Mary B C's Profile

Display Name: Mary B C
Member Since: 2/4/09

Latest Comments...

COOL! I have no kids but I'm thinking, "AWESOME temporary dog cave!" My dog loves to be hidden away, but this idea allows the hiding and none of the permanent ugliness of a metal crate in the room.

Secret Play Place: Table Fort Country Living
11/20/13 11:37 AM

@Lisa Jones:

Baking soda will get out those stubborn coffee and tea stains on white mugs. If that's any consolation for your creepy roommate situation. :)

Run, Don't Walk: Worst Roommate Ever Stories
8/31/13 04:52 AM

I am not a roommate fan. I would much rather live alone in a smalll space than get into the ridiculous battles in which I'm alternately the "too sloppy" one or the "cleaning Nazi." (Seems to depend on the personality of the roommate which end of the spectrum you fall on!)

I decided to never have a roommate again after Arlene. Two young-20-something girls and I were sharing a 4-bedroom apartment, and Arlene took the last bedroom. She was 37 and divorced, and completely crazy. We used to hear her down in her room, FIGHTING WITH NO ONE. Literally, she would stand there yelling at the voices in her head. At 24, I didn't have enough maturity to have empathy for someone so obviously mentally ill. At 50, I'm not sure I would even now, if she was my roommate and scaring the heck out of me.

Arlene was the one who convinced me to NEVER have a roommate again. Not only was she scary-crazy, but she moved into a large house with 3 other women, and refused to share. She put her cups, plates, and silverware in the kitchen wtih ours... but expected us not to use hers.

One night, I had a bowl of ice cream in my room. I left the bowl on my bureau, wtih the spoon still in it. It was, as far as I knew, a generic shared spoon. Arlene came knocking at my door the next night, saying, "You have my SPOON!" I told her I didn't. (I did. Wasn't I petulant?) She stood outside my door, insisting that she knew I had it.

I then decided that I would never have roommates again.

When I moved out of the apartment, I ended up with one of those spoons among my possessions... and thought of Arlene regularly until the spoon perished in a garbage disposal years later.

Run, Don't Walk: Worst Roommate Ever Stories
8/30/13 06:00 PM

I'm not buying the "cheap desks are not available in town X" line. I live in a major metropolitan area, and even in the swankiest urban hipster locations, there are dozens of thrift shops and Salvation Army stores where there are high-quality, hardwood, dovetailed-drawer desks and bureaus available cheap. I'm talking oak, mahogany, maple. Built by cabinetmakers and furniture factories decades ago, with drawers and all working true and solid.

You have to spend a little time looking, but old furniture is available when old people die, and their kids and grandkids don't want it. If you're in the country, go to yard sales and house sales. If you're in the city, go to the grungy part of town and find a thrift store. (Look in neighborhoods where college kids hang out.)

I always wonder why people buy cheapy wood and pressboard furniture from Ikea when they can get the real thing, solid and lasting and resellable in a few years, probably cheaper at a secondhand store.

Before & After: Desk Made from an IKEA Bed Base
8/25/13 09:56 AM

I don't find the "grandmother" comment particularly snarky or hurtful. For those of us whose grandmothers had these chairs in their houses from the last time they were considered very stylish, that's just a gut reaction. Your mileage may vary.

Mid-century modern was So. Out. throughout my childhood and young adulthood. Only grannies kept it in their houses after it went out the first time. So, now it's hot and in style again, and I'm thinking that the folks who don't reject it (when it inevitably gives way to something different, again) are going to still have it in their houses when they're grandparents, and their grandkids will think of it as "granny furniture."

It's not offensive to note that things come in and go out of style. It just is. You have to furnish your home with what you love, and then if you stop loving it, go with something else. If you don't stop loving it, that's fine, too - you can love your stuff even if your grandkids giggle at it.

Are French Round-Back Chairs Timeless Classics? Good Questions
8/20/13 03:25 PM

I don't love them because they're not my style. But my brain recognizes them as being "in" right now - the color, the fabric, etc.. They would look timeless classic in someone's house right now.

Problem is, the thing that is very much in style looks "timeless classic" when it's in style. (Avocado green, harvest gold, and faux-wood paneling were everywhere in the 70s - so much that they looked neutral. Ditto on dusty rose in the 80s. No one seemed to notice that everyone was installing PINK CARPETING in their houses!)

So, if you love them now, it's likely that looking at them will make you very happy. And if the whitewash finish (not always in style, not) or the gray color (not always in style, no!) get you down later, you can buy different furniture or have these painted and reupholstered.
Styles change; nothing is going to be in style forever. Part of the fun of decorating is tweaking and revising.

Are French Round-Back Chairs Timeless Classics? Good Questions
8/20/13 10:46 AM

II think the "X" is actually structural - since the bookcase has no back panel, they need the brace-support to keep it from swaying left-to-right and tilting.

I also like the cheaper one the best. The original would have grown tiring to look at after a short while, I think - the last one is more "classic."

Julia's Product Research: Industrial-Style Bookcase for Under $100 Liveblogging the Style Cure
8/13/13 03:23 PM

A) They're all right, AT: $200 for a single chair is NOT affordable. I'm a year into haveing paid off my car, and thus can afford to splurge a bit. Looking for new dining chairs. Can't believe they can charge $370 for a Navy chair.

B) Sure, yeah, a real Emeco chair will last 100 years. But the 'brushed aluminum industrial look' is going to be so 2012 in about 4 or 5 years. If I'm buying design, I have to know that the designers will be working hard to plan my chairs into design obsolescence. Design if fashion; it isn't fixed. So, why would I spend thousands on chairs that I will want to replace soonish?

Under $250: Affordable Metal
Dining Chairs
Decor Styles Shopping Guide: Warm Industrial

8/9/13 09:06 AM

Seven (7!) Shelby Williams plywood Gazelle chairs for $150 at the local flea market.

Saw them as they were coming off the truck at 5:30 a.m. Came back to load them in the car a bit later, and the vendor told me he could have sold them twenty times over. Too bad, suckas! :D

You Paid WHAT for That? More Stories of Amazing Secondhand Finds
7/25/13 03:28 PM

Hopeless treasure hunter here. Three big things:

1) Advertise on CL, and put the details there. Which leads to...

2) Signs just need to say YARD SALE in big letters, and have a large ARROW. (No tiny details. Drivers can't see them.) Which leads to...

3) Take your *#&$ing signs down when your sale is over. Be respectful to next weeks' sellers and shoppers.

Goodbye and Good Riddance: Our Best Tips for Hosting Yard Sales
7/18/13 05:36 PM

LOL... that's not a hope chest! That's a "potato blight has ruined our chances in Ireland so we're moving to America to live in a teeming tenement" chest. :)

I never did buy and keep things for a potential home - I'm not sure my mother did, either. She was in the Air Force when she married my father, and they moved (plus, they were poor when kids).

What I did do, once it became clear I'd buy a house in the near future, was start filing clippings of homes I loved - beautiful bedrooms and kitchens and furniture. It definitely informed my color and style choices when I was finally in my own place.


Do You Have a Home Owner's Hope Chest?
7/17/13 06:22 PM

True Confession Time:

I'm a girl. I had fugly stuff in my early apartments, too.

When you own nothing and have little money, you're happy to find a futon to sit down on and a couple of folding tray tables to use as end tables. Function is primary.

I'm guessing the boyfriend finds this room completely functional. I'm guessing he's not in love with the style, but maybe hasn't given it much thought.

When I bought my condo at a single age of 38, I quickly realized that if i ever moved in with someone, we would have to sell my place and buy a new place that we decorated together. Wasn't no way I was letting anyone move into my grown-up, curated space with young-person, hand-me-down fugly stuff.

How To De-Bachelorize Boyfriend's House? Good Questions
7/17/13 07:30 AM

Love! Love!

Bracelets. Lunch boxes. THE MASKS!!! SO WONDERFUL!

My first thought is "fabulous," and my next is, "How often do they get up there to dust?"

I love to see a space where the owners aren't slaves to current trends (minimalism, all-white, etc.), but who have obviously curated their house with things they love, regardless of what The Powers That Be are saying this year. This is so much YOURS, and not a show or fashion statement. And yet, such style and joy!


Sam and Nick's Dot House House Tour
7/17/13 06:55 AM

I agree with the furniture marker idea.

This credenza was $200, and while it's attractive, it doesn't look rare. (These turn up at yard sales and Salvation Army in my area all the time.) You could spend a lot to have it restored and have an expensive inexpensive piece of furniture. :) Or... you could just color in the leg tip and no one will notice at all, ever.

Good luck!

How Do I Fix Peeling Corner of Credenza? Good Questions
7/10/13 06:55 PM

I'm near Boston and find it's a pretty good way to get stuff gone. (I"m always grabbing stuff at yard sales and flea markets, and try to keep a "one thing in, one thing out" policy.) People won't pay too much for items, but they will pay reasonable prices - much less than brand new, but much more than they'll pay at a yard sale.

As far as not holding things - sorry, but I've learned the hard way that the first person who shows up with money in hand gets the item. If my goal is to get rid of the thing and get a little cash, and Joe can come Monday with $50, why would I hold it till Saturday for Sam? (Mind you, if someone is literally on their way to my house, I'll make the next potential buyer wait. But to hold something for days just takes money out of my pocket!)

And (dare I admit it?)... I've let people into my house dozens of times. Men are way better at moving big items than I am. Everyone has always been very friendly. I often meet people with like-minded decorating sensibilities who make me feel good by praising my flea-market decor. In fact, every year or so, I unexpectedly sell something to the same woman, who lives about a mile from me.

The only bad experiences I've had on CL have been on items I was giving away. My worst was a bag of dog food. Height of the recession. Woman e-mailed me from the highway, telling me she was driving to pick up the bag, which I had put on the curb for the first taker. By the time the woman got here, the bag was gone. She stood on my stoop and YELLED AT ME. Bizarre.

What's Your City's Craigslist Culture?
7/3/13 04:31 PM

Imagine that, at 35 or 40 (when I realized I might not marry), I had sent an announcement to all my friends and family stating that I wished to celebrate my single life. After all, surely my life is as happy and joyful, as worthy of celebration, as those of my friends who are married. Indeed, since it is the cultural norm to get married, my life is rather more to be remarked upon than not.

Imagine that I told family and friends that I would buy them dinner - a choice of fish, beef, or chicken of low-to-medium quality - and also, look! Here is a list of things I want for my home! (Flat screen TV. Couch-to-replace-futon. Immersion blender. Antique children's books. Money so I can eliminate my PMI.) You can buy me whatever you feel is appropriate, but this is the stuff I really want. Just saying. And, by the way, there's only one income in my house, so you should probably double what you might spend on a couple, OK?

In fact, I turned 50 a few weeks ago... and I rather like this idea. Anyone who would like to celebrate my life and wish me well, respond to my post here, and I'll figure out a way to let you know my PayPal account, so you can joyfully congratulate me into my second half-century of life.

(Such crassness! How rude! The money-grubbing! Imagine, asking for gifts! Really! It's one thing if people choose to honor you in some way, but to institutionalize it, to spell out exactly what you think should happen! My word! It's horrifying!)

The old-fashioned need (practical and emotional) for setting up a young couple in a new household is largely gone now. My niece who married a few years ago was earning more at 24 than I am at 50. Her husband is probably earning double what I make. Desination wedding in Belize. And by the way, they want to buy a couch, so please get them a gift card to Crate & Barrel. (Never mind that you can't afford a Crate & Barrel couch yourself.)

So, we remove the practical and often cumbersome need for gifting, and we're left with the emotional well-wishing. Excellent. If the point is to celebrate our love for the couple, then throw a barbecue in the backyard. I'll buy some good steaks, and make you a beautiful cut-paper 3D portrait of your home. No ridiculous debt for you or your family, and I can pay the vet bill this month without having to put it on a high-interest credit card. Everyone wins!

Obviously, the degree of love and happiness we feel toward a couple has nothing to do with the rigid traditions surrounding modern weddings. Yet we've allowed people - girls, especially - to grow up believing that their love must be honored with a debt-incurring, stress-laden ceremony/dance party. Silly.

Creating a Wedding Registry:
Tips for Couples Already Living Together

7/2/13 07:30 AM

Well, it sure as heck FEELS like there's serious judgment by the newly-married toward those who dare to not give a gift. I had a friend tell me once that if I came to a wedding in her culture (mother was 1st generation European immigrant), I had BETTER bring a gift worth $200 - $300.

As a never-married woman, I can tell you that it gets my ire up - this notion that I had better bring you an expensive gift to celebrate your marriage, after you've been living together (and therefore splitting expenses) for years. None of my married pals has ever offered to buy me a microwave, or high-tech vacuum, or china. No one has ever contributed financially to my upgrades on the items I bought for myself when I first moved out of my parents' house. This, after the thousands I've spend on the bridal showers, the wedding presents, the butt-ugly bridesmaid dresses!

But now, the expensive divorces are being processed... so I suppose it's a wash in the long run. ::Sigh::

Creating a Wedding Registry:
Tips for Couples Already Living Together

6/28/13 06:31 PM

I am always bringing new things into my house - I love scrounging flea markets and yard sales. That means that I always have to move old things out. So, I sell a lot of things on CL.

The worst experiences I have are when I give something away for free. I had a 30-lb bag of expensive dog food once. New flavor, made my dog constipated. So, essentially, $40 of dog food free to a good home, during the height of the recession. I told CL readers that it was going to be in a bag on the curb. Some woman e-mailed me, telling me that she had to drive up from the city and would be here in an hour. I responded (when I got the e-mail) saying the bag would go to whomever came to get it first. It went in 10 minutes or so. An hour later, the woman showed up at my door, and started YELLING at me for not holding the dog food for her. Literally, I had to close the door in her face as she stood there yelling at me. (Luckily, the dog whose food I was giving away sound much scarier and more threatening than he is.) And the woman e-mailed me and yelled some more after she got home.

In my experience, the giveaway stuff somehow gives people a much bigger sense of entitlement than the sold stuff - even if the price is just $10, it changes the nature of the transaction, somehow.

As for karma, I would like to believe in it, but don't really. I do think that people who go through life with good and honest intentions tend to see goodness and honesty as the norm - or maybe seek out goodness and honesty - while those who lie, cheat, and steal see lying, cheating, and stealing everywhere they go, whether it exists or not. Or, perhaps they populate their lives with others who lie, cheat, and steal? Sort of "create your own reality."

One reader's stating that karma doesn't exist is not more hurtful or close-minded than another reader's stating that karma DOES exist.

@Rainywoods: consider that one reader posted her belief about the absence of karma - the framing question around which this post is centered - whereupon you posted a personal insult ("unkind") about that reader. Consider the possible karmic fallout of that behavior! Or, in the absence of karma, consider whether "You don't agree with me so you're mean" is a useful and constructive point of debate, going forward.

Do You Believe in Craigslist Karma?
12/18/12 05:31 AM

Sorry for being a "wet blanket," but there is nothing inside me that could ever enjoy being inside this space. The whole time I was there, I would be thinking, "There is ugly carpeting on the WALLS!!"

I once got a great deal on an over-the-garage studio. Rented it when the windows were open and it had a nice breeze blowing through. Took me only like 10 minutes after moving in to realize that it smelled like cat pee. There was no way the smell was leaving, and no way I could stay there without thinking about it ALL. THE. TIME.

So, my advice (after having made errors in rental judgment in my younger days) would be to tolerate it for the year, if you have to. But don't invest in any major fixes like custom plywood or custom curtains. That's throwing good money after bad. Live frugally and without embellishment for a year, and then get a different place.

Ideas for Decorating New Apartment with Dark Blue Carpet on the Walls? Good Questions
12/18/12 04:59 AM

I'm a schoolteacher, and a few years ago I began writing each of my 8th graders a "winter solstice card" along with a very small, token gift. (See how I, a science teacher covering the solar system, cleverly dodge the politically correct holiday conundrum!?) In each card, I say one nice thing that I appreciate about each kid. It's not always easy - some of the kids are very challenging - but sometimes the kids I struggle with the most are the ones who appreciate the cards the most. Last year, one very difficult boy was the only kid who stopped to really read his card - and then he made eye contact with me and said, "Thank you Ms. __." He needed the nice note more than any of the "easy" kids who got affirmation from their parents.

I'm not sure yet if the little cards have a giant impact on the kids... but the fundamental change is in me. When I have to search my memories to find the best qualities in a child, it sometimes transforms the way I look at the child, and makes my days simply better.

Might I suggest that outside of teaching "lying," asking children to find one or two nice things to say about each gift might teach them GRATITUDE? Like, say, "Wow, Aunt Millie! It must have taken you hours to knit this sweater! That's so thoughtful!" Or... "Uncle George, it's so nice that you thought of me when you traveled to San Francisco and bought this miniature Golden Gate Bridge pencil sharpener!"

Appropriateness of Gift Cards for
Young Children? Good Questions

12/14/12 05:22 AM