Home On A Saturday Morning…2020.

This morning, I became strangely captivated by the absurdity of our kitchen table. Or, more to the point, by the macabre and unlikely pairing of random objects which had simply been placed one on top of the other just waiting for someone to come along and put them in their rightful homes.

That might have been a job for Friday night so we could start the weekend off with a clean slate, open space and an outlook uncluttered by the detritus of four people and three dogs living under the one roof under the somewhat trying circumstances of informal isolation. Well, at least, that’s largely the go for my husband and I while we’ve loosened the noose for the kids who are on school holidays. Even still, they’re told to wash their hands as soon as they come home, and are interrogated about who they’re catching up with before they leave, and where their friends have been, as well as where the people they’ve been hanging out with have been. Any mention of Melbourne, and it’s out to the dog house. Fortunately, we live just North of Sydney and are still well away from experiencing what’s going on in America and other virus nightmare zones. However, we’ve not letting our guard down, and security is tighter at our place than the Queensland border.

Spoons 2020

2020 will go down in history as a year we don’t want to repeat.

Anyway, I’m sure our kitchen table was clear last night. Or, at least, it was some time yesterday. Then, Mr 16 returned home from a day out with his mates and pulled a gazillion plastic spoons out of his pockets and dumped them on the table. He thought they were a great joke, and I reminded me of a friend of mine who used to do that, and earned himself the inevitable nickname of “Spoon”. Spoon was tragically killed in a car accident in his early twenties when he swerved to avoid a koala. One of my best friends had gone out with Spoon for a few years, and my connection with him was more second-hand, although when someone in your circle dies young in a tragic accident like that, you can feel a misplaced closeness. That somehow you knew them better than you did. Or, perhaps you just remember every single little detail and they’ve become frozen in a poignant time capsule in your heart for eternity.

However, my son knew nothing about that when he brought all these spoons home and spread them all over the kitchen table. Not only that, he left them there almost like a piece of ephemeral street art. Just to compound matters, he dumped them on top of my latest attempt to maintain some kind of diary and routine during 2020 when I have nowhere to go and virtually nothing to remember. I have no reason to routinely open a diary and be concerned with where I’m going, which is making it very hard to keep track of that rare random place I’m supposed to be (Is anyone else struggling with that? I know it surely couldn’t just be me?)

Anyway, after deciding that the image of my 2020 diary buried in plastic spoons somehow encapsulated the weirdness of 2020, I noticed a few other “curious points of interest” on the table. While we would usually hide all this unsightly kitchen and family clutter to produce a Insta-perfect shot, I was suddenly struck by all the personality and character which had been thrown together here, and how it possessed a strange kind of beauty which ought to be shared before it was swept away like detritus on the beach.

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First up, there’s this combo of a chocolate biscuit with a touch of lime resting on my tablet box. For the last 13 years, this tablet box has been part of my day more regularly than clockwork. Every day, I take a good handful of tablets to stave off my auto-immune disease, dermatomyositis. While photographing the spoons and my diary, I must’ve been in between thoughts and hadn’t quite managed to get my biscuit onto a plate. The biscuit was made by a friend of mine are chocolate with a hint of lime and rather special. They were left over the other night, and being kind and thoughtful, she divided the leftovers up into Chinese containers for us all to take home. Although I was also taking home the remains of a chocolate macadamia cake I’d made, I was looking forward to having her biscuits with a cup of tea. They were a real treat.

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Personally, I don’t feel the chewed up rubber innards of a tennis ball warrant an explanation. However, there might be those of you who don’t have scraps of tennis ball deposited all over the house like we do. Indeed, tapping away at my desk, I’ve spotted a streak of fluoro-orange felt with a few bits of cracked rubber still attached. Indeed, on the other side, I’ve just spotted one of my son’s disposable plastic spoons. How did it migrate out here? Surely, it wasn’t me?!! I don’t know. However, I’ve clearly been persecuted by crappy paraphernalia at every turn, and I can assure you most emphatically that”it wasn’t me”. Moreover, I’m sure sure that everyone around me, both human and canine, would agree. Of course, no one ever owns up to their crap, and the miscellaneous layers just keep building up until you pop out one morning, and a strange sedimentary rock is sitting there. Or, perhaps it’s more of a sandwich. I don’t know. All I do know, is that I don’t see this on anyone else’s Facebook pages, and I clearly don’t live an Instagram-able life!

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The quest for meaning continues…

Of course, the chaotic state of our kitchen table could well be a cause for prayer. Indeed, our house probably needs more prayer than most. Feeling that the state of the house was heading irretrievably down a precipitous cliff, I finally brought back the cleaner yesterday. By the way, I should point out that my cleaner isn’t some uppercrust indulgence. Rather, she’s a disability support worker and more of a vital necessity, except that the risk of catching the coronavirus far exceeded the need for a squeaky-clean house and we’ve been “doing alright” on our own. Anyway, when the cleaner found a stray rubber band, she hung it over the praying hands which I’d bought from Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral, and I thought it was a good laugh.You can’t take life too seriously, especially at the moment.

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Along with humour, nature has also been getting me through this year which just keeps doing my head in on so many fronts. I picked this shell up on one of my photography beach walks, either at Patonga or MacMasters. I’m not sure. I have a scattering of shells on our kitchen table from these walks. They’re ostensibly nothing spectacular, but they hold memories for me of those beautiful walks in the bright sunshine now that it’s Winter here, and I’ve had a cold for a few weeks and have switched into hibernation mode. I know it’s not good psych, but outside can wait.

Meanwhile, the outside is peering in through my window…the vast expansive branches of the Jacaranda tree just outside the door, a white camellia from our next door neighbour’s garden’s been keeping me company for awhile now, along with the chatter of the birds. There usually a dog (or all three) at my feet or even sleeping under my desk, although they’ve abandoned me today. The kids are home and no doubt they’re far more exciting. Moving humans are far more interesting than stationary ones tapping away on keyboards, and they have no concern for my ideas.

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Proof a mother’s work is never done.

Last, but by no means least, are my daughter’s pointe shoes and the accompanying post-it note. She bought a new pair of pointe shoes during the week and while they might dazzle you with their starstruck beauty, they not only torture your feet, but also your fingertips as you sew on elastics and ribbons which keep them attached to your ballerina’s feet. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried sewing into these beastly instruments of torture. However, jabbing a needle through leather is impossible for mere mortals. I snapped one needle and drew blood on separate stitch, and yet there was no respite for this ballerina’s mum. I just had to keep going and find a way. I ended up with a very strong, sword-like needle and pushing it through with the back of the dog’s brush. The dog had chewed it and there was a little tooth mark in the tough plastic where I could position the needle and push it through. Indeed, it almost appeared purpose-built, as long as I didn’t think to hard about it. Indeed, it didn’t even cross my mind at the time about how weird and absolutely bonkers it was. By 3 am, I only had one shoe done and decided my duty was done. That I was never going to have it finished in time for this morning’s class, and left an apologetic note… all on the kitchen table.

Meanwhile, I’m finding that our kitchen table’s being used less and less for its intended purpose. That it’s either too hot or too cold to sit out there in the kitchen, and i’s much more comfortable to sit out in the lounge with the reverse cycle going and the TV on. Just to compound the disintegration of family connection, our daughter usually eats in her room and our son often eats at his desk in the lounge while either playing games or watching videos. I really didn’t want us to go down this path. A path I know will lead to wrack and ruin. However, there are times I feel like Atlas carrying the weight of the family on my shoulders and I have to put the load down for a bit and recuperate a bit.  Stretch out. Extend my wings and do something without resistance. I don’t know if people realize they put themselves in the too hard basket and what that means, but sometimes, I run out of words to keep explaining and hope maybe a thought might pop into their heads without me putting it there myself. That, at the very least, they might actually stop to ask…Are Mum and Dad okay? Now, there’s a novel thought. One I didn’t consider myself when I was their age but surely something they could learn…

Anyway, it’s now Saturday afternoon and with my back turned on the tide, I have no idea what the table’s like now, However, it’s time for another cup of tea and I did just happen to see a faint ray of sunlight through the clouds.

So, now I wanted to ask you about your kitchen table. What does it say about you and what’s going on at your place? Although showing off your unkept table going against the grain, I’d love you to join me in this and have a bit of fun and please share your efforts in the comments. It could be really interesting to see a range of kitchen tables around the world and how different people live.

Meanwhile, I hope you and your loved ones and communities are safe and if they’re not, I’m thinking of you!

Love & best wishes,

Rowena

8 thoughts on “Home On A Saturday Morning…2020.

  1. TanGental

    Yes, definitely a piece of art. I’m sure the MOMA would accept you. I’m curious. Why don’t pointe shoes come ready to wear? Or were you just embellishing them.

  2. lindamaycurry

    Would you believe we just had guests but the table has already become covered with bits and pieces since their departure. The new washing machine arrived today so the instruction book is still out. We bought a tablet box for John yesterday as he can never remember whether he has taken his blood thinner after breakfast so it is washed and waiting for him to use it. A bottle of hand sanitizer, a set of keys, a brochure from Aldi and another from Bunnings and a nearly empty packet of soy crisps surround a carefully arranged bowl of limes, lemons and small red apples. There is a site plan of an over 55 village our friends have moved to and a recipe for a potato bake a friend gave me and which I cooked and copied for our visitors. On the edge of the table is a fluorescent light I took down to the garage in my search for photographs. I’m making a photobook of 2000 to 2020 and finding 2002 and 2003 seemed to miss out on being put in photo albums but preceded the ones on the computer.

    As you found out, writing about the clutter on your kitchen table tells a lot about you. Thanks for the great idea.

  3. Tails Around the Ranch

    Trust me, my own dining table is also the proverbial landing spot for all manner of components that are part of a ‘normal’ life. Once the clutter (too often built up mail, bills, pens, pencils, devices and/or their chords) builds up to the point where I must clean it up to keep sane, I go through the mail, recycle the paper, pay the bills, put the pencils and pens into the drawer where they are supposed to live, try to remove spent napkins, and clean off the surface so that it’s ready for the next round of accumulated junk. As I look from my seat at the table out into the lounge, I see two fur beasts napping and various dog toys strung out like some sort of stuffie graveyard, utter a heavy sigh as a smile comes over my face as I see a life well lived with my two best companions who love their toys, the various dog beds and sofa pillows that caress their sleepy heads. Is it “Instagram-able” gosh no (unless the hashtag for #whatnottodo is considered cool). And yet, I am content with the mess and will likely repeat the process of picking it all up again tomorrow and the next day and so on. And as I think reflect on it all, it’s all fine with me. Life (despite the pandemic) is good with these two beasts and my heart is full. Now where’s that Sharpie pen gone off to? Happy weekend! 🥰

  4. christineplouvier

    This must be something that goes with having autoimmune diseases, because I have four (at least), and I have given up on ever seeing the top of my kitchen table.

  5. Anne

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I have won a small victory in that the very end of our dining room table is left reasonably clear enough for us to eat there when necessary – during this winter weather we tend to seek the sun. The rest of the table is piled high with books, papers and writing materials – my husband having commandeered it to write a book about three years ago. I wonder about the state of the table cloth under all of that …

  6. maxwellthedog

    “No one ever owns up to their crap.
    Truer words were never spoken. I must have said that a gazillion times in the past. Now, our table reflects the very organized and orderly lives of a retired couple who are almost, but not quite, neat freaks. Totally different from the kid growing years. By the way, you are a brave soul leaving that biscuit unguarded and in plain sight. Stay safe, Ro.

  7. New Journey

    Nothing like a cluttered table to show the love of a home. Love the spoons and that he thought to bring them home instead of emptying his pockets at a garbage can. LOL I love it, NO one stops to think about anything else on a table before setting it down, You made me go look at my dining room table, it has talevera tiles stacked on it,( I am working on designs for the front fence area) a wooden puzzle my sister sent me, my whale picture I have been working on, a box of moth balls that needs to go out to the garage, dusty candle holders, lol an electric stapler and extension cord, and don’t even get me started on the 6 chairs that are far from empty sitting around the table. LOL it is definitely our catch all, Our eating table where we eat and sit and play cards, we shove stuff on to chairs at each end of the table, these chairs are never used, lol I see on one a basket of napkins and assorted clothe table mats for when we do eat. Plus my tablet for keeping score when we play cards, LOL on the other is another box of moth balls, a u shaped neck support full of rice, that can be put in the microwave to help sore necks, my husbands!! a handful of ink pens, mine, lol, a packet of tissues, just incase, lol and of course my binoculars so I can check out the wildlife out the back window. LOL I love how you always make me think!!! And know I think I need to go do some putting away, LOL like I said a messy table means a loved home. Thanks for that I need to smile this morning. XXkat

  8. Gary A Wilson

    Alas – there is barely a horizontal space that is safe from this action in our home. The thought crossed my mind once when we had to realize and plan our escape from, a county-wide fire that threatened to (but ultimately did not) destroy our home that this is likely the only way this home will ever be clean again.

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