OUT OF STYLE

 

I came across an article in my news feed that wasn’t about the coronavirus. It was about fading trends in home decor, and I felt obligated to share these things with you so you can rush right out and hire a contractor to change everything in your house, or at least, get a decorator on the line, FAST. Because you risk becoming one of those people who lives in a house that is, as they so often say on HGTV, “dated.”

I can write this with a very clear conscience, because I recently moved into a brand new apartment, where everything is current. This will last for about what? five years? at which point we may have to move to a more updated place. Nevertheless, here is a listicle of things you mustn’t have any more, if you wish to be de rigueur.

  1. Get rid of those granite countertops. The fact that absolutely EVERYBODY on House Hunters required them two years ago is no longer the rule. You must now have quartz, concrete, or some sort of composite of minerals that look nothing like stone. If you notice, all the countertops in public restrooms are granite. Enough said.
  2. Stainless steel. Ok, most of us have it, but apparently, it is on the cusp of being really unpopular. I am not sure what we are supposed to get to replace these refrigerators and stoves. White, maybe? Retro 1950’s? Maybe colors. Or black.
  3. Oh, my God. If you have wood paneling, get it out of there! I am going to go out on a limb, here, and say that shiplap is on its way to becoming passe as well. A pox on Joanna Gaines!
  4. Do not, under any circumstances, get curtains that match your bed covering. This immediately labels you as elderly.
  5. Wallpaper is coming back. However, if it looks like a lot of flowers, you are making a bad choice. Note: I had wallpaper in my front hall that was straight out of the 1950’s for the 27 years that I lived there. I had to get rid of it to sell the house. Millennials hate wallpaper that reminds them of their grandmas. I am a proud grandma. Sidebar: I have ordered some wallpaper already for my apartment. It has no flowers, though.
  6. Terrazzo. Who in God’s name besides shopping malls ever liked terrazzo? Ok, maybe people in Rome. But come ON. It is so awful.
  7. I hate to report this, but get rid of all of those throw pillows.
  8. Subway tile. Too ubiquitous. Go with something else. Or call it a “classic.”
  9. If you have a sink sitting on top of your bathroom counter, it is a fading trend. I always sort of wanted one of those, but I am relieved that I didn’t fall for it. The word is undermount, baby!
  10. Valances. Get rid of them. Especially those puffy ones that look like scallop shells. I have to admit, I love those. But I am a grandma, and you know how grandmas are. However, I have never liked doilies. Come ON.
  11. Tuscan kitchens are out. Except in Tuscany.
  12. Chandeliers are still in. I cannot understand why. People are putting them in every single room. That is sheer overkill. I think a chandelier in the dining room is over the top. Of course, no one HAS dining rooms any more, because open concept. So I guess then you have to put your chandelier somewhere, and why not in the bathroom? Or hanging from a tree out in the back yard?

I could go on and on, but I don’t want to depress you, You are probably depressed as hell right now, anyway, due to the hand sanitizer shortage. Oh, one more thing: wabi sabi is IN. I have no idea what that is.

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THE DOOMSDAY LIST

I did my Coronavirus shopping today. We are in the group considered “vulnerable,” so I had to get what we need to be able to stay inside for at least two weeks.

THE LIST

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toilet paper
  • Kleenex
  • Food
  • Grappling hook
  • Lederhosen
  • Parachute
  • Snow shovel
  • Epsom salts
  • Margarita Mix
  • Pup tent
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Twizzlers

They were all out of shower shoes.

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A FOOL’S ERRAND, ETC.

Are they idioms? Figures of speech? Where did they come from? And yes, one can Google. But I prefer to speculate:

  • Were people just lazy in the old days? Too somnolent to get their stuff done? So they hired people with no sense to run their errands for them? Fools? And if you send a fool to run your errands, you will soon learn it is not a good idea, because instead of bread and milk, any fool will tell you that Coke and Doritos are better.
  • Come on. I have never seen a bum rush anywhere. They have no deadlines, thus no sense of urgency. So how this expression got so popular, I will never know.
  • Have you ever, in your entire life, seen a person with a stick, hitting the ground around a shrub? And if so, does this person never get to the point when telling a story? Are the two things related? How? This is a rhetorical question.
  • I have purchased a few horses in my day. And yes, we looked at their teeth. But if somebody gave me a horse, I would still look at his teeth. Good grief, it’s just common sense, people.
  • I know it is what it is. It is always what it is. Why even say that?
  • Our mustard is spreadable. Everybody’s mustard is spreadable, for God’s sake!
  • Both ends of the stick are probably about the same. And if you get the wrong end, just turn the stick around. It’s not rocket science.
  • Rocket science.
  • Wash the baby. Dry the baby. Drain the bathwater. Geez, it’s not rocket science.
  • I might touch it with a stick. Even the wrong end of a stick. It could be shorter than a ten-foot stick. I would say that if it is dead, I would touch it with a six foot stick. If it smells bad, maybe an eight foot stick. A stick is fine. A pole is just over thinking it.
  • I had no idea that thieves stick together. As a matter of fact, I would think one thief would stay as far away from another one as possible. Because that thief might RAT on you.
  • So if he rats on you, what is that? Does he throw a dead rodent in your direction?

I have to go now. I have a splitting headache.

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NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS

Things were getting way too depressing. Every ten minutes, someone in the government blew a whistle, quit a job, lied, called names, or committed an atrocious act. I checked Twitter and my news feed every ten or twenty minutes, and by God, something else had happened.

So. I took a bold step. I got off Twitter, despite the fact that I had amassed a very large following there. Ok–bragging: over 16,000 followers, I am sure none of whom actually cared one whit what I tweeted. So I deactivated my account.

It took me about a month to stop looking for the Twitter app to click on my phone. Old habits die hard. But I felt better, less anxious. Then I made another huge decision: I stopped watching Judy Woodruff on the PBS Newshour every night. I realized that our Commander in Chief will never change, and the things spewing forth from his lips only get worse. So I stopped listening.

I still check the news feed on my phone once a day, just to make sure that no one has bombed New York, or that we have purchased, Greenland, was it?

I sleep at night now. I think about what to make for dinner instead of who got shot in what city the night before. I am beginning to work on my next book again. I have decided that this is a blip. We will vote. Americans will come to their senses.

My head isn’t completely buried in sand. I can still hear the birds. But no tweets, thank you.

 

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NOT YET

How old do you have to be to say “the hell with it,” and just go to the grocery store without makeup? Despite the fact that without makeup, you look pasty faced and your eye bags command attention?

What about wardrobe? When can you run an errand in a shirt with a grease spot from last night’s spaghetti, and face the world unashamed?

Spanx. When are you just too old to worry about that pooch? Let it all hang out?

Speaking of Spanx, at what point in your life do you forget that there is even such a thing as a carb? Instead, you merrily order dessert, have donuts for breakfast, and just move up another clothing size?

Do people turn 60 and throw caution to the winds? Pass gas at will? Or is it 70? Do most seventy year olds give a damn about their appearance, their reputation, or how many days can go by without washing their hair?

I keep waiting for that magical moment. The day I wake up and take one look at my tube of concealer and throw it directly into the trash. The day I decide that white teeth aren’t  worth sitting with those vile-tasting strips on,  waiting for the kitchen timer to go off. The day I once and for all decide that no matter what, I will never even consider an underwire.

That day has not arrived.  I just ordered a jar of slug slime. It is supposed to do wonders for wrinkles.

 

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OLD AND NEW

On the left is the old. On the right is the new. City versus suburb. Historic house versus brand new apartment.

I was ready to move. I have harbored an urban fantasy for years.

Here is what I will miss forever:

  • History. The thought that lives were lived in a home that was filled with happiness and drama. The old “if walls had ears” phenomenon. I loved the butler’s pantry, for example. Who was the butler? Was there ever one? And there is a hole in the floor in the dining room where there once was a bell to summon the maid. There is also what looks like a doorbell mounted on the wall beside the fireplace. Also for summoning a servant.Wow. How Downton that was!
  • Crystal, egg shaped doorknobs on every door. Absolutely beautiful and hard to take for granted.
  • A sleeping porch. We never slept there, but it is so private, I spent many an evening up there in my pjs.
  • Huge rooms. High ceilings. Crown molding.
  • A fanlight over the front door. Sigh.
  • Sitting in front of the fire in the winter, writing a book. Cozy. Hygge.
  • A dining room with a table for 8-10 people. Sure, we used it only on holidays, but it was gracious.
  • Center hall that was wide enough for a wedding. Again, it manifested itself only in one of my novels, but it could happen. A bride may yet walk down that staircase to a waiting crowd below.
  • The neighborhood. The neighbors.

Here is what is new and exciting:

  • Views of the city. Lights at night. Sunsets right outside the living room windows.
  • Speaking of windows: light. Light everywhere from the huge windows in every room. Vistas for miles.
  • I have a kitchen island. I never knew why everyone got so excited about them. Now I do.
  • Walk in closet of my own, with room for more clothes than I will ever have.
  • And right off that closet, the laundry room. No more carrying laundry baskets down two and a half flights of stairs into the basement.
  • A wrap around balcony. Just enough for lots of flowers in the summer.
  • A view of the Dayton Dragons baseball field. I am not a baseball fan, but it will be fun watching the games from above. Maybe.
  • Fireworks. Sitting out on the balcony with a bird’s eye view. Can’t wait.
  • All the new furniture I got to buy. A once in a lifetime experience.

It has been more of an emotional wrench than I expected, but the pluses far outweigh the minuses. And it certainly helps that we are passing on the house to the right family who will love and respect it as we did.

If there is a wedding in that house, and if we are still alive, I hope we are invited.

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THE TENTH DOCTOR

How did they come up with nine out of ten doctors? Who is that tenth doctor, anyway? The one who never endorses anything?

This tenth doctor is old-school. He or she recommends taking the two aspirin and not calling in the morning. This doc is conservative, favoring the “wait and see what happens in a month” theory. Most symptoms go away, after you  stop taking your temperature hourly, watching Dr. Oz, and asking Gwyneth Paltrow for advice about what body parts to steam. This doc believes in warm salt water for almost everything.

The tenth doctor saw kale coming and suggested that it makes a better garnish than a side dish–remember spinach? It has lots of iron, tastes great with hot bacon dressing, and you can eat it either raw or wilted without gagging.

I have been to the tenth doctor. This MD told me that humans living during the Paleolithic era would certainly have loved cupcakes and french fries if they had been invented, but the folks back then were too busy inventing wheels and fire. So the fact that we current humanoids crave McDonalds is understandable. This doctor actually admitted that the day I had my physical, she had Skyline four ways for lunch.

I love the tenth doctor. This person never jumps on trends. Intermittent fasting just frustrates you and then you order a hot fudge ball at the first opportunity. Hot yoga. Regular yoga has been loosening people up for generations–why heat it up, for God’s sake? This doctor has a sign-up sheet for Girl Scout Cookies in her waiting room. As a matter of fact, this doc has participated in both a marathon and a pie-eating contest.

I asked the tenth doctor about Crossfit, and she rolled her eyes. She told me to take walks, and not to worry about juggling two heavy ropes simultaneously. She said the original food groups are just fine, but that even she wishes cheese would cure cancer.

Those other nine doctors are spending way too much time endorsing getting a Peloton for your spouse for Christmas. We all know how THAT went down.

 

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WHAT DO YOU DO?

If you are on social media at all, or even if you aren’t, I am sure you have heard or even taken part in discussions of labels. Who can legitimately claim a label? For instance, can you call yourself a “writer” if you have never been published? I struggled with that one. I blogged for years, and I never once called myself a writer. Even now, after four books, I have a hard time using that label. It feels fraudulent, somehow. Having never been on a bestseller list, and certainly not a household name, calling my self a writer seems self-congratulatory.

Artist? Who, me? The person who creates all of her drawings with her finger on an iPhone? Phooey. And yet, a friend just the other day asked me where she might buy one of my drawings, because she likes collecting the work of local artists. Well, then.

Many people say this: “If you write, you are a writer. If you draw, you are an artist.” This is so simplistic it borders on the ridiculous. Using this guideline, we are all musicians, poets, writers, philosophers, and everything in between.

On the other hand, if we limit our inclusion into these occupations only those who are brilliant at them, we demean all of us out there who derive great pleasure from engaging in them. Should there be some sort of continuum, then? From amateur, on to amateur-with-some-talent, amateur-but-almost-as-good-as-a-pro, semi-professional, to the actual real thing?

I don’t have the answer. But I have four published books, all available on Amazon. So that gives me some confidence when I say I am a writer. You can buy my art at two different web shops, http://www.society6.com/mollydcampbell and http://www.cafepress.com/notexactlypicasso . So I guess that means I am also an artist? Is there such a thing as a “finger artist?”

I know one thing for certain.  I cook. BIG HOWEVER: I am NOT a chef.

 

 

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UPDATE

The holidays passed so fast! We had our two grandchildren here for four days. As you can see in the photo above, Birdie preferred serving her own cereal. I am still finding stray Froot Loops around the baseboards.

The apartment has, as you know, a great view. But my grandkids discovered another great perk, no pun intended: WE HAVE A STARBUCKS COFFEE MACHINE in the party room! Free coffee, lattes, espresso, cappuccino, and many other choices, including hot chocolate, which little Charlie and Birdie wanted every morning. And now that they are gone, I put a sweatshirt over my pjs every morning, shuffle in my slippers down to the elevators, and take the short ride to the second floor, where I fill my coffee mug with STARBUCKS. Unbelievably cool!

Birdie also decided to hit the emergency button beside the elevator one evening. This resulted in two hook and ladder trucks arriving at the building, along with eight firefighters. They were all very understanding, and the Bird enjoyed exchanging high fives with them before they departed.

I have my bird feeder installed, and I am getting lots of city sparrows and starlings. I am hoping for some sort of unusual bird sightings, but I am satisfied with the ones I have. I have instructed them to stop pooping on the deck.

Now that the holidays are over and we have a contract on our house, I can start focusing on my next book. Wish me luck with that. I wrote the first six chapters in the New York Public Library. That was when I went there for two weeks to write, broke two toes in my Airbnb apartment, and had to come home five days early. My toes are better now, and I hope I don’t do any more self damage while finishing the book.

This is the living room. There might be a Froot Loop in the corner…

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