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Shotgun, revealed

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

It’s no secret that I’m a perfectionist. I don’t like to admit that I’m a person in process, because I would love for everyone to think that I have it all together 100% of the time.

Well, I don’t have everything together 100% of the time. And as if there weren’t already enough hilarious (read: mortifying) reminders of this on a daily basis, I am now the owner of a 113-year old house – and it is definitely not perfect. The roof leaks in the kitchen, the hardwoods are scratched and stained and disintegrating, the backyard is completely dead, and there is no central air, leading the thermostat on the wall to read 86° every minute of the last 3 months.

But it’s mine, and I love it so much. I’m working to fix things, one tiny dollar after another. Little by little, it’s coming together, and although it’s taken me 4 months to start to feel settled, these 600 square feet really do feel like home.

So here it is – the Shotgun, revealed*! Although I’m not showing you the outside because then you would come and steal me.

THEN

NOW

I know. You have to walk through the bedroom to get to the kitchen. It makes everyone uncomfortable except me, because hey, I’m the one who gets to sleep 5 feet from the refrigerator (life dream).

I’m trying to not make it Girlyville, hence the burlap curtains, selection of bourbon, and a few gender-neutral pieces. The last thing I need is for a man to like me only to be driven away by my decor like the girl with the unicorn house in “Dodgeball.”

Someday I’ll show you the bathroom. But I guess it won’t be today – because truth be told, I forgot to take any pictures. Poor bathroom, always being overlooked.

There are still things I want to do with the space, of course – new windows, a gallery wall in the hallway, building a closet to hide the washer/dryer, sealing the exposed brick in the bedroom, installing an awning over the back window, somehow fixing the standing puddle of water on the roof over the kitchen (any ideas?) – so more to come. But for now, I think it’s pretty good start. And I’d love to have you over any time for wine or whiskey – or more likely, both.

*Please do not judge my photography. I have no idea how I’m related to We Are the Parsons. I’m going to make my own company called I Am the Parsons, and it will specialize in horrid blue/green lighting and zero skills.

The chair

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

It was love at first sight, really.

I was wandering through a vintage store in Kansas City when it caught my eye. I made a beeline for it, and bought it the same day. It made no sense – because how would I ever get it back to Seattle?

It didn’t matter. I didn’t care. The chair was made for me.

That was the spring of 2004, and it wouldn’t be until the summer of 2005 that I would drive nearly 2,000 miles from Seattle to Kansas City in my Honda Accord just to fetch the chair from my parent’s basement where I had left it underneath a sheet. I drove back to the Northwest, and the first thing I did was head to my new apartment building in Wallingford. I muscled the chair up 3 flights of stairs, unlocked the door for the very first time, walked into the empty studio, and set the chair right by the window on the hardwood floor. It was the first and only piece of furniture I owned.

But slowly, my little home began to build around it.

The chair became the centerpiece of my décor, the first thing that people would notice when they walked in – then outwardly show their disappointment when I told them it was from the 50s, and that no, they could not find an equivalent. When I eventually decided to leave Seattle for Nashville, the chair was the only piece of furniture I moved with me. I stopped in Kansas City on the way, and carried it to the middle of a field where my sister-in-law snapped what would become somewhat of an icon in my life.

I built a new life in Tennessee, and as I moved around, started using the phrase “Home is where the chair is.” And it’s true: each humble place that my chair graced truly felt like home.

At the end of 2009, I loaded the chair for yet another move, this time to Denver. From Franklin to Hooker to now Alcott, the chair has traveled with me, and has remained my favorite piece of furniture. I’ve talked about how I want to keep it forever, picturing it in various reading nooks, or maybe a daughter’s room someday. This chair has been woven into the story of my life, and I have never run across another that could compare with how much I love it.

But this year, something tragic happened. Blame it on years of use, blame it on age, but the seat of the chair wore through and split open. The threadbare fabric finally gave way, and just disintegrated beyond repair. I tried to pull and stitch. I brainstormed how to reupholster it – but it was no use. This chair was done for.

I fought it for months, the raggedy chair keeping up residence in the living room, guests commenting on how the stuffing was coming out. I didn’t want to get rid of it, and tried to think of any way I could resurrect what had become such an important item to me. But I knew that the day would come.

And that day was today.

I bought a utility knife. I walked into the living room, turned the chair around, and took a blade to it – I felt like Fantine cutting off her hair. When I was through, I had removed the back panel of fabric, the only piece that was still in good condition. This memory, this scrap, is now lying in the living room.

My future brother-in-law Michael carried the half-naked and now-destroyed chair out to the alley and threw it in the dumpster. It’s over. It’s gone.

– – – – –

I have some dreams that have not come true. Like the fabric on the chair, no matter how I’ve tried to pull, the fiber of my life just won’t reach far enough. No matter how I’ve tried to stitch, the threads unravel. If it were up to me, my dreams would come together seamlessly, creating something good and unique and beautiful, something that others would comment on, something that I would love.

Just hours before I cut up my chair, I talked to Greta about the importance of letting certain dreams die, or at least transform. If the dream no longer holds together, if it dissolves despite our best efforts, then maybe it’s time to let it go. If forcing the pieces only tears them further, then maybe it’s time to be open to something new – and to be open to that something new being GOOD, even though it isn’t exactly what we’ve valued in the past.

As I look ahead to a new year, I don’t know what to dream. But I know that it needs to be new.

Tonight, I mourn the loss of my chair. I stare at the panel of fabric that I saved, and wonder what to do from here.

But whatever it is, I have to believe it could be good.

Inherited

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Next week, my mom is moving to Kansas City.  While this is definitely a good decision for her, selfishly, it’s hard on my heart.  I moved to Colorado to be closer to my parents, and starting next week, neither of them will live here anymore.  This brings up all sorts of questions and emotions for me, but I’ve learned enough to know that none of these need to be discussed in a public forum.

Sorry, voyeurs.

Instead, let’s talk about the things that I have inherited from her house in the move.

The most important thing is Kodi the 3-legged dog.  Yes, our little raisin-eyed tripod, the Toad, now lives with Becca and Greebs and me on Hooker Street.  My days of zero responsibility are now a thing of the past, as Becca and I are constantly shuffling dog duties (not to be confused with dog doodies – although, yes, sad to say that those are being shuffled, too).

She is adorable as always, though – and even though I’m now much more tethered to home, and even though she doesn’t really fit into my active lifestyle (she can walk about a quarter of a mile before she’s spent), it’s nice to have someone who’s always happy to see me.

We’ve also laid claim to some killer patio furniture.  Last week, I told my friend Kelli that it was made of cast iron.  “You mean wrought iron,” she stated more than asked.  I was like, “Yeah.”

Now, we don’t exactly live on a picturesque block.  We have a dirty weed yard, and some local dogs peed on my basil and mint plants until they were dead.  The next-door neighbor’s mutt killed a skunk in their front yard, and the carcass rotted in the hot sun for two weeks.  I’m not sure if mere patio furniture is going to, I don’t know, redeem the neighborhood – but it’s sure as hell going to try.

Come over.  I’ll mix you a ghetto cocktail.

Finally, all of the things that have hidden in Mom’s pantry?  For years?  And years?  Mine.

If you know me at all, you know that I cannot waste food.  I just can’t do it.  If food dies, I die.  It’s this deep, fundamental part of my soul.  You think I’m kidding – but I assure you, I kid thee not.  I’m the girl who packs a food box in her suitcase on long trips, just sick at the thought of leaving food behind to rot in the fridge – a waste of my money, a waste of someone’s labor, a waste of, I don’t know, a cow.

I will avenge your death, cow.

Anyway, I now have more canned goods, spices, and non-perishables than I know what to do with.  Apple butter?  Kidney beans?  Chicken stock?  Red chile marmalade?  Canned meat?  Jars of chutney?  Two gigantic canisters of Pam?  If you have ideas for how I can put this stuff to good use, do tell.

How’s my living room looking?

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Rather complete, these days, thanks for asking.

Slate grey and fabulous

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

I have officially reached adulthood, and ordered my very first piece of brand new, custom furniture.

It should be here in a few weeks.

In a world where I trust that I will always have what I NEED, it’s a humbling luxury to – every now and then – get what I WANT.  I am a super lucky girl.

picture-2

Couches and men

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

You’re dying to know about the Great Sofa Hunt.

Here’s the thing: I wish that I could be content with just any couch.  But if there is one word to describe Annie Parsons, it is “particular” – just ask my poor parents who have watched me for 1 score and 7 years (often with much chagrin – sorry, Mom and Dad).  I am so persnickety, it’s appalling.

Because I don’t have a lot of money, one would think that I would be happy with whatever might get tossed my way – but nay, I say to thee.

NAY.

Because I don’t have a lot of money, that is ALL THE MORE REASON to invest my dollars wisely.  It might not make a lot of sense, I know, but here is my line of thinking: why spend $200 dollars on something heinous that will make me miserable and ashamed every time I lay my poor, unfortunate eyes on it when I could spend $1,000 on something that will make my heart burst with sprinkles?  I would rather pay more money once than less money what would wind up being multiple times.

The obvious trouble is that I usually do not have confetti-inducing funds just lying in a manila envelope under my mattress.  If I did, I sure wouldn’t be driving a 20-year old Honda Accord – but then again, that’s EXACTLY why I’m driving a 20-year old Honda Accord.  I could go out right now and buy a 1993 Saturn (no offense, if that’s you), but why would I do that when what I really want is keyless entry and seat warmers?  It’s worth waiting for.

Does this make sense to anyone but me?

In other words, I am still couchless.

And single, as it were.

There are probably some parallels there.

Nubbins

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Oh sorry – did I quit blogging for a couple of days?  I apologize.  It’s just that OH MY WORD, LOOK AT MY NEW DESK.

picture-2

It’s called a PARSONS desk, for crying out loud – can you say meant? to? be? This is what Gina, Leigh, and I will be supporting the Emma community off of.  And I might occasionally drape myself across mine, just out of sheer obsession.

– – – – – – – –

If “the British” = “Julie” then call me Paul Revere.

It’s true.  JULIE IS COMING!

Yes, Julie of JAM.  When I get home from work tonight, there she’ll be.  And for a few days, all will be right in my world.

– – – – – – – –

I took my car for an oil change this morning.  The man at the counter asked, “Make and model?”

“Honda Accord,” I replied.

“Year?” he asked.

“1990.”

“Nineteen-ninety…?” he paused, prompting.

“1990.  Period”

“Ninety?  Really?  Well, okaaaaaaay.”

No one – not even mechanics – can believe that the Honda is still alive and kicking.

– – – – – – – –

I want to be in this so bad.

My version of a conundrum

Friday, January 15th, 2010

First things first: go get excited for my friends Annie and Hillary.  Ow OWWW, ladies!

Now, let’s whiplash back to my quiet life.  All I’m asking is to find a charcoal grey, non-microfiber, cozy, not-too-huge, affordable, totally sexy sectional.  Craigslist is failing me at every turn.

When it comes to my home, I’m a big fan of changing things up every now and then – which probably comes no, not from a constant desire for growth and refinement, but from my deep, childhood love of “Full House.”

Think about it: the Tanners remodeled SO MANY TIMES.  The basement into Uncle Jesse’s recording studio.  The garage into Uncle Joey’s bedroom.  The attic into Jesse and Becky’s apartment.  And remember when Vicky and her interior designer mom redesigned Stephanie and Michelle’s room from primary to pastel colors and it made Danny and Vicky fight and break up?

Formative, I tell you.

There’s a lady coming to buy my little red couch tomorrow, which is awesome because that thing needs to go.  But what does that mean?  Yes: that my little flowered chair (of Hootenannie header fame) will be my only piece of furniture in the living room.

These are life’s challenges.

Because I feel like a pad of butter?

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

When I moved into my apartment back in February, my dear friend Sarah offered me her bed on a long-term loan. It’s a great 4-poster, and has served me well. However, since Sarah is moving to Texas next month, she recently informed me that she’s going to need the bed back.

Never fear, Mary says. Just get this.

My favorite line: “This piece of toast is made of plastic, not bread, so if you wake up and smell burning toast, you are probably just having a stroke.”

Newfound purpose

Monday, January 14th, 2008

For the past 10 days (has it only been 10 days?), I have been a rollercoaster of emotion. Within a single day, I can feel hugely hopeful, and then despairing, and then peaceful, and then turmoiled. I don’t enjoy feeling so schizophrenic, and I don’t like the fact that my circumstances have such control over my attitude. I continue to plug away, looking for jobs and places to live, but each time that something looks promising, the rug is ripped out from beneath my feet and I fall apart.

But I have found a new reason to live.

Walking through Pier 1 tonight, I came across the most perfect couch I could possibly dream up. No, it’s not flashy, and there’s nothing really remarkable about it aside from the fact that it was screaming my name. And from the depth of my spirit, my soul (sounding strangely like David Cassidy) echoed back, “I think I love you, so what am I so afraid of?”

I circled the sofa, inspecting every line, every angle. Is it red, or is it rust, or is it brown, or is it pink? I choose to believe that it could be any color that I want it to be. I cautiously lowered myself onto the cushions, and was pleasantly surprised to find it cozy and comfortable. I envisioned it next to the the only piece of furniture that I own, The Chair:


Obviously, for someone who has such impeccable taste in furniture, not just any sofa will do. And I have found one that is up to standards.

Therefore, I will press on in my job search. I will persevere until I find a home. And someday, when I once again have ANY expendable income, the couch will be mine.

Oh yes. It will.