Saturday, June 04, 2005

Not "Trading Spaces"

Yesterday, when I got home from work, I got out of my car and went to the apartment the street-ish way, not the way through the woods. I looked down the path through the woods, and it was so beautiful I couldn't help going to the apartment, getting the camera and leaving a note: "Wife w/ camera. Chicken in fridge. Laundry?"

I checked the time; I had about half an hour before Vespers could be expected to let out. I changed out of work clothes and into some raggedy ones: one of Peterbird's T-shirts and some sweatpants, and my old sneakers. I went into the woods and snapped pictures of the new flowers blooming. I walked up some little hummocks, and carefully walked down the other side. Nearly everything was covered with lush green undergrowth. There was an area which had fewer trees, though not quite a clearing, and the flowers there were white, pink, purple, and a few were yellow. The leaves looked like lupine - somewhat like bluebonnet leaves. There were rose vines everywhere, but the leaves were riddled with spots, and there were no roses.

After I'd taken a picture of my hand (trying to get a better picture of the spider in her web), my Romanian giant came crashing through the woods, finding the rose vines in his own way (thorns first). We made our way back to the path, and slowly back up to the apartment building. At first I was lingering because it's beautiful, but a freakishly large mosquito helped my husband convince me to move it. We went into the lobby of the building for a moment's rest, but went out to the front to mingle with the crowd. I wanted to show Vassi the pictures which had turned out especially well. (And, just maybe, play with HARRY! who is one of my adorees.) We walked with her back to her building across the street and talked to Tom (Jenny's Tom, not Vassi's Tom; and here I thought everyone was named George).

I thought of my ideas to paint our kitchen, and realized I'd never seen the things Jenny had done with their apartment. I really wanted to see them -- everyone who had done so simply raved about them, but I hadn't made time (in the nine-plus months we've been here) to see them. So Jenny apologized for the imaginary mess and showed me around.

The two things which stand out the most were the paint. The kitchens in these apartments are rather drab: everything is painted off-white, and the trim is white (maybe they're supposed to be the same color). She had taken the window-frame and painted it red, with a red sheer curtain draped artlessly across. It was boldly beautiful. In the bathroom, her shower curtain was sheer, with a green design of ivy-ish leaves stitched into it. She had taken the walls around and reflected that design to lighten that room, too.

I told her about my idea for my kitchen, and she said she'd like to see our place and see what could be done with it. Naturally, we invited her over right away. Somehow, between our mess and her brilliant ideas, we started to play the Trading Spaces game, with a few variations. She's the main designer (she doesn't have to be, but since I like many of her ideas more than mine, she's allowed to boss as much as she likes). Virgil is mostly the grunt-work, and I do what I can.

First she took the extra adjustable-length dowel rod and turned it into a shower curtain liner rod, having us throw out the broken shower curtain liner. Now we can use the shower without feeling oppressed by the dark shower curtain -- with just the liner, and the window unshaded, the bathroom and tub are filled with light, and that makes everything feel cleaner.

Jenny gave us homework for the first night:
* rearrange the bedroom: bed into the middle, bookshelves lined up on the newly-accessible wall, bedside tables on either side, a music corner using the two chairs and table and magazine rack, and the dresser where the little bookcase had previously gone;
* take down the shelves in the bathroom;
* move the futon to the storage area;
* take pictures of the Lego church and take it apart (if you're good I'll put these online);
* put the laundry baskets in the laundry room cubby and move the womanly unmentionables into the lowest drawer; and
* pare down our upstairs sheets to two or three sets and send the rest into storage.

She would come back at 8 am the next day (Saturday) to check on us.

Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to do the laundry that night, too. We got all that done except the sheets thing, with which she helped us the next morning. In order to move the futon into the storage area, I had to wade in and break down boxes and discard those (this is hard for me -- I even cling to beloved cardboard boxes) in order to make room on our pallet. Just that much did so much.

Jenny did come back at 8 am on Saturday morning (in her pjs, as promised). She helped with the sheets. She hung our stefanothiki above our bed, flanked by two icons. We talked about icons as art, and how that attitude doesn't work. The icons have their places, regardless of what color or size they are: whom they represent is the important part. (I kinda was happy that the two icons were similar, but hey. One is the icon of St. Mary Magdalene, which I received from Fr. George and St. Andrew's on the day of my chrismation; the other is of St. Andrew, given to Virgil for outstanding service to the parish. She gave us our homework assignment and said she'd be back on Sunday night.

Our second assignment:
* rearrange the living room: two desks side-by-side, then the filing cabinet, then the couch which was previously against the wall to go to the middle of the room, the entertainment center catty-corner;
* hang the curtains;
* re-place the shelves in the bathroom (Peterbird is tall, and hit his head on them where they had been); and
* hang the two large floral pictures.

Virgil had to go clean the chapel around 9:30, so I rearranged the living room while he was gone. I emptied the roll-top desk, but just manouvered the full filing cabinet (thus proving my "honorary man" status to my husband yet again -- don't ask; he'd only be too happy to tell you) into place across the room. The entertainment center was mostly just wrestled around, full (and most of the shelves as yet have no backing to keep things on.

Our homework involved shopping to get the hardware for hanging the curtains. George and Elisabeth from downstairs had given us curtains and rods from an aunt of theirs who didn't want them any more, from the shipment including the two couches, chair, ottoman, roll-top desk, entertainment center, lamps, and sundry.

We decided to go first to Bed, Bath & Beyond to return (after how many months of marriage now?!) an unworking wedding present. We decided to get things there: picture hangers, a level, hardware for the curtains. We also priced bathroom shelf-things, as I'd like to have more storage in general for the bathroom. Then we went shopping for foodstuffs at BJs, then stopped at Savers to drop off some of the things we could live without: a few books, pairs of shoes, movie posters, and the computer monitor (still working) that my office decided to throw away (next to the dumpster) because it wasn't flat screen. The monitor had lived in my closet for a while, because I thought *somebody* would surely need a monitor, even if it was bigger than mine is.

So we're back home, and the curtains aren't cooperating as much as everything else has. We've borrowed a drill from Allan, and we've put up one set of curtains so far. We'll need to go back and get another set of hardware for the kitchen window curtains.

Now the two windows in the bedroom have curtains, and we're both exhausted and rather cross. There are curtains and pieces of things all over the bed, drill bits and screws all over the bedroom floor, and dust on the bathroom floor where the towel rack *would not* behave. We've battled ants and aches, hunger and clumsiness. I think we're winning, but the mess is formidable. There's a picture hung, and we have tomorrow afternoon to continue the battle to complete our homework. Ugh. These nasty flying creatures keep getting into the apartment. The ants are huge, and the spiders, although abundant, don't seem to do much to keep either at bay.

There's a sobby Audrey Hepburn on the television, saying, "You don't know what love is." God bless you, my Peterbird. I know Who love is.


Blogger Philippa said...

What a great friend! And you surely have been busy! Pictures woman! We NEED pictures! LOL! ((HUGS))

Sun Jun 05, 12:15:00 PM CDT  

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