Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Better Homes & Garbage

Better Homes & Garbage
By Allison Adams, 08-03-09 – Submitted to The Greeneville Sun 08-04-09

“Hey mom – maybe we can start looking at the discount stores for some furniture for my new apartment.”

“Oh no, honey. I’m afraid I can’t be a party to that.”

“What do you mean? Why not?”

“Because I would be depriving you from experiencing an important life lesson – a rite of passage, so-to-speak.”

“Wha …?”

“You see, I’ve been waiting for the time when I could help you furnish your very first apartment! I’ve been saving for this very day!

“Great! Let’s go shopping!”

“No – I mean, I’ve been putting things back for you – saving perfectly good items to hand down to you for use in your own place someday. “

“Hand-me-downs? You mean junk? Oh no – really, mom. I couldn’t …”

“Don’t be silly - I insist! Just look here. Look at this lamp! It has a sweet little bird perched on a branch that’s really the lamp base!”

“But the bird is missing a wing, and there’s a big dent in the lampshade.”

“Just turn it to the wall – like this – and no one will really notice. See?
“Then I have these plastic dishes with a Hawaiian motif that I used once for a luau party about 15 years ago. I knew you’d love them, so I’ve saved them all this time! Look! There are 3 plastic cups that match! One thing to remember though – they are not dishwasher-safe.”

“Are you punishing me?”

“Here now, look at this. Here is a perfectly good lavender-colored bath mat set. Don’t mind that big spot – I spilled a little bleach there. And look how nicely it goes with this jungle print shower curtain! Notice the detail in that jungle print. Those Macaw look like they’re about to fly right off the curtain, don’t they?”

“You are punishing me.”

“And look here – I’ve saved this thing – a Mr. Juicer Junior. Most of the parts
are still in the box. I received it in 1988 when I opened a new savings account at the bank.
“And here is a lovely artificial oil painting of a beautiful sailing ship on a stormy sea. Look at the colors in that water! It will go so nicely with these brown plaid throw pillows that your uncle’s second cousin’s next-door neighbor used on the wicker sofa they once had on the porch of their lake house.”

“Have I been THAT bad?”

“First though, we need the foundation items. Things like tables and bookshelves – those sorts of things. “

“Now you’re talking. Where shall we start shopping for those?”

“Are there any construction sites near your new place? We need to find one of those big, empty, wooden spools – the type that utility cable is wound on. That’ll be your kitchen table. I think daddy and I can spare a couple of folding chairs for you to sit on. They won’t match each other, but they’re fairly sturdy. Maybe we can sweet talk a couple of vegetable crates from the produce manager at the grocery store. You can tip them up on their ends and use them as side tables for the couch you don’t have. And while we’re combing the construction site, we need to pick up a few cinder blocks.”

“What, pray tell, will we do with those?”

“We’ll place 2x4’s on them and use them for bookshelves.”

“Of course we will.”

“And, we need to see if we can find some old milk crates for your record albums.”

“But I don’t own any …”

“Then we’ll drive around some of those fancy neighborhoods on trash day and see if anyone has set out perfectly good household items at the curb. They won’t mind if we pick them up – they just want them disposed of. Your daddy and I scored the greatest recliner and tray table set once when we were out looking for things for our first place.”

“Let me get this straight. You expect me to furnish my new apartment with hand-me-downs, building supplies, and other people’s garbage?”

“You’re catching on! Its ‘repurposing’. Remember, I watch HGTV. There’s another name for that decorating style … oh, yes – “Shabby-Chic” – its all the rage!”

“Oh - it’s shabby all right.”

“Now then, if we come up short we can splurge a little and start hitting some of the thrift shops in town. Frugal decorators like us are bound to find some treasures! Did I ever tell you about the pitchfork that I turned into a coat rack? I’m telling you – when we’re through furnishing your little apartment, it’ll look like something right out of a magazine!”

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