The Joy Of A Dining Room Table

It’s been almost a week since we got the keys for our very own half of a house. The boxes are still piled high and we are sleeping on the floor until we finish painting the bedroom. We have drastically inflated our life by almost doubling our living area and obviously it has been an expensive affair.

Gas for moving (we got to borrow a big car and trailer from friends), spoiling our friends with food, snacks and pizza-on-the-door who were so amazing as to offer their help carrying heavy furniture (we could not have done it without you!), and not least having electricians and plumbers in to assess some of the things that need fixing to make the house safe and sanitary to live in.

I’m risk averse and terrified of being tied down, but do you know what makes it worth is so far?

Neighbours who actually say hello, introduce themselves and want to get to know you. Reducing the distance to my best friend by 2/3 (still having the same distance to work), having a cool basement for all my food storage needs and a garden larger than anticipated.

PS: You know what also makes it worth it? Our downstairs neighbour grew up here as a child and carries fond memories of the strawberry fields and vegetable patches that used to be where there is nothing but grass now – but she has been hip operated twice and cannot do it by herself. She was beyond herself with excitement when we relayed our modest wishes to perhaps grow a few food-bearing crops.

But do you know what bonus we are now shamelessly enjoying which we didn’t have before, and hadn’t expected to have such a large impact on our lives?

A humble dining table

You’d think it was nothing special. Despite our general attitude to frugal furnishings (free, online, used), I actually took M on a road trip to pick up and pay for a large, solid oak dining table with 8 chairs and two additional plates to extend the table as needed. I paid 1000 NOK/$125 for this glorious, heavy, used piece of furniture, which can be sanded down time and time again, should it be necessary.

It’s a nice table, but how it looks is not as important as how it changes our habits.

Back in the apartment, we had a couch and a table. Breakfast and dinner were taken there because there were not many other places suitable for it. We took our meals facing the same way, and with our little TV in the same direction, it was all too easy to turn to youtube or another, similar entertainment source.

But with a dining table set up far from such distractions, we are favoring it for our meals. We face each other and engage in conversation, the only distraction being if we put some music or radio on the speakers. We are both loving it so much that we have taken not just dinner together, but proper sit down breakfast as well, even on workdays.

Of course, there is no guarantee that this will continue, but we are enjoying it right now. It is one of the things which really makes this new place feel more like a home than the previous apartment.

Breathing easy

Mr. Frugasaurus is settling right into our new home, and I must say I am enjoying it. But after reading That Frugal Pharmacists’ epic blog post about prepperFI, I must say I am still dreaming of the life she is living. In many ways I feel torn in two. Wanting the homestead and enjoying the now, which undeniably is one of the biggest lifestyle inflation we have ever taken on. Even bigger than the electric bike we got earlier this year.

So for now, I will try to satiate my prepper tendencies by planning for some small garden projects next year. I’m being sent to Svalbard for work next spring too, right when I really want to be planting and digging in the dirt. So we’ll see how much actually gets done. We’re filling the pantry either way, and there will be black currant bushes.

I’m not going to turn in my frugal card just yet, even though we have inflated our lifestyle a great deal the last six months. But rest assured, frugal friends – we have already paid off 0.0004% of the principal!

Maybe I should make a counter?

Edit: Done! Check out the cute plugin I found on the right hand side!

7 Comments on “The Joy Of A Dining Room Table

  1. There’s something special and primal about a dining room table. In my opinion. Some will disagree I’m sure.

    For centuries we’ve gathered over food to catch up, share stories, knowledge and celebration. A dining table has come to represent all the memories and future gatherings/celebrations/day to day.

    I totally get it!

    • We’re so happy to have it!

      I have no illusions that we’ll stop using the stupid box entirely, but so far, we haven’t watched anything for a whole week!

  2. Glad you found my post inspiring! But keep in mind all circumstances are different- and my husband didn’t get to have that until he was officially (early) retired at 47(?). He jokes that he’d still be living in a trailer park if I hadn’t come along. He was going ok on his own, but it took my well paying job and focus on living on his previous trailer park budget to get us there.

    I totally hear you on the table! When we first moved to this place, all of our belonging were a 13 hour drive away in storage.

    When I got my job there, we went house hunting about 3 months before I started to job. The first house hunting trip failed when we backed out over easement issues when we got back to our old home.

    So when we moved up for my job, we took a furnished vacation rental for 3 months. Then we got the house and moved in- we had only a patio dining table I bought and used it as our dining room table. We also bought a queen sized bed (for our new spare room) and slept on that on that. Plus a few freebie dishes and some thrift store cooking pots etc- this is how we lived for about a month until my husband went back to get the storage unit packed onto a moving truck and move the rest himself.

    Anyway- that first month we had no television or stereo. For a period at least, we also didn’t have internet. It was so nice to HAVE to interact! It’s too easy now to be distracted by any number of things.

    Obviously it didn’t last, but it was nice for a while. And it gives me something to look forward to when the power goes out.

    CONGRATULATIONS on your new place! Sounds like your still living modestly and intentionally. I’m sure you’ll love it and if you still wish for more later, you will eventually achieve your goals.

    • That’s somewhat of a relief, but I’m still impatient! But we do know that I have to finish this project first and hopefully give my husband a chance to establish himself as a freelancer before we leave the city. It’s amazing how much a bit of free capital does to your options.

      A part of me really relishes in the simple life you describe for the short time until you got your stuff. It’s so much easier to keep things clean when you don’t have a lot. And I hear you on the lack of television, stereo or internet. If my husband was not so dependent on it for his job, we would have been in a similar situation. A part of me wants to throw out the television, netflix and all, entirely! We have a chromecast audio and can listen to music and podcasts, which is glorious because I can work with my hands without paying attention to a flickering screen.

      And thank you! Our new place is amazing! Close to friends and close to work and everything. We still want the homestead and the land, but this is a great place to rest until we find our forever-forever home!

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