Before we moved to Chicago, I spent a weekend babysitting a friend's children. In return, she gave me an old couch, two full sets of plates, a set of cutlery, and a bunch of other kitchen implements. We both were quite pleased with our swap. I was especially pleased because besides our bed and a bunch of books, Peter and I owned practically nothing.
I wasn't too fussed about it. As we could afford it, we purchased more furniture. Peter was always suggesting handy things to have - a dish drying rack, a small litter bin, a soap dish. As long as it was cheap and functional, I didn't care what it looked like.
This all changed when we bought our first house. Suddenly, it became unreasonably important to me that the kitchen towels match the oven mitts. I wanted seasonal hand towels in the bathrooms. I liked the idea of having a grown-up, matching furniture in the living room.
This nesting behaviour continued the whole time we had our house. It had always been difficult to get out of the Target for under $100, what with the kitty litter and the super-huge boxes of detergent. After the nesting started, it was nearly impossible to keep the Target costs down, especially when they had things like cute fleece blankets and matching pillows. (Patterned with moose and snowflakes - how could anyone resist that?)
For me, the strangest part of my nesting phase was my fixation with throw pillows. On more than one occasion, I'd lose my mind and buy a pile of throw pillows at the Target, only to return them the next day when buyer's remorse kicked in. I'd always laughed at girly-girls who covered every upholstered surface with throw pillows. But I suddenly found myself powerless to resist their velvety, fluffy allure. (In my defense, I did stick to blues and greens - I didn't dive into the girly pink deep end.)
In one of my favourite books, Sight Hound, a wise wolfhound observes that "buying throw pillows is in my experience the single best indicator that a female human being is feeling pretty good." I think the dog must be right because I was quite happy in our little house in Wheaton and now I'm fighting the throw pillow urges in the Middle of Nowhere.
I was thinking about nesting this morning, as I watched swallows gather materials for a nest. Toby is shedding like a fiend these days. When I brushed him this morning, I removed enough fur to make a good-sized puppy. Since I was outside, I let the hair just drop in clumps on the ground.
Those sharp-eyed swallows spotted the fluffy deposits and spent the morning swooping in to gather them up. I don't know where the nests are, but I like to think that Toby's fur is the comfy throw pillow of the place. On its own, it's not exactly functional, but combined in a well-created nest, it should provide warmth and comfort to all who live there.