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November 19, 2009

Behind the scenes at the messatorium

I got a great email yesterday from reader Ellen talking about the pictures I posted yesterday of my living room:

Thanks for writing about having friends over before your new place is perfect. I'm dealing right now with the anxiety of having invited people from the three knitting groups I participate in to come to my "new" condo to do their stealth knitting in just two weeks.

It will be the second party I've had. The first was in the spring right after I bought the place, when it was unfurnished except for a dining table and chairs left by the previous owner's real estate agent. People brought their own chairs, looked the place over and knitted, talked and ate and drank.

I felt like the "before" party went well because expectations were so low. Now I'm getting to be apprehensive about the "after" party because I feel like I've been here long enough that the place should be perfect -- or at least not still have boxes in plain view in the dining room, office and craft/guest room. Worse yet, I'm retired so I think people expect me to have everything in place by now!

So now I'm trying to figure out how to tidy up, decorate for Christmas and still keep all my giftmas knitting on target. Having you write that you're only 50% done makes me feel better about the 15% or so that I have left to do to "finish" dealing with the move. Thanks! And I'm looking forward to the new book.

--Ellen


Thanks for the note! Boy do I understand your anxiety. Even though Jen and Amber are two of my closest friends and they have seen me in all sorts of messiness through the years, just the thought of having people over to my new place stressed me out because up until about a week before they came over the downstairs looked like this:

sept21-2009-livingroom.jpg

sept21-2009-livingroom2.jpg

Yeah. I won't even tell you about the upstairs, what a wreck!

Inviting my friends over was the impetus I needed to get off my duff and just get it together, at least downstairs. Nothing gets you motivated like having company! My biggest problem was that I kept unpacking boxes but didn't have designated places for all the stuff and it just piled up everywhere. At one point I got so frustrated trying to clear every corner of the whole downstairs bit by but that I took every single piece of clutter -- every item off every table and countertop and from every open-top box -- and I dumped it all in one place, the living room floor:

Nov182009-piles.jpg

With everything in one area I was able to sit down and just methodically sort it pile by pile. It took the better part of a whole evening to make a dent in it, but it worked. Now it's relatively clutter free:

Nov182009-pretty.jpg

So the downstairs of my apartment is fairly done up, although I do have a big pile of art that has yet to make it on the walls and I still haven't figured out any way to gussy up the treadmill area and I haven't hung curtains because I don't have a tall enough ladder and I need to borrow one from the apartment manager. Blah blah blah. But you know what? My guests didn't seem to mind one bit.

I don't think my home ever gets to the "completely totally finished!" portion of the decorating adventure. There is always cat hair to vacuum up, there are always projects I want to do but haven't yet found the time to work on. For example, I want to re-cover the cat scratcher in new carpet, I want to paint the big empty canvas propped up against the wall, I want to actually use the rooftop patio but it needs a lot of cleaning and work to make it useful. I want to finish getting my books organized upstairs, I need to figure out the mad mess in the office closets, I need to hang pictures. It just takes time. I don't think we ever really finish, because if we did then we'd be either bored or croaked. For me, the most important thing is to keep the kitchen and bathrooms clean and to try to keep the clutter level down to a manageable amount. Everything else is just a work in progress.

sobastairs.jpg
The best objet d'art is a cat.

Posted by laurie at November 19, 2009 10:35 AM