Monday, July 30, 2012

First Home Update: Painting the Bedroom

I have serious problems with doing things the correct way. I like to jump into things headlong, with no consideration for technique and too much pride to watch many tutorials. It'd be easier to simply watch a video about painting a room if you've never done it before and then paint, but noooo....not Rabbit. There's some sort of switch in my head that gets turned on when I take on a new project that says, "You can figure this out on your own. Only weak people try to plan things out carefully! Just go for it." Bear, as I learned, is much like this, too. We're a match.

I am learning otherwise via my first home update: painting the walls. As Bear and I painted the bedroom on Saturday (how could it take 6 hours? I don't know. I know that that's actually pretty quick for two people to paint a rather large room all on their own, but Jeebus, somehow I thought it was so much quicker than that), we learned some very important lessons. First, though, our finished color:

Thanks to our wonderful homeowners, who are on vacation, we were allowed to borrow their air conditioner for when we finally got sick of the heat and it was too humid for our liking.

Our first lesson was that paint is expensive. Thankfully Bear signed up for a mover's package from transferring the electric over into his name and came up with a 10% off coupon at Home Depot. I got a $10 off $50+ purchase coupon from Sherwin Williams, but after seeing their prices for paint ($35 a gallon even for the "lowest" grade!), we decided we'd have to go for Home Depot because we just don't have that sort of money right now. We wanted good (Behr), but not crazy good.  We ended up getting 3 gallons: one for the bedroom, one for the livingroom (which may be a mistake...we may not have enough), and one for the stairwell/accent wall in the livingroom. He wanted semi-gloss, but I was sure that the shininess of the paint would drive me up the walls and it was $1 more, which , by god, is enough to set off the alerts in my head that we are trying to save money here, folks. This isn't a time for splurging!!

So, we finally got around to painting later than we wanted (1pm). We didn't really care about the molding or the baseboard, because we're planning that in a few weeks we're going to repaint that a slate blue and completely replace the molding on the ceiling edges anyway. For the sake of I Have to Do This Right Even Though I Have No Idea What I'm Doing, I basically used up a good deal of the painter's tape for nothing. We used Frog Tape (green instead of blue) based off a recommendation by a professional painter's forum. I really don't know if it's any better or not than blue tape, but it did the job and the only problem I had was peeling the tape off one section that I let dry too much. Don't do that. It's frustrating having to go back and touch up edge sections.

Frog Tape. A bit more on the expensive side as far as paint tapes go, but worth it.
We also should have thought about the type of walls we had. I did recognize that they were smooth, so we needed a lower nap on our rollers. However, I did not recognize that these walls are old paneling...which means those long gutters that go from floor to ceiling are very hard to get at with a roller. It wasn't until we got into the third wall of the first coat that we sat back and said, "Hey, just like we're painting the borders with a brush first, maybe we should go up and down the gutters, too, to make sure we don't waste paint, make it an even paint job after we go over it with the roller, and get into the nooks and crannies."

Bear starts a little test section at the beginning before we moved our headboard out.
They see me rollin'...they hatin'. Tryin' to catch me paintin' dirty. (please notice, after the horrible joke I just made, Bear rolling over the gutters we painted down earlier)
Rabbit paints the top edges while standing on a chair. Not OSHA approved.

Bear also flaunts OSHA-disapproved painting techniques right in front of a window for them to see.
 Again, keeping energy levels up when working in a place with no air conditioning during a very hot summer means eating right. We didn't have breakfast and by 3 we were starving. I saw a downtown place in Small Town that advertised that it had the "best Reuben around" with fries for $8.50. First of all- yum, Reubens. Second of all, that is definitely a challenge. I've had Reubens in all the big cities I've visited, even one at a family owned, long-time run Jewish deli (and those guys could definitely make a Reuben right). I've had a few in Big Town and enjoyed them, but...well...

It was mind-blowing at the Pub. The fries were fresh cut and sprinkled with thyme. It was a HUGE plate and the corned beef was thick-cut. Look at that delicious marbled rye bread. I think they just beat out the Jewish deli. Both Bear and I dug in after a hard 1/3 a day's work and then shambled back up our incredibly steep hill to paint some more after sweating out all that deliciousness. On our way up the hill, we were happy to notice that the music in the park carries up to us like a natural amphitheater, so we'll get nice serenades every so often even up at our home! Bear promised, as we panted in the heat, to take me to the Cafe in the park twice a month. That's very romantic for Bear, and if I didn't know better I would think it was the heat making me swoon.

After we got home, we started up on the second coat and finishing the closet wall, which thankfully didn't have any paneling.

First coat down, one more to go.

And there you have it. We put down one more coat and that was that. I have found out after this, that Bear and I are not exactly the most patient of people. Patience is probably something that is very important with updating a Home. Okay, we need to work on that one. But we learned a lot of important lessons about painting rooms, and that's what this whole thing is about. Our homeowners are nice enough to let up make updates and try our hand at improvements, so it's basically a test-run for if we ever want to own our own home. Even our "disasters" (like getting paint on the baseboards) are pretty small in the whole scheme of it all. One room down, one room and a hallway to go!

See you soon,

Friday, July 27, 2012

Family History, or How I Learned to Stop Ignoring It and Worry About Everything

Family history, like its counterpart--family reunions--is a pretty delicate subject. At age 13 or so, I watched my mother gathering, leafing through, and storing away original family history documents one evening and boldly asked her, "Why  are you doing that? They're all dead anyway!" After a moment of shock, she explained to me through gritted teeth the importance of preserving our past so other people would have a chance to look at it one day. Many like to know where they come from, they like to have a traceable history and see how the threads of the world gradually tangle headphone wire in a pocket.

10 years later, at the revelation that I would be a historian and archivist, she asked me, "Why are you studying that? They're all dead anyway!" We have pretty lively jokes that my entire career and academic interest is now dead people despite my outcry against her doing the same a decade previous. I do not, apparently, fall far from the apple tree.

So when my Nana offered me the most precious item in her collection, and my mother finally passed on the two beloved items that were passed down to her, I was a bit shocked, but completely excited and recognized the opportunity to take the skills I learned in college and apply them in my own home. In addition to those three things, I also received my own history: papers, award plaques, Pokemon cards, and all my artwork. I have to say, I was most excited to see my Pokemon cards out of all that list because I thought they would be the first thing to go to trash, and all I wanted was to tease Bear by sorting and decking my childish Pokemon cards next to his impressive 10 boxes of Magic that I give him all sorts of hell for keeping despite playing rarely.

Bear, on the other hand, has his Grandfather's wallet, pipe stand, and (I've been corrected here...) GREAT grandfather's straight razors for now, and hopes to collect more as time goes on. He really likes family history, too. Having an archivist in the Home who knows a few things about preservation, he says, is pretty handy.

Preservation of documents is pretty straight forward, while preservation of items is a bit trickier. Especially the big ones. So I'm going to impart a few tips to you that I learned in my classes so that you can protect your family history for the future. This is not a complete list, and if you have any tips or corrections, please let me know. After all, I still consider myself a student even if I'm not in class anymore!

  • Unless you've got a professional archive to store your papers/photos in, home will have to be the next best thing. Given the right tools, space, and care, the only thing you have more a chance of than a professional archive is theft, fire, water damage, and other acts of God, as they say. You could store them in a bank, if you're concerned the household isn't safe enough, but you should still follow some key rules:
  • Handle photos with care. Wash your hands in non-scented soap, and put on a pair of nitrile gloves. The "white glove treatment" is actually used far less often today thanks to improvements in glove technology. White cotton gloves reduce tactile sensation and encourage rips and tears because you handle things with a rough touch to make up for the fact that you can't really feel anything. Fingers are very sensitive and require a lot of input to be delicate. Go with nitrile if in doubt. 
  • Scan, scan, scan. If you can, try to get your history into a digital format and make a DVD or CD back-up for good measure. Key of Three is safe (digital, current media, original). So, keep around a hard-drive with a high-quality (300+ dpi) JPEG copy, a gold CD or DVD copy, and then store away the original somewhere safe. 
  • Purchase acid-free containers, folders, boxes, and anything else. People are really getting into scrapbooking, and luckily that means the crafting industry is paying attention and dispersing more products that keep your precious moments safe and healthy. If you want to put photos or documents in a book, that's fine...but get a book that uses acid-free paper and binding, and choose acid-free photo corners over glue or tape. Ripped documents can be repaired with archival-grade tape if needed. 
  • Try not to write on documents, especially photos, even on the back. Write underneath on a page or on the tabs of folders in pencil. If you have to write on the original document, it in pencil. Pen should NEVER be used. Pens are evil. This goes for the CD/DVD's as well. Writing on the media will eventually ruin it, even if you write on the "safe" side. Opt to put the CD/DVD in an acid-free sleeve with the necessary information written in pencil on the sleeve's front. 
  • Separate or mist! You may be using acid-free paper, but mass produced things do not. If you can, get acid-free spray (like Tums, but for books!) at your local crafting store and mist each page and side. It will help. Do not spray photos. Let them dry and then put them into acid-free folders. For extremely delicate paper (like old newspaper or onion-skin), I wouldn't even mist...I would just separate them from other stacks of paper with other folders or acid-free pages in between.
  • Attics and basements are not a safe choice of location to store your documents. Attics get blisteringly hot and cold and have poor humidity control. Basements are usually cold, damp, and have lots of bugs that would just love to eat your stuff. Under beds, as I found out, is also a bad place. Anywhere that is constantly dark is usually bad, because there be dragons (aka bugs). This is the tricky part, because old photos (silver nitrate, I'm lookin' at you) deteriorate no matter what you do. And they SMELL bad when they do. Newer photos don't smell as bad when this happens. Paper is usually fine. So find a desk or a drawer or a plastic box you can keep this in that would protect the documents and their acid-free container from water/bug damage. Not a lot withstands fire. Sorry, folks.


  • These are tricker, because they have wide-ranging materials and have depth and dimension. Use caution, but do have some (safe) fun.
  • Document! It's a good idea to document the items and keep them with your other documents so you don't lose track or the history of the item.
  • Keep it out of direct sunlight and try to find a display place that is not in line with a heating/cooling duct. If you can, try to keep the room it's in at a "just right" temperature without too much or too little humidity. In the case of wood, this is very important, because swelling and shrinking will eventually wear it down and could cause cracking.
  • Velvet is as velvet does, what velvet does is off-gas. This is bad, especially for metal, but mostly for everything. Sure, velvet looks soooo pretty...that deep, nearly inescapable softness and the way light just gets sucked into it and makes the display item glow. But it WILL destroy your stuff and you won't get it back. Metal will tarnish if wrapped in velvet and it's hard to get off, if at all. Everything else will just break down. Avoid velvet as a display rest and opt for something else. 
  • Let there be light, but not too much, please, and make sure it isn't too hot. Small LED lights positioned high enough that it doesn't bake the item, but close enough to illuminate it, are great. Even a stand with LEDs along the edge are okay. Just make sure it isn't too hot and to turn it off at night so the item gets some rest from all the commotion. 
  • Clean and dust often and make sure not to use any strong chemicals. Windex is not good for wood. Actually, neither is Pledge! Look for the expensive, small bottles of cleaner at your store. Murphy's Oil Soap is fantastic for wood (protection and shine!) and for silver, Hagerty's is what I used for my silver instruments. It won't take much to clean, so a small bottle or jar will last you a long time. Don't be too abrasive. Use a very soft cloth, and follow the directions.
  • Use common sense at all times. Is your Nana's china vase really safe on top of that wobbly bookcase? Is Great Grandpop's globe a good decoration for a child's room? Only you can prevent losing your items to bad decisions. As the Ghosthunters used to say, "When in doubt. Get the hell out." This is good advice all around. So when you have doubts, trust your gut and get your item the hell out into a safer, cleaner place.
This was a long posting, but in the face of having to take care of some very special family history, I decided it might be a neat precursor to my soon-to-be framing and display project I'll be putting on here. Don't worry, you'll get to see what I received. I can't wait to show you!

Happy preservations!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Let's Take a Walk (Through)

I promised more pictures, so I'm whipping up a quick post walking you through what will be our new Home. Come, get acquainted with our space! We're going to be spending a lot of time walking through it together, making it look better. I would've liked to get pics before we moved stuff in, but c'est la vie, or in the immortal words of brainiac Bill O'Reilly, "F*$@ it, we'll do it live."

Before we even start, I have yet another story to tell that doesn't, unfortunately, include a picture, partially from being so floored and partially because it happened so quickly. We're selling some of the furniture pictured in the photos below, and had a time set up with a local neighbor to come make a purchase. Craigslist is a savior in many ways. Anyway, I stood outside on the porch...and suddenly I see a very quick motion out of the corner of my eye. In the flower bed. We have pretty purple flowers out there planted by our homeowner, and flying around was a....hummingbird? No, that thing is too small and funny-shaped to be a hummingbird. What?! It has antennae! It's a hummingbird moth!  Very neat! When the guy eventually showed up, Bear and I were standing rapt staring at the flowers and the moth, and soon the guy was also staring rapt at the moth as it buzzed our heads and took lengthy sips of nectar. It really looked like a very rotund and very small hummingbird, even down to the colors! Nature is pretty awesome!

Anyway. Onto our tour.

First, welcome to our living room. We have many plans. Curtains, painting, decor. Living room, I'm gonna fashionable you up.

Excuse our mess. This is what you see (mostly) when you walk in. Hardwood floors and a gas stove. Airy, roomy, and bright. We'll be painting the walls and the stove in the next week or so.

What sold me on the place. I know, I'm shallow. Look at that staircase. Beautiful old wood. Just imagine it adrift in pine boughs, Christmas lights, and stockings for the holiday.

Original ceiling! I love the paneling!

Please, follow me to the second floor for a moment. I think you'll enjoy it.
Bear surveying the craft room. Rabbit sneaking in a pic of him from the bottom of the stairs.

Here, on your left at the top of the stairs, we have the bedroom.
The bedroom is larger than it appears in the picture. There's more room to the right and bottom of this picture. Fits a queen size bed, a dresser, and a faux vanity (aka: Bear's desk) easily.

 Let's go the craft room. You turn right out of the bedroom, or go straight at the top of the stairs.
Now you can see how low the ceilings are in just this one room. It is an addition, and as such has slope-y floors and very little head-room (for me). That's a queen size bed to give you perspective. Oh, and you'll see more of that table. It's a 1920's-era Craigslist find for $50. I love it dearly.

Straight back from the craft room, there is the bathroom. It's much bigger than the one we have currently, which makes me happy.

First off, I do appreciate the lamps in the bathroom...they are very attractive up-close.

However, there's the most interesting shower in the world. I don't always take a shower, but when I do...I like it to be as awkward as possible.  Seating for two?

The devil is in the details. This is a cool detail on the second floor of our new Home.

Instantly thought of Alice in Wonderland with this doorknob/lock.

Very cool, original locks (alas, no awesome iron keys). I just love the look of them! C'est chic, farmhouse style!

Shall we proceed back downstairs to the kitchen? Go down the steps, into the living room, and straight back to the second star on the left.

Much roomier than our current Warren. I like all the cabinets, but wish there was slightly more room out of picture on the right because the washer will also be going in here (next to the stove).

How about this? Original kitchen pantry from 1890's. Floor to ceiling. That bass, though...I have plans for it. Stay tuned.
Oo, you ugly pantry bottoms. We will fix you up soon.

Color advice? We're not keen on red walls for the kitchen, but perhaps gold?

 To the left of the bass in the kitchen, we have a door to...a back porch...thingy. Good for storage and the dryer. We also have...

...a problem. One we might not get to with our current income. For now, duct tape and thick plastic sheeting will have to fix the hole to the outside that is at the bottom.

It is basically covered storage and a dryer area. I'm cool with that. No more paint or varnish in the closet. And thank god the grill won't be sitting in the living room during the winter anymore!

Some of the best things, however, aren't always in the House. Sometimes, the really great part of having a Home is what is around it. We'd like to think we're pretty lucky.
We get a stunning commute to work.

See you in a few days!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Over the River and Through the Woods

But we're not going to Grandmother's house (or Grandfather's...depending on which version of the song you're used to), we're going to Mum's house. Or rather, Mum's storage shed.

This week, Bear and I, Bear's best friend, Monkey, and our good friend Pitbull--who has key experience in driving moving trucks--are making a rather lengthy trip east to do an act of good. It's also beneficial to us, because we get some new furniture and all my collected belongings from my time in the Nest. This is possibly the most frustrating part of the move since it's the "big furniture" schlep happens  to require going 2.5 hours to the Nest storage, then back up to Big Town to get the rest of the big furniture out of the Warren, and finally over to Small Town to drop it off. We were exhausted by the end of it, and not many pictures were taken...I'm starting to realize how difficult it is to take pictures when you're not used to documenting every step. I will get better at it, I promise.

The good thing is, I got to see Mum, who I don't get to see so often. The price of gas, though dropping, has kept Bear and I from making a lot of long trips. She also has her own Adventures in Domestics. That is, in a department store. She used to be a therapist. Mum says that her new job is actually a very similar line of work. Where she was once making "sales pitches" about how to balance and work through emotions, relationships, and pasts, now she makes "sales pitches" about how to balance the home...and about selling things. She loves to make people happy so it's still a very good line of employment, no matter how hard working in retail is. It also means...BIG SALES. And where there are big sales, the Rabbit family has always been thriving. There was an employee sale this time, which meant Mum went off the wall. Unfortunately, her schedule is so crazy that she managed to pull along 3 bags and a very, very special box, but not the other bags. There were more. Oh, good god. We'll get them the next time she visits or when we go to Big City to see my Nana and Mum.

Basically, I have this single hint for you: Plan, plan some more, plan again, and leave earlier than you think you have to by at least an hour. We meant to leave at 7.30am and ended up leaving at around 8.15am. This was complicated by my dozing off and not giving the secret directions to take the faster route, and we ended up on the toll road. And goddamnit, they decided a July, Saturday morning was the best time to shut down 4 of the 5 toll lanes. Who the hell does that?! Our DOT, apparently. Thanks, guys. I know, you're saying you can't really plan for that sort of crap, but I'll tell you CAN. By not taking toll routes. Any way is faster, at least in this state than toll routes. I messed up and flubbing the directions, given my Mum's penchant and teachings for back roads, felt like a biggun'.

(EDIT 7/25/12: Rabbit knows better than to be glib when it comes to road traffic. She's witnessed quite a few awful accidents and even been in a couple. It turns out, the backup was caused by a horrible accident on the turnpike where 2 women were killed, and two others injured.  She'll be leaving it up as a reminder that her plans are not the center of the universe, to be more considerate, and sends her condolences to the family and friends of all those involved. )

U-Haul is definitely cheaper (though still a thief of any money in your wallet!) than hiring a moving truck and crew, especially if you have a great friend who won't take payment other than food and a small token of appreciation. Pitbull, like his name, is a tough-looking guy with a heart of gold. He's a sweetie through and through. He and I had long talks while he drove about life, love, and learning about living, even through the bitter parts. One great thing about where I live is that the scenery you drive through really pounds it home and makes talking about all that easier. Long stretches are nothing but beautiful farmland and mountains.

The view from our truck. Doesn't nearly capture all the beauty of the mountains beyond!

City're probably going to have a rougher time that I can't advise on, other than hold on to your pants and grit your teeth. Hopefully you're moving out of the city and will get a view that is similar, and a break! Otherwise, try not to get stuck under a bridge or flip the bird too many times. Caution with these trucks is the name of the game. A note about price in case you're interested: it was approximately $300 to rent a 10' truck and drive 152 miles. We ended up paying less than I thought for gas, due to dropping gas prices, but that was jacked up again by taking some longer detours and adding to our given mileage. And they will add sales tax, people. So expect $20 in addition to what they quote on your reservation, and some meager sales taxes added to additional mileage.

Also, take a break and go eat if you're moving a long distance. Unless the truck has a time limit (ours was 2 days for one-way travel), keeping up your energy and lowering your stress level is important to not killing people. We went to a nice, family restaurant with delicious hamburgers and real chocolate shakes. That part of the state is known for the chocolate they produce (now you know where I was going through!), so crap chocolate is not something I stand for.

Monkey (left) and Pitbull (right) Sing with me: If you're cranky and you're hungry, look real mad!

On the topic of what's inside the U-Haul: One thing that helps with moving large items is plastic wrap. There's a special kind you can get for binding important pieces of furniture. My mum's dresser, which we're going to end up selling because we don't have enough room, has this binding that made it easy to transport. The drawers don't fall out and it prevents little scratches. I didn't get a photo of the other dresser wrapped up because I ended up tearing it off to get to the stuff Mum had put in the drawers. That was a brilliant idea, to put things inside the drawers so that there's less boxes. Mum has a lot of those! Ideas, I mean.

After bumping our way back home, we unloaded first and then went back to the Warren to pick up some more heavy furniture before we came back. Actually, I stayed back in Small Town to go through the boxes of stuff from my time in the Nest. It was a head trip. My mum kept a good deal of my awards, my report cards, and other items from my life. She said it wasn't nearly half of it, because she ended up tossing a good deal more early this year. For the first time, I saw cards from my birth, newspaper clippings from my life in different organizations, letters from family and friends, and my sonograms. I also stumbled across a letter my mum wrote to me when I was 9 months old, which was tear-jerking. The really heart-breaking piece was a letter and a gift from my Nana. I will cover this in a little between chapter this week, so I don't make this post too long.

Bear says the best part of moving is being moved. I say the best part is the fantastical: empty rooms, the possibilities, and the brain moving a mile a minute. The U-Haul part was definitely tough, but I'm looking forward to doing a lot more in the Home as we move and pull things together. And I promise, I'll take more pics next time!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Skeleton Key

Last night, we went and paid our first month's rent and received the key to our new home in Small Town. It was rather an anticlimactic moment considering how much I've been fretting over moving the past 2 weeks, but there was a sense of relief that followed as we explored all the spaces.

Bear went up into the creepy, very hot attic and announced there were a set of speakers, some more old stuff he didn't want to move around, and an ironing board. He was using the flashlight app on his phone to look around. We'll probably explore more in the winter when it isn't so dastardly hot up there, and when I get over my fear of attics. Let's just say for now that when I was a kit, and in my last House before the 16-year Warren stretch, that something nice but very creepy existed in the attic of the House. That's a story for another day; and, one that I feel makes me completely irrational, or at the very least a superstitious shill.

We planned out that we will be able to fit Bear's favorite desk in the bedroom, with the agreement that we'll turn it into a faux vanity. The problem with a desk in the bedroom is my fear of it becoming a computer desk, or a work desk...and that is a big no-no considering I have just started to master sleep hygiene after years and years of bedroom abuse that turned what should have been my sleeping place to a dining-room table, or a study space, or a paper-writing lounge. I'll probably cover a chapter on sleep hygiene, since it was a major turning point in how I viewed my living spaces (thank you, thesis advisor!). I'll also create a walk-through of making the desk a faux vanity, for the heck of it!

We also admired the dark wood that's been with the house for a very long time. Bear piped up that he wondered if green and purple would look nice down in the livingroom, which I gently disagreed with by announcing that unless we wanted to live in the Hulk, I wasn't too keen on the idea. We have settled for green, brown (the wood), and gold.

The back yard needs some work, and we found out that the black walnut tree in back came down partially during on of the bad storms earlier this summer, meaning it will have to come down all the way sooner or later. Black walnuts have a history with me: I used to take the fruit, put a small cut in them, and then plant them in people's shoes during camp. They stink to high heaven. We were arguing over what kind of tree it was when I told Bear that it smelled like a black walnut, and lo and behold there were a few husks on the ground.  It's made the further part of the back yard very inhospitable to grass, and the branches and twigs are everywhere. Bear started planning where to put the garden and said, "Yeah. With the walnut, it'll have to be a raised bed." I did a little dance of joy, because until that point Bear was shrugging off the idea of a garden, and now he seems excited for it, too.

The other nice part of seeing the house was getting to see our homeowner's 4-month old daughter, who is cute as a button, very vocal right now, and entirely intense. The strength of her tiny hands is equal only to the strength of her stare as she considers everything. I sang to her a bit, and she just stared. So. Hard. Mum and Dad also showed off some of the inborn reactions in her that fascinate Bear and I, such as the little foot-curl when you stroke the bottom of their foot, and breathing in when you blow in their face (gently!!). I admit it. Rabbit has baby-fever. Inasmuch as I don't want a baby right now, but I love to hold, watch, and interact with them. Bear finds it unnerving, as a guy his age might, but "kinda cute." I was never really a baby person until I started dating him. Such is the biological drive! He must be a good match or I'd still be hating on babies like I did a few years ago.

All in all, I am very excited and Bear is...Bear. When I asked if it was starting to hit him that we'd have a Home soon, he just tried not to smile. This weekend we'll be going down to Small City where my mum lives to pick up our donated furniture and all my stuff from childhood. It'll be the heavy move. Sorry for the rather boring post. From here on out it should pick up as we just got our skeleton key and now, the real Home making begins.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bear and Rabbit: A (not-so) Fairy Tale Adventure in Domesticity

Once Upon a Time...

and not too long ago, Bear and Rabbit met. Rabbit was certain Bear was a conceited jerk, and Bear was certain he didn't know what to think about Rabbit. But they had a mutual love of slamming each other's faces into a wrestling mat, throwing each other around the room, and bruising and spraining their everythings. This turned out to be a great gauge of character, because Rabbit became certain that "shy sweetheart" could be substituted for "conceited jerk" and Bear became certain that he knew what to think about Rabbit (i.e. that he liked her). And so they agreed that they mutually loved slamming each other's faces into a wrestling mat, throwing each other around the room, bruising and spraining their everythings together, and that they really liked one another in that way.

A year later, Bear was moving into Rabbit's newly acquired Warren. And by "move-in," the reader should see between the lines: "Bear's stuff gradually accumulated in the corner until he didn't have to go home to his Den to get clothing for the next day." Rabbit didn't mind, in fact, she was very happy. What she wasn't happy about was the mess. A one-rabbit Warren wasn't meant for two, and soon they both felt like their combined holdings were outgrowing the defined space of the Warren. Things disappeared and didn't come back from under the bed or in the closet. They had officially broken the limit of how many things should exist in a small, one-bedroom, basement Warren, and the Universe was happily reestablishing dimensional equilibrium by disappearing socks, books, and eating utensils.

A year later, Bear and Rabbit agreed to move into a larger Warren a little further down the road from Big Town. It was a two-bedroom deal, big enough to be a Den, but still a Warren because others lived on top or around them. They called this the "Darn," as in, "Darn, it's still somehow too small," and, "Darn, it's still a Warren, only bigger,  more expensive, and it gets noisy on the weekends, and crowded on the morning commute, and we're a bit tired of it." So they found a nice little place in Small Town, down the road from Big Town, to move into two years later. Rabbit was ecstatic. It had a backyard to garden in, walls that could be painted something other than white, and a set of stairs that didn't lead to another Warren, but to another floor that was also theirs.

It could be classified as a Home, not a Warren or a Den, something she hadn't had in sixteen years and that she liked since she had been up and moving everything she had into various Warrens every two years, on average. Bear liked it because the slope-y floors, "not-so-standard" stairs (i.e. uneven), and big kitchen cabinets that reached from floor to ceiling reminded him of his very old childhood Home out in Smaller Town Even Further from Big Town.

It was, however, quite small, Bear noted. Homes were like this in Small Town. So Rabbit knew that, well...some stuff they had accumulated would have to go, and the other stuff they'd have to get creative with in order to fit it all in without feeling like it was just another ill-fitting Warren. Though she swore she'd never be a "bourgeois home-maker" like Martha Stewart when she was young, she realized that she secretly loved it because she had never had those things and was supremely jealous. And the beautiful thing was, given her skills in finding sales, being crafty, and knowledge from her mother of making things work on a budget, that she could do these things and make a House a Home. Bear was good at building things and he had a great eye for color and space. He had tetrachromacy, which means he had an extra cone in his eyes that made him able to distinguish subtler shades in colors, a mantle he wore, often, with resentment since Rabbit was always bugging him for help with color coordination.

And thus, Rabbit and Bear began their move into the new, little Home in Small Town. Rabbit thought it would be fun to document the process, to show their friends, family, and the world the misadventures and successes in domesticity. You, reader, will have to follow along to see if this is a not-so Fairy Tale that ends in "happily-ever-after"...