All I need is a dresser …

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The dresser we are trying to match.

Quest: To add a matching dresser

Remember the day of moving the organ into the spare bedroom? (Look at this blog post. A word to the wise)  Now I am looking for another dresser for that room. Easy, right? Just go to a furniture and pick one out. Done. Or not. You see, we first thought we could just go buy another one to match the lovely quality oak Bassett dresser that is in the bedroom.   No such luck. We went to the store where we originally purchased the dresser and many other items for our home. Nothing in oak. We thought we might be able to order one. The store actually had a record of all of our purchases over the years. It turns out that we bought the dresser in 1998!! Our dresser is 17 years old and is in perfect shape! The bad news – they do not make them anymore. So the kind salesperson gave us the model number, style, company name, etc. so we could go searching.

The search begins

We started searching on the internet. While there are many choices, none of them are exactly the same. So we headed out to some furniture stores. Not much luck. Most of the bedroom furniture is in darker colors – not the lighter oak color we were seeking. We also discovered that most of the furniture – dining room, living room, and more – has dark wood and is in neutral colors. I understand that is ‘the trend,’ but how depressing!! My husband thought that we should put dark, fake rock on our bedroom walls, add some of the dark furniture and neutral bedding, and pretend we were living in a cave! We also know that the trend is for neutral fabrics – having owned an upholstery shop for almost 50 years. However, we’ve seen many trends over the years – with our least favorite being the oranges and olive greens of the seventies. And, of course, you can always accessorize – but I still need a brighter, lighter living environment.

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High resolution perspective graphic of the word choices.

It appears we will not find a matching dresser. What to do? We have several choices:

  • Buy two dressers and move the ‘old’ dresser into the other bedroom. Then also replace the current mirrored dresser and nightstand in that room. Sell the current dresser, mirrored dresser and nightstand from that room. Cost of such a move: $5000 to $6000.
  • Move the furniture from the other bedroom into the spare bedroom and buy a new set for the other bedroom. Cost: $3000 to $4000. The issue – the furniture from the other bedroom may not fit in the spare bedroom.
  • Buy a dresser that doesn’t match exactly. Cost: $800 – $1200.
  • Recycle more clothes so we don’t need another dresser.

For now we continue to look. I plan to visit two more furniture stores this week. If we don’t find something soon, I may just be sorting clothes … again. Any suggestions?

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Bumpy comes to visit …

A fun little story  —

McLeod County Fair Aug 2015 001  Over the past few days, my husband has been working to refresh one of our landscaped raised beds. He removed the weeds, trimmed the plants, made sure the lights were in working order, and carefully laid down new mulch. He worked on it during very muggy days.

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Bumpy the toad

While my husband was working, he was often visited by tree toads. One toad, Bumpy, hung around throughout the day, staying along the edges, watching the activity. You see, Bumpy needed a rest. He had been on a trip checking out his lady friends. Bumpy knew what would happen next … each of his lady friends could lay up to 400 eggs. That could mean lots of baby toads and he wanted no part of them. As with all the other male toads, once they had visited the ladies, they were free to go their way – in fact, that’s what the mothers do, too. Each toad to his or her own.

Bumpy waited patiently. Finally the chips were all laid in place and the big animal working on the bed was no longer by the plants. Bumpy promptly jumped onto one of the hosta plants. “Ahh, this feels good,” he thought to himself.

007But wait, what is this? It’s another animal with a strange item – moving close to him – making clicking noises. Not once, but many times. “My goodness, I can’t even have a nice, soft resting place. Perhaps if I turn to the side, the animal will go away.” Alas, no such luck. Here that thing comes again!! And it’s clicking again. 008

“I’ve had enough,” thought Bumpy.”I’ll show that animal! With one quick hop, he turned around and showed the animal his backside, hoping it would just go away. It seemed to work – the animal went away.

Well, of course, the new animal was me; the clicking noise was my camera, and Bumpy mooned me. It’s not often one gets mooned by a toad.

Chipmunk training season … while getting some deck time

Now that I am semi-retired, we have a new routine. Whenever possible, we sit on the deck in the early morning, drinking coffee, watching the birds at our many feeders, and welcoming the day. Many mornings we spend an hour or more this way.

We also have a few chipmunks. Last year we just had one – Mama Chipper. Of course, we didn’t really know if she was a girl. Over the summer she became somewhat tame – allowing my husband to pet her while she enjoyed some sunflower seeds. Once in awhile, she allowed him to pick her up  – but not for long.

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Mama getting petted; she really like having her back rubbed.

This year she was back and soon he was feeding and petting her again. However, she was not alone. At least five little chipmunks also appeared. (So perhaps she was a mama.) Because the baby chipmunks were skittish, my husband decided to put sunflowers seeds in a bird feeder that can no longer be hung in the tree (due to several falls to the ground, caused by a raccoon and perhaps a bear). The bird feeder looks like a school – so now the baby chipmunks go to school (to get sunflower seeds). He also gives them fresh water in what used to be a dog dish.

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Chipmunk School

After the first few weeks, the mama chipmunk would jump on my husband’s leg – looking for sunflower seeds. One day he came back from the store with unsalfed peanuts. He placed a peanut on his knee … and waited. At first, Mama chipmunk would do a hit and run – she would jump on his leg, grab a peanut, and jump back down. Then he put more peanuts on his leg. Pretty soon she would sit on his knee and stuff as many peanuts as possible in her mouth, jump down, carry the peanuts away, and then come back for more. She would even take them out of the belt loop on his pants.

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Getting a drink.

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Mama stuffing her mouth with peanuts.

Alas, Mama Chipmunk has not appeared for the last two weeks. Now training has begun for the baby chipmunks. They are still a little skittish – they won’t allow much petting but they sure love the peanuts. Maybe next year they will be ready for more advanced training. In the meantime, we will just sit on the deck, enjoy the mornings, watch the birds, watch the baby chipmunks chase one another – and wait to see what other wildlife comes strolling by – like these two who came for a visit.

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Early morning visitors – sand hill cranes

Coming soon – a wrap-up of the garage sale season – the best bargains, the best signage, and the best displays.

Thank you for reading this blog.

A Matter of Coincidence … or not

People often refer to an event or a circumstance as being a coincidence (a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection) or serendipity (the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way), or by chance (the occurrence and development of events in the absence ocoincidencef any obvious design). Several times I have experienced such an event – which makes me wonder – is it really a coincidence or something else?

For example –

First, there is the recent time when we came upon the priest figure along the phone. I detailed that event in an earlier post – https://carolynlbraun.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/a-very-short-touching-story-about-a-vietnam-war-veteran/. Was it a coincidence that the landowner came along to tell me that story at just the right time – or was it a story that needed to be told?

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Similar but not the actual camper.

About 15 years or so ago, we wanted a pull-behind camper. At that time, we didn’t really have a lot of extra money. So we mostly just keep talking about it. One day, a man came to our door to get a burning permit. (We have been fire wardens for over 40 years.) As we talked, he told us how he was in financial trouble and needed to get rid of his camper. The best part was he just wanted to turn it over to someone and have them continue to make the payments. It didn’t take us long to volunteer – and we quickly became the owners of our long-wanted camper. For the next few years, we enjoyed it on the shore of Lake Superior at a campground in Two Harbors. Remember, the camper came to us.

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Not our motorhome but the same model, same year, same color.

A few years later we had started to talk about getting a motorhome. We wanted to travel to other places, not just to the campground, One day, we were at a friend’s house. He mentioned that he needed to clean out his metal building and one of the things he needed to move was his Dad’s motorhome. On a lark, we decided to go look at it. As we stepped into the motorhome, we realized it was exactly what we had talked  about – the arrangement, everything. Of course, we had no idea how we could fund it – but we didn’t need to worry. The owner arranged for a loan with a local bank – and less than a week later we were the proud owners of a motorhome. The motorhome came to us.

And finally, for years we have talked about getting a classic car. I’ve always loved the cars from the 1930’s with the suicide doors – the gangster cars. Well, guess what. Out of the blue, one of our friends asked if we knew of anyone who might be interested in just such a car. Stay tuned – maybe that car will come to us, too.

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Not a picture of the car but similar to it. Perhaps we could star in the next Bonnie & Clyde movie – assuming they lived to be seniors.

So, are all of these things coincidence? Did they really all happen by chance? What do you think? It’s certainly making me wonder.

A word to the wise … start decluttering now

Last week I spent a full day cleaning out the spare bedroom. I went through the dresser drawers, the closet, and the mountain of items stacked on the bed. The goal was to be able to move the organ (that was gifted to us by Aunt Eleanor’s family) into that room. To move things just a few inches, I had to clean the whole room.

And what do you think I found in that room? Clothes, clothes, and more clothes. There were enough T-shirts for my husband to change them at least three times a day for a month. And guess what – those aren’t even the ones he usually wears. Two big bags of t-shirts are now gone. And then the piles of jeans — now neatly folded and put away; whether there are more than enough is a point of debate in our house.

The bedroom was used by my mother-in-law who passed away seven years ago. One would think that all of her items would have been removed by now. Not true. We did a minor room makeover a couple of years ago, but there were still many remembrances of her in the room. We’ll likely remove a few more (but not necessarily get rid of them) this time – the picture on the wall, her mirror and brush sitting on the vintage commode, the shell collection in the small nightstand cabinet. I didn’t realize, however, what was still in the closet. Evidently we just put things away and forgot about them. I found several sewing and embroidery items. The sewing items were relocated to my craft room – the embroidery items will go to a life-long friend who knew my mother-in-law and spends a lot of her time embroidering. I simply do not have the patience to embroider.

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And next – to my delight – a handmade/crocheted bed jacket, shawl, tablecloth/couch throw (not sure which), a chevron throw and a prayer shawl. After laundering, the bed jacket, shawl and tablecloth are tucked away, the chevron throw is on the couch, and the prayer shawl is looking for a location. You see, the prayer shawl belonged to Grandma Becker (my husband’s grandmother) so this special shawl will find a special place in our home.

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And finally, the best surprise of all. Inside a box that we thought contained yet another small crock pot, I found  – more old Braun/Becker family slides! I can’t wait to look at them. We thought they were long gone.

After all of this, the organ is in place.

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A word to the wise, however. Consider this. Once a year go through your house, garage, shed, or storage place. Eliminate what you no longer need – the things you  haven’t touched for a year. Keep those things that are special to you and give those things you really don’t need to someone else who will use them, or sell them. It will be much easier now than if you wait until you are not quite as energetic as you once used to be. Trust me — it was an exhausting day – even with the help of my sister. And to think there are more rooms and buildings to go!

Happy decluttering! You never know what forgotten treasure you might find.