I don't want to spend hours babbling about the newly redecorated and expanded bedroom and bathroom that I came home to discover. If I were allowed to post pictures, I would, but I'm not allowed. Still, when I described it before, I had seen only a small fraction of the features.
The basic color scheme would need to remain intact because of the walls, window treatments, and furniture, but my aunt and uncle bought five extra rugs (two of them reversible) with comforter and sheet sets to match. The reversibles are pink, black and/or white polka dots and backgrounds in different combinations. One comforter and rug has a music motif, one set is solid white, and one is an interesting print in the color scheme with a complementary print rug. The bedroom and bathroom room were expanded into unused attic space, and a closet with custom cabinets was built from the attic space with shelving just to store the unused bedding and rugs. It's seriously like the type of room a rich girl would have (I heard my dad telling my mom that it's probably similar to one of the rooms the Hiltons provided for Paris when she was twelve or so, and, while I hardly appreciated the comparison, he wasn't too far off), or at least it seems that way to me. (My standards are pretty low. My parents always told my brother and me that we were lucky to have our own rooms, period.)
With the expansion, the square footage is quite a bit greater than in my old room, and the features include a TV, which I didn't find at first. I'm wondering how much my aunt and uncle had to plead to get my parents to allow that. My parents don't believe in allowing kids to have TVs in their bedrooms. My aunt and uncle bought my brother a TV as well because it would not have been fair to force my parents to abandon their principles where I'm concerned without granting my brother the same benefits. (I suspect the final decision on the part of my parents to acquiesce was based on the premise that my brother and I are almost seventeen and have completed all the entrance requirements to attend the universities of our choosing. It's probably too late for either of us to develop ADHD or any other worst-case scenario of the negative effects of excessive television access.)
The bedroom walls have piano keyboards painted around the top and bottom, and my aunt took care to make the piano keyboards come out evenly all the way around the room so that the notes are continuous; it doesn't end up at a C in one conrner followed by an E-flat right next to it. My mom and aunts had poster-sized prints made and framed of three of my favorite piano selections, mixed in with black and white posters of composers. It looks a bit avant garde, but I love it.
The bathroom is far more luxurious than anything I would ever have expected. I won't bore any reader who has come across this blog with too many more painstaking details (at least it doesn't have a bidet, and probably only because my Uncle Ralph has never heard of bidets) but the floor is newly tiled, the square footage has been greatly increased, it has a separate shower and large tub, the bedroom's color scheme is continued in the bathroom, and the towels are much more plush than those to which I have become accustomed. My parents have always used nice towels themselves and provided guests with the same, but my brother and I have mostly used our parents' cast-offs.
The only part of the room that I could live without is a too-large black and white shot of me when I was five or six. It was actually taken by one of my least favored uncles on my dad's side of the family. Since I didn't and still don't particularly care for that uncle, one would probably have correctly guessed that I didn't exactly smile and say "cheese" for the camera. If I had known the significance of the gesture of displaying one's middle finger to indicate overall dislike or displeasure, I probably would have flipped off the uncle holding the camera, but I was a sheltered child, so my state of mind at the moment the picture was snapped is evident only by my "if looks could kill" glare.
This photo is significant in that the uncle with the camera sold rights to it to a greeting card company, and it actually made it onto some company's Mother's Day card a few years ago. My uncle didn't ask my permission before taking the picture, and he didn't ask for my parents' consent before selling it. My Uncle Steve happened to come across the card in a pharmacy right before mother's day a couple of years ago. He and my Aunt Heather and my mom and dad debated for weeks over whether or not it was actually I before they even showed it to me. When I finally saw it, I was able to tell them where it was taken and by whom. It was one of the times when my mother was in one of her serious illness phases, and my brother and I were briefly with relatives on my dad's side.
The uncle didn't let my parents know the picture existed, much less ask them to sign a release, before selling the rights to the picture. He didn't offer to share whatever he earned from the photo. He is one of the many relatives on dad's side of the family with too little income for the number of kids he has spawned, so my parents let the matter go. My mom said something semi-diplomatic but pointed when she told the uncle basically that she and my dad would have given him their blessing to use the photo for profit, but it would have been nice to have been asked or even to have been given a copy.
When my mom showed the greeting card with my image to my Godparents, Aunt Victoria and Uncle Ralph, my Uncle Ralph thought it was the funniest picture he had ever seen, especially since he dislikes the uncle who took it. (He doesn't know the particular uncle well because Uncle Ralph is from my mom's side and the offending uncle is my dad's sister's husband, but one does not necessarily need to know the man well to form a strong dislike of him.) The enlargement of that photograph to larger-than-life proportions was my Uncle Ralph's lone actual contribution in terms of the decor of the room. (As I stated earlier, he and my aunt financed the remodeling and redecoration, but Uncle Ralph didn't paint the walls or offer any input as to how the room should look except that this photo had to be included.)
I was young enough in the picture that a person seeing the picture wouldn't easily recognize it as being a picture of me, so at some point I'll get permission and scan a copy of it here or onto my Twitter page or both. I may even use it as my profile picture. I seriously doubt that doing so would pose a danger to me in terms of exposing my identity (I don't use my actual surname here, and only three of my friends know of this blog; I don't exactly go out of my way to publicize it) since my own parents weren't even sure it was I at first. Still, I need permission to post any picture at all. I don't wish to have any computer privilegess revoked.
I hope I'm not seen as being boastful regarding material things I did absolutely nothing to earn. If my parents had wanted to dip heavily into their savings to finance the remodeling and redecorating of my room, they could have afforded it, as we're not poor, but they never would have spent so much money in such a manner. They're not ostentatious people. Our home is comfortable but modest, and not built or decorated with the intent to impress anyone. I like to think that my room was redone not so much with the intent of impressing anyone as to make me sufficiently comfortable
that I'm able to forget unfortunate events of the recent past and drift blissfully into slumber when it is time for me to do so. On the other hand, my Uncle Ralph has been known to occasionally use his wealth to impress others, although exactly whom he would be trying to impress in this case is unclear. He's typically frugal, but once he makes a decision to spend serious money, he does so in an all-out fashion. My aunt told me he wanted to buy another baby grand piano (he already bought me one baby grand, which is in our upstair sitting room just outside my bedroom) but my parents and even my Aunt Victoria said that was ridiculous. My parents said it was either the TV or a new piano, but not both, so he wisely chose the televison option. A concert grand and two baby grands in one house is over-the-top even for a family of serious musicians.
One important note is that later this week I will take the test to get my learner's permit. I'm rather excited about this milestone. I still won't be eligible for my license until May, but for awhile it was looking as though I'd be eligible to join AARP before I acquired either a learner's permit or a license, so I'm not complaining.
P. S. Matt, please post another story, Christmas-related or otherwise, when you have time. Rebecca, get well!