Thursday, July 21, 2011


I think the last time I purchased a brand new mattress was when I was 14 years old ~ and it wasn't me that purchased it, it was my parents.  I didn't have a choice and I wasn't all that discerning at that tender age, so it was a fine enough mattress.  My first Queen size.

Now I'm 45 and Jerome and I have been talking about getting a Tempur-Pedic for what seems to be ages now.  We've been sleeping on an extra hard mattress for several years (it was a hand-me-down from my mother) and it was fine at first; nice and firm, but over the years my back, neck and hips have been starting to hurt quite a bit.  I've been having trouble sleeping and haven't really looked forward to laying in bed for quite some time.  Jerome was

Buying a mattress is a very difficult process and quite personal.  It doesn't seem personal when you are rolling around all these different mattresses on display at Art Van while shoppers are walking by, but you really need to get over the fact that you are also on display and you need to FOCUS.

Tempur-Pedic was having a special for the first time ever (according to the salesman).  Something like $200 off the Deluxe, which is the exact mattress that we chose when we did the hour or so mattress test a couple of months ago.  Plus a $125 gift card to Best Buy.  And Gardner-White was also offering 0% financing for up to 6 years!  My financial wisdom says to always go for the 0%.

Forward to last week Friday.  The mattress was delivered and set up.  I put the mattress protector on that not only protects the mattress, but protects the mattress warranty.  Then I laid on it. Ummmm, comfy...

When Jerome came home, the bed was all made with freshly washed sheets and duvet covers.  Later he told me that it has a smell.  A polyurethane smell.  I had been trying to ignore that aspect until he mentioned it, but then it all came flooding in.  I googled it and it's a known issue!  UGH!  You may remember from an earlier post about a smelly Pottery Barn rug that we had in our room.  My olfactory senses are so sensitive to smells and I get headaches and sometimes if the smell is really bad, I'll get dizzy.

I Facebooked my friends that had said that they purchased a Tempur-Pedic and asked them if they've experienced this issue ~ and they have, but they've said that you either get used to the smell or it does go away somewhat.

Tempur-Pedic doesn't really have a return policy per se, you can return your mattress for a harder or softer one (you will incur a re-stocking fee), but not a complete return and refund.  My head was spinning.  OMG!  I've been HAD!  This is a $2400 mistake!

What the Tempur-Pedic FAQ said was to remove the cover and let it air out.    This is also what my FB friends were told by their salesman.  Our salesman suggested no such thing. So, since last weekend, we've had the cover off, the windows open, the doors closed, a high speed fan in the window and the ceiling fan going.  It has been in the high 90's this whole week and so the room is extremely hot and the air is humid...and it still smells.  I had to re-wash all the sheets and duvet covers because the smell soaked into them as well.

We've been sleeping on our old mattress this whole week in a different room.

I really hope that the smell dissipates soon...we'd like to stay in our own room and really try out this mattress and see if it is at least what they all claim it to be.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

it's that time again...

Starting to gear-up for our upcoming trip to France.  That's TEN times, if you were counting.  This time we are including a side trip to Italy.  I'm pretty excited about that trip because it will be my first time to Italy.  What's better is that we have friends that live in Bologna whom we will be able to see for the first time in over a year.

Our plans have evolved from a trip to France and Italy, on our own, visiting the family and our friends TO a trip to France and Italy, with another couple ~ friends of ours from our MINI club ~ visiting the sites around Paris, visiting the family, visiting our friends in Italy and visiting Venice and all of this includes a massive Road Trip!  I think we like road trips and it should be interesting doing one from France to Italy.

Keeping in mind that we are now traveling with friends, and our way of traveling may indeed be different.  Jerome and I do a lot of things on the cheap, and traveling usually never keeps us in one specific spot for longer than a day.  This will be our friend's first visit to Europe and they'd like to do some of it in a more special way.  For instance, typically when we have to stay in a hotel in the Paris area, this is the style that is chosen:
Formule-1 (Hotel F1)
...isn't it glamorous?  Aren't you now soooo jealous of me and my many trips to Paris?

In some cute email exchanges we were asked by our friends if we "wanna play lets make a deal???"

Behind door number one.....we each pay for our own nights in Paris and Venice. Behind door number guys cover Venice and we cover Paris.
If you make the wise choice...not number one.... I will send the link to Mr. Crasher's choice of hotel in Paris which I just booked 2 rooms at.
With a choice given to you in such a way, how could you not choose door number two?  To which we received the hotel link (click on the link).

And to that, Jerome responded "with this hotel link, this is the best I could do for car rental... Who's driving?"

So, all joking aside, they've graciously offered to pay for the hotel in Paris...and then they sent us the real link...and now, for your viewing pleasure,...

Hotel Saint-James, Paris
I guess I'm going to have to buy me some new britches!  Actually, I'm still not completely sure they are serious and as soon as I am able to pick my jaw up off the floor, I will have to ask them.  I'm sure the rooms look just like the Formule-1.

So, beyond this frighteningly delightful surprise, this is our current itinerary.  Jerome and I leave after work on a Thursday, driving to NYC.  Drive to my sister D's house in Brooklyn to visit and drop off the car.  She takes us to the airport that Friday evening where we meet up with "The Crashers" (that's what they like to call themselves, and it's fitting since they "crashed" our trip to France with an email reminding us that they are The Crashers and they'd like us to consider the idea of them coming along with us).  Take off to CDG that night at nearly midnight and arrive in Paris on Saturday afternoon.  Spend Saturday and Sunday in Paris or the surroundings either going to the Palace at Versailles or perhaps visit the Monet gardens at Giverny.  Do other Paris-y things; the Metro, the Eiffel Tower, maybe catch a show.

While in the area, I believe we will visit Jerome's Aunt & Uncle, possibly his brother and maybe even his brothers ex-girlfriend.

Once done with our little Paris trip we head to the country to visit with the rest of the family; mom & dad, big sis and other brother.  Leaving the following Friday morning for our massive road trip to Italy.  We think we will be in Bologna sometime on Saturday.  We will stay with our friends while The Crashers will stay at a local Agriturismo.  We will visit the Bologna area (maybe even visiting the HQ of VM to see the people I work with and only know by email address) and then Monday head to Venice.

Our first indication that we were not in Kansas anymore was a month or so ago when our friends let us know that they had a reservation held at the Hotel Cipriani.  We took a look at the hotel and nearly fell out of our chairs.  It is the most expensive and exclusive hotel in Venice.  We quickly drafted an email to them to let them know that we have found a hotel down the street from there...that would be more in our price range and that we can't wait to meet up with them to check out the Cipriani!  We know rich people!  It was then explained to us that the reservations were for dinner, not the room and that they were quite happy with the hotel that we had chosen.
Domina Home Giudecca, Venice
Which, BTW, Jerome has informed me, this is not our typical cheap hotel either ~ so he's steppin' it up a bit himself.

When asked if they are keeping something from us, like one of their parents is a millionaire, they joked back "we might sleep in the car some other nights but not in Paris or Venice!!"

This is going to be quite a different trip than what I'm used to taking with Jerome.  Other than the scary thoughts that I'm already experiencing at night about the flight, I'm really looking forward to this trip.  I think it will be a bit of an adventure.