You Saved $25.01

by Meghan Medford

This is a story about a time when I spent my boyfriend's parent's money.

And it wasn't even accidental! I mean, the amount I spent was kind of accidental, but I was sent off with a few bills and told to "buy what we need". It turns out, I get need and really need frequently confused. 

A little backstory:

Eric's mom, Sharon, texted me a few weeks ago asking if I would give her input on decorations and staging for their family home Port Aransas. They're about to list the house and wanted to make sure it looked nice and beachy for the virtual tour and online images. Being the insane person I am, jumped up and down at the prospect, like a kid who just heard the ice cream truck. Throw pillows! Furniture rearrangement! Picture hanging! Excitement! But, having only known her for under a year, I decided be cool and just respond back with, "yes, I think I could do that". Best to play it safe and not unleash your crazy this early in the relationship, I think. 

They're selling Eric's childhood home - the place where my boyfriend and his brothers grew up in Port Aransas. Its a massive house that was built by their father, who made it basically hurricane-proof. The house also boasts a gorgeous curved staircase that was built and recently refinished by all the men of the family. I think its a good thing that they didn't have any daughters, because that staircase makes an excellent noise when you purposely trod and slam your feet with every step up the stairs. The house may be hurricane-proof, but I'm not so sure those stairs would have been preteen-Meghan-proof. One of my finest skills as a middle-school-diva was perfecting the "humph!", sigh, and slamming of feet up the staircase when I got in an argument with my mother. I would have loved to have those concrete stairs in my house growing up. It would have made so much more of a statement than the carpeted ones my dad installed in my childhood home. Looking back, I think both my dad and Eric's knew exactly what they were doing...

Eric's parents had recently moved out of Port Aransas, leaving this huge house completely devoid of their original furniture and decor, which means that they had to get either get creative, or completely start over with staging and filling the barest of the walls and corners. (I'm telling you this to justify the amount of money I spend later) Sharon started sending me some images of key parts of the house that she wanted spruced up before the property was put on the market:

I waited a few hours before I sent anything back (again, taking the casual route here), but in the meantime I was scouring Pinterest, Target, World Market and other sites to source products and items to virtually transpose onto the pictures Sharon sent me. I was frantically typing on my keyboard, squealing with excitement at cheap finds and I had to even resort to wearing my glasses because my vision was getting a little fuzzy - I would imagine I looked like an interior designer on crack. But in this case, the crack is really just the high I get from finding reasonably priced beach home decor. I promise that I'm not insane. 

This is a version of what I do at work, and it makes it so much easier for people to envision certain pieces and furniture placements in their own home. It would have been just as easy to send her pictures, or links or just say "go to Target", but it would have been infinitely less fun for me and useless to her.

Things obviously aren't perfectly to scale and the Photoshop work isn't my best, but we'll just chalk it up to the fact that I had not put on my glasses yet and I was just too excited to send it to her than to work for three hours on the shadowing and perfecting the details. 

Soon after, more pictures started coming:

To say I was excited each time I received more pictures is an understatement. I even lost track of time for a few, blissful hours. 

It was a decent start and surely a better effort than just telling her to "check out that World Market place". I wished that I could be there to help her buy and stage all of the items I had found, but at the time the virtual tour was scheduled before I could make my way down to Port A. 

But to my luck (and she probably thought it was to her advantage too, until after she saw the receipts) the virtual tour photography was pushed out and Eric and I had the pleasure of being in Port Aransas and spending a total of fourteen hours buying, decorating, staging and rearranging the entire 2,700+ square foot home this past weekend. 

Sharon had bought several things already for the home, but filling a space that large when you start with basically nothing is not easy and it requires just a lot of stuff. I specialize in buying stuff, so it wasn't hard for me to fill in the blanks in the home. Its also not hard for me to fill three Target carts and a pickup truck either. 

During this Target trip, I realized that there are really two types of people in this world: those that are more artistically inclined, and those that can accurately do math. This is when I learned that Eric and I are a really good match. I'm on one aisle, visualizing how a wicker ottoman would look in the living room, or how this shade of seafoam will work with the guest room bedding. Meanwhile Eric is in another aisle, guarding our ever-growing collection of Target shopping carts and mentally calculating the total (including sales tax) for all of the items I'm tossing into the baskets. I'm not saying that you can't be both artistic and have more than a basic understanding of arithmetic, but its generally pretty rare to find - almost like finding a middle school girl this past week that hasn't cried after learning that One Direction is now only a four-membered obnoxious boy band. 

Needless to say, we almost doubled the budget that Eric's parents had set for us. Now, I'd like to point out that my boyfriend, the numbers-inclined-finance-degree-wielding-man, didn't tell me before getting to the register that we had gone so far over budget. I had assumed we'd gone over a littleBut again, I'm the artistic one! I can't be held responsible for numbers! I was told to take a bare house and make it looked lived-in, so I did it. Regardless, the place looks great, and we're going to re-sell or re-use all of the decor we bought after the house sells. And I profusely apologized to my boyfriend's parents and asked him fifty times if he thought they hated me, just to be safe. I wanted to point out, however, that we did save $25.01 at Target because I made a beeline for all of the items tagged with "SALE" stickers and marked for clearance. That has to count for something, right?

But I think it turned out really well for the virtual tour and photography session this week:

All in all, it was a busy weekend filled with a three hour Target trip, picture hanging, decor arranging, and furniture staging for a house that will now look incredible online. And even though we went on a budget-less shopping trip... I'd still like to point out once again that we did save $25.01.