Thursday, 17 September 2009

I'm Not Normal - Official


The decorating is done. Normality (or what passes for it in this house) reigns. The tidying up is done, the fripperies are in place in the newly-tarted-up dining room. The dining room was cluttered and old-fashioned. It was painted sunshine yellow with lots of dark green and terracotta bits. It was jumbled with old furniture (Elle always called it The Dead People's Room because everything had belonged to someone else) and piles and heaps and cascades of mementos and shelves and shelves of nick-nacks. It was, according to most people, a hell hole health hazard.

Now it's cream. And white. And silver. And tidy and neat and uncluttered and has NEW furniture and looks like other people's dining rooms. Em-Next-Door-As-Was's brother did the decorating business. Brilliantly. It's a spectacularly professional job which has brought oohs and aahs of appreciation from everyone.

And I hate it.

See - I'm not normal...

It's not my dining room any more. It's perfect. Beautiful. It's pale and minimalist and spotlessly clean and uncluttered. It's like something out of a catalogue. It scares me rigid. I tiptoe in in the mornings to pull the curtains (very carefully because they're cream silk - oh God! I knew I should have read the label - and show every mark) and feel like I've stumbled into someone else's life. The cats, who loved to snuggle up against the radiators and lined the window sills to watch the world go by, hover in the doorway then run away.

The Toyboy Trucker, Elle and The Doctor all think it's amazing. There's talk of doing up the rest of the house to match. Lordy! Over my dead body. I'm a messy person. I love colour and crap and everything on show. I'm useless at cleaning and tidying (never have the time to do it properly) and I love cluttered and cosy. The dining room is one thing - the rest of the house? No bloody way!

And I cried when I had to chuck out the crumbling, dirty, useless stuff. Cried! It was like losing old friends. Okay, the dining room table and chairs and bookcases belonged to my Gran (and she didn't get them new) and were falling apart, and the chiffonier was eaten with woodworm and leaned backwards because the legs had disintegrated, but they'd belonged to my childhood and I loved them. The new stuff is smart, practical, lovely - and soulless...

Yes, it was my idea to "do" the dining room. No-one forced me into it. I was really enthusiastic to start with. But now I just want the old room back again. The Toyboy Trucker says I'll soon get used to it and love it - but I'm not holding my breath...

18 comments:

Lynne Hackles said...

Oh poor you but think of it this way. Memories are not things that clutter up the place and gather dust. Memories are what your head are filled with and no-one can take those away. (Well, perhaps senility can but I reckon you are like me - too scatty to go batty).

Christina Jones said...

Thanks Lynne - and of course you're right. About the memories I mean - not the senility! Too scatty to go batty is my new anthem! Love it! Oh heck, got to face it, I'm just a sentimental hoarder...

CrazyJaneDesigns said...

oh no!! clean ! Neat WHITE!! MINAMAL! Sounds awful!!! only half joking. I'm with you on this one, I like colour & cosy. silk curtains can probaly be dyed a nice dark colour.
I'm sure you'll get used to it or redecorate or maybe it just needs some 'piles of stuff'. 'stuff' always helps

Christina Jones said...

CrazyJane - yeah! stuff's good! I'll start adding stuff - gradually! I might even add some of the old stuff that hasn't gone off to the recycling place yet - yay! GREAT idea! And dyeing the curtains - and a nice coat of yellow paint on the walls... yeah! Thank you!!!!

Debs said...

Getting rid of things that have sentimental value is difficult.

Hopefully either your dining room will grow on you, or you'll slowly fill it with bits and pieces that you love.

Colette said...

Give me cluttered and cosy over minimalist and clean any day of the week. But like Lynne says at least you've still got the memories.

Olivia Ryan said...

Ah, I do know how you feel Chris, but I think the newly decorated room just needs your personality gradually to soak into it. Know what I mean? When it's all freshly cleaned and painted, it isn't exactly YOURS. But give it a few weeks of living in it, and having your stuff around, and it will become comfortable again. And also, I sense a story in this somewhere ... x

Christina Jones said...

Debs - I'm hopelessly sentimental. All the old furniture is still in the garage because I CAN'T dump it. Maybe it'll grow on me - it's just so vast and empty now. I think adding a few old bits and pieces is the answer - thank you.

Collette - why the hell I ever thought cream-and-clean was a good idea amazes me now. Maybe I can grubby it up a bit??? And dump things in there? And add colour??? And soon it'll be back to "almost" as it was...

Olivia - yes, definitely a story - later, when I've stopped sniffling over it... But yes, as everyone has said, it's the stamping of *me* on it that'll make the difference - eventually... hopefully...

alzamina said...

oh no - cream silk and cats!!!!!! I know what you mean about the white minimalist Ikea look - can't stand it personally! My front room has wallpaper on one wall that is pale brown with silver and pale green vines and pink flowers!

My bedroom is my favourite place in the house with red, gold and black wallpaper on one wall, matching red on the opposite, ivory on the remaining walls, black wrought iron bed, black voile type curtains and either black or red satin bedclothes!!! The furniture is all 1940's utility and it looks like an edwardian bouidoir!!!

I try my best with clutter but with a 6 year old son and a small modern type house I think I am on a losing battle!!!

Latest fun in the job was a lovely shopkeeper who when he had out of date food pointed out to him in his shop he smiled and said (and I quote) " oh that food is fine being out of date - it is only Polish food!" Hmmmmm after I had finished chewing my arm trying not to laugh - I had to explain to him that even the Polish are covered by the same laws and are entitled to eat in date food!!

Jan Jones said...

OR.....................

Paint the inside of the garage sunshine yellow and green and terracotta and just live out there with all your lovely bits and pieces....

Groovy Pumpkin said...

Hiya,

If you want to add some colour you can add some bright - themed if you want - accessories. That's my suggestion.

We live in rented accommodation and have cream/magnolia everywhere and all we can do to add our own personality is to add 'things' to make the place look more like we live there, and, so it's not like a showroom (although we do have a LOT of things and it can look quite untidy most of the time!)

I'd love the chance to decorate a house our own way, so make the most of the blank canvas that you have and just add one new thing here and another thing there, and it'll soon become yours again!

Take care xx

PS, Just about to start on Moonshine - can't wait!!

womagwriter said...

I don't do cream and clean either. Maybe cream walls with plenty of colour elsewhere.. and plenty of clutter by default. And I cannot part with old furniture. Take the new stuff back to the shop and put your Gran's stuff back in there! Call it an eclectic mix of old and new. Verrryyy fashionable don't you know.

alzamina said...

Am sooo happy - just found my copy of Walking on Air that got lost in my move a year ago! This must be the only book where the characters do not appear in other books - any reason for this Christina?

Off to play on facebook again (sad - i know)- Is there an official CJ page on facebook??

Debs said...

I've tagged you for an award over at mine.

Sue Houghton said...

Hope you're not wearing a pair of white gloves to open the silk curtains. Saw a woman on the telly doing that - quite bonkers!

Christina Jones said...

alzamina - cream silk and cats NOT the greatest idea I've ever had! Love the colours in your rooms! Our bedroom is a lot like yours AND I'M NOT CHANGING IT - EVER!!! Laughed at your latest "health hazard"!!! You are going to write these down aren't you??? Glad you found WoA - and I didn't deliberately leave Billie and Jonah out of later books but I just couldn't fit them in - I haven't given up on them yet though! I'm on Facebook - but not with an official page... Should I have one? Is it good for publicity? Should I be Twittering too??? HELP!

Jan - great minds! Hadn't thought of the painting but have just moved everything into the shed and spend ages in there now lovingly rearranging all my clutter on all the old furniture...

Groovy Pumpkin - we've done just that! Thank you! The stark dining room now has all sorts of "things" in it in different colours - some old, some new - but all okay and it's beginning to look more like home. Can imagine that you'll run riot when you get the chance to decorate your own place... Do hope you'll like Moonshine (thank you!)...

Womag - I've rescued some and re-instated it and the rest is now in the shed (I'll be rivalling Debs for Shed of The Year at this rate - as it's now all tarted up with an odd mix of Victoriana and utility and 60s - er - crap...) Nothing is ever thrown away here. Ever. It'd be like losing part of the family.

Debs - thank you so much! Sorry to have missed this! Been away....

Sue H - noooo! That's just too weird!!! I'm odd but not THAT odd...

Brand-ie said...

I know I am a bit late to comment (lost my password) we have just decorated our frontroom (helped by the fact the cat and yougest son fancied themselves as wallpaper strippers!) We have painted in a creamy colour got a new brownish carpet and some light furniture and new curtains. I am the same it doesn't feel like my room anymore. I reckon it will get better once the things are back on the walls and the kids stuff is strwen everywhere.

Christina Jones said...

Brand-ie - oh, I'm so glad you understand! Your room sounds lovely and like my dining room I bet you'll love it again once it becomes more - er - homely. Do hope so. The dining room is okay now because it's gone back to looking - um - lived in...