Monday, January 26, 2015

Starter Stories: Less Is More

Back in my early 20s I used to deliver pizza for Domino's, and one of my favorite parts about it (aside from the free mistake pizzas and the great tips) was getting the chance to peek into people's living rooms.

Look, I'm just being honest here.  I'm a nosy, nosy person.  I'm usually discreet, but I find people watching (and, I guess, living room watching) endlessly fascinating.

Anyways, there's a company based out of New York called Urban Compass - it's a real estate platform which helps you find a place to rent, based on your personal tastes.

You know how you go on Craigslist and start searching for apartments in your budget, and then you Google the address, and then maybe use Street View to figure out what kind of area it's in?  And then you might narrow it down, but you still have to kind of drive around and get a feel for the area and waste a bunch of gas money trying to figure out if it's a good fit for you?

Well, it's like that, only someone else is doing all the annoying work.

Anyways, they're doing this thing right now called Starter Stories where people are sharing stories about their starter home - either their first home or the home that gave them a fresh start, and all the trials and tribulations and joys that go into renovating and decorating and whatnot.

All of this to say- dude.  It's like my old Domino's job - I get to gawk at people's living rooms and it's not even illegal.  

Score.

Anyways, after spending waaaaaaay too long looking up other people's stories I decided I wanted to participate too. This was gonna be so much fun!  I could spend a couple of days scrubbing the house till it shined, and then I would use the “good” camera to take the prettiest “after” pictures. 

Ooooh, maybe I could even create little side-by-side before-and-after photos!  I could use Photoshop to draw out the future projects so people could understand, and, and, and, and….

…and then The Plague hit our household. It’s been nine days since the first of us succumbed to the flu, but we’re still shuffling around in old robes and stained slippers and unwashed hair.

Welcome to the House of Bean, where we are definitely not bringing sexy back.

The problem with nine days of sickness is it looks like a tornado ripped through here, and I don't have any energy to begin cleaning up the devastation.  In fact, as I look around my house right now I realize… you know, the only project I have in mind to accomplish at any point in the foreseeable future is cleaning up the cat vomit in the laundry room. 

Before I go any further, I’d like to clear my good name.  Please don’t imagine I have spent the last few days looking at a pile of cat vomit every time I had to go in the laundry room.  That’s gross.  Even I have standards.

No, when I first saw the new pile of kitty puke I was so overwhelmed at the thought of one more chore on top of caring for a houseful of sick people that I nearly burst into tears.  I realized I just couldn’t, absolutely couldn’t handle one more thing….. so I grabbed a Tupperware bowl from the kitchen sink and plopped it upside-down over the pile of puke.

I mean, everyone knows that if you can’t see the vomit, it doesn’t actually exist, right? 

So, yeah.  I sat down to write a post about all the tribulations of renovating my house, and how I feel like this home is kind of a piece of me, and I was trying to create some kind of collage of my delightful, Pinterest-worthy house and all the projects we were doing …. 

And the only real thing on my household project list was cleaning up cat vomit.  Well, that and maybe throwing away the Tupperware bowl instead of washing it, because, I mean, EWW.

Martha Stewart, I am not.

The thing is, sick or not, unattended piles of cat vomit or not, I really do love my home.  It’s a quirky little place – and I still find myself kind of in awe that I'm an homeowner.  There’s something so deliciously grown-up feeling about inviting people to spend the night in our guest bedroom.  It makes me feel… I dunno.  Mature.  Responsible.  The kind of person you’d trust to water your plants when you go on vacation.



Note:  Please don’t hire me to kill your plants.


I love my house, and I understand how lucky I am to own my own home, especially in this economy.  So when I talk about stuff I want to change, please understand I’m not complaining.  I am lucky, I am blessed, and my life is amazing.

It’s just… my home was built in 1916.  That means it’s nearly 100 years old, and over the course of a hundred years, a lot of people have left their mark on it… and unfortunately, not all of the marks were for the better.

For instance:  There are four bedrooms upstairs.  FOUR.   Let that sink in for a moment.Okay, well, technically it’s three bedrooms, since the largest room doesn’t have a closet and can only be counted as a “bonus room” – but still.  There are FOUR BEDROOMS UPSTAIRS.

Why?  

WHY DID SOMEONE DECIDE TO CUT THE DOWNSTAIRS LIVING ROOM IN HALF TO CREATE A FIFTH BEDROOM DOWNSTAIRS?  

I mean, I guess I kind of understand.  All the bathrooms are downstairs, so if they wanted to flip the house quickly, being able to advertise the house as having a “master suite with a walk-in closet” made a lot of sense….

But still.  There are FOUR BEDROOMS UPSTAIRS, and now there is a fifth bedroom downstairs and only one tiny, itty-bitty living room downstairs.  

All of the bedrooms upstairs are pretty small, especially because of the sloped ceiling from the A-frame roof.  Sloped ceilings are gorgeous and cozy in photos, but they make furnishing a room really irritating.  You can’t have tall dressers, or big pictures on the walls, or even beds in the corner. 

Well, okay, you can put beds in the corner... specifically because it keeps kids from jumping on their beds.  Short ceilings aren't all that bad.




I don't have a lot of before pics of the upstairs bedroom - only the ones we got off the sale ad.  I'm sure they were going for "neutral" colors, but flesh-colored walls and flesh-colored ceilings made me hear "It puts the lotion on its skin" every time I went upstairs, so I repainted as soon as we moved in.







By doing a two-tone look on the walls made it seem bigger, especially with the little doorway thingie.  (You like my technical terms?) In reality, the ceiling is so short my three year old can't stand up on his bed without ducking.  





We are planning on buying the boys a short little Ikea bunk bed - once we do that I plan on redecorating their room with some kind of a theme.


In other words, it’s a Hobbit House.  We have second story full of tiny, cozy little hobbit caves, which sounds adorable, only nobody ever uses any of those Hobbit caves.  I mean, the kids do sleep in their bedroom, and occasionally we have an overnight guest, but still.  We have all of this square footage that sits empty, and some days it frustrates me.    

I even tried creating a little theater-style seating in the bonus room, hoping we could turn it into a “media room” where people would lounge and hang out and play video games, but to no avail.   I'm the only one who ever uses it.

On the other hand... checkout my kickass homemade theater seating.  I was originally going to paint the bottom white and line plywood in the little holes so we could use them as little pockets to stash stuff..... but I've changed my mind.  Instead, I'm going to cover the bottom with carpet so they look built-in.  The cushions are just old futons I got from garage sales and friends, and the sheets and pillows I grabbed at GoodWill.  Eventually I'm going to sew the sheets as covers, rather than just tucking them, and it'll look super fancy....

But man, I hate sewing almost more than I hate laundry.









I don't know about you, but I think I rock.  Who kicks butt decorating her house on her monthly budget of $0?

I do, that's who.

Anyways, I’d say 85% of our time is spent in itty-bitty living room, the other 10% is spent in the kitchen, and people only venture upstairs when it’s to sleep. I've pretty much given up trying to lure us upstairs, although... I dunno.  Maybe I could lay some Reese’s Pieces up the staircase and lure us up?  I mean, what’s the point of having a second story if nobody uses it?

Also, I’m pretty sure that last sentence is the most stuck-up, #FirstWorldProblems sentence I’ve ever written in my entire life.  The next thing you’ll know, I’m going to be flapping my hands about how uncomfortable my money mattress is, or how the help doesn’t prepare my nightly filet mignon to my standards.

It’s just…. Dude.  WHY DID THEY CUT MY LIVING ROOM IN HALF TO MAKE A FIFTH BEDROOM?   I WANT MY LIVING ROOM BACK.  Don’t  get me wrong, my bedroom is lovely.  It has gorgeous hardwood floors, and tons of floor space, and a giant walk-in closet, and a lovely attached full bath.

From a seller’s perspective, it was a brilliant move. 

From a practical perspective?  Unless one of us eats bad sushi, or has some other stomach bug which makes us grateful to have a bathroom only a few steps away…. I daydream almost daily about tearing that wall down and reclaiming that space.

I mean, think about it:  how much time you really spend in a bedroom, unless you’re a depressed teenager?  The answer is:  not much at all, unless you're asleep or, uh... you know.  "Folding Laundry" with the hubby.   I dream almost daily about going all Fried Green Tomatoes on that wall.






Confession:  I'll never actually do it.  I mean, like the idea of crazy renovation like that, but it just seems like so much work – and who wants to work that hard on a house when there are so many horses to ride, or new cities to visit, or books to read?   I mean, wasn't the whole point of moving to a small town in the Pacific Northwest to, you know, actually GET OUTSIDE?

I sure didn't move to St. Helens - a small town outside of Portland - so I could spend my time decorating and redecorating and re-redecorating my living room.  We moved here because - well, because it's GORGEOUS.




































St. Helens is a small town, full of friendly people, has an amazing laid-back vibe, and there are tons of fun little hole-in-the-wall businesses and gorgeous trails to explore.  If my living room feels too small - I dunno.  Maybe I it's a sign I need to spend less time in it.

Now, I don't want to make it seem like I'm against doing big projects on the house, or that renovation projects are bad.  I'm all for buying a house that needs a little work.  I fact, I have to say that some of the best money we’ve ever spent was the $1,000 we spent on our chain link fence.


Before


After: caged children are infinitely preferable to free-range children

One of the neat things about installing our fence is that I’ve met more than one person who admitted they thought about buying our house when it was still on the market, but ultimately passed on it because it didn’t "have a yard".

Best.  Money. Spent.  EVER.

Also, best front yard.  EVER.

Narnia.  I live in Narnia.  Well, Narnia in the spring/summer, and a mudhole in the winter, but who cares?  It's Narnia some of the year!

  
We have lots of plans for our house, and if I had an unlimited budget and the energy of a six year old, we'd probably have them all done by now.  After all, we're going on three years living in this house.   The reality is, though, we don't have an unlimited budget, nor do we have endless energy, so we have had to figure out which projects and purchases mean the most to us.

Would our living room look a million times more spacious with that gorgeous, soft grey, "L" shaped sectional I saw over at Fred Meyers?  Absolutely.

Would I end up eating my children or skinning my dogs when they inevitably tramped mud or spilled apple juice on it?  Absolutely.

So, fancy furniture will have to wait.  It's not worth the headache, you know?

I am, however, a big fan of painting.  It's amazing how much new paint can really change the feel of a room.  I especially love bright, happy colors.  Orange.  Red.  Yellow.  Maroon.  Teal.  The brighter they are, the happier they are.

The Bean?  The Bean's more of a black/white, and occasionally a nice, muted grey kind of a guy.

Sometimes I feel like we're literally living out Fool Rush In.  Have you seen that movie?  You know the scene when Salma Hayek's family comes and paints their boring, dull, ugly house all those happy colors for a wedding present?







This scene doesn't have the right effect on me.  I think the colors they chose for the house are goooooooorgeous.  Cognitively I understand I'm supposed to dislike the paint job, but my heart? My heart is in looooove.

This used to be a point of contention between The Bean and I, but somewhere  along the way we figured out the perfect compromise between The Bean's fascination with boring colors and my fascination with gaudy colors.  The Bean gets to pick the nice, mellow paint colors, and after we've made our house all boring neutral looking, I get to splatter the walls with happiness.



     


And honestly?  It looks a million times better this way.  I'm no interior design expert, but one thing I have learned is that bright things look less garish on sedately-painted walls.

Speaking of paint, I'm going to repaint the whole downstairs.  The current paint colors aren’t that bad, although the ceiling is painted a lovely “1980s smoke-stained yellow”.  One of the previous owners did start painting the ceiling white, and it looks great…. But I guess they got bored halfway through the project and gave up.






Of course, I can sympathize.


That painters tape has been on that wall for four months now.  I swear I"m going to finish painting the bottom half a nice shiny white by 2016.  For realsies. Also, fiiiiiine, Bean.  You were right.  I know I said I hated blue.... but you're right.  It really does make our bedroom look bright and pretty.
  
I’ve mentioned before, but I’m horrible at choosing paint colors, so I've pretty much abdicated that responsibility up to The Bean.  My only requirements are:

  1. It must be at least a shade or two brighter than the "flesh" colors that our house came with.  It really makes a difference on those grey, rainy days.
  2. It must be a scrubbable paint.  Whoever painted before us put flat paint on un-textured walls…. which means I can’t give my boys damp sponges and order them to scrub walls as punishment for bad behavior.  Washing the walls is my favorite punishment for bad behavior – it’s as boring as standing in the corner, but it actually accomplishes something useful.

Our new downstairs colors: Sedate, calming, flowing  
I can't wait to ruin them by hanging something delightfully tacky on the walls. 


I plan on attacking the downstairs with our new paint scheme some time in February. I actually put the project off last summer because I knew that by February I’m usually hungry for something bright and cheerful to look forward to, so a painting project will give me something to occupy my time while I wait around for longer days, warmer weather, and less mud.

In addition to the tiny projects we're doing to make our house nicer, we usually have one or two "big" projects we try to get done each year.  The first of this year's "big" projects was accomplished over Christmas break... which, I guess, technically makes it last year's project, but whatever.

We finally, FINALLY, ripped out the totally useless built-in.... uh....display case? Floating shelves?  Weird bookshelf area?  I have no idea what it actually was designed for - all I know is that the shelves didn't fit books, they didn't fit dishes, and  I constantly bumped my head on them.



Before (from listing photos)


During


After - it looks a bazillion times bigger.  We'll eventually pull out the top most shelves, but I don't feel like trying to match ceiling texture quite yet, so this is my compromise.

This house actually has less storage than my first studio apartment, so it may seem odd to remove shelves, but the Bean Family motto for 2015 is:


Less Is More


I mean it.  We are really trying to live that this year.  For instance:  You know how I'm always complaining about how much I hate doing laundry?  

Well... this year I did something about it.


I have a drawer of undergarments, a drawer of pajamas, and a small box of exercise clothes, and THAT IS IT.  Also, you're totally impressed by my photoshop skills, aren't you?


Do you have any idea how freeing it is to get rid of almost all your clothes?   I mean, I'm not exactly a fashionista, so why did I have a closet full of clothes?  How many different variations of slovenly did I really need taking up space?  And even if I do fit into my "skinny" clothes again.... if I really lose all that weight, doesn't that merit new clothes, and not clothes from half a decade ago?

My closet wasn't the only place I purged.  DragonMonkey is six years old.  Squid is three years old.   Did they really need 417 different types of t-shirts?

The answer is no.  No, they did not.


What's that, boys? You're out of clothes to wear? 
Well, let Mama do ALL OF THE LAUNDRY in one afternoon.


I don't know when exactly when my new mindset clicked, but it did.  Maybe it wasn't that our house didn't have enough storage.  Maybe it was just that we had too much stuff.  We are not a fancy family, hosting fancy dinner parties and scouring interior design magazines. I mean, there is literally a pile of cat puke under a tupperware bowl in my laundry room.  Fancy is not who I am, or who I strive to be, so how much crap do I really need?

So.... instead of renovating this house to fit my dreams, I think I'm kind of renovating my dreams to fit this house.  It's not that I'm giving up anything - I'm just altering the landscape as I remember the whole reason we chose St. Helens in the first place.  If clutter-free is important to me, maybe I don't need to dream of a house with better storage and better closets.  Maybe I just need to get rid of some crap.

In addition to getting rid of clutter, I'm trying to figure out how to make everything in my life actually useful.  For instance: my upstairs office is everything I dreamed it would be - clean, quiet, peaceful:


The walls are not as yellow as they show on the right - 
my cell phone's panorama mode and I are NOT friends


But if I never write in it because I don't actually like sitting at a desk and the chair hurts my bum, what's the point?  Who cares if a room looks "nice" if you never actually use it?

So sometime this summer I'll be selling the desk and will be scouting garage sales for an "ugly" but infinitely comfortable recliner.  Maybe I'll even find one of those fake fireplace heaters or, daydream of daydreams.... a LoveSac.  I had to sell my LoveSac when we moved here because it took up too much space in the moving van, and I'm still sad about it.

I actually would have already redecorated my office, but it’s off-season for decorating.  Garage sales are seasonal (due to the rain) here in the Pacific Northwest, and because of the lack of competition people on Craigslist charge exorbitant amounts for used furniture.   If you think I'm exaggerating, go check it out.  I once saw the world's UGLIEST used sofa going for $900 just because it was "vintage".

People - old and ugly does not mean it's vintage.  


You know, if I had the time and energy, I’d spend all summer picking up cheap furniture from garage sales, all fall/early winter painting,  refurbishing,  and reupholstering, and then make a pretty decent profit selling stuff on Craigslist during late winter/early spring, when prices are at their highest.

Buuuuuuut......I know I’m never going to do that.  I don’t have the energy for the stuff I already have on my to-do list, and there are already SO MANY PROJECTS we still want to do – amazing projects which will make living here a million times cooler.

We are going to punch a hole through the useless area at the foot of the stairs and frame in part of the laundry room and create a walk-in “L” shaped pantry.


My imaginary Pinterest pantry is sexier than your imaginary Pinterest pantry.

The fridge is currently just sitting in the laundry room – fridges are much bigger than you think, and it’s the only place it really fits (one of the joys of a century-old house.)  

Inside the pantry we are going to punch a hole in the wall so the back half of the fridge can sit in the pantry, while the front half can be easily accessible through the toy/breakfast nook area.  That's where they had the fridge when we bought the house, but it was so big it made the entire room unusable.  Besides, it stuck out, and eventually it was like looking at someone who has a giant whitehead  - all I could see was that giant pimple, err, fridge sticking out, so I eventually moved it to the laundry room. 

It's a nicer view from the living room: but I am really looking forward to not having to walk into the back of the house every time I want to get the milk.

Speaking of breakfast nooks, I can’t WAIT to build a breakfast nook instead of the catch-all playroom for the boys:




We also want to tear down the looks-only plaster wall (where we just tore down that bookcase thingie) and replace the useless under-stairs-Harry-Potter closet with  a little reading area by the kitchen.




We want to rip out the entire kitchen  and replace it with USEFUL cabinets. I'm really looking forward to this, because when we do it we're going to create a little drop-down barstool eating area..... and that space can then used as part of the living room.

We also want to put laminate down instead of the old-style wood flooring.  The idea of having 1916 flooring is just so much cooler than it actually is.  Not only is it painted over with funky-looking paint which would cost thousands upon thousands to strip and refinish, it has so many cracks and holes that whenever you spill water in the kitchen, it actually drips through all the way down to  the basement floor beneath it.


We want to build a deck in our giant, “useless” backyard.


Pretty to look at, but with the rocks, and the steep hillside, and the drop-off, 
nobody ever goes out there.


And on that deck there will be a with a REAL fire pit area we can enjoy during the rainy season most of the year.

Like this... only more roof and less expensive-looking, unless we win the lotto


We want to frame in and de-horrify the serial killer’s lab which passes for our basement. 


I think we can all agree that all it's missing is some plastic sheeting and some Dexter

With short ceilings (only 7 feet) it will never be totally inviting, but we can at least make it functional.  I want to line the walls with storage cabinets, and maybe hang a punching bag and get some workout equipment.   

We’re also planning on framing-in and creating a downstairs office for The Bean, although how he’s going to get any accounting work done with us galloping around overhead, I have no idea.

We want to repaint the porch floor.

We want to stain and epoxy the basement floor. 

We want to repaint the house trim, and put window boxes under the windows, and, and and…

We want to… We want to… We want to….





We want to have Friday night movie nights with our boys.

We want summer camping trips. 

We want to visit the coast, and bring chicken soup to sick friends, and teach the boys how to swim, and take the dogs on long hikes in the Oregon forests.  We want to ride horses, and fly kites.

We want to buy an old car and fix it up in our basement and sell it for money.

We want to enjoy this house as a home which brings us joy, instead of letting it become a never-ending series of DIY projects that leave me exhausted and snapping at my children. 

So…. We take it one small project  at a time.  So what if we’re roasting marshmallows in an asymmetrical hole I dug in the ground with a shovel, rather than the gorgeous fireplace on the deck of my dreams?  We’re roasting marshmallows, and we’re inviting friends over, and we’re making memories. 

And maybe it feels like forever before I’ll ever have my dream pantry, but when a friend needed a place to stay this past summer, I was able to open my home and give her a place to crash.

And you know what?   If another friend knocked on my door this evening and wanted to stay the night, my home would be open to them, too, cat vomit and all.   

I think that’s my favorite part of all about owning my own home – it’s being able to share, and give back to others, even if my home or my life isn’t perfect.  And maybe I’m not as carefree and adventurous as I was in my youth, but there’s something nice about being stable enough to help support others when they need a hand.

It’s probably going to take us years before we finish all of the projects we’re dreaming about.  Heck, maybe we’ll never get it done… but that’s okay.  I don’t want to put real-life on hold, even if it does mean pushing back the dream of a perfect living room.  Besides, even if this place isn’t the perfect house, it’s still a home. My home.  And that makes it perfect to me.

But seriously, I can’t wait until the downstairs is freshly painted so I can enjoy the sight of my kids scrubbing walls. 




10 Comments:

Blogger vanessa9ers said...

Love this post!!

Caged children ARE so much better then wild & free children.

Projects! Projects! Almost makes me want to get up off my comfy couch and start sanding my outdoor chair project...almost :)

January 26, 2015 at 10:50 PM  
Blogger mugwump said...

I dunno Becky. Every minute spent working on a house is a minute not spent on my horse.

January 27, 2015 at 7:23 AM  
Blogger Becky Bean said...

That's true, Mugs, but it's also true that every minute I spend on projects that improve my home's resale value equals more acres on my next property....

And, ultimately (since The Bean doesn't really read the comments) me being able to have a larger herd :) (But baaaaby, we're already producing enough orchard hay for four horses, so there's no reason not to pick up that little Morgan colt....)

January 27, 2015 at 8:05 AM  
Blogger sahara4d said...

I wonder how fuzzy that cat vomit is after spending all that time under a Tupperware bowl.

January 27, 2015 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger Heidi the Hick said...

Yeah!! I love that house love! I live in a house that's probably 130 or 150 years old, give or take a decade, and despite being the fourth generation of the family to live in it, there are still some little mysteries. I love it. It's not my house and I don't know if I will ever own it, but I love it, crooked walls and slanted ceilings and lumps and cracks and beautiful imperfections. (I envy your basement believe it or not. This one is… a dungeon. Kinda cool, stone walls and all, but my husband and son are 6 ft tall and can't stand up straight - but it's a cellar and not living space.)

I've been holed up in my bedroom recovering and I discovered Apartment Therapy. I probably shouldn't send you there because you'll never get that cat barf cleaned up if you get sucked into that website, but I'm just saying… the house tours are fun and there's a lot of imperfect homes.

Y'know what I miss most about our time living in town? (other than our good neighbours) Looking in people's houses! Now my dog walks involve looking at fields and sky and that is good too, but man it was fun to look in windows. My son was a Domino's delivery guy last year and I used to get reports on the skeeviest houses he was at. Boys don't notice pretty things.

Hope you're all feeling better soon and I think it's awesome that you're at peace with your home.

January 27, 2015 at 6:15 PM  
Blogger ORSunshine said...

You could terrace the hillside, making it more usable, and get rid of the poison oak!

January 27, 2015 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger lytha said...

Oh yay, a home improvement post!

Opposite to yours, our living room was once all that existed of this 1890 house, and it is easy to see (from the exposed beams) how it was once 4 small rooms. In the 30s they added on a kitchen and our bedroom off the kitchen (!?) and a few rooms upstairs, mostly unfinished, for storage (but you can tell they put kids in them because of the old posters still stuck on the slanted wall/ceiling. The goat shed/lean-to became a bathroom once toilets were invented. Our living room is now quite large but unfortunately kept its original height of 7 feet. How tiny were people in the olden days? If my family ever visits, they will hit their heads on the light fixtures: ( In response to having such low ceilings I decided to keep everything painted white, and have white curtains as well. I wonder what you would have done/would do? I need your advice!

Our living room floorboards are spaced so cat vomit runs down between them never to be removed. They must have used wet wood?

After the horrible bathroom renovation project (that we will spend 8 years paying off) I don't want to renovate anything, ever again. They still haven't finished our bathroom.

You mentioned the flat paint on the walls. You wouldn't believe it, so please come visit and I'll show you, but all German homes have wallpaper in all the rooms. Even "modern" office buildings. It's a textured, but plain white paper. I have no idea why they have this - except there is no drywall underneath, only stone or concrete. So when something gets on the walls, you really can't scrub them, the paper will start to disintegrate. Also, cats love scratching it up. I have no idea...

You mentioned an uncomfortable office chair - maybe you would like one of those fitness disc things? I just got one and so far, no hemorrhoids.

Like you I love having my own home and my own grass and trees and fence.

January 30, 2015 at 12:06 AM  
Blogger Seabrooks said...

Lol. My mom was a big believer in "Time". For instance, we each had a kitchen timer that set up to an hour, and at least once a day it was "Quiet Bedroom" Time, and "Outside Backyard" Time. We even had "Table Time" where your activities were limited to things you could do sitting at the kitchen table! The most important thing was to "Do Your Time" without bugging mom or killing each other. Bugging Mom often meant your timer got reset!

We spent more Time outside or in our bedrooms than any kid I know. Everyone always marveled at how clean her house was. Now that I'm older I totally appreciate her sneakiness.

January 30, 2015 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger lytha said...

Sorry I forgot, but I'm still *LOL* at "How many different varieties of slovenly do I need" - oh dear. My closet is full of holey faded band/ride tshirts I refuse to part with, and half full of office clothes that I don't need in my life anymore, and then shelves of skinny clothes that haven't fit since 2008...pathetic. Got a buttload of slovenly right here. *sigh*

January 30, 2015 at 12:49 PM  
Blogger redhorse said...

I believe in caging children, and using duct tape on them too.

February 3, 2015 at 1:23 PM  

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