This time last year our house was just a house. It was more like a hotel, actually…. a really crappy one where no one came in and made the bed when I was gone and the only chocolate on my pillow was smeared there by my children.
It was a place where we kept our clothes and necessities. We went to work. We went to school. We went to soccer, then swim, then ballet. We had a babysitter both weekend nights, and sometimes overnight during the week just so we could keep all the balls in the air.
There was even one pile of clutter that contained old Christmas cards, some bills I already paid, a few expired coupons and some crayon doodles I intended to save until eternity. That pile moved from one dresser top, to another or sometimes a countertop. Moving it meant I was “organizing”. It became part of my decor. It grew and moved around the house like it was a pet.
We were happy, but stressed.
Then came March 2020. Just like every other family around the world, we were told to stay in one place. Stay within four walls until further notice.
Panic struck immediately. I was one of the many that ran to the grocery store in search of frozen foods (not toilet paper – starvation was much scarier in my book). I ended up having a Def-Con 5 meltdown while talking to a local doctor I know in the community while we were in the frozen foods section. He specializes in plastic surgery, so I told my husband I have to buy a new nose to make up for his impromptu therapy session and comforting words.
HOW will I stay in my house for weeks?!? I bought a dry erase board and wrote out the month, expecting to cross off every long day and countdown to the day we would be able to go back to “normal”.
In the meantime, I had no choice but to come face to face with my own disorganization, pictures sitting on the floor waiting to be hung and dusty floorboards.
Being the control freak I have grown to be, I figured if I could re-organize closets, I would beat the pandemic. Saturday nights were spent painting the laundry room and repainting the kids room (again). My grandma’s cookbooks were dusted off, I bought some lard and started cooking like it was 1940. I realized we needed more space and every conversation revolved around what room we can clear out and redesign.
When those lockdown mandates extended and extended, my husband was clearly worried I was going to take backhoe to the side of the house. He asked me what it would take to make the house “perfect.”
“It’s not about making it perfect. I want the type of house where my kid’s want to bring their friends, where they want to come back as adults and spend holidays…”
I think I was realizing, along with the rest of the world, home is no longer a just a roof over our heads. And that’s the beautiful thing that happened in the dumpster fire of a year we call 2020. We realized being a home-body wasn’t so bad. Millions of us rediscovered our love of cooking, had the time to clean out underneath the kitchen sink and plant a few flowers or vegetables.
My approach to creating a home shifted. I don’t want a perfect home. I want a wonderful home. I want a space that everyone feels comfort and serenity in every room. That doesn’t mean buying all of page 6 from the Pottery Barn catalogue. It might mean DIY decor and Home Goods finds. But it’s whatever makes our little space happy.
Because of this, I’m opening my imperfect household with you. I’m no expert in anything, but I’ve made a practice out of trial and error.
I’m rededicating this website to show you some of my favorite (easy) go-to family recipes. These aren’t ones that you’d find in a restaurant, but the ones that are realistic for a family. I also love the satisfaction of creating something, and if you know me, you know I love a good project. My husband always says with an outrageous tone: “My wife thinks she can do everything herself.” And then I try to prove that I can. So, let’s see if that works out ….
In case you were wondering, our pet paper pile still exists. I’m trying to find a solution for that. But considering we’ll be inside for a little while longer, I’ll figure it out. No rush.
One thought on “These Four Walls”
So good to see your musings again. You put onto paper what I have heard from so many, whether they have a family or are empty nesters. I love the “pet”-I think I will use that for the top of my dryer where everything lands!