First, let me promise you that I have not morphed into a DIY blogger overnight. If you read this post from last week you know that I am taking a “rest” from my typical writing and, on some days, from writing at all.
I spent a fair amount of time on the lounge chair reading this these last few days, but I also got busy doing two of my favorite non-writing activities: gardening and painting. I got good and dirty spreading mulch and trimming back the decimated holly shrubs. And then, I took to the furniture.
I blame The Nester. Do you know The Nester? She has a fancy real name – Myquillin Smith — but most people know her as The Nester. She wrote a book, which I borrowed from Deidra and inhaled in two sittings, called The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful, and I got all inspired to try my hand at imperfectly perfectly beautiful.
So on Saturday morning I tossed a drop cloth on the driveway and hauled out two of my grandparent’s ladder back chairs, their old marble-top side table, and another dingy side table that currently holds a motley hodgepodge of knickknackery, and started painting.
At one point Noah stood on the front stoop and asked, “So are you planning to paint every single piece of furniture in our house white?” and I said, “Yes. Yes, that is the plan.” That was the extent of our conversation, but I got the distinct impression that he was not in favor of The Plan.
I painted for the entire day on Saturday. I painted for so long, my hamstrings hurt like I’d sprinted the 100 meter dash fourteen times in twelve minutes, yet all I’d done was crouch on my haunches on the driveway for six hours.
The next day, I hauled the boys to the brand-new Home Goods store in town to look for some “quirk.” Now. If you read The Nester’s book, you’ll learn all about quirk. Quirk, as far as I understand it, are the extra little funkatudenous details that make a house uniquely, creatively your own.
Turned out, I have no quirk. Not an once of quirk. At least in my house. I suspect I might have quirk in my personality, but that’s another story.
So I bought some quirk.
First I bought a not-quirky lamp for my new now-white marble-top table. And then I bought a copper camera. Yes, that’s right, a faux camera made of pottery and painted a slick copper. As I was standing in line with my new non-quirky lamp and my totally quirky copper pottery camera, Rowan turned to me aghast. “Please tell me,” he said, all haughty with his eyebrows raised, “that you’re not actually buying that camera; I thought that was, like, a joke or something.”
I bought the camera anyway, because let me tell you, I know good quirk when I see it and I know a nine-year-old boy wearing a Mario Bros. tee shirt and shin pads and soccer cleats in the middle of Home Goods does not know quirk. Or at least the kind of quirk I’m interested in.
So. With my freshly painted ladder back chairs (one of which I’d dusted off from the basement, and the other which had been holding 14,000 pieces of junk in Rowan’s room), I created a sweet little seating area – for afternoon tea and a plate of warm scones, if you wish. Or, more likely, Tupperwares of goldfish and Capri Sun Roaring Waters juice bags. But, you know, whatever.
The little side table in the dining room is modestly improved with a few coats of white paint. I call it “Still Life with Random Telephone.”
But the piece de resistance is the marble top table. I mean, come on – tell me the six hours of painting and the throbbing haunches were worth it for this? Right? Yes? And does it not totally help that the handle of the bottom drawer is now screwed on straight? I don’t need to tell you that I lived with the handle all cock-a-mamie like that for the last 13 years, do I?
And did you notice the quirk? People, look at that awesome quirk. Does the copper camera not make the entire ensemble?
Yeah, baby, I am Nesting it up, I tell you. I am Nesting and Resting.
Okay, so I did learn a thing or two in this process. Surprisingly, this painting furniture on the driveway is one way I rest. And that’s okay, I realized. At first I felt guilty. I should be RESTING, I thought to myself as I wrenched off the lid of the paint can. Resting, I assumed, needed to look like this:
But no. No, no, no, not true. Swinging on the hammock with a dog at his feet is Noah’s way to rest, but it doesn’t mean it has to be mine. Rest doesn’t necessarily entail a book or a nap or an hour-long session with the massage therapist. Rest, I realized as I squatted on my haunches for six hours straight, can be whatever relaxes you, energizes you or refuels your creativity.
Turns out, this is how I often rest best:
I rest best while my mind is still and my hands are at work. And then I take a shower, use a nail brush to scrub off the 14 million paint splatters on every inch of my body, get dressed in clean clothes, and finally collapse on the couch to admire my handiwork across the room.
So tell me, how do you rest best? And seriously, be honest, do you like the copper camera? Because I still have the receipt, and Rowan would NOT be disappointed if I returned it.