Thursday, September 19, 2013
So, I'm still in love with the house!
And my diabolical plan in posting crappy, blurry pictures has paid off because my friend Dorie, a professional photographer, saw how bad they were and offered to come over for a cup of tea sometime soon so we can chat and she can take MUCH better photos for you.
But I can't invite her over yet, because that would be a reward for me. And I don't believe in rewarding bad behavior. Just go back in time and ask 4 yr old Jack if he ever got that Dora the Explorer movie he had a fit about in CVS? Ok. I know, Dora, embarrassing....
I am working from home right now, trying my hand at writing full time. In theory, breaking up with my day job in the church bookstore, though a bit sad, should provide me with ample time to write. And it does, but this time starts far too early, as we are now on the hellish Middle School sleep deprivation schedule, and ends far too soon, as in "How can school be over by 2:45? I was just getting my groove!"
And I'm in my cool new house. You know, the one that's almost exactly like the old one so there's ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that MUST be done to it? The furniture fits, the dog knows her way around, and everything was set up in a matter of days because it was all so familiar. Except there's a lot of yellow and green. And I'm a little more of a tan and gray person. Or blue. And look at those brass switch plates! What an easy fix that would be to just swap those out on a quick trip to Home Depot....
Working from home has been wonderful, but I'm oh so easily distracted. If you have surmised that my blog productivity has plummeted in the 2 weeks in which this work at home experiment has been in place, you would be correct oh keen observer.
So, I'm trying to bribe myself and up my productivity with little rewards related to the house. Not big, "Let me paint the yellow master bedroom my beloved Palladian Blue" rewards or "Let me buy a new beer fridge to replace the one Margaret and her friend destroyed by accidentally puncturing the Freon with an ice pick."
No, changes of that caliber are not sanctioned until I get more writing done.
But I've been trying to build in a 20 minute reward during lunch each day. No, it's not called Facebook, although that's another distraction (addiction) I must contend with. These small rewards have something to do with the house, like sifting through artwork to decide what to hang on the walls, or organizing a shelf in the garage.
Today I took gorgeous wrapping paper and lined the back of my antique secretary. It adds a small touch of gray amidst the yellow and green, enough to tide me over until the whole house coordinates with this gray beauty:
Thank you, Kristi of Barn Owl Primitives for this incredible painting you made! Did you notice how Kristi painted "Jack" behind his favorite Bible verse? LOVE IT.
The secretary, however, has seen better days. When my brother, sister, and I were dividing up our family furniture more than 15 years ago, it was not my first, second, or even third favorite piece from the dining room. It was the booby prize, even though it is pretty cool looking and is from the 1830's.
First of all, it has a bum leg. It has had a bum leg since my grandparents bought it in the late 60's or early 70's. This was something that was drilled into us as we were growing up that kind of took the fun out of it. Whenever we'd get close to it: "Don't lean against that thing! The leg is just propped there." I think the three of us had kind of a Pavlovian response to avoid it after all of those years.
No one ever seemed to consider getting the leg fixed. Tim and I just anchored the secretary securely to the wall and pretty much stayed away from it..
And we've had to baby it a bit each time we moved from house to house. Not that it seemed to appreciate it one bit, delicate and persnickety as it is. For instance, when I was sizing it up today before my quick project, a tiny piece of mahogany veneer fell off while I was looking at it. Not touching, looking. It just kind of leapt right off and landed on the floor at my feet. This does not happen with my other furniture.
Also, those little windows make it hard to display anything inside. Currently, there's this oh-so-cute photo of my young parents on their wedding day:
There's an old family Bible from the 1830's with brittle pages bearing the birth and death dates of our relatives from Ireland. There are a few books by Dickens and Austen, a nod to the furniture's British roots, and some pretty birdies people have given me.
There's also a yellowed newspaper clipping from the 1970's from my Grandpa Harris. The clipping talks about an antique mahogany secretary that was valued at $6,000. Grandpa's note to my mother in the margin says: "Check this. We paid $200. It came from England. It was in Dr. Carter Bishop's home."
I'm pretty sure my mother never had the time, pre-Internet and mid-childrearing to check on the value of our three legged secretary, but she did tuck the note away a little hidden drawer for safekeeping.
You may be wondering if I think antiques such are too dear to be tampered with. Nah! In fact, there is still sticky residue on the shelves and the back from when my mom covered them with harvest gold contact paper circa 1977.
So much so that when I cut the gray wrapping paper to size, I barely had to use any tape (yep, scotch tape) to hold it up. The 40 year old stickiness pretty much did the trick.
So, there you have it. A long-winded post about a short little project.
Measure. Cut. Stick. Admire. Go back to writing.
And if any of you find there's a seller's market for sticky 3-legged 1830's mahogany secretaries let me know. I have a few house-related projects to fund.