Tuesday, October 11, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of the 21st Century

I've lived for a time with a fruit-bowl kitchen and a vintage-seed-packet kitchen, but this is my first go-round with the ducks.

My new digs scream 1968. They make me want to feather my hair and go steady with Greg Brady.

I stayed up later than I wanted to last night to make a big batch of crock-pot steel cut oats for my main morning squeeze, Calvin. I thought a 7:1 water to oats ratio seemed a bit high, but the girl crossed her heart and hoped to die, so I didn't argue.

At 6:00 I ran in to check them.

I found a giant crock pot of oatmeal soup.

So I cranked it up to high and went back to bed for 45 minutes.

When I checked again, it had boiled over and slimed my pink counter top.

(The counters almost match the swiney-pink of the bathroom floor.)

I have no garbage disposal here. I have no field to dump woebegotten food in. What's a girl to do?

I took to facebook for answers.

Two (former) friends suggested dumping them in the...I can't even bring myself to say it.

I suspended them from my wall for 48 hours, at which time I will re-assess.

So it seems I have adjustments to make. But I will say, the built-in manual can-opener is a God-send!

It cracked my business up when some of you kindly commented that you can't wait to see me "work my magic" on this place.

The truth is, my magic-maker is on hiatus.

Also, there's only so much you can do with beige walls, beige insulated draperies, beige carpet (except for in the kitchen - the carpet's turquoise in there) and a ban on putting nail-holes in the walls.

Mostly, I'm enjoying the opportunity to just lay low. I'm unpacking a few key items (anything with color), throwing them around, and calling it a day.

Ask me again come February, but for now, I'm finding that I am just immensely grateful for this cozy, temporary home.

It's teaching me new things about myself.

It's wrapping us up a little tighter and reminding me that it really doesn't matter where we hang our hats. As long as we hang them together, we are home.

*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.


  1. Law. Those ducks. That is a bad flashback into my 1988 era when Mama even had those cursed ducks on the Christmas tree, tied up with red ribbon.

    She still has the napkin rings. I've tried to sneak them out, but she won't have it.

    Maybe you need them to match your kitchen?


    You are no fun.

    Give Siley a squeeze and tell him I sure do miss him on his Mama's blog.


  2. Quack, quack. Girl you go rock those ducks! I love your perspective and ability to see the humor where some might see the interesting, ahem, slightly dated decor. No offense, I am a proud child of the 70's but really Jack from Three's Company was way hotter than Greg.
    Seriously though, makes me truly ponder the time and energy I have spent/wasted on things with no true merit, humbling and something to chew on.
    Many thanks. I hope tomorrows' porridge makes little bears' day

  3. dear fpfg:

    you have such a great attitude! :) reminds me of a sign for sale at hobby lobby - "attitude is important. pick a good one". ha - and so true!

    thanks for all you share - especially at such a busy time.

    from someone who's not yet living in her dreamspot, but working on it (among other things)/kathy

    ps: your magic-maker is not on break (but deserves one and i hope you get it).

  4. I've never had a garbage disposal, but I do love that I can always take a few steps outside and chuck things in the woods or over the cliff. Throwing things in *ayhem* the flush is always the lest desirable option....the sound...guh *shudder* but it does the trick.
    I dig the ducks. You should all name them.
    Have fun feathering your hair & scout out a hair crimper at garage sales!

  5. Oh. Ducks.

    Words escape me. :)

    My Mom had a blue duck border in the 80's. We also had stuffed duck ornaments on our Christmas tree.

    Love your last statement about hanging your hats together. So true.

  6. I love the lightness of this post but must admit: I'm stung to the core that you didn't mention the solution I offered, on fb. :)

  7. Ugly makes me itch!! You havta get a few cans of spray paint and a couple of command strips...and get to work girl!!!

  8. I adore you and your Greg Brady-loving attitude! You cracked my business up with the built-in can opener! Love it!!! :)

  9. i lived in retroville when we were renting after we sold our house last summer. it gives one a ton of scope for the imagination. There's something cozy about living in the past. I will say that the beige eventually got to me and I freaked out. I still don't like brown. Here's my advice: when you start to feel crazy, ignore all the rules and do what you want to the place. I was being a good girl and leaving it in the condition I got it, which I guess is what you're supposed to do with rentals, but in hindsight, when the glamour of living in 1978 wore off, I should have painted, nailed, whatever. For sanity's sake.
    In this honeymoon stage with your turquoise kitchen carpet (Seriously?), enjoy and keep taking pictures of the awesomeness. Not everyone gets friendly ducks! I have to say that I'm in love with that door. Is that normal? Also does it make you feel any better that I have a built in CAN OPENER in my kitchen, but it only opens, ahem, beer cans. We're nothing but classy up in here.

  10. What?! IT came with the HOUSE!!!

  11. now that I think of it, it's actually a BOTTLE opener. For beer BOTTLES.
    Silly me.

  12. Yes, home is where your family is. At least it's temporary. You can live with it until February and I bet it will look fabulous even with the old stuff around.

    If you scratch the yellow paint on my kitchen walls it will reveal a navy blue wallpaper with ducks all over it. When we moved in here I had moved all my country kitchen stuff in. The chickens and roosters did not get along with the ducks at all. I have no idea what to do next.

  13. My grandmother had a thing for those white ducks too! And I'm positive we - or someone else from my memories - had that exact same duck-border. Wow. What a throw-back! Thanks for this post!!

  14. i recognize that can opener from my grandma's house. and there was certainly a coziness about that place. i'm glad you're feeling it too.

  15. Love your outlook! And I think you would look adorable with feathered hair ;)

  16. Congrats on your new digs. Can't wait to see what God has in store for you and your family. :)

  17. part two (because your blue carpet brought back a horrid memory for me that i now feel compelled to share with you) ...

    back when i lived in a very sad spot, i would have gladly traded your ducks and turquoise kitchen carpet for the three-shades-of-brown+cream+rust+harvest-gold shag carpeting that was in the only rental open in a dinky, tough little town. it was everywhere. including the kitchen - and even in the bathroom. gross!!!

    your great attitude has already made this rental a home for your family.


  18. i love your perspective - i love watching you embrace this journey and i'm praying for you tonight!

  19. Those ducks are eerily familiar to me. It seems you and I have switched places. I hope this temporary time is good to you!

  20. Ironically enough... we have the same exact pink tile on our bathroom floor! Gotta love 50s rentals. They are so charming, though!

  21. I flush unused sourdough starter down the toilet every morning when I'm on a baking streak.

  22. Your attitude is so upbeat. It is better to laugh than to cry over this part of your journey. In the future, you will continue to laugh about this rental with ducks and turquoise carpet.

    Love and hugs for you and yours ~ FlowerLady

  23. i know you and i'm pretty sure you'll be soaking up every bit of that house. it's sort of freeing to know that you can't do much :).

    we haven't owned a home in eight years. we've lived in three rectories in that time. carpet in the bathroom? i've had it. a built in ironing board WITH attached sleeve ironer? had it. custom 1970s cabinetry? been there.

    our last house was the hardest for me. we thought we'd be there 6 months. We stayed 2 1/2 years. But do you know what happened? I learned what a real home is. I used to fear that my children might not ever have a sense of home. I learned that that's not sooo bad and that we can be at home anywhere.

    You're just camping out. Preparing to cross over.

  24. Greg Brady, huh? LOL! Sorry about the ducks. I don't know what I'd do...but you're making the best of it. Good for you. Where in the heck are you? Your hints are leaving me crazy!

  25. yes and yes. i drove through waky the night of the day you moved, and i thought of you as we circled the giant pumpkin tree (oh waky, how i miss thee). praying you along each step of this crazy, God-filled journey. love you.

  26. Very true...as long as you're together nothing else really matters (however we do like our comforts, wink).

    I know I have learned a great deal from my mothers journey these past few years. My dad built their dream home shortly before leaving us to go to his mansion in the sky and my mom had down size her living dramatically. In a few short steps she went from her dream home to a small rental barely big enough for half her furniture!

    Thankfully this past summer she was able to buy a modest home and we have slowly been doing upgrades. She is a trooper and so are you!

  27. you are actually living "vintage". see there now it sounds all hip and cool! remember it's only temporary:) oh and i make oatmeal like that...just follow the normal directions and cook on low for 5-6 hours. it turns out great.

  28. Turquoise carpet. We rent, and although I like not having to be responsible for big house items, I would really like a permanent place to call home.

  29. My mum had a duck fetish. (shiver) Bless your heart I hope you can stand that lovely house for eight months!

  30. Just so stinkin happy that someone else out there doesn't have a garbage disposal. Trash can city sweetheart. Do you have a sailboat shower curtain like me? It is liberating, I will say that.

  31. as the Chicago song, "You're the Inspiration" goes....you are mine. We're renting this house for at least two years and there wasn't any way that I was going to live with it "as is." What a BRAT I am.

  32. The ducks: I could take them or leave them but that can opener I AM a bit envious of! I think we had one of those in our kitchen growing up.

    We also had a "Cookie Barn" and NOT a jar. It had a top that came off and little barn animals all over it.

    If you have a dishwasher that needs to be moved over to the sink to run- I'm in love with your new and temporary home!

    I may have been one of the peeps who mentioned it will be interesting to see what kind of magic you do there. I just think you're super crafty and have good ideas. I see you using Mighty Putty and perhaps some velcro...who needs nails? If you placed a ladder on a wall for photo display...It just makes me envision you using curtains and various things and cute-fying the place.

    I'm sure it is also fine as is. :-)

    Hoping your day is wonderful.



    PS: How are the littles enjoying it?

  33. The good part is when you leave you'll have all kinds of energy to change the new place. I won't bother doing much now either. Just add fresh grocery store flowers and touches like that to brighten your day.
    This reminds me of the time my son moved to a town (for a job)he just hated. Most of the boxes he never even unpacked. He said what's the point I'M NOT staying here. He called everyday to remind us how much he hated it there. When it got to every other day we looked at that as an improvement. The truth is he looks back now and says he learned so much there. Not saying he'd ever go back but it really did have an impact on his view of life.

    Yeah I didn't like the ducky bit the first time around. I'm surprised the bedrooms don't bears all over the walls :(
    This too shall pass. After the stress about selling your home this is kind of a nice time to just take a breather and regroup.


  34. My mother in law has those ducks in her bedroom via the peach version. She's been saying for 3 years it's time for that room to be redone. I give it another 10 years. At least you won't be dealing with them that long :)

  35. I meant to say the mudroom. Aka the entry way.

  36. I can relate. Seriously. We downsized from a 1200 sq ft. apt. to a 632 one. It had no dishwasher, washer/dryer, or garbage disposal. It is around 60 years old and looks every year. Life is different, that's for sure. I look forward to reading about your progress! Hang in there--I've been here a year now and while it is still tiny, and pretty ugly, it is now home.

  37. the dining room in our first home had a bird & strawberry motif going on. the really fun part was when they (the previous owners) came to an arched doorway instead of splicing the paper they just wrapped it around so the birds were upside down!!! can't say which i miss most that or the double layers of brown & green shag carpeting in the bathroom...

    enjoying following you on this exciting/interesting journey!

  38. Ducks not so much, cabinet with all those drawers I could put to use, The good you are doing we could all learn from. And last of all...you're learning or being reminded of all the things you don't want; or do as in the can opener. Bravo

  39. just a couple of important items. those coppery round knobs about sent me over the edge. my grandparent’s kitchen was laced in that crazy coppery color. and I won’t lie, it sent a shiver up my spine. just knowing that they never threw anything away…they are somewhere in my house. as. we. speak-ish. that built in set of drawers. you must tell more. or post more pictures. i am captivated. xoxo

  40. I had that very same pink bathroom floor in our old house. Enjoy some downtime in your new temporary digs. I bet the kids like the ducks. ;-)

  41. I am with you on the banning of anyone who even thinks about using the restroom as a disposal option. Seriously?
    I will suggest that if you go with the trash option you could toss in some corn starch which will make it less watery at least.
    You can also get a cool worm condo and compost everything that's vegan (ie all veggie and most fruit scraps). We have one in the garage and love it!
    Also, command hooks and press and peel stencils for the walls are your friend.

  42. Oh my gosh! I had the EXACT same problem with the crock pot oatmeal. When I added 7 cups of water I was thinking, wow that is a lot of water...I had soup too. I even tried to strain it and then ended up dumping it was well. I know it was the same recipe because I repinned it from you. I want to try it again, but I am afraid. I was so bummed.

  43. In my rental there is blue and white plaid with orange wildflower border....how I long to change it. But alas, "no changes," says the lease. I feel your pain.

  44. Okay, I think you must go vintage here. it's just a pit stop, keep reminding yourself.
    As far as the grabage, you could start your own compost. Sorry, trying to help you out here. Those ducks may just grow on you. (((((HUGS))))

  45. Call me crazy, but I love those 60's features--especially that cool bank of birch-colored drawers. Now is the time to embrace mid-century modern! Welcome to the swiney-pink-tile club, girl!

  46. Looks like you have your work cut out for you, it'll be a great decor challenge!

  47. I am so glad to read this. We are in a rental right now that has some features that I find rather hideous. And most days it pains me to read posts about people decorating and having awesome rooms and knowing I can't do much with what I've currently got. But, I am trying to be more grateful and this is a great reminder for me.

  48. Just been sitting here reading..and reading. Trying to get caught up on your Letting Go posts. It reminds me of my own life 12 yrs ago when we sold our first owned home that we loved so much and moved across the country with our four children (ages 9-3). We moved for different reasons but it still felt like we lost everything. We moved to the midwest with no home waiting. We stayed with friends(who turned out not to be friends at all) until we ended up in a tiny rental townhouse. We learned alot in those 18 mos that felt like 5 yrs. It was the beginning of a wilderness season but 10 yrs later I came out leaning on my beloved. After 8 yrs of renting, we have a lovely home again by God's grace. I know it is all temporary. I know it is not mine. It is His...and I thank him daily for letting me live here. Long suffering lead me to pray for peace...to be entered into His promised rest. I longed for it. Nothing in this life is certain except His love. I can receive it and I can trust it. In losing life, we receive life. We matter to Him. He wants us to care...and when we care, we love, and when we love we grieve. It is okay for you to care about your lost farmhouse. To miss it and to grieve. I am sad that you lost it...but also am thankful that you know God is your all and you are safely tucked in His wounded side, abided in Him through these hard times. You are such a beautiful writer. Matthew 11:28-30