The Land of Dull Knives and Duller Wits

A year and five months ago I proudly showed off my new home to a couple of friends. “Wow, this place is great!” they said. When we reached the family room, the tone changed. “OMG you have to get rid of these vertical blinds.”

The family room is a fabulous room. Funky wood floors, an old wood stove, big windows, and three doors to the backyard. Doors covered in…vertical blinds! The blinds were supposed to be white once upon a time, or at the very least cream colored, but now they have a sort of sallow, yellow look. If a paint company needed a name for this precise shade, they might choose “malarial yellow*.” And because the family room has two sliding doors and a french door, there are three sets of vertical blinds. It’s practically all you see when you walk in.

Yeah, I know. Ew.

But we move a little slowly in this house, not only when I’m on the elliptical machine, but also when it comes to getting things done, and while we have finally actually looked at various options for the blinds, we haven’t found anything we like…at least that we can agree on. This slow relaxed pace doesn’t only apply to large-ish jobs like window treatments. We usually start off with, “It would be so much easier to find things in our closet if we had some kind of storage system.” (Piles of shoeboxes and stacks of folded shirts continue to topple out every time we open the door.) Or, “Hmm, maybe we should you know, clean the scum out of the bathtub so our toddler can graduate from her infant tub.” (She’s still in the infant tub.)

Frustrated when trying to carve the turkey last Thanksgiving, Husband’s parents gave us a knife sharpener for Christmas. Five months later, we have sharpened two (2) knives. Even really simple chores, like replacing the sprinkler heads so our lawn doesn’t turn brown, get shuffled to the end of the to-do list in favor of a) reading, b) writing, c) sleeping, or d) just about anything else.

How I wish I could blame it on Z. She was the perfect screaming scapegoat when she was four months old and permanently attached to my chest. I could barely take a shower, much less manage to vacuum or unload the dishwasher. Now that she’s older and can play on her own for up to an hour, I’m fresh out of scapegoats. The truth is, we’re just not the type of people who enjoy productive pursuits.

Sometimes I fantasize about going back to Jane Austen time, when people could dabble in painting, learn languages, and embroider because they had nannies and gardeners and cooks and maids.

Then I remember: not every person had those perks, because somebody had to actually be the nannies, gardeners, cooks, and maids. So while I’m nostalgic for a time I’ve never known, I end up wondering: would I have been Elizabeth Bennet, touring the countryside and popping up at Pemberley, or would I have been Hill, catering to every freaking complaint of Mrs. Bennet?

It’s not a risk I’m willing to take. I’ll manage my own child, garden, sandwiches, and laundry, thanks.

– – – –

*Yes, I realize malaria is not the same as yellow fever. Creative license, dears.


  1. Dana · May 12, 2010

    Whaddya know, learn something new every day. Did not realize malaria and yellow fever were not synonyms.

    You know what you need to replace those vertical blinds? Heavy velvet dark drapes. There we go, problem solved. 😀

    • bethhull · May 12, 2010

      I had to google malaria & yellow fever to make sure.
      And the dark velvet drapes are their own blog post! (I’ve already got a picture ready to go…sadly the valances won’t get pictorial recognition.) (Or not so sadly….)

  2. Randi · May 17, 2010

    Throw out the infant bath tub…not with the baby in it! Note my restraint in using only one exclamation point! (Does that make it two, now?)

  3. Pingback: Marooned! « Nebula

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