I'm Alicia Bien. Mr. Wonderful (aka my husband) and I are first time homeowners
California. Here are some of our adventures fixing up a house while living in it, parenting a baby,
coping with neighbors, and negotiating life in the married lane. Thanks for stopping by my sunny, funny blog!
It was old.
It was classy.
It was mine.
And I couldn't wait to use it in The House!
The HGTV application had advised mentioning one item in my possession that—if I were picked—I would like the HGTV professionals to decorate my new and improved room around. I had indicated my Persian rug.
Before we bought The House Mr. Wonderful and I lived in a rented apartment with a balcony, and before that we rented one with two balconies, and before that something with three balconies, and before that I lived in a rented apartment on a square, and before that a rental with a gas stove, and before that one with two roommates, and before that a rental on the ground floor, and before that a place on the second floor, and before that two on the fourth and one on the 14th.
And before them all, I bought a Persian rug.
I remember finding the rug in an antique store. “Antique” is just another word for “secondhand”, which I don’t mind because I love the look and well-made quality of so many secondhand things. I also appreciate that antique things had a whole life, or six, before I bought them, before I thought of them, heck, before I was born. I especially like wooden tables, stuffed armchairs and Persian rugs. Maybe it’s my DIY nature but I like turning something that says “ow” into something that says “Kapow!”. Wooden tables can be polished, armchairs restuffed and recovered and Persian rugs can be cleaned. In fact the only antiques I don’t like are old bras, used handkerchiefs and wigs filled with Cracker Jacks. But that’s just me.
Back in that New England antique store, the antique dealer told me that this particular Persian rug had laid on the dining room floor of a wealthy Boston family’s home for decades. When the homeowners’ great-grandkids sold the house and its contents, the rug made its way to this shop with a “for sale” sign. The rug had a beautiful red diamond shape in the middle with blue and salmon accents surrounding it. The pattern was called a Herati after the town in Persia that first popularized it a gazillion years ago back when the country of Iran was still called the kingdom of Persia.
“It’s gorgeous,” I said running my hand over the wool pattern.
“Buying it you’d be making an investment,” the antique dealer said in a hard Boston accent that sounded like she’d had a bit part in the movie Good Will Hunting. She went on to explain how the traditional craftspeople making the rugs took pride in their rug-making to transform simple floor coverings into marvelous works of art, that they “pahked they ca in Hahvard Yahd”, and since rugs have been made for centuries in that part of the world, some of them have become über valuable, as in worth beaucoup bucks.
“So you’re saying this rug is like a 401k plan,” I said fingering the cotton fringe.
“No, it’s a different sort of invest—”
“It’s like a Roth IRA?”
“It’s like owning real estate?”
“I’ll take it!”
She had uttered the magic words: buy a piece of art now that would keep my floors warm and that I could sell for a profit later. Bingo! I paid, rolled it up and put it in my moving van. But it didn’t go to any of my apartments because all of them had wall-to-wall carpeting, the kind that is made in a factory, cut to fit a room’s dimensions and hammered into the floor. So my gorgeous investment spent time at my parents’ place, my sister’s house, then my other sister’s house.
Those lovely people got to enjoy my piece of art and investment for years while I toiled way to get a home of my own with wood floors where I could lay out my non-401k plan and enjoy my non-real estate-Roth IRA. After years of keeping others’ feet warm, I had the rug cleaned, rolled up in plastic and placed in my storage locker to wait for U-Day, that is “Unfurling Day”.
Finally The House was purchased and we moved in! Finally we unpacked! Finally I had completed an HGTV application where I said this rug would be the centerpiece of any HGTV-redone room.
“What does the rug look like?” Mr. Wonderful said tapping the plastic wrapped around what looked to be a burrito fit for Paul Bunyan.
“It’s not a rug but our investment,” I said correcting him. “And you’re going to love it.”
Finally U-day had come! Armed with a pair of scissors, Mr. Wonderful cut through the plastic and together we unrolled my valuable work of art and as we did a tan cloud arose from the rug. And another tan cloud fluttered up to meet the first one and another one. On closer inspection the “cloud” was moths, hundreds of them, that released from the cocoon of the rug, had flown free.
“What color did you say it was?” Mr. Wonderful said looking at my über valuable investment.
“Red, blue and salmon.”
“I guess moths like those colors.” Sure enough, the moths had eaten holes in my rug precisely through those color patches. To be fair, they also ate through the other colors too, as well as through the backing, the fringe and the whole kit and kaboodle. The moths were voracious and more than my family members, Mr. Wonderful or I, they had enjoyed my investment the most because they had devoured 96% of it.
My heart sank. My rug was ruined, beyond repair. In a pouff of tan moths, my investment was gone. Sniff.