Monday, April 13, 2015

Knick-knack, Paddy Whack

Let's begin with saying that if there is a surface in my house, I will find something to occupy it.

When I first saw my future husband's home, it looked so bare, lacking 'stuff' and color. I took it upon myself to make this beige and white house homey! This was not a conscious thought, looking back, I realize it just happened over a short time.

I immediately brought in red fabric and covered the beige barstools. I hung curtains in blue, I brought in other woods besides whitewashed beige. And, I covered those surfaces! Boy! Did I cover those surfaces!

Soon there were knick-knacks, souvenirs, wedding gifts, birthday gifts, picture frames, vases, candles, a fountain, and with each new technological purchase, a remote control. That was only in the living room!

In the bedroom, trays seemingly appeared from nowhere to hold bottles of lotions, creams, and perfumes. A beautiful vanity table was gifted to me by my husband's aunt, and, it would have been rude to refuse it, right? It is now covered with bottles, jewelry, pictures, sprays, and hair products. And, yes, knick-knacks.

Other things have uses. What is the exact use of a knick-knack?

It can bring a happy smile with it's goofiness or tackiness. It can make us think we are cool because it is kitschy. Most often it brings back a memory that comforts us and makes us remember someone or some time we loved.

We need knick-knacks! Those empty soulless clean rooms are no good for the spirit. They don't invite creativity and, Dear Lord, bore me to tears! However, too many and they begin to call you to do a television episode about you and your 'problem'. There is a limit, I guess.

For example, you like clowns. Who likes clowns? Most of them are really frightening to people. Still, we'll say clowns. You buy a nice one at a second hand shop that catches your eye and was only a couple of dollars. It made you smile. Then, you saw it had a partnered piece and picked it up on Ebay. Your family and friends know you have a birthday coming up and struggle with what to get you.

"She collects clowns!", they say, innocently, enough.

For the next ten to twenty years, you receive clown pens and paper, blankets, curtains, pot-holders, towels, clothing, shoes, framed art, and knick-knacks. You, now, hate clowns and anything clown-related.

It was a sweet thought for them to give you a gift they thought you would enjoy ("I saw this little guy and thought of YOU!"). There's that limit, again. They've now turned you into the one they want to do the show about and you are burdened with keeping items just in case that person visits. What's a girl to do?

You do what my Dad did.

For years, after the Man Who Had Everything, was being gifted with all-things-lion (He started it in the 70's since he was proud to be a Leo!), he firmly and directly instructed everyone to not buy anything else related to a lion! Message heard and understood.

Then he switched to clocks. Sigh.

The weird part about all of this is that I have never bought myself a knick-knack, that I can remember.

I have an eclectic style that leaves everyone wondering what I like. I have everything from classy and feminine crystal to a rubber T-Rex that growls when you squeeze her tummy (Yes, she's a girl.). I'm always surprised by what I'm given and always grateful at the time and effort put into any gift for me. I'm also one of those that struggles with what to keep and what to re-gift. I find it hard to let go of pieces. I'm working on that.

Meanwhile, visitors come to my house and tell me how comfortable they feel here. Maybe I shouldn't change too much because that is a great compliment.

One thing, I know, is I'm grateful for the knick-knacks that belonged to my grandmother. They were just little things my grandfather found on his work days and thought she would enjoy. I'm guessing she felt the same way as I do. It was the idea that he gave them to her, these kitschy knick-knacks, lacking style or monetary value, that made her keep them for all those years.

Reboot Challenge? Clear a surface!! Only one.


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