The big dig

It is with great reluctance that I present the spectacle of our dining room. Yes, this is a dining room. There’s a table under there somewhere. The last time I saw it was about a year ago, during the holidays. I wanted Eric and I to eat Thanksgiving dinner at that table, like civilized people. Plus, I have company coming the weekend after T-day, so the table MUST be found. Everyone understands living with chaos while we’re remodeling, and they say supportive things about how hard it must be … but at some point that excuse wears thin, and folks just think we’re slobs. Admit it … that’s what you’re thinking, isn’t it?

dining room with boxes and furniture everyhwere

November, 2014


Dining room with boxes and boxer

November, 2014

Before our centennial party in August, 2013, we hid all the junk in our spare room.


August, 2013

But when we launched the spare room makeover, all that stuff plus the room’s furniture migrated back to the dining room. If you compare today’s photos with one below from March, you can see subtle differences in strata and elevation. This mess is a living, breathing, thing. It has its own ecosystem, like a floating island in the Pacific.

Boxes and furniture stored in dining room

March, 2014

We finished the spare room (I will write a reveal post soon), and the furniture went back in, but the rest of the flotsam has simply become part of the landscape. It’s amazing what I can look past. So for weeks now, I’ve been eyeing it and thinking strategic thoughts.

First I hung up all the coats that were protecting the chairs. They keep creeping back out of the closet, but I’m hoping they learn with repetition. No no! Bad coats! Hang up! Stay!!

Eric wrestled the metal filing cabinet (fetched from our storage unit and full of his mom’s papers) downstairs, and my old blue foot locker from college (full of … gosh, I don’t remember) to the attic. I sorted two boxes of cleaning supplies. Because we installed a dishwasher, we have only half the room under the kitchen sink that we used to. And it’s full. I put all the reasonably useful cleaning supplies in a crate in the base of Mother Hubbard.

Extra cleaning supplies in a crate

The lesser-used stuff went downstairs, perhaps never to be seen again. (If you have clogged plumbing, I have 160 ounces of BioClean friendly bacteria who would love to meet you.)

Sometimes digging through boxes can make the drudgery worthwhile. I was thrilled to unpack my long-lost collection of vintage vases and find a favorite photo of my mom that went missing a few years ago.

multicolored vintage vases

But other times, reorganizing can be dangerous. After carrying a couple of glass lamps up to the attic’s hope-to-use-this-in-our-next-house graveyard, Eric asked if I’d heard him fall down the stairs! I was oblivious. He could have laid in a heap at the bottom for hours. His slipper slipped on the top step and he bump-de-bumped down the stairs on his hip, elbow, and shoulder—but he held on to those lamps! (Eric’s recovering nicely, and the lamps were unharmed.)

At last, the table appeared, to my immense relief. As I cooked, Eric cleaned. Thanksgiving dinner proceeded as planned. (If you look closely, you can see some crates still stacked at the right side of the photo. We still have work to do, but half of the boxes have been dispatched, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.) This small feast is just for Eric and me, as all of our relatives live thousands of miles away.

Thanksgiving dinner table

Today I decided my hastily concocted centerpiece looked too skimpy, so, with help from Peggy and Checkers, I fluffed it out with more dried cuttings. Of course, now it’s so tall, I can’t see anyone seated on the other side! I fully expect a cat to pull it over in the middle of the night.

two cats and flower arrangment

dried arrangement

What I’m most thankful for

If you’ve read much of this blog, you know that none of our projects would happen without Eric’s amazing versatility and expertise. He’s the secret sauce that makes it all work. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be married to someone who shares my renovation passion and brings all my picky ideas to life. Eric’s birthday is near, and sometimes on, Thanksgiving Day, and because he loves pumpkin pie, I bake a birthday pie instead of a cake. Several years ago he gave me a set of leaf-shaped cookie cutters, so the pie has come to have a traditional leafy crust.

Pumpkin birthday pie

I’m also so thankful for you, my blog friends. Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’re sharing a fabulous and relaxing Thanksgiving weekend with the people you’re most thankful for!






14 thoughts on “The big dig

  1. Karen B.

    There is nothing like expected guests to kick start those nagging little ‘to do’s’ that have been on the list for far too long.
    I cracked up at the expression and position of your black and white cat…it was as though your tall centerpiece was some kind of monster that the cat knew he had to show who is boss.
    Happy Birthday to Eric. He is indeed most talented and seems to be a willing worker…the best.
    I’m happy to see you both enjoyed what appears to be a delicious feast this past Thursday. Onward and upward for the holiday celebrating.

    1. D'Arcy H Post author

      Checkers is always looking for trouble, but all the cats have been good about the arrangement … so far! I’m surprised they can resist all those fuzzy little seed heads!

    1. D'Arcy H Post author

      It never occurred to me that you wouldn’t have pumpkin pie in Australia! If you can find a can of pumpkin (or you can grow and cook your own), you should try making one! It’s easy … 🙂

  2. ladylansdowne

    Seeing your dining room makes me feel SO much better… I was thrilled to manage to excavate an evening bag from our spare bedroom last night, it’s little short of horrific in there. Your table looked beautiful.

      1. ladylansdowne

        It’s only when we give guests the grand tour and I see their shocked little faces that I remember this is not normal! Oh well, it’s christmas, so just throw fairy lights over the heaps I say!

  3. Anita

    You did a great job on the center piece! Have the cats destroyed it yet? My sis-in-law (Karen) has that same leafy cookie cutter. It sure makes a great looking pumpkin pie! We made Russian cream…..something I think you’d absolutely LOVE (similar to creme brulee). Anyway, great to see the dining room table again!

  4. Jo

    We lived in chaos and filth for over a year during our renovation. We couldn’t have cleaned up if we wanted to. I congratulate you for your forbearance and for finding the dining table. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

    1. D'Arcy H Post author

      Well, it’s not COMPLETELY clear, but it’s so much better. I have always loved those vases … now I can display them again. They’d look right at home in your house, too!


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