Dixie Peach: It's all in how you look at it

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

It's all in how you look at it

I know I've been very whiney lately about the packing and moving thing. It's not that it's that all fired difficult. I'm just inherently lazy and I don't do well with upheaval and chaos. However I've decided that I will take the advice that I normally so freely throw around and am going to change my perspective on the packing thing.

This is turning out to be a fabulous opportunity to discover things I didn't even know I had. My MIL - bless this woman - is tackling the tedious job of packing up all the glassware and porcelain. All the collected teacups and saucers I have? She has lovingly wrapped each one. Same thing with beer glasses, schnapps glasses, pitchers, vases, stemware - she's making sure as she possibly can that these things will survive moving intact. If I were doing this job I'd get about halfway through it, get sick of the wrapping up and start pitching it out in the garbage. My MIL has also found things like some demitasse cups that were originally her great aunt's that came from some rich man from the town where she was born and they're over 100 years old. Some weency schnapps glasses that are made of glass so thin one would think they'd shatter if there were breathed upon wrong. Funky carved cigarette holders that date back from before the war. All this stuff has been squirreled away in cabinets that I never bothered to poke around in and now they'll get a new life.

B and I were discussing yesterday that we're lucky not trying to do this fairly sudden moving and renovation during former East German times. Renovation during that time wasn't anything one could do on the spur of the moment. Things like paint, paintbrushes, wallpaper, wallpaper adhesive, carpet, tile, curtains, curtain rods, curtain hooks - they were all available in the former East Germany. Unfortunately they weren't all available at the same time. You'd find curtains but wouldn't be able to get hooks for a few months. Wallpaper but no adhesive. You get the idea. To remedy that you'd plan well ahead of time, buy what you could when you could find it (and had the money for it) and then store it until you could get the other part of what you'd need. You might could renovate everything all at once but you'd have spent a year or two collecting everything you'd need. B is perfectly used to this being the norm but as I am an American schooled in the fine art of instant gratification it would drive me mad.

It reminds of one of my favortite life-in-East-Germany stories. A co-worker of my MIL needed a new carpet for her livingroom. Back then a good piece of carpet was not only difficult to find but expensive as well, hence the still used tradition of removing one's shoes when entering someone's home. If you saw a piece of carpet that you wanted then by golly you'd best buy it right then or lose out on your opportunity. So this lady discovered decent carpet on sale, the salesman unrolled a bit of it to show her the color (a fine, bright red) and the quality and she jumped at the opportunity to buy it. Paid a steep price for it as well. The lady somehow got the roll of carpet home, moved her furniture and unrolled the carpet. And that's when she made a terrible discovery.

Woven into the dead center of the carpet was a picture of Lenin, looking very much like this. Naturally this woman was horrified and unfortunately shit-out-of-luck as well. Even if she could have returned the carpet, not possible back in those days, was was she going to say? Tell the guy at the state owned carpet store that she didn't like the big Lenin head on her rug? Not if she didn't want a visit in the middle of the night from the Stasi. She was stuck with it. And for the rest of the time she had that carpet, which I imagine was quite a few years, she kept a table right over Lenin's noggin.

My new carpet was put down yesterday. I checked it. It looks fantastic. And not one picture of a revolutionary, despot or dictator to be found.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dix, I'm having a hard time reconciling my image of this place where you live. You've described it as an apartment and from some other things you've said, I got the impression that it wasn't a vast, mansionish apartment... and yet, over the course of the weeks I've been reading your blog and you've been writing about things you're finding, I'm wondering, where was all that stuff? How can you have had enough room to have so much hidden stuff in addition to room for the everyday stuff?

I'm confuzzled. It's like you live in a regular apartment that has alternate universe cabinetry.

Also: LOOOOVED the Lenin in the carpet story. LMAO! Just shows ta go ya... ALWAYS get a look at the whole thing before you buy!

4:45 AM  
Blogger Kirsti said...

Yay for new carpets, and for helpful mother in laws. Enjoy discovering these forgotten treasures, and I hope you find some nice place to display them in the new flat. Keep going - and just think of how relaxed and unstressed you'll be once the move is over.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Katy, we have an average size apartment but what we don't have in it are closets. No one has closets - unless you build a home and have them put in. Instead we have big cabinets - sort of like big wardrobes. I have three and each of them span the length of a long wall in each room. Lots of doors, drawers, shelves - in short, lots of places to store stuff. This was my husband's apartment well before I married him - actually he and his parents lived in together...they're the ones who took care of him until I moved here - and there's stuff they've had for years and years that I never bothered to look at.

9:12 PM  

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