Monday, March 24, 2008

Extreme Home Makeover

When Tim and I got married ten years ago, it was a real blending, not only of family, but of tastes. He was raised in a home where all the furniture was cast offs and hand me downs. (Side note: When I visited his parents, I saw a houseful of antiques. Some of which I'd have given my eyeteeth for, much to Tim's horror.) So as a rebellion against this homelife, he had modern furniture. A leather couch, all square and boxy, a dining room table that was metal, glass, and (gasp) plastic. The worst was his bedroom outfit. It was black lacquer. The best way to discribe it was a faux art deco. There was a sort of a fan inset that was so glossy you could see your reflection in it. It was queen size. The first thing I thought when I saw it gleaming with its burgundy velvet comforter was "Ew. This looks like a porn movie prop." Being that I'm a person who pretty much says what she thinks, I looked square at Tim and said, "Ew. This looks like a porn movie prop." He was amazed. He loved his queen sized bed.
Well. I loved mine. It was a four poster bed, and it came with a mirrored dresser, a highboy, and a matching vanity. It was made in the 1920s. I know this because the tickets are still on the back. It is walnut and it had been very well cared for in its first 60 years. When I looked at it, gleaming solidly at the antique warehouse, I fell in love. I am a great imaginer. I imagined a life for it. A young newly wed couple bought it new in the 1920s, and slept in that bed for all their married days. It weathered thick and thin, good times and bad. It was a place where new life was created, and when the time came, it was the place where life ended. I wanted that bedroom outfit something awful. I wanted an enduring relationship that weathered thick and thin, good times and bad. I wanted a marriage where new life was created, and when the time came, I wanted to die in my own bed surrounded by love. So I bought me a bedroom outfit.
Life doesn't always turn out the way you dream, taking strange detours and side roads. This is how it came to be that I am 40 years old, staring at my 40 year old fiance, who's telling me, "I just don't like antiques." So we worked a barter. My oak dining room for his bordello bedroom outfit. I wasn't happy with this but I figured only he and I would be seeing the bedroom outfit. I also knew that you made sacrifices when you got married. This was a big one for me. I'd been sleeping in my own bed for quite nearly 15 years. But what could I do? The man had put a second floor on his house to turn a three bedroom house into a six bedroom house with a second bathroom. And so the deal was done.
We hauled the black lacquer dressers up to the master bedroom on the new second floor. We hauled the bedframe up. We hauled the headboard up. There was no footboard. All the better to set up the cameras. Gak. I really HATED this bedroom outfit. We lugged the mattress up. And then (cue the angelic choirs!), in hauling up the queen size box springs, we discovered it was not going to happen. They would not fit. We wrestled with them. We grunted, we turned them this way and that. And Tim said, "Well. I guess that settles it. We'll have to use yours. We can get a full mattress up the stairs." (Cue the Hallelujah chorus!)
So it came to pass. Our bedroom outfit has weathered thick and thin, good times and bad. We've created no new life except our own, but four of the five offspring are springing off into lives of their own. The fifth teeters on the edge of a life of her own choosing. When the time finally comes, I expect that I will die in my own bed, surrounded by love.
During the 10 years, a strange thing has happened. Tim has begun to love antiques. He brought home a antique treadle sewing machine that looked brand new. We both fell in love with a leather living room set. I fell in love when I saw it. He fell in love when he sat down. Now we're rehabbing a 120 year old house. Tim gets more excited than I do.
Life does not always turn out the way you expect, taking strange detours and side roads. I'd already figured it out. I think, however, that it took Tim completely by surprise. He was at his parents' home one day. When he came home, he said, "You know, those bookcases in Mother and Father's living room would be great at the top of our stairs..."


Bush Babe (of Granite Glen) said...

What lovely analogies for your 'merging of lives'. How lucky you and Tim were to find each other. How lucky YOU were that bedroom suite jammed! Confession time: I used to own a homemade black laquered log futon base... but that's a whole other story... and I can't start blogging in your comments section! It would be rude.
Give Tim a hug for us all!

debby said...

OH, my gosh. Running on in the comments section is RUDE. BB, I do beg your pardon!

jeanie said...

ha ha ha - I am glad that you were able to renovate Tim to a new way of thinking!

Alison said...

I almost cried when I read you were going to give up your four poster. Seriously.
All hail the mighty and ill fitting box springs!