Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Few More Christmas Thoughts

As I am reflecting on the gifts I received, plus those I've bought with gift cards I received, something has occurred to me. In many areas of my home, I live as though I'm still living in my first apartment.

The worst example is my kitchen. Take my flatware. Please. When Steve and I were first married, my parents gave us a very nice set of flatware as a wedding gift. Oneida, not silver, but still not cheap. That was sixteen years ago. Since then, I have never bought another set of flatware. Consequently, what we had was a weird hodgepodge of a few remaining pieces of the original set, mixed with dollar store crap and I don't know what else. Needless to say, it was ugly, none of it matched, and it looked like I scooped it out of the bin at the thrift store. It's been that way for a very long time.

Why? Because I couldn't afford a set of flatware? Well, no. I'm not sure why exactly, except that it just never seemed important enough to spend money on. I never thought about it really, unless I was looking at it, and thinking 'dang, this stuff is ugly.' But when I was at the store, it never occurred to me to buy any...I just never thought about it. So, I am happy to say, that with the gift card my mother gave me, I purchased a new, 8 serving, 46 piece set of flatware. It all matches, and it has a pretty design that I like on the handles. And I threw all the other crap OUT. It was actually quite satisfying to throw the old stuff out. And now my silverware drawer looks like...well, like an adult actually lives here.

Then there was my cookware. I don't particularly enjoy cooking, so maybe that's why I never really cared about my pots and pans. But again, it was all thrift store crap and old stuff. A very strange collection of old, dented, lid-missing, mismatched stuff. You know that one big pot, the one you cook pasta in? Dutch Oven? Yeah, mine was green and so badly dented on one side that the lid had no hope of fitting on it. One of my gifts from Steve was a very nice collection of Silverstone cookware. I love it. Once again, I threw out all of that old stuff, and made tons of room for my nice cookware set. Again, I don't much care for cooking, but maybe I'll want to more, now.

The last thing was my can opener. I had this nightmare of an electric can opener that we paid three dollars for at a rummage sale. I supposed it worked all right at first, but after awhile it always slightly misshaped the cans, so that there were those two spots, directly across from each other, that never got cut by the dull blade. So then you had to pry the lid open with a fork until you could pour or shake all the contents out of the can. Also, it made the most awful whirring-squeaking noise you can imagine. Why did I live with that thing for so long? A nice, new electric can opener costs all of what, $15 at Target? I could have gone out and gotten one at any time, but I didn't. I don't know why. Anyway, that was another one of my gifts...a new, black Hamilton Beach electric can opener. I used it for the first time last night, and it works amazingly well. It's very quiet, and the lids actually came all the way off the cans, and it only had to go around once! Awesome.

I've been reflecting though, on why I live with crappy stuff. If my kids need stuff...clothes, whatever...we get it for them. They don't have TVs or computers in their rooms (on purpose), but they have their own computer downstairs, the older two both have cell phones and iPods. Oh, and they now also have a Wii. They have nice clothes. They don't have extravagant stuff, but they're certainly not hurting for anything. And Danni has a nice vanity now to sit at while she puts on makeup and straightens her straight hair.

But I deal with second-hand, old beat-up crap. Some of it is financial...I can't afford to go out and get a brand new bedroom set for myself, although I'd like to. We have a dresser that Steve brought with him when he moved in with me that we are still using to this day. I think it belonged to his grandmother. It's ugly and beat up, and has crayon all over it from three kids. It holds our clothes just fine, so a new dresser isn't something we really need. I mean, our clothes aren't being stored in stacked cardboard boxes or anything. I'm looking around this room, and there's nothing in here that I love, nothing that says "this is MY haven from the world." There's a bed, the dresser, and a nightstand, and that's about it. A few pictures on the walls.

I know this is all trying to tell me something. And I know you'd all say that it says that I don't think I'm worth nice stuff, or that like a typical mom, I put everyone else's needs/wants first, and me last. I don't think that's it though. Or maybe it is. It has me thinking, though.


Fannie Mae said...

I'm not sure I have an answer, but I can relate. I have coveted a particular stove for three years. The Saint has, on ocassion, ordered me to "go buy the damn stove already!" The money is there BUT, what if? Someone gets sick? College costs continue to escalate? Someone loses their job? And on it goes. SIGH.

drawer queen said...

There is also honor in using what you have. I have such a "get all the good out of it" mentality, and I can totally relate to the described my drawer perfectly, and yes, it feels good to get new stuff sometimes, but if it works, and doesn't drive you nuts, why not use it? You are totally worth all wonderful stuff, but in the end it is just stuff and your worth or value has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

Anonymous said...

I have some good stuff and then there's the stuff that's "it still works just fine, but looks like crap" stuff. I don't think I have any "doesn't work too good, but still put up with it" stuff. Well, actually, there was my mattress that I just replaced in October, so yeah, I guess there was.

I was just thinking the other day how I used to look at something and think "this is just 'looking old' so it's time to replace" and now just "looking old" is not reason enough to replace now. That attitude was 3 children ago. My couches, OMG, my couches need to be burned, but I can't do anything about that right now! :)


Jenifer said...

Ok,I totally get what your saying. Here is my 2 cents. I think we just don't do with the big ticket items because we do for our kids and family. I just in the last year got matching dressers. They are still build it yourself IKEA dressers, but they are new and matching. It does make a difference. You deserve nice things too, try and get something new or new to you and make it your own space. Congrats on your new flatware and cookware. I know you really wanted both! :)

Lish said...

I won't have anything thoughtful to say, but I'll post here anyway.

I do understand, and I do have that mismatched cookware and silverware. But you know why?

Because I've bought new, 'nice', matching stuff...and new stuff is JUNK! Nothing lasts as long as the older stuff does...for fear of sounding like my grandmother..."They don't make things like they used to."

My mom and I have scoured flea markets for old iron cookware and I LOVE LOVE LOVE my pans I've found there.

And my bedroom suite was my grandmother's too...and it has and definately WILL last longer than the stuff we had the first 15 years we were together. ;)

Mary said...

Story of my world too, I can totally relate. But if I ever have to give up my special "popcorn pan" I'd cry. It's old and ugly and the handle is falling off, but it is seasoned just right for perfect popcorn!

I finally wrote the Hollister story on my blog. I've been a bad blogger lately.

Happy New Year!

Shelley said...

I wanted to thank you guys for your comments. There definitely is merit in using what you have, and I would love to have some of that old, heavy iron cookware. I know that stuff would last forever.

Did my new stuff improve my quality of life any? Of course not. Well, except in the case of the can opener. Life is way better when those lids actually come off the cans!

After thinking about this for a few days, I think what it's trying to tell me is that I need to treat myself better. And I'm not really talking about material things. I need to be nicer to myself, and to other people too, for that matter. I need to be thankful for what I have, and not worry so much about what I don't have.

Thanks guys are all great. And I'm off to read the Hollister story!