Category Archives: bedroom

Don’t Let The Bedbugs Bite. We Have New Mattresses!

Serta Pefect Sleeper, Lasalle

The Teen’s new Serta mattress.

So the boys are at sleepaway camp in the Poconos and we get an email. Bedbugs have infiltrated their camp. Okay, not the whole camp. In fact the bugs were not spotted in either of my boys’ cabins (they brought in a drug bedbug-sniffing dog and everything), but still they were found in one or two bunks. With three lovely new Serta mattresses in the house, I needed to prevent a bedbug invasion. Once those little critters get in, it’s near impossible to get them out and I didn’t want my kids to get bitten fabulous new mattresses to get ruined.

I told the boys to leave their pillows at camp. One boy brought his pillow home, and the camp sent us the one that was left behind.

I told my younger son to leave his sleeping bag at camp because it’s a cheap little kid model that was destined for our garage sale pile, anyway. He brought it home. My older boy, the one with the new, adult-size sleeping bag, left his behind. He said this was because on packing day it disappeared from the spot it had been hanging in all session long and by the way, their campout was rained out so he never used it. The camp sent it to us with the pillow.

The camp also sent us, under separate cover, a pair of gym shoes my younger boy left behind. I’m pretty sure my shipping bills exceed the cost of the items.

But back to those bedbugs, the hypothetical ones that might have hitchhiked their way back to Chicago. I was going to protect my new mattresses at almost any cost. I scrapped my idea of wearing a giant plastic bag over my clothes when I greeted my boys at the airport. That seemed a little extreme. Instead, I brought a set of clothes for my boys and had them change in the car.

The clothes they’d been wearing went into a plastic bag in the trunk. I would have gone straight to a laundromat, but the one near our house was already closed for the day. Instead, everything went into our detached garage and as DH settled in the house with the boys, I began unpacking. I created piles of sheets, towels, shorts, undies, t-shirts and socks and bagged up each pile where it sat until I was able to wash it.

We turned up the temperature on our water heater and washed everything, no matter how delicate, on a long, hot cycle. After each load finished the wash, it went into the dryer for another long cycle (55-60 minutes) on hot. The items, even a stuffed animal, all survived the heat, but if there were any bedbugs, they would have been killed.

My younger son packed in a soft-sided duffle, which I put through the wash along with my older guy’s backpack. Both pieces came out fine. My older boy packed in a rolling duffle bag with metal parts that can’t make it through the wash, and has been sitting in a garbage bag in the garage. Assuming a family of chipmunks is not making its home in there, I’m going to try this anti-bed bug technique from Real Simple before I bring it back in the house.

So far, so good.

As a Serta Ambassador I want to tell you a little more about what I’m trying to protect.

My teen has a twin Serta Perfect Sleeper LaSalle with a plush top. (pictured above)It rests atop his already high platform bed and I jokingly refer it to is the “prince and the pea” mattress. I practically need a ladder to climb up on to it, it’s so deep and plush.

Serta icomfort "Prodigy"

His room is big enough for two beds, so he got to keep the old one. Sleepover time!

My tween is resting easy on a twinXL iComfort Prodigy. Unlike my fancy iComfort with the motion perfect base, which you can see here, his bed rests on a standard boxspring. Serta’s “cool action memory foam” is perfect for kids like him who tend to “sleep hot.” The mattress had a bit of “factory” smell, but that dissipated after we allowed it to air out.

The mattresses were delivered shortly before the boys left for various summer programs and camp, so they are just now truly settling in to them. And if we can get the boys to bed with lights out at a reasonable hour, they’ll be refreshed and ready for school each morning. Sweet dreams, indeed.

On a related note, Serta will be hosting a Twitter party (#Serta) on Tuesday, August 28 from 8-9 PM EST to discuss sleep tips, sleep habits and sleep struggles as we start a new school year. Join the conversation next Tuesday, as Serta Blog Ambassadors, @AudreyMcClellan and Vera @VeraSweeney lead the chat.

This post was written as part of my role as a Serta ambassador. I am compensated for my role, but all opinions are my own.


Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep and Serta Pillow Giveaway

Serat's new icomfort store in lombard, IL

photo credit Julia Stotz

As a Serta Blog Ambassador, I had a chance to visit the world’s first and only iComfort Store in Lombard, Illinois. The store features all seven styles of iComfort models on display in an upscale environment.

At the store opening, I mixed and mingled with some of Chicago’s leading bloggers and the Serta PR team, so I asked them to share tips for a good night’s sleep, which you’ll hear in the video below.


In addition to helpful tips from my peeps, I received a Serta Gel-Memory Foam 2 in 1 Scrunch Pillow to bring home. And why not? A good pillow is key to a good night’s sleep. I like that the pillow lets me sleep however I want- it supports stomach, back and side sleepers equally well. The pillow is a satisfying mix memory foam and gel-infused memory foam, so my head doesn’t overheat, but is nicely supported (along with my neck). And it’s so wonderfully scrunchy!

One lucky reader will have the chance to win one of her (or his) own Gel-Memory Foam pillow courtesy of Serta. Serta Scrunch pillow

To enter to win a Serta Scrunchy pillow:

1. (Required) Comment once on this blog sharing your best sleep tip. Comment by 10:00 PM CT on July 23, 2012 for a basic entry. US addresses only. No purchase necessary to win, but the winner must be 18 years of age. The prize has a retail value of roughly $79.95.

You can also have up to two optional extra entries; I need a separate comment for each of these items, so I can count each one as an extra entry:

2. Tweet about the entry and come back to let me know you did.

3. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel so you can keep up with Reluctant Renovator video blogs. Come back to let me know.

Winner will be chosen at random and notified by July 21, 2012 and will have two days to respond to me. If no response is received, a new winner will be chosen. Prize will be fulfilled by the PR agency.


Disclosure: As a Serta blog ambassador, I am compensated for my work with the brand.

Bathroom Progress (or Not)

The bathrooms we started gutting back in early April are still gutted. Granted, every bit of piping including the main stack has been replaced. Out with the cast iron and galvanized steel and in with the PVC and copper. The HVAC and electrical have been updated, and because we’re going all legal with permits and such, we got ourselves sidetracked.

The electrical inspector (a woman!) raised an issue about the ventilation fan we had placed in our main floor bath which led to further questioning which led to us talking to the village and their inspection service which led us to needing to file for an insulation permit which led us to needing to hire someone to come in and apply toxic spray foam insulation (or rip out the studs and rebuild the room and get to use standard insulation).

Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

I will also note that my living room continues to look like a plumbing supply warehouse and the house is huge mess.

Oh, and our garage sale was a success, but here we are, what? 2-3 weeks later, already building up our next “garage sale” pile in the basement. And the garage hasn’t even been fully emptied from our last saleĀ  despite two trips to the charity resale shop with donations.

Also, hubs got laid-off recently, but I’m mostly happy about that. He’s got time to finish the bathrooms now!



I’m Not Wearing Pants at the Moment

True, I’m not wearing pants. It’s my way of letting the world know that our window blinds were installed yesterday! Finally, I can lounge around the house in my skivvies without putting on a peep show for my neighbors. The sidewalk in front of our house sees a fair amount of traffic- parents with strollers, dog walkers, bikers, and joggers–including the boys’ cross country team from a nearby high school.

We installed vertical blinds in the upstairs bedrooms and a different types of cellular shades on the main floor. We chose the top-down/bottom-up style to allow the greatest amount of natural light into the rooms while still providing enough privacy to prance around naked inside the house.

Pics and video soon!

To clarify, we do not actually prance around or even sit at our desks naked and if we did, I would not put it on YouTube. I will post pics or videos of our blinds, though.

You’re welcome.

Since some of you are bound to ask, we bought the blinds from a Big Box store and paid them to do the measuring and the install. In all, we covered 16 windows, so the flat fee the store charged for measuring and installing turned out to be a pretty good deal. And now we don’t have to devote any of our weekend time to covering the windows, which is good because we’re on something like week 7 of bathroom demo. *DIY sigh*

My Big News Might Be a Snooze to You

Serta's Great mattress heistAfter sleeping sitting on this news for a few weeks, I’m delighted to announce that I’m serving as a Serta Blogger Ambassador through the end of the year. It’s been said that I do my best work in bed and I love to sleep, so it seems like a good fit.

From time to time I’ll be sharing news about the Serta and their products, and maybe a giveaway or two.

Speaking of which, after working with Serta last year and giving away an iComfort Sleep System on this blog, not to mention showing off my own, several of you asked if there’d be another chance to win an oh-so-relaxing Serta Mattress.

There is!

Serta recently a new campaign featuring those cute little counting sheep (several of which are scattered about my office).

The Great Serta Mattress Heist

It seems the sheep (which find themselves out of work due to Serta’s dreamy mattresses) have broken into Serta HQ and escaped with a Perfect Sleeper Mattress. They’ll soon be sharing clues on Facebook as to where they are stashing the purloined* goods.

Serta is asking Facebook fans to find and reclaim the stolen Sleeper by decoding clues left by the sheep. In addition to the grand prize, there will be weekly giveaways to fans featuring plush Serta Sheep (so your office can look like mine), Serta pillows and other tokens of comfort (I’m hoping this includes including their super soft plush blanket that I enjoyed until one of my boys snuck it away).

Once all three clues have been delivered, Serta will ask participants to complete a simple form and submit their guess as to the location of the hidden mattress. Correct guessers will be entered for a chance to win a new Serta Perfect Sleeper mattress set complete with a full Sleep to Go top-of-bed pack, a personal letter from Sheep #1 and an exclusive Serta Counting Sheep gift basket.

Speaking of a Serta Sheep gift basket, look what I received gave myself nearly a year ago. I can’t believe it’s almost a year since we bought the house! Though perhaps that’s because we’ve only been living here a few months. At any rate, it sure feels like home now.


(Please not that the giveaway mentioned in the video was held in 2011.)

As a Serta Blogger Ambassador, I will be receiving compensation as well as Perfect Sleeper mattresses for my boys, making us an all-Serta house (except for in our guest room, where we have a lumpy old futon–sorry guests!). All opinions are my own unless my husband writes a guest post in which case all opinions are his.

* Seriously, have you used that word since high school?

Are you still reading? Go channel your inner Nancy Drew and find that mattress!

The Blind Guy

The blind guy was here and, though I’m not proud to admit it, I did place stumbling blocks before him. Of course if he had called to let me know he was on his way, I could have done a little cleaning first.

Nearly four months of living here and we’re ready to get rid of those temporary blinds. You know those cheap paper things? We’ve got them everywhere. Well, not everywhere, in our bedroom, we draped a dropcloth one of our workmen left behind.

Yes, I washed it before hanging it. (And it was brand new, FWIW.)

I realize we’ve taken shabby chic to a new low, but that’s how I roll.

We’re ordering most of our window treatments from a Big Box store. For less than $120 they will provide the measuring and installation for all of the window treatments. Given that we’re covering nearly 20 windows, it’s a worthwhile expense.

Now that the measurements are done, we’ll be able to place our order next week. Or the week after. We’re not great at making decorating choices, so I tend to drag my feet on them. Eventually DH gets fed up with my procrastination and I wind up making some random choice just be be done with the process. Wow, seeing that on the screen makes me realize just how dysfunctional the process is.

Is there a home decorating version of Garanimals? I need that.