Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Grabbing a Half Day

While most of my time has been spent joyfully grandmama-ing, I was feeling increasing anxiety about one thing. I am flying back to Doha to pack, and then I am flying back to Pensacola to close on the house, and wait for AdventureMan to join me, and then all our furniture and household goods that have been in storage a lifetime – twelve years – will arrive.

Oh oh. Where do we sleep until our bed arrives? We COULD invade our dear son and his sweet wife once again, but don’t you think enough is enough? Would you want your parents and in-laws living with you, week after week, with all our well-intentioned advice, and stories about our son when he was young?

No? LLOOLLL, me neither!

So yesterday, I took an afternoon to myself.

First, I had learned that the Pensacola Quilter’s Guild was having their bienniel (once every TWO years) show this weekend, Friday and Saturday. There is little that can take this adoring grandmama away from her most adorable brand-new grandson, but I will admit it – a quilt show – that is beyond temptation. I had to go, even just for an hour. I went, joined the guild, hurried through the exhibit, which was GLORIOUS! and then I went furniture shopping.

Furniture shopping is not what it used to be. I have some lovely furniture in storage, but not a huge amount of it. Some of it we sent off with Law and Order Man when he went off to law school and needed some basics. Some of it is just outdated – like televisions from the 90’s! I figured I would just look for the basics – bed, mattress and table and chair. We will have a place to sit when we are not sleeping, and we can buy the TV’s together, later, with our son’s help. We need the help of the high-tech-savvy to get us up to speed on what we will be needing, phones, TV’s, cable connections, phone plans, internet connections, oh, it is as bad as buying a new car!

When we were still in the military, we found a dining room table and chairs, gorgeous, at an auction, for $169. We found marble topped antique oak nightstands, gorgeous, at the flea market in Metz, and paid $60 for the pair. We found a gorgeous buffet/credenza in a used furniture shop in Leavenworth, KS for $50 + $10 for delivery, all these are furniture pieces we still treasure. I am telling you this so you will understand what sticker shock I get when I go to look at new furniture.

I am quick and clear about what I want and need, but the prices require me to summon all the courage I can summon when I go to write the checks. I am good at saving. Letting that money go is so HARD. It took me the entire afternoon to find pieces I knew would work for us.

Here is where you will sleep, the guest room bed, when you come to stay with us:

It was on sale. I love it because, with the inlay, it sort of reminds me of the Middle East, of Damascus:

I also bought mattresses. It was difficult, too, because I don’t like these pillow tops. We like a good, firm bed, and I like to sleep cool, I can’t get to sleep if I am too warm, and these pillow tops are too warm. It took me a long time to find a good, firm mattress set for the bed.

Then I went looking for a table and chairs for the family room/ casual dining area. I knew what I wanted. My long-time Chinese friend told me the best table for families is the round table, no one sits at the head, everyone is equal. My sister Big Diamond (Little Diamond’s and Sporty Diamond’s Mom) has a HUGE, gorgeous round table, and I have seen how people love to gather there. So I knew I wanted a round table that would be inviting and comfortable, but not so grand as my sister’s. I have been looking online, checking out a lot of models. When I found one here in Pensacola, at a reasonable price, I was hooked. It is light teak – light in color, heavy in weight. OOps. Then she reminded me I would need chairs. Aaarrgh.

There weren’t any other customers in the shop at the time, so we took our time. As I learned from you, my Middle Eastern friends, we dickered a little, comfortably and amiably – and she gave me a discount, and free delivery.

The chairs are amazing. You would not believe wood could feel so comfortable. The table and chairs together remind me so much of all our times camping and in lodges in Africa, in Zanzibar, in Zambia, in Botswana, where the furniture is both comfortable and well made. But I almost choked, writing the check. Some things are just worth buying new; sturdy, comfortable furniture is one of them.

Here is the guest bathroom:

It has a spa tub and a walk in shower. 🙂

Last but not least, I found some farewell gifts for friends I have had in Doha for a long long time, and a bolt of muslin for a friend who knows I am coming back with suitcases almost empty. 🙂 It was a long day, and a fruitful day, and I am resting easier knowing all these little details are coming together.

Today, however, my son and his wife are taking me to the kinds of places I LOVE buying furniture! The Waterfront Mission Store and Loaves and Fishes! Wooo HOOOOO!

February 28, 2010 - Posted by | Adventure, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Relationships, Shopping, Values, Zambia, Zanzibar


  1. Beautiful! Sign me up for the guest room whenever you are settled 🙂

    Comment by grammy | February 28, 2010 | Reply

  2. The bed is very eminent and beautiful. You are right about it looking like it belongs in the middle east, no doubt in the room of a princes guest room or some similar luxury sitting.

    Comment by Ben @ oak beds | March 2, 2010 | Reply

  3. Waw! So you are coming back to America?
    So no visiting Doha for me? 😦

    Comment by Aafke | March 2, 2010 | Reply

  4. OK, Grammy, you’re number ONE! 🙂

    Ben, you are so kind. I allowed your remark only because I could see you had really read the blog entry. I don’t allow people who are selling things unless they are making a point. BTW, your beds are lovely. More what I was looking at, beautiful wood, low profile.

    LOL, Aafke, we knew we would only be in Doha a short time, and we need to spend some time with our families back in the US. I am sorry our time here was so short that our visit didn’t get to happen. You, too, have a very full plate of travels and activities, I believe. 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 2, 2010 | Reply

  5. Yes I can’t complain… and I see you are going to have a fitting bed for me in your guestroom…..

    I’ve upholstered chairs and a chaise longue, I’ll post it maybe 😉
    I’ll be in Dallas next week!!!

    Comment by Aafke | March 2, 2010 | Reply

  6. Wooo HOOOO, Aafke, Dallas! rock n roll, cowgirl, LLLOOOLLL! I’ve done three occasional chairs, a set of dining room chairs and . . . a sleeper couch! It’s like a hands-on puzzle for me, making it all work, getting all the steps in the right order, and oh, when it is finished, I get to use it!

    Comment by intlxpatr | March 3, 2010 | Reply

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