Thursday, February 04, 2010

Reclaiming The House

After a weekend away (it was cold, y'all!) followed by a day of recuperating plus two days of feeling rather ill, my house has gotten way out of hand! I'm sure you can imagine. Unless you're one of those naturally neat and tidy persons I will never understand even though I am actually grown up enough now to have one as a friend. You Cleanies will have to imagine something that would make you wake up in a cold sweat, clutching your tidy, perfectly pressed bedsheets in your smooth, clean, neatly manicured fingers.

I know what needs to be done. And I know it needs to be done now. I know I am the only one who can do it (even if I am enlisting the help of children and husband, which I am, I am the one who has to keep the machine running). I know I will feel worlds better once I do it.

Want to see the straw that broke the camel's back? I had successfully unearthed batteries, loaded them into the camera and took several photos to include in this post (to follow) and was ready to load them into the computer but couldn't find my flash drive. After several minutes of trying in vain to locate it on the computer desk, I actually looked at the computer desk.

I didn't find the flash drive. What I found, instead, was a homemade version of a Hidden Object game.

Want to know the really sad thing?  Now that I think of it, this desk has been like this for days and I know for a fact some of these things have been for weeks (or longer).  This is typical of me and my messiness.  I don't see the mess until I trip over it, lose something in it or someone I don't know very well is at the door.  It's like the reverse of OCD.

Anyway, I am tackling the house today.  I don't know about the desk because I know if I start that I will maybe get half of it done by dinnertime.  The desk is a weekend task, I fear.

So, knowing my house has run amok, and knowing I am getting on it, please be kind to me and don't think too poorly of anything I may have missed when scraping all the untidiness out of camera range in the shots below.  And also, you may notice some violently striped furniture (specifically, a couch and loveseat) in the corners of some of the shots.  Those are not mine.  I am housing them for my mother until she can get their new home ready.  So, I'm kind of like their foster mother.

The living room, seen above in its former (pre-wood stove) state, is about to undergo some changes.  Once the stove was in, we found ourselves bitten by the Home Improvement bug once again.

Suddenly, the new stove needed to be surrounded by new paint on the walls.  And how could we fully enjoy the beauty of the new paint (yellow) unless we tore up the carpeting and refinished the hardwood flooring underneath?  Of course, it would be silly to have beautiful new hearth, walls and floor without doing something about the shabby furniture that would surely detract attention from all our hard work so new furniture would be needed. 

Suddenly, what was once more than suitable, became unbearable.  We got carried away building our castles in the sky but, thankfully, came to our senses before we had spent a penny.

The Viking and I sat down and had what we call a housekeeping meeting.  You know, touching base, assessing and evaluating, setting goals, clearing the air, bringing each other up-to-date.  And, among other things, we determined that all this refurbishment talk is just plain silly at best.  There are better ways to spend our time and money.  We have everything we need and so many things we have always wanted.  Why on earth do the great blessings we've been given only lead us to reach out grasping for more things?  We are so, so foolish.

Therefore, it has been decided that all talks regarding tentative plans for the living room are hereby suspended.  The room is fine the way it is.  We even wrote that down on paper and both initialed and dated it.  It's hanging on our fridge.  Verbally, I agreed to stop talking about paint and ottomans and The Viking agreed to stop talking about drum sanders, stain and polyurethane.

Now, shortly before our summit meeting, Mom asked if we want her current living room couch and love seat and we had said yes.  Which leads me to the reason there is an extra (violently striped) couch and love seat sitting in my living room at the moment and crowding all my photos (still to follow).  Mom had given an old set to a friend and bought a new set.  She never really liked the new set as much as the old and secretly regretted making the change.  Last weekend, the friend got new furniture herself and asked if Mom would like her old set back.  Mom jumped at the chance and, knowing we don't like our furniture and needing a place to unload hers, asked if we want it.  Problem is, she's in Chicago visiting Dharma and Co. so we have to store her new/old furniture until she can get back and get her old/new furniture out.  Still with me?

Also, check out the sweet, little chair I found at a thrift store the morning of our meeting!  I went with Daria to pick up a fireplace set she had seen at a local thrift store and spotted this wee chair hiding literally in a corner.  I think it's a lady's chair; its proportions are perfect for me and Daria (and also for Redheaded Snippet who tried it later and pronounced it ideal) and I am almost never comfortable in chairs.
It needs a good cleaning (maybe even a reupholstering), but I love its lines and color and guess how much I paid for it?  I know, it's not supposed to be classy to brag about how much (or little) you paid for something but I don't care!  We live in trying times, people, it's time to sing it from the mountaintops when you get a good deal on something!

It was $15 and 50% off.  That's right, $7.50!  You could spend more than that on a salad at Applebee's.  You probably wouldn't want to, but you could.

And my fireplace tools (sorely needed as we were using a slender log as a poker and the kitchen dustpan and an old magazine to clean out the ashes)?

Another 50% off of $15 deal: another $7.50!

So, in the most Using What You Have project I have ever undertaken, I am faced with the task of re-arranging my living room to make use of Mom's cast-off furniture.

Here are our players:

Our current sofa.  I'm not crazy about it, it's just there to serve as seating.  It was a previous thrift store purchase.

Mom's sofa, coming soon to our house with its matching love seat.  Ignore the girl caught in a rare lounging moment.  In case you can't tell, it's green with gold and burgundy accents.  The sofa, not the girl.

TV cabinet.  We bought it for about $100 from an aunt about two years ago.  The blue is actually quite a bit prettier than it looks in this photo.  But I realize I may have to paint it.

Old tea cart that was in my home growing up as far back as I can remember.  It is currently being used as our coffee table, housing photo albums, extra music books and magazines.  It used to have wheels (I think I have them somewhere) and my sisters and I used to wheel it around our living room playing tea party.

I love it and always want to use it.  I love it's roughened table top, its deadly hinges that will slice your hand in half if you're not careful and the drawer we always forget to look in and are always surprised at what we find when we do.  Also, there in the top, left corner is your first glimpse of the striped foster furniture.

A vintage radio I bought for The Viking's birthday at a yard sale for $25 about 13 years ago.  It's gotten beat up and isn't functional at all but we love this stupid thing.  I'm terribly afraid we're not going to have room for it.

Another childhood piece, the piano we all took lessons on.  This is, technically, Dharma's piano.  But as she has no room for it at the moment and we do, we are housing it (and using it) for her.  More foster furniture.  Someday, when Dharma claims this one, we'll get a new one.  Actually, I'm hoping for an old one.  And old, tall one like the one I first learned to play on.

I made it almost to bedtime without Mom realizing I hadn't practiced that day.  But, as always, she caught me.  I'm no older than 10 here so it's got to be around 1982.

I don't know where this secretary came from.  It was in my room when I was little; it stood next to my bed and I remember doing my homework at it and storing all my treasures in its secret compartments.  This isn't the most flattering photo of it.  And there, once again, is the so-called Estrogen Sofa.  Mom had this in her living room with a bright purple carpet she called her Estrogen Rug.  It was right around the time she started taking estrogen supplements and she went all crazy and suddenly mad for purple.

This was a gift from my mother on my birthday just three weeks before Redheaded Snippet was born.  I've rocked all of our children who came home with us in this rocking chair and I hope to give it to Redheaded Snippet or Man-Cub someday.

This dreadful piece is purely functional.  I hate looking at it, as does The Viking.  Maybe I'll change when I start taking estrogen, but until then, I am not a pink furniture kind of girl.  We bought this (again, at a thrift store), because The Viking wanted a recliner and this didn't look like a recliner.  We had great plans to get a slipcover for it.  Obviously, we never did.  And then Nutmeg decided it would make a great place to sleep in the winter, unfortunately bringing her razor-sharp talons with her and slicing the cover to ribbons.  Did we then get a slipcover?  No, we did not.  We just threw this quilt (which my cousin was kind enough to make for me while I was in the hospital on bedrest while pg with Man-Cub) over it to hide the worst of it.  The only reason we have not literally chucked this to the curb is because some nights it's the only place The Viking can sleep comfortably because of his back.

And, lastly, because I cannot abide ending with such a dreadful photo, I leave you with my Christmas gift from Daria.  She was my Secret Santa this year and found me this bright copper kettle for the wood stove.  It's hard to see, but it has its own snuffer that hangs in the back.  Every time I look at it I start singing, "Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens..."

So there you have all the elements I have to try to work with to make my living room look as much like this as possible:

HAHAHAHAHAHA!  I know, I'm delusional!  Or am I?  Okay, look, I realize I do not live in a charming stone cottage in a quaint English village.  I realize my living room will not look like this photo.  But this is the overall look and feel I am aiming for.  The warm, homey, nothing matches but everything works kind of thing.  And I can't spend any money.  This could be my biggest challenge yet.

I'll keep you posted.

And now, off to clean and scrub.

1 comment:

Amy said...

I still want to trade pianos someday. Mine is that old full harp upright currently being used at our friends' in Missouri. We plan to get it back sometime when we have the money to move it, and then we can swap! It will go with your stuff perfectly!