Monday Listicles: Around the House

I have dropped my anti-writing voices in a jar and shoved them in a neighbor’s closet (thanks, Bahareh!) but I can still hear their mewling in my head, getting in the way of words on the page screen.  But what could be a better way to break through writer’s block than making a list, write right? So I found my way back to Stasha, whose topic this week is easy-peasy: 10 things around the house.

Now, I wish I could show you a tres chic apartment, filled with aesthetically pleasing furniture and interesting objet from our travels.

Yeah. Maybe in the next life. Right now, I live in an apartment with an amazing view and none of my own furniture. We moved into a furnished apartment when we arrived in Abu Dhabi and while we have personalized it a bit, I’m not sure Real Simple or Martha Stewart would approve our … er… well, let’s put a brave face on things and call them “design choices,” shall we?

1. In our old apartment, I had plants, some of which I’d kept alive for five, ten, fifteen years. Here? I bought a gardenia plant at Ikea, put it on the windowsill and the desert sun crisped it in about three days…about three months ago.  Why I haven’t thrown it away yet, I have no idea.

2.  Nice view, right? We’re on the 37th floor, so it’s quite a vista. Nicely juxtaposed against the city view right now, however, is Liam’s current Lego project, which for some reason needed to be built in our living room: he’s building a house, and thus far he’s constructed the furniture for all the various rooms, including a baby’s crib, a bathroom (complete with toilet & toilet paper), and a kitchen.

3. Husband’s desk-nest and a TV screen that came with the apartment but we don’t want. We’ve not yet managed to return it to the building manager.  Isn’t Husband’s desk remarkably tidy? He’s been away for a week, and the cleaning lady had her way with his papers and boxes.

4. The junk laundry room, where soccer balls go to die. Or maybe to breed. I swear we only had two soccer balls when we moved here, and now we have…five? Plus a few more that are flat, buried in the bottom of this pile.

5.  The coffee table that came with the apartment is massive and has four cubbyholes under it, which seems to be where we’re stockpiling back issues of the newspaper. If you need an article from The National that ran in…April? May? then by all means, stop by.  Yes, yes, it’s true, the entire paper is available online.  I’m not sure why underneath my coffee table looks like Basic Hoarding 101, but perhaps Husband is operating on the principle that we’ll just keep the papers until the city institutes a proper paper recycling program.

 6.  Where I work. Sometimes. I don’t have a real workspace in this apartment: there is a desk in the bedroom but it’s a sort of decorative “ladies desk” with two tiny drawers, like a dollhouse desk, and it’s currently draped in laundry.  So I perch at the end of the dining table.  I have the standard mom-pile next to the computer: teaching work, my own writing, various hard drives, and a kids’ birthday party invitation that needs an RSVP.

7.  Beautiful silver candelabra from my mom’s house, lugged out here in our suitcases this summer. Now tastefully accented by rappelling-Lego-guy. And no candles because I can’t find dripless candles anywhere.

8.  The stove. Bane of my existence: electric, takes forever to heat and then forever to cool, and seems to have a heating element in the oven that only heats up on the top. Thus: burned-top, doughy-bottom for just about everything. But the real mystery here is: the drain. I can (almost) understand a drain near the sink. But near the stove, in the middle of the floor, where with just about every step, the drain-lid slips off with an annoying rattle? Is it meant as an abbattoir, so I can slit the chicken’s neck right by the stove, then toss the chicken into the oven? Or is it for washing the floor? I should just dump a bucket of water across the floor, sloosh it around, then swish it down the drain? It is, as they say, a puzzlement.

9.  Husband and I do want to make the apartment “ours,” and so to that end, we bought this wonderful photograph, taken by an Egyptian photographer who is a friend of a friend of ours. It’s a great photo. And one day, when it’s hanging on the wall, I can show it to you. In the meantime, it’s been a kind of “in process” installation in the front hall since early June.

10.  It has come to my attention that some people don’t save the Lego boxes. I am confused by that fact. I’m thinking of doing an entire “accent wall” in tiles made from Lego boxes.

And there you have it: how to personalize a furnished apartment in ten easy steps. If you’d like my sons to come over and help you achieve your own “lived-in” look, they’re available at a very reasonable hourly rate.

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17 Responses to Monday Listicles: Around the House

  1. Stacie @ Snaps and Bits September 25, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    Incredible view! I also have legos ALL over my house–classic way to personalize…
    Stacie @ Snaps and Bits recently posted..10 Random Ridiculous Things In My HomeMy Profile

  2. Kristin September 25, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    Wonderful! This is one of the best Listicles I’ve ever read. No hyperbole needed.
    Kristin recently posted..Glad I Saw It: JoyMy Profile

    • Deborah Quinn September 29, 2012 at 11:31 am #

      aw… you’re awfully kind.

  3. Lisa Nolan September 25, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    I love seeing other people’s stuff! How imperfect we actually are! I’m not a neat freak and I did not marry one and my son (albeit he’s a Virgo) is not looking like he’s going to me Mr. Clean. So there’s no hope for us. (LOVE the view from your “mommy desk”!)
    Lisa Nolan recently posted..Ten Useful Items Around My House {Monday Listicles}My Profile

    • Deborah Quinn September 29, 2012 at 11:31 am #

      Funny! I have one very fastidious son … but his neat-freakoid sensibilities do not extend to picking up or putting away. Mostly it pertains to complaining about how his little brother’s stuff is ALL OVER THE PLACE.

  4. emily September 25, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    We save our lego boxes too, though so far, all I’ve done is move them from one area in the living room to another. And those cubbyholes, we have the same thing, except that is where all our old mail goes, unsifted, of course.

  5. KSB September 26, 2012 at 5:53 am #

    Seeing #3, I am now wondering why I was so embarrassed and scared to show the Big C my office. (Well, okay, mine is worse, sort of at post-hurricane level bad.) Maybe I should print out this photo, so next time one of my colleagues comments on my desk, I can just say, “like teacher, like student”?! 😛

    • KSB September 26, 2012 at 5:58 am #

      PS: I’ve never been to AD, but I’d bet that the drain is for washing the floor. My pet peeve in NYC was that the bathroom floors were NOT tiled and did NOT have drains, necessitating the use of too many chemicals to keep the bathroom clean. I would’t want a drain in my kitchen though, with all those cabinets and electric gadgets.

      Better keep that drain cover on–never know when that mythical alligator will crawl up 37 floors.

  6. Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms September 26, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    WHO doesn’t save the Lego boxes? Are you kidding me? And I seriously need to tweet you the topiary in my bathroom that died 9 months ago. I loved it and it was on sale for $3, but alas is dried out while we were on vacation. I might have forgotten to water it for a week or three before we went away.

    So entertained by your list. Ellen
    Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms recently posted..How Our Kids Mark Our Homes As Their Own Like TomcatsMy Profile

    • Deborah Quinn September 29, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      Thanks…and for the solidarity in plant-death. I’m thinking now that my dead gardenia is some kind of commmentary…on life in the modern era or something. Sic transit flora?

  7. Kim at Mama Mzungu September 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    I just LOVE this window into your lives there! And speaking of windows….. what a view!! There’s so much I loved about this list, but up top has to be the dangling lego. And I think the photograph is serving well as an art instillation piece right now. Just throw some light on it and it’ll look intentional. My “workspace” is my bed but I think if I actually had a desk (even a “lady desk”) I might improve my productivity. At least 5 %. Great list! Did it work? (to get the juices flowing?)

    • Deborah Quinn September 29, 2012 at 11:28 am #

      I think my yearning after a work space is just me whining that I’m not working. That’s the great thing about writing, right? We’re supposed to be able to do it anywhere, Virginia Woolf’s call for a room of one’s own notwithstanding… I would love to see this list through your Kenyan filter…

  8. Jill September 30, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    The view from your home is unbelievable! Beautiful.
    Jill recently posted..Poughkeepsied!My Profile

  9. Lady Jennie September 30, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    I hate electric stoves too, but that’s the only option for apartments in high-rises. You need plants! More plants! Far away from the windows and glaring sun. 🙂
    Lady Jennie recently posted..The Winsome and The WinnerMy Profile

    • Deborah Quinn October 3, 2012 at 7:30 am #

      I do need plants, you’re right! They’re on the list, right after…well, after a lot of things, not the least of which are some better pots with which to try and manage that damn stove!

  10. Stasha October 1, 2012 at 8:01 am #

    You use your stove. I would have never thought. Legos really make your place my friend. I am going to hang one of my light right now!
    Stasha recently posted..Monday ListiclesMy Profile

    • Deborah Quinn October 3, 2012 at 7:29 am #

      I *do* use my stove, but not as well as I used to! My kitchen depresses me to no end…there are no windows in it!!

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