familyvalues: Owen at the park, December 20, 2011 - I made this from my own photo. (Owenninemonths)
familyvalues ([personal profile] familyvalues) wrote2012-01-30 10:21 am

building family

P1030080 a video by marymactavish on Flickr.

Yesterday, Audrey and I went to the Oakland Museum of California's famous white elephant sale preview to look for a china hutch.

Casey gave me a big curio cabinet years ago, when I was looking for a place to store the precious random pieces of my grandmother's china that I inherited. Her sets went to people who put dibs on them (at her request) before she died, I just didn't feel like going through her stuff and claiming it, so one day she took me through her house and asked me to choose. I picked out a few precious things -- the high chair and rocking chair her grandfather had built, a few other little things, then she gave me her old cast iron camping set (I'm the only person I know with a cast iron waffle iron that can go over fire embers or on a wood stove), and some of her favorite random pieces of china, tea cups collected when she visited England, her depression glass. I love it all, and a lot of it's usable, and a lot of it needs to be visible as it's beautiful.

And what I really wanted for them wasn't a display cabinet but a china cabinet, something I could store things in like a cupboard but pull them out for use now and then, and as Owen's gotten older and speedier, Audrey was getting nervous about the glass in the bottom half of the curio cabinet. So we hit the white elephant sale and very quickly found a lovely mid-century (but not valuable antique, so very reasonably priced) china hutch with glass above and drawers below, and a matching sideboard/buffet thing with drawers, where we'll put our router, printer, and related office supplies where Owen can't pull them down. ("I was wondering why we'd gone offline," said Casey, the first time Owen pulled the router down.)

While we were there, we found other wonderful things, a baby backpack for hiking, a mesh ring-sling, an the most fabulous toy, which is illustrated in the video above. When we set it down in front of Owen and dropped a ball in the top, he practically shivered with delight, and played with it all afternoon and evening yesterday. It's beautifully built, sturdy, fabulous, and cost three bucks. I love the white elephant sale.

But what I was really going to say was:

1) This is our first big furniture purchase as a household. This is ours, all of us, and that feels really awesome. Having Owen was a commitment, but somehow, buying furniture feels like a big statement, too, even if we're not trying to make one. It basically says, "Look, we're happy, we're doing this." We are very family. I love that, it just makes my heart sing. Emotionally, I feel more centered and solid and family than ever in my life.

and also 2) Owen was there for three hours, and was so tired near the end. Regardless, when I wandered around the outside of the warehouse where the sale was held, with him in the backpack Audrey had picked up, someone remarked, "Your baby looks very happy there," and so he was, watching the coots and the kayak in the estuary and looking at people. And even inside in the sling earlier, though he got a bit warm and uncomfy and fussy in the crowd, he was congenial most of the time, and we wandered around stealing souls of people who thought he was cute.

As Audrey and I were finally leaving, finally, after going back inside to look for board books, we ran into a woman who said, "Oh what a sweet baby, hang on a second," and she called over another woman. "Michelle! Come here! See the baby!" And as they chatted with us, and realized that we were both Owen's parents (assuming, I assume, we are "a couple"), they let us know that they had raised one of their ex-partner's children, and he was a delight, and so on -- they were together as a couple and happy to talk to another pair of lesbian parents, I'm assuming. And we didn't correct them, because the point was that we were both Owen's parents, and we are. And they were sweet, and he smiled sweetly at them, and all was joyful.

And in the end, we got the hutch and sideboard, the ball toy, a mailbox shape sorter like I had as a child, a ball, several board books about puppies and cars, a baby backpack, mesh sling, a safety thing for Owen for when I get a scooter again or when we fly, all for a few hundred dollars total, and we figure we made out like bandits.

Testing the backpack alongside the Oakland estuary.
Owen thinks it's awesome.

If you get a chance to go to the Oakland Museum's white elephant sale, do it. It's awesome.

Post a comment in response:

Identity URL: 
Account name:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
HTML doesn't work in the subject.


Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.