Here’s one thing I didn’t anticipate about parenthood: that I would take so many pictures of the inside of my house. One thing that I’ve really noticed is all the stuff in these pictures. I feel like it’s common to look back at pictures of grandparents and say, “I remember that table! That rug!” but what about the books? The gadgets? The garbage? This stuff shines a light in the corners of who we are and what we do. How we spend our money and our time. How we construct our space at this moment in our lives.
An observant viewer could pull a life out of this background. And since I am no minimalist (ha!), there are plenty of clues. Here are some of the more telling examples.
Sodastream bottle. Bin of rubber Wii remote control cases, peeled off and turned inside out to “borrow” the batteries out of the controls for other purposes. Apple TV remote. Half-drunk Stella Artois Cidre. iPhone 3, handed down from brother to father to mother to son. Monet’s Table, a used cookbook of recipes prepared at Giverny that I bought on impulse and never opened.
More of the same: iPhone 3, Apple TV remote, beer stein and travel mug unmoved from the previous picture. MacBook Pro. iPod Mini. Baby 411 and Be Prepared: a Practical Handbook for New Dads. Daisy in her usual position on the couch. Soothie pacifier. Fake fireplace space heater insert.
Custom Motwai tile of King Claudius. Literati bookstore shopping bag. Portable toolset. Non-seasonal Christmas lights. Angela’s Ashes. Now I can Die in Peace. The View from Saturday. Wedding pictures. Stories of English. Biography of Audrey Hepburn. Dances with Dragons. The Golden Notebook. Gingerbread houses. Plush strand of DNA. PrestOne windshield de-icer and scraper. Completely synthetic insanely soft microfleece throw. Drawing of a cat done by my cousin when she was a toddler. Heat register.
Random assortment of magnets: Veggie Tales, Wrigley Field, alligator tile from New Orleans, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, “Ceci nes pas un pipe” from the Magritte exhibit at the Art Institute. Invitation to my own baby shower. Other people’s baby announcements. Magnetic poetry (UGH I HATE MAGNETIC POETRY). Mangled bottle brush. Ninja salt & pepper shaker. Unwashed nonstick pans. “Boogie Board” LCD erasable message board from Brookstone! Irridescent taupe nail polish. Meijer coupons.
Arbonne bath products; gift from Sam’s cousin who is a consultant. Meijer brand hand soap and hand sanitizer. Bottle brush(es). Many faced candle. Small stone hearts with “love” on them in many languages from Kelsey’s wedding shower. Tiny book cut and sewn and bound by yours truly. Snow on the ground outside. Defunct Soda Stream tank. One of the clearest shots ever taken of my tattoo.
OK, this is actually my parents’ house. Brother holding baby, with brother’s senior picture on the wall behind, and brother and sister holding baby cousins 14 years ago on the microwave. Motorcycle jacket. Chicago beanie. Clementines. Angel statuette sculpted by yours truly in 3rd grade. French doors my parents bought when they thought they couldn’t afford to buy their house (and then they did). Dog crate for the uncontainable beasts. Black plastic case, no doubt containing photography eqipment.
Dad’s in-home office. Coffee cup from the coast of Maine. Art deco coffee cup. Coffee cup/pen holder with nude woman diving into it. Glasses on desk, glasses on face. Set of hand drums. Batik hanging from art market in Estonia. Model race cars. Quotable greeting card. Framed poem by me to the left of the iMac. Stylus in addition to keyboard and mouse. Bundle of USB(?) connectors. Samsung Galaxy phone. German short-haired pointer.
Vodka (misleading, actually: the only booze on a low shelf on the wall because it’s the stuff we never touch). Checkered flag shot glass from the Indianapolis motor speedway. Kenyan wooden spoon from a nonprofit Sam’s dad works for. Beer stein featuring Leslie Nielsen in Naked Gun, gift from brother to husband, that should not have gone through the dishwasher. Stroller. Cat tree. DVDs and video(s)! From here I can identify LOTR trilogy, Family Guy, While you Were Sleeping, You’ve Got Mail, and a bunch of Disney stuff. Less than stable antique chair.