Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Make it a Double

Eleven-Thirty-ish Sunday night I was searching Craigslist for a client’s new project when I came across this pair of chifforobes. I was hooked. Our 1900 house is ill-equipped with the storage our first bungalow was surprisingly endowed with. These were calling my name.

Ken and I picked them up for our bedroom the next afternoon. We pulled up to a home on a cul-de-sac with old carpet stacked high against the mailbox. The owners’ five children had grown and left, and these empty-nesters were now fixing up their place to sell and ultimately downsize.

Memories removed.

Homogenized for the marketplace.

Hard to believe one day I, too, will be a mama bird with a bare nest.

The wardrobes were removed from a sunny yellow girl’s room still plastered with pastel wallpaper and heartthrob posters she had collaged herself. It smelled like perfume samples and old curling irons in there.
Yesterday, in the fresh morning light, I washed our new wardrobes down with my standard vinegar spray before I got to rubbing off the years of hard use with my Magic Eraser.
(Is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser™ truly magic? You're damn right it is. Get one. Seriously.)

Anyway, it took a good bit of elbow grease to get them clean. One of the chifforobes in particular was clearly used to hold lotions and potions. I found an old unused bar of Crabtree and Evelyn soap in a drawer and more renegade lotion squirts than I'd care to mention.  They spoke of rushed moments and idle flippancy that screamed, "Mom will clean that up." 

The pink lotion and white lotion and cream-colored lotions had dried and shellacked themselves to the interior shelves as the years and summers of short-shorts had faded. As I scrubbed, I imagined her, this girl I will probably never know, getting ready to go to pool parties, dances, dates, and celebrations as I once did. I remembered the feeling of those days: anticipation and dread, glee and queasiness, freedom and frailty. Never in those years did it occur to me that there might come a day I wouldn't want to wear shorts so short, or care about other people's opinions any longer. It is intrinsic for a teen to be a narcissist, now that I think about it.

But here I am now as an adult, cleaning these furniture pieces that once held the important things that a girl keeps in her bedroom. I was at once glad I no longer live in the torture known as "the teen years," and frightened to know that one day (sooner than I can imagine), my children will.

Until then, I have big plans for a revamp on these “new” pieces.  Stay tuned.

[***A huge thank you to Geee-off & Ken for carrying these heavy monsters in our house. At night. Up icy, snow-covered stairs. Up more stairs once they made it in the house. During the chaos of bedtime for the kiddos. And I wished I would have thought of it then, but next time, be good to your backs and take the drawers out first. (Hindsight.)***]

(self tanner residuals: the stuff proms are made of)

(Not yet a teen; although she thinks she is.)