Sharing My World 81

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Baby sister and me at picnic grounds, random uncle in background, and some very cool cars.

Share Your World – May 28, 2018

If you were to pack a basket for a picnic lunch, what would be in your basket?

I have the fondest memories of our Sunday family picnics in a little park beside the beach in Port Elgin.  There were always various aunts and uncles and cousins from my dad’s side of the family, the heady scent of cedar in the hot sun, and picnic tables that the men would round up until there were enough to seat everyone.  There were paper table cloths and paper plates, plastic cups and cutlery, wasps, ants, screeching sea gulls, and so much food we always ended up having to decide who would take what home with them.  Because how boring to take what you brought and how fun to exchange things.  And fight over Aunt Marie’s brownies topped with melted marshmallows and chocolate icing.  Well, maybe that never happened because I can’t imagine there being any of those left.

Something that did happen every picnic day without fail was having the adults warn their children that swimming was absolutely forbidden until two hours after eating. Because to do so meant you would probably get cramps and die.  And the adults would have their after meal chat time seriously reduced too. That bit would be equally tragic.

I do not remember ever having much to do with the picnic food prep, which likely explains my picnic nostalgia.  White bread sandwiches cut in little triangles and jello salads and potato salads and desserts all just magically appeared.  And there was always Freshie.  That’s a Canadian thing from the 1950’s and beyond, an add-your-own-sugar drink mix, in kid flavours called orange, yellow, purple and red.  Purple was the best.

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At this point in my life I have a hard time figuring out what the point of a picnic is when it’s just so much easier to stay home where there is less pollen and fewer bugs.  But if I was forced at gun point to pack for one, I’d fill the basket with potato salad and plastic forks.  And hope somebody else remembers to bring the Freshie.

On a vacation what do you require in any place that you sleep?

A decent mattress, clean sheets, air conditioning, a great shower, towels larger than postage stamps and internet access.  As far as I know there are none of these things in a tent.  Oh, and lots of body lotion.  Some places are very chintzy with the body lotion.  I bring my own, but still, you know, free stuff.

If you were to buy a new house/apartment what are the top three items on your wish list?

Funny you should ask because I have been watching design challenges and home purchasing shows and small home documentaries.  It is completely bizarre to me how much space some people think they need.  One woman wanted an extra room just to store her shoes.  Think about why you need such a ridiculous amount of storage space and then get rid of half your crap.  Plus, seriously, if you are one person with four bathrooms, what is going on in that little head of yours?  And more importantly, who is keeping them all clean while you’re out working your ass off to pay your mortgage?

Top three items on my list:  two bedrooms, big shower, no stairs.  The rest of the list?   Kitchen with stools and a counter you can eat at, open to living area, a little patio or balcony, no grass to cut.  A den or office area would be a nice bonus for books and art paraphernalia but if that stuff can fit in the bedrooms, even better.  Something small and easy to keep clean.  If I want to entertain I will rent a hall.  Or take you out to a restaurant.  If you get really drunk and can’t drive home, you can sleep on my floor.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?

Last summer it would often take me a couple of days to cut the grass, doing the back one day and the front the next.  I’ve done it twice now, front and back easily in a morning, no problem. So I guess those 15 minute senior workouts are doing their magic.  I also found a video that takes you on a mile long walk (1.609 km in Canada) without leaving your home.  So, great for rainy, heavy pollen, or crazy hot days. The ‘walk’ incorporates side to side and back and forth steps, arm and knee raises, kicks, twists, and generally a lot of antics that if you did them out and about in your neighbourhood would draw a lot of attention to yourself.

After all these hot days, last night we had our first real thunder-storm of the season. It was short but lovely.  There’s something about the delightful smell of a rain storm that always makes me smile.   That, plus the fact that if you had a picnic planned you’d have to call it off and eat at your kitchen counter instead.

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Dear House

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Ever felt like writing a thank you letter to something you take for granted?  I mean without someone prompting you to do it?  Nope, me neither. (Because, duh, taking it for granted….)

Well this is not how I wanted to start a letter to my house, so let’s begin again.

Just like I don’t understand the need for ridiculous extravagance when you marry somebody, I don’t get it when it comes to building yourself a crazy-ass mansion to live in, with thousands of square feet that you love to look at and admire but rarely use.  There are many people in my life who have gorgeous new homes, or homes that are old but have been renovated to look like gorgeous new homes.  This is obviously important to them and makes them happy and that’s all good.  My house is not new, not renovated, and not gorgeous.  And that’s okay.

Dear House,

Hello.  Just wanted to let you know I love and appreciate you and I’m sorry for taking twenty-eight years to tell you this.

I don’t know how you felt about your builders way back in 1973,  or your first owners or your second.   But I’m pretty sure you loved us when we moved in all those years ago, right?  Because three’s a charm.  We were lucky to find you at a great price, and thankful that you didn’t need too many changes right away.  However, we wasted no time taking down those gawd-awful green drapes in your living room and getting rid of the brown leafy wall paper, a crappy carpet in one of your bedrooms and your ugly kitchen linoleum.  You’re welcome.  Eventually we got around to painting everywhere.  I hope you like the colors.  Or should I just say I hope you love yellow.  We promised you we would finish the unfinished room in the basement and put in another bathroom downstairs.

Yes, I know you’re still waiting.  But your attic needed new insulation, and your roof now has excellent shingles, and there’s the new kitchen counter and the beautiful new floor that looks like real wood and a new furnace to keep us both warm.  We do try to keep you clean and presentable.  Maybe gorgeous just isn’t in the cards for us.

Hey, we could have abandoned you and moved on and let somebody new fix you up properly, and that’s still a possibility for some bright day in the future.   I know I’ve used it as an excuse to delay the things that should be done, saying ‘what’s the point, whoever buys this house will probably change it anyway.’

Did that scare you, hearing me say it all the time?  I’m sure it’s gotten so old and repetitive now that you don’t pay attention to it anymore.

We no longer need the unfinished room to be finished, and the time when we really needed that extra bathroom has come and gone.  I AM promising you a renovated main bathroom before we leave,  because I think both of us are just completely sick and tired of purple in that seventies style.  A few more years and it will be an amazing retro feature – except that bathroom fixtures (even annoyingly durable purple ones) don’t last forever.

And right now you are beautifully functional and you suit us just fine.  Every one of your rooms holds wonderful memories of growth and change.  I look at the little bedrooms and remember who used to occupy them and how those teenagers grew up and left home and came back and left again.  And then how they brought their own little people here so that we needed the unfinished room to morph into a playroom.  And the downstairs bedroom to accommodate two beds and mattresses on the floor and the library to double as a guest room.  One of these days we won’t need all that.  We won’t be able to so easily go up and down your stairs or shovel your driveway or paint your ceilings.  You will be too big for us, and you’ll start longing for another family to fill your rooms with noise and laughter.

Meanwhile, we will continue to love you and look after you in our hap-hazard fashion and appreciate you until the time is right to let you go.  I don’t think there will be any new red walls in your immediate future, and I am trying really hard to stop hanging strange things on the ones you already have.  You may not be gorgeous, but wow, you have character and you are able to hold an amazing amount of junk.   You are warm and cozy in the winter and bright and breezy in the summer.  We are blessed to have you.

Thank you house, for being our very fine house.

Sincerely,

Charming Owners Number Three

(who love their home, have dubious interior decorating skills, but very big hearts.)

What My Home Says About Me

Mostly it says “for the love of gawd could you please roll out that vacuum cleaner sometime this month? And blow some dust off all the knick-knacks and bric-a-brac?”

It also tells people that I am a theme junkie. I love all things African, although I have no idea why. Started off with the living room with masks and elephants, zebras and lions and animal prints, and that motif over-flowed into the master bedroom. I’d be perfectly happy letting it spread throughout the whole house.

The kitchen has a beach theme. Seagulls, sand, blue water, anchors, lighthouses, a little fisherman in yellow rain gear. The room that used to be the toyroom when the grandchildren were little is now a guest bedroom, but still sports a yellow and orange zoo-ish kind of statement with walls covered in tole paintings. There’s a lot of northern stuff in the rec room and another bedroom with a south western vibe.

Perhaps all of the above helps to explain why interior decorating was never my forte. I decorate with things I like and colors that make me happy. Elephant grass yellow, chille pepper red, black, burnt umber, purple rain.

I’m a Taurus in love with creature comforts. I hope my house is homey; soft and snug and safe. A place where you can come on over and relax. Or maybe dust off an elephant or two, if the mood hits you. I’d be perfectly fine with that.

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