Exploring Oregon 2009

Exploring Oregon 2009

Monday, July 26, 2010


Loving on my day old Nephew
I got the news sometime last Fall that my sister was pregnant.  I had known that they had started trying earlier in the year, and for a while, I had some mixed feelings about this.  First, she is my younger sister.  Younger by three years.  She is my only sister, and therefore will always be my 'baby' sister.  It seems that in the last five years she has grown up so much, and it has even seemed that she was in a hurry to grow up, and that at times has been a little hard for me.  She got engaged a few months after I did, but beat me to the alter by almost exactly five months.  Not a big deal, but was a little strange, again being that she was my younger sister.  It made me feel like I was a little behind for not getting married sooner, although I know this is completely ludicrous.

The new family
Then I hear talk that they are thinking about starting a family.  Oh Lord.  First they buy a new car, and not just any new car but a brand new Honda CRV.  It's a great little car, and when I ask why they decided to go with that particular car, the list they gave me had more to do with having kids than anything else.  Oh boy.

On a side note, it was about this time that I threatened my sister to come and visit me in Oregon.  I officially moved to Bend in May of 2007, and I wasn't even in town a week before my Mom and Sister made a trip out to visit me.  My Mom has managed to come and visit again with my Dad last summer, but my sister has not come back since.  Her husband even has a brother who lives down the road from me, and even between the two of us, we have not convinced them to come and visit.  So when I find out that they have decided that they want to start a family, I told my sister that she was NOT allowed to have a baby until she came to Bend, because after that point, it would become beyond impossible for them to visit.  Okay, it is far from 'beyond impossible,' but being that I've been trying to get them out here for years to no avail when their pets were their only responsibility, having a child to worry about traveling with seems to make the idea of them making the trip pretty hopeless.  Anyway, it becomes apparent that my threats don't hold any salt, because the next thing I know, they are pregnant. 

Mommy & Brodie meeting for the first time
So at this point, I have all SORTS of emotions going on.  First, I'm extremely excited about the prospect of becoming an Aunt.  How fantastic will that be!  Neither Jason nor myself is ready to have kids yet, so having someone else in the family to have them for us to play with is great!  Second, I'm feeling a little bit old and behind the times that my baby sister is going to have a baby...before me.  Not really something to get worked up about, but I did stop and examine my life a little.  I took stock of all my high school and college friends who already have toddlers, infants or were pregnant (some with their second child) and it made me feel like I was dragging my feet in that I don't have plans to have a kid anytime soon.  I also looked around my neighborhood and realized that we are basically the only young couple without kids.  Hmmmm.  I started to freak out a little because I know that there are things I need and want to do (like get my architectural license) before starting a family, but I had this sense that I was running out of time.  I had read once that it was beneficial to the female body to have your first child by the age of thirty.  I had always thought that I would have my first by thirty...until I got to age 26 or so and realized that 30 was NOT that far off.  When I got married at 27, I had already come to terms with the fact that I would not have kids by 30, and was fine with that.  In the last year or so, I've decided however, that I want to have kids sooner than later.  I don't want to be an old and uncool mother.  I don't want to be too old to enjoy my freedom when the kids are old enough to move out of the house.  On the other hand, I had hoped to do more traveling before starting a family, but due to financial responsibilities, traveling has been placed on a back burner.  You can still travel with kids...right?  Okay, maybe the backpack tour of Europe is out, but is flying to New Zealand too much?  Time will tell I suppose.  Anyhow, this is a whole other subject matter that I may or may not touch on at a later time.  To sum things up, I suppose that I was a little jealous of my sister and my friends for being at the point where they are ready and wanted to be parents.  I know I want to be, but I just don't feel ready yet, and I'm beginning to wonder if the time will ever come that I will truly feel ready.

Me and my hour old Nephew.  Welcome Broderick!
Third and lastly, I'm feeling a little sad/angry that my request for them to visit before having a baby was thrown to the wayside.  I know that my sister's life doesn't revolve around my wishes, but I've seriously been living here for over three years now, and the only time I ever see them is when I come to visit them.  I know the drive isn't fun, and I know that it takes time, but I do it because I want to see my family.  It really isn't that hard.  You just have to pick a weekend, plan to take off early that Friday and get on the road.  You get into Bend late Friday night and you have all day Saturday and Sunday afternoon to hang out before hitting the road around 2 or 3pm to head home.  Yes, it's a short visit, but it's something.  I can't say how many times I've done it.  If you really want to make a trip out of it, you take Friday and Monday off and make it an extended weekend.  Is it too much to ask that you take one or two days off work a year to visit??

New Mother, Grandmother and Baby
After bringing this up, my sister says that they will probably not be able to visit before having the baby because she was saving up all her vacation time to tack onto her maternity leave after the baby was born.  So then I am told they will come visit during that time.  Yeah right I think, but I can't help but let a small part of me get really, really excited at the prospect of it.  Needless to say, she goes back to work in about two weeks, so I gave up and am going to visit them the weekend before she starts work.

Great Grandma, Auntie Summer and Brodie
So those are my mixed emotions.  More than anything, I'm stoked to be an Aunt and am so, SO happy for my sister and her husband, but there is a little jealousy and sadness mixed in as well.  On top of this is the horrible feeling that I'm missing out on my nephew's youth by living so far away.  It would be one thing if they came to see us half as much as we go to see them.  Then I would see him every couple of months or so, but this is not the case.  I flew home to see him born back in May and when I go home in a couple weeks, this will be the first time I've seen him since, and he's already doubled in size.  I really truly want to be a great Aunt, but at this point, I'm beginning to fear that this child will really have no idea who I am, and this is by far the worst feeling of all.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


When I moved out of the sorority house and into my first apartment while in college, I was lucky enough to have an entire apartment's worth of furniture at my disposal.  While not the most fashionable of pieces, my apartment was hands down nicer than 90% of my friends (not to brag, just saying that I was fortunate).  All the furniture matched and was in like-new condition in comparison to the mismatched hand-me-downs that inhabited most college apartments.  The exception to my furniture was my bed.  My grandmother donated a couple of old wood frame twin beds.  I don't want you to think when I say that they were wood frames that they were anything to write home about.  They were cheap and on the verge of falling apart and were probably made for a child's room.  The mattresses were obviously not as old as the bed frames themselves, but were nothing spectacular either.  For a while I slept on a single twin bed, until my last year of college when I pushed the two beds together to create an enormous king bed in my tiny bedroom apartment.  Spare sheets and comforters were shoved into the 'crack' between the two mattresses, and a king sized foam topper was thrown over the entire bed.  This proved to be a great improvement over sleeping on the mattress without any kind of topper, but honestly, I didn't spend much time in my bed my grad year as thesis approached.  I often found myself napping in my mini papason chair at studio instead.

During my last year of grad school, Jason was living and working in Bend, OR.  We had bought a house there that fall and again were lucky enough to have an entire houseload of furniture at our disposal.  A couple years earlier, Jason's parents bought a second home in Clarkston, WA and decided to keep their home in Moscow for those winter days when the weather was bad enough that they wanted to avoid making the commute.  Thus, a second set of furniture was purchased for their new home in Clarkston.  After the first year, they realized that they weren't using the Moscow home enough to warrant keeping it and then placed the home up for sale.  Once the sale was complete, movers were hired to pack up the entire house and everything was moved into a storage unit.  This entire storage unit was put on a truck and sent to Bend for us to sift though and make sense of.  (As a side note, when you hire movers to pack up your house, they don't ask questions, they just throw everything into boxes.  This includes a random assortment of bits and pieces, such as safety pins, thumb tacks, pennies, pencil shavings, you-name-it.  This was a nightmare to sort through and many an item we came across we played the 'What does this doo-dad do?' game and actually came up with a few immaginative solutions).  The furniture was perfect for our first rental house in Bend, but didn't quite fit, or work very well with the house we purchased. 

After I graduated, I moved out to Bend to be with Jason and brought a couple pieces from my apartment with me to use in the new house and we were able to give some of the Oman furniture to Jason's sister for her to use in her new apartment.  While still not the style of furniture I wanted, the pieces I brought were an improvement over the over-sized pieces of furniture that were currently crammed into the house.  Shortly after this time, I found out about craigslist.  Truely a life saver and an admitted addiction.  This eventually led to me finding our new bar/sidetable, entertainment center, dresser, bed set, nightstands, dining room table and chairs, among other smaller purchases. 

Our master bedroom before
For this particular blog, I want to focus on our bedroom aquistions.  The queen sized bed that Jason's parents had given us was comfortable, but entirely too large for out tiny master bedroom, and not to mention completely outdated as far as style is concerned (see above photo.  What you can't see are the storage drawers underneath and the built-in lights and mirror in the headboard which are hidden by the pillows in this photo).  I searched craigslist for a good long time before stumbling upon a deal that seemed too good to be true.  A gentleman was leaving town and selling his bedroom set which included the solid wood headboard, footboard, side rails, and two nightstands for $250.  He would also 'throw in' the mattress and a down mattress pad as well.  I went to look at the pieces, and could see the potential.  The entire set was painted black and needed a new coat of paint as well as some updated hardware.  I quickly wrote him a check for the $250 and for that price, he even rented a u-haul trailer and delivered the set to my house the next day.  WHAT A STEAL!!  Once the set arrived, I was still very pleased with my purchase, but could see why he was 'throwing in' the mattress set.  Honestly, I think it may have been older than me.

The Old Mattress (that was 'thrown in' the bedroom set deal)
We got to work repainting the set and shopping for and installing the new hardware.  It looked amazing when we were finished, and we took Jason's parents bed apart, and stored it in the garage.  For the following week, we slept in our guest room while we repainted the master bedroom and installed our new bedroom set.  What an improvement!  Since no one was using the Oman bed, we continued to use the nicer mattress and kept the one that came with the bed in the garage.  After storing the old bed for a couple months, Jason's sister adopted it when she moved to Corvallis to attend OSU.  We felt that we couldn't rightfully keep the mattress and give her the crummy one, so we switched them out.  After a couple nights sleep on this sorry excuse for a mattress, I began searching craigslist for anything because honestly, anything would have felt like an improvement.  Jason however, was not so onboard for spending a couple hundred dollars on a new mattress when we already had one that he thought was fine. 

Flash forward another year or so.  We are still sleeping on the same crummy mattress, and it has gotten to the point where I was sleeping horribly and waking up sore.  For Christmas this past year, the local ski mountain was running a special for 5 ski lessons and a 12 day pass for first timers which my parents had bought us as our Christmas gift.  Jason has always snowboarded, and I haven't skiied for over 10 years, so we figured we could count as first timers.  Apparently we were wrong.  First timers meant that you have never been to the mountain at all, so they checked our records, saw that we had bought passes before and left Jason a nice little message on his phone letting us know that we didn't qualify for the program and that our money was refunded.  DRAT!!  It really was a deal that was too good to be true.  The lessons were just something to do for fun, but the whole package only cost $200 and you got a 12-day lift pass which normally cost $500 alone.  After some brief grieving, we began discussing what we should do with the $400.  I knew immediately that if it were up to me, that money would go towards a new mattress.  Jason agreed it would be a good purchase (though not nearly as fun) and the mattress shopping had officially begun!

We began looking at mattresses that were in the $500-$700 range and they all seemed to be a HUGE improvement over what we had.  I had been hearing an advertisement on the radio at work about a mattress store in Bend selling last year's models at a deep discount, and that the only difference between the 2009 and 2010 models was the color of the fabric.  Fine by me!  I could care less if my mattress was blue or white or tie-dye for that matter, just so long as it was comfortable and was going to last.  We walked into the store and immediately started noticing the price tags.  These were a lot nicer mattresses than the ones we originally started looking at as they were the big brand names that start with an 'S.'  We told the salesman what we had been looking at, and that we were interested in some of their close-out sales.  He showed us a few beds before pointing us to the 'Best Deal in the Store.'  It was a mattress we passed as we walked in and the price tag on the mattress was $999 and that was after taking a little over 50% off!  Now you have to understand that Jason and I (especially Jason) are always on the hunt for a great deal, and that 50% off usually, in our minds, constitutes a 'great deal.'  Still, dropping an extra $600 on top of the $400 we started out with was a big hit.  Then I laid on the bed.  O...M...G.  I could have fallen asleep right then and there in the store, that is how incredibly comfortable that bed was.  After seeing how much I loved the bed, but seeing how were were stumbling over the price tag, the salesman mentioned that he could check other showrooms to see if they had one on display that they were selling for a deeper discount.  We could have bought the one at the showroom we were at if we were in the market for a king size, but alas, our bed frame is for a queen, and that's about all our little master bedroom could handle.  We waitied patiently as he searched the store database and came across a winner!  In the end we paid $699 for an $1800 mattress set that was delivered and set up in our house, and they hauled our pitiful old mattress away to be recycled.  Hurray!  Now that's a deal!

The only hitch in the whole new mattress deal was the delivery.  We placed the order on a Saturday morning and were pleasantly surprised that they could deliver the mattress as soon as Monday afternoon.  Hooray!  Only 2 more nights of sleep on that aweful excuse for a mattress!  Monday morning came and I stripped the bed and said my 'goodbyes' to that old mattress and hapily went to work knowing I'd come home and find our shiny new pillowtop mattress waiting for me.  Later in the day I get in touch with Jason only to find out they delivered the wrong mattress (a king size) and wouldn't be able to deliver our mattress until Wednesday now.  DRAT!!  That meant another 2 days of horrible sleep...AND I have to remake the bed now only to strip it again on Wednesday.  Darn them.  Of course I had to go to Portland for work on Wednesday morning, and my clients were being a little more than fashionably late, which turned out to be fortunate for me.  I had received multiple messages from the mattress delivery guy saying that they needed to deliver the mattress earlier than planed (they told Jason they would be there sometime between 2-3pm and were calling me at 9am saying that they would be there within the hour) and they couldn't reach Jason.  I tried calling him, but got his voice mail.  I called a couple more times and still got no answer and the delivery guys were starting to ask me if there was a way to get into the garage so they could leave it there.  No, no, no...I was NOT giving them my garage code, or telling them where our hide-a-key was, and then letting them into my house unmonitored.  No thanks.  So then they started asking if a neighbor had a key and could let them in.  Again, not happening.  So I had to resort to calling a friend who's husband is Jason's boss, so that she could call her husband and tell him to have Jason call me.  10 minutes later, I'm finally in touch with my husband (turns out he forgot his phone at home...convenient).  I explain to him what is going on and give him the delivery guy's number.

An hour later I get this photo sent to my phone.

My darling husband gloating that he got to lay on the new mattress first

I was exhausted at the end of the day and didn't get back home until 10pm that evening.  The entire three hour drive back to Bend all I could think about was how excited I was to crawl into that bed, and how nice it will be after such a long and on-the-go day I had.  I came home and Jason had already had the bed all made up and ready to go.  I crawled in and it was heaven, or as close to it as one can be.  It honestly felt like I was laying on a cloud.  The pillowtop was soft enough to allow me to sink in slightly, but the mattress was firm enough to support me in all the right places without any pressure points.

Our amazing new mattress set

Needless to say, I've slept amazingly well these last seven months and can't think of a better way to have spent that money.  No regrets.  In fact, I highly believe after this experience that a mattress is something that should not be skimped on.  There are ways to get a good deal on a quality mattress, as we did, but saving yourself $400-600 for a 'budget' mattress should be avoided.  Save those mattresses for the rarely used guest bed.  I promise that you will never regret spending that extra money on the purchase of a quality mattress.  If you think about it, you truely spend about a third of your life in your bed, and having a good, supportive mattress will help you get quality sleep and eliminate many aches and pains.  I convinced a coworker of this after I got my mattress and hearing that he was waking up every hour or so every evening because his mattress was so uncomfortable.  He saved up his money and last I heard, it was money well spent.  Trust me people!  I've never felt more rested, even when my hectic life causes me to only squeeze in six hours of sleep a night.  My only regret...that we didn't get the new mattress sooner, and Jason agrees.  My master bedroom is finally complete!

Our amazing new Master Bedroom
The other side of our new bedroom

Even doggie got a sweet new bed