Nothing fuels my sense of peace and well-being like a well-ordered house so it’s not surprise that I have been steadily losing my mind since I married Loony.
Well-being can be overrated, there are things you sacrifice for love and to be fair, Loony sacrifices a lot for me.
I keep waiting for him to fully grasp this saying …
Lately I’ve been having glimpses of how it can be. The cleared off dinner table (still clear!) has been a source of great pleasure. We now sit for every dinner and I find that Loony and I often linger over a bottle of wine long after the kids have been excused.
This is in stark contrast to my usual habit of scarfing down my meal while moving around the kitchen between bites to tidy and clean.
I always finish first and wait impatiently for the kids to finish their meals so I can do the dishes and get the fuck out of the kitchen.
When we sit down we talk and connect. Dinner takes its own time and I eat at a (slightly) slower pace. It’s a huge step in the right direction.
I posted pictures of the dining room on Facebook for my friends to see and they were all “Gorgeous! Amazing! Stunning!” as if I just did a million dollar renovation.
You can see the table like in normal people’s houses, but for me it is a grand accomplishment. I’ll take what I can get.
One of my very best friends in the world was in town for a week and wanted to stay with me.
We kind of got the guest room (formerly known as the eBay room) emptied out for Kristen’s stay.
I managed to hang a clown print over the fireplace at the foot of the bed …
… and managed to put a mattress on the floor, but the bed that Loony insisted on purchasing despite my loud and frequent protests sat disassembled. Regard:
Me: I want a queen sized but with under bed storage.
Loony: I found one for $50 at the Salvation Army!
Me: What size is it?
Me: I want a queen.
Loony: Full is almost a queen.
Me: We have a full in my office and we’ve slept in it, it’s not big enough for couples to be comfortable in. I want a queen.
Loony: But it’s so cheap.
Me: Yes, but we will need to get a full-sized mattress for the bed and we’ll have a frame AND mattress that are the wrong size.
Loony: But it’s easy.
Me: Not when we have to get rid of them. I’d rather hold out for the right bed and not have to unload an unwanted frame and mattress. And that frame is fugly. There’s one down the street I like …
Loony: I’m buying this one.
Me: I don’t want to you buy it. It’s ugly and really tall.
Loony: Last chance, should I buy it?
Loony: I’m buying it!
Me: Please don’t.
Now we have a bed that I don’t want because it was easy. The thing is, it’s not. It turns out that it was a Frankenbed made from three different pieces of furniture, none of which go together.
Loony went the to hardware store at least four times over the course of a few days to find the right connectors, gave up and finally screwed the thing together.
He was so dispirited by the process that I didn’t have the heart to criticize, until now which is fine because he doesn’t read my blog.
We made it up with sheets and jumped on it to break it in and he said, “It’s really high.”
No shit, Sherlock.
I felt a little nervous about being near the edge, which is super close because it’s a full!
In fact, it’s so high that there is no way his elderly mother who has mobility issues could get onto it without help. Useful.
And it creaks like a mother-fucker.
“I think it might collapse,” Loony nervously observed.
Me, showing restraint, “Yep.”
So there’s that. I don’t know what we’re going to do about the bed. We have 10 days until our next guest arrives.
There’s a lovely mahogany bookcase at a used furniture store down the street. I really want to buy it as a headboard for the bed. I’ve had my eye on it for a month before Loony fixated on Frankenbed but he helpfully pointed out that it would be a lot of work to turn it into headboard.
We wouldn’t want that, would we?
Especially now that we have a gigantic Frankenbed and mattress that we have to figure out what to do with.
Deep, cleansing breaths.
But it’s looking good. Well, was looking good. I scored a beautiful vintage sideboard at a thrift store for 50% off. Loony gave it his stamp of approval which means something to me because he actually knows antiques if not Frankenbeds cobbled together out of spare furniture.
Unfortunately I hurt my back (again) loading it into the car but hell, back pain is my new normal.
We installed it in the room and I observed that Mark (our next guest) will need some closet space. I already went through this closet (click on it, it’s epic) but there is still a bunch of stuff in it.
Since Shé was coming that day to
give my me weekly organizationgasm help around the house, I decided that getting the room 100% ready would be our goal.
The closet itself turned out to be not that big of a deal. Loony pulled out all the shirts that haven’t seen the light of day for at least 10 years and set them in the “t0 sell” pile. Ditto the enormous collection of straw hats and we were done.
Then it got all out of hand. He started going into deep storage. He pulled out the boxes of shoes stored in the cabinet over the closet (yes, we have one of those) and everything else.
I’m all for cutting the crap, but one must pick their battles. All of these shoes are his size and never worn. They can and will be sold … eventually, but now they are all over the guest room and there is nothing I can do about it.
This is not getting us closer to being ready.
When the room was cleared out there was a tangible sense of ease in the house. I walked around it feeling calm and at peace. I didn’t have to avert my eyes at every corner to avoid seeing a project that wasn’t mine to do and thus completely out of my hands.
Even the boys commented about how big the house feels.
Like most projects, this one has stalled mid-progress. Shé finished out the day with me upstairs as we pulled all the boys’ clothes out of the closet (which I share with them, did you know that? I don’t have my own closet) and dresser and sorted them into three piles: too big, too small, and just right.
I sent big bags home with Harmy and Heather for their younger boys (dumping my crap on people never felt so good) put the clothes that are too large in a bin for next winter (there are always tons as Loony brings home clothes for them all the time from thrift stores) and we organized what fit.
I do this twice a year but it feels so much better to have Shé around because it’s nice to have company and that unpleasant-but-necessary part where everything is everywhere is over faster.
If only it was that way in the guest room.
I came across the clothes I stored for this winter, just in time for the big storm and it was like Christmas. So many coats and pants and sweaters!
Too many coats. I think there were a dozen super nice North Face, Patagonia, Columbia and Snozu coats to choose from. Loony picks them up for a song at garage sales.
Boulder is full of affluent people who drop $250 on a coat FOR A KID and then donate it to the Salvation Army after a season.
Then Loony snaps them up to sell on eBay, after he hoards them for the kids.
Me: The boys only need one winter coat each, with one spare just in case.
Loony: This is a nice coat.
Me: They are all nice coats but our kids don’t need six coats. Each.
Loony: Ooh, this is North Face.
Me: Look, there isn’t a huge difference between North Face and Columbia, especially if it’s only going to be used one season. Sell the most expensive ones and keep the serviceable ones for the kids. They don’t care.
Loony: This one has a zip-out liner!
Me: It doesn’t matter! They never zip out the liner! And if they did they would lose it! Pick a coat for each kid! Too many coats is wasteful and it makes my life hard because I don’t have anywhere to put them!
Loony: I think we should settle on a number of coats to keep. Let’s say nine.
Me: Three! Total!
Loony: Nine! Each!
Me: Ffffffffuuuuuucccccckkkkkkk yyyyyyyoooooouuuuuuuu !!!!!!!
It’s going well.
(On a side note, Loony has provided quality coats for all the children at our kids’ school whose family has requested coats. He works with the Family Resource Center coordinator to make sure that all children have warm coats in the winter. He’s a deeply good man.)
Today is my birthday. I’m 43. Do you know what I want?