Saturday evening at my request, my daughter and son-in-law stopped by the house on their way home from San Antonio. I wanted their impressions of the changes I had made in the house. Most of the changes I made were simply switching out floor coverings, but the impact was noticeable. Obviously, I think it is better or I wouldn’t be scripting it in my blog. The open living area now certainly has a very rustic Western demeanor. The traditional 9 x 12 rug that previously grounded the seating area has been replaced by two cowhide displays used for flooring. Yippee ki-yay!
The cowhides are not new to us. One has been in storage under a bed and the other has been on the floor in my office. Since I have G. Harvey prints of scenes with Native Americans and tepees in my office, the placement of the cowhide over the carpet in my office looked great. However, it was always my intention to eventually use the cowhide in our home.
Our reluctance to do so was the occasional lack of respect that our dog sometimes had the capacity to display. Consequently, we didn’t want to take the risk of the cowhides being in less than pristine condition. Consequently, one went to my office and the other went rolled up under a bed.
Since circumstances have changed, I couldn’t think of a good reason not to bring the cowhide home from the office and integrate the two of them in our primary living area. I think it is a good look. Andrea and Kevin thought it was a good look as well.
We were exchanging pleasantries when out of the blue our conversation shifted and from my perspective began to have the feel of a “Come To Jesus Meeting”. It was all figuratively done above the line, but I got the sense that they’d both be pleased if I took a different stance on my posture that Barnabas was our last dog.
Don’t get me wrong. They were both well intended and loving. Well, “mostly loving” might be more accurate. From the General’s perspective, I’d say they were very loving. They also have the advantage or disadvantage (depending upon your perspective) of being dog people. They would never consider living in a dog-free environment. I did my best to derail the conversation. After all, before they stopped by my place, they went by their home, fed their dogs and then loaded them in the back of the Suburban (dog hauling machine) so they could come to visit with Granddad.
I countered: “Your dogs are always welcomed. Why would we need one of our own? For that matter, Craig and Becky currently have four. You’d think they’d need a license as a kennel. We have more than enough exposure to dogs.” Honestly, I’m not feeling dog deprived simply because Barnabas is no longer with us apart from being in our hearts. Seriously, we have access to more than our quota of four legged creatures.
If Andrea and Kevin were providing their assessment of our conversation, you might get a very different picture than the one I am painting. However, don’t they say that: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Since I’m telling the story and it is my observation, I can figuratively frame it as though I am the voice of reason. If we were keeping score, there was nothing to record other than the subtle suggestion that the General is also a player whose opinion needs to be solicited and carefully considered.
They didn’t seem either offended or surprised when I told them it was time for them to go home. That was all it took. I didn’t have to use the threat of taking them out of the will. Actually, I didn’t tell them any of that or even consider doing so. They made a good point. Mine is not the only frame of reference that needs to be considered. They are dog people and they’ve got the General pegged as the same. It is true that opposites attract, but I’m not ready to erase the line I’ve drawn in the sand. Let there be no mistake in my posture. Barnabas was our most beloved and LAST dog.
I breathed a sigh of relief when we changed the subject and went on to other topics. At some point in the evening, Andrea said: “Dad, I just had a thought”. Her voice tone was filled with thoughtful contemplation. She carefully crafted her words. It was very different from the voice tone I perceived I heard when we were in the midst of the “you need a new dog” conversation. The tone was very conversational and seemed filled with love. However it came as a surprise.
“If you and mom want to one day do Craig and I a favor, you should identify for us which pieces of furniture in your home have sentimental value to you. Looking around your house, it is full of furniture and you’ve had most of it all of my life. Figure out what has sentimental value to you and replace everything else. Buy new stuff. Totally change the look of your home.
I’ve mentioned many times that I’m hearing impaired. Did she really say we needed to get rid of all our furniture? She then thoughtfully and lovingly provided clarification. She went on to say: “I think you should also sell the house and move to another house.” If something were to happen to you and mom, Craig and I would never be able to part with this place or with any of your stuff. We have so many wonderful memories associated to this home that it would be impossible for us to part with it.
When I connected the dots in my head, I figured out that she wasn’t saying our house if filled with junk. She really was providing us a left-handed compliment. She was saying that as it now stands, everything about our home is filled with sentimental value for both she and Craig. When we are no longer here, it will be a daunting task for them to part with any of it. If we go ahead and do it for them, the hard work will already be done once we are no longer here.
Now my daughter who is very much “her father’s daughter” was sounding like the General. For weeks the General has been tossing stuff out saying that it isn’t fair to our kids to have so much stuff that we’ll never use or even want. Get rid of it now, so one day they won’t have the task.
From my perspective, Andrea just upped the game significantly. While I understand and find it a touching and loving suggestion, I’m not yet ready to sign on the dotted line and call a moving van or Goodwill to get rid of all the stuff in our house.
While I’m giving thought to the wisdom of her recommendation, I have a rebuttal that I think will put the thought at bay. I will enthusiastically embrace the idea and say: “We are selling everything an buying a motor home. We are going to wake-up in a new place every week or so. We won’t even need a post office box. Catch us or find us if you can.” On top of that, Andrea is equally as concerned about my driving as her mother. Can you imagine me behind the wheel of a recreation vehicle? Me neither!
All My Best!