Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Life in Moments...

Moments.... Life lessons do come in the smallest of moments.  The difficult part is recognizing them when they happen.  A little orange chair, that we rescued from the middle of a field, has given me back myself.  In order to understand this journey you must first understand where I started, and where this chair has been.

The chair... As fate would have it, our road, the one in front of our house, was closed this summer so that we could have a new bridge, one that we didn't need...but that's another story.  This forced us to use new roads into civilization, thus putting us on our path of find our orange chair.

We live in the country, in the middle of Amish country, so the picture I am about to describe is rather unique to this area.  As I ponder this I would suppose it would be unique to most areas.  This was one of our normal trips into town, the very big town of Sturgis Michigan.  We probably were heading into Walmart, I don't quite remember why we were on this road trip.  As we are traversing through the back country roads, about 3 miles from our house, we happen upon a field of furniture.  It was like a pasture of cows, but not, it was furniture.  Now being the brilliant analysts we are, we thus deducted that perhaps they were getting ready for an auction, and we left it at that....

Two weeks later we are once again heading out to the big city, and our brilliant minds are a bit perplexed.  Our field of furniture is still there, looking a bit haggard.  We have had a lot of storms and rain this summer.  Inside furniture is inside furniture for a reason.  Once again we surmise that perhaps they have already had the auction and these were pieces that did not sell.  We will find out later that we were correct in that assumption.  Assumptions do not always make an ass out of u and me, sometimes they are quite on the money.

This furniture is starting to interest us.  We start to wonder what will happen to all of this furniture, will they simply pile it all together and burn it, or leave it to rot.  Now my time frame may be a bit skewed here, but rest assured my companion in life will correct me once he reads this.  However as we speak he is working on getting into peak physical condition while I sit on my butt and write. :)   I will estimate that it was approximately one to two weeks later that we once again journeyed back out into the world.  You might ask why we venture out so often, or maybe you don't care, but I need to tell you anyway...because we have, what some would term, an addiction!

We are addicted to Goodwill, used furniture stores, thrift shops, and Salvation Army stores.  Mostly it's Goodwill though...why you ask?  Frankly it's like new age treasure hunting.  We are the "new" explorers in a very old world, looking for unwanted treasures.  We have found some of the most wonderful pieces.  Pieces that truly have meaning to us.  Pieces that bring us joy, and that's how the orange chair came to be.

We are on our way back from Goodwill in our red pick-up truck, another find!  We call her "The Red Baron"...Bill has this plane and flying obsession; this truck sort of sounds like a plane taking off, and I think he feels very close to flying when he drives her.  The Red Baron is our partner in crime on these little excursions, because without her we couldn't haul half of what we have found.  She is very important to our little operation.
Anyway, I digress.... We are on our way back and we pass the field of furniture, which I guess could be called a field of memories.  Someone once owned these pieces, they were important to someone at some point, but as people become sidelined and discarded so does their furniture. But for us it's now a field of possibilities.

You will never believe what we see but a "Garage Sale" sign.  It's all we need, it's our door into the realm of this mystical field of furniture.  As it turns out, a very old house next door, was someones relative...I couldn't quite keep up with the relations.  Suffice to say that the person in this old house had passed away and apparently she was a hoarder!  Let's just say that there is still furniture in this field and they are still having a garage sale, well over a month since we first stopped by, if that tells you anything about the amount of junk they still have!  Junk...bad word, treasurers..yes, they still have a lot of "treasures".

We ask about the field of furniture.  I will put it to you this way...I heard $1.00 anything in the field, that's all I heard.  It was like some magical incantation was coming out of her mouth.  I had hit nirvana, and Bill could see it in my eyes.  He just smiled and we headed out to the field!  I saw this amazing old wooden chair and before words could escape my mouth Bill said, "It's coming home with us isn't it?"   I know I must have looked like a kid in a candy store, I just shook my head and nodded yes.  Now Bill really is not any better than myself, in fact, in some cases he's much worse, i.e. books...that however is a story for another day!  Bill is looking at this little orange lassie, sitting there all alone, and the only color in the entire lot. He calls me over to look at this little gem.  It's orange, it's orange...he has a rather soft spot for orange.  He remarks about the Asian design in the pattern,  on the vinyl, covering this chair.  Now this poor little chair was very dirty, it had set out in all kinds of weather, in a dirt field!  I have to say though she was well made, and still in pretty good condition.  And she did tricks too, both rocked and swiveled, which delighted her enamored fan, Bill!  I was thinking orange, in our house, orange?  I figured we could find a place for her somewhere...and for a $1.00, why not.  Karma...that's all I am saying...when we were both finished picking out our chairs to adopt we were 13 in all.   Bill said, "I have like $8.00 in my pocket, how much cash do you have?"  I had one $5.00 bill, we looked around, counted up our chairs...13, and we had $13.00.  It was meant to be...fate, destiny, call it what you want but we were in the zone!

The minute we get home we unload our chairs, except for the orange one, which Bill leaves on the truck.   Methodically he gets his bucket and cleaner, and starts to work on his orange chair.  I jump into the fray and help to scrub the weeks of field dirt off the chair.  It's cleaning up remarkably well.  After it meets inspection by the two of us, it is now "house" ready.  We take it in and put it in a little room we are calling the library.  As I look at this chair, and I mean really look at this chair, I fall in love.  I looked at Bill and said, "You know what this chair needs, a zebra print pillow!"  The next day it had a zebra print pillow for it to hold!

This chair has made me re-examine what I have around me.  A dear friend of mine, upon seeing my former house for the first time, remarked that it was not what they expected.  I know now why he said that, because the person that he saw was not represented, and I mean the essence of who I really was, in that house.  I fell into the trap of decorating for others, majority rules!  The rule here, in the Midwest, is country, country everything.  It's like country came and threw up on Northern Indiana.  I realized I had been living my life based on someone elses rules rather than my own.  We have all of these rules bestowed upon us from the time we can begin to understand words.  Did you ever wonder where these rules came from and why we have them.  I have always been perplexed by the bra.  I am here to tell you I hate bras.  It does create a more pleasing affect under clothing, and I am all for perfecting the form, or at least the illusion of a perfect form.  ;)  But to say you have to wear a bra because it's proper.  What, proper, where does this stuff come from?  It goes much deeper than a bra but I'm not sure today is the right day to start down that road.  But it's like mowing your grass, how many of you are ruled by your neighbor and their lawn. It must be manicured down to within one inch.  Bill believes that Hoosiers are manic about their lawns. (Bill is a California native, but we don't hold that against  I do see his point, his perspective is interesting.  Lawn tractors, in Indiana, represent power.  Mowing is taken very seriously here.  You know, at best, we only get a few months to cut and perfect the grass!  Perfecting to the point of annihilating every weed known to man.  Frankly, I like dandelions I always have, since I was little.  They are adorable yellow carpets in the spring, and then their fluffy fly away seeds are just magical in the right wind.  But society tells us they are bad, evil in fact, and we have a entire shelves of chemicals to prove it!

This little orange chair made me realize the color that's been missing from my life.  I have no one else to blame but me!  My daughter is all about color, and my son has a room, that I decorated for him, entirely Asian themed.  I free handed a Ying and Yang mural on one of his walls.  What the hell happened to me?   Second guessing yourself, and trying to fit a mold you were never made for is what happened to the catalog life.  You want your life to look like the pictures of perfection you see in catalogs and magazines.   Look around you, can you honestly say that your furniture brings you joy, does it have meaning for you?

So how has it changed my decor (big smile on my face right now)...I love the 60's, and the 70's!  But I don't want to just have all of one theme, because we aren't one dimensional, our likes aren't either...well maybe some people....I shouldn't go there.. ;)   The orange chair room aka library is 60's, or becoming, everything is always evolving around us.  I need that constant evolutionary process, I like change, it feels like you are always growing through change. We have this totally cool lamp via the Salvation Army for $2.00, a steal!  A "I don't know what it was" thing.  Don't laugh, it's true!  Bill thought perhaps it held those little acrylic paints found in craft stores, for display purposes.  I thought it was some kids discarded 4-H project.  It was well made, totally virgin wood, and waayyy cool.  It is now an awesome 60's "I don't know thing", but it looks great sitting beside the orange chair.  I will put up pictures, you have to see to appreciate!  The point is I love what this room is becoming, and for the first time in a long time I could care less if anyone else likes it or not.  If they think I am nuts then so be it, nuts is not so bad, it means you have not been assimilated by the norm.  Bill and I have these jokes about being assimilated into the's a Star Trek thing.  However it carries a pretty powerful statement.

I realized that I don't really like country, I liked it because everyone else did, and I am so not like everyone else.  What I do love is antiques!  They have stories and history, but that doesn't mean I have to have a green checked country couch to go along with it.  I have a 1962 turquoise Wolfe and Dessauer Cantebury House sofa, like new, that found us.  It was born the same year I was, and it still looks great.  Bill's great uncle worked at Wolfe & Dessauer, a Fort Wayne landmark, as an accountant around 1910.  Connections my friends, connections...see how it all starts to flow when you listen.  I don't think there is a day, that at some point, I don't say, "I love that couch!"  Because I do love it, it makes me happy when I see it!  Bill just laughs and says he loves it too!

So while I have been restoring old furniture this summer I've been restoring myself as well.

Everyone needs to find their orange chair, let go of the rules, and live the life that makes you smile!

I will tell you later where my journey journey to find my soul.  But I will leave you with a quote, that was posted today, fate...I'm just say'in!

Whenever you judge anything, try a small experiment: try to find out who has given you this idea. And if you go deeply into it, you will be surprised: you can even hear your mother saying it, or your father, or your teachers in the school. You can hear their voices still there resounding in your memory, but it is not yours. And whatsoever is not yours is ugly; and whatsoever is yours is beautiful, it has grace. OSHO