Yesterday evening my sister in law came over to help me organize my china cabinets. Plural. My parents are big on Lladrós, and have given us one for every momentous occasion in our adult lives: marriage, law school graduation, boy number 1, boy number 2, and four more just for good measure. Mom and Dad: We’re good! We don’t really have room for any more, and I can’t think of anything else worth celebrating with porcelain.
At our wedding, we received a number of similar items from family friends because people like my parents stick together. Sure, sometimes you’ll find a West Side Story division between the two major camps (porcelain and crystal) but for the most part they accept the other’s perceived shortcomings in taste because it’s better than eating alone. Instead, they share knowing glances with those within their faction and present to you a big box of “a little something we thought you might like (better.)”
This is exactly why the Mister and I, after we returned from our honeymoon, loaded thousands of dollars worth of Lladrós, Waterford, Orrefors, Nambé, Lalique, and Tiffanys into the trunk of his company issued Pontiac and went to buy bed sheets and a trash can for the kitchen in our one bedroom apartment.
For someone with so much to display, I’ve never been good at tablescaping or groupings or arrangements or whatever word designers are now using to describe putting stuff together in odd numbers. In truth, I can’t even say I try. I find the whole thing so incredibly boring that I am usually browsing Amazon for a new book three pieces into the china cabinet. I have said often that if there was a book on tablescaping or grouping or arranging I might be more interested in taking up the craft, but like most creative endeavors, tablescaping or grouping or arranging is one of those natural gifts that, for now, has escaped a how-to book deal.
My sister in law, Stephanie, while not a “collector,” enjoys tablescaping or grouping or arranging. Her cabinets and displays are always artfully presented and well edited. They glisten and sparkle and stand there silently admonishing me, not unlike Sister Justine in high school Chemistry. Well, I finally admitted to myself I am as likely to organize my china cabinets as I am to correctly balance a chemical equation, so I lured Stephanie into my cluttered lair with the promise of flowing sangrias, half-assed childcare, and help setting her up with a feed reader so she can keep up with her favorite blogs.
Hours later she suggested I have a garage sale.
I suggested she have another sangria.
I don’t like clutter. Really, I don’t. I am just incapable of getting rid of something I received from someone I love, even when I don’t like it. I figure they tried, and as sensitive as I am to criticism, I just don’t have it in me to return it and potentially hurt their feelings. Instead, I make an effort to wear the acrylic sweater with horizontal stripes that my dad thought was awesome. I sit there and smile, itching discreetly, knowing full well I look like I am housing a Hungarian circus in my abdomen.
Which, of course, leads to more sweaters with horizontal stripes.
But, this is a new year. I resolve to return and refuse. To say “not today!” to garments that add girth rather than mirth. Goodbye, weird looking Lenox Baby-Snoopy stuff hiding in the corner! Buh-bye baby equipment we are no long using. Even if you were expensive and were gifts from family, your time has come.
Tomorrow. Or the day after. Tuesday, tops.