Millers handcraft two basic bedroom sets with a few variations. They will custom size whatever you want. There are over 20 stains you can choose from, too. This was the first set. Very pretty. Very well made. Everything is solid wood with metal slides for self closing drawers that latch in place. This set had a smaller dresser and the night stands had a shelf for people with less clutter. 
The furniture is so heavy that you can barely move it. It will last a lifetime! The tall dresser is on the right and the width was slightly smaller than the second choice. 
The style was a bit like mission with the frame of the dresser extending out from the drawers. There is also a space underneath that I could fill with clutter. (We all know that will happen.)
TA DA. This is the most beautiful bedroom set ever! Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! Let me show you around. 
In love with the bed. Shown is a Queen size. Unfortunately, after measuring every inch with our handy tape measure, returning home and mapping it all out on my graph paper, it just would not fit. Our lovely salesperson Holly called the Millers and got us the exact measurements for a full size and that is what we ordered. 
Mr Merry's tall dresser. And I mean tall. It is almost six feet tall and was part of the problem. It would not work in front of a window! Very deep drawers. 
And this is Miss Merry's very tall double dresser with lots of great drawer space. I had to order it without the mirror since that made it almost 7 feet tall. It just fits under my side window which is a little shorter than the other. Thank goodness I am not getting the mirror since it obviously adds at least 50 pounds to my reflection. (It is all the mirrors fault, right?) And I think it might be tall enough that I could not see myself in the attached mirror anyway. 
Not only do the night stands have drawers, but they are much wider than my cell phone camera shows. We are using them for clothing. 

Another bonus is the bottom aprons on the dressers and stands are very low to the floor. This will prevent a certain someone from piling things underneath. 

We looked at all the finishes, but we love the one on the floor model. It is called "Michael" (it is a medium oak with not as much red in it as my camera shows). Our oldest son is Michael, so I know I made the right choice. The Millers say it will be ten weeks to build it, but I am hoping it is here by September. If it does come sooner, it will be a wonderful bonus. 

So - since we have several weeks, I got right to work. The new furniture inspired me. First I emptied my closet and drawers, getting rid of at least half my clothes. I donated all my business/work clothes and was ruthless with my comfortable, knock around the houses stuff. I also scaled down my sock and scarf collection and a few other items. All those shoes that I bought because they were cute and I could almost squeeze my feet inside were donated. 

Next we went to the carpet store. 
Apologies for the cell phone photos. Here it is. It is called Shooting Star, how perfect. It is a medium gray. They are going to install it the second week of May to give Mr Merry a chance to complete the rest of the to-do list. He has to move some outlets, paint the walls and mount the TV on the wall so it does not scratch my new dressers.

I wanted to get new bedding before I chose the paint color. I visited every store in a 25 mile radius. Nothing struck my fancy until I got to Target, which was an after thought. The minute I saw this print, I fell in love. It was nothing like what I had in mind. Unfortunately they did not have the size I wanted in stock, but I was able to order it on line. It will be here on Wednesday and I want to have it in hand when I chose my paint color.  I am leaning to matching the blue or maybe going with a cream or very light gray. 

I am helping my youngest daughter update her resume this afternoon and then we are off to the hardware superstore for electrical supplies, wall repair supplies and new interior doors for my entire hallway to replace the worn out, horrible builders hollow doors we have lived with since January 1978. This project has really snowballed with my fulltime husband/handyman ready to go after being trapped inside all winter. 

I have an unhealthy emotional attachment to all my family treasures which is why it has taken this long to let go. My oldest granddaughter, who is a mature eight years old, is taking the vanity; her mother is an expert refinisher. My middle son's second child will be moved from his crib to the four poster. I am keeping my great aunt's 1920's bedroom set; the other pieces are scattered around the house and I am putting it all together in my guest room. The other two dressers will be emptied and put up for bids on our secret family facebook page. I heard my nephew is moving to a larger apartment, so if none of my children want them, I will offer them to him next. The next issue is my grandparents art collection which currently covers the walls like a kindergarten bulletin board. The majority aren't even my taste, I don't know much about them, but I have a large number of signed watercolors and prints with pencil signatures. I guess I will start offering them to my children and hope they find good homes. 

All in all, the April #RetireeRoadTrip has turned into an expensive outing!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Easter Breakfast Lunch & Dinner

A few days before Easter we were invited to my son's house to "help" two of my grandsons color eggs. I think they did a fantastic job!
 I had some nice pictures of my tablesetting, but somehow they have come up missing between my camera and laptop. Meanwhile, I forced some pussywillows and forsythia to make an Easter tree, just like my mom always did. Those are carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting off to the left. 
One of my daughter in laws makes the best cheese balls in the world! And she always comes up with a holiday theme. Voila! It is a carrot. 
Hey, it is a better photo of the tree!
And a dark photo of the table has surfaced.
 Originally I did not think any of my five children and families were able to come and I was making plans to go out for Easter Dinner. It turned out four out of five could come, just not at the same time. Here are 2 quiches from Taste of Home magazine.  I first made this recipe in 1995 for my daughter and her friends after the "after prom". It is so delicious. I served this with fresh fruit for the first shift of guests, brunch. 
The lunch crowd started with Cream of Asparagus soup. It seemed much lighter in color than usual, but tasted exactly the same. I wonder if the color was due to early asparagus this year? 
The spiral sliced ham, which seemed to have thicker slices than usual was a big hit for brunch, lunch and dinner.  I served the ham with oven roasted potatoes and a plate of vegetables and dip. 
Black olives and deviled eggs are another family favorite. I can remember my grandmother hiding them from my grandfather, my mom hiding them from my dad and the tradition continues. I dyed the egg whites and hid 3 dozen eggs (6 dozen deviled eggs) so that I had enough for all three meals. My two 3 year old grandsons are in love with black olives, so I had to ration those too. 
My youngest daughter mugging for her daughter and the camera. One of my other daughter in laws who could not come with their family until supper time dropped off this luscious Easter cheesecake on their way to church in the morning. It tasted as amazing as it looks!
Since Easter fell on April Fool's day this year, I wasn't quite sure what to make of this special Easter Egg one of my grandsons gave me. SHHHHHHHHHHHH. It isn't public yet, but it looks like we will be welcoming grandchild number nine this fall!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Marching for Their Lives

That's me, last Monday, at our local branch of Bowling Green State University. My friend and I volunteered (begged the powers that be) to have a voter registration table in the "pit" for a day. The student media coordinator made a cute "GIF" of us waving and welcoming future voters, but I am not smart enough to share an action video. I screenshot this from their Instagram account. Which is about as techy as I can get.
I was wavering between attending the March for Our Lives, in support of children not worrying or being shot in schools, either in Washington DC by bus or in a larger, neighboring community, When I heard that some students at our local high school in our small rural community were planning their own march, I was thinking that would be easier. My mind was made up when they contacted us to have a voter registration table prior to the march. 

We were swamped! It was so inspiring to think that these kids, voting for the first time in just a few months, are enthusiastic and willing to step up and make decisions for the benefit of their country. 

The march was planned, organized and led completely by high school students. You won't see them much in my photos because they were leading us and old people like me were in the back of the line.  So lucky these little cuties, children of a friend, walked with me. I think Miss Ava may just change the world. Jonah is going out after dark to find Big Foot tonight. 
Just some of the young women who will change the world!
They were not sure how many to expect. More and more kept arriving! We numbered between 140 and 150! (not counting dogs). 
We marched through residential neighborhoods for over a mile. There were gestures of support and some lovely people who disagreed by driving by yelling profanities, using hand signals and pretending to shot a gun in a hand motion which was a little scary to the tiny people. The adults felt that these people were merely demonstrating the need for mental health certificates prior to gun purchases. 
We ended up in our downtown area, in front of the office of our local congressman. He actually lives almost 100 miles away from our town, the opposite end of our gerrymandered district shaped like a duck. To my knowledge, he has not visited his office here in over 18 months. And I kinda keep track. 

The students read pre-written speeches, so moving that I was almost brought to tears. Unfortunately three young men decided to harass the speakers, crossing the street into our permitted area and demanding their megaphone. Our local law enforcement reminded them that they had every right to get a permit just like the students had and to bring their own megaphone to their event, just like the students did.  A middle schooler near me was trying to find out what was going on. I told him that it was like someone who wasn't invited to your birthday party showed up and you asked them to leave.  One of the girl's dads spoke to the men in the most even, considerate tone (I am not kidding) listened to their concerns and tried to explain the point of the march, while the girls continued their speeches. We don't want children to live in fear and possibly die at school. 

The back of my sign: 
We live in a rural community. I understand that people want firearms for hunting and protection. I even (surprise) understand that people like to use firearms for sport shooting and recreational shooting.  

But I have to register my car every year (we do not have gun registration in Ohio). I have to take tests every three years to renew my driver's license. I have to purchase new license plates for all my vehicles every year. I have to purchase insurance on all my vehicles and sign an affidavit every year that I have purchased this insurance.  Why can't someone come up with SENSIBLE laws to even try to prevent firearms getting into the hands of mass shooters at schools, malls, concerts and other public events? 

We pay our politicians very good salaries to come up with fair solutions. Unfortunately they seem to earn more money in BRIBES by special interest groups to vote in their special interests instead of what is best for the country.  After listening and watching our students across the country, I do have hope that they will change the world!

Monday, March 19, 2018

The 2018 Cleveland Auto Show

It's time for the next adventure of the #RetireeRoadtrip. This time we went to the auto show. We have never been to the auto show, but we are considering a new vehicle and thought it would be nicer to view them indoors instead of the snowy parking lots. Parking was free (paid by auto dealers) and admission was $14.00 each. 

This is mostly what an auto show looks like. It is a lot of men standing in lines and in crowds. Most are much taller than I am. Occasionally there are women and I was surprised at how many people brought children since it was $12.00 admission for children. 
 There was a vintage auto show in one of the side galleries and we actually enjoyed that the most. What I am looking for is a vehicle that can hold multiple (as in more than 2) car seats. These were the only vehicles that met that challenge. But they do not have rear seat belts. Look at that back seat!
 Look at the size of this back seat! I bet I could have two regular car seats and two toddler boosters!
 I guess this is also a very important part of auto shows. These carts were everywhere. Yes, $4 for a bottle of water and $10 for a glass of beer. Everyone was paying $10 for a glass of beer. Yikes!

 They did have some activities for the tall guys. I have no idea what this is. 


 There were all kinds of opportunities to drive cars. The lines were unbelievable. And I did not want to attempt this. 

I did measure the back seat of every single sedan and SUV in the IX Center. None of them were large enough for three car seats. Several have three car seat latches, but there is not nearly enough room for standard car seats. The sedan with the widest backseat was the Chevy Impala and the truck with the width backseat (and only one to accommodate three car seats) was a special edition Dodge Ram. It was so high I could never lift the kids and buckle them in. None of the SUVs or vans could accommodate more than two car seats on a bench seat. 

We narrowed the search to what we probably need:
And what we want:
It was an interesting way to spend the day, but I doubt we will attend again. 

My kind husband then took me out for a late lunch and bought me a draft beer for $3.00.
That is not a head on the beer. The glass was so cold that it turned into a beer slushie. It was delicious. I drink about 3 beers in a year and this one will probably be my favorite!

Miss Merry