Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fleece Explosion

The planets aligned a week ago Sunday, and all six of the Favorite Female Friends gathered at the Boathouse to celebrate Carol’s and Beth’s birthdays. You know the world is too complex when it takes half a dozen emails followed by as many phone calls just to set up a lunch with friends – but we did it.

Everyone looked great, and we admired one another as we sat at the table by the fireplace. Carol had on a magenta fleece jacket, a color that looks great on her. I said so. “I don’t wear sweaters anymore,” she said. “I wear fleece jackets instead. You can easily adjust when you are too warm or when you feel chilly.”

I replied that I used to have two fleece jackets, but when I got smaller, they went to the resale shop, and I have not replaced them. Carol continued to praise all things fleece. Judy mentioned everything was on sale at Eddie Bauer, including fleece. I said maybe I would get myself a new fleece jacket. Carol jumped up and urged me to try on hers. It fit – and she said I should keep it.

Keep it? “Are you sure?” I asked. “It’s wonderful!” Carol hugged me and laughed, and that was that. The six of us have been friends for 35 years, and that is how are with one another – but what a delightful surprise.

Tally: One fleece jacket.

On the way home from lunch, I stopped at Eddie Bauer. I bought a long-sleeved tee shirt marked down to $9. The next day, I popped back into the store to buy another shirt in a different color. I know from experience that you can pay twice that for a quality shirt at a resale shop. There, hanging next to the shirt I planned to buy, was a red fleece jacket marked half off and then discounted even further as per the sale of the day. I bought it.

Tally: Two fleece jackets.

I own a fleece vest. I bought it for $10 at the Alpine Shop at an end-of-winter sale half a dozen years ago. After I bought the red jacket, I looked on the Eddie Bauer web site to see what fleece vests were selling for, as I had not seen any I liked at the store. I browsed L.L.Bean’s web site. Then I looked on ebay. There I found several fleece vests, but the deal I liked best was two from Land’s End for $25 – with free shipping. I bought them. They arrived, and they are wonderful, in perfect condition.

Tally: Two fleece jackets, three fleece vests (counting the one I already owned.)

“Can I sleep in my fleece jackets?” I wondered one night as I crawled into my new bed. I love my new bed – see the previous post – but the sheets are COLD when I first crawl in. Before I bought the new bed, I had slept on a heated waterbed for at least 25 years. I miss that heater! When I whined to friends, everyone suggested flannel sheets.

I did the research, and discovered that women of a certain age who experience sudden temperature fluctuations at night don’t do all that well with flannel sheets. I also discovered that fleece sheets are now available, and that fleece wicks away perspiration. Fleece sheets, one web site claimed, are perfect year ‘round – not too cold and not too hot.

As I lay in bed pondering the idea of fleece sheets, I reached over to pet Maggie, who sleeps on a small fleece blanket I bought to keep the cat off the comforter. (Sometimes, it even works.) “That feels good,” I thought. The next day, I bought some fleece sheets on line.

I washed them. I dried them. I put them on the bed. I was skeptical. That night, I crawled into bed. My bed was warm! My bed was fuzzy! My bed, which previously had been cold and crisp and not at all welcoming, was warm and fuzzy -- and I was immensely happy. I slept well – so well that when morning came, I did not want to get out from under the warm, fuzzy sheets. When I did get up, I went on line and found the same sheets for half price on an end-of-season sale, and I bought a second set.

Tally: Two fleece jackets, three fleece vests, two sets of fleece sheets.

I’m set, I said to myself. I am prepared for any occasion that calls for fleece. The very day after I swore off purchasing another single thing, fleece or otherwise, I found a reversible fleece vest in my size at a resale shop. It cost $9. I bought it. You do the math for the final tally.

And I do mean final.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Bedtime Story

Out with the old, in with the new. Okay, the used.

In my continuing quest to have in the condo only furniture and goods that will move to San Francisco with me, I sold my old bed and bought a new-to-me bed. When I moved here over 11 years ago, I bought a grown-up bed, real furniture, with a headboard and footboard. Previously, I had slept in a free-flow waterbed nestled in a custom-built, low-lying frame. As a more mature individual, when I moved here I bought a free-flow water mattress wrapped in a standard king mattress.

LOVE waterbeds!

However, once the move to California was afoot (okay, pending), I knew I could not move a king-size bed (with or without a water mattress) to a small apartment. The dresser was huge. The two nightstands were generously sized. The whole set was just too big.

You may or may not recall that my entire dining room set (antique table with two leaves, six chairs, buffet and a china cabinet that resembles an old Philco radio) has been moved to a terrific resale shop and my Empress-style chandelier now hangs in an antique gallery, all waiting for a buyer. Though a person can get by without a chandelier or a massive dining room set, it’s difficult to make do without a bed.

Late one night, prowling around on Craig’s List, I found a queen-size bed for sale with two nightstands. From the description, it sounded like a Techline product. I love Techline, a Danish modern style several notches above Ikea products in quality. My current desk and office table are Techline. For that matter, my next desk and office cabinet are Techline – I found them on Craig’s List in San Francisco, and my son and daughter-in-law kindly picked them up and carted them to their home to wait for my arrival.

Anyway, I talked myself out of calling about the bed -- for a few days, anyway. Finally I caved and shot off an email. Yes, the furniture was still available. It had been used in a guest room, so it was in great shape. And the headboard had a big space for storage, which I suspect I will need in a small apartment.

So on a night when the temperature dropped to 8 degrees, I drove to Festus – south of Festus, actually – and looked at the bed, which was stored in a trailer. I liked what I saw. I liked the price. I also liked the people selling the bedroom furniture. I bought it, and a few days later my friend Scott followed me to south of Festus and we loaded up his truck and my station wagon and brought it all back to my condo.

Now I had two beds, four nightstands and a chest of drawers. I also had my grandmother’s dresser, which has four deep drawers that are on the small side. “I can do it,” I thought one night, lying in the four-poster waterbed. “I can get by with the smaller nightstands, the storage headboard and my grandma’s dresser. I just need to get rid of some more socks.”

LOVE socks!

Fancy socks, plain socks, wooly socks, cotton socks – I love them all. I gave up pantyhose two decades or more ago, and tights have ceased to impress me. I wear socks. And apparently, I buy socks whenever I see a pair I like. As it happened, I visited a friend after Christmas who was wearing shoes, but no socks. She was in the process of moving, and somehow she had lost her box marked “Socks.” Thrilled to come to the rescue, I drove home, sorted socks and drove a bag full over to her new house. Problem solved!

For two years, I’ve been looking at a particular mattress. “Don’t believe the hype,” said my son when he heard it about it. I didn’t need to believe the hype. I believed Carol and Nick, Judy and Scott, Donna and Doug, Beth and Rick, my neighbor Will and my friend Carl, a high school classmate. They all endlessly praised this mattress, and boasted to one another about how well they sleep. So I bought the mattress.

All that remained was to sell the king-size bedroom set. I sent out an email to friends and a few friends of friends. I found a buyer who liked what she saw, liked the price and was even willing to take some nearly new bed linens. Today, two young men who do this sort of thing arrived to take away the four-poster bed, the chest and the two big nightstands.

Last Monday morning, Doug came over with a pump, a hose and a tool box. He pumped the water out of my waterbed mattress. He took apart the four-poster. His friend Jerry arrived in time to help Doug carry the old bed frame out of the bedroom and the new bed frame in. Doug and Jerry left.

Monday afternoon, Nick showed up with his tool box. Soon after, Scott arrived to help. They figured out the puzzle that was the new (used) bed frame – all I had for them was a plastic bag full of hardware – and then they put together my new mattress. Scott even helped me make the bed. By 4 p.m., the room was transformed.

After Nick and Scott left, I stretched out on the new bed to test it. Ten minutes later, I was asleep. I slept well that night, too, and every night since then. Yesterday I drove around delivering Starbucks gift cards to Nick and Scott. I promised Doug I would buy him a pizza at our favorite place later this month. So that’s done, and I now live mostly with the furniture that will accompany me to San Francisco.

LOVE my new bed!

So what’s your Sleep Number?