Monday, 20 July 2015

House 1 : Beaumont

Wikipedia informs me the Beaumont was produced by GM for the Canadian market between 1962 and 1969. Survivors are now collector cars, as most "succumbed" to the harsh Canadian winter.

This beautifully corroded car badge was already affixed to the inside of the cobweb-filled garage when we moved in. It was put there, I am fairly certain, by Mr. Renwick, house painter and second owner of our home, two before us. A fellow who grew up in the house across the lane  confirmed my suspicions: Mr Renwick* owned a Beaumont in the '60s. A brown one.
*The fellow pronounced it "Rennick"

I'll show you mine if you show me yours
The lick of drab, peach paint under that badge matches the shelves in the linen closet - which comprised about 20% of the total closet space when we moved in. How did people stay organized with so little storage?! Surely they didn't have any less stuff than I have... It's not a particularly efficient closet, either: it's shallow and the shelves are poorly spaced. What did the Renwicks keep in there? Not their broom; a broom won't fit. Linen, folded just the right way so the door can close? The dismantled vacuum cleaner, a large box of rags, assorted headlamps, swim goggles, light bulbs, bandaids, syringes, needles*, alcohol swabs, and a spare sharps container?
*Did you know syringes and needles are two different things? Me, neither!

I get a kick out of the weird paraphernalia of my existence - items I'd never heard of, let alone imagined I'd ever own or need: Lycra body socks, Therabands and Chewellery* for intense proprioceptive input. Visual schedules for front-loading and transitions; a cheat sheet on my fridge in case of my own dis-regulation; and a checklist on the bulletin board - 30 Good Things About ADHD - to remind me.
*now replaced by parkour classes

My son's visual schedule; it's key
The side of my fridge. The grey thing is a juicer key, for all the apples in July.
My son insisted I add the paraphrasing, lower left.

But the weirdest to me is the sharps containers. There is one in the kitchen, one in the bathroom, sometimes one on my dresser, a spare or two in the hall closet. Though the novelty of giving my daughter her nightly shot has long worn off, I still marvel at the presence of the yellow boxes of medical waste that decorate my rooms, and at the fact that my superpower turns out to be the ability to give a one-handed injection, in the dark, to a sleeping child - without waking her up. (That, and I'm pretty good at parallel parking.)
Not the elegant, 2-in-1 solution I had envisioned

Whenever I find myself startled at the sight of the severe-looking plastic box with the red biohazard symbol, it crosses my mind that there must be some better way to incorporate it into my decor. But how? It was a eureka moment when I hit upon the idea to disguise it with a toilet roll doll, thereby also solving the perplexing puzzle of how to give one of those seriously useless - but bizarrely appealing - dolls some legitimate function in life. Let's face it, hiding toilet paper doesn't count as useful.

Sadly, the doll won't stand up straight in the wide hole of the sharps box, and it's a pain to lift her dress to get the needle in. Ah well... another idea will surely come. Meanwhile, the box in my kitchen works great for holding garlic.

Just-picked garlic, curing
I would love to invite them for tea - the Renwicks, and everyone who's ever lived here. I'd sort out exactly who sat in my living room, watching Elvis from the waist up, or swooning over the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. I want to know about the clothes in the insufficient closets: flour sack dresses, followed by utility clothing, then crinolines, then A-line mini dresses and boots made for walking? We can commiserate about our socks, snagged on that nail* in the hallway that keeps poking back up.
*That nail, by the way, is responsible for the demise of many a Phentex slipper, explaining why you will rarely find me in a proper, matching pair - my signature look

They will know to duck going down the basement stairs, and not to park under the tulip trees in summer*. I will thank them for leaving the various, painted nails in the living room - perfect for hanging birthday streamers, Christmas stockings, and front door wreaths.
*aphid poop

I'll ask what weird things they accumulated, what surprising skills they acquired. I'll learn how Mr. Renwick's Beaumont came to be separated from its badge and how that swipe of closet paint found its way to the wall of the garage. I'll find out where they kept their stuff.

Before the garage collapses completely,
I will extract the Beaumont badge.
I'm thinking chain saw...

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