Over a decade ago, I lived alone (except for the beloved-and-departed tabby) in a third-floor walk-up with fantastic light and a treetop view on three sides.  It was warm in winter, thanks to powerful radiators.  It also had drawbacks, such as the French windows being so leaky that there was always ice on the insides on winter mornings, and being so hot in summer that I lived in the living room, sleeping on the couch, with the window-unit air conditioner blasting.  But I used my grandmother’s china, I had delicate liqueur glasses on display, and I often had fresh flowers on the table.  I thought I was practicing for the big, elegant house I would someday live in . . . graciously.

Now I realize that was the gracious living.

I know I’m a year behind, but I recently came across this series of posts: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/weekend-chores-flowers-floors-january-cure-assignment-2-198352

I liked the first one, about making a project list.  We need that, and it would be very helpful to have a list broken into projects focusing on specific rooms and areas.  But the second one (I didn’t get very far, did I?) just made me roll my eyes.  Fresh flowers.  We haven’t been able to have fresh flowers in the house since Basement Cat was a kitten.

“Think of the purchase as a gift to your home. It is an enjoyable, (affordable!) luxury but it goes far beyond just that. The flowers are a visual symbol of your commitment to caring for your home. In the Eight Step Home Cure, Maxwell wrote: As simple as it sounds, the act of buying flowers for your apartment holds great significance and will heal your home on many levels.

No, see, this is tantamount to saying, “Soak your furniture and rugs in water, tear the flowers apart and strew them over the floor, with special attention to the rugs, and then scatter rolls and puddles of cat vomit over the floor, again with special attention to the rugs and anywhere a human might walk with bare feet.”  It is not a gift to the house; it is paying for a whole lot of extra work and damage to the house’s furnishings.

OK, since the move I am using my grandmother’s china again, but I have no idea where the liqueur glasses are, and even if I did know, they can’t be displayed until and unless we acquire a china cabinet that will keep them out of reach of, you guessed it, felines.  Basement Cat is graceful and not a real danger to fine glassware or china, but Glendower is very clumsy, which does not prevent him from liking to explore shelves with objects on them.

And the china cabinet is not going to happen until we finish spending money on some of the project list entries.

I guess it’s nice to know that I experienced gracious living, once.  I wish I’d taken more pictures to remember it by.

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10 thoughts on “Gracious living

  1. Oh, yes. Pets shake up your world. Fresh flowers have to hide on top of the kitchen cupboards when I’m not sitting at the table to guard them. Needless to say, fresh flowers happen once every few years. But I like the cats a lot more than I like the occasional bouquet of flowers and when it’s summer I’ll have plenty of flowers in the garden.

    1. The top of the kitchen cupboards is Reina’s clubhouse—no boyz allowed—except that Glendower seems to be in the gentlemen’s auxiliary of her club. Flowers would have to be shut in a closet, and then what’s the point? When well-meaning people contribute a bouquet for some occasion, I take them to school so everyone in the office can enjoy them.

  2. Bell jars and terraria seem to be back in fashion. I suppose one could stash a bouquet under one of those (but it would have to be a hefty one, lest one simply add glass shards to the mix).

    P.S. I’m late in saying it, but good to seeing you blogging again!

  3. Ha! No, no cut flowers here. And no houseplants at all anymore, though back in my pre-cat life, I quite enjoyed having plants in the house.

    And don’t get me started on CANDLES. For years my sister-in-law gave us CANDLES on every gift-giving occasion. Every time, I fairly sputtered with amazement. Ah, the innocence of the petless…

  4. All these things do depend on the pets. The tabby was very good about plants and even cut flowers (usually . . . sometimes she’d steal a rose). The Grammarian and the Tiny Cat (RIP) are/were very good cats. But Basement Cat, Glendower, and Reina think All Our Stuff Are Belong To Them, and that we can’t possibly mean that they “aren’t allowed” somewhere (we kan haz esplane “allow” again??), and that if they can reach it, they can have it. Maybe this is younger-child syndrome, because we are getting older? Or maybe it’s having too many cats, so they gang up on us?

    Wait, someone might have to esplane “too many cats,” too.

  5. When we reached three, the fact that they outnumbered did give us a moment of pause (paws?). Now that there are four of them, and they include the sweet but imperious Boychik, it’s very clear that THEY are in charge.

  6. “Gracious living” and “pets” can’t coexist in a sentence, much less a house :). The new cat in our house is making a special project out of refusing to use the scratching pad, so upholstered furniture is becoming about as practical as cut flowers and candles.

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