carolinainmymind

can't you see the sunshine….

Feathering the Nest

When I tell the story about moving back to the US from Italy, one of the things that people always realize and comment on is “Oh, I guess you had to buy a car.”  A few folks will say “Oh, and furniture too.”  I guess the others think that we moved furniture…. Well we didn’t.  And we didn’t store that much.  Fortunately, our condo is so small we don’t need much.

From our experience where we rented I knew we needed a piece of furniture that could act as counterspace in the kitchen and table space for meals.   We looked online at free-standing islands, tables with storage, just about every configuration/name we could think of.  To me most of them looked exactly like what would be seen in any American kitchen.  I just couldn’t cope.  The only one I came close to liking was at Williams and Sonoma and was custom-built.  And they custom built the price too.  Then I hoped to get some one to build one for us but gave up on that idea too.  So good old DIY was the answer.

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Capital City Lumber to the rescue.  And these really cool moulded plastic forms.

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These forms allow someone to build shelves with straight cuts, no angles, no need to ‘toenail’ which can be hard if you don’t have a lot of DYI skills.  When we moved in, our friend Pat put this together for me.  As a temporary measure we used a door on top.

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When Wayne (the man who made my Murphy Bed) came over to talk about the bed I realized he was probably just the man to make the table top.  So we talked about it.  And he agreed.  When he delivered the bed, he took away the table base.  For a few weeks our door/table balanced on top of big plastic tubs and we got by.  I was very excited when Wayne returned with the table top.

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Wayne followed the measurements that I wanted.  The table is 5′ by 4′.  The counter top part, what we use most of the time is almost 3′.  He had just the hinges to mount the other part which is now a leaf that folds down.  And is down most of the time.

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Here’s what it looks like open.  We can comfortably seat 6.  8 in a pinch.  So the first weekend in November we had Pat (the clever man who put it together in the first place) and Debby over for ‘Duckappaloosa!’.   And the table worked very well.

I am ready now to declare the ground floor more or less done.  We have all the pieces of furniture that we need down here.  Pictures are hung.  The tops of two pieces of furniture are covered with things.  A few hours of focus and channeling Marie Kondo will fix that.  There are some projects that still need to be done.  They have always been on the ‘winter projects’ schedule.  I’ll get to them.  In a few weeks I’ll try to get to a before and after post.  We are very lucky that it has turned out so well.

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Oh Marie,

Regular readers might remember last winter when we first arrived in the US, I went to a thrift shop in Ocean City, NJ and bought a few second hand books to amuse my self with until I could get to my favorite Wake County Public library, Cameron Village.  One of the books I bought was written by the clean up expert, Marie Kondo.    And you might remember that I have written about My Ben and his NEED to keep every thing.  I mean EVERY THING!

So I opened a tote this week and there were the books I had bought in OCNJ.  Some I have read, like Marie Kondo’s book and some I have not read.  I made two stacks, resolving that I have to finish the unread ones before I can get more books from any of the series that I am reading.  And since we just really don’t have room for stacks of books, the completed books need to find a new home.

My Ben and I have been going to a City of Raleigh ‘Active Adults’ center for an exercise class and a music therapy class.  In the lobby of the center is a basket of books that folks bring in to give away.  So I decided to drop off our books.  Today, we arrived for our class.   I got Ben in his wheel chair, put the books in his lap, wheeled him in and went back out to move the car.  Coming back in, Ben immediately says in what passes for his hurt/indignant/angry voice, “Why didn’t you let me see this book?” gesturing with the Marie Kondo book.  I took a step back, fearing that the Gods of Order, Disorder or Irony, any or all of them, might shoot down a bolt of lightning.   It really took a good bit of self control not to fall over laughing or lash out with some sarcasm.  I just smiled and said if you want to keep it that’s fine and removed the other books to the basket as quickly as I could.

So now Marie Kondo has made it back in to our condo.  Beside Ben’s chair where his library book has been sitting for several weeks now.  I’ll give her a few more weeks and then try to slip her out again.  She is just going to have to do her part and fall open to a page that says “PASS ME ALONG TO SOMEONE ELSE!”

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Lawd, Have Mercy! Marie Kondo help me now!

When we were in Italy, I had a vague idea of who Marie Kondo was.  For those who don’t know, she is a Japanese woman (definitely OCD) who wrote the book,  ” the life changing magic of tidying up”.  Any way, when we were in Ocean City, NJ I bought her book from a charity shop and began to read it.  It has some valid points and is motivational.  And I know that we need to get rid of more than we already have gotten rid of.  And that I need to become a curator, “a keeper or custodian of a museum or other collection”.  When we finally unpack; our lives, what we inherited from our parents, grand parents will all be housed in about 800 square feet.  If anyone needs Marie Kondo it is us.  And I will need to get it down to a manageable amount.

So what have we done this week.  Our first full week in Raleigh.  Monday was still icy and I was still unpacking.  Fortunately this rental has a large closet that was completely empty with hangers too.

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I have completely and totally filled it.  Most of Ben’s clothes are unpacked.  Only my winter clothes are unpacked.  (MARIE!!!!!!!)

Tuesday  we had a visit from Ben’s physical therapist.  To assess  him.  Ben had a doctor’s appointment scheduled but I had to cancel it because I couldn’t be sure that I would be able to get him safely to the car. It warmed up nicely on Tuesday and by late afternoon we were able to venture out.   We managed to make it to Bed Bath & Beyond and found a ‘wedge’ pillow  to raise Ben’s legs at night and a ‘boyfriend’ pillow for me to use on the whoop dee doo Italian leather couch which is so large that I could sleep on it, but sitting on it is sooo uncomfortable.  And to Walmart to finally buy a printer.  Then we met our friend Cathy for Asian food.  Back home, trying to watch a basketball game and trying to set up the printer was most difficult.  Finally, Ben figured it out and got it working but he has no idea how he did it.  A backlog of printing followed.

Wednesday was a trip to Oxford to see our friends Jim and BK.  Ben had seen them briefly last week while I was confabbing with the credit union lady about financing the remodel of our condo. So this was the first time I had seen them.  We had a nice long visit at the BoJangles in Oxford.  Can’t go  wrong meetin’ at the Bo!

Thursday was another meeting with the credit union and Ben’s first session with his physical therapist.  And we managed to squeeze in a trip to Raleigh’s Farmers’ Market for lunch and a little bit of shopping at Imports at the Market.  There is only one garbage can in our rental place so I thought a few nice flower pots (on sale because it is winter) would work as trash cans for now and nice flower pots for later.

Friday came along, another glorious day.   After the first of the week when a bottle of water in the car froze completely solid, we were back to 70 degrees (21 C).  Go figure.  We hustled over to Pullen Park so that Ben could take a shower in the family, handicapped bathroom and then back to meet our contractor, Reid from Original Space .  http://www.originalspace.com/.   We had a good talk with him and looking forward to working with him.

And now today, a visit to the medical supply store to order some of the things the physical therapist thinks will make it easier for Ben and me too.  We rented a storage space so that we were able to empty all the empty suitcases out of the rental car and we will have some place to store all the suitcases which are hanging out in a storage space in NJ once we collect them.  And a visit to Pier One where I found melamine plates on sale.  I am not complaining, but the four large square plates that we have to use here each weight about 16 ounces before any food gets on them.  I can barely pick them up.  I am terrified of chipping them when using or washing them (no dishwasher).  Something needed to be done.  The news ones were greatly reduced in price and weight.  We’ll see how well they hold up.

So that was this week.  I made it through the whole week without crying.  And I have a list of things I like

  • Therapists that come to the house
  • Grocery stores that are open 24 hours.  Other stores that are open everyday all day long
  • A CVS Pharmacy that is more of a 7-11 for students and has so little drug dispensing business that the pharmacist is able to take all the time in the world and chat with me
  • Meal Deals at grocery stores… The Fresh Market offered for $15, a 2 lb meat loaf, a box of risotto mix, a bunch of asparagus tips and a pound cake.  There is no way I could have bought the raw ingredients and made all that for $15
  • Apple TV,  now that we have figured it out (and gotten the EVIL little remote to work) and gotten a cable logon from our friends we are watching all kinds of things
  • Folks who come and chip the ice off of the walks and clear away the snow
  • Being so close to shopping that I really should walk instead of driving
  • seeing so many folks walking around all the time
  • living in Cameron Village

Things I don’t like

  • Oh my, the ads, the consumerism, “BUY THIS”  “EAT HERE”  “DO YOU HAVE THESE SYMPTOMS?  TRY THIS DRUG BUT DON’T TAKE IT IF YOU HAVE EVER SNEEZED OR LOOKED CROSSEYED AT YOUR MOMMA”
  • The big cars.  I saw one today that had a vanity plate that said ‘family of 4’ but could have easily carried around 8 people
  • The crappy local newspaper.  The Raleigh News and Observer used to be a good paper.  To me it now seems as if it is very locavore.  The local nightly news is that way too.  It is no wonder that no one here seems to care about folks in Syria or any where else in the world.  If a bomb didn’t go off since the last news cycle no one seems to know about anything else unless they make a real effort to be informed.  We miss the BBC.  We miss knowing what is going on elsewhere in the world
  • Packaging!  I can not believe how hard it is to get some of these packages open.  Really!  And the Tide  (laundry soap) package where you had to fit some little bit back in before it would zip shut.  Get over that.  Fair Warning!  If you bring a child in to this condo there is a package of laundry soap that is not sealed up tighter than Ft Knox sitting on a shelf behind a closed door that your child might sniff out like a bloodhound and chomp down on.
  • The total obsession with fame and stardom and who are some of these people…what have they ever done?  Why should I care?  And why are there so many programs on TV  reporting their every move…

 

So I almost forgot the best part.  I told my cousin that I was reading Marie Kondo.  Now my cousin has a lot of things.  All very neatly kept.  All very clean.  All rotated by season.  I am not criticizing.  She has a lot, but she uses and enjoys these things.  She is also one of the nicest, sweetest people you would ever want to meet.  Truly nice.  When she heard I was reading Marie, the remark was “Yeah. I follow her blog.  She has gotten married.  She has a child now.  Let’s see how ‘tidy’ she keeps things now”  And there was just the tiniest little hint of malevolent glee.  Too bad there isn’t an Access Tokyo that would tell us when Marie Kondo looses it because her child did not put a toy back in its place.

 

I’ll end with a picture of flowers I bought in the grocery the first week we were here that still look great and the going away card from Howard and Margaret and a Christmas card or two.

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