Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hey Let's Move to Florida or Redecorate!

I should preface this by saying that I should be in Florida. Think of the sunshine. The salty breeze, the warm sand between the toes. But atlas I am not. You see, I'm a Midwest girl. Born and raised. I grew up in a small town not far from the smaller town that I ended up in. The difference? The one I live in now isn't riddled with bars and it also doesn't have mail delivery. It's very quaint here. The main street is tree lined with just a very few business' in the area. When the sun is just right I can imagine I am in a different time or perhaps part of the cast on the Andy Griffith show. It is very Mayberry here. It's quiet, there are good schools and it's not too far from decent shopping. We have one stop light here and the fastest you can go in town is 35 mph. It's comfortable, it's home. I just wish this home was a little further to the south.

I have become so comfortable here now that I rarely leave. I no longer like to drive. Those "big roads" are just crazy. Why are they all in such a hurry? My children are all in school. I do volunteer work with MOPS, I have lunch with friends, my husband is in the Lyons club. As I type this I am reminded that my mother once said I was born old. I joke that I was born 35 yrs old. I am now this side of 35 and I am pretty sure that in my comfort I've perhaps aged myself an extra 30 yrs. Unfortunately however, I do not seem to be getting any more patient with age. And before I tell you the story you are about to read, I want it known that this was not entirely all my idea.

Here we go, sit down you are in for a ride. We have lived here in "Mayberry" for 10 years. Aside from being the last people to mow in the neighborhood and perhaps the only people who do not have a degree in landscape design, it's been good to us. Our neighbors are good and as I said before the schools are excellent. The summer before last we took a vacation to sunny Florida. It was wonderful. We went to the beach, we went to Disney. It was heaven on earth. Even the food tastes better in Florida. As some of you will know it really is usually all about the food for me. But after that vacation it became clear to me that waiting for retirement to move there was crazy. We wouldn't enjoy it near as much then. Our children would have the most excellent summers getting to go to Disney every summer, why we could have summer passes! It would be a child's dream come true! The only hold up was convincing them that they wanted this dream also. So even before we left to come home I started on them. "Wouldn't it be nice to be able to play volleyball all year long?" "You know if we lived in Florida when you are old enough your summer job could be at Disney." "I bet if you worked at Disney during high school they would help pay for college." "Honey, think about how nice it would be to be here in the winter. Snow is really heavy to shovel, it would be good for your back to live here." And so it went for the entire summer, to no avail. They wouldn't budge! You think childbirth is hard, try to convince teenagers they want to move away from all their friends. It's as I've discovered impossible.

So I went with another angle. We have lived here like I said for 10 years. That means when my girls were 4 and 2 we moved in. Toddlers with light carpet and white walls. Our house looked like a college dorm room that a bunch of preschoolers got a hold of and color erupted. Stains all over the carpets, walls painted dark to cover the crayon, chaos and just stuff everywhere. You can accumulate a lot in 10 years with 3 kids. Not a place conducive to rest and relaxation. So I proposed 3 options. Option A: Let's sell this craziness and leave winters behind us and move to sunny Florida. Option B: Let's sell this craziness and build again. Option C. We need to fix this place so I can relax. Let's redecorate! So guess which one my husband chose. Option C of course.

Decorating and organization is not my strong suit. I'm pretty sure that it could be argued that I am a failure in my profession as a stay at home mom. If you want to go shopping and pick out clothes or shoes or you want good book tips I'm your girl. Decorating, cooking edible meals, knowing which cleaning product works best, and getting your whites their whitest? Not so much. I clean, I cook things the Schwann man delivers to my house, I run my kids every which way but loose, and I read. That's my day. So deciding what colors we should use and how to put it all together was a stretch for me. So I inquired about professional help. Apparently in the closest town to us, there is a furniture store that is owned by a decorator. Seeing that it was likely that I would potentially turn our house into something worse that what we were starting out with, my husband agreed to hiring a professional to get us started.

I have good taste I'm just very eclectic. My styles vary like my music selection. I could mix modern with Victorian and nothing be cohesive or comfortable. I needed someone who could listen to who I was and figure out my style. We had a consultation and it was discovered that my style is a funky modern cottage. Isn't that just awesome? As a woman who picks out lipstick by the name alone, this name for my style delighted me. Her ideas for my living room now named the "receiving room" were exactly what I wanted. Doesn't receiving room sound very early 1900's? I did try to tell her that we rarely had visitors. She said when my home was something I was proud of, I would be more apt to invite people in. Little did she know that is not really true. We have things nice now I really don't want company because I want to keep it that way. I have a fit if the kids wear shoes in the house and if you even think of taking food or drink out of the kitchen, my head spins around.

We started out very excited. We got our paint colors and got busy. We didn't want to be the ones that they were waiting on. So we got our painting done, we ordered the flooring (goodbye stained carpet, hello hard wood), we got all the old out and into storage to await a sale. We get the flooring in and we are waiting. We ordered it in October.

Some of you may know already what I didn't know going into this project. Furniture can take 10 weeks to come in. TEN weeks! Not ten days, ten weeks. Apparently this is normal. I cannot get my mind, even now a full year from where we started all this, wrapped around that fact. We live in an age of computers. We live in a very "I want it now" kind of age. And ten weeks? That is almost an entire season. In ten weeks I was almost done with morning sickness when I was pregnant. If you google ten weeks the majority of what comes up is pregnancy related. Point being 10 weeks is a long time to get furniture that is likely sitting in a warehouse somewhere waiting to be transported. Before it's all said and done it will be Christmas time and after before we get it all in.

The next lesson was that everything is more expensive than what you anticipate. The majority of our furniture that we owned was all hand me downs. So to go buy it all to furnish a room pretty much turned my excited husband into the reluctant husband. "It's going to cost how much?" Ah money. Why must you be such a bother? I read a book series not long ago that was futuristic. In it there was no money. In fact the things you wanted or needed were just given to you. There was a hole in the wall that would just spout out thing that you ordered. I think the author was a genius. If we could live this way wouldn't life be easier? Nevertheless we don't, so enter the reluctant husband that now thinks this was a bad idea.

We only used the decorator for two rooms then I took over with a little help from my friends. This went much smoother. I had paid attention and learned a lot. I learned to use neutral colors then add in accents of color. I also learned that ordering from JC takes less time that 10 weeks. In fact you can order an entire room for the cost of one sofa from a professional. We started that phase after Christmas. It didn't take near as long and it turned out very nice. Our home became our home. A calming restful place to come home to. We were done. Life was good! My reluctant husband loved the results and is very happy.

Then he looks at me and says, "You know, I think if we are ever going to add on we should do it now. Our oldest will be driving before we know it and we are going to need the extra driveway space. What do you think?" I'll tell you what I thought. I thought "This man I married is nuts. We are finally all done, we can relax. I don't want to start over I want to rest. I want to take a vacation." What I said was this, "You figure out how we can possibly afford it, you get someone we can trust to do it, you don't give me any grief over decorating the new room that we will gain by adding on the garage and you have my blessing. I will NOT have an empty room, I will have it be part of our home and it will be done in a timely manner."

Perhaps now would be a good time to introduce myself. Hello. I am the one who had a c-section because my first child wouldn't come out ONE day early. I am the one who had to switch majors in college because my program was wait listing me for another year that I didn't have time to wait. I am the one who waited 10 years to get to decorate her house into something that didn't belong in Pee Wee's play house. I am the one who is habitually now at least 15 minutes late for almost everything. Welcome to my world.

It is October one year later from the big lets remodel what we already have. We are a carpet strip and a garage weather stripping away from being done, and yesterday we had a freak hail storm. Today a contractor was going through the neighborhood of destruction doing free inspections. I have shingles off my roof, I have holes in my new siding, I have a screen door that is ripped to shreds, I have dings in all my gutters and down spouts, my fence has holes in it. He estimated I probably have $20,000 in damage. He suggested I call my insurance company.

I am tired. I think Florida sounds nice. My anniversary trip to Hawaii is now a garage. Tomorrow's forecast for Orlando is sunny and 83*. Tomorrow's forecast for here is sunny and 66*. More construction is in my future. More waiting for normalcy. I scarcely remember what that's like anymore. It's OK really. In my little corner of the world it's comfortable here. Sometimes it gets a little complacent but other times there is a freak hail storm after a day of complete sunshine. It keeps you guessing what's around the next corner. I rarely get bored. If we could pick the entire town up and move it to Florida so I wouldn't have to get out with the snow blower in the now rather large driveway, it would be heaven on earth. My home is my castle it's just a little beat up at present. But my family? Well they make it all worth the adventure and I couldn't be happier, than I am right now in this place with the people I love most.

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