What could be cooler than thrift store finds in a foreign country? Well, shopping down the street where they sell Italian Leather bags for $12,000 Kroner, but hey. Another time. For now, I’m taking a well deserved break from my writing for some lighter fare: a second visit to a nearby thrift store. I was there the other day and found some cool pillow covers!
I love all the lace and textures and blue ticking!
Ahh, and sweet flower of Love!
And this little find to add to my Bjorn Wiinblad collection!
Today there was a bin of handbags on the sidewalk. Oh my. Did I find a groovy green party for my shoulder? And it goes perfectly with my camera strap. One of the perks of marrying someone a decade older than me: he has neat stuff that he refuses to believe is now really cool vintage. I confiscated his guitar strap since his guitar sat bored and neglected in the corner of the TV room. Now I have this great handbag to match its style! Woo Hoo!
Who irons anymore? Is this another vanishing task of a bygone era? With drop-off services, and no-iron fabrics, I imagine I am the only one to take a load of dress shirts off the clothesline and set up the ironing board on the porch to enjoy the sunshine as I starch shirts.
It all sounds so wonderfully old fashioned and serene. But it’s not. The iron randomly falls over, sloshing water all over the clothing, the board, and the floor because the ironing board rocks back and forth when it’s touched. So much so that I think about setting the ironing board up somewhere near a counter or a table so I can set my iron there while I arrange the shirt on the board. All this teetering to and fro has made ironing become an irritating task, instead of a dazed Stepford-wife pleasure.
Recently, my love tripped over a garden hose as he approached the porch. Losing his balance, he grabbed for the ironing board I was using. Thankfully, I had the reflex to grab the iron. But the board got bent and squashed as he fell over it, bashing his shin on the porch. It didn’t exactly break his fall. I was beginning to wonder if this ironing board was good for anything at all! A few days later, I had it set up again in the kitchen and his eighty-five year old step mother was sipping her tea and watching me iron when she commented, “I have an old wooden ironing board. I have had it forever. I notice yours seems to wobble a lot.”
I explained to her that it is even worse than it was, now that it has caught her stepson.
“I really like mine.” she said.
That’s it. I will find an old antique ironing board, and my troubles will be over. But what are the odds I’m going to come across and old ironing board? And were they really sturdier? I sure don’t remember my mom’s wobbling around when she used it. I don’t remember the iron ever falling off hers either. But I doubt I would have noticed.
My wanter must have been on full blast because the other day I stopped into Salvation Army and over in the back corner I saw a rusty legged old wooden ironing board! That’s right. It had a nice half inch thick white wooden top made of plywood, and big heavy metal green and rusty legs. I grabbed it and set it up in the store and with great anticipation and held breath, I leaned on it.
Oh my. It was sturdy alright. I think I could have climbed up and done some balancing yoga poses on the thing. It was that strong.
I suddenly felt like I had found gold, and I must act casual before someone comes along and tries to take it from me. It’s mine. I found it. And what I should do is patent it! The leg design is completely different from today’s boards. And the spread between the back feet is much wider than the new cheapo hollow bendable faux-metal modern ones. This sucker is heavy! And I would prefer the inconveince of heavy over the bologna of a teetering ironing board that my iron keeps tipping over and falling off of!
So, there it is folks. If there are any lone ironing souls out there who are suffering injured toes from fallen irons and a sincere desire to throw the thing over and stomp on it; here is your tip for the day: hit up yard sales and junk shops and find yourself the treasure of treasures: a wooden ironing board with metal legs! I have decided to celebrate mine. I will paint its rusty legs pink!
Arriving at our hotel after a seven hour flight across the Atlantic, a forty-five minute cab drive from Copenhagen (one that I am convinced is a misguided placement of our lives in the hands of a maniac, but I am too tired to care), I stand sleepily before the front desk clerk wondering if we have a room waiting, or if we will have to wait for a room. It is only 8:45 in the morning after all. But for me, it is closer to 3 AM. We are given a key, and my heart sinks a little. It’s not the one they’ve been putting us in. It’s not “our room”, the one with the claw foot bathtub. I figure they forgot about us. It has been six months since we’ve been here, and this guy at the desk was a new face. We toppled two weeks worth of luggage out of the elevator on the third floor and made our way to the end of the hall. As I placed the key in, I started to get excited. This was in the same location as our favorite room on the second floor. Maybe it was the same kind of room! But when the door opened, it was immediately evident this was not our old room. No, this room had a living room, a dining table, a huge bathroom with a claw foot tub, a giant candelabra, an extra bathroom for the toilet, a bedroom with a king sized bed, an armoire or two, and two televisions! Tired as I was, I started jumping up and down and squealing.
“What is going on? Did they make a mistake? This is amazing!” Just as I was digging for my camera, the guy from downstairs was at the door with an ironing board.
“This room is beautiful!” I told him. “Are you sure it is ours?”
He smiled and explained that it is the HC Anderson room. Since Hans Christian Anderson used to stay here, this room is dedicated to him. I was speechless. I had intended to use this trip for my writing. I was looking forward to being stuck in a hotel room with few distractions. Now I was awe struck. What mysterious wind of grace, what magical dust has lighted upon me that I would receive such favor? So thick that I feel surrounded by the company of angels and writers I know so little about. I find a book in one of the many cabinets here. It is mostly in Danish, but I stumble upon a little bit of English writing only to discover it is a letter written to Mr. Anderson from Charles Dickens extending an invite to spend the summer with him in Kent. Dickens also writes:
I am very much interested in what you tell me of your new Novel, and you may be very sure that it will have no more attentive and earnest reader than it will find in me. I am impatient for it’s publication.
I skim these pages for more words in English. I feel like the room has evaporated and all there is in the world are these snippets of letters exchanged by authors from another time, another dimension. Even now I cannot give this poor body rest. No matter that it has traveled half way across the world in twelve hours. No mind the bloodshot eyes, or the bobbing head. I simply must pen something of this very moment. The room is too thick with chuckling ghosts for me to retire.
Montezuma Wildlife Refuge is one of those places I’d driven by a hundred times on the way to somewhere else in too much of a hurry to stop in. But Sunday was a heaven-sent day with a very special dedication ceremony of two precious grandchildren of my brother’s. I think that makes them my great niece and nephew. With a sweet message of God’s amazing grace fresh in heart, we took the slow drive through the wetlands on the way home. I stood on my seat with my head through the sunroof, spying photo opportunities as gusts of cool wind blew all around me. I smiled at the wonder of acclimation! It felt cold, but refreshing; not at all unpleasant. As we crawled quietly along the gravel road, I imagined I was in Africa on a safari. The Mini Cooper became a Jeep. The wetlands became drylands, and the bushes were zebras and lions and giraffes. I felt certain that the drive wouldn’t be any more wonderous in a foreign country. The state of mind is what makes life enjoyable; not the scenery.