The Obvious

bathroom posting

Posted in cat, home by theobvious on December 24, 2010

The bathroom is a memory vortex. More things are forgotten there than anywhere else in the house. More things are invented there than anywhere, too. The bathroom is a zone of improved brain function, its door the threshold of the mundane world where clear thinking is not my forte. The only place to hang my socks when I take them off in the bathroom so I don’t forget them on the way out is on the door handle. The only way to remember that ingenious idea that struck me as I was showering or hanging laundry—to keep repeating it aloud to myself until I walk out of the zone. That only works in about six cases out of ten though, and even if I do remember the essence, with the breach of the zone the thought loses all of its fantasy embellishments and becomes bleak, blah, yawn-inducing.

There are rules of behavior in the bathroom. Slippers must be placed before the shower cabin ready to step into before showering. Brush teeth, rinse and floss before washing face. Laundry must be folded before being carried into the closet. See, it must all be taken there at once, so there’s no dreaded second trip. The folding, therefore, proceeds at a strict hierarchy which is based on size and convenience of carrying: bed linens and towels first, then A.’s shirts, his underpants (why are boys’ underpants always such large and cumbersome things?) and socks (he doesn’t like them balled up, so they just go neatly next to each other), then my shirts and pajamas, underwear and balled-up socks on top. This way, when the tower of laundry and I get to the closet, things can just come off the top and nothing will scatter.

The cat (still just the one, we’re still hoping) is attracted to the bathroom as if it were a treasure trove. Its attractions are many: the shower cabin is a castle, the toilet its moat, the sink is a majestic throne, and the laundry is a take-all-you-can toy display. Obviously, there are rules here as well. For us: always close the door, the shower door, and the toilet lid. Stomp loudly before exiting, that might scare him off. Pick up by the belly to remove. For him: wait right by the door for the slightest crack. Scream bloody murder when someone goes in and locks the door. Run straight under the laundry rack to avoid being caught. Check everywhere: the treasure may have been moved. Try and try again.

Surely, there can’t be another five sq. m. of space as tightly packed with meanings, thoughts, and objects of feline desire as the bathroom of our house. One can only wish for such vibrant a life for the rest of the place.

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finished — and so is this sofa

Posted in home, nablopomo by theobvious on November 30, 2010

I had an idea for tonight’s final post in Nablopomo 2010, but then forgot it— Oh! The sofa has just creaked. Maybe we’ll have to get a new one, which would be good, because this one is an abomination. We got it for its nice simple shape, gray colour, and small size, especially impressive considering that it is a fold-out, the only possible solution for our guest-room-less home. It was also significantly more affordable than the other options we were considering, which was a key factor as we had something like seven dollars eighty-three cents between us at the time, and a correspondingly cramped furniture budget.

However, we quickly discovered that the sofa fails at several key functions. One, it is unsuitable for sitting on, because the fold-out cushions are not fixed to the back, so as soon as one sits down, they immediately start sliding out and one finds oneself slumped in a starfish position, robbed entirely of self-respect. Two, it is unsuitable for sleeping on, because once you fold out the mattress bit, it turns out to be short, hard, and impossible to put a fitted sheet over, which, hello, does anyone have non-fitted sheets, even? Three, it is by no means complimentary to the room despite its very fitting colour, as it has proven extremely attractive to Lorca as a large and very stable claw sharpening device.

In short, this sofa is mostly good for holding decorative cushions, and we’ve got two chairs for that. Still, we couldn’t justify getting a new sofa less than a year since we bought this one. Until now. The creaking is an ominous sign. I keep using the armrest as a backrest so as to be able to sit on it without gradually migrating to the floor, and that is probably not provided for in the construction. Soon, the armrest will break off, sending me tumbling, maybe injuring me, which will give me the moral grounds to declare the sofa enemy of the state and send it to exile at the curb. We shall then need to go shopping for a better, sturdier, friendlier sofa. Even if all we have at the moment is seven dollars eighty-three cents.

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some statistics

Posted in home, travel by theobvious on March 31, 2009

Number of days spent in Ukraine: 7

Number of cities visited: ~11

Number of hostile encounters with local police: 2.5

Number of trains missed: 2

Number of times addressed as a boy: 2 (‘How old are you, lad?’  – while boarding a train; ‘You, boy, what do you think you’re doing?’ – for sitting on a windowsill)

Average temperature outside: 5C (41F)

Number of warm(ish) garments packed: 1.5

Cumulative weight of dirt removed from body and clothes upon return: ~725 pounds

Cumulative weight of bread eaten instead of food over the week: ~3 tons

Number of dubious compliments received from close ones: close to infinity

Number of laughs and amount of fun had on the trip: even closer to infinity

Number of photos brought back: ~320 (but, State of Flickr account: expired; Level of comfort with Picasa: zero)

Number of pages to study for one of three classes tomorrow: 30

Things missed most: privacy, sleep, local friends, bath products, razors, nail clippers, warm sweaters, clean jeans, the gym, real coffee, e-mail, J.S.Foer’s Everything is Illuminated, Will & Grace, my language classes

Things missed least: the other classes, the orthodontist, distance from friends, deadlines

home improvement

Posted in diy, home, photos by theobvious on August 28, 2008

We’ve lived in this apartment for eleven years now, I think. It has three bedrooms (my parents, my brother, and my grandma each have their own), and a living room which A. and I inhabit. For many years the room looked like this:

old room plan

old room plan

It felt very brown and we were living more or less in a train carriage: long, with little space between the furniture, and no privacy, because it only has three walls. We had a screen between our sofa and wardrobe, but it only functioned as a symbolic ‘Don’t Look’ sign, and we had to get our clothes and carry them ‘inside’ to get dressed. Of course, entertaining was a drag too.

A while ago, A. and I bought a new bed and redesigned our whole room. I wrote about it here. Now I have pictures, because everyone likes to look at pictures, right. I’ll put them under the cut just in case. (more…)

a penny for my thoughts won’t be enough

Posted in emotions, home, important, language, me myself, people, photos, places, thoughts, travel, valuable lesson, writing by theobvious on June 23, 2008

This trip turned out to be a learning trip. It was so rich with revelations there was practically no room left for much else.

I learned once again about real friendship, which doesn’t always need to involve personal presence, but is all the more exciting when it does. A friendship I value is a lucky, tricky, strange, full, and happy convergence of two people who couldn’t be more different or more alike. I am lucky to have several of these.

I learned about being the object of the emotions other people usually evoke in myself: concern, kindness, incomprehension, puzzlement, impatience, endless patience, affection, and a desire to share. I haven’t thought much about the way I react to these, and it is probably time to give it more consideration.

I learned a very important lesson about coping with loneliness. I was by myself a lot on the trip, however this was not the self-sufficient solitude of choice, but rather the desolate loneliness of choicelessness. The hours I spent this way left me despairing, with nothing to apply myself to, scared. I want to avoid these.

Finally, I learned something about writing. Someone gave me ‘Lost in Translation’ by Eva Hoffman to read, and the slow, soft, reflective style of someone who went through assimilating a whole new language as their main means of self-expression is an epiphany for me. There is much food for thought in this.

looking up

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spaced in

Posted in home, important, news by theobvious on June 11, 2008

Living with one’s parents, as I’m sure I’ve said before, has its ups and downs, the most obvious up being all the free food – I mean of course, the meaningful experience of sharing one’s life with one’s family! – and the most obvious down being the absolute lack of privacy. Yes, now I come to think of it, I’ve definitely said this already. Once or twice or a bajillion times. You can probably tell it bugs me just a wee bit.

Well, since last night the tide has officially changed for A. and me, and it brought some valuable driftwood in the form of a new bed! (Which, for people who’d been sleeping on a fold-out crappo-bed for two years straight, is a big deal. I am posting this drunk and stoned, floating on a huge pink imaginary cloud of happiness, and singing a solemn hymn.) Okay, it’s a corner sofa. But it becomes a queen bed at night.

So in honour of this extraordinary purchase we have changed our whole living arrangement. We built a room around it, shaping a makeshift wall from bookcases, so it’s now a real enclosed space just for the two of us. And I say ‘we’ built it because I did all the heavy fussing. And I say ‘just the two of us’ because the cat and the dog are, for once, not welcome to sleep with us, and no, I don’t care what they think.

Now excuse me while I roll around on my new gloriously even bed with no bits of metal to get embedded in my back, and smell the gorgeously clean upholstery, maybe even lick it a little, just because it’s not likely to give me lethal poisoning. And after I’m done, you can come visit, we are not embarrassed of our room anymore, and we can probably spare a lick or two, if you’re into that sort of thing.