Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I'm obsessing over a visit that will happen months from now.

Every two years my husband wants to trade in our car.
Every two years I want to move furniture around the house.

That’s how last Sunday while my husband was at the vet with our allergic-to-the-world dog, I moved our king size bed, chair and a half and various dressers around the bedroom.

I don’t fashion myself a decorator. I consider myself more of a shifter. I don’t spend lavish amounts of money updating the house. I just move things around and change their purpose.

My husband has sort of grown accustomed to this. “We all have our quirks.” He’ll kiss me goodbye and by the time he’s back the couch is moved and he doesn’t know where to put his keys. Always on the shelf by the door, Lrudlrick. Always by the door.

What lit the fire again was my mother-in-law. I’m starting early in my preparations because of my work schedule but whenever they visit I have to spend some time doing what I call parent proofing the apartment. This does not mean hide the toys and ‘adult’ materials. It means I have to set up things so that they make sense for them.

For example, my father-in-law is a huge movie buff. He loves all the movie channels and he’ll spend days planning out movies he needs to tape to view or add to his collection. He collects b-rated horror movies. I would say they are more c-rated than b. If he notices a movie he can’t tape because he’s taping another movie, he’ll call us and ask us to tape it for him.

Last year, he had my mother-in-law call us not to tell us he fell off his roof and needed brain surgery but to tell us to record some movie.

Before he arrives, I prep the bedroom television. I turn off all DVR recordings and set preset channels for him. I also take down any equipment he doesn’t need. i.e. The surround sound and the DVD. Why? Well, my father-in-law likes to turn everything electronic off before he goes to bed.

This year, we gave our surround sound to my mother and go rid of the DVD recorder. To make it easier for him, I stacked the cable box and DVR under the television, took down all the Xbox cabling in the back and hooked everything up to the same surge protector so all he has to do is turn off the surge protector. “Honey, he’s still going to turn everything off and ask us to check it.” “I know but at least I know I tried.”

I also moved the chair and a half so that the bedroom is more secluded and intimate. Now the bedroom has a clear sleeping and relaxing area and a lounging and exercising area.

This little parent proofing do’s continue throughout the apartment. Next on my list are slip guards in the shower for them and re-angling the showerhead. Last year my step dad re-angled our two headed shower to the point where they were nearly facing each other. We’ve since switched the shower heads to avoid confusion. I’m also contemplating taking down the automatic shower cleaner. I’m afraid they will mistake that as shampoo and get an eye full of shower cleaner.

Next month I tackle the nooks and crannies. We’ll be cleaning the closets top to bottom and making room in my husbands crack den of a closet for their clothes.

We’re still looking at sofa beds and are narrowing down our selections. My husband loves modular sofas. I find them too big and 70’s like. The big factor for my husband is that the sofa bed unopened must be wide enough to allow both of us to lounge on it.

I think I may appease my husband and get a chaise and a sofa bed. He’s really keen on a chaise. I’m not a chaise fan but I think that’s because I relate a chaise with the slovenly emperor Dom DeLuise played in History of the World, Part I.

I much rather prefer a loveseat, sofa bed and chair and half but I suppose I’m more of a traditionalist than I’d like to admit.

I received a great book, Apartment Therapy from Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan. Thanks Maxwell. Check it out. It’s got some great tips and is written in a way that everyone can relate to, not just apartment dwellers. It’s not so much a decorating guide but instead steers you towards designing a home to reflect who you are rather than what you were. If that doesn’t make sense, read the book or check out the blog.

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