Normally I like to write before noon, but today I spent some time hanging out on the couch before the girls left for school. I've been on a big design and decorating kick lately. Last night my oldest helped me put together a plan for a proposed teen hangout room down in our basement. I took some rough measurements while they were at school and determined that we could probably give the girls a 20 x 13 area. My in-laws have a very nice pale gold couch that I think is perfectly hideous despite the original price tag. It's sitting in their basement and I'm sure they would let us have it, but I'm going to think about this since putting an expensive piece of furniture down in the basement for kids to watch movies and spill drinks on may not be what my in-laws would wish to be done with this piece.
Last time I was at the library I found a book called Furnishing Forward by Shelia Bridges. At first I didn't care for it, but when I sat down last night, it spoke to me in a way it hadn't previously. I read the rest of it this morning and have a new appreciation for what I didn't before. While there were things I didn't like about the book, it was well suited to my particular plight in several ways. She discussed finding your style early on, I've struggled with this before, and she's been the first person who has spelled things out so clearly for me. Last night I thought I crossed into other categories, today I realize that while I may want to embrace simplicity, I am more of an eclectic and will probably be much happier moving forward if I stop trying to squeeze myself into the simple box.
Another book I started, but couldn't finish was the Wills And Estate Planning For Dummies. I wrote down my name, the people in my immediate family and a (short) list of my assets before I had to set it aside. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with the emotional impact of assignments I need a mental health break. I'm further along than I was before which makes me pleased with my progress in this area. It's not as bad as I thought it was going to be and makes me feel so much better about the future. The costs of not having a will are so much greater than I realized earlier. Before I started this book I didn't stop to think about what would happen to assets like stocks that are in my name alone that I intend to gift to my children upon my death.
Like a lot of things, once I got into it I was better off than I was while I was trapped in the anxiety of procrastination. I once read, or heard, that procrastiation was usually a result of not knowing what to do which is different than sheer laziness. This book isn't my favorite, but it gave me an idea of what I needed to do in order to get my estate such as it is in better order. When I asked my sister about a will she said that she was going to do one when she's forty. Having just read about the perils, hazards, and costs associated with someone dying intestate I tried to counter, but she overrode me and I could tell I wasn't going to get any further with the conversation. She said she didn't want to keep updating her will, and that kind of surprised me since she tends to be more practical and see the value of this type of thing.
The other day I found a dining room table and chairs, two sets actually, that I thought would work for us. The first one I decided not to buy. The second one had an offer ahead of me and I'm kind of frustrated that the seller didn't tell me there was already an offer on the set since she could have when I said I was interested. Craigslist is hard for me. I find things that I like or want and try to sell things that I need to get rid of and end up resenting both buyers and sellers. I'm not really sure what the root of this is since I have had good experiences there, but for the most part the interactions are not what I wish they would be. It seems like an idea that works well in theory without the execution I would prefer.
Today my daughter sat on the couch and told me that she had won a computer on eBay. As the story progressed I learned that she had bid on an ancient laptop and is planning on using her own money to buy a 2010 Apple product. While it's tempting to yell at her and I will talk to her more about online purchases, we're going to let her buy this thing and she what she ends up with as far as functionality goes. I don't think that this is a wise use of her money, but it is hers, and I hated it when my parents told me I couldn't spend my money the way that I wanted to when I had earned it or it had been given to me. My daughter has never had a job, I would like for there to be more ways for her to make money, it's a conversation and an opportunity that I need to think about, research, and probably get some outside help and advice before I proceed.
The paper drawings probably won't materialize, but I feel better for having put them together. My husband wanted me to use my computer and lay out floor plans using software he installed. While I can see the benefits of his system, that's not as fun for me as it is to get out a pen, paper, and a ruler while I lay things out even if my drawings are not to scale which probably bothers him. The Furnishing Forward book identified him as preferring the Modern style. I'm a fan of minimalism, but Modernity as a style has never appealed to me outside of an art museum where I can see it for a set period of time, and move along. Modern tends to feel clinical and unnatural to me while minimalism emphasizes the things I need, want, and love without the excesses of certain other styles.
Neither of us like the Country Style. I think my youngest is Simple and my oldest is Casual and Comfortable. She doesn't really care what furniture looks like or where it's at as long as she can flop down on it. Having these modifiers helps me when I'm looking at our house, the condo, and wondering what we can do to incorporate elements of design into spaces that we use as well as those that are not serving us at the current time. My oldest daughter wants bean bag chairs in her teen hang out. I hate them because we once took one apart when I was in high school and spent subsequent hours cleaning up tiny styrofoam beads. Bean bag chairs aren't my thing, but maybe we can compromise and see how long something like that lasts in a room where teens hang out.
When I was talking to my sister I asked if she thought it made more sense to divide my basement into front and back or left and right. She made the North, South, East, West distinction which isn't the way I was thinking so then I had to sit and figure out which walls ran which way and what direction they faced. I think I have enough space down there for a teen room, a project area where I can repot a plant or paint something small, storage, laundry, and we're hoping we can fit a ping pong table down there, but it may not work with the other things we would like to accomplish. I'd also like some workout space even though I haven't used the space that I set aside for working out although to be fair to me, it needs some heavy duty cleaning first.
I'm excited about the possibilities and hoping that drawing things out and making lists, neither of these things are natural habits of mine, are going to help others visualize what I'm seeing. It also helps me get an idea for what can be done and how things flow and it's really hard for me to switch gears when others come along and suggest other ideas. For some reason I can easily sketch out what I think would work, but they change elements or where the space would go such as down in the basement, then it's almost like I've lost this skill. I can only see what I can see, and it's not like I think that my ideas are the best or the only ones (okay, sometimes I do think that), but I also believe in flexibility and not dying on an imaginary cross as a martyr to my version of a finished teen room or lower level of the condo.
To switch gears for a moment, I was followed by a real estate account down in Florida on Twitter. For a moment I was kind of annoyed since real estate accounts do not have a good reputation and I've known realtors who continually remind you that they are available should you find yourself in need of their services. Imagine my delight when I found a link to an article on a weekend getaway box that a group of Germans constructed. I also found an educational and timely post on painting your kitchen cabinets which is another thing that's been on my list for a while now. Not long ago a design magazine followed me and I was curious about that since I primarily attract baseball enthusiasts. I asked if they were following the real estate company, they did after I introduced them, and they made a comment that I would like to share.
I see a lot of professional and corporate accounts that don't really understand how to use Twitter so it becomes an asset instead of their social media liability. Some people do this too, and I was trying to explain to the real estate company what I saw them doing that was different in a series of tweets. After struggling to describe what I thought that they were doing, the magazine account tweeted that many use Twitter to broadcast instead of interacting. In fewer than 140 charaacters they had hit upon the problem while offering a solution. I love Twitter for precisely that reason. It shows me what I'm interested in and attracting at any given moment and gives me an option to tag along with an account that attracts me. I had reservations about following a magazine that I thought was going to drop me not long after they followed.
They don't favorite or RT or comment on my tweets so I wonder why they're following me and what value they're receiving from my feed. They aren't following others indiscriminately and from the tweets they post I get a feeling that I was deliberately followed. What continually amazes me about Twitter is how you can appear online. I don't know much about decorating or design, but it's something I'm interested in, I don't know why they would be following someone who is not an expert in the field who has my limitations. I feel like a little kid showing their parent a crayon scribble, and instead of the parents dismissing it, they encourage me and hug me. Online relationships of this sort are so complicated to me.
I have a handful of accounts that fall into this category. For whatever reason we started following each other and we've never let go. Through the months, days, weeks, or years, we've strengthened what was once the pressing of a follow button and turned it into something that I don't believe either of us could ever have anticipated. It's humbling to have people like this in my life as I tend to view commercial accounts with a jaundiced eye. Quick Twitter update, a more traditional real estate company followed me, I checked their feed and found the same tone that is so off putting in other accounts I don't follow back. In the past I fell into the trap of reinventing myself once I gained a follower that I admired and thought that I could respect.
As I've grown, I've found that people are much more sophisticated and broader than I imagined them to be. I was narrowing them in their head thinking that baseball people want baseball tweets and design accounts wanted more of the same. I hope I don't forget the day that a baseball coach said that he enjoyed my art tweets, I used to follow someone who posted too many works of art without enough variety for my taste. Since I don't know why people are following me, and I do know that there was something about me that drew them in so to speak, the best thing I can do is just tweet what I want and when I want without worrying about whether people are going to unfollow me. I find people are more loyal than I've given them credit for and this probably speaks volumes about my self esteem. Anyone can have a bad day or get diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder or melt down and become depressed.
Another thing I've stopped doing is trying to integrate areas of my life. I no longer post links to my writeups on Twitter and I don't think I've told anyone on Twitter about E2 since my friend joined and people were in the catbox talking about him so he logged off and never returned. Neither Twitter nor E2 are for everyone, but I felt badly that his initial experience was unpleasant when it really should not have been. Apparently writing here, tweeting, and fiction are three separate parts of my life that may come together in an unexpected manner someday, but I'm no longer going to try to force the issue. Abrupt subject change coming up since this just popped into my head. I kind of want to go to design school. I don't know if I will, but I've been reading books and gotten really interested in this recently.
I would love to learn more and help other people overcome some of the challenges they have with their living spaces. Oddly enough, my footwear training has laid a unique foundation that I wouldn't have guessed would be relevant here. There's a protocol I follow when I work with people. First I look at their foot and what they have as far as footwear goes. Then I ask what they're trying to do, we find socks either together or independently, and then we move on to outer wear like shoes and boots. While I'm not a feng shui master, I can see that first functionality needs to be addressed. A beautiful yet inefficient house will deprive its owners of some of the comfort and relaxed tranquility they could be experiencing.
Like footwear, decorating and design is a lot of behind the scenes grunt work that is often overlooked and unappreciated. But I am a superb motivator and I'm not afraid to go into a garage, take everything out, determine what is needed, and devise a plan for better storage, efficiency, and organization. I'm also a person who sees the big picture, who can add order to chaos, and I will work with what people have before spending a penny on anything. I've done several rooms in my own home without spending any or very minimal amounts of money. Some people want to add to what they have when it's been my experience that most need to start with subtracting things they no longer want or need that have outlived their purposefulness. I still have to think about this, but I'm sure that there's a way to bring my skill set into the marketplace even if I'm more of an organizational strategist to start.
The other day I bought a quilt at Target. I'm going to take it back even though we like it and it works. There are other things I want to do more and part of being me is trying new things, and accepting that I have to bring home a quilt and see it on a bed before I know for sure that it will work. I can always get this quilt, but I can't get some of the other things I want as easily so the quilt has to go back for now. People in my family can't understand that mentality, but it works for me. I'm going to trade the quilt in for a burlap board and an aquatic something or other that I want to hang on the wall in my kitchen. It's another thing that I need to see in person in my home before I can say whether it works or not. This family desparately needs paperwork control and the burlap panel has pockets and attempts to be decorative.
It's over priced, but it might fill the need and then it would not be as overpriced. I'm sure that someone who is crafty and handy could take burlap, stretch it out on a frame, create two pockets, add a stripe and have the exact same thing that Target is selling for thirty dollars. I don't want to mess around with tracking down burlap, finding a frame, making a mess cutting it apart and going to a craft store for the supplies that I would need and having to deal with the remnants of a project that won't turn out as well as the Target version. I know this about myself and being true to myself means not messing around with things that will only exasperate and frustrate me. At some point in time I would like to be able to do this kind of thing, but I can only take on so many areas of life improvement at a time, and today isn't looking good since I'm still in my pajamas.
P.S. I don't want to end on that note, but I have to get going or I'll be late picking the girls up from school and that will never do.