Monday, January 11, 2016


One half of the world 
cannot understand 
the pleasures of the other. 

 - Jane Austen

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman cannot long reside in a home with an area rug she despises. That's right, y'all, there is a new rug in my living room and I love it. I love it a lot. I probably love it more than a woman should love a rug.

All the yammering I did last week about aesthetics & Maslow & self-actualizing was to pave the way for today's big rug news. It arrived on Friday, & its unfurling was the climactic conclusion of an odd week, though not odd in a bad way. Odd is often negatively connotated when that need not be the case.

Trey was out of town Monday night & Tuesday night. He had to be in Atlanta for a deposition on Tuesday, & as he has sworn off the airlines if they can possibly be avoided, he left Monday morning to drive to Atlanta.

Trey's travel coincided with Reagan's return to WEE School. I decided to brave Monday night & Tuesday with the kids all by myself like the thirty-five-year-old woman I am. My mother was (& remains) exhausted from a horrific bout of asthma for which she's seen a pulmonologist who has her taking some serious medicine that does help the asthma, but makes her feel weird, as all the truly great medicine does.

I asked Trey's mom to take Henry Tuesday night because not only did I need to get Reagan up & to school on time Wednesday morning, I needed to stay in town to return to school around nine-thirty to do Cookie Wednesday duty, & then remain in town to pick her up at eleven-thirty when school dismissed for the day. Given that Henry sleeps until around ten o'clock right now, I didn't want to drag him to & from school, & to & from school, & to & from school all in a matter of three hours. It wouldn't have done anything for either of our moods.

Being her lovely & amazing self, my mother-in-law offered to come to the house Tuesday morning around eight & whisk Henry away for the day. What this meant was that after I dropped Reagan off at school Tuesday morning I was ALL ALONE FOR LIKE THREE HOURS.

I pulled out of the WEE School parking lot & I just had no idea what to do. I drove & listened to the silence in the car, & then I listened to Adele & thought about the contrast in Monday & Tuesday. Monday I was home with the kids all day, save the hour the three of us spent at the grocery store. Here I was, up & showered & dressed & alone, & it wasn't even nine in the morning. To top it off, it was freezing cold outside & there was no humidity. My hair looked great & the seat warmer in my car was so toasty; it was one of those mornings when you feel as if you're starring in a Disney musical, assuming of course it's a dark, mournful musical because what you're singing is Adele.

What I did first was eat breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Solidifying my Disney-musical-high, the hostess asked me if I wanted a table in front of the fire. I answered in the affirmative & smiled & followed her to the table, repressing the urge to click my heels (which I totally can really do, by the way).

I saw this throw below while I took my sweet time & looked at every last thing in Cracker Barrel's store except the toys. It made me think of Shelby (if that reference is lost on you, then we're not as close as I thought).

After my fireside coffee & breakfast, I wanted to go to Hobby Lobby, but instead had to head to the AT&T store because of an irritating text message issue that plagued me all day Monday. You never see those scenes in Disney musicals, the heroine having to run mundane errands. Cinderella may have to scrub floors, but you never see her waiting around for a plumber to show up, or running to the store because her wicked stepmother needs more toilet paper.

With my phone fixed, I headed to Hobby Lobby, where I wondered around for over an hour. There was a nice looking young man restocking the numerous shelves that house picture frames & I think he thought I was stalking him, or trying to work up the courage to ask him out or something. If he smiled & nodded & called me Ma'am once he did it ten times.

I picked Reagan up at eleven-thirty & it was just the two of us for the remainder of the day. Sometime Tuesday afternoon, the magic of the morning wore off & I wanted to take a nap, which I thought might be possible since Henry was not at the house.

I did get in the bed, in the middle of the day, which was unusual & amazing, but I did not go to sleep. Reagan is a champ at holing up in her room & playing with the array of toys/dolls/barbies/fake food/doctor kits available to her, but rarely does more than half an hour pass without her wanting something to drink, or wanting me to do something that requires getting out of the bed, & so I never slept. I did watch two episodes of Gilmore Girls, so the time was well spent.

Late Tuesday afternoon I told Reagan we could go get something for dinner & asked if she had any particular request. She immediately let me know we were headed to Brookshire's so she could push a miniature grocery cart. We didn't need anything, having been in the store on Monday, but I agreed.

We left Brookshire's & headed to Scott's. You may've noticed that I've mentioned Scott's a good bit lately. It's a local restaurant (I think?) with locations in West Monroe & Ruston. They serve incredible seafood &, perhaps best of all, hot turnip greens that are not cooked in bacon fat & can be purchased & obtained via a drive-thru window. I think I was past thirty before I began truly enjoying turnip greens; now that I love them, I just hate it when people take perfectly good greens & drench them in bacon fat so that they taste like greasy bacon fat. What a waste. I don't eat pork, & I don't like vegetables soaked in pork fat. Moving on. 

Reagan agreed to go sit & eat with me & so I enjoyed my catfish & greens inside the restaurant, as opposed to sitting in my car in the parking lot. Perhaps we'll explore this further in a future blog, but there is something therapeutic about sitting in a dark parking lot (my revolver by my side) & eating hot turnip greens while Adele croons in the background. 

On the way home, we listened to Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" at Reagan's request. We listened to it like three times, but that's okay, because thanks to my XM radio, the kids will not grow up ignorant of eighties classics like "Girls Just Want To Have Fun." 

Wednesday was a little less magical. I don't sleep all that well when Trey is gone & I was very tired. I don't know why I sleep better when he's at home because absolutely nothing wakes him, not even the numerous alarms on his phone that wake me up every morning. I did get Reagan to school on time Wednesday morning, but I was not the fresh, beautiful daisy I was Tuesday morning. Knowing I needed to return around nine-thirty for Cookie Wednesday medicine duty, I went & parked at Chick-fil-A so I could finish drinking my coffee & apply some make-up.

After doing my Cookie duty, I had a couple of hours to myself (again!) & so I went to Target.

Can you see that tag? It reads, "Tank Basket." This is what they do. They've actually designed a basket specifically to rest on the toilet. Just when our home reaches total basket saturation, when I cannot justify buying one more basket, they do this.

I did not buy it. I don't even think I want a basket sitting on the back of any of our toilets because there's a high chance it'll end up in the toilet at some point, but I did pause & marvel at Target's latest attempt to get me to buy more baskets.

Naturally if it's on sale next time I'm in there I'm totally going to buy it.

I drug myself away from Target in time to get Reagan & the two of us headed to Grandmama & Granddaddy's house to pick up Henry. The three of us were pretty useless Wednesday afternoon, exhausted from our respective sleepovers. The kids didn't even seem to have the energy to fight. 

Thursday morning normalcy returned as Trey took Reagan to school & Henry & I stayed home in our pajamas drinking cup after cup of our beloved milk & coffee (coffee for me, of course, as milk makes me gag). 

Friday around noon the rug arrived. I knew from all the fancy tracking information they email you that Friday was going to be the big day.

If I ever need to move a body, I'm seeking the help of the FedEx guy who carried the rug from his truck to our front door. It was so heavy. I thought for a moment I was going to have to leave it on the porch & ask Trey's help in getting it in the house . . . or flag down some golfers passing by or call the cops or something. I was frantic for an alternative to (1) waiting hours to see the new rug on the floor & (2) asking Trey to help me haul in a rug he was sort of unaware we'd recently purchased.

The kids & the dog were busy doing their usual oh-it's-a-delivery! hysterics while I pushed & pulled & pushed & pulled & finally got the rug in the house.

I took one last shot of the old rug:

And, at long last, here she is:

She's much larger than the former rug & just beautiful, don't you think? Obviously I'd prefer a picture that's free of toys & a hot pink house shoe, but that just hasn't happened yet. I don't know that you can appreciate the artful array of blues, greens, & teal from pictures. If you're ever at the house, I'll be happy to sit on the rug with you & we can talk about it.

Trey's reaction to the rug was considerably more pleasant than I anticipated. We have an unspoken ceasefire of sorts when it comes to money spent on the ridiculous things that make us happy, like guns & rugs. Unfortunately for me, it's not really possible to hide a huge new rug from him, but he can purchase a gun without my knowledge & keep it hidden from my sight permanently. I have no idea how many guns he owns. No, strike that: I have no idea how many guns we own. I have a revolver that's mine, so that's one, but after that, it's anybody's guess.

Here's the short version of the story of my new living room rug: In March of 2007, my sister completed her first graduate degree (being a high achiever, she has since earned a law degree), & my parents & I attended her graduation ceremony. Since we were in the neighborhood, that afternoon we visited Bodie's, a wonderful furniture store in Ruston. I was living on my own at the time & was in need of some furniture, & I found some that fateful spring day.

Here I am with the happy graduate on the day I found my furniture. I remember there was no humidity that day. Not only did we celebrate Jessica earning her graduate degree, my hair looked great & the couch & chair I bought were half off. The day was made of win. I'm tempted to tell you what I weighed when this picture was taken. But I digress. 

Anyway, the couch is green & the chair (which is pictured above) is upholstered in a striped fabric. They've been with me many years & have served me well. I've known for a long while that I wanted to change something in the living room. It was (note the past tense there, was) my least favorite room in the house, but I didn't know what I wanted to do, only that purchasing new, expensive upholstered anything was unwise at this juncture.

I daily periodically browse furniture online & saw this piece on Haverty's website recently:

I really love it. I knew when I saw it that it is what I want for the wall across from our front door, a wall that's empty & has been for the four years we've lived in this house. Decorating is similar to marriage in that until you are certain of what you want, it is best to leave a space blank rather than rush to fill it with something that will only satisfy you temporarily & likely cost money you'll soon consider to be wasted. I was about to make a hammer/nail/sheetrock comment that may not be appropriate, so we'll move along. 

Anyway, when I saw the lovely Haverty's accent piece, the wheels began to turn. What I needed to make this piece work was a rug with hints of the green of the couch, some blue(s), some teal, & a little bit of maroon (there's a prominent maroon stripe on the chair). 

I have to say that if online rug buying was an Olympic sport, I'd be standing on a platform with a medal around my neck. After considerable research, I ordered a rug from I've had nothing but pleasant rug buying experiences with them, & though this is the largest & most expensive rug I've purchased, I am so thoroughly pleased. 

We needed a new rug. I can honestly say we needed one. We needed a bigger rug, & we needed a rug that doesn't contain the remnants of five plus years of living. I bought the former living room rug at Target in February of 2010; if I thought long enough, I could probably tell you what I was wearing when I purchased it. And yes, I know the new one will get dirty; I know okay, okay?!

I thought & thought about it, & there will never be a "perfect" time to buy a new rug. There is no age at which people quit spilling things. I know because Trey spills things & he is thirty-seven. My dad spills things & he is in his sixties. Scratch that; maybe the perfect time to buy a new rug is when you find yourself in a house full of women? 

That concludes my New Rug Justification Manifesto. The Haverty's piece is not yet in the house, or I'd of course share photos. Stay tuned; this is a process. 

This past week has been an indulgence of riches for me, from the fireside breakfast to the time wondering gleefully though Hobby Lobby to my girls' night with Reagan to the arrival of my new rug.

Tomorrow morning I return to the classroom after a month-long respite. I have mixed emotions about tomorrow. First, I'll have to leave my new rug for an extended period of time. Okay, I'm kidding. I don't think this will come as a great shock to most of you, but this next semester will likely be my last in the college classroom, at least for the foreseeable future. If all goes as planned, I'll be at school with Reagan next year when she begins kindergarten. No, not as a hovering mother in the hallway, but as a high school English teacher, which is a whole other world I'm not mentally confronting at this juncture. Admittedly my supervisor at work does not yet know this, so Shhhhhh! 

More than once last week I thought of Austen's above quote. I believe it's from Emma, which I have not read, but I will, Lord willing, later this year as it's on the book club's 2016 list. Emma is, from what I gather, quite a spitfire & I am eager to make her acquaintance. She strikes me as someone who, should she set her mind to do so, would find & order herself a new living room rug & then determinedly drag it in her house with the help of zero men.

There are two lessons I take away from this past week. First, the people you love are inevitably going to have interests & hobbies you don't understand & maybe don't care for at all. That's okay. Unless they're bankrupting you, or are involved in activities that are illegal or otherwise harmful to them, let them be, & maybe even muster a little excitement for them from time to time. If you have kids you do this constantly, oohing & ahhhing over things you don't truly find interesting, sometimes even things that make you want to put your fist through a wall.

Also, it is important to create & maintain a home that calms you. You know what? I think Trey is finally beginning to understand how important this is to me. After five years of me explaining to him that I am in the house all the time & that is one of the reasons things like rugs & mirrors & lamps matter to me, I think he (sort of) gets that. It's better to have a nearly empty room than one filled with items that bother you. It really is, as all the articles I've read on decluttering & organizing & decorating claim, mentally draining to live daily in spaces you don't enjoy.  

My old living room rug was getting the better of me. With every pass through the room, I wanted to set fire to it. It was(is) filthy, it was(is) worn completely through in places, & it was(is) too small for the room & looked more & more awkward to me with each passing day. In retrospect, I am so impressed with myself that we've been in this house four years now & I have only now bought a living room rug. Bravo, me! 

On a related note, throwing things out is not always the answer to your home decor problems (unless of course the item in question is a disgusting rug). A few months ago I was convinced my living room issues were couch-centric. I was tired of the green couch, so I thought. I considered a slipcover. I considered rearranging the room. Neither of those solutions were practical, so I kept stewing & thinking until I saw the Haverty's piece & began plotting, determined to find a way to make that teal piece work with the green couch, & the answer was, of course, a rug that ties it all together. Haverty's says the piece is "Mediterranean Blue," but that's fancy speak for teal. 

Now here I am, falling in love all over again with a green couch I bought when I was twenty-six years old, living the swinging single life. I mentioned  this line recently, but it's worth repeating these Journey lyrics (from "Faithfully"): I get the joy of rediscovering you. Don't overlook the potential of the green couch in your home. You decide for yourself if this is an elaborate metaphor & Trey is the green couch, but either way, both remain permanent fixtures in the house. 

I've heard rumors there is a football game on television tonight. I'll likely watch, but I feel pretty meh about the whole thing. Either Alabama or Clemson is going to lose, so there's your silver lining. I was hoping to see Oklahoma face Alabama in the title game as I thought it'd make a good game, & I thought Oklahoma might defeat Alabama. I suppose Clemson is better than I thought, but how could I have known until they played Oklahoma? Emerging from the ACC undefeated is just not all that impressive to me. Sure, it'd be nice to see an SEC team win the title, & were it any other team & any other overly tanned coach, I'd be all in for them, but again, meh.

I hope your week is off to a good start. I plan to post this & then sit on my new rug in front of the fire until someone wants something to drink, or cries of MINE! force me to my feet, at which point the offending party will be required to sit serenely on the rug with me admiring its stunning mix of blues, greens, & Mediterranean Blue.


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