Sunday, July 20, 2008

Salad Days

Wikipedia defines the term "Salad Days" as:

"an idiomatic expression, referring to a youthful time, accompanied by the inexperience, enthusiasm, idealism, innocence, or indiscretion that one associates with a young person. More modern use, especially in the United States, refers to a person's heyday when somebody was at the peak of his/her abilities—not necessarily in that person's youth."

I define it as "days when it is too hot to cook and something crisp and cold tastes better than something hot and heavy."

Last week my quilt group, STASH, was scheduled to meet at my house and I decided to feed them lunch (sometimes the hostess provides lunch, sometimes we go out) and I decided to find a new, interesting salad recipe—one that would be tasty for our two vegetarian members as well as the rest of us carnivores. An internet search turned up this Mediterranean Barley salad that sounded intriguing. Forget about the "too hot to cook" part of my definition. It involved roasting vegetables in a very hot oven, as well as sauteing and simmering. It involved many pans and bowls and cutting boards and knives and spatulas and garlic presses and lemon juicers—in other words, it dirtied a lot of dishes. I whined about that part a little. But that's because I've gotten impatient with cooking in my old age. BUT—the salad was really good! Even better as leftovers lunch for Ray and me the next day. I'll probably make it again after all.

Here's what it looked like for the STASH group:

Gerrie took this picture. I stole it from her blog. I am flattered that she found it blog-worthy. Something else to note here is that this is at my new house. We are using real dishes and real cutlery and cloth napkins and placemats. Very civilized, no? You can't see them in this picture, but we were even sitting on diningroom chairs, not folding chairs.

We are moving in little by little. The dining room is moved. I had been holding out, trying to keep the old house looking furnished and normal, but enough is enough. We need to move. There is a real luxury in being able to move a room at a time, put everything away and take the empty boxes back for more. Every move I've ever made in the past has resulted in a mountain of boxes in the garage that takes months to unpack.

And that bare dining room? I don't think it's such a bad thing. You can now see the floor. The room feels much more spacious. I'm not convinced that "staging" and furnishing a house you are trying to sell is all it's cracked up to be. Have people no imaginations? Couldn't you walk into this bare room and get sort of warm and fuzzy imagining your grandmother's china hutch and antique table settling right in? At least you know that the rug wasn't hiding a big stain on the floor and that the china cupboard wasn't covering up cracking plaster.
Whadya think? Was this a mistake? Should we keep moving stuff out?
P.S. It's another salad day today. Ray had to go over to central Oregon for a meeting in the morning, but before he left he made a bowl of tabbouli salad, one of my summertime favorites, so I would have dinner in his absence tonight. Cold chicken and tabbouli—perfect.


  1. As one who has been living in limbo for two months and will be living out of a hotel for probably another month, I say to heck with staging! Do what you need to do to make the new house livable and if there's anything left to stage at the old one great. If not, I would hope that prospective buyers would like nothing better than to imagine their stuff in the house (at least that's what i would do).

  2. Without intending to I have mostly moved into new houses, townhouse, apartments in my adult life. My current house was occupied when we bought it. Their furniture covered a lot of faults and this was the dirtiest house I have ever moved into. I don't want to move again, but if I do I would much prefer a vacant house. That way I can be prepared and do some cleaning, renovating, upgrading before everything is moved into the house.

  3. The empty dining room will not show that the ceiling fixture is not centered over the table. Ha!

    The easiest move I ever made was from one house to the one next door. No boxes! We just carried stuff and put the stuff away in the new place. We were moved in by 5 p.m. and I started cooking dinner.

  4. I'd rather see an empty house! It looks big and open and welcoming and I can imagine MY stuff in it. Did you bury St. Joseph yet?

  5. Anonymous1:58 AM

    Yes, it's ok to leave the old house bare. We did, even ripped up the old carpet. Everyone liked that more than our furniture--made the house look bigger and brighter without curtains etc. And yes, St. Joseph works too. My helpers, in my absence, ripped out all my favorite plants in the back yard and that worked in our favor also, surprisingly.Enjoy your new home, go ahead and furnish it! Rosalie

  6. Go live in your new home and be at peace. I agree with the others. I would rather see a house stripped bare and know what I'm getting. There's something very tranquil about a bare house-appealing to me.
    The salads(both) sound very refreshing.

  7. Anonymous8:10 AM

    I've never seen your wood floors completely uncovered. They are beautiful! I agree that it is easier for some people to picture the house as their own if it is empty, even though your house is beautifully furnished and decorated.

  8. Anonymous3:51 PM

    I think some houses need to be staged because when the furniture is gone they are just room after room of off-white square nothing. I can't think of a single room in your house that doesn't have something wonderful and interesting as part of the room itself. You furnished it gorgeously, but the naked house can and will captivate some lucky buyer.
    Get comfy in your new digs!

  9. As I think you know, our house sold, after 8 months on the market, two weeks after we moved out, leaving the place totally empty and the hardwood floors gleaming. I could take that as a judgement on our taste in furniture and home decor, but I'm inclined to agree with the bare-house-as-appealing contingent.