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Me + Change = As little as possible

My mom was the Queen of Change. Seriously. I can’t tell you how many times we moved to a new, “better” house or apartment. And I mean that literally – I can’t tell you because there is no way I could remember them all! I swear the woman was a gypsy in another life. It didn’t stop there, however. She was never content with how the house was decorated or arranged. Every place we moved to had to be repainted, wallpapered, and new furniture purchased. If we stayed there for very long it would be redone at some point, I can assure you! And “long” to my mom was 5 months tops. When I was very young and we spent many years in our family home it became a sort of game. Would today be the day we came home from school to discover a new paint job or new curtains or the living room furniture switched to the den?

My dad hated it. Probably one of the main reasons they divorced! I sort of liked it. My mom was a fabulous artist who made a living painting signs for the small town we lived in. It is a fact that by the time we moved away after I finished college, at least 80% of the business signs in town was a Marge Shelly original. When she painted the house, or a sign, it was a work of art. Murals on the wall, unusual colors and paint techniques, multiple designs. And she somehow found the money in our tight budget to coordinate the bed coverings and curtains. It always looked beautiful and I think she instinctively comprehended feng shui before the Chinese did!

When I finally had a house of my own I knew I did not want to physically move as often as I did when a child. But I did like the idea of creatively painting, wallpapering, and redecorating. You know what I quickly discovered? Doing all that stuff is really hard work! Painting is backbreaking labor, wallpaper never hangs right, and moving heavy sofas alone will sprain several muscles!

How did my mom do it? I have no idea, but I now respect her strength more than I did before. Then I just thought she was a bit daft. Dad thought she was purposely trying to drive him insane, which maybe she was, come to think of it! Or perhaps there was a strain of gypsy blood in her. Who knows? At least life was never boring living with my mom.

My kids have to live with the same furniture, the same bedroom motif, and the same house. I will buy new curtains from time to time and their comforters have been updated, but that is as far as it goes. I have decided I do NOT like change after all. I guess the gypsy blood dwindled out. Recently I got a wild hair – to quote my aghast husband – and semi-rearranged the living room. I got rid of an old stereo that took up too much space, moved the DVD pantry about three feet over (with the help of my 6’3” son), and redistributed the knick-knacks. It took me two whole days. I wanted to move the sofa and chairs, but my OCD husband nearly suffered a stroke at the idea and the kids protested, so they remain as is. Fine by me since those suckers are heavy! And I can guarantee you that unless we win the lottery and buy a mansion on the coast, they will stay this way for another 10 years.

So, as you can see, when it comes to my household at least: Me + change = as little as possible!

How about you? Like me or do you have a wee spot of gypsy in your soul?


  1. I've been in my current home for 21years. The same carpet is on the floors and the same curtains are on the windows that I put there originally, except for the bathroom which had to be remodeled because of a leak. I would love to have new stuff, but the hassle, more than the expense, is what stops me. I'm going to be one of those crazy old ladies whose house is falling down around her!

  2. Your mother sounds like she had an incredible fund of creative and physical energy! I'd love to have known her.

    Myself, I devoutly hope the move to my townhouse was the last I will ever make. But I will confess that the urge to move the furniture around overcomes me every couple of years.

    My next big project is a form of redecorating. It's to put up all the hardware I've bought so that I can hangup all the stuff that lands on the floor of the closet or dangles from the newel post or sits piled in a corner. Trust me, picking things up will make this look like a different place.

  3. We lived in the same place from First grade through High school. The kitchen got painted every 2 yr or so, not so much anything else.

    Now when I moved out on my own, I moved if not every year, at least every two. Now that I'm older, I like the idea of staying in one place. I just haven't found it yet.LOL

  4. My mother was part gypsy. We moved about every nine months, and the one time she stayed in one place for a few years, she redecorated countless times. I think our mothers might have been sisters.

    As for change, it doesn't bother me one way or the other. As a kid, after about a year, I'd get itchy to move but that was probably a habit.

    I lived in Boise for 10 years and would have been happy to have stayed forever, I've been in Maryland for 10 years and have wanted to leave since day one.

    Since I got married and bought our first house (there have only been two) I've never lived in a house that wasn't under construction. We finished remodeling my kitchen in Boise one month before we moved. Sigh...10 years later, I have a new office, two new bathrooms, a new roof, and almost a new living room. Still no new kitchen and I desperately need that. As for furniture, it's pretty much all hand-me-downs or homemade (my husband does make nice furniture). There's not much to decorate, we just kind of mix and match. I have curtains in the three rooms that are finished and I'm picking out colors for the living room.

  5. I love hearing everyone's thoughts on this subject. From what I have gathered over time in my un-scientific study of the subject, most people are somewhere in between. They like to redecorate or repaint now and again, but at a sedate pace. And most like to stay put in one house for a while. But that is probably because moving is such a hassle!

    One upside to moving like we did is that we never accumulated a bunch of worthless stuff. Every time I have moved as an adult, I am actually excited about the prospect of getting rid of stores things that we somehow considered vitally important!

    Yes, MM, my mom had incredible energy. None of us inherited her artistic talent or bravery in the face of change. That is rather sad, I suppose.

    Robin, your comments brought other memories to mind. My dad was a skilled contractor. He took our original 2 tiny bedroom house that was probably less than 1000 square feet, and turned it into a gorgeous home easily over 2000. I loved that place. It is funny to remember how often he cursed my mom for moving furniture or repainting when he constantly ripped out entire walls and had us living with plastic sheets separating the living quarters from the newest addition!

  6. I have no gypsy in me. None whatsoever. I hate change. I don't mind a new comforter once in a while, but moving the furniture? That's just wrong :-)

  7. Being in the military means change. We moved all over the place when my dad was in the military, and again when I was. We did not paint walls anything but eggshell because it was easier to sell that way! I really need to clean out what I have and regain my feng shui! Great post, Sharon! I like having some sameness (saneness?), but when I cleaned out the house, painted, stripped wallpaper, and all that stuff in the home I used to live in to sell it, I wished I'd done so years earlier!

  8. Sharon,
    I think it's so cool your mom was an artist, but I would have probalbly hated the moving all the time, too. We only lived in two different houses, in the same twon when I grew up so change was very new to me when my husband took different jobs to move up the corporate ladder and we moved several times. Thankfully we are now settled in Florida--for better, for worse, forever!

  9. I'm with your mom. Bring on the change! I'd move more often if it weren't so expensive and time consuming. And I didn't have so much freakin' junk in my basement. Perhaps that's why I like to move. It's the only time I really get rid of the junk. I've been in Nebraska for five years now and it's the longest I've ever lived in one place in my entire life. I tried to get a job in Long Beach, CA so I could move this summer but the job fell through, so it looks like I'll be here at least one more year. I'm sooooo ready to go. Maybe if I replace all the flooring in the house I'll feel less antsy.

    Loved your post, Sharon. The "eggshell" cartoon with the rabbits gave me quite the chuckle. :-)

  10. I've done enough moving, we actually moved three times in three years!

    Now I'd rather change the interior and exterior than change the location.

  11. We stayed put when I was growing up, but after college/getting married, we apartment hopped for quite a bit. We've owned 3 homes in the 23 years, and have been in this one for 10 years. I can't wait to downsize b/c I hate the upkeep, but I'm really not looking forward to moving. And last year I had to update some of the kids' rooms, with paint, bedspreads, some new furniture, and I complained the entire week that it took to get them done. I'm settled and want to stay that way.

  12. Seems we have a wide variety of feelings toward relocating, moving, and redecorating! Actually, if I could pay someone else to do the painting and wallpapering, knowing that it would look perfect when done, I would do that often. I love the look of a freshly painted wall. Guess that comes from my youth too! Our walls never looked old or chipped.

    Olivia, if you do end up in California, be sure to look me up!

  13. Having moved every eighteen months as a child (thirteen schools in twelve years)since my father at one time worked for a petroleum engineering company, it was common for us us 'clean house' at that time.
    A thorough cleaning and fresh start for everything--well, new furniture once in awhile. But it was always interesting.
    Now, even after spending a few years in the military in my early twenties and settling down in the same house for going on 16 years I find it hard not to try and do a thorough 'cleaning' every few years.
    Trying new ideas, my biggest is trying to find 'organizing' ideas for our small house, has consumed me at times. I leave the big projects, painting, new carpet, etc. to the pros but I love to decorate with color in my beige with white trim walls--decor items are easy to change, paint and carpet not so much.
    My teenage daughter rearranged her room (for the first time in two years) and she found it to be refreshing. So change is good, it gives us a fresh look at life.
    But other than like Cheryl, a leak in our bathroom caused us to remodel a bit, we tend to change things only as needed.

  14. I hate to admit but I'm dull. I love to walk into a house that has been decorated nicely, but I somehow missed the "interior decorator" gene.

    My dad was very creative with decorating when I was a kids. He made lamps out of a stove pipe and a fire box. He wallpapered the hall with Chinese newspaper. He plasted old New Yorker magazine covers for wallpaper in the bathroom. He painted fireworks on the ceiling to cover the cracks in one room and stapled sheet music to the ceiling of another. I'm not sure it always "worked" but it was always original!

  15. Great post, Sharon! And actually, your mom sounds amazing!


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