What have I done with my life since we last spoke …
seven weeks ago?
Well, let’s see.
I left my job, reevaluated my life, my work as a journalist and my work as a mother. I pitched a few stories to magazines. I booked a few freelance photography gigs. I helped my clever neighbor edit her book on grieving. I fretted (briefly) over leaving my job. I got over it. I made a list of all the posts I want to write because I feel lazy in the blogging department. I got
a speeding ticket royally screwed for driving 28 mph in a 20 mph zone speed trap on Siesta Key Beach. I bought Henry a retro spring horse for $20 off craigslist. I got bit by an Australian shepherd on my final assignment for the paper. I took Henry swimming at the luxurious public pool near our house. In an attempt to fully appreciate the cool-down and to get the most for our $5 entry fee, we turned all the outings into bike excursions. (PS. Biking with my kid has become my new workout regime.)
Oh yeah, I stood up in my sister’s gorgeous wedding gown on the Erie Canal, at which Henry served as ring bearer and handsome flirt. The weekend before Heelya’s nuptials, I camped with my entire family in Middle of Nowhere, Upstate New York, where I exposed my one-year-old to the joys of four-wheeling through the woods, bathing in frigid spring water and sleeping in a cabin. When we returned to Florida, I gave him his first
hair mullet cut. He had spent so much time in the New York hinterlands he’d grown a baby Billy Ray.
And then I gutted my office, which had turned into a black hole for all the crap in our house Henry has broken or has yet to break. I painted it mint green, redecorated/refurnished it with an uncharacteristically girly touch and managed to stay under my $200 budget.
Last year, when I posted pictures of Henry’s baby cave I pulled in my highest number of comments EVER. This still floors me. I write and write and write my heart out and it’s pictures of baby decor that generate chatter. A crib and an Ikea dresser-turned-changing-table, that’s what gets your juices flowing.
In the spirit of pretty pictures, I decided to return to the Lance after a long hiatus with a post dedicated to my office makeover. I was especially resourceful when it came to this overhaul. Now that we’re minus an income and living on tuna fish, I can hardly justify a new Aeron chair. This is why I got a wooden one for $30 at an estate sale.
Here’s how I $aved:
1. I turned a $10 Ralph Lauren shower curtain into two window panels. I found the curtain at TJ Maxx, cut it in half, bought a decorative silver rod from Home Depot and hung it up using shower curtain hooks I once used in my bathroom.
2. I found an enormous filing cabinet at Salvation Army in a pine finish similar to my desk. It was priced at $45. I got it for $30. Yes, you can negotiate at thrift stores.
3. I spent wisely. The shelves were a key piece of furniture. They were $60 each at Ikea, which isn’t bad considering I was able to consolidate most of my office clutter into six deep cubes.
4. I was crafty. Rather than purchase this curtain wire I saw at Ikea, I decided to string a piece of twine from two eye hooks on the wall above my filing cabinet. I had a bunch of tiny clothespins left over from my wedding. (Three years ago I created a similar photo clothesline for my wedding.) I’ve got a thing for clotheslines, remember?
5. A few vintage pieces go a long way. The magazine bin looks like something your grandmother might have kept in her parlor. I got it for $2 at the same Salvation Army where I found the filing cabinet.
6. I didn’t throw away everything. The white trunk is old and decrepit. I bought it years ago for $5 at a garage sale. I needed it for storing paperwork. Even though it’s ugly, I’ve hung onto it for utilitarian purposes. To make it seem less battered, I threw a king-sized bed pillow on the top to create a makeshift bench. Henry loves to pull down the pillow, prop it up against the trunk and page through books. It’s adorable.
7. I hung up only the special stuff. The figurative painting is by Sarasota artist W. Clyde Burnett. I interviewed him a few months ago. His story and enormous spirit inspires me in so many tiny ways. After the piece came out he gave me this painting as a thank you gift. I was incredibly touched. I love his unusual style and loaded symbolism.
8. My neighbor’s trash became my treasure. The small red wicker shelf was passed along from my neighbor, who received the thing from her neighbor. Neither woman had a use for it. I told them I did. The next day I found it sitting on my back porch.
9. Everything else is re-purposed: the old typewriter (a gift from my Nana), the Russian nesting doll (a thrift store find in Oregon), the Keep It Simple post card (a fortuitous find in my stationary drawer), my baby book (a gift from my mom), the bird painting (my lame attempt at painting five years ago), all of it existed in the old office. It was just buried under dusty newspapers and junk.
10. I painted the office mint green because green is supposed to solve all the world’s problems. (That was a money joke.)