On why I don’t want to wait to use my Nice Things

So many takeaways from COVID and one of them is that Life is Short

When my grandmother moved into the nursing home, she had a small stash of Nice Things. Some of them were gifts – fancy soaps and toiletries – that she returned to the giver, some were items that I guess she had had for a long time – nightgowns, tablecloths – that she was saving for a special occasion.

Instead of using the Good Soap, she used Irish Spring. (Not that there’s anything wrong with Irish Spring, but sometimes, it’s nice to use the Lavender with Goats’ Milk.)

Instead of using the Fancy Nightgowns, she slept in what she had.

I understand, I think. She grew up very poor and never did have much money. I mean, this was a woman who mended and re-used her pantyhose. She knew how to get along with what she had.

But even if what she had was nice, she wouldn’t use it. The time wasn’t right.

And then she got too old and had to move into a nursing home and never used the Nice Things at all.


Mr T and I have, in the course of our marriage, broken or damaged things, including the red ITALIAN bowls you see above.

OK – true confession – I did get them at TJMaxx, but that does not make me love them any less.

(Gorgeous AND a great deal!)

We have also chipped the beautiful pasta bowls my friends Dave and Laura got for me.

(Pro tip: Part of keeping your ceramics nice is not to get the Zojila dishrack. The slots are too small and your dishes will slip and chip and crack. I hate you, Zojila.)

I have found replacements for the damaged bowls on eBay.

No, they weren’t cheap. That is, they cost more than the original prices.

I don’t care. I like having nice things to use every day.

Yet Mr T’s attitude is that the new, undamaged items should live in the attic until the damaged items are completely unusable.

That is, we should use the damaged goods instead of the – the – the good goods.

(And yes, I have learned how to place items in the dishdrainer to prevent cracking. Basically, you can dry one bowl at a time because it has to sit completely upside down. Again – I hate you, Zojila.)

Mr T is concerned about damaging things through normal use.

It’s a lot easier to bake and cook when he’s out of the house, because if he’s here, he hovers and looms and worries about ALL THE DIRTY DISHES and WHAT IF I SPILL SOMETHING ON THE FLOOR and HEY THAT’S MESSY!

Although I find it hard to believe based on what I saw of his parents’ house – they did not really run a tight ship when it came to tidiness or cleanliness, I suspect he was beaten with a cat o’ nine tails when he deviated at all from absolute neatness when was a child.

(As in, shortly after we met, he vacuumed the pollen off some cut sunflowers so it wouldn’t fall on the table.)

(Yes I know this is very very weird.)

So you see what I’m up against.

And yet – I persisted.

And I prevailed.

And I have convinced Mr T that we will switch the damaged bowls for the good bowls and will happily, merrily (at least I will – Mr T will probably use them trepidatiously) use our Nice Things Before We Die.

Amen.

6 thoughts on “On why I don’t want to wait to use my Nice Things

  1. Some people legitimately enjoy knowing that things are *there* if needed/wanted than they enjoy using them, so there’s that (and sometimes that’s semi-healthy – just an awareness that they enjoy things more in prospect than in actuality, as some people do with vacations – but sometimes it’s partly because they don’t feel like they’re quite worth using the good things on, or because they’re afraid someone will blame them for using the nice things up, or whatever).

    But yes, otherwise: use the nice things you have!

    (and if you have kids and you want them to value any family heirlooms, 1. use them and 2. tell the stories, over and over. It’s not a guarantee, but I can tell you that out of all the things my assorted older relatives have wanted me to want, the things I connected to were either random – I just liked the object the way I might like something at TJ Maxx – or were the things I had positive memories about from childhood, either through stories or use.)

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    1. Yeah, the things I have wanted from my mom and from my grandmothers are not the expensive things (not that there are/were any) but the items that hold memories, like my grandma’s strudel cloth and the yellow Pyrex bowl my mom used for making cookies.

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  2. The last couple of years have revealed that keeping the good stuff for company is a real waste – when you can have no company, you feel bad enough, so bring out the good stuff and the heck with whatever consequences ensue! By the way, it sounds like a nice thing that you really need is a decent dishrack – maybe even two (a friend’s vacation home was so equipped, and life there was so much easier . . . ).

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    1. I DO NEED A GOOD DISHRACK! And we thought the Zojila was it! IT WAS EXPENSIVE! I wish I had returned it, but Mr T is very reluctant to go nuclear on a consumer item and feels like It Isn’t Done – Caveat Emptor and all that. I wish I had ignored him.

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  3. That’s a multi-sided problem. My Grandmother did the same. There was always a lovely china set in the sideboard, which she only used “for good”. My Mother swore she had never eaten off of it, and I certainly never did. While it fell into the greedy maw of the aunt who was “Executrix” of the Estate (along with everything else of value), but as a result of Grannie’s obstinance, Mother used her “good” china and silver every night. Her take was that if it was too good from her family, who could ever possibly eat at her table who was better. I like that. I practice that.

    My husband hates it when my gold wedding bands slides across the dining table and makes a sound. He thinks my RING will scratch the surface. I think that it doesn’t, but even if it did that’s part of using something lovingly so that it carries the stories of a family over time. Like your red bowls or your pasta bowl. With loving use come scratches and chips to attest to the fact that you used it.

    Both gentlemen are probably responding to the way they were raised, by going too far in the wrong direction. We – you and I – are correct. And, that’s my final answer!

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