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Egypt Here We Come

TRAVEL THERE: CAIRO, SHARM & ALEX

In less than a month we’ll be winging our way to Egypt for a family wedding.  While it’s primarily a family trip, you can rest assured that Museum Girl will be taking in the sights.  The itinerary is firming up and I thought I’d share a few highlights.

Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

As excited as I am about the rest of the trip, the reason we’re going is to participate in Bassem and Mariam’s wedding.  We’re all agog with excitement.  Bill and I will arrive in Cairo late in the evening on a Saturday night and be whisked away to the Fairmont in Heliopolis.  On Sunday afternoon we’ll attend a luncheon for all the families at an “oriental” restaurant.  When I wondered why we were having Chinese food, I learned Egyptians call Middle Eastern food “oriental.”  I learn something new every day.

Monday is the day of the wedding, and it is also a national holiday, so I’m told I will see the residents of Cairo enjoying themselves in parks and other areas of leisure.  I’ll spend the day getting all gussied up for the wedding.  Egyptians know how to party and they expect guests, especially the couple’s families, to get all decked out.  I’ll be wearing a long formal gown bedazzled with crystal beads.  For the church ceremony I’ll wear a sheer over-blouse cinched by a jeweled belt, which will cover the spaghetti-strapped straight bodice of the full-skirted gown. Pictures to follow.

Let the Sightseeing Begin

On the day after the wedding we’ll be transported to the elegant Mena House Hotel, in the shadows of the pyramids.  Some folks tried to convince me to hire a guide for sightseeing for the day, but 8:30 AM was entirely too early to start a day of touring, especially after partying late into the night in the ballroom of the gorgeous Fairmont.

So instead, we’ve arranged to be transported mid-day and ease into the sightseeing.  We’ll enjoy the gardens of the Mena House, walk around with our mouths agape at the splendid architecture of the place, dine around the pool and then watch the Sound & Lightshow at the Pyramids from our room’s balcony. Who knows, there might even be time for a dip in the pool.  Personally, I plan to have at least one picture of me taken in the pool with the Pyramids behind me.

Then we’ll do the Pyramids.  Since we’ve already done the Giza Plateau, I plan to go further afield and check out the Step Pyramid at Saqqara and the Red Pyramid at Dahshour.  I’m also interested in the Meidum Pyramid, but I’ve been told it is too far out – drat.  Instead we’ll go back to Giza and see the Solar Boat Museum, something that’s been added since our last visit.

A Family Reunion Extraordinaire

After our second night at Mena House, we’ll head to the airport and make the short hop to Sharm el Sheikh.  Some of the family lives in the beautiful city by the Red Sea and others will have gone there when we headed to Giza.  We’ll have a family reunion of sorts for about five days along one of the most spectacular beaches in the world.

The diving and snorkeling are supposed to be awesome, but I’m not much of a guppy.  You’ll find me at the  Marriott Naama Bay Resort pool with an exotic cocktail of my choice somewhere near the waterfall.  Yes, the beach is beautiful, but no way am I going to smear sunscreen all over and then sit in the sand all day.  Not this girl’s idea of a good time.  I’ve been promised activities like a star-gazing visit to the desert, some shopping opportunities and other attractions.

In the evening, look for me along the boardwalk.  It’s one of my favorite memories of our last journey to Egypt.  Every evening the tourists come out in all their sunburned glory to stroll along and enjoy the wide variety of entertainment available on every side. On our last visit the Macarena was all the rage.  I  wonder what earworm will bite me this time.

On to Alex!

We’ll fly back to Cairo and then have a driver take us to Alexandria where we’ll be in the center of the action at the Cecil Hotel.  This elegant old dame gives a nod to Alexandria’s heyday with plenty of modern updates.  What’s more, I’m supposed to be within walking distance of many of the sites I want to see – that is if I can ever cross the street.  I remember the traffic being deadly in Cairo and Alexandria is supposed to be more of the same.  Pedestrians don’t have the right of way and stoplights are merely suggestions.  I’ll be right across the street from the beach, but may never actually get to the sand!

My wish list for Alexandria is long and includes a visit to a Coptic monastery on the way back to Cairo.  Once back to Cairo, we’ll visit Old Cairo and seeing the famous churches there, something I never got to during our other visit.  I think we’ll spend our final nights at the Fairmont.  We have to be to the airport bright and early for our return.  Then it’s back to the grindstone!

That’s it so far for Egypt.  Keep dropping by.  I’m not sure what I’ll be up to in the weeks to come, but I promise not to disappear.

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San Marcos Premium Outlets

A Sampling of my Souvenirs

A Sampling of my Souvenirs

TRAVEL THERE: MY KIND OF SHOPPING AND MORE

I love shopping.  Actually, it would be more correct to say I love buying.  I’m perfectly capable of wandering through a bazaar or market in a faraway place, just to get a feel for the place, but for me, it’s a lot more fun if there’s buying involved.

My husband has finally cured me of that – at least when he’s around.  I used to come home from trips with a souvenir from every stop.  I collected trinket boxes and Christmas ornaments.  I loved to find handmade clothing and jewelry.  I gathered up souvenir booklets like some people collect baseball cards.  In the early years of our marriage, this practice created great discomfort for Bill.  He followed me around  with his eyes full of pain and flinched at every purchase.  I didn’t pay close enough attention, so he started helping me understand his point of view.

Collecting just doesn’t make any sense to him.  To Bill, all my gorgeous trinket boxes seemed like clutter.  He’s suggested I store most of them and only put out a few at a time.  What once held pride of place, on the fireplace mantle of my apartment, is now hidden away upstairs on a shelf in my office – along with all my framed family photos, my large collection of books and … well you get the picture.  I don’t have to allow much room for souvenirs in my return luggage, anymore.

From time to time, I’ll have a lapse of judgement.  We’ll be traveling and I’ll pick up an item with that look in my eye.  Bill goes into panic mode.  Trinket boxes and Christmas ornaments are strictly taboo.  If I’ve picked up an item for the house, Bill wants to know exactly where I plan to display it and of course, he really loves what’s there and doesn’t want to replace it.  Whatever it is, it won’t be coming home with me.  Clothing and jewelry?  Forget about it.  He asks what I’m going to throw away or donate to make space for the new item.  My only hope of making a purchase is when I find a gift for someone else.  It takes some of the fun out of it.

The Exceptions to the Rule

While he can’t see the value in that cute straw purse on the beach or an embroidered sweater in the Alps, Bill does understand I know my way around an outlet mall.  He fully endorses my outlet shopping.  Mind you, he rarely goes with me, but he also doesn’t need resuscitation when I come home with armloads of shopping bags.  See, he knows that cute straw purse on the beach has a mark-up somewhere in the range of 100%, but if I buy a top at an outlet mall, they’ve almost had to pay me to get me to carry it out.

I’m also allowed to buy shoes at DSW.  I never look at anything unless it’s on the clearance rack and even then, I’ll only look at things that are 50% or more off.  What I love is the yellow stickers, because that means they are marked down 80% or more.

San Marcos Premium Outlet

20170112_075950For some reason I cannot fathom, I never shopped at the San Marcos Premium Outlet – at least not in the last 20-30 years.  It seems as if long ago I might have gone with Mom and Aunt Edie, but I think the stores may have been on the other side of the road – and none of the stores I loved this time were there.

You know I love San Antonio and get there every time I can, but for some reason, we’d just drive right past this outlet mall or stop in Salado.  It pains me to think of all the bargains I’ve missed.

Deb and I started at Off 5th, the Saks outlet.  I’d been looking at white pique dresses all summer long, but could not tolerate spending $150-200 for one dress.  At Saks, I took several reasonably priced options to the dressing room and found one for about$20 that I loved.  (I didn’t even know I was headed to Egypt on my next trip.  Imagine how cute I will be, going out to dinner in Sharm!)  Then off to the shoe department.  Score!!  Ellen Tracy brown crocodile pumps with a leather stack heel for $16.99!   $16.99!!

20170112_080244After that auspicious beginning, my purchasing slowed down, but I did pick up a few items here and there.  Then we wandered in to Dream Land.  I pride myself on looking designer without paying designer prices, but I confess, there are designers I love and if money were no object, as my spouse if fond of saying, I’d load my closet up with them.  My new favorite is Carolina Herrera.  To my utter delight, she has an outlet store in San Marcos.  The prices are still a little out of my reach, but they are closer than the ones at Northpark.  Armani, Brahmin, Coach, Ferragamo – all these and more grace the sidewalks of the San Marcos outlet mall.

But let me tell you my favorite.  I love St. John.  I can pick out someone wearing it a mile away.  There’s a sleek elegance I aspire to that exudes from each St. John creation.  Their store is not exactly on the main drag, so we had to wander a bit to find it, but I adored the few moments I spent there.  No reason to spend any more, because nothing was in my price range.

At a final stop, we found a handbag for my bestie.  She’d been willing to pay $100 for something adequate at the Saks outlet, but we agreed to keep looking.  She got a Brahmin for about $120.  I was giddy.  She hoped I was spending her money wisely and now I think she agrees I did.

Then it was time to head back to join the women who had spend the day in Gruene, because we were headed out to dinner.  See you next week!

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A Lovely Afternoon in Passau

5p-oooTRAVEL THERE: GLADLY GUIDELESS IN GERMANY

After lunch Bill and I ventured into Passau on our own.  While we’d been frustrated by our guide’s demeanor during the morning, he had led us through a shopping area and shown us a nice riverside walkway.  Passau is no Vienna and we’d had lunch, so Bill was amenable to hoofing it around on our own.

 

A Marvelous Afternoon

While our morning tour had left a bad taste in our mouth, it had not besmirched the charming little town.  The first item on my agenda was to find some tokens for my friends.  A thorough search of the room did not turn up any of the darling gingerbread ornaments I bought in Cesky Krumlov, so I needed to get busy.  I wanted to get something for my Bible Study girls and then I had a couple of other friends for whom I wanted to buy something more substantial.

Ludwigstrasse

Ludwigstrasse

Passau has a significant pedestrian area with shops called Ludwigstrasse and nearby are a couple multistory of enclosed malls.  My patient husband wandered through all of these with me, hunting down the appropriate souvenirs – only I wasn’t finding much that I thought was appropriate.  Finally, we wandered into a knick-knack store and while most of the items were tacky bibelots   with the words “Passau, Germany” emblazoned on them, I found a shelf populated with charming ceramic cherubs molded into a variety of poses.  I’d found the trinkets I wanted for my Bible Study girls.

5p-ooo-3Strolling Along the River

I was still baffled about what to get for my best friend and my next door neighbor, who is truly the best next door neighbor in the world, but Mr. Bill was ready to roll.  We headed toward the river and were hugely rewarded.

The morning had been chilly in more ways than one.  Yes, our guide had been Mr. Rude, but the weather was overly crisp, also.  I’d layered up with a denim jacket and a wool cape, but had still been uncomfortable.  The afternoon weather was so glorious that we might have been in Dallas on one of its best days.

We discovered it was the first really warm day for Passau that spring and the whole town had turned out to enjoy the river.  Children tossed balls into the air.  Lovers ogled one another on shared blankets.  Giggly girls shared secrets strolling along the river.  Another girl sat on a stairway leading down to the river captivated by a book.  Beer drinking students toasted everyone that walked by.  It was like a movie set!

Once More to the Ludwigstrasse

Armed with a map the rude guide had provided, Bill and I maneuvered around the finger of land pointing to the confluence of the Inn, the Ilz and the Danube.  When we got back to the boat, Bill agreed to hit the Ludwigstrasse with me one more time.  I was in a tizzy.  I had to finish packing and dress for dinner soon, but I just didn’t want to head home without something for my friends.

As I bounced from storefront to storefront appalled at the pricing, Bill came to the rescue.  One of the clothing stores was having a bit of a sidewalk sale and Bill pointed it out.  I doubted anything would be affordable, even marked down, because all the prices I had seen were pretty steep.  Bill helped me figure out the exchange rate and the discount.  Suddenly, I was all smiles.  Not only had we found exactly what I’d love to get for Deb and Sherry, but I wasn’t going to break the bank!

It was a quiet night on board.  The evening happy hour was devoted to disembarking instructions.  Dinner was delicious, but sad.  We’d made wonderful friends and we didn’t know when we’d see them again.  Then there we had to be out early in the morning.  For all practical purposes, the cruise was over.

Come back next week and I’ll get you back to Dallas.  In the meantime, enjoy this video of our final stop.

 

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The Quaint Town of Cesky Krumlov

4ck-townTRAVEL THERE: A TOWN IN A TIME WARP

Cesky Krumlov was lucky.  While it suffered a season of Communism, the Communists never had enough money to modernize the place.  So when they were kicked out in 1989, all Cesky Krumlov needed was a little TLC.  Tourists discovered it in the early 1990’s and the rest is history.

Entering the Time Warp

As I mentioned before, our wonderful guide was a native Krumlovite.  He grew up there and had an abiding love for his lovely little town.  We had disembarked our bus up in the castle gardens and seen a couple of lovely vistas from the castle grounds, but this charming blue, onion-domed church was our first taste of Krumlov proper.

 

City, town or village?

City, town or village?

The pace of our tour slowed down as the guide shared the highlights of his town, including his favorite places to eat and stories about his friends.  I’ve toured with guides that turned this dialog into an “ain’t-I-great” soliloquy, but the charming citizen of Krumlov did not fall into that trap.  His stories were all about the wonders in his favorite town.

By the way, while it is tempting to call it a village, rather than a town, it got a city charter somewhere along the way.  They would probably be insulted because that I was calling it a town instead of a city, but I want you to get the feel of the place, even if my terminology is not technically correct.

On Our Own

We wandered along quaint little streets until we reached the town square, where our guide released us to our own reconnaissance.  Our little group of cruise buddies hotfooted it back to our guide’s favorite restaurant and enjoyed a delightful lunch with generous quaffs of Czech beer.

Then we headed out for shopping.  EEEK!  The prices were astronomical. I strolled into a handbag store and hurried out with my tail between my legs.  While I’m not great at currency conversion, I do know enough to figure out when I’ve wandered into a triple digit zone.  The cheapest handbag I could find was very comfortably in that triple digit zone and while my friends are certainly worth that much, I can’t afford it.

There were dozens of establishments featuring souvenirs – you know the kind, t-shirts and tea towels emblazoned with screen-printed images – but that wasn’t what I was looking for.  Finally, I found a store with darling little gingerbread Christmas ornaments.  I almost bought them out and was thrilled with my find, but unfortunately I lost them somewhere along the way.  I was broken-hearted because they were hand-made and seriously darling.

Had I anticipated the expenditure, I would have bought up some amber jewelry.  Every other store on the winding streets is an amber jeweler and I loved most of their wares.  My bestie loves amber and I desperately wanted to find something for her, but in a town where a small cloth clutch costs about $200, you can imagine what the amber cost.  Still, the prices were not unreasonable, so if you go, budget for the amber and shop until you drop!

Safely back in the pack

Safely back in the pack

Suddenly It Was Time to Go

For the final half hour or so, we abandoned our cruise buddies, because I was still desperately on the hunt for gifts.  All of sudden we looked at our watch and realized we had to leave – right then.  That’s when we figured out we were lost and Cesky Krumlov no longer felt like a quaint village, but more like the city they prided themselves on being.  Our panic only lasted a short while, but that was long enough.  They’d warned us they would leave us if we weren’t on time.

We strolled back through the town, up a path around the castle and there our buses were waiting for us.  The drive back to the boat seemed longer than the trip to the Czech town, because we were hoping enough time would be left to check out Linz before dinner.

We did make it back early enough and I’ll share that with you next week, but for now, enjoy all these pictures from Cesky Krumlov.

 

 

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Myrtle Beach SC in the Good Old Days

BPS01252016_0018TRAVEL BUG TALES: A GROOVY TIME AT THE BEACH

Sorry to leave you hanging.  It was almost two months ago that I shared my sad tale of woe about my embarrassing day in Williamsburg, VA.  The worst thing about it was the knowledge that my busted lip and scabbed-up arm and leg were going to really sting when I got into the Atlantic Ocean.

Back to the Beach

After Williamsburg, we were headed to Myrtle Beach.  I’ve already talked about how much my family loved visiting the Lide’s beach house.  This trip was much the same, but this time Ann didn’t come.  Her brother Bobby was there and I admit I crushed on him in an embarrassing way, but hey, I was 14.

The highlights of Myrtle Beach include:

  • the carnival with a ride called The Scrambler
  • seining the ocean
  • dinner at The Captain’s Table
  • putt putt
  • driving to Calabash NC for flounder

Nothing Stays the Same

Myrtle Beach was the icing on the cake of a great vacation.  It was the last time we stayed in the beach house.  The Lide family sold it and bought a condo.  I never stayed in the condo, but my mom and dad returned year after year to play in the sand with their good friends.

These visits back to Myrtle Beach were something my parents cherished.  The guys would play golf and the ladies would shop.  Then they’d make the required visits to Calabash and The Captain’s Table, but they’d also try out everything else on the strip.  I was a little jealous that my younger sister got to go along on many of these return visits.  I was away at school or out being a career girl, so I was not supposed to mind – but I did.

In later years I would take mom back to Myrtle Beach for one more visit.  We rented a condo in a high-rise building and it was very nice, but it wasn’t the old beach house.  The carnival with The Scrambler was gone, but the main drag had become one long garish carnival with three million putt-putt courses.  The Captain’s Table was still there and the line was still long, but either the food wasn’t quite what it should have been or my tastes had changed.

The most disappointing thing about that final return to Myrtle Beach was Calabash.  In my memory, Calabash was a tiny town with a main drag peppered with the best seafood restaurants in the world.  I can still taste the fried flounder, hush-puppies and cole slaw.  We, of course, had our favorites, but you would have been hard-pressed to get a bad meal anywhere along the street.

On our final return, there was only one seafood restaurant.  Every other restaurant was a member of the usual chains you see everywhere.  The one seafood restaurant that remained was devoid of ambiance.  It was a huge barn of a place with formica-topped tables, while my memory clung to white tablecloths, impeccable service and flickering candles.

But that trip was long after my return in 1969.  I’ll tell you about it someday.  In 1970 we went to Corpus Christi for our family vacation, but I have only fleeting memories of it that wouldn’t make for much of a blog post.  We also visited cousins in Oklahoma City.  I remember a remarkable roadside tribute to Native Americans on that trek, but we didn’t have any pictures.  Though I’ve researched it in hopes of making a return, it has apparently disappeared, which is really sad.

In 1971, we moved into a new house – the one I always think of as home, so vacations took a back seat.  In 1972, we took a trip to South Texas with some friends from church.  Come back next week and I’ll show you around.

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A Day I’ll Never Forget

Mom & I in the stocks. Yes I'm the one in the tri-corn hat.

Mom & I in the stocks. Yes I’m the one in the tri-corn hat.

TRAVEL BUG TALES: HOW DO PARENTS DO IT?

So I’m not sure why parents want to have kids.  So far on this trip we’ve nearly lost my sister, I’ve been testing my teen-aged angst and I’m about to ruin the day for everyone –  and I didn’t even mean, too.

A Day at Colonial Williamsburg

I’d reached the auspicious age of 14 and fancied myself to be very sophisticated.  I’d had my first lobster (albeit a salad not a whole lobster), we were staying at a resort, I was in junior high and I thought I knew everything.  However, I was still a kid and I was gaga over history.  Yes, that was dorky, but I couldn’t help myself.  Mom had been priming me for our day in Williamsburg for months on end and I was anxious to get there.  I was also anxious to get back to the resort later, because I’d been promised we could swim in one of the pools.

One of the benefits of staying at the resort was transportation to the historical section of Williamsburg, because you weren’t allowed to drive your car there.  I’m pretty sure the transportation was some kind of horse drawn vehicle, but I really don’t remember.  We had breakfast in the cafeteria where we’d had dinner the night before, but I don’t remember that either.  We had all our meals there, because I’m sure anything else would have busted my parents’ budget.

I do remember strolling the streets of Colonial Williamsburg, shopping for souvenirs in quaint shops and visiting various historical edifices.  Which ones I can’t exactly remember, but I was filled with wonder as we roamed the city and its buildings.  Making the whole thing seem surreal were all the costumed guides strolling around in colonial garb.  I was fascinated.

My husband would tell you that I get a little excited when I travel.  I speak too loudly, walk too fast and often get ahead of myself.  That’s exactly how I was that day in Williamsburg.  The day was incredibly hot and humid, but I was bouncing around like a tennis ball.  Inside the buildings the a/c was blasting to protect the valuable artifacts on display; antique furnishings, tools and other valuable items.  So outside we’d bake and inside we’d freeze.

I picked this sweetie up in a Williamsburg toy shop and her hat came from a milliner down the street where I also picked up the tri-corn hat above. She sits on a shelf in my office until today.

I picked this sweetie up in a Williamsburg toy shop and her hat came from a milliner down the street – where I also picked up the tri-corn hat I wore that day. The doll sits on a shelf in my office until today.  I’m not sure where the tri-corn ended up.

My Williamsburg Waterloo

Each house had timed tours and we had tickets to a certain number of houses, but the tours were timed to give you plenty of opportunities to shop in their expensive boutiques.  It was time to see the silversmiths house, so I charged in like a bull in a china closet.  Once inside I started to feel woozy.  I tried to stay with the tour, but finally I felt as if I had to get out of the house.  I’d gotten cold and hot one too many times and there was some acrid smell associated with the demonstrations of silversmithing.  I grabbed the handle of a door that I wasn’t supposed to and popped out of the house.

The next thing I knew I was lying on the brick sidewalk and a great fuss was being made over me.  Once it was established that nothing was broken I was hauled into an alcove off the street and my mother hovered over me.  Someone was asking if we wanted an ambulance.  I was saying no, but Mom was saying yes.  Mom won, because someone came to doctor me up, but I refused to get in the ambulance and be taken to a hospital.  I was already so embarrassed that I wanted to die.  While I don’t remember riding in the carriage that morning, I do distinctly remember the discomfort of riding it back to the resort in the afternoon.

I had not broken anything, but I’d managed to get pretty beat up.  As I’d stepped out of the silversmith’s house and onto a small porch, I’d already started to lose consciousness.  I careened across the porch, fell down a couple of steps and slid across the brick sidewalk.  I busted my lip and scratched up my face, arm and legs pretty badly.  I’d also shaken every bone in my body.  Within days I was black and blue and scabbed.

Here’s the rub.  There was no way my parents were going to let me go to swimming pool, even if I’d mustered up the strength to pretend I wanted to.  I was put to bed for the balance of the afternoon, while everyone else went swimming.  My mother checked on me several times, but I was 14 after all.

I mustered up the courage to eat in the cafeteria that evening, because I didn’t want a tray to be delivered to our room.  While I’ve always enjoyed attention, that wasn’t the kind of attention I wanted – at all.  Besides that, Mom had started to make noise about heading back to Texas rather than heading to the beach to rendezvous with our friends at their beach house.  No way I was missing the beach, so I had to suck it up.

Come back next week and we’ll go to Myrtle Beach!

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YouTube Videos Lie

TRAVEL HERE: HOME IMPROVEMENT INSANITY

I’m going to rant today.  I’ve whined before over the “improvements” companies insist on making to things I love – “improvements” that render my favorite things useless to me.  All it takes for a cosmetics company to discontinue a lipstick color is for me to like it, but that’s different from improving products past the point of being useful.  You know what I mean.

The Tension-less Shower Rod

I grew up with something called a tension shower rod.  The tension came from a spring.  You’d twist the rod until it was just a smidge bigger than your opening.  Then you’d squeeze it into place and forget about it – like for decades.  This was a true improvement over the old shower rods you attached with screws.  The improved rod worked without marring your wall and if it ever did come down, you weren’t left with a hole in the wall.  What’s more, if your spring ever did lose a little of its tension, you could just unscrew it a little bit and get another decade or so out of the rod.

Then the shower rod companies decided to “improve” their product.  I remember going to the store and buying a tension shower rod and coming home to put it up.  I ripped off the cellophane and started twisting it the way I always had, but something was wrong.  I dug the wrapping out of the trashcan and paid more attention to it.  A big blue star on the wrapper informed me the rod was “SPRINGLESS”.  And they thought that was good news???

For awhile, springless and springed tension shower rods were sold side-by-side, but only for awhile.  After our most recent move, there were no springed tension rods – at all.  I looked everywhere.  So, I came home with the new springless version and gave it to my husband, because I already knew there was no hope for me with the rod.  He watched a YouTube video and managed to install the rod, but after a couple of weeks our expensive custom shower curtain was down on the floor.  After a few rounds of that, we went out, bought the really old kind that screws into the wall.  It took some research, but we found one.  Months later, the shower curtain is still up there.  I’m thinking it will always be up there, but so will the holes we made.  So much for improvement.

Do-It-Yourself Mini-blinds

There was a time when people who wanted mini-blinds had to call a decorator.  I’m glad those days are over.  Now you can get mini-blinds at your big box home-improvement store, but the measuring might be a little tricky.  For our latest house we ordered “custom” blinds and since we have 30 some odd windows, measuring them was quite a challenge.  My husband did the installing and it wasn’t the easiest thing he’d ever done, but he did it without the egregious use of swear words.

So when we needed mini-blinds for one of our rent houses, we thought we knew what we were doing.  We showed up with our measurements, thinking we’d go in and make do with the “standard” sized blind that were trimmed to fit, but got a lesson in mini-blind packaging from our friendly big box sales employee.

Seems folks used to measure their window and then the store personnel would do some kind of mathematical equation to provide blinds with the perfect fit.  The mini-blind manufacturers have now decided to cut out the mathematical equation.  Now when you go to the big box store you just pick out the box with your window width on it and voila, you have mini-blinds that fit – at least theoretically.

We pointed out to the nice man at the store the blinds were at least a foot longer than we needed, but he assured us the length was adjustable.  Nice right?

The actual installation of the blinds was pretty straightforward.  In fact, hubby was able to negotiate the blinds into the window without reading the instructions or asking me anything.  Then we got to the adjusting the length part.  I dug out one of the instruction pages and read through it.  The instructions sounded like gobbledy goop to me.  There were four different types of string and you had to hold your tongue just right, but the instructions assumed we’d find it simple.

Simple isn’t exactly the word I would use, but there was one part that was virtually impossible.  At the bottom of the blind was a plastic plug which had to be removed so you could thread those four types of string through the hole it filled.  The instructions said to remove the plug with a screwdriver.  Bill gave it a shot, but his efforts destroyed the plugs.

Remembering the “helpful” YouTube video he’d watched to install the SPRINGLESS  tension rod, I whipped out my phone and googled “adjusting Levolor blinds length.”  (FYI, there are 6100 results to that inquiry.)  I clicked on the Levolor video and watched it while Bill wrestled with a mini-blind.

Liar, liar!  Pants on fire!  Since we’d already figured out those four types of string, I waited impatiently while the video got to the plastic plug part.  The video showed the bottom of the blind and then someone popped the plug out with no hassle at all.  I must have watched that part of the video three times, thinking I missed the part where they explained the removal process, but the truth of the matter was, they cheated.

The blinds are installed and we adjusted them, but let’s hope our tenant never gets around to inspecting the bottom of the blind.  Next time we’ll just leave a foot of extra slats laying up in the window.  So much for that improvement, too.

 

 

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