Every holiday season, Jay and I need to change something in our ever-so-tiny house. Last year it was the kitchen "cubby", this year it was the big black box we stare at every night. My Dad had given us a 27" mammoth TV a few years ago, and up until Boxing Day 2008 we had never purchased a TV ourselves. In a very anti-Jay move, my courageous husband decided to brave the Boxing Day chaos to come home with a new, smaller, flat screen TV. Which suddenly meant our furniture was all wrong (enter need to change something here).
Our old TV sat on a dresser we borrowed from Sadie, so it seemed easy enough to give the dresser back. But what to replace it with? We set out - like everybody else in Toronto it appears - with visions of a sideboard, but our travels on Queen East revealed only a couple teak mid-century pieces that just wouldn't do. Firstly, our style hasn't really touched mid-century and we don't own any teak, and secondly, we need an open section so the DVD player and VCR (yes, we still use a VCR) are remote accessible. Jay ran ahead a block to see if there was one more store open (it was a cold Sunday, and late in the afternoon too) and waved us into Guff. At first glance we didn't see anything, but we stopped to chat with the guys there who let us in on the secret that everyone was looking for the same piece of furniture for their same new flat screen TV. Cue the immediate thought in both of our heads that we were no longer original. So we turned to leave and I caught site of an industrial coatrack sitting behind a few things and said to Jay, "hey, too bad our hall isn't big enough for that piece". Then he stopped in his tracks, looked at me, and said "you're right, but it could fit in the TV room". Sparks flew and we both saw the possibility, as strange as it was. My dear friend Kristen was with us, and she's been there for similarly unusual decisions, and she gave a quick thumbs-up too. Sadie also agreed, and we were sold.
Two days later we had the piece in the house, the TV mounted on the wall and a full display happening to help hide the cords while Jay plans out the shelf part he wants to build. This is an example that reminds me what it is that I love about my marriage. Together we make a good team, which was a surprising thing to learn soon after we moved in. We both thought our tastes were wildly different (I mean, in art school he was the gum guy while I was sewing quilts and dolls) but together we liked all the same things, and for 10 years we have been having fun playing with the little canvas we call home. Now, not everyone may agree with us, and surely some will think this coat rack idea is ludicrous, but we love it. Both of us. We loved it so much we spent New Year's Eve setting it all up. And when Jay gets the shelf built (which will sit under the TV and make closed shelving for the components, while adding the visual weight at the bottom that the piece needs) we'll love it even more. I can't imagine either of us growing tired of that great "Office Valet" decal any time soon.
I also can't imagine what we'll tackle next year. Did I mention we have a teeny-tiny house? Adding one more person into the mix is bound to cause a reshuffle somewhere. Luckily, we're the crazy sort that looks forward to the challenge, and finds it both entertaining and fun. After we had hung Jay's work in Chicago two years ago, the owner told us that she was surprised how well we worked together as a team. It's one of those observations that impacted me deeply, and it gives me strength when we go through the usual marriage woes. Marriage is all about teamwork, and I hope ours will take us into our old age - or, at the very least, into the realms of unusual home decorating.
(P.S. The small army of figurines on the floor aren't meant to be permanent - Jay set them up for Sadie to see this morning. He had been saving them - all of them - until she was old enough. Such are the things our house stores.)