Peer into the background. Like a dam, chaos is being tightly reigned in. It’s summer. Colleen’s family reunions here every year since she was a kid. Generations gather, they transition, and another generation is here. How long will they keep gathering? I’m just a middle man. We host. We have not been this neat and tidy since the pandemic hit. It’s been about two years since I saw the tops of the tables. Guilty! Colleen and I both tend to leave things where they lie. That way I have an archeological estimate of what went where when. Got it? And, then there’s no dust on the table either. No worries, there’s plenty of dust everywhere else. Neat? Not exactly. But it sure works for us. You might laugh. You are neater than we. But then again, we are living well and happy. It’s amazing that having a mess is peace. We don’t argue. Things are always hidden under something or another. It’s home! Note: the pictures of neatness, you see, will last only a few days. Like the melting snow in spring, all will return to ‘normal’ in a few days. A crowd is coming. Soon, things will lie everywhere. Chaos! … returns.
You know me and art. I’m no artist. Photography ain’t art. Pressing your finger to the shutter is not a particular skill. Ha ha. Yes, it’s all tongue in cheek. For real? A recent NYT article described 3D imaging and used an artists’ loft as its model (see below left). They said the clutter was arranged carefully over years to achieve the exact art effect they (artists) desired. Ha ha! I am hysterical! Yes, laughing hysterically. We do/did it in my/our (it takes more than one) house. It takes about a day. It is ever changing. This was our seasonal look. Clutter? Art!? Oh yeah! Oh yes! Things are in their place once. Who can keep track? It’s enough to make your mother shudder. Hey! No dirty laundry. I drew the line when I saw Dave sniffing his laundry in his room to decide if it was wearable. The washer was on the wall directly behind his bedroom.
Some have art. Some have clutter. I guess there’s a fine line between art and clutter. We have family and friends shuddering (with laughter) as they read this.
All dressed up with nowhere to go. Ha ha. We are taking a calculated risk during corona. We are safe. And our kids are safe. We have all been isolated safely for quite some time. So! The house is all neat and ready for company. This is a first in months (too many to mention) when we have actually seen the floor and table tops. Since the tables have been otherwise covered, Colleen hasn’t had an opportunity to play games. She loves to beat me. (I always let her win. NOT.) In the midst of everything our 1860’s spinning wheel found a place as treasured photo prop. Don’t laugh. It’s only clean this brief moment until everyone leaves. After – we believe a house is not a home, unless it’s lived in.
This home was for sale. It sits in the harbor on a bridge/walk right in the middle of everything. It’s the proverbial goldfish bowl. What comes to mind is that I may never walk around in my underwear. Colleen fell in love with it and begged… I said no. Luckily, on this occasion, I got my way. It’s not often I win. Lately, though, I don’t walk around in my underwear any more. Darn!
The last time… we ate out, we had dinner guests, our house was clean. Well, now might be the time to look back. Ha ha! I compose posts long before published. I am trying to stick to the one/day rule Jules imposed. This is/was being written in early May. Poignant! Literally the day/same evening we ate our last meal out as DE closed all restaurants.
We only clean up when we invite dinner guests. We have not seen uncluttered tables in quite some time. This was the last clean up before Jen and Mike came for St Pat’s corned beef.
And the very next day… no toilet paper to be had. It’s been a while. No, no, no, there’s a new normal. Little did I know. Our house will not be tidy again, for a long long time. It’s a good thing. I do so love my life and my wife. Eh? What did I say? … I can’t remember when I last saw TP on the shelves! … and I love my wife.
The beauty of inviting anyone to dinner is that you have to straighten and clean. Our tables were covered – with projects and stuff. Of course! The aftermath of cleaning: It’s still cluttered. And there is a screen of drying wool locks – we took it away later. I daresay we have a way to go in order to be minimalist. (I don’t think that is ever happening.) Shhh… it’s all hiding – the stuff. Tomorrow we shall begin again – to take out what we work with. And upstairs, behind me, is the office I use. There’s no path thru the room. I have things on the floor while I sort and search. Yes, the great room is full of weaving implements – too numerous to name… and ah! bundles of artificial flowers! What to say: “Home!”
We’re home. Not much doing, so what to do? Cook. Oh, we got TP! Gotta have the essentials. Biscuits, from a Red Lobster gluten free mix, imagine that. We got that stuff in Walmart. It was an unlikely place (to find it). The real surprise was that the biscuits were really good, as in, I would buy a mix again (if I come across it). Asparagus, it’s a little early for the big thick ones. So, I peeled the tough skin with a potato peeler. Add vinaigrette and it’s pretty near to perfect without too much effort. Bacon anyone? Yeah, unhealthy. This was two pounds (fresh cut) on sale – ½ price. Wow! I just hit it, lucky. Yup, it cooks down to practically nothing. But good! And, crab cakes, fresh made and delicious. No picture. Colleen ate it before I could … yes! A good time was had by all. If they had told me, “Make a post about bacon…”
Oh! I am reminded that we are not neat. Well, about once a year… for company coming to visit. Ordinary! It’s a state of chaos. Our life. We live it. What you see are ongoing projects. We fiber. At least I do and Colleen does and has for quite some time. I spin now. It’s by default. The only way we could ever convert fleece to yarn is with my help. We simply are overwhelmed with too much raw material. Meanwhile we got company. Things were clean for a moment. If you host five little kids, it’s sure to be a mess, just a different sort. Neat for a day: that’s the motto.
I’m not neat! Nope. Nada. We were in the throes of a gut renovation on the apartment. (circa 2000) We decided to live in the other half. So everything on the 6th floor moved to the 5th or it was tossed. You can see we saved a lot of stuff. We tossed a lot – sinks, appliances, and so much wood and more. We hung our artworks willy-nilly. There are lots of clothes strewn about. No, I don’t think those are panties… I’m set up on an ironing board to mount slides into cardboard mounts. Remember, I did it all myself – developing and mounting. There’s a Mac laptop, an iron, the slide scanner – old old LS 1000, another TV with VHS player, printer, and multiple boxes containing mounted slides. That large batik on the wall was an original artwork from an artist we chased down in Hawaii decades ago. Yeah! It was an utter disaster. I don’t know how the family put up with my clutter. It was temporary. Sure! But I apologize looking back at the chaos I photographed. It’s like food. You can’t appreciate the utter mess in a single picture. Sorry, guys.
Projects have a way of getting out of hand. I had a leaky faucet. Plumbing is like shunting. It’s always a problem. Leaking is what started and it is leaking that ends. One way or another the leak stops. I was afraid I would have a very nice looking still life (without running water) where my sink started. I could not get the faucet free. It was stuck. So… remove the sink. Right! And the next thing you know I am replacing the sink. No! I did not intend to make this harder. The hard part is really the cutout for the sink. The hole is precisely set for a specific size sink. This is not universal! So good damn luck finding the right sized sink. I did! We will not use Home Depot any longer. They supported Trump. I did not know. I will vote with my wallet too. But sink and faucet came together in the box and it was an overnight project. I cut the PVC pipe and it all fit! I guess a background in neurosurgery can be of some help. And then it leaked! Just a little, and after one adjustment, it was dry! Yes! Damn! That was worth a dance for joy. And I now have a brand new sink and faucet. Yay!
I attended a welcome dinner. Two physicians joined our department. I live modestly in hospital housing. This was an opportunity to see how the other half lives. It’s a separation of sexes. No females were in attendance. Someone brought their son. Otherwise it was a banquet of males. Lamb is roasted on a skewer. Standard fare. The sides included lots of rice, salad, and fruit, followed by dessert. Afterward our host played traditional music accompanied by his son. From the outside, the walls are high and drab. Inside, the accommodations are quite the opposite. Elaborate and ornate, it reflected a long life of collecting the trappings of wealth and success. Me? I’m living in two suitcases, ready to go if it’s imperative. The bulk of it will be my dive gear. I’m of the opinion that you can’t take it with you…but…. you can sure store it somewhere else. To be fair, I’ve got a lot of junk sitting around somewhere else… Please don’t laugh too hard.
If I had my choice of home styles this home would be right up there. it’s in Harrison Maine nearby to the Camp Pinecliffe that J attended. We passed the house on a backroad and then I never saw it again until I passed by in my random wandering one day. It was unexpected that I would find it again. But then again there aren’t too many ways in and out of the area. I like the roofline. At this point I think that there aren’t enough windows and sunlight. The stone wall is a great touch. Overall it’s a memorable home architecturally.
As time has gone by there have been many homes I have admired. I suppose there are the memories of the car ride to Maine and the bittersweet goodbye to your kid for the summer. Lisa explained sending the kids to camp would make it easier when it was time for them to leave home for college. It worked too well. They left and lived in Africa and South America for a while. I missed them then and did when they were a continent away.