Have you ever lived with the same furniture and decor for so long, you just need a change? I had the same living room sofa, throw pillows and area rug for 15 years, and was so tired of looking at the same color scheme and the same items, that I was itching to switch it up. Another compelling reason to redecorate was the fact that the living room I have had for the past 3-1/2 years is much smaller than two previous living rooms I had before, so the dark color story which I had selected made my living area feel very dark and cavelike, to the point where it just depressed me. It was also painfully obvious to me that when I moved into my current space three years ago, I had thrown the living room furniture into the space without any regard for design, flow or mood. At no point did I take any pride in that particular space. It took three years of me avoiding that one room in my house, only because the colors were too drab, before I became aware of how much it was affecting my mood.
Since I could not afford to replace the espresso leather sectional I have had since 2004, I decided to purchase a light colored rug, light colored blankets, and light colored pillows. By June of this year, I began searching for and purchasing new items for the space. I also sold the 8 foot tall artificial palm which was wedged in one corner of the room, and I got rid of the second ottoman which took up much needed space. When I chose the textiles for the living room makeover, I made sure to select soft, cozy fabrics, so that when people sat on the sofa, they would feel snug and comfortable.
What do you think of the redo?
Beautiful wool lotus rug is the centerpiece of the living room redo
Shortly after COVID-19 caused a global lockdown in early 2020, many of us began to regard having a cocktail before 5 pm as acceptable. Conventional rules about how most people used to live were thrown out the window when we were suddenly trapped inside our homes, bored, stressed out, and uncertain about our futures. I don’t doubt for a second that many people turned to booze as a coping mechanism, to quell concerns over the mysterious virus which froze the world in trepidation, and to soothe anxiety over job security and financial wellness. Perhaps some individuals also turned to libations to manage the aggravation which resulted from the constant close proximity to family members from whom they used to be able to escape when they were able to leave the house for work. I suspect boredom has triggered a fair amount of drinking as well.
During full lockdown, alcohol merchants made it easy for people stuck at home craving a glass of cabernet sauvignon to order online or through apps and have ethanol elixirs delivered to their residences. Even now, with restrictions largely lifted, restaurants and other food-centered businesses have come up with cheeky suggestions on how alcohol can calm spirits ravaged by the chaotic and confusing events which COVID-19 created. It’s surprising to me how so many people who never drank on a regular basis admitted to drinking on a daily basis during full lockdown, because it smoothed the rough edges of a tumultuous and frightening time in history.
Though I have often joked about the 55+ senior menu at Denny’s, but now that I am about to turn 55, I am tempted to visit the famous chain diner so that I can finally order from it. I’m not big on diner fare, and there is a part of me that just doesn’t want to admit that I am really that old, but it might be fun to post some silly images on social media to chronicle my passage into the 55+ zone. I also recently found out that, in addition to having access to the old timers’ menu, I will also be able to flash my AARP membership card (which I have had since the age of 50) to receive a 15% discount off the bill. Not bad for an old geezer, right?
I will never order a single item from Overstock after the experience I had in May of this year. I happened to see a rug on Overstock which was exactly what I was looking for to serve as the centerpiece for my living room makeover, so I ordered it on Sunday, May 16th, shortly after midnight. About seven hours later, I noticed that I had ordered one size larger than what I needed, so I hopped onto Overstock’s online chat to cancel that order. The representative told me the order had shipped and could not be canceled, which I didn’t believe for a second. I asked what the situation was with return shipping, and was told I would be responsible for it. When I expressed my displeasure over that information, the representative suggested that I join Club O which would entitle me to free returns. I figured I had no other choice, so I paid $19.95 for Club O, and then placed an order for the proper size rug which I needed.
I then received emails from Overstock on May 20th stating that both orders were ready to ship, with an estimated arrival date of May 24th. How could that be if the first order I had placed had supposedly shipped on May 16th? Though I didn’t believe that the orders would ship on May 20th, I anticipated their arrival on May 24th. May 24th came and went, with no rugs in sight. I then got two text messages on May 25th (NINE DAYS after I placed both orders) informing me that the rugs had shipped on that date from northern California (I am in southern California). Honestly, why send emails and texts with estimated shipping and arrival dates which are completely inaccurate?
Both rugs arrived on May 27th, propped up against my garage door. I immediately called Overstock to initiate a return on the larger rug, and was told that I would have to pay $208 in return shipping. I mentioned that I had Club O, and the response from the representative was that with Club O, members only get store credit, no credits back to their original form of payment. The only way I could receive a refund back to my original payment method was by paying return shipping. By this time I was livid, and asked to speak to a supervisor, only to have the call cut off, so I had to call again. The best the second representative could do was to cover $101 in return shipping, so I begrudgingly agreed to the offer, knowing that $107 would be deducted from my refund. I also insisted on having my Club O membership canceled and the membership fee credited back to my account, with which the representative happily obliged.
The rug I was returning was picked up by UPS on May 28th, and Overstock received it on June 4th. On June 10th, I started wondering when I would receive my refund, and was prepared to call them, when I noticed that I had a new voicemail on my phone. What was strange was that the voicemail message was left by the first representative with whom I had spoken on May 27th, and she stated that her supervisor was willing to make a one time exception and cover the full cost of return shipping. I have no idea why my phone didn’t alert me for 15 days, but that’s a whole other issue. I called Overstock on May 11th and was able to arrange for Overstock to make an adjustment on the return request to cover the full return shipping cost.
I was told to wait 3-5 business days to receive a refund from receipt of the returned rug, which means that I should have received a refund by June 11th. I FINALLY received a refund on June 22nd, but it was only for the rug, and not for the 5 year protection plan. I had to contact Overstock yet again to inquire about the missing portion of the refund. By June 23, I received a refund for the protection plan. Sorry Overstock, but no customer should ever have to endure what I did just to get my money back.
Thank goodness I love the rug I kept, because I would be especially irate if the smaller rug hadn’t worked out. In addition, with the exception of the rude online chat agent I spoke with on May 16th, the representatives I spoke with on the phone were all so professional and friendly that they made the whole miserable experience more tolerable. Nevertheless, I will do everything in my power to avoid Overstock, which is a shame since I have purchased some wonderful items from the site over the past 20 years. If you happen to see something on Overstock you happen to love, do some price comparisons and research, because you might be able to find a similar deal on Amazon or some other site which won’t try to gouge you with outrageous return shipping charges. And forget about Club O, it’s a complete ripoff.
Over the decades, I have accumulated a lot of stuff, and there are many things I may never have the heart to part with, so they remain somewhere in my home, either on display or in a closet or garage shelf. However, the idea of holding onto something I am not currently using has never sit well with me, so I frequently perform purges in which I deep clean, reorganize, repair, and at times sell or donate belongings which are not being used. Since my mother’s family was notorious for being pack rats (to give you an idea, I nominated my favorite aunt for an episode of Hoarders and they were keenly interested in bringing her on, then she fell ill), I have fought against any inclination to hang onto anything which will merely take up space.
I conduct purges about 4 to 8 times per year, and this includes areas such as my garage, all closets, my kitchen, my bedroom, and my master bathroom. Strangely, even though I frequently get rid of things, I somehow still have so much stuff, and it truly bothers me at times. I guess I am not destined to lead a spartan lifestyle, especially when I hold onto keepsakes like the stuffed yellow dog which was in my crib and can still play “Rock a Bye Baby” from the music box which is nestled in its belly. However, old area rugs, candles which I never used, books I have no interest in reading again, decorative pieces which have been ousted in favor of new ones with a different theme or color story, all end up either on Facebook Marketplace or in boxes which are carted off to Goodwill.
For those of you who tend to be hoarders, especially those of you who hold onto a box because it’s a “good box” (don’t fret, I’ve done that too), it might be a good idea to enforce regular purge sessions so that you don’t get pushed out of your own home by your own clutter!
Ever since the pandemic began, many of us have become accustomed to working from home. For some, the shift to a home office environment may have enhanced productivity, while for those who struggle with self-motivation, a home work environment may have served as nothing but a challenge. Suddenly, work environments became riddled with completely new potential distractions, such as pets, children, package deliveries, and household chores. We have had to take more responsibility over our accountability and work ethic, while also working at a pace which doesn’t burn us out. I have a hunch that while some people have slacked off while working from home, more have probably worked harder while trapped at home than they ordinarily would while in a traditional work environment. I know that I have stayed up incredibly late at night to perform asynchronous telemedicine visits from home, something I would never be willing to do if I was working in a traditional clinic or medical office.
One thing I hadn’t given much thought to, despite the fact that my telemedicine productivity is monitored online, is that some employers have required employees to fill out work logs which itemize every single task an employee performs while on the clock. Given the fact that home distractions are quite different from work distractions, I wonder how much reported work activities have conflicted with what someone actually did during a work shift. On the other side of the coin, should quick bathroom breaks and trips to the kitchen for a snack be reported as scheduled breaks?
Work/life balance is critically important for us all. We aren’t slaves, nor should we be treated as such. I truly believe that if an employee performs all required tasks for a given day, then the employer has no right to monitor every single second of that employee’s time, whether it is spent in the office/shop or at a home office. Another consideration is that while some would consider the presence of a pet in the home work environment to be a distraction, having a beloved pet around would reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and enhance mood. I know that when I have one of my cats sitting on my lap while I am working on the computer, I am much more at ease. As a matter of fact, I have my rescue cat Shima sitting on my lap while I write this blog post, and I honestly feel that she enhances the flow of ideas and gives me so much love and comfort, thus enhancing my work.
There are a multitude of benefits I can come up with for working from home:
No need to battle traffic or spend extra time sitting in a car or other mode of transportation as a means of traveling to and from a work site
Ability to perform relaxation breathing, rant, etc. while working especially long or frustrating hours without getting berated for it
You can work in your skivvies if you so choose
I’m curious to know who prefers working from home, and who is actually looking forward to returning to their regular work environment.