Saturday, September 29, 2012

Let the simplification begin! (right after this...)

I shouldn't start right back with the swearing, because I know we are on tentative terms here, but seriously, fuck this fucking house sometimes. How can I love my house, and want to burn it to the ground and take the kids to live in a coconut hut in tahiti at the same time? Something happens when you get married. Something no one tells you about. Or maybe they do, but I don't listen to people when they talk because most of the time they are SO boring! You start to acquire stuff. All kinds of stuff. At first it's cute little stuff like dishes, and towels. But then it's bigger more serious stuff like couches, and cars, and ouef cribs, because no baby of mine is going to live with hard edges! Never mind that now, you have buy round sheets, and a fancy vacuum, and a hutch for all those dishes, and new tires for your car, like every five minutes.

One day inevitably, this stuff starts to own you. Your daily life is all about maintaining the stuff, instead of laying on the floor with the kids, and eating food out a bag (most good food comes from a  bag, go ahead argue with me...Doritos. Done)

I've been in this giant purge since Charlie was born. Sending boxes of clothes to our beautiful niece, who looks much better in them than I ever did. Donating carloads of toys to the daycare (sorry Buzz), and throwing away MASSIVE quantities of papers, birthday party favors, and broken things that I WILL NEVER FIX. Adding one more body (albeit a bison sized body) to this house, was our tipping point. The amount of stuff, just became too much. Clothes, toys, furniture, papers, art projects, books, broken stuff, old stuff, unfixable stuff. Endless amounts of sorting and decision making. When what I want, every day, is to just sit. To swing in the swing chair and tell stories, and watch them play, to color, and read books (books are never on the list of too much stuff), and just have peace.

Our house is tidy, every thing has a place, but as the mom, I have a catalog of every single thing in it, including the stuff in bins in the basement. The catalog is now so large, that huge chunks of important stuff has been edged out of my brain. I am a nervous wreck at all times, even when there is nothing wrong. And I've decided it's because of the stuff.

So this year, I am open to all and any suggestions for living more simply with kids. I'm canceling catalogs, clicking unsubscribe on spam emails, signing up for online bill pay for anything that doesn't require monitoring. And no more new stuff until the old stuff is all used up. Both boys have clothes drawers that barely close. Jack has 7 pairs of shoes that fit him right now. Absurd.

I'm going to stop beating myself up about not having planted tomatoes in the raised bed yet, because truthfully I always let them wither on the vine, because I don't have time to make my own damned spaghetti sauce to preserve. Also, I like Rao's. Sue me. What a failure! People can see my failure from SPACE!

More time to write, play, eat (no more cadging a few bites of mac and cheese standing up), less time maintaining stuff. I know it's not New Years, but I'm getting an early start. 2012 has been all around stink town, so I'm calling it officially closed. 2013 starts right now...

The first project, I need your help with? Paint chips. And this doesn't count as new stuff, this counts as not letting the old stuff crumble to dust. Don't  you love how we get the psychoanalysis out of the way before we move on to creative endeavors. SO healthy. One should never pick paint colors with a muddled mind.

Our neighborhood is one of the oldest in LA. Our house was built in 1928. Or maybe 1929, I can't remember, and you know why. It's called a transitional house because it's neither spanish nor craftsmen but at odd little mix of both. To me it's a stucco farmhouse. It's got a pitched roof, but terra-cotta tiles on the porches. The oddest thing is our flour de lys retaining wall. There are several of these in the neighborhood. The owner of another one down the hill, said they are french foreign legion bricks. I don't know if that's true, but it makes me like them 3% more than I do which is not much. We can't replace the wall because we are in a historical overlay, and they'd fine us, or put us in stocks with a sign around our heads that says "killer of context" or something like that. I don't mind the bricks themselves, so much as the overall effect of the dark red square bricks with the old white, chipping mortar. Oh and the GIANT concrete fleur de lys, on each pedestal. It looks like a french brothel in Tijuana to me, and I don't want to go to there.

If you tell me we should paint the trim to match the wall, I'll faint, because 1. that's not going to happen and 2. I have a strong inclination we should... Marija fait boom.

The other people painted their wall, and it looks so much better. Like almost cute. So I'm in. Let's do this thing. Before you go and tell me I shouldn't paint brick, and I'm going to regret it, my life is filled with bad choices, and this will be the least of them. Also it's happening, so get on board.

In full sun under the loverly flour de lys (should we knock these off?)

In shade

Our house is a pale jadeite green with white trim. We have lots of trees and shrubs with soft foliage around the house, and in the spring the jacaranda tree is filled with purple blossoms. The terra-cotta makes is tricky to pick a wall color. You can't go too cool, or it just looks too disjointed. So here are my options, and maybe this is too haphazard to even see, but I'm not going to start painting swatches until I've at least narrowed it down to 3-5 colors.

This is the color combination that Benjamin Moore has on their site as being complimentary. I like it, but think the black bean soup would be too dark for a giant brick wall?

this is the color of our house

What do you guys think? Dark? Lighter? Brown? Greige? Should we paint the Fleur de Lys toppers the same color, or a different color? Should we take a baseball bat to them and tell the HPOZ it was hooligans? Someone tell me what to do?!

Here are some pics of our neighbors houses. Their paint is so cute, and I'd like ours to be complimentary.


  1. If you are sure you want to paint it, buy a pint of each color you like and see how the sun hits it-paint on the inside of the wall but where it gets some light. Once you see it on the brick-you will know what you like. It's a heck of a big wall and is an important part of the property. I like willow-but it may be more gray than you want. Stay away from grays that can look industrial. The wall will be beautiful painted. Sprayed. Also, once you paint the wall-you will probably want to paint the gates also. Maybe in an accent color.

  2. Don't knock off the fleur de lis yet. What is a French foreign legion brick? Is this some kind of treasure fence? I do think it would look better painted, but maybe you should explore your bricks first.