03 May 2013


There's nothing like having significant renovation work done to one's home to make you feel more than a little... revealed.

How appropriate that in the thick of home deconstruction / renovation, I should finish Sam Gosling's Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You.

Yesterday we removed our several-years-defunct masonry chimney, original to our circa-1950 house.  For the last 63 years, a feng shui master would have had nausea and vomiting upon entering because the dang chimney ran RIGHT UP THE CENTER.  And when I say "up the center," I don't mean snugged up against a wall, closet, or stairwell.  I'm talking right up the very middle of both our living room and the master bedroom (and considering the modesty of our home, I use "master" extremely loosely).  Like an ugly square pillar.  Like an 800 pound gorilla.  Like Jack's Beanstalk. 

this husband is sweet,
as sweet as can be.
When you're tearing out a major house component that's going to stir up both masonry dust and chimney soot, that's a lot of furniture to protect, AND a lot of area to clear out in order to make room for the work.  Roll up the carpets, push the sofas up against the walls, put away the breakable knick knacks and doodads.  But even though our contractor is Adam Ramsell, owner of Detailed Home Improvements, our friend and incredibly sweet and polite neighbor, he's still spending the better part of these last two days in my bedroom.  Yeah, you heard me right.

Will he see things about us I wish he hadn't?  Will he notice that we're very rarely completely tidy?  Will he notice all the dust bunnies?  What assumptions will he make about us?
Adam, you are seriously
all up in my business.

According to Gosling, you can ascertain quite a lot about "The Big Five" by analyzing a person's space: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (p. 37).  Or you could take his quiz (also on page 37) which is kind of nifty and perhaps a little surprising.

I think the bottom line of the book, whether you're "snooping" someone's space (and by snooping, that could be simply visiting a home/dorm room/office and closely observing the space and objects within it... it doesn't mean you have to rifle through the drawers), is that most of us want our spaces to reflect who we are.  That could be photos of people we love, sports memorabilia, special artwork, funky decor, a puzzle in progress on the coffeetable, craft supplies, books, music - anything and everything that people use to consciously or unconsciously represent themselves.  It could be genuine or not.  I could put out coffeetable books about country antiques or major league baseball players, but that's not me.  Knitting books and a scrapbook of family ski photos... a lot closer.

I feel better when the floors are vacuumed.  Dear husband feels better when the dishes are done.  But neither of us is especially intense about it.  I don't leap for the vacuum every moment I see lint or sand, and anyone who visits us knows there's rarely a time that EVERY dish is off the counter. There are more interesting things to do than clean!

I hope that our house projects our "real selves."  I think it does.  One time my sister paid me what I have remembered as a very meaningful, special compliment.  She said, "your house is so comfortable and cozy... it's just so YOU."  Yes! Here's some of the things you might know about us by looking around the house.  You'll see that we read (and read and read). Husband and son LOVE games.  That I'm way better at starting projects than finishing them, but either way I have lots of creative energy!  That we like TV (because we have one) but not TOO much (because we have just one).  That we do the best we can to get along with each other, because we've chosen to live in a small, quirky house.

So Adam, please don't judge me by my clutter.  Or if you do, know that you're simply getting to know me that much better.

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