Day 39: Redesigned & resigned


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Redesign your room or home.

I can’t do this. I really can’t do this. For the last couple of months, we have been redesigning our home, changing the angle of the couch, putting the cupboard where the table used to be, hanging pictures on the wall, hanging new pictures on the wall, changing back to the old pictures, but in a different location, moving the baby bed from one room to another, taking stuff down to the basement, taking stuff up from the basement, taking stuff down to the basement again, moving, changing, redesigning everything. We have done more than enough.

Let me rephrase that. My wife has done more than enough.

She’s normally the one who wants to redesign our home. Every other month or so, she wants the sofa to move a meter to the left, or turn ninety degrees, and the cupboard to move further away to the window, or further from it. We don’t have a large living room, in all just four or five pieces of movable furniture larger than a dog, and so there aren’t that many options. The sofa here or there, the kitchen table that way or this way, the cupboard facing east or west. And yet, somehow, she manages to find ways of making our living room new every other month. She normally does more than enough redesigning.

But now, she’s pregnant. Very pregnant. (Her plan is to give birth on Friday.) And like all pregnant women, she’s nesting: cleaning, tidying, sorting, throwing away — and redesigning rooms.

Her usual pace of one new room other month has been quadrupled: one room every other week. I don’t mind finding all the old baby clothes, of course I don’t, nor do I mind preparing the baby bed and buying diapers. Of course not. I am also nesting (albeit to a lesser extent); I will also have things ready and done when the baby comes.

It’s just the redesigning I can’t stand. The sofa is in the corner, it’s perfectly well placed there, I like it there, we just had a long discussion about where to put the sofa and we ended up agreeing that the corner was the very best place any sofa could wish for. Two weeks later it has to move across the room so that the cupboard can be there instead? And in another two weeks it has to move back again, the first arrangement was better anyway?

Before I got married, I never moved furniture around at all. I never had a house, but even in my tiny apartments, the bed remained where it was and the angle between the desk and the window remained constant. Redesigning a home is too much hassle for too little change: all the carrying, all the dust (if push comes to shove, I’ll use my dust allergy and my asthma as an excuse!), all the planning and discussion about something which in the end hardly matters at all. Nothing changed in my apartments, that is, except my bookshelves: I’ve always enjoyed moving my books around and organizing them anew — alphabetically or thematically or after size or language. That’s the only way of redesigning I have done of my own accord ever.

And now I don’t even feel like doing that. Now my books have their place and remain in that place — from left to right: philosophy, psychology, poetry, fiction, popular science, dictionaries, history — and that’s the way they’ll stay for the foreseeable future.

I once visited an old couple. They had been living in the same house for decades. They had a lot of books, but all the covers seemed to be glued together: after years and years of not being moved, the books had somehow got stuck to each other. It scared me. Imagine being so resistant to change and new ideas that your books never are read, not even touched! Perhaps that’s why I like to redesign my bookshelves: your head, your thoughts, your books need fresh air to grow properly.

Now? Now I don’t even feel like getting the novels back in alphabetical order. No. I can’t do this. I can’t redesign my home. Not now.

Just give me a few months. I promise I’ll lay all my 1000+ books on the floor and create a completely new system in my bookshelves before next Christmas.

I might even change the angle of the sofa a few degrees once every other month. Maybe.

Unless my wife’s got better ideas.


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