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It’s Been So Long Since We Took the Time

July 21, 2010

the yellow chair

Lennon said, “Life it what happens while you’re making other plans,” or something to that effect. It makes for jaunty lyrics, but proves quite frustrating on a personal level. As a person who is all about time management and organization, it’s shocking to discover I’m not actually black superwoman! In fact, despite ownership of shiny boots and an assortment of aerodynamic outfits, I don’t actually have any magical powers. I haven’t taken a survey, but it seems most often when bloggers go ghost it is because they don’t feel they have anything worth saying. I only wish that was my issue. In my absence I had lots of things to say, but unfortunately crafting these thoughts into entries were not nearly as interesting as say painting, decluttering or rearranging my living room three different times in the span of less than two weeks.

I also seem to subscribe to the Butterfly Effect theory of home decorating. If I find the perfect arrangement of lamps, tables and chairs, the perfect sparseness to clutter ratio and accept I’m never going to the kind of person who will actually use a designated home office, I’d be able to become a lean mean writing machine. Of course, I am in fact a writing machine. Except I’m a writing machine possessing several billion desk situations, but prefers to sit on the click-clack with laptop/monitor atop a cheap blue lack side table and a 3.99 desk lamp I carry from room to room.

Repainting the living room and discovering the economical joy of making curtains out of flat sheets started a chain of events, which lead to another round of massive decluttering and fantasizing about moving my bedroom into the former Home Office at the End of the World, which has now been restored to its Room of Broken Dreams glory. I blame Enid Coleslaw for all of this.

Enid's room

I’ve been coveting her bedroom for YEARS. I love its use of color, texture and shape. Yet, there’s no way I could realistically live in a space that cluttered. I tried it for awhile and it kind of drove me bonks. So much so I had to get rid of 75% of my possessions and live with the remaining 25% for nearly two years before I felt secure enough to acquire more stuff. In bad economic times, clinging to every material possession is emphasized. Adjectives like homey, cozy and “lived-in” are used to described the perfect home interior and I guess somehow I let the fear and overwhelming hard times meme get the better of me. In striving to recreate the perfect writing/living/working space, the blogging took a backseat. I got distracted by the possible, conflating it with the plausible; fooling myself into believing (yet again) my desire for interior harmony was destination rather than a journey.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. hsofia permalink
    July 21, 2010 12:51 am

    Well, I guess I resumed reading at the right time. Sounds like you were enjoying yourself! Apologies for spamming up your comments feed. I am certainly NOT the only Machinist.

  2. Octavia permalink
    July 21, 2010 3:28 am

    Oh Enid. She and her mustard chenille bedspread happily coincided with a retro / little old lady dressing period I was in and she very much influenced my glasses choices (still does as little has changed there).

    Our house was looking like her room until a couple of weeks ago, and it had gone from comforting to irritating and stressful. Throwing stuff out / giving things away was very relaxing (once I got past the “noooo my precious thiiiings” stage) which makes a lot of sense from an attachment / growth point of view. We certainly feel a lot more at peace with our space now.

    Interior harmony being a “destination rather than a journey” rings very true – I’ve gone a bit extreme anti-Enid and need to slow it down and realise that I’m not going to have the perfect house of order (and thus the perfect life of order, ha) RIGHT NOW if ever. Though our epic DIY fail of last weekend brought me back to earth. I blame the false confidence instilled by hardware mega-stores.

  3. July 21, 2010 7:10 am

    Though our epic DIY fail of last weekend brought me back to earth. I blame the false confidence instilled by hardware mega-stores.

    Do tell!!! I had some minor DIY fail involving Ikea Vika Curry legs and a “tabletop” that wasn’t thick enough to support the legs. Also, congrats on the Ikea. That’s so freaking exciting. One thing I remember about having access to Ikea was it made me question why I spent more than 29.99 on anything!

  4. badhedgehog permalink
    July 21, 2010 7:38 am

    Snarky’s had a little lamp
    Clear balls stacked up, you know.
    And everywhere that Snarky’s went
    That lamp was sure to go.

  5. July 21, 2010 7:48 am

    There’s a fine line between “cozy” and “suffocating.”

  6. Octavia permalink
    July 21, 2010 8:10 am

    I tell ya, the advent of Ikea in my life has definitely made me SUCH a tight-arse. Basically, I can pay NZ$100 for a lovely wool rug from Ikea (taking into account shipping and the exchange rate, as it’s an importer that’s opened up, not an official Ikea), or NZ$1000+ for something similar locally. I was almost frothing at the mouth going through the catalogue.

    So, the husband and I went into a ‘Mitre 10 Mega’ (NZ hardware chain). It was huge. We needed the in-store map. We went in for a lamp but got distracted in the screws and brackets section and, drunk on the DIY atmosphere, decided upon no basis whatsoever that WE — basically lazy apartment dwellers who can barely be trusted to keep the bathroom clean — could successfully drill large holes in our living room wall (with no knowledge of how thick the gib board — dry wall in the US? — was or what was behind it, and a broken stud-finder) and install somewhat complicated shelving.

    We conceded defeat after several hours, tears, and realising that NONE of the numerous materials we’d purchased were remotely the right type or size for our wall type and that we’d barely escaped electrocuting ourselves. So we took a photo of some of our fail ( and called a builder, who thought it was all very hilarious but managed to hide our shame behind some shelving. And then we made a marital pact to never try anything similar again.

  7. July 21, 2010 8:44 am

    @Octavia, I feel your pain. I’m not the handiest guy in the world — growing up, I preferred the kitchen to the workshop — but one thing I managed to learn the hard way back in my money poor, textbook rich student days was how to put up bracket shelves.

    My big nemesis is wallpaper: either putting up (I’ve helped do the job exactly twice and still have nightmares about matching the pattern and cutting the paper evenly) or taking down (I gouged a wall pretty badly and added insult to injury with an even worse patching job). Definitely jobs I’d put off indefinitely or pay someone else to tackle in the future.

  8. Octavia permalink
    July 21, 2010 9:20 am

    Ha! Prior to our shelving failure we had aspirations of doing a paint or wallpaper feature wall ourselves, but have now decided against it. Glad to see my fears of what the combination of our ineptitude, sticky products, and our walls would have resulted in was entirely founded.

  9. Teaspoon permalink
    July 21, 2010 10:43 am

    I love your color sense. That chair is so dang cheerful.

  10. July 21, 2010 1:28 pm

    Octavia: Omg, please tell me the color you’re wearing on your nails!!!

    @Teaspoon: Thank you! Glad you didn’t abandon me!

  11. Octavia permalink
    July 21, 2010 11:26 pm

    It’s OPI’s ‘Jade is the New Black’. The bottle picture is pretty true to life: It looks darker in my hand pic.
    My favourite dark colour of theirs at the moment is ‘Russian Navy’:
    The jade is an awesome colour in person! ‘Dim Sum Plum’ is also all kinds of hotness:
    My nails get brighter in winter, as it is here. 🙂

  12. July 22, 2010 7:52 am

    @Octavia – I love Russian Navy and most of the Russian collection. I also love the French collection (ha) and, of course, the iconic Chicago collection. for my vampies I go back and forth between Mrs. O’Leary’s BBQ and Lincoln Park After Dark.

    Though right now, I’m rocking a generic “Pearl” shade from Revlon I scored for $.50 at the drugstore because it reminds me of junior high (7th grade to be exact).

  13. Octavia permalink
    July 22, 2010 9:25 am

    Ooo, ‘Lincoln Park After Dark’ is another favourite. I found it kept its newness sheen for a bit longer than the ‘Russian Navy’ too. Or I was just harder on my nails the navy fortnight.
    The Hong Kong collection has pretty much become my go-to recently though. I blame the grey Auckland skies at the moment.

    Aw I definitely have love for the ‘Pearl’! I did a bathroom clean-out the other week (seriously how many half-used shampoo bottles did I need? Apparently a lot) and found a few long-dead nail colours, all separated and goopy. I was a bit sad because they were all either pearlescents or that chunks-of-huge-iridescent-glitter range Revlon did and I had brief excitement about getting my teenager on again nail-wise.

  14. July 22, 2010 10:45 am

    i’m jealous of you colored nailpolish wearing people. even with a really good, professional manicure, polish will start popping off my nails in whole sheets after a day. trust me, i’ve tried all your suggestions and have resigned myself to a nailpolish free life. my toenails are a whole different story, though.

  15. July 22, 2010 12:04 pm

    infamousqbert: I feel your pain. The only way I manage to avoid chips is to do lots of prep work and let each coat dry completely – like twenty minutes per coat – only do two thin coats and seal it with Out the Door.

  16. Octavia permalink
    July 23, 2010 12:24 am

    I get acrylics. It’s the only way the polish stays on my nails. But as this is obviously a lot of financial and time input into something I do solely for vanity, it’s not for everyone.

    HOWEVER, there’s a relatively new product called Shellac (not, thankfully, the wings-of-beetles mix I used to use in art class) that actually does what it says on the label. The woman who does my nails is getting some in and she’s been testing it. It stays on like nailpolish over acrylic, only on natural nails. She’s had it on for two weeks now and it still looks new (though obviously a little grown out at the nail base). It needs a UV lamp to cure, but I imagine you could do that at home with a UV bulb or a cheap UV torch, because the polish itself doesn’t require special application or nail prep, it’s just in a bottle like regular polish.
    I’m planning on getting it on my toenails over summer. Hopefully it will stand up to sand.

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