Arrowroot = Recliners, Maybe

olddefault In two previous blogs, I wrote about Carenen family shopping experiences; specifically, mine. There was the 7-minute suit and the nails and oven entries. Today, I'd like to expand the source of these blogs and include my long-suffering wife, Lisa, in this series, which will temporarily retire with this offering.

Recently, very recently, we went shopping together on a fine Saturday morning. Our plan was to go to Trader Joe's to pick up some specialty items on the list, one of which was arrowroot. I had no idea what that was. At first I thought it was a reference to an old rock band from the 60's, but I was quickly disabused of that notion. Anyway, we picked up a few items at TJ's and headed home without any arrowroot.

The next thing I knew, we had stopped by the La-Z-Boy store and purchased two leather recliners which were not on the grocery list. Fortunately, they were on sale. It's not as if I didn't know she was thinking about reclilners - I did know. It's just that, well, I didn't realize that arrowroot translated to recliners. Sometimes I miss things.

In any case, I am not the only member of the family with quirky shopping skills. I'm just glad we didn't have to drive by a car dealer on the way home.

Cozy Consolidation

We are now living full time in our country cottage up against the mountain, woods all around, a lovely meadow out the front door, and nice neighbors halfway up Paris Mountain who fire weapons on Saturday afternoons. In other words, bliss. The condo we're about to put on the market has about 1,800 square feet. The cottage has 1,030. In other words, for you math majors out there, we have 770 less square feet, which makes us truly appreciate the 30 in our 1,030. We have learned a great deal about efficiency, and these truths have set us free, in a sense.

We have learned to be efficient with space. My long suffering wife, Lisa, is an expert when it comes to making good use of space. She amazes me how she can create useful storage out of nothing. Take closets, for example. We have three, the largest just big enough to hold two cats at once. However, I have learned that one clothes hanger can support three pair of slacks, four shirts, five neckties, and a belt. Who knew?

And a tiny utility room that housed one shelf and the electric control panel has been transformed into an efficient little pantry that contains enough food to last through the end of the year, two bins of pet food (one feline, one canine, interchangeable), a trampoline, a life-sized stuffed American Bison, and a wine cellar.

I suspect we will learn more about consolidation of available space. For example, Lisa looked at me the other day and asked, "Dear, do you think you could learn to sleep standing up?"

Just think how much room that would save.

Sleep Standing up

Cottage Comforts

It's not "little." We prefer "cozy." It's not a "cabin." We prefer "cottage." And due to a delightful configuration of circumstances, it is our "home." We still have the condo as our primary residence, but the cottage is home every chance we get.

Our long-term plan is to live simply and well, and a smaller residence in a beautiful setting was key. Two years of driving around appealing neighborhoods had been frustrating and fruitless. Too big. Too expensive. Too fancy. Too far. Too crowded. Too new.

We like older homes, enjoying their charm and craftsmanship and solid feel so, even though we considered building, we did not fully embrace that approach.

And then our friend Melinda found our home for us. She later admitted hesitancy, thinking the cottage wasn't big enough, that Lisa and I couldn't be interested in a two-bedroom, one bath house. But her hesitancy dissipated and she gave us the word. And when we drove down the narrow lane and saw the cozy white cottage nestled up against the mountain with deep woods on one side and a lovely meadow on the other, we were sure.

Now, every chance we get, we retreat to the beauty, peace, and tranquility of our cottage, where I can nap and write and nap some more and Lisa can attend to an array of established plantings while planning more.

Recently, a friend came by, looked around, and said, "You know, John, this is a special place." I cannot argue with him.

So we've been blessed for sure. We thank God, and thank Melinda, too. Now it's time for me to say, "Y'all come see us now, y'heah?"

The beer is plentiful and cold.