Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: Unrelated Edition

round button chicken
~Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life~ Every Thursday at Like Mother Like Daughter
Today's PHFR is brought you by Scotland, cardboard and the letter K.


This, believe it or not, is the first home that The Viking and I lived in as a married couple.  I am not kidding.  But put your eyes back in their sockets; we did not own or even rent it.  We lived there as the housekeepers and had a large studio-type room on the third floor (that skylight up there was ours) and shared a guest bath on the second.

I lived there the second semester of my senior year of college with a friend.  We swept and mopped and dusted and vacuumed and got to live in a Scottish manor house that had been bought by some crazy American (with indisputably good taste) who had it dismantled and shipped home where he had it carefully rebuilt!  It was a way to save on room and board and we had a blast there!  The owners knew that both of us were moving out to get married out as soon as we graduated but when they discovered that The Viking and I were remaining in the area (my roommate was moving out West), they suggested that he and I stay on for a few more months.   What an idyllic place to start our married life!

This is one end of the living room.  My friends threw me a lingerie shower in this room, with tea served in heirloom silver and china in front of the enormous stone fireplace, not pictured.  The fireplace you see above is the small one.  The owners were very generous and allowed us to entertain as long as they wouldn't be using the spaces themselves.

Le sigh...the music room.  As a senior vocal performance major, I spent a lot of time in here.  The acoustics were a dream!  I practiced nearly every day on that piano way in the corner.  The gorgeous one in the right of the photo was, sadly, unplayable.  I think the soundboard was cracked or something else unoperable.  It was stunning to look at, though.

The other end of the music room.  Those chairs are ancient!  I think they're actually from the 16th century (which is ancient to most Americans--not, I know, to you Europeans)!  We never sat in them, just dusted them carefully and hoped they didn't crumble to dust in our presence.

And, finally, the Unicorn Room, as we called it.  When we lived there, the bed had a tester and curtains all around the bed.  Extra special guests were always put up in this room as it was the coziest and the owner's favorite.  We were even allowed to keep guests there as long as the room wasn't already in use.  I remember getting the room ready for The Viking to stay a few times and Dharma, then still in high school, was delighted to be put up in our sparest of bedrooms!

My old roommate wrote to me this week to tell me that our old mistress, the lady of the house, had died and sent me the link for the estate which is now for sale, which is where these photos came from.  For just under a million this could be ours again!  I was sad to know that such a grand old lady is gone, but it was wonderful to look back over the place where I spent both my last girlhood days and my first as a married woman!  Such memories!


Happiness is a machine that enables your ten-year-old child to make you a good, strong cup of coffee in mere minutes with no mess!  Yes, we drank the Kool-Aid and bought a Keurig for The Viking for Christmas.  And we've been drinking the sweet, hot Kool-Aid every day, sometimes several times a day, ever since.  I don't usually get excited about machinery (and I personally would never marry a man who proposed to me over an invention) but this one has been pretty fun.  Calvin has literally used it at least once a day.  The day it arrived he and Redheaded Snippet tore the box open, set it up and brought The Viking and me coffee in bed!  And it's good coffee!  Of course, now we have to find a place to store all the little K-cups (which I call pods, much to the confusion of everyone else), but isn't that why God gave us brains?  To solve these kinds of problems?


You may be thinking, "That, there, is a cardboard box.  There is nothing funny about that whatsoever."  To that I say, open your minds!  Think like a child!  This is not merely a cardboard cube, it's a blank canvass, it's endless possibilities!

Calvin is going on eleven and still knows how to have Fun With a Box.  This is what he did with the box that his great-aunt sent full of Christmas presents.  I would like to claim that it's a labyrinth he made as part of our lesson on Theseus and the Minotaur but I can't.  It's simply a maze he made for Zippy, his pet mouse.  Knowing the kind of kid Calvin is, it wouldn't surprise me if it WAS the Minotaur in the labyrinth that gave him the idea but I can't say for certain.

And there is Miss Zippy herself.  Calvin insisted I include a photo of her.  Proof positive that those are mouse droppings, not Minotaur droppings, in the above photo of the maze (maybe you didn't notice--why do I point these things out?) which, I think, means I get points for realism, too.  And don't worry, we always clean up after any kind of mouse activity with disinfectant.

Today, we had a mattress topper delivered.  When Calvin heard this news, he bounced into the room, pointing eagerly and asked, "Can I have it?"  And as handicrafts are an important part of the homeschooled child's day, and I am nothing if not accommodating, I agreed.  He set to work immediately.

It's a robot.  Obvs.  Here Calvin is testing for design flaws.  As in, are these holes big enough for me to thrust my arms through without risking the dreaded cardboard cut, widely known to be hundreds of times worse than its better-known cousin, the paper cut?

Clearly, the answer was, "No".  A few more alterations were needed.  But that is just one of the beauties of having your very own custom-made robot suit; it's tailored to suit your particular specifications!  Quality workmanship like this is hard to come by now-a-days.

We suspected that if the hole was large enough to reveal the majority of his eager little face, it was probably large enough for his arm.  We were, thankfully, correct.

Demonstrating its fearful capabilities!  Beware of boxes with knives!

And then...he got stuck in it!  The arm holes were indeed big enough, but the width of the box was not.  At least not big enough for him to pull an arm out!  And, being the sensitive and caring parent that I am, I snapped photos and laughed while my youngest child flailed helplessly inside a cardboard box!  He sure looks like he's shaking his fist at me or making what would be an obscene gesture to those of Turkish extraction, doesn't he?

Of course, I got him out of the box! At which point, he cut eye holes and added a few other upgrades and then put it back on again.  I believe the string is the power cord.  At one point I was instructed to insert a quarter into a slot, but I think the upgrades made that feature obsolete.

Obviously, he was very happy with it because he sauntered off in it to play some Twilight Princess.  I have a feeling it's going to be hard to get him out of that thing.  I just wish I had a User Manual.  Funny, funny boy.


This is my reality lately.  My favorite mug with a cup of caffeine to combat one of the worst cases of insomnia I have ever had (and don't lecture me about the caffeine--the insomnia started first) sitting on the desk next to a genealogical chart and, though you can't see them, maps and info on colleges and hotels.

When I'm not trying to keep the house in order or trying to pound something useful into Calvin's rock-hard precious head, I am at the computer researching our genealogy or planning our college visits.  Planning the visits is what I am supposed to be doing but this overwhelms me so that I find it necessary to take frequent breaks and look for ancestral information.  One of The Viking's relatives recently sent us a packet of information so that set me to digging out our files once again.  And now that I have insomnia, it's proving to be very useful!

As for colleges...unnnngggggghhhhh!  I am so thankful I only have to do this once more and not for another seven years!  It's a nerve-wracking process and the roller-coaster can be very wearing.  But, we're trying to take it one step at a time and that means visiting time has arrived!  We visited a few back in the summer, but this time she's being invited to visit.  By coaches.  So the ante has been upped and we feel we can't really say no.  At least not to the schools she would like to keep in consideration.

So, we're headed to New England!  There are three schools there that have come calling and, thankfully, they're all within a doable distance from each other so we're going to do a weekend blitz!  Let's hope we don't get caught in a blizzard!  As much as I like snow, I wouldn't want to be driving in it far from home.

Where has your contentment been found this week?  Join us and let us know!

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