Thursday, July 24, 2008

6 Words to Describe What I Want My Home to Be

I think we've come up with six words (or phrases, since we are ornery folk and don't follow rules.)
  • Clean
  • Friendly
  • Safe
  • Light
  • Cheerful
  • Orderly

Wow, those were single words. Now for the ornery part.

I've discussed clean at length: clean, but you don't have to be able to eat off the floor. However, it would be nice if you felt good about eating off the table.

Friendly, but not too friendly. Come on by, sit a spell, go home. Y'all come back now, y'here?

Safe. It seems self-explanatory, but home safe means more than a roof & walls that keep out rain and burglars and other bad things. It is a place to be yourself and to be accepted with all of your weird dreams and bad moods and wishes for hugs even if you are a big boy/man or girl/woman. Of course, if you are in a really really really bad mood: go to your room and be miserable there. That's why you have your own room. Thank you.

Light. I love natural light. I often prefer the natural light to be gray and overcast, but I'll take a big window with light sheers over drapes and closets each and every day. Often I'll work or read in the natural light instead of turning on the electric ones. People will say, "Don't you need a light?" "You'll ruin your eyes." "Where are you?" I don't care. I say I have a headache and need lower light. I'm often lying, but don't tell.

Cheerful addresses my idea of decorating. I like bright colors. I want great big prints of sunflowers and poppies. I want my cinnamon couch covered with yellow and blue and green pillows. In my dream world, cheerful involves plants growing and things baking, but that's a want rather than a need. I do have African Violets.

Orderly, as we all know, is different from clean. Clean means you won't find bugs or syrup on it. Orderly means you can find it. I want to be able to find all of these things that belong in my house. When I decide (someday) to decorate those glass balls I bought at Michael's, I want to be able to find: the balls, the paint, the ribbon, the sequins, the dried herbs, the whatever. I'm unnaturally attached to my label maker, or I would be if I could find it. I'm unnaturally attached to the IDEA of a label maker. With bright colored labels. Labeling bright colored canvas boxes...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday morning

My horoscope tells me to take time to relax today. That is particularly tempting, since my sinuses are bother me, throwing off my hearing and balance as well as my mood. I'd like very much to go back to bed with a book. I won't of course, not yet.

I am taking my oldest son to my office so that he can install ceiling lights. In our back office, we can't see at night. Not a big problem in the summer when we close at 4:30 and the sun doesn't close until 8:30, but a very big problem in the winter when we try to close at 6:00, but don't, and the sun has left us by 5. We have a ceiling fan with a light which the boss wants to keep. I'm down with that, since I don't want a big tray fluorescent light. So Robert will install two little eyeball lights over the desks. It should provide light without being obtrusive. I can't wait. I can wait to go into the office on a Sunday morning, of course. Oh well.

Then I am cleaning all of my dishes, sorting cans, bins and bags, and reassembling my kitchen. I don't know if we've made any headway for the long run, but the shelves are clean and I'm ready to go. Sort of.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Civil War

One word that comes to mind when I think of what my home should be is "Welcoming." Doesn't everyone want their home to be welcoming? Maybe not. And a part of me doesn't want mine to be too welcoming either.

There is an internal battle between two aspects of my personality. I call them "the Hermit" and "the Hostess." The Hostess reads Martha Stewart Living and thinks of all sorts of cute things to do to make the house welcoming to hoards of theoretical guests. She buys things that will make really cute party decorations. The Hermit points out that the house is in no shape to receive guests. They agree on that, and the Hostess suggests getting to work, cleaning, painting, and arranging pretty things. The Hermit says, sure, but let's read up on it first. Then she gets a book and three magazines on decorating and goes to the hammock.

I don't think the Hermit wants company and she knows that the Hostess wants something close to perfection before she starts hosting. You can see who has the advantage here.

So, do I want my house welcoming? I think it's unrealistic to think the house will be perfect, of course. It's also unrealistic to fear that it will be so welcoming I won't be able to get rid of people. It would be nice to have friends over for dinner or just to hang out awhile. Not too long. Not past 8:00 on a week night. Maybe not on a weeknight at all...

Maybe I can have some people for dinner. The Hermit is getting three cookbooks and a half dozen magazines. Maybe I'll just have a cook-out. The Hostess is rushing to World Market to buy cute cook out containers, napkins, throws... Maybe I'll just sit down and read my book while they work it out.

OK, my house should be:
  1. Clean
  2. Welcoming, but not too welcoming

Two and a half down, four to go.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

home is...

The question was asked (by Annie at writers and witches, and words...oh my! who asks the best questions) what six words would you like to have describe your house. I have been thinking about this and asking my children and husband what they think.

Since they are men, they have trouble with the exercise. I say, if the house were the way you want it to be, what words would describe it?

They say, clean, which is cool. I say, let's go beyond that. Let's accept clean (first word: "Clean"), then talk about what other words would describe it.

They look at me, puzzle their faces, think hard and say, "If we all pitch in, we can keep it clean."

I say, I know. Clean. I have clean. Now close your eyes... no, don't roll them, close them. OK, keep your eyes open. The house is clean...

"It's not."

I know it isn't. We're working on that. Now move beyond clean...

"It doesn't have to be beyond clean," they say. "Not like we're going to eat off the floor."

My turn to roll my eyes. Close my eyes. Sigh.

OK, so some houses are formal.

"I don't think you can have a formal house. Not with Gabe and the baby to be named later."

I know, I'm just trying to make a point.

"Me too. If it's formal, the babies will tear it up."

I rub my head.

What about color? If you could paint your room any color you want, (but you can't paint it black), what would it be?

"I can paint it black," says Joseph.

You MAY NOT paint it black. (Pause while they sing "Paint it Black")

Bob adds: "Don't paint it any weird colors." Since I'm not ready to talk color, really, I let it pass.

OK, so what do you want?

"Clean and not formal."

"You can't have formal with kids."

How about if I have a house without kids? Or husbands? Or grown children?

"That wouldn't be any fun, would it?"

So, bottom line: we're working on it. Clean, informal. And don't even consider quiet.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Third of July

I am ready for the long long weekend. Since I don't work on Friday, I am trying to take Thursday off, at least mentally. While waiting for people to pick up their payroll checks, I am making lists of things I need for the barbecue tomorrow. I'm bringing a watermelon, buns, chips, a croquet set (look J, I spelled it correctly!), and my family. I will need more sunscreen, chairs, towels, sunscreen, hats...

When I leave here, I will stop at the produce stand down the road. She has watermelon at 2 for $6, which isn't bad. I saw pretty tomatoes as I drove by this morning. She has flowers and other plants, too. I wonder if I can get them in the ground this weekend?

A good thing about a Friday holiday is that you get the visiting over with on Friday and can recover on Saturday and Sunday. I have lots to do this weekend. I am trying to scrub my kitchen cabinets. We started last weekend and didn't finish, so the cabinets are empty but the living room is full. I'll grab the kids and start scrubbing on Saturday.

I am also reading the Narnia books. They are shorter than I remember, written on maybe a fourth grade level. The theology/philosophy is more mature. I've read articles about the books by people trying to tie the stories to Biblical events, which shows they don't get the point at all. Religion & spirituality is about how we are now, not how they were then. It is growing and continuing, not engraved in stone. But that's just my belief, of course.

So I have a good bit of reading to do. I'm also reading Dracula, which is a little spiritual too. I recently finished The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It is about Dracula, sort of, and the style is similar to Bram Stoker's, which means it's more formal than I am used to reading. But it has made me think about evil both supernatural and natural. I wonder if I can protect my children from pedophiles, murderers, and thugs by wrapping them with garlic and wild rose? I might give it a shot.

And now the payroll has gone out. I will head home with my lists and try to get everything done before I crawl in bed with my books. Wish me luck and fortitude. I think I'll need both.