I really like looking at beautiful homes, even those I’d never want to live in. I’ve looked at home magazines for years, I even look at the advertisements for products if something in the set up catches my eye. I used to clip and save ideas that appealed to me most in a folder. Pinterest has been in some ways both a blessing and a curse (refer to Cleaning a ‘junk drawer’ – Wednesday Wanderings # 10).
Lurking on home blogs isn’t covetous wishful thinking or some voyeuristic thing. That would be creepy and is one of the reasons so much of what happens on social media is sort of creepy to me. I don’t want to know what some random person with their six degrees of separation had for breakfast. I don’t even necessarily what to know what my own adult kid is eating for breakfast unless she is also serving it to me but it is fun and easy to keep up with family and long-time, distant acquaintances with the click of a button.
When I spend time on one of the blogs I frequent it usually to see how they ‘keep house’. We all clean the bedroom, decorate the den, organize the pantry, grow the garden, or whatever and on and on. What I do wonder sometimes is whether everyone works through all these processes with some conflicted duality. How many of us have both a life, the day-to-day reality and the vision of the life we hope we are headed for, the someday?
Some of the places I’ve been visiting are At Home With Nikki, A Bowl Full of Lemons and Thrifty and Chic. From across the pond Brocante Home. Another is Do It On a Dime, for all the fun organizing tips with Dollar Store finds and other reasons (Cook with Carson is one of them). What all of these bloggers / You Tubers seem to have in common for me is lovely images, clean lines, airy spaces. In other words not my house.
Ok, in case you are someone who ‘stumbled on to this blog, let me introduce you to my life. We bought our home 20 years ago next month. Well, we bought the land. The house will be twenty years old in May. We liked the fairly large rooms, thought we could make some changes down the road to make it even better and loved the acre of land it is sitting in the middle of. We were both working full-time plus overtime. At one time both of us, Honey Darling and I, were working 60-hour weeks and finally hired help just to break even on housekeeping for a while. Other than painting a few of the rooms none of those other changes ever happened in the house. The care and upkeep of just one acre of raw land was as much as we could handle working full-time and sometimes now it gets away from us when the infrequent rains wake up the legions of weeds and prairie grass. Add to that the unwelcome and uninvited addition of wildlife pests and we could spend all our time just running from project to project.
Oh wait, that’s exactly what we did. Get the bushes pulled to get the fence in. Keep the weeds in check, oh damn, the weed eater chewed up the skirting and now the roaming cat can get under the house. We need to get the porches done and we want to keep them cool so paint them a light color. Holy cow that color is too bright in the harsh sunlight, we need to repaint the whole deck now. Can you hear the proverbial hamster wheel running?
We had just the one kid and, like many young adults today, there were a couple of false starts so things shifted inside the house as needed when she was home and shifted again when she wasn’t. Pieces moved around from room to room, things came in, some went out. I fell into the ‘this will work for now’ school of decorating. This may have been supported by 20-years of military service which landed us in some interesting housing situations. I once had to sell a sofa off the sidewalk because we simply could not get it through the front door of the new apartment and we were on the second floor so even going through a window wasn’t an option.
We always had at least two ‘furry babies’, rarely more than three concurrently. Dogs and cats. We once tried gerbils, then the cat tried a gerbil. No more gerbils. Currently the pet role is being filled by the young crazy duo of Buddy & Holly. Buddy-boy is a precocious 3-year old terrier mix and Holly, my baby girl, is a 2-year old bullador (bully/lab mix). Both are rescue dogs. They saved us from empty rooms and missing sounds after we said good-bye to our 14-year old border collie.
Unfortunately, they don’t have any idea they are supposed to wipe their feet after a hard morning of chasing birds, digging for varmints and chewing twigs in the yard. Both of them also try, repeatedly, to sneak said twigs or dirty yard tennis balls into the house.
Holly once got a dead bird (did I mention lab mix?) all the way to the living room. For the dog that was a good time. The sweet taste of victory putting one over on the humans. There was jumping and screaming, that was me.
Then there is Honey Darling who does most of the heavy lifting around here. Work boots are the order of the day every day. Going in an out of the house for water, breaks, etc., it is just too much to ask him to stop, take off his boots and put on other shoes just for a quick stop. If we lived some place with grass there would be different issues but we live in the desert. Time is a precious commodity on hot summer mornings or cold evenings if we need to cover plants and gardens. All work and not worrying about the boots gets more done. Small rocks, thorns, goat heads and other debris is going to make it into the house despite his best efforts. Honestly I do prefer the higher work output to dirt input ratio but it’s time to find some additional ways to cut the dirt side of the equation.
What it boils down to is this, time to graduate from “Catch-As-Catch-Can University”. I’m going to take a page from At Home with Nikki and pull together my ‘project binder’. I’m going to lean on Alison at Brocante Home for support with her humor and honesty (try Honesty Injection). A Bowl Full of Lemons 2017 Organizational Challenge is going to be my rough timeline (and Goodwill thanks you in advance of any additional donations). Do It On a Dime will provide some budget friendly research options in case I get stuck and need to have any temporary operational centers during room transitions.
By the end of the week there will be one place for all the room measurements including windows, doors, etc., and dimensions for all the furniture that isn’t going anywhere no matter what. What I have now may not all work together, the post-war German cabinets from my mother-in-law, the vanity and tall boy of my moms, the foot stool from grandma’s farm, the ‘old’/new piano, etc. but knowing what I have to work with will help me start to develop some kind of plan on how to work with it all and enjoy it rather than just live with it.
Wednesday Wanderings should be interesting this week. Wish me luck.