decorating · home · moving

How do you say hoarding in French?

We moved into the new place on New Years Eve, and have been pushing ever since to get things done. I knew my parents had a lot of stuff, but I had no idea how much there actually was hidden away! Every time we’ve moved before, the packing has been done before I showed up or something, because I do not remember there being this much stuff. And all this time, my father has been harassing ME about my few boxes of books! Jeez. Of course, nearly everything I own (including every book that isn’t an e-book) is in a box in the garage or in the storage shed. This is the first time I’ve ever had a room without a bookshelf. It’s surreal.  I’m sure the lack of books won’t last long; I’m bound to visit Powell’s sooner or later…

I don't hoard books. I hoard ebooks.
I don’t hoard books. I hoard ebooks.

 

So. The new house. It’s yellow. And pointy. Or peaky. Choose your adjective.

We have a lovely sunroom, where the dining table and mom’s big jade tree now live, and beyond that is the backyard. In one corner is a barbecue pit/fireplace kinda thing; one the other side is a big wooden deck where there was once a pool. There are two sets of stairs, one on each side of the house; the set off the front room is skinny and steep, and leads to a loft area with two bedrooms. That’s where Jolene & Max are. Below that is the master bedroom & bath, as well as another room Mom is using for her sewing room, and where the folks clothes hang. There aren’t many closets in this house, for some odd reason, so Mom & Dad had to buy a wardrobe rack for their hanging items. On the other side of the house, off the laundry room (what Martha would call the “mud room”),is my room ,the entrance to the garage, & another set of stairs. These lead to two more small bedrooms with slanty roofs, where Hattie has staked her claim.

My room is just below hers, and has the bathroom that we share. The sliding glass door on the deck leads into my little room. I finally have a room that gets some sunshine! I hung colored sheers across the sliding door so I could have some privacy from the neighbors, and bring some color into the place. (The walls throughout the house are the same shade of cream.) I have a closet, too. My only complaints about my room so far is that there isn’t any lighting in the closet (I fixed it by hanging fairy lights), and that my window is painted shut. I’m going to have to work on getting it open, because I hate not having any fresh air! I could just open the sliding door, I suppose, but that’s a bit more air than I need.

I haven’t done much decorating here in my space yet, other than the curtains. Usually I have a couple of bookshelves taking up most of my wall space, and here, it’s all bare. So I’m taking my time, deciding where to hang the few things I’m going to hang. I did hang my Eiffel Tower poster in the bathroom–which is also yellow, by the way–and put some other tower accents in there. I plan on speaking with a French accent every time I take a shower.  Oooh la la.

 

 

 

Christmas · Dreams · home · Jolene · moving · stress

Does anyone want to give me a house for Christmas?

I can’t honestly say I ever had a grand plan for my life, but I can say that this wasn’t it. To be 46-years-old, divorced, childless, in chronic pain, and soon to be homeless. That is the issue I am whining about right now (I don’t have any real problems with being divorced, since I am on very friendly terms with my ex-husband. The childless thing, well, that’s something I will discuss with God some day.).

My parents, John & Arlene, are selling the family home. This is where they, my sister Jolene and her two children have lived for the last eleven years. Max has never lived anywhere else–we brought him here from the hospital. I’ve moved around a bit while they’ve owned this house, but have always had a room to come back to. I was living here when I met Charlie, and when I both married and divorced him. Totally not the point, I know, but still…

They’ve been talking about selling for a while, but decided to actually do it seemingly overnight. . Apparently the folks assumed we were all going to move together again, into yet another big house, but one we would rent, rather than try to make house payments on. They aren’t too happy that none of us are going along with that plan. Jolene & I have mostly decided that she & I and Max will find a place a together, and that will work, we hope. Mom and Dad will have to find their own place, as will Hattie Jo. Of course, this plan has changed several times, and continues to do so.

If I had the money, and could have my way, I’d get my own place. But that isn’t going to happen. EVER, apparently. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, I do. But I am sick and tired of living with them. Of being treated as if I’m either not there at all, or if I am there, as if I’m still 14-years-old. My sister doesn’t treat me like a teenager, but neither of us is real considerate of the other. I’d really like to live somewhere where the menu consists of more than pizza and chicken nuggets. I’m going to spend the rest of my life living with others, it seems, living in a place filled with cigarette smoke, video game noises, and fast food. Sounds like living in a college dorm.

I have dreams of my own little flat, decorated just to my specifications, dreams that will never come true. (I am depressing myself.) My Pinterest boards are filled with dream images of this fantasy place– a beautiful bedroom (I have one of those now, really), a bathroom I don’t have to share that is not decorated with cartoon fish, a kitchen not overflowing with plasticware or processed food. Books everywhere, and no Fox News EVER!!  Granted, I am not the most ambitious of people, and it’s quite likely my place wouldn’t be as perfect as I’d hope. But what ever is? Still, I can continue to dream, can’t I?

Looking for a new place to live has caused huge stress for our entire family. If a day goes by without a fight or tears, it’s a wonder. Dad is driving us all crazy, because in his semi-dementia state, he seems to believe that we should be able to just clap our hands, and like Tinkerbell coming back to life, the perfect home will appear. Perhaps, in his world, I’ll be able to do my Bewitched nose twitch and furnish this new home as well. Makes me wonder what happens when the Law & Order doink plays.

We’re looking for new homes, just in time for Christmas. I don’t think Santa is going to bring any of us what we need this year.

tiny flat

Thrifty!

Upheaval has happened in my tiny room, and Miss Google is traumatized.

On Friday & Saturday, my Mom had a yard sale, selling (or attempting to sell) all sorts of stuff gathered from around the house. This included clothes, toys, and furniture. Among the furniture was a headboard that was part of a bedroom set. I’ve been using the long, low dresser in my room because, well, it was in here when I moved back, and it was just easier to use it than not. It’s a lovely piece, blond wood, and very sturdy. The headboard matches. At the sale on Saturday a family decided they wanted to buy the entire set, and would be back on Sunday afternoon to pick it up. So Sunday morning, I moved all of my belongings from the blond dresser to my old dresser, and Dad transported it down to the garage for them to pick up. Of course, these folks never showed up, and the whole thing was done for no reason!

Here is where the problem comes in: since I moved here, Miss Google’s food & water bowls had been on a tray on top of that dresser. There is not enough space on the tall one for the tray, so I moved it to my desk. She didn’t like that; every time she jumped from the bed to the desk, she ran into the wall. So she kept looking to the place where her bowls had been before, and yowling pitifully. “Meooow?” It was pathetic. I compromised  and placed the tray on the floor beside the tall dresser. I only hope I don’t trip over it in the dark!

My new old dresser, and a calm Miss G.
My new old dresser, and a calm Miss G.

This is the dresser I’ve had since I was a child. I once told Mom I wanted to paint it, and she said “But why? It’s such good wood!” This is her response to me everything I mention painting a piece of wooden furniture. I love the look of painted wood; Mom thinks that just the wood is enough. Sometimes I agree, sometimes, not so much. She’s gonna have a hissy fit when I paint my antique school desk this summer, but I want to use it as a vanity, and it needs to be a different color.

On a different note, I began searching for apartments this weekend. It was both exhilarating and depressing. Those available in my price range are either way out in the boonies (or in Vancouver, no thank you!), or creepy. Lots of studios. I am too old to live in a studio apartment. Been there, done that. As for sharing a bathroom or kitchen with a bunch of strangers, not even gonna think about that! Isn’t that why I’m moving? I have lived in dorms, student housing, a studio apartment, tiny apartments, a “manufactured home”, condos, houses, and fairly nice apartments. My dream apartment is in an older building, funky, and fun. A cross between Jerry Seinfeld‘s place and the apartment of Friends. Easy to find, right? And totally possible on my teeny-tiny budget, of course!

 

This, for $550 a month? In your dreams.
This, for $550 a month? In your dreams.

 

I do know that where ever I end up, I will be decorating on an even smaller budget,  hitting up Goodwill and thrift stores for the furniture I need. Which is nearly everything. I don’t have any living room furniture anymore, and I gave my kitchen table to my niece Kristan. Of course, she’s not using it now, and I’m using her living room chairs, so maybe we can trade for a bit…hmm. Anyway.

The idea of hitting the thrift shop used to just appall me. If it wasn’t new, I didn’t want it. While I always had an appreciation for antiques, especially furniture, the idea of buying thing like clothing from Goodwill was abhorrent to me. Not any more. (Don’t get me wrong; I’m not tying to be some hipster, shopping at the thrift store because it’s cool. And I have no intention of posting every days outfit on Instagram or Tumblr–folks would get real tired of seeing my yoga pants and plain cardigans! Life on a limited budget is challenging, and until this point, I’ve not been trying very hard to live within my means. ) There was also a time when I refused to buy groceries at WinCo, preferring Fred Myers, or a higher priced chain over the bag-your-own stores. My ex-husband was a big fan of WinCo, and introduced me to the delights of lower prices. It took me a long time to discover that shopping the bulk bins was even cheaper, as well as a greener choice, but these days, I buy lots of my stuff in bulk. I’d still prefer to have someone else bag my groceries, mainly because I suck at it, and always end up with one bag way too heavy, but I am getting better. The lower prices and larger selection have converted me to shopping WinCo! (Sorry for the commercial!)

What was my point?

Oh. I am challenging myself to live within my means from now on. I haven’t been spending like crazy, but after all those years of not having any money, I went a little wild. Amazon was my downfall…  The months ahead will be tough. Trying to find a place to live, and keeping the budget tight. Saving up all I can. I hate being broke, but I always remember that I am so much better off than so many others!

Meanwhile: watch this, and sing along.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MissGoogle · stuff · Uncategorized

Spoiling My Cat- A Project

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Decorative table top fountains are often good watering stations for cats.

My darling cat, Miss Google, has a couple of annoying habits. She wakes me up at the butt-crack of dawn, demanding to be fed; her favorite sleeping place is on top of my open book; and she continually drops pieces of food into her water bowl. Once there are little soggy nuggets of cat chow floating in the bowl, she refuses to drink from that water, and searches the house for any other source of water she can find, including the toilet bowl on occasion. Which just grosses me out completely.

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Handmade Cat Fountain by Kieth David, available on Etsy for $138

I thought about getting her a small tabletop fountain, after seeing her drink from the running faucet, and remembering how my sister’s cat, Cat-Cat wouldn’t drink from a bowl, just from the faucet. However, the drinking fountains designed for cats are primarily made in China of plastic, which is not food safe. If I won’t use it for myself, why would I let my kitty drink from it? There are stainless steel models, but Miss G has made her dislike of metal dishware clear in the past. There is a man selling pottery cat fountains on Etsy, with non-toxic glazes, and copper piping. They are beautiful, and if I win the lottery, I’ll get her one, because they are pricey! He was inspired by seeing how his cat Bijou, drank from the tabletop fountain he had.

I’ve googled how to make my own tapletop fountain, and it seems like something even someone with my limited skills might be able to do, so I plan to head out to the nearest hardware store and pick up the needed supplies.

I will need:

  • a wide and deep sealed terra cotta or pottery bowl for her to drink from
  • a taller and deeper vessel (also sealed) to house the pump and a large amout of the water
  • a “bubbler” for a fish tank
  • some plastic tubing
  • waterproof adhesive

Some of these things I will scrounge around the house to find, like the containers. I’m thinking about using an old wash basin, and a few mismatched teacups to make the fountain pretty as well as functional.

Pictures and updates to follow!