We bought our house in 1999 for a variety of reasons. Mortgages were relatively easy to come by then without a downpayment. Our kids were getting a little older, and we wanted some place where they could grow up. This house came with a massive maple tree out front, the type of tree that you simply tell people, “You know, the one with the maple tree shading the street,” and people just know which house it is. But probably, we bought our house because it had “charm.” In 1999, that meant original woodwork and lovely turn-of-the-century features and a pink toilet. Now? Whenever anyone tells me that they are buying their house for the charm, I immediately think of knob-and-tube wiring and gouged up hardwood floors and that damn pink toilet.
Who buys a house for the toilet? Apparently, I do . . . kind of. The bathroom is massive; it’s bigger than most bathrooms I’ve been in and probably the same size as one of the bedrooms. But the fact remains that it has a pink toilet, tub, and sink. Renovating the bathroom wasn’t on the “to-do” list when we signed the papers, so we worked through cosmetic aspects first, getting rid of the butterfly wallpaper and playing up the pink. Honestly, I’m not even sure how I settled on the shade of brown that I did (it’s a truly dark shade of brown, almost a cherry cordial chocolate) or why I decided to add four blocks of varying shades of pink on the wall (note to all DIYers out there: an album cover makes the perfect square in situations like this). But this I do know. I decided to play up the pink in the bathroom by scouring Target for cheap accents. Lucky for me, Cynthia Rowley’s Swell line fit the bill to perfection. Lots of pink. Frequent rotations. Usually inexpensive. Pretty damn perfect for new homeowners. Anything pink that popped up on Target’s back aisles (seriously, I’m not the only person who shops the back of the aisles, am I?) made it’s way into my basket. Even a journal.
For the longest time, the journal just sat on the shelf by the toilet. It was another pink prop in the bathroom. I’d probably spent more than a little time reading any number of home beautification magazines that stressed “setting the stage” and things were added accordingly. It’s functionality was limited at best. It didn’t hold any Q-Tips or cotton balls. Nope. It was just pink. One day, however, I noticed a pen on the journal. Inside, my daughters had started a dialogue with each other. The first thing written in it? “Who puts a journal in the bathroom? Are people supposed to write in this thing?” And so, our family started writing in a journal in a bathroom. The comments ranged from the mundane (Could you pick up more lotion?) to the festive (Happy Thanksgiving! with a turkey hand tracing). Occasionally we have marked family milestones like when the girls left for college. Usually, though, there’s family banter like when one of the girls commented that she used some “glittery perfume” to make her room smell less like farts and turtles. Or when my husband and I wrote about how much we would miss them when they left for college. Perhaps my own personal favorite is an exchange between the two of them and why the basement wasn’t getting cleaned.
The journal is covered in a fine layer of dust – never said I put too much stock in those home beautification magazines – and the pencil hasn’t been used in ages. Someone commented a while back that no one seems to write in it any more, and they are 100% correct. I’m not sure who wrote in it last, but I’m positive that there are still pages on which to write.
* “Fake Frowns” by Death Cab For Cutie . . . family joke: Dave always follows anything Death Cab For Cutie related with Lunch Check For Shelby based on one of her notes left for us on the stove; we’ve always said that it would be a good name for a band.