So Alan’s still working, but he’s almost done!  He’ll submit his paperwork and dissertation this Friday (June 28th), and defend his dissertation the week of August 5-9 (the day isn’t certain yet).

I am at that particular moment where the work to be done seems overwhelming.  There was a point every semester of school when I’d look at the syllabus to see what remained–assignments, papers, tests–and decide that it was impossible to get all that done in three weeks (or however long was left in the semester).  Of course it would always get done.  And the best way to ensure that it will get done is to start working.  But I would always panic and despair.

I was in the basement today cleaning the cats’ litter box, looking at the pile of old kitchen cabinets, some old bath towels that I’ve wanted to donate to a shelter, the old refrigerator we moved to the basement when we bought a new one three years ago that mostly has old bottles of ketchup in it, disorganized home improvement tools, cleaning supplies, cans of paint.  We need to replace our furnace before we put the house on the market, and I’d like to get the basement cleaned out before we do that, and oh, there’s just so much to do.

I’m an aspiring minimalist, which is hilarious if you know how much I like stuff.  It’s not that I like having stuff just to have stuff.  I like having the right stuff; the right tool for the job.  The reality is that I often buy the wrong tool, then buy something else to supplement it or partially replace it, and then maybe finally buy the right tool.  The problem is then I have four tools, when I only want one.

Minimalism is more of a philosophy than an aesthetic.  It’s often coincident with a spartan aesthetic.  Alan likes the spartan look.  He’d be content with very little furniture and white walls.  I like a house to feel cozy and inviting, which is often coincident with clutter, but not necessarily.

Alan’s been pushing for us to get a Japanese futon for our next bed.  Our current bed (frame and mattress) is one that we got for free from a friend, who got it for free from her parents.  It’s ancient, and probably full of all sorts of dust and allergens, but we’re poor graduate students, so we use it.  Rather than buying a new bed, new box-spring, and new mattress, we could buy a Japanese futon mattress that goes on the floor.

I’m trying to imagine a house that’s minimalist, partially Japanese-inspired, and cozy.  It’s doable, right?  Floor pillows are both Japanese and cozy.  We could still have a couch.  I already don’t want to dedicate a whole room to dining; Alan and I could eat at the coffee table, and we could pull out a folding table and chairs for company.

But here’s the thing: it’s fun to imagine a new house with a new aesthetic.  But in order to get there, we need to seriously thin out our current possessions (yard sale coming up!), sell our house, buy a new house, and then buy stuff for that house.  The whole idea is just a lot to take in today.  Tomorrow I’ll sort through a few boxes and it’ll all seem better.  But today… oof!



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