I’ve moved into the dining room.

Yes, everything is okay at home. I have been looking for a quiet place in the house to call my own and I have found it in the under-utilized dining room. A year ago, the dining room was updated as part of the kitchen remodel. After extending the common wall between the dining room and kitchen, we needed to repaint and put in new chair rail. It snowballed after that into needing new paint, flooring, furniture and window treatments. The room is functional and attractive.

The dining room used to be the dumping ground for all the kids’ school projects, items that needed to be returned and whatever else we didn’t know what to do with. We cleaned it up when we were having company and only used it for eating on holidays. After the remodel, we swore it would never look like that again. We loved the furniture and new décor. We didn’t want to make it ugly with all our junk again.

The dining room sat for a year looking like a magazine spread. Most days the only light it saw was the sunlight coming through the window. No one went in there. It was used a little more often for dining than it had in the past, but not as much as I thought it should.

A couple weeks ago, my kids were doing their homework at the eating area in the kitchen. I needed to do some computer work, and since my husband had the TV on in the family room, I moved into the dining room. Wow! The dining room chairs are so much nicer than the stools in the kitchen. There is a great window in there that overlooks the backyard. The shelving unit on the opposite wall is filled with candles and wine items and pictures – things I enjoy. The best part is that I can see what goes on in the house, but they can’t see me.

That’s the funniest thing. When one of my kids calls from upstairs, I answer them with the usual “I’m downstairs.” I can see them come down the stairs and walk into the kitchen. They start talking to the empty kitchen, pausing for a second before going into the family room. Confused, they stop in mid-sentence.

“Mom? Where are you?”

I answer them again and they follow my voice into the dining room.

“What are you doing in here?”

“I am enjoying a quiet room that is free of clutter,” I tell them.

“Why don’t you go up to your room?” they ask.

“Why? Dad is in there on a conference call. The bed is not made. Clothes are waiting to be folded in baskets on the floor. The stack of unfinished photo albums stares down at me from the shelving unit. The cat meows for food every time I go in there and I need to vacuum the floor where the dogs lay at night. The room is a creativity killer.”

The kids usually just stare back at me before continuing on with whatever they had to say in the first place. The dining room has no TV so they don’t linger long. I am free to get back to my creativity and peace of mind. I highly recommend it.

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