the hard way

We don’t set out to do things the hard way. But sometimes it just works out that way. Here’s my sad story.


This is what I saw when I sat in our living room a couple of months ago. A seriously ugly and needy window. And there’s no getting around the fact that our living- and dining-room windows have been clad in nothing more than these see-through garments for 17+ years. Should I even confess that the number of times they’ve been taken down and washed could be counted on one hand?


This picture came to the surface recently when we published an article in the church newsletter about NFC Brass, its origins in two sets of musical brothers. Here they are rehearsing in our living room. Notice the window coverings were those Margaret-Rose hung in the last few years of her life and continued to decorate the room during Mauri’s single-dad days. Since I’m not a ruffle kind of girl, I took down the blues and shortened the sheers to fit inside the window.


They served us well all these years, so it isn’t very nice of me to point out their shortcomings.

But it was clearly time to say to Mauri, “How ’bout I order some new curtains for the living room?”


It didn’t take me long to find something appropriate on JCPenney’s website. And for the sake of the story I’ll tell you the total order came to $575. I was just about to “checkout” when I thought to look at to check if I could buy instant gift cards from JCPenney. When I do, a percentage of the purchase price (in this case 5%, but often as high as 16%) goes directly toward our grandkids’ school tuition. Sure enough, I could subtract $28 from the Andersons’ school bill! So I opened a new browser window to buy 5 $100 gift cards and 3 $25 gift cards. Hmmm. Clicking on $100 took me to the $25 cards. Tried again. Same.

End result: I purchased 23 $25 gift certificates thinking I’d just do a little extra copy/pasting at the JCPenney checkout.

But I was wrong about that. The checkout had only two gift certificate fields. Called. The help desk suggested I break down my order into $50 purchases. Asked for a better option.

So I printed off 23 pages and procrastinated days and days because of my dread of the anticipated horror from the catalog clerks. “You want to do what?” Eventually I mustered the gumption to drive the 14 miles to the nearest JCPenney store and face the music.


I was met with the exact opposite response to my dread.


If I were handing out awards for customer service, these two women would win hands down. They were cheerful and efficient, and in no more than ten minutes I was practically skipping out of the store with relief.

And guess what! When you order from the store, there’s no shipping fee. Surely that would offset the cost of two trips to McMinnville.


In fewer than the projected delivery days my phone started receiving automated messages that my orders* were ready for pickup. (*note the plural; even the catalog system can’t accommodate 23 gift certificates in one order)

While I’m singing JCPenney’s praises, I will add that the pickup process was equally pleasant. Two women happily carried my curtains and rods to my car!


Then the fun part. We enlisted the help of our friend/neighbor/contractor/coworker Dan Ritter to do the dirty work of measuring and drilling.



We’re still in the admiring stage. I happily ahhhhhh as I walk through what we now call the music room and the living/dining room.

Home is just a little bit better than perfect. So I guess my sad story actually has a happy ending.




In the interest of honest reporting, I must confess I cleared the piano for the final photo. But in truth, my musician husband needs equipment nearby. Ours is a “working” piano and not just for show.

However, as I looked through the Macy photo albums for some indication as to when changes in window covering occurred, I discovered a few things along the way. It would appear the equipment required to make good music has changed with time.


Or maybe it is simply a wife change that made the difference. The present Macy wife is not a cat lover.

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2 Responses to the hard way

  1. Quinn says:

    Oh so ready to see those curtains–and their beloved owners–in person. Not to mention, thanks for the tuition help. Woo hoo! Love you, dear mama…

  2. Lisa N. says:

    Love your choice in curtains! (and the cat on the piano! 🙂

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