08:07:30 am on
Sunday 21 Jul 2024

Home Decorating
Jennifer Flaten

A huge snowstorm is bearing down on us, so I went out to stock up on provisions. That is, I went to the library. Bah, who needs bread and milk! I need more books. I left with seven. That should be enough to see me through to Sunday.

I need to have many, many books around me, at all times.

Trust me; I need to have a large assortment of books. I’m the kind of reader that doesn’t read a book she doesn’t find engaging. Seriously, if the books dragging, boring or just plain not my cup of tea I’ll abandon it. That’s right. I abandon it and leave it for dead.

If, perchance, despite its general suckiness, the book contains a some little kernel of mystery or an expected big reveal I’ll just skip to the end and read backward until I am satisfied I know what happened in the book. Then I’ll discard it.

Seriously, life is too short to read a book you hate. I don’t care if your book club is reading it or Aunt Hilda recommends it. I’ve also googled the book’s plot summary just to satisfy my curiosity. That’s right, I was curious enough to google the plot but not curious enough to finish the book. I’m an enigma.

If a book engages me, look out.

If I do find the book engaging, then watch out; I’ll read it all in one sitting. Hey, the kids are old enough to fend for themselves. I’m busy reading. A few weeks ago, my book was so good I read it while sautéing something on the stove. I am a multi-tasking level expert, that is, I’m a mother.

Plus, If I run out of books and I’m trapped in the house I’m liable to become a little bitey.

Browsing the new releases, I came across a lifestyle book that looked intriguing. Disclaimer, I am a sucker for cooking or lifestyle books. Heck, I even subscribed to Martha Stewart Living before I had kids. Notice, I say before, because when I had kids that when I realized I would never have anything nice again, ever, or until they were eighteen or I move out of the house.

Oh, you might think that once they are out of toddlerhood you can once again buy nice things, but you’d be wrong; so very wrong.

Teenagers are even more destructive than are toddlers.

Trust me on this one. My teenage kid spilled an entire bottle of nail polish on our hardwood floor. Now, we have to arrange the furniture to cover the Texas shaped blob of righteous red in the living room.

As I browsed through this one book, a page in particular caught my eye. The author extolled the virtues of an indoor herb garden; how simple it was to make one. Why you could even reuse aluminum cans as the pots for the plants.

Really? After opening a can of corn for supper, just rinse out the can and peel off the label and voila a planter is born. There was the photographic evidence on the next page.

Yes, indeedy, there on the page was an artistically staged arrangement of three herbs; parsley, sage and thyme, I’m sure, in their shiny aluminum cans. How lovely it looked, on the page; what with the all-white background and the soft lighting.

You know what it would look like in my house. Like I couldn’t afford a decent pot to put my herbs in that’s what. Reuse a tin can as a planter, what is this Good Housekeeping for Hobos?

Why would I willfully do that? Didn’t I get enough of those crafts from my kids when they were in school? I have an entire box of upcycled craft projects. I’m sentimental to a point, but if it is a tuna can pencil holder or a votive holder made out of clothespins I’m going to keep that in a “special place”; psst, it’s my basement.

That’s like the items I see at the local upcycled handmade goods shows. Beautiful pieces of furniture “distressed” with splatters of paint and gouged to look “used.” Umm, I have several of those pieces in my house right now. Does that mean I’m on trend?

I refuse to nail old chair to and call it a shelf. If Martha has a problem with that she can give me a call.


Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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