the right stuff

I want stuff.

I want so much stuff it’s stressing me out.

Let me rephrase that.

I want stuff so much but then I go to buy it and I worry it’s not the right stuff and I worry it’s not the right price point and so I don’t do anything at all. I am frozen. Immobile. Suspended for eternity in an amber of helplessness.

So then I research, and I research some more. I have a list of dozens of things I’m researching right now. And that becomes a stress in itself, because I am spending all my time looking for things. Research becomes an entity; a driving force in my life. A dominance on my to-do list. And still nothing gets bought.

And still I fret.

Because I don’t want to just buy stuff. I don’t want stuff. Stuff is clutter. Stuff is materialism writ in boldface. Stuff is stuff you have to schlep around and deal with. I don’t want stuff. But I want stuff. I want a rug for the spare bedroom. I want a lamp. I want three lamps. I have such a desire for ambient lighting that I can taste it. I can feel their cool metal bases on my tongue, the grips of their switches between the pads of my fingers. I know they would make the most satisfying click when turned on, these lamps of my dreams.

If only I could find them.

Other people talk about how they popped into a shop on a whim and found amazing wares for amazing bargains. So I went to thrift and antique stores last weekend with money to burn. I wandered around very seriously considering all the goods from all the angles. I stood back and really thought about each piece and if I could make it work in my home. I said “hmm” a lot. And each time I left empty-handed. Either I liked it but I didn’t love it or I loved it but didn’t need it or needed it but hated it.

So I hang my head and shuffle back to internet research. I am aware there are deals coming up; I hear we’re entering deal season. At least that’s what they’d have you believe! Next weekend kicks off a materialist melee here in the United States. A gen-yoo-wine consumer frenzy. I need to be on top of my game. I am never on top of my game. You see what happened to me in the stores. That’s exactly how I am online except with 183 pages of search results to wade through. And are they really that good of deals? I’m never convinced. Free shipping conveniently never applies to my order or, oh, that coupon code doesn’t apply to the items in my cart. There’s always something wrong.

I am doing stuff wrong.

Would it kill me to never get the stuff? Would it kill me to have my parents come visit and there’s no lamp in their room and there’s nothing to protect their delicate feet from the splintery winter of the hardwood floors? It probably would kill me. But even if I were to survive, I just feel like: I want something done. I want these things to be taken care of. I want my house to start to feel like a home.

I just need the right kind of stuff, first.

You can call it nesting but if you do I’ll punch you in the face. It can’t be nesting if I’ve been doing it since before I got knocked up. The only difference, now, is that there’s a real deadline on. It’s a race against the clock. There are people coming to visit. They need to be comfortable while they are here. They need to be comfortable when they’re lying awake at night because there’s a newborn screaming in my bedroom.

Let’s not talk about that.

I hate nesting. I hate glowing. A pregnant woman could post a blurry, grainy work bathroom selfie under the ghoulish fluorescent lights and 17 people would comment on how she’s just glowing! Fuck me. You know what glows? The GORGEOUS LADIES OF WRESTLING. I am so glad no one has ever lied to my face that I’m glowing. That’s probably because I never go outside. The 1 Weird Trick of avoiding awkward human interaction is to avoid humans, period.

That whole paragraph was really out of place in the context of the topic.

Look, okay, I am just going to relax and see how it goes. I am going to try to relax, anyway. With the stuff, not the baby. The baby is breech and is on my shit list. There is no way it’s getting a lamp OR a rug.

Probably because I’d never be able to find good ones anyway.

This post stops here!

Image credit: from the 4CP | 4 Color Process blog, comic book scans and crops by John Hilgart //

7 Responses to “the right stuff”

  1. Oh, Lyn. Once again, I’m left wondering if we are the same person. Except I can’t write as well as you, so that’s how I know we’re not.

    You know what glows? LAMPS. Context problem solved!

    • I read what you write, so I have to call POPPYCOCK. Also you solved my context problem brilliantly. I am going to have to start paying you to edit these.

  2. “You know what glows? The GORGEOUS LADIES OF WRESTLING.” Best. Line. Ever.

  3. I’ve never had any of this much-touted thrifting magic happen for me either. I’m starting to think maybe everyone we know with that perfectly distressed trunk they got for pennies or that just-so antique china cabinet actually just bought them at Pottery Barn and are lying, like that episode of Friends….

  4. The indecision of stuff! This is why we are still eating off of boxes (do we buy a coffee table? or an ottoman?), on bare floors (patterned rug? plain rug? ), with piles of empty frames (print photos? buy artwork?) stacked in corners (buy a bookshelf? build a bookshelf?), etc.

    For what it’s worth, the “nursery” we brought Makana home to had: an old couch, a blow up mattress (for guests!), that old Ikea lamp that we got for $30, a hand me down co-sleeper that was missing a mattress and that was re-purposed into a makeshift changing table, and a fan. Nesting, shmesting.

  5. Breech! Emmett was breech. He is still on my shit list. Like, when we pass our old neighborhood pool I turn to him and say “Hey, remember when you were breech and we went to that pool when I was 9 months pregnant and wearing a bikini bc I didn’t have a maternity swimsuit and I did underwater handstands for hours and it was all for naught? No? Because I DO.”
    I have two blog posts about all the things we did to try to turn him: and
    if you want to read them.
    Mostly, spending so much time and energy trying to turn him was nice and distracting from the terror of baby-having, but also it was ultimately fruitless, so. These things happen, babies are assholes, everyone will tell you it doesn’t matter because you’ll have a baby in the end but in the moment it SUCKS because things aren’t working the way you think they’re supposed to.
    (Sorry to vomit all over your post but I’m taking a facebook/twitter break so I can’t give you all this magical advice elsewhere. I’m sure the many many other breech ladies have you taken care of though.)

    • Oh man thank you for this! I am looking at an external version next week if this thing doesn’t magically turn in the next six days so it was great reading a similar story — eerily similar, actually. My placenta is in the front, too, so now I’m at least aware that there’s a potential the version could be called off. It’s been frustrating for me too because it’s been such a change in what I was hoping to have happen so far. “You get a baby in the end!” rhetoric aside, thank you for pointing out that it’s still good to give ourselves space to mourn lost plans.

      And sorry it took me forever to respond; my system stopped sending me emails when someone commented so I had no idea you’d even left this.

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