We have a living room. This living room is exactly what I DIDN’T want as a living room, you know the type of room that no-one ever sits it ……… I remember going to friends homes when I was young and there was this room in most of my friends houses (we didn’t have one). It had cream carpets, a cream lounge suite, beautiful cushions, tasteful drapes, lovely lamps and works of art tastefully placed in carefully thought out places. Amongst all this beauty there was always a sense of loneliness in these rooms – this was the sitting room kept for special occasions – to me, it always felt like a “left-out” waste of space and I vowed I would never have one if I ever owned a house.
Homes are meant to be lived in, they are not museums they are houses where memories are made and every inch of space should be used. Anyway, we don’t use our sitting room – it isn’t hidden away behind a door it is there in the openplanness which is our home ……… it just doesn’t get used …….. ever.
So in this unused space Jamie saw an opportunity. He gets home from training one night and enters the house – bike and all – through the front door. Now at the best of times a cyclist chomping around in full kit with cleat shoes pushing his bike is not a pretty sight. For one thing the shoes make them walk like ducks, a cyclist in full kit walking is a bit Borat-ish, a bicycle inside a house just isnt great, add to this when Jamie finishes his daily ride everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is full of mud. The bike is caked in mud, his body is full of mud, even his face is full of mud splatters. It can be the warmest, sunniest day and Jamie will come home full of mud.
Back to the opportunity. Jamie calmly minces in, bike and all and parks the bike in the sitting room.
Frans sits there looking to and from Jamie and myself like a spectator at a tennis match ……. his mouth is wide open doing sort of fishy movements – no sound comes out.
I sit there looking just at Jamie. My mouth is wide open also doing sort of fishy movements – no sound comes out.
Rosie on the other hand will never let an opportunity go by to point out to Jamie what he is doing wrong – 100% normal 12 year old sister behavior.
“Why are you putting your bike in the lounge????” She asks just loud enough for the whole of St Francis to hear.
“Get a life …………”. He answers. 100% normal answer of a 15 year old boy to his sister.
Frans’s fish mouth is the first to find words, “Jamie why don’t you put your bike in the garage?”
“The garage is too dirty” replies Jamie, “I am trying to look after my bike”. He has calmly forgotton that his bike is full of mud, he is full of mud, man, even his riding glasses are full of mud.
Now I am really finding it difficult to take a boy seriously who is dressed in full muddy cycling kit, still in his cleats, sunglasses and helmet I am wondering what alien has walked into my home.
Jamie also seems to have calmly forgotten about the other 3 bicycles that he owns that are safely and quite happily living in the garage.
So now I am beginning to see method in Jamies madness. The sitting room is unused. No memories are made there. There is a little voice in my brain saying “why not”
Before I know it the words spill out before the brain has time to process ……. “why not?”
Frans looks at me …… you know that look a husband gives to a wife when she is treading on uneven kid ground. Its a sort of look, the eyes narrow, the head gives a little shake, and then the eyes move in a sidewards upwards direction.
What he is actually saying is ….. “That is the most idiotic thing I have ever heard, STOP TALKING NOW!!!!!!, come upstairs so we can discuss this without the kids hearing”
But OH NO! mouth is in full swing here and brain has shut down.
“Frans, I seem to remember you actually building a boat in our living room once”, what he has forgotten in those days we only had one place to sit, no TV room, no seperate dining room – just one place ……….. and he built a boat in it.
The shakey head is going a bit stronger here, Jamie and Rosie are looking on with interest – I can actually see their ears flapping.
“We dont use the living room ……… so why not?”
The brain starts catching up ……. I know my kids, once you give them an inch – or in this case 1.8 meters x 65 cm – they will take a whole room.
I can hear Rosies mind calculating how fast she can get a horse, hay and water in the room so we can have a new addition to the family.
Jamie is checking out the space and mentally working out where his workbench can stand, and how he is going to fit a personalized bike workshop in there.
Frans is pondering how much bigger this living room is and whether or not he should start construction of another boat.
Me on the other hand is punching myself in the mouth!!!!!
In that one single moment I realized why my friends parents had this “room” in their houses. We all need a sanctuary. A place of beauty, serenity and peace. A place where the word cluttered doesn’t even hit its stratosphere. I have it in my unused living room and I was just about to throw it all away – I need that unused space of beauty in my house.
So the end of the tale is ……. Frans doesn’t get a new spot to build a boatie thingie, Rosie must realize that horses belong at Homestead Estate and that is it.
Jamie on the other hand is still putting the bike in the sitting room ……. but …….. when he does, it is clean and shiny – lets face it a Merida Big Nine is a thing of beauty after all.