03 February 2015

Curtains Up!

No white after Labor Day; no patent leather before Easter; never leave home without your lipstick; and a lady never walks with a cigarette. These are rules by which my girlfriends live. They come from our mothers . . . though in the case of my mother, it is unconscionable that any lady would deign to touch a cigarette, much less walk with one. My friend, Sally, could teach classes in How to Be a Proper Southern Lady. She's the most girly-girl I know. She doesn't do roughing-it, and certainly shuns spiders, scorpions, bats, etc. She has serious concerns about monkeys keeping healthy boundaries when she visits us in Samara. But regardless of monkey-proximity, visit she will . . . though I'm confident that I did see a grimace the first time I acknowledged possible encounters with snakes and scorpions.

I have some bizarre immune-response to insect bites and stings. They barely bother me and often I don't even notice a sting until I see a little red spot. My first scorpion sting in West Africa truly did hurt, a lot . . . and it was a very young scorpion (I know because I smashed him). In any event, two Benadryl later and I was fine. Months later my second scorpion sting barely stung, and I wouldn't have noticed my third sting except for seeing the angry culprit. Kathy, note to self: stop reaching into or underneath wood piles, rocks, brush, etc.

But just because I have no fear of insects (a healthy respect, yes; but not fear) doesn't mean that our Samara visitors will fear no insects . . . or snakes . . . or bats. Our realtor and his wife have had two snakes (I believe only two) inside their home . . . and we're talkin' gorgeous home. Surely a snake would realize that he was out of his element on Donna's beautiful marble and in her chef's kitchen. Now these weren't poisonous snakes; they were constrictors. This will be little comfort to Sally. In fact, it will be no comfort at all. There are a variety of poisonous snakes in Costa Rica, and probably more in our mountainous, jungle neighborhood than in Bill & Donna's gated community.

I have drapery rules . . . probably deeply instilled at a young age by my mother. It was mother who explained that draperies are what hang over your windows; drapes is a verb describing how well a dress hangs: honey, that dress drapes beautifully over your bust-line. Anyway, the drapery rule is that draperies (heck, let's say curtains) must always skim the window sill or the floor -- your choice as to either the window-sill-length or floor-length of the curtains; in no event, however, should curtains simply end below the sill, well above the floor. It just isn't done. Period. And so I actually asked our realtor to provide window-to-floor and curtain-rod-to-floor measurements . . . because the curtains in our sala simply will not do. And believe it or not, the world's best realtor took the measurements. Actually, there's not a thing wrong with these curtains (certainly not when compared to that light fixture); but I had in mind long, white, sheer, blowing-in-the-breeze, a la The Great Gatsby 1974 curtains. Lo que hay.

I've spent months pondering whether I need to purchase 96-inch curtains, or something shorter. I fret about this issue whenever I see photos of our sala . . . and don't get me started on the bedrooms. And then one day Sally provided such a simple answer to the question of curtain length. They cannot be floor-length lest a scorpion, snake, or even a tiny ant attempt to hide itself behind the curtains. This makes perfect sense. It goes against all of my curtain-rules, but it makes perfect sense. I must accept it: Curtains up!

And this brings us to the issue of the guest bedroom, shown here. Presently its curtains are the same as in the master bedroom. Notice how they aren't really gathered on the curtain rod. This, too, goes against all drapery-rules. Curtains must be gathered. Roman shades may span a window, but curtains are gathered.

So, thrifty wife that I am (my husband really doesn't appreciate this), I'm going to re-purpose these curtains from the guest bedroom and add them to the rods in the master, shown below. The window dimensions are virtually identical, so the master bedroom will have properly gathered curtains, though they won't skim the floor. Nothin' hiding behind there . . . and nothin' in the closet because we don't have any closets.

Problem solved. Thanks, Sally. Now a few other notes. These brown-trimmed curtains really appear much nicer in person . . . this from the Great Gatsby curtain aficionado, so you can trust me. And those twin-bed coverings? I don't know whether they come with the home, but they will not remain on the beds. I see bias-cut wrap-skirts for swimsuit cover-ups . . . see how thrifty I am?

Our photo of the master bedroom is months out-of-date. I haven't seen it, but this small bed has been replaced by a king-size bed . . . so imagine how little floor space remains. The good news about less floor space and a much larger bed? It will partially obstruct the view of those rule-breaking, too-short, not-yet-properly-gathered curtains. So we've solved the problem of curtain length. What about the length of bed coverings? What might hide under our beds? Well, it's Costa Rica . . . so lo que hay.