Hot Off the Vine

Twelve Drummers Drumming, Feeling Like Animal, Tight as a Drum, and Thoreau’s Advice

* Bang the drum–we made it!  When I started this special 12 Days of Christmas series here on Hot Off the Vine, 12 Drummers Drumming seemed very, very far away, and now, here it is.  On Day One, you know, the partridge day, I whispered to you that my younger daughter was getting a set of drums as a gift from the grandparents, and I can now report back on what’s happened.  First of all, opening the box filled me with dread because, yes, “assembly required” loomed like a “there-goes-the-entire-day” albatross around our necks.  But, lo and behold, my daughter did most of the assembly herself and had a great time doing it.  The other big news–the drums are electronic and come with headphones and they are practically silent!  I actually went to sleep while she was still drumming and didn’t hear a peep.  Oh, and finally, they are very compact and don’t take up much room.  In short, this is possibly a brilliant gift that fits into our home perfectly.  It’s wise to think through things like noise and space (which we didn’t really do this time) when you make purchase decisions for your home (let us remember that it is I who wrote a post named My Kingdom for a Moment of Silence).  It looks like we got lucky on this one.

* Speaking of drums, it looks like I have somehow managed to miss the The Muppet Movie!  This is shocking news, as The Muppet Show was my very favorite show for years when I was at that impressionable, oh, let’s say, college age.  After growing up in a household where my father worked for an insurance company, that show swung my eyes open to the fact that people could have jobs in creative fields, and actually had an impact on some of the work decisions I made since then. Having a home office and spending my days writing?  It definitely had something to do with Animal, who was the passionate drummer in the Muppets gang.  Now, as for not seeing the movie (even though, somehow, miraculously, the rest of my family has seen it), I guess I’ll catch it on DVD in our “home theater,” which is pretty much simply our little living room repurposed with a couple of recliners and my husband’s terrific surround-sound.  You don’t have to go whole-hog (like this home theater) to enjoy Miss Piggy!

* Atlanta’s mild weather this week gives me one last chance to make my home “tight as a drum,” to increase our energy efficiency (and stop throwing money out the window–literally).   This requires one thing and one thing only–weatherstripping (here are some tips).  Well, if you want to get fancy, you can also get some outlet covers.  (You know that breeze you feel by the exterior-wall outlets?  You shouldn’t feel that.)  Okay, between you and me, here’s the problem with weatherstripping–it’s that word (weatherstripping–ugh, sounds like such a chore–it needs a marketing overhaul) and the fact that almost every type I’ve used over the years eventually falls down.  (I have yet to be the Playful Parent this year, by the way.) Quick note–if you do achieve the “tight as a drum” goal, be sure to open a window or door (hurray for my screen door!) every day or two to air out the place as indoor air is typically about 90% more polluted than outdoor air.  Lovely, huh?  Go toxin-free in your home as much as possible in 2012 and you will most likely feel a difference.

* And finally, I’d like to close off this series with one home trend you can feel free to ignore–muted wall colors.  Unless you truly love muted colors (does beige seriously give you goose bumps?), please don’t feel like you need to stick with them in order to please future home buyers.  Chances are you are going to do a fresh coat of paint when it is time to sell anyway, so why not live with what you love?  It’s just paint.  Go bold, go big, go with low or no-VOCs (now in bright colors–thank you, Benjamin Moore), and go where the beat of your own drum takes you.  Try it on one wall in one room (most kids love bright colors in their rooms–go for it like this mom did) and tell me you don’t feel a bit more like Animal (in a good way–not the anger-management-problems part).  And in this world of rules and regulations, where 60 million of us live in neighborhoods with homeowners associations where we have to choose from an approved color palette for our home exteriors, doesn’t beating your own drum every now and again simply feel great? (Quick aside–if your homeowners association hasn’t updated its architectural standards with our changing times and environmental issues, it may be worth a chat–see Permeable Pavement, Recycled Milk Jug Fences, Clothes Lines, and Updating Your HOA’s Rules for some conversation starters.)

As Henry David Thoreau said ever so eloquently: “If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away.” May I add that if a mom hears a different drummer, and has drummed up something spectacular for her home (a music room, a home theater, some brightly-colored walls), let her search for service pros on Kudzu who can help her never miss a beat.

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