All of the major fluff-stories these days tell me that the majority of us have already chucked the resolutions, abandoned the gym and settled back into our ruts.
Adam has. I looked over at him last night as we chilled at a friends house, his head laid back onto the couch with a beer in his hand and a look of pure bliss in his eyes and I couldn’t fault him for it. The man knows what he likes.
As for me, I’m still kickin it with the cleanse. Rocking the hummus and bok choy like it’s going out of style (it was never in style) although coffee has snuck its way back in because hello Tassimo and also hello a certain thrill of self-indulgent joy each morning.
Monday is when I transition from the Dr Joshi cleanse into whole foods, which will be my eating method forever and ever amen. This means FRUIT is back! Smoothies. crisp apples. Bliss.
I’m noticing my monthly resolutions percolating in the back of my mind, fermenting, growing and relaxing somehow, in the absence of the frantic need to DO THEM.
In this environment I’m slowly preparing myself to take them on. I’m eyeing garden plans for May. I’m scoping out yoga classes for February. I made a counseling appointment because suddenly it didn’t seem so scary, knowing that March is coming up so gently.
I’m being easy with myself. And things are just coming. Slowly. Gently.
A phrase keeps reverberating around my mind, “Create space for growth”. This was one of the overarching themes for the year and I meant it in more of a metaphorical sense, spreading my life wide to allow for new adventures, people, experiences. But the rain and the gloom and the short winter days have found me reaching for it in a more literal sense and I am plagued by the constant vision of my footsteps softly echoing through an empty house. Just the essentials, stark and minimal like a monk. One bed. One sheet. A single plate washed after each use.
It’s impossible of course to have both, a life of less and a life full- full of friends and pleasure and laughter.
In order to have that in your life you need to host that in your home, have a place for those friends to sit, food for them to eat, something to rest their eyes on other than bare walls.
My mother tries to rationalize with me each time I talk about it. “What will people sit on? Where will they sleep?” but her words get lost inside of the reverie, this desire for SPACE.
That sweet expansiveness enveloping me.
Mostly when people feel this way they buy MORE. More square feet, more doorways, more floor. That’s not an option, nor do I want more rooms to fill. I am taking it on from within. Excavating from the inside out. Redefining necessity. Discovering space in the absence of stuff, rather than simply pushing it elsewhere.
I won’t go to the extreme, I can’t, it’s untenable. But the middle ground, a life with, not nothing but just…less.
I selected thirty books from my mammoth bookshelves, pages I’d turned, words I’d found wanting. They were donated. My closet has been purged. My dishes thinned. Our chairs sold. My arms spreading wider and wider as I look at these objects, these things I spent so much time taking care of.
But some are essential. Non negotiable. Not to mention Adam who I have no words to explain this need to.
So. A place for people to sit. Replacing our couch with something that needs less from me, takes up less visual space, something that fits snugly into my life, this life that wants to be white and pristine and spartan, but in reality holds tightly a messy man, a ebullient dirty dog, our particular sort of happy chaos.
Thus our couch:
And those I want to replace it with. If one comes to me. If one surfaces with the right proportions and legs and weight (not to mention price tag).
Mid century. The colour of browned butter. Soft.
I think some find this frivolous. This need to change and update and that horrible word, decorate.
I think its frivolous too, sometimes.
Bit it’s important, isn’t it? To make your life work? To come into a room and see love, life, a warmth that says the perfect amount.
When we toured this house before moving in it was dark and stagnant. We walked in to a dry, fusty smell. All of the shades were drawn. Everything was dark. Still. It felt deeply, deeply unhappy.
The day we moved in I threw open all of the windows to the frigid January air, tied back the heavy drapes. I lit sage and wafted its sweet smell through the rooms. Trying to move the stagnantion, trying to usher it out, usher it on.
It’s more than decorating. It’s a mind manifested in the arrangement of books. The heft of a chair, worn from use. I want a full, happy, easy home.
With space for growth.
I need that space.
I don’t know what is happening in my brain, maybe spending so much time indoors has made me crazy from all the time spent indoors what with the time indoors and the not going outdoors and the BEING INSIDE ALL THE DAYS, but I want to throw everything in my house onto the curb and start over (or donate it to a deserving family who would then turn out to be rich (RICH!) and give me $250,000 for my generosity, which I would then spend refurnishing my house in a style that isn’t “Five Years Ago No-Money Ikea-Will-Do-For-Now/Forever”)
But, because that hasn’t happened yet and I STILL have no money, I keep obsessing about ways to refurbish (or upcycle, to use trendy hipster jargon) our existing posessions.
Mostly this involves paint.
Paint and Adam’s head exploding from me pointing at random objects and saying “Can I paint that?”
Things like our ugly Office Depot black filing cabinet, that I want to transform into THIS, because vintage filing cabinets are ridiculously expensive and the woman in town who has one in her shop has stopped speaking to me because I have pestered her about it so much (Hey Ruth, PRO TIP: If you don’t want to sell it, MAYBE YOU SHOULDN’T PUT IT ON DISPLAY IN YOUR STORE FOR TURQUOISE OBSESSED CRAZIES TO GET LADY BONERS OVER. Hypothetically speaking.)
And our basic white curtains that I want to transform into THIS, except in a rich mustard yellow because all of the chevron curtains I have found are approximately $2349693
And our wooden headboard that I want to turn into THIS!
And our gross rusty baseboard heaters that came with the house, that I want to turn into THIS!
(okay ew not as rusty as this, but close)
Is it too much paint? It’s too much paint.
(But is it?)
I don’t know, I can’t tell anymore. I’ve been locked up in here for so long I have no idea how the world works, maybe everyone paints all of the objects in their house every two weeks, how should I know?
Adam also has no right to be giving me the crazy eyes over this- because of that dude I currently have five dryers in my house. FIVE. Oh what? That’s weird? Why, how many do you have?
Also one of my favorite Twitter ladies, JennyJohnsonHi5 once tweeted the following
I wish people’s voices actually sounded the way they do when their spouse/partner imitates them during an argument.
YES Jenny. The other day Adam picked me up for work and within the span of five minutes managed to send me into a rage, the likes of which I haven’t experienced in years.
It had snowed the night before, but he hadn’t scraped anything other than the windshield, so he had zero visibility out of the side or rear windows (SAFETY HAZARD guys), Gus was lounging in the backseat without the seat cover on, evenly distributing a thick layer of fur and drool over the upholstery, Adam wasn’t wearing his seat belt and when I gave him some Spanikopita I made for lunch he just started shoving them into his mouth while driving ( and if you’re keeping track, that’s eating while driving, no seat belt, no visibility and a 170 lb furry projectile in the backseat).
I looked at him sitting there shoving food into his mouth with his hands, spilling all over the car I had just spent like two hours cleaning a few days prior, spinach juice dripping down his fingers and phyllo pastry flaking off into the cupholders and between the seats and it was one of the transcendent “Who the hell have I married?” moments.
And then I started yelling. If my life was a sitcom there would have been trucks passing with horns blaring every few seconds, bleeping out every second word.
When he picked me up later that night I was significantly more calm/less stabby and we laughed about it, and as we drove away he pulled out a dead-on screeching impression of my blow-up: “AAADDAMM! YOU’RE SPILLING EVERYWHERRRREE! WHY ARE SO SUCH A SLOOBBBBBB? OH MY GOODDDDDDDD” and I tried to record it for you, but he refused to do it again, and in that moment I really wish that my voice DID sound like that.
But it’s more likely that I’d be screeching “ADDAAAMMMMM, WHY CAN’T I PAIIIIIINNNTTT THAT?”
Yesterday my mission was to paint, specifically walls. More specifically, all of the walls that exist in our bedroom and our spare bedroom.
Here’s what happened: When we first moved into this house in February, I don’t think the walls had been painted in at least thirty years. They were scuffed, dirty and pockmarked with holes from all of the other people who had inhabited these rooms before us.
The living room was in the worst condition and is also the first room you see when you enter the house, so we tackled that one right away. I desperately wanted to paint the rest of the house but I wasn’t sure if we would be here long enough to warrant investing that time and effort and money.
And then BOOM, “We’re probably going to be here another year at least” says Adam. Obviously, as evidenced by my passive aggressive list, I wasn’t very happy to be receiving this information.
But after a few hours that unhappy started to turn into really, really happy.
I FINALLY HAVE A PLAN! A timeline! For the past 4 years I have been living month to month, never sure if we were going to be in this town to see the next season change.
The number of times I’ve avoided planning something or getting involved in something or starting something because I wasn’t sure if I’d be here is off the charts.
This might not seem rational, but it’s how I operate. I don’t like uncertainty. And so, even though I would certainly choose to live somewhere else if it were left up to me, at least now I KNOW that we are settled, for at least a year. With this knowledge decisions can be made, I can PLAN, I feel somewhat settled and I feel happier than I have in a long time.
And so I painted! I decided that Sunday I would paint both of those rooms to completion if it killed me (and it nearly did). It was exhausting, Adam thought I was crazy, but I had been staring at those busted beige walls for six months and hating them every time I did. It was time.
SO! A little before and after for ya:
I’m really in love with the idea of grey as a neutral, so I chose Chinchilla by Martha Stewart. It’s a really soft grey that morphs into shades of lilac and blue depending on the light. I absolutely adore it and really, anything is better than band-aid beige.
Incidentally, and hahahahaha TOTALLY unrelated to my weekend activities, here is a list of helpful tips about what to do if you accidentally spill half of a can of grey paint on your carpet after ignoring your husbands suggestion to use a dropcloth (hypothetically):
1. Panic. This is a necessary step, it will give you the rush of adrenaline needed to complete the next seventeen tasks in record speed. PANIC I tell you!
2. Thank goddess that your husband is distracted in another room by pizza and back-to-back episodes of ‘How I met Your Mother’.
3. Run to your laundry room and grab the entire stack of dog towels, run back. But make sure you run quietly so you don’t arouse your husband’s suspicion - he knows you never run. Ever.
4. Use one entire towel to sop of the top layer of wet paint.
5. Mutter “OhshitohshitohshitohshitohSHIT!” several times under your breath as you see the magnitude of your mistake.
6. Use another entire towel to frantically rub at the stain, now (fittingly) the size of a paint can, on your cream coloured carpet.
7. Get a few cups of hot water. Pour onto the affected site and rub frantically some more.
8. Use another towel to blot.
9. Repeat several times until you run out of towels and have to go scavenge more (QUIETLY) from the dirty laundry.
10. Rummage through your cleaning supplies until you find a half-empty can of Spot Shot. Douse the entire area in the thick salvation of chemical foam.
12. More hot water.
13. More blotting.
14. MORE PANIC! Reply “Just moving some furniture!” in a bright, steady voice when your husband asks why you’re breathing so heavily.
15. More Spot Shot.
16. More blotting.
(At this point (hypothetically) the spot should have disappeared enough to bring your blood pressure somewhere near the normal range.)
17. Casually drape a tea towel (the only remaining item of clean, absorbent cloth remaining in your house) across the damp spot.
18. Never, EVER admit to this. EVER. Even if your husband reads the list on your blog and asks you about it. HAHAHAHAH I thought you didn’t read my blog Adam? Now YOU’RE busted too! OH MY GOD THIS IS ALL HYPOTHETICAL! Hahahaha oh man do I tell tall tales! Where do I GET these crazy ideas? Hahahaha (PANIC).
So yeah, unevenful weekend! Nothing major to report! No reasons for spouses to gloat or say “I told you so” or anything. Just thought I’d make that clear.