Monday, July 13, 2009

Everything Must Go (Part 2 in the "Junk" series)

Today's flavor: rice pudding - safe and conventional, it seemed like a good idea at the time...

My sofa and loveseat. At a glance they look great - nice lines and a really appealing caramel color. But sit on one, and you'll see how many dirty little feet, sticky little fingers and years of hastily cleaned-up spills have made a life of their own within the fibers. When I decided to make people and let them live with me, I had no idea they would be so disgusting. I take pictures, deciding a visit to Craigslist will be better than a deep clean and new throw pillows. While I'm at it...I decide the guest bed needs to go. We rarely use it - the current catch-all and toy repository is not the use I had in mind. I'm on a roll now, so I move on to the armoire in my bedroom. It mocks me - "you thought you would be happy with me forever," it taunts. Lord, did I make a full-time job of shopping for the perfect piece for my master bedroom - resulting in physical and mental blisters. It's a testatment to my ability to settle and rationalize. The monstrosity was unfinished - couldn't find the shade of rich, but not too dark maple I wanted, so I would finish it myself. This was the sort of project I was willing to take on because I only had one kid at the time. Finished it I did, and managed to convince myself that it was just great. A couple of years later I admitted it wasn't great, but nice enough. More recently - though it showed no signs of wear - it was obviously only ok-looking, but very useful. Today, though it looks just the same as always, I find it to be intolerably ugly. I browse wistfully online at the many superior pieces that could be had with just a few clicks. To be fair, online shopping was practically unheard of when I got the finish-it-yourself beast. It has to go.
I always wanted a comfortable inviting home done in rich, warm colors, but now I fantasize about empty spaces, free of kid-debris and furniture that fearlessly goes about the business of being white.

Next, I head for the dining room. Why do we even have a formal dining room? We've lived in this house 6 years and have used it a couple of dozen times. My dining room is just off the kitchen. I harbor a secret fantasy to turn it into a huge pantry. I mean you can never have enough pantry space, and when you spend your whole day thinking about food, a second fridge shouldn't be banished to the garage. Alas, I know we won't live in this house forever. Some day we may want to sell it, and this type of radical departure would be irreconcilable with the rules of suburban home ownership: you own a center hall colonial = you must have a proper dining room. When was I the woman that got excited about the elegant Tiffany peacock chandelier? Is it a good thing or a bad thing that today I look at it and say, "eh,"? Maybe I just woke up and realized that I don't want my identity tethered to all this stuff. But it's too late, isn't it? I am tethered. And it's not a bad thing, really. I mean, it's not just a house with soiled furniture and completely pointless rooms with silly names (parlor??). It's not just the place where I run around like an idiot picking up crap off the floor, capping pots of cold cream and throwing out expired yogurt just before the cleaning lady arrives. It's where my husband, the three little pigs and I are creating our history. Sure, it's a history littered with lots of material junk, but as I give a shove to my I-need-to-be-more-zen alter ego, I remember this is an easy, easy life and there will be no more bitching (...for today).


  1. Ah, a white room with clean lines and very little "stuff" - that's what dreams are made of.

  2. yes, I desire that clean look too...

    but I always want what I can't have.

  3. Your couch sounds like my couch, I just have the celery version. Happy purging of the old and nice insight about building your history. That's what it's about whatever you do with the stuff :)

  4. Amazing how our priorities change. I once wanted everything to be great for my kids. Now I intentionally annoy them so they'll leave.

  5. I love the way you look at day to day life, related to you in every sentence. The idea of turning the dinning room to a huge pantry appealed to me very much. I'm using it as my second laundry room for folding and ironing cloths but,like the pantry better. I won't have the option of selling my sofa and love seat, the poor things are just good to be disposed of course after the kids are in school age. I promised myself not to buy a decent single furniture until they are passed their this dirty sticky stage.

  6. My sentiments exactly! However, after giving up my formal dining room in my old house for my new home in AZ, I actually really, really, really miss it! And, this house doesn't even have a pantry (total home buyer's remorse on that one). :)

  7. Formal dining rooms are for formal dining. If you don't do that, shame on you. Dinner parties are the soul food of adults.


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