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05/17/08 If It's Saturday, I Must Be Doing Laundry.

The first five loads are in various stages, with the next two loads ready to go and more loads that need to be sorted. What fun. I do miss having a washer/dryer in my home. At least we have a laundry room that is clean and close by, and doing laundry four loads at a time does get through it quickly. Laundry piles up quickly with four bodies in the apartment.

Yesterday I did get to IKEA to get the set-up for the tv corner and the new bedframe. I ran into a small snag, however. I was going to buy these 'table legs' that were set up to hold computer towers and use them instead for board games, but when I checked them out in the store, I found that the internal measurements were much smaller than I'd guessed from the picture on the computer screen (the computer listing only gives the external measurements). I texted KidFour to get the measurements of a board game box, but she is lazy and not practical by nature and so was entirely confused by the request. Fortunately for me, KidOne had gotten home while I was gone and was able to get the measurement for me. The computer tower space was an inch too narrow for what I needed. Drat. But, there was another option--a 'table leg' that was a small cabinet with a door--this one had an internal width that was more than enough, so I bought two of those instead of two of the others. Last night KidOne and I assembled one of those; it looks like they will work just fine. My goal for today is to get the entire tv table set-up put together: the second cabinet assembled, them both put into place, the table set on top of them, and then the tv and its ancillary components put into place on that. Assembling the new bedframe will probably wait until tomorrow.

At IKEA I found a very small loveseat that will go perfectly in my children's corner. Small, low to the ground, reasonably comfortable for me (meaning I could sit on it with a child but would not choose to sit on it otherwise), and not unattractive (so much of IKEA's furniture is just WEIRD). It was only $149. I think I can get one in two weeks: then the children's corner will be mostly done.

I may also be able to get my china plates hung up today. When I went to the hardware store a couple of blocks away to get plate racks, they only had the small and the large sizes. So, my small plate and my platter are hung up, but the five medium-sized plates are still waiting. The clerk told me the hangers should be in late Thursday and I should come by Friday. Of course I stopped by Thursday evening when I was passing and the hangers were not yet up on the wall. If I remember, I'll stop by today to check again. The plates will hang on the room divider between the kitchen and living room, on the kitchen side. Just pretty things for me to look at.

If I do get to the hardware store, I will try to remember to bring along the curtain rod brackets and a small key rack I have. Both items (or all three, since there are two brackets) are missing their screws (lost them in the most recent move). Those shouldn't cost more than a couple of dollars total and so are within my price range for today.

The living room is about twelve by seventeen feet. The kitchen is straight off the end of it opposite the wall with the front door and front window, and the bedrooms and bathroom are off to the left by end where the kitchen is. Along the long wall, there will be the tv table on the end with the front door and window, then the bed with its long side to the wall, and then the children's corner at the end by the kitchen. Eventually there will be a large curtain (probably a cloth bathtub curtain) hanging between the children's corner and the kitchen. On the shorter side of the living room wall will be a loveseat with a small end table on each side of it and maybe one of my recliners past that. That will leave a path right down the middle for KidThree to negotiate with her wheelchair.

I have numerous prints to get framed and hung up in the living room. I am a bibliophile, as are my kids, so all the prints pertain to reading. They vary in size from greeting cards to a couple of feet in diameter. The pictures range from cartoon figures that are somehow associated with books or that have books or reading in the pictures to historical figures shown reading. It will cost several hundred dollars to get them all framed. Those will have to be done a couple at a time. Today I am taking KidThree to spend the day at her grandmother's for her grandmother's birthday party. After that I will be on my own here at home, as KidFour is off at her boyfriend's for the weekend and KidOne is working. Maybe I will be able to be focused enough to sort all my prints--get them put in a sensible order for framing so that as I have a few dollars here and there, I can just take the next couple of prints from the pile and get them framed.

Can you tell that I obsess a bit about my living situation? Back in the dark ages when I was married, the house was arranged to his taste. I could modify things a little bit, but only against the backdrop of his colors and furniture and other such choices. After the divorce, money was so scarce that all I could do was to live at subsistence level, furnishing with cast-offs and thrift store items and the occasional lucky find at a store. There was no decorating, no color schemes, no personal touches. NOW I can finally do those things, albeit a very little bit at a time. KidOne is largely self-supporting, KidTwo is off in another country living with their father, KidThree and I can manage pretty well together, and KidFour is on her way out in another month. (Let me tell you, that will be an economic relief. I get very little financial support from KidFour's parents and she is a very high-maintenance child with absolutely no sense of self-sacrifice or sharing of the burden of poverty. I give in to her more than I should on things I really can't afford, just to keep things copacetic under this impoverished roof.)

I sit in my rocker (wonderfully comfortable but in sad need of reupholstering) or in one of the recliners (both torn up by cats and a problem size for this room) and dream about what everything will look like when it is all finished. In my mind's eye, I can see it all: the bright pretty curtain at the window, the new bed with brightly colored bedding, the children's corner all bright and friendly and welcoming with all the children's books (hundreds and hundreds of them) accessible to even the smallest of readers, the tv set-up so practical and functional with all the games accessible to those old enough to play them, the one wall lined with comfortable new furniture suitable for adults and chosen specifically for my tastes, a bright curtain forming a 'wall' on the one end of the room, and colorful prints in pleasing arrangements on the walls. (Not to mention the carpet is as clean as professional carpet cleaners can get it!)

My childhood home was frequently fraught with tension and the furnishings were usually chosen for practicality and affordability. I first shared a room with all my sisters, then shared with one sister only. I would dream of having a space of my own that was pretty and cosy and safe. My favorite book was 'The Wind in the Willows,' my favorite characters in it were Mole and Badger. I loved their homes, especially Mole's. It was small and cunning and had places for everything and an overall air of peace and welcome. That is what I've wanted for myself all of my life, and now I am in a position to get it. It will probably take until the end of this calendar year or beyond, but that is okay. I've waited so long already. I just look at the very small things I've accomplished so far, such as hanging my china platter up in the kitchen, and I'm satisfied that I'm on my way to achieving that goal of a home like Mole's--small and cunning and with places for everything and that overall atmosphere of peace and welcome. (The attraction of Badger's home was its remoteness, as well as the utter peace. I don't need or want the remoteness here, I just liked it in the book.)

We've lived in this apartment for seven-plus months now. The longer we're here, the more satisfied I am with it. The location is right where I've wanted to live since moving to this town seventeen years ago and most of the peculiarities of the apartment have turned out to be beneficial for us with our specific needs for flexibility and accessibility. It is so restful for my soul to be here and to know that we can stay here and that I can make it into the sort of home I've wanted for so very long.

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