Outside the Crooked House, the Christmas Theme Is Hoarders

Apparently having Christmas decoration themes that change every year (and require you to buy new decorations) is a thing for some people. But nothing so absurd and wasteful will ever be a thing for me. This has nothing to do with decorations, really. My grandmother moved to assisted living on Tuesday. Yes, on Christmas Eve Eve. So this year the holidays were a weensy bit hectic.

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The place she was leaving was not the house where she lived for 50 years (getting her out of there was the stuff of nightmares) but a condo in a high rise that she bought and my parents and I renovated. Yes, we talked an 88 year old into buying a fixer upper. Soon when I’m on a break from renovations and you’ll get to hear more about that.

Anyways, last Sunday I helped my parents pack her up. the plan was to have professional movers bring out what she was taking with her and leave the rest until the place needs to be emptied. They didn’t want more clutter in the basement rec room, which was already cluttered with my stuff. But after realizing that it would cost less to get everything out right away, my dad was all for it. And here’s what the basement looks like now.

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My parents may have been sad to lose me. Really. But now that I’m taking most of this with me I’m sure they can’t wait till I leave. You can see that the style of furniture I have now puts my original ideas for how to decorate my house out the window. But after the house ate all my money, free furniture is the most expensive furniture I can afford. I can replace things later if they don’t suit me, but it’s equally likely that I’ll never care enough to do so. Knowing that I’m not being wasteful makes me happier than any furniture ever would.

And on the Christmas gift front, behold! All the door hardware I need for the entire house, plus a few extras. And those outlandishly fancy pocket door pulls are what I got for Christmas. Yes, reproductions. I tried to put in old beat-up things wherever I could, but I needed huge pulls to cover damage to the doors and old pocket door hardware can be really expensive. I’ll take nice door knobs over furniture that matches and/or is in style any day.

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12 thoughts on “Outside the Crooked House, the Christmas Theme Is Hoarders

  1. jstrep@verizon.net

    My mate and I are 74 and 78 and he is in the middle stage of Alzheimer’s so we are in a similar life stage as your Grandmother. I find it so strange that we are old. I know that has to sound really -Dumb? but it’s true. You’re in your forty’s and eh so what…….and then the fifties and that sounds a small alarm bell and with your sixties comes a resigned acceptance of the reality of the brevity of our existence and on it goes and when life ends of course no one knows. But boy on this end it seems shockingly short, but loads of fun and a fascinating experience. Happy wishes for the New Year Chad. You seem like a really great person.

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    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      Sorry to hear about the Alzheimer’s. But it’s not the least bit dumb to hear that it feels strange to be old. My grandmother got really angry if anyone called her old before she was at least 85. She never wanted anything to do with men her age and would hit on my friends instead. Half of them were terrified and the other half thought it was funny enough to play along. She had us bring all her liquor to the assisted living place and has insisted that we bring her martini glasses.

      It’s good that you’re finding the upside of every stage of your life. I guess that’s the best way to make it through. And actually I’m 27.

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      1. jstrep@verizon.net

        I was referring to our aging progress when I mentioned being in our forties. Your picture makes it obvious that you are quite young. Sorry….

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  2. Mary Elizabeth

    Chad, what a holiday you’ve had! I am not going to complain about a single thing concerning mine now. Best of luck to your grandmother, who sounds like a feisty and interesting lady. I hope she continues to enjoy her martinis. One of my great aunts found a marvelous “ladies’ retirement home” in the town in which she spent most of her life. We would go to pick her up to take her out to dinner, and she would say, “Oh, don’t come before six, because we have our sherry at five o’clock.” When she finally died, she left money in her will for us all to go out after the funeral to a nice restaurant that served a nice sherry wine.

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  3. Jo

    Love a basement full of future projects and Christmas hardware. Gran sounds like a right treat who loves her adoring family. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

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  4. Mary Elizabeth

    I was thinking about how and when you will finally get to choose your own furniture. You may be in your 60s, like Bruce and I were! I finally got a real desk instead of a door across two small file cabinets. 🙂 And the only reason I got a new sofa is that we moved to a smaller house where it didn’t fit. The “cool-onial” wood furniture (as Pam K. calls it) will last forever. The sofa and loveseat not so much, although when you have accumulated a few more bucks you could have them reupholstered to suit your color scheme or simply replace them when they wear out. Besides, the furniture will look so different in your home with your wall colors, etc. You may end up liking it. Have fun!

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    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      Yeah, my parents took about that long to get their bedroom furniture. My sister and I had nicer things in our bedrooms but they had a hand-me-down set that was the stye my mom wanted but second rate quality. Then my aunt downsized into a better school district and my grandmother downsized into the high rise and they were short just one piece, which I found on Craigslist. Dark mahogany furniture is basically free right now so she was in luck.

      As for my furniture, I envisioned using a dining room table that was a little smaller than my grandmother’s and that is a little smaller but doesn’t have drop leaves since I’ll be using it every day. Hers will fit in my house even though it’s bigger than what I want, and if I end up liking the way it fits I might keep it forever. I won’t be using the love seat, only the sofa. Between that, the fact that the style isn’t what I wanted, and the fact that they’re in nearly perfect condition, I don’t think I’d consider having it reupholstered; selling the pair and buying a new sofa would probably be cheaper.

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      1. Mary Elizabeth

        Yes, my parents had the dark mahogany in their bedroom. It is out of fashion, but it is classic. There is also something sentimental about having pieces that belonged to various family members. I have two tables my grandfather made and one writing desk he cut down from a large library table. My father learned to write sitting at that desk, so even though it doesn’t fit with the rest of my stuff, I will never get rid of it. It’s too small for a work desk, though.

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