April 10, 2012

Our Happy Place Explained

I am getting ready to post pictures of our St. George condo make-over.
It was such a fun week!!!
We had a few hiccups in the end but all in all it was fun ~ Something we won't soon forget.

A little history ~ The condo was purchased by Grandma Helen & Grandpa Ralph back in the early 1970's. As a child, we vacationed there often. Sometimes as a family, sometimes with other families, sometimes with our church/scout groups, sometimes with teenage friends, and sometimes just with Mom. We always had fun. We looked forward to our time there. St George became known as our "Happy Place".

If you have been there, then you know the beauty of the red rock, the year-round sunshine, and the laid-back atmosphere of St. George Utah. With that alone, how could it not be known as the "Happy Place"?

As children, our vacations to St. George consisted of our "Favorites"

**Quality Time at the POOL!!

This pool, quite possibly, could cause hypothermia. It had a kiddie area & a dolphin painted on the bottom of the deep end. Both have since been removed. It was never boring, always cold, & usually provided a great relaxing spot to get a real nice & painful sunburn.

(Boys jumping into the 58 degree pool during our trip & FREEZING)

**Quality Free Time!!

We'd go rollerskating, biking, skateboarding, walking, running, & playing on the slick hills & sidewalks behind the condo. We would also lay around in the lush green grass between the pool & our back door. Many scratches & skinned knees were a result of the slipper sidewalks. And the grass was always filled with patches of clovers & hidden bees. A few of us had the pleasure of stepping & even sitting on those lovely stinging insects.

**Quality Time at the Movies, Shopping, Dining & Flirting!!

We loved the theater at the top of the Blvd with the huge faces on the wall. We shopped Christensen's, Ashley's Outlet, & Joker-Joker. Ate at Dick's Cafe, Neilsen's Frozen Custard, the Country Club as well as Pizza Factory & Iceberg. The best flirting took place on the Boulevard on a hot summer night with a fresh tan & a new outfit.

**Quality time with Grandma & Grandpa.

We loved going to their home, their pool, the Easter Egg Hunts on the golf course, and going on a one-day shopping spree. But we especially loved dining at the "club" with them.

**Quality time at the CONDO!!

The condo was the BEST!! It had a rockin' air conditioner, scratchy sheets & towels, the most comfy couches, a freezer filled with Popsicles, & treats always on the counter. It was a place filled with laughter and smiles.

But some of our "Favorites" are no longer there.

The grass in the back is pretty much dead & there is a sign that reads "No Skateboards".

We visit Grandma & Grandpa in the St. George cemetery.

We rarely let the kids roam the blvd without a little supervision.

And I could go on... A LOT has changed.

So why is it still our "Happy Place"?

Because the memories we made in St. George will never change. The feelings are the same. We envy the person announcing they are going to St. George for the weekend. We still love to go to St. George.

Several months ago, my dad mentioned that he thought he may sell the St. George Condo. I think when he saw the color drain from all of our faces, & the look of Pure Panic, he decided that selling the condo probably wasn't a good idea ~ Realizing that the condo is worth SO much more to his kids then any dollar amount he could get.

Not only does the condo mean a lot to his kids, but it has also become the "Happy Place" for his grandchildren. They too look forward to a St. George Getaway. Our cousin, Mathis said some of his favorite memories of his dad, took place in St. George. He continues to take his two boys there to do the same things Mike did with him. Many who borrow our condo & visit St. George, frequently call back, inquiring if the condo is available for a return visit. It is a great vacation spot for many people & it is a special place for our family.

When talk began of "Updating the Condo", I won't lie, I was excited. I LOVE to decorate and redecorate. But... I was also scared to death. You see, when someone you love goes to heaven, you try to savor anything that reminds you of them. The St. George Condo reminds us of Mom. How could I change it? Whose feelings will get hurt? How can we update the condo but still keep those tender feelings? Several times, before my mom died, she told me to "please go and 'work my magic' at the condo." It was such a compliment coming from my mom. She trusted me & my decorating skills. She also wanted the condo to look nice for all visitors. My response was always "NO WAY!! The condo has to stay the same" - that same old 70's palace. She would laugh & ask me to rethink my decision.

When leaks appeared and walls were getting ripped up - it was time. One thing lead to another - we all chipped in to help. Mathis replaced the shower & the bathrooms, Scott painted the ceilings & hung mirrors in bathrooms as well as other "heavy lifting" jobs. Jenn & Jessica painted every baseboard and door frame. They could barely move after spending a weekend working on the condo. The aches and pains were felt by everyone. Ashley & I were set to paint every wall in the the entire place and move furniture during the week of Spring Break. It was time to re-do & update our "Happy Place."

The weeks leading up to Spring Break, I dreamed about the changes ~ both good dreams and nightmares. I wanted it perfect. I wanted to make sure everyone was happy. I stayed up late at night staring at the things I was planning to put in the "New Condo". I asked each of the Dorius originals if there was anything they wanted to make sure STAYED in the condo. I had them ask their children as well - knowing change for them could possibly be hard.

Only six things were mentioned.

1- the Eric Dowdle picture of the St. George Valley. Of course, that was staying.

2&3 - the paintings of Red Rock framed in green. That, too, was a given.

4- the picture of the little boy in a baseball uniform that's shadow is of an adult baseball player.

(This picture wasn't there anymore ... so I couldn't use it.)

5- A photograph of Grafton my dad had received from a close friend.

6- The painting of Grandma Helen and Grandpa Ralph - this one got mixed reviews. It isn't the best picture of them. Some thought it was scary. Some wanted it in a predominant place and others wanted it tucked away.


Only 6 things needed to stay.

There were lots of other things on the walls -pictures of cabins, marathons, mismatched items & dried flowers. I wanted the entire condo to have a "cheerful" feel. I wanted to use bright colors - Red, Blue, Yellows, & Greens. I wanted to hang things that pertained to St. George and the Condo. I love to see family photos but know that visitors don't care to see strangers hanging on the walls. I decided that family photos would stay in the Laundry Room. We were replacing curtains and I had purchased black rods for all the new curtains. I figured rod iron pieces with wreaths and mirrors was going to be the best way to go. Aaron and I made a wooden sign that read "Welcome to the Happy Place". We couldn't wait to hang it. We all LOVE sharing our special place with our friends and family.

Ashley and I arrived on Saturday March 31. We began taping and prepping that night. The painting and CLEANING began Sunday, April 1. I came home Saturday April 7th. Not once did Ashley and I sit and read a magazine, watch a TV show, or even take a short nap. We worked from Sun Up until Sun Down (& even later some nights). We could barely move. We painted and cleaned every square inch of that condo. Robert came at the end of the week to help finish moving furniture and to tidy up the exterior.

When it was finished, I was on cloud nine. I couldn't wait to show the rest of the family.

While there Ashley & I shed a few tears. We reminsced about the fun times we spent with Mom in that condo. We laughed, we cried, but we were also filled with gratitude. My dad has promised this condo will not leave our family. We are so thankful we will always have a special place to take our families to continue to make memories.

So - with that explanation.... I hope as you look at the before and after photos - you will approve.

A LOT of time, thought, and heart went in to EVERYTHING that was placed inside. This project was so much more then just hanging pictures and cleaning cupboards.

I hope my mom gets to peek at our New Happy Place and it makes her smile.

Welcome to the Happy Place!!!

PS - If you ever visit St. George and need a place to stay - don't hesitate calling us... ;)

1 comment:

Alyssa said...

Maybe I am emotional today, but this post made me teary. I remember going to the condo with your family and the Derricks almost 6 years ago. That trip was so special to me for many reasons. I love that you are remodeling and updating the condo so that it can continue to be a place of love, refuge and joy. I love that you are working your innate "decorating magic". You are always so creative and know just the right touches to add to a home. I love that everyone else is involved, too. A big home project is much more fulfilling with extra arms and minds to help. I am also a little envious that you were able to devote an entire week, sun up to sun down, to a physically and emotionally fulfilling project. I always think it feels so good to be active in body and mind. I know you are suffering the aches now, but that is a reminder of how hard you worked. I cannot wait to see more pictures. I am thrilled your dad will never let the condo leave the family. It is too much a part of your heritage. And I know it means so much to you, personally. Post pictures soon. I just might die waiting........