M. has had this philosophy, probably forever although it only came to my irritated attention about two years ago, that a person is healthier in well-appointed surroundings. Okay, the term he uses is "less cluttered." Or sometimes "less crammed with useless stuff." But the solution always involves a purchase and several weekends of deep cleaning. So I tend to be a little...skeptical...when he proposes that the cure for a family member's problems is a trip to World Market or American Furniture or, now that the big blue-and-yellow box store has opened, IKEA.
However, I'll be damned if Helen wasn't stuffed up and whiny and feverish and snuffly for WEEKS (at least two) and then the evening we brought home the new American Furniture bed she started to improve and by the time we bought and installed the new desk, the shelves, and the (admittedly to-die-for adorable) leaf canopy thingie she got completely over whatever it is and is back to her usual cheerful self. So there. Apparently money can buy happiness, at least of the first grade sort.
Her room has ever been a design conundrum. It's the smallest room in the house except perhaps for the bathroom, and it has an unfortunate tunnel shape accentuated by the fact that the only practical place to locate the bed is along one wall. Add a bureau or a desk, and you have a cramped hallway to nowhere. Plus--how shall we put this--Helen has the property-amassing instinct of a monopoly addict. Or a found-object artist. Stuff accumulates. Clothes and dolls and furniture and books, as you might expect, plus art projects and other projects and boxes of which projects may someday be made; drawings by friends; drawings for friends; drawings by stuffed animals for the friends of stuffed animals. Bags with things. Boxes with things. Old forgotten backpacks of things once packed for a trip to the mountains or a trip to the zoo or a trip to nowhere. Stuff.
Which is why I was (and still am, some) skeptical that a few hundred dollars applied at the proper furniture retailers would really make a long-term difference.
Nevertheless, her room looks 100% less tunnellike and 80% more calming and it is a pleasure to poke my head in and watch her sleeping under her leaf canopy with her turtle star nightlight lamp lighting the ceiling.
In other retail news, I finally took my laundry to the drycleaning and if that doesn't sound like news to you that's because you haven't moved that damn bag of three (3) drycleaning items from House 2 to House 3 through Construction Project 1 to Construction Project 2 to Asbestos Nightmare to Garage-in-Kitchen to Construction Project 3 and back again. And after all that, it cost $30 which is more than I'd pay for two of the three items new, so after this it will be tumble dry low until they attain shapelessness.
Next time: tunnel before and after.