“Our House: In the Middle of the Week”

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, “shelter” could fall somewhere between being a physiological and a safety need. What I know is I like all kinds of shelter–

from a bivy sack
to a Quinzee hut

to an RV

to a little white lie

(“But I had to grab her, honey; she looked faint, and you’ve told me I need to be more caring. Frankly, now that I think about it, it’s your fault.”)

Outside of treehouses and ant tunnels, though, my current favorite shelter is our house. And within the house, this is my favorite room to stare at. Since I don’t live at a primal substistence level, wherein I hide from predators in my smokey cave and proudly point to this new thing I’ve discovered called “wheel” while reclining on my sleeping furs and ripping at a mastodon leg with my three snaggly teeth, I have a house where things have been chosen for their aesthetic and emotional value. This is what we modern folk do, right? We surround ourselves with stuff that somehow feels loving?

This particular room feels like love to me because:

it has a bold pumpkinish color, accented by an even bolder spring-green trim. You don’t have to like it, but you have to appreciate that we tore down the old wooden paneling, rehung some sheetrock, and threw our heads open to a new vista
it hosts the dining room table and chairs I grew up with; indeed, this brave table and its chair pals made the long journey across the plains from Montana here to Minnesota, stopping to view Mt. Rushmore along the way…and now they’re back with me. I can never look at this table without envisioning my brother, at age 14, scarfing down 3 bowls of Raisin Bran every morning before school. He’d finish one bowl of flakes and then add a new heap into the remaining milk, all the while chuckling over the funnies and that crazy Andy Capp
the stained-glass floor lamp was my dad’s before he died. I’m pretty sure he bought it at Sam’s Club, and what ups the sentimental value of an object more than such a lofty provenance? The day he purchased this lamp, I’m sure my dad tried a sample of Little Smokies on a toothpick, followed by a small paper cup full of Nutty Granola
the houseplant on the table was sent to me after my lamp-loving dad died…sent to me by a college friend whom I see every three years if I’m lucky. But that plant showed up at the height of my grief, and it sent me a message of “Some things still live. And I know you hurt”
that little bench in front of the radiator is actually a piece from a bedroom set that was my grandmother’s (she who was born in a sod house on the Montana prairie and never lived more than 10 miles from that birthplace). This set also includes a piece called a “chifforobe” (which is upstairs in our bedroom and houses Groom’s wool socks) and I very much appreciate the opportunity to know that word. As with the dining furniture, the bedroom set also made the long, dusty journey past Wall Drug, from Montana to Minnesota. And now, 70 years after its birth, this little bench houses the rear ends of my kids as they play games on pbskids.org. How far you’ve come, Little Bench! The stars (and moons) are your limit
the rug on the floor is one of two household items that remind me my husband and I are adults. While nearly everything else in the house is a hand-me-down, we actually chose this rug and paid adult-type money for it (not just the usual Monopoly bucks we try to pass off at the Dairy Queen)
the pirate ship under the table was Wee Niblet’s Christmas present; it is Playmobil, and Playmobil sets are the toys I buy for my kids now and pretend they actually wanted them, when in fact ’tis I who gets lost in their glory–having never experienced them as a child. Within this ship, there are cannons, treasure chests, lanterns, and a hold for scurvy knaves. There is also a very small Johnny Depp who lives on the Crow’s Nest. He creeps up to me at night and massages my feet, kissing my toes reverently
Most def, these few square feet of my house warm every one of my cockles. The rest of the joint, by the way, looks like the Abominable Snowman picked up a cargo jet–one carrying rubber duckies, jars of pickles, and 40 tons of Goldfish crackers–and tossed it, in a fit of pique, onto our lot.





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21 responses to “”

  1. furiousBall Avatar

    I freakin’ love that color. I’m going to go home right now and paint all of my children.

    Also, it’s freakin’ awesome you used Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

  2. Hammer Avatar

    Nice pic. that’s just my speed.

    I used to have my living room painted that color. I bought old wood funiture from garage sales and such to give the place a warm feeling.

  3. paintergirl Avatar

    I love the room and I love all of your explanations to all details. The color rocks. I would say you have some nice feng shui going on here.
    I have to laugh at the playmobil. I too convince my 4 year old he would really like the a frame house or the camper. Aren’t they the best? I never had playmobil or fisher price as a child.
    would that be Jack Sparrow massaging your feet or his character form Chocolate? I love this post!

  4. choochoo Avatar

    well, of course she looked faint. She’d have to be in order to stumble out of her house, forgetting to put clothes on.

    Oh, and my word verification is kylyp. That sounds like something that might be cute

  5. Diesel Avatar

    That Johnny Depp really commits to a role.

  6. Diana Avatar

    Our Playmobile pirates do not come near my toes at night, even the Johnny Depp one. Perhaps it’s because they and their ship are down the 14 steps that separate the basement from the living/sleeping quarters of our house? Perhaps if I trotted the Black Pearl wannabe upstairs I might enjoy such nocturnal toe action?

  7. lushgurl Avatar

    Jocelyn, I feel right at home in you lovely space, my livingroom is kind of a pumpkinny colour too, it’s nice and warm!
    I also loved hearing about the memories that make your home what it is, very soothing!

  8. Glamourpuss Avatar

    I went out with a scurvy knave once – always sucking lemons – or looking like he was…


  9. Dan Avatar

    the rug on the floor is one of two household items that remind me my husband and I are adults.

    The ice cave wasn’t a hand-me-down either. See! You guys are more adult than you admit!

  10. That Chick Over There Avatar
    That Chick Over There

    I like you.Plus six.

  11. Steven Novak Avatar
    Steven Novak

    The words “spring green trim” really jumped out at me.



    Am I ever not a pervert? ๐Ÿ˜‰


  12. Michael C Avatar
    Michael C

    Sounds like a great place to hang. Our twin 4-year olds have certainly helped us with our ‘decorating.’ The type of ‘decorating’ that you find smashed into the carpet a week later or the kind that involves the pointy toy somwhere it can’t cause little puncture wounds…

  13. infinitesimal Avatar

    thanks for the visit!
    I like your style.
    also Kudos to the Maslow reference…

    Can we be blog buddies?
    that would be sweet.

    Of course i would be like the ugly sister to your graceful princess blog, but I guess that’s what stable regular marital sex will garner an individual. You know, the flow of creativity and even thought process…

    Me personally, I wouldn’t know.

    and also,
    “Where the HELL is Wall Drug?”

  14. Jocelyn Avatar

    Furiousball–You’re in a freakin’ mood, aren’t you? Hope the kids look good in their new color.

    Hammer–I just want to call that color “Harvest.” It’s warmth in a bucket.

    Paintergirl–I’m glad you get the Playmobil thing. I want more Playmobil. For my kids, I mean.

    Choochoo–“Kylyp” might just be the word “Clip” uttered by a Brit.

    Diesel–You would only make that comment if you, like me, had been a fan of his during the “21 Jumpstreet” years. He rocked that role.

    Diana–Maybe set up a set of pulleys that the little Playmobil knaves can use to get to you?

    Lushgurl–Thanks! There’s just something good in that color, eh?

    Glamourpuss–Lemon suckers suck. You’re better off without.

    Dan–Very true. We’re so adult we’ve built our own snow house in the backyard of our real house.

    That Chick–I’ll one up-ya. I like you plus seven.

    Steven–No, you are never not a pervert.

    Michael C–Thanks for stopping by. Lawsy, but twin 4-year-olds? You know what I mean by the Abominable Snowman description of our house, then.

    Infinitesimal–Blog buddies it is. You’re very kind…but your blog is coolio. Maybe you need to add a link on it to Wall Drug, though. Wall Drug is the epitome of cheesy Americana. It’s a town in the middle of South Dakota that has built its reputation around an old-fashioned, huge drugstore. Since they have signs for the place scattered across the Midwest and the world, they get tons of visitors every year. And there’s nothing else to see in S.D., so people stop when they have to go to the bathroom.

  15. Anonymous Avatar

    love your paint colors, mos’def!


  16. urban-urchin Avatar

    I’ve decided that either I am 1/2 retarded or blogger hates me enough to eat 1/2 of my comments.

    I love the color, it’s warm and inviting- it makes me want to eat a cookie. I also love Johnny Depp. When he’s done with your toes send him to my house please…..

  17. Top cat Avatar
    Top cat

    I like how you explained the memories and sentimental value on the different items in the room.

    I’ve got some mastodon leg left, wanna come over?

  18. Diesel Avatar

    21 Jump Street kicked ass.

  19. Mother of Invention Avatar
    Mother of Invention

    I love the pumpkin and white!
    Neat to have some of your Granny’s things and things from your own childhood home. Our house is a blend of stuff from everyone and everywhere but I think that gives it character.

  20. lime Avatar

    thanks for the visit to my place. what a terrific post. it’s all those little things with memories that make a mere shelter a home.

  21. velvet girl Avatar
    velvet girl

    I’m a freak for color on walls (our dining room/living room is Midori green). I love the color of that room of yours! And I love your writing, too… you always make me laugh. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I thought I was the only one who liked my kids’ Playmobil more than they did. ๐Ÿ˜‰


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