Another week has flown by, with July just around the corner! I was in Hobby Lobby this past week, and the aisles were filled with pumpkins and scarecrows and such. It was the very first day of S.U.M.M.E.R.?!?!?!? The woman at the checkout told me that Christmas trees are scheduled to go up the first week of July. There's so much wrong with that, but - moving on.
Speaking of summer, here in Texas we're pretty much melting, in survivor-mode which consists of crank the AC up and electric bill be damned, stock the freezer with popsicles (rootbeer, banana and fudge please), gallons of ice tea and bath powder down the front and back of your shirt to keep you dry. Grill as much as possible rather than heat up the kitchen, and spend tons of time poolside, whether it's your own pool, or one you pay monthly to visit. (BTW - sideline tip: Did you know you can wrap your potatoes in foil, nestle them down in your crockpot for a few hours on high, with just a tad of water in the bottom, and they'll be perfectly 'baked' by dinnertime with no heating up the kitchen? Yes, you can!)
Our neighborhood is about 17 years old, and if you google it, you'd see a pool in about 25 - 30 percent of the backyards. Metroplex Texans don't have big yards, but we still dig a big hole, line it with plaster and fill it up with water, to survive the heat. Even when it's in the high 90's a quick dip in the pool soothes the savage beast.
We're about two weeks out from listing the house, so it's the time of doing all the stuff we should have done two years ago. Like touching up paint here and there, hiding all evidence we actually live here and have family and friends and a pet. God forbid we should have a photograph of a little on our fridge! After umpteen times of moving I'm still befuddled over the ridiculousness of 'staging' a house. We remove all signs anyone actually lives in the house, it just stays perfect all the time, be it a little lacking in charm. Then normal people buy it, move in and mess it up with the lovely stuff of life. How did we ever get to this?
This teensy little african violet is the sole survivor that my daughter, Sarah gave me when she moved to Idaho over two years ago. I may be emotionally attached to it. The stager (brought in by the realtor) told me to get rid of it. Nothing behind your kitchen sink. Not a soap dispenser, no hand lotion, and certainly not a little african violet, because it's 'smaller than a cantaloupe' and will just produce eye clutter.
Sorry folks, she's staying. And she's traveling with me to Idaho for the six months we'll be there, waiting for our Texas home to be built. I'm not forsaking the African Violet my daughter gave me, for someone to buy our house. I did, however, plant those zinnias in the window box outside the kitchen window, for the next people to enjoy.
This is the staged version of our fireplace mantle. Impossible to do really. I've decided there's not a woman on the planet who really wants a huge TV over the fireplace, because they are ridiculous to decorate. I'm a fan of big TV's, but just not over the fireplace if there's any other choice. Since it is what it is here, I looked at Pinterest and finally went online to Amazon and did a search of 'faux grass' and came up with these. Pretty simple, clean, and hopefully that little bird will be okay, in spite of being smaller than a cantaloupe. I'm calling it done.
We're doing a bit of this too. Dragging out buckets of paint and touching up here and there. Taking stuff off walls and patching the holes. When we move from here I am literally throwing away ALL paint supplies. No more painting! Seriously done with it.
We've still got a ways to go, but we've also got a plan (that, 'fail to plan, plan to fail thing). Two rooms a day set right, and we should make it to the listing date. Yesterday we put the office to rights, sold two of the bookcases we won't need at the new house, and today I'm selling all the extra wooden chairs and a dining room rug. No rugs! The stager says rugs on floors (see quote at bottom re rugs) tell a buyer there's something wrong with the carpet, and since we're changing color schemes for the first time in 35 years, they're out the door later today. Online garage sales are the best thing since sliced bread, and I expect both to sell quickly. Next week, after all this is done we'll have housecleaners come in and attack the house top to bottom, then carpet cleaners will come in and deal with the playdoh stuck to the playroom carpet, the spot where the blue snow cone spilled, and any little spots where Lily told us she wasn't pleased we left her at home all by herself. So glad I managed to get a sensitive dog...
On a cheerier note, I finished reading all three of Susan Branch's autobiographies, and moved on to a library copy of a book she recommended. Book of Stillmeadow by Gladys Taber. Written in 1948 by a woman who bought an old, ramshackle house in Connecticut and carved out a life - it sounded somewhat dry, but oh my! Just pages into it I was turning the pages dog ear to go back and reread quotes, or write them down in my journal. Within one chapter I knew I had to either steal the library's copy or buy my own. It was one of those books. So I looked on Amazon and the book is no longer in production. I could buy a used copy, ranging from $35 to well over $100!!!!
I am a lover of books. I'd rather have a book than a new pair of shoes, or a purse, or dinner out, but that's pretty steep, even for me. So I decided I would just enjoy reading this copy from the library and be done with it. Went back to reading it, and within a few pages I climbed out of bed and went to Amazon and ordered a 'used good' copy for $42. A good chunk of my monthly allowance, but it's that wonderful. If Gladys was alive today I'd encourage her to run for President or at least some political office, and I'd have have have to meet her. The book cost me dinner for two at Applebees with a glass of something white and chilled for each. Or a gel pedicure. Or one tube of my makeup. Dinner would last under two hours, the pedicure would last a matter of weeks, and the book will be mine forever. If you can get a copy from your library, read it. Such wonderfulness! Then you can decide how you want to spend your own allowance, but don't be surprised if you choose as I did. I do understand she has a few more books but I'm scared to even check them out... I may end up putting them on my Christmas wish list, and according to Hobby Lobby Christmas is just around the corner!
Other than that, I've been making homemade strawberry shortcake (a must have for summer), knitting dishcloths because they're mindless and it's too hot to think any more than necessary, but knitting makes my hands happy. I've also been teaching the grandkids to do poolside shallow dives. I sooooo love the look on their faces as they try to enter the water face first. Heads down, elbows over ears, knees bent, tush out, and at the very last second they pull their head up and skim face first across the water. Oh, but it's hard to be brave! When you're little and sometimes when you're big.
Speaking of rugs, here's a quote from Gladys to enjoy:
My very best Oriental in the living room has lost most of its fringe, and the edges are scalloped. Star's first litter was born on it. She didn't like her box. The babies grew up digging at the rug, chewing it, wetting on it. Now I like that old rug better than any new one. Those were our first cocker babies, and I was so incredibly happy. I like to look at the old rug and see in memory those puppies tumbling across the pattern and wobbling up to me with their mouths full of fringe.
When a visiting friend said in distress, 'Oh, why don't you put down a grass rug and save this?" I asked, 'Save it for what? I'm living here now." page 50 of Book of Stillmeadow
There you go - 'save it for what? I'm living here now!"