In the midst of all the painting we were doing over the past week or so, I’ve been trying to visualize the room with its new look and colours; trying to place – in my head, anyway – the furniture, the television, etc. I’ve even drawn sketches because I am that much of a geek. Not to scale, of course. I have some pride. But just trying to get an idea of where I was going to put shit. And I came to the conclusion that it couldn’t actually be done. We have too much furniture.
I inherited a lot of my mum’s furniture when she died and it’s the kind of stuff that is really, really hard to say no to.
1) I have my mum’s sewing machine, an old, old Singer. I think it also belonged to my grandmother. It has a little chair that goes with it, and the seat of the chair comes off and it’s stuffed with patterns and thread and attachments. I do not sew. Like, at all. If I need something hemmed? I take it to a tailor. If I need a button sewn on? My husband does buttons. But I’m keeping the sewing machine just the same, right? It’s history.
2) School desks from my elementary school from the turn of the (last) century. Now these are cool. You know the little desks with the ink well and the flip up seats, the kind that were bolted to the floor, and the sizes varied depending on the ages of the kids? We have two of them. One day the school janitor was tossing them out to be destroyed. So my mum and some of the other Home and School ladies took them all. Well, most of them anyway. And my mum worked her ass off refinishing a few of them for our house. They’re amazing but they take up space. But, they’re history.
3) A little occasional chair that my parents had when I was born and I know they’ve had it forever because there is a photo of me holding my brother when he was just home from the hospital. History, right? How can I get rid of that?
4) A trunk that belonged to my grandmother. I have no idea what its history is – was it the trunk that an ancestor of hers brought from Scotland? I have no idea. It’s dirty and the handles are dissolving, the straps are broken and the hardware is rusty. But it is – say it with me now – history.
So I don’t know, man. Sometimes I wish I didn’t care about stuff like this. I wish I could just say whatever, we have pictures, let’s ditch this for something that actually goes with our own stuff and something that fits the use of the room. I often feel that I spend my whole time trying to make the rooms of our house fit around the furniture that we’ve been given, as opposed to ever finding furniture to fit the room and its uses.
Tonight as I was cleaning up the painting stuff and washing the brushes out and tidying things up in that room I started shifting furniture to try to make the room liveable again. It was exasperating and I wound up dragging a few things to the porch to get rid of. One? Was a cabinet from IKEA . The other was a computer chair that is just way too big.
Baby steps, right?