I loved to plan things to do with Juri that were light hearted and fun.  His childhood had been so bleak that I thought he needed serious play time.
He was enthralled with my design for his house and he wanted to do the bedroom right away, but the party room, from which it was to be made, was so full of things he had collected that he was in a quandary about what to do with them.

His birthday was coming up when he told me that he had decided to rough in the living room next, so he could use it as a store room for the party room stuff.  My first thought was that it would be nice to use the party room as a living room while the other one was torn up.  But I didn’t say that.  I was hatching a plot.  

Juri was a scrounger!  Due to his childhood of having nothing, he now brought home anything free that he thought he might be able to use. Among the things stored in the party room was a 12’ wide roll of camel colored carpet, obviously long enough for the whole 24’ room.  Fortuitously, there was also a matching 6’ roll which could be added after the room was enlarged.  It was top quality, deep pile carpet and “like new.”  Juri had gotten it from a conference room remodeling at the University.  The carpet was not the only thing he had acquired! There was an 8 ft. sofa. There was a 36” round table and a coffee table.  There were a pair of end tables.  There were two table lamps, two dining chairs and two soft rusty orange upholstered chairs.  There were other smaller things and stacks of filled boxes.

The room had four small windows : one on each side of the fireplace and one at each end of the room.  The windows had ivory colored draperies.  I was able to sneak them into my car in order to take them home and launder them. Juri didn’t even notice that they were gone.

His birthday was at the end of December on a Friday.  I had planned every minute detail of my birthday surprise for him.  The things that I needed were packed in my car.  I got up very early and arrived at his house shortly after he left for work at 7:30.  After putting some things in the refrigerator, I went straight to the party room.  I moved everything–I mean everything—out of the room including the sofa and the rolls of carpet. Fortunately the house had three ft. wide doors or I would not have been able to get the sofa out of the room. I had also brought a vinyl tarp on which to slide the heavy pieces.  The things that I wanted to re-use, I left in the hallway.  Everything else I stacked neatly in the adjoining bedroom. Then I cleaned the room.  The walls were dark wood paneling.  I dusted them and the ceiling.  I vacuumed the vinyl floor.  I hung the laundered and ironed draperies.  I cleaned out the fireplace and laid a fire with lots of kindling against big back-logs so it would burn a long time.  Then I LAID THE CARPET!!!!!  I REALLY DID THIS!  There was no carpet pad.  There was no tack strip.  I don’t think I could have managed if there had been because the rolled carpet slid on the vinyl floor but wouldn’t have slid on a pad.  I knew the carpet would have to come up again when the room was enlarged anyway, so a pad could be added then.  I cut the carpet to size from its back side with a mat knife and pulled it into place using a rocker crow bar as a lever.  

Then I moved the sofa against the wall across from the fireplace.  I covered it with a beautiful ivory colored fabric I had gotten in Spain that had little purple and blue woven geometric flowers and a foot-wide blue, rust, magenta and purple border.  Two swaths of this fabric across the sofa left the border showing at its top and bottom.  I hung Juri’s favorite painting above the sofa, then put the end tables with the matching lamps at the sofa’s ends, the coffee table in front and the two upholstered chairs at its far end.  I brought in a big leather lounge chair from the living room and put it beside the fireplace – plus a mirror above the fireplace.  The round table, covered with a rust colored cloth to the floor and a mauve over-cloth, was set for two.  I put a large bouquet of flowers on the coffee table, plus candles on the table, the coffee table, the fireplace mantel and all through the rest of the house wherever light would be needed.

I can’t remember when I finished the room, but I had time to put a pot roast with accompanying vegetables in the oven and set the oven to turn on and off at the right times.  Champagne, a green salad and a birthday cake were in the refrigerator.  Then I taped up multiple signs (!) I had brought with me, took a bath, fixed my hair and got dressed in a diaphanous gown that I had made from a length of sheer fabric with a hole cut in the center and ties at the wrists.  Just before it was time for Juri to come home, I hurried to put out the makings for his favorite alcoholic drink on the kitchen counter, including a bowl of ice so he wouldn’t open the refrigerator.  I drew a tub full of very hot water with a sprinkling of “masculine” bath salts.  I then ran down the hall to the party room, lit the fire and all the candles and rushed back to Juri’s bedroom where I was just in time to hide in the closet.