Friday, May 9, 2008

I Shutter to Think of It

Today's Wonder of the World could be this stone wall of a French house. It's incredibly beautiful, but that's not it. Guess what it is. It's in the picture.

Today's Wonder of the World is... Shutters!

"Shutters?" you say. "What's so great about shutters?"

Please examine Exhibit A.

Imagine that you lived in France with three sweet children like these. Children who loved to play the guitar. Children who had never had a single guitar lesson in their lives. Children who actually seemed to enjoy dissonance. Children whose guitar playing reminded you of the sound that a herd of cats would make if they were being forcibly shaved.

Now, add to your imagination a neighbor living across a very narrow street from you who treasured SILENCE most of all. And let's say this neighbor felt it was her duty to teach you proper French behavior, bless her heart, whenever you needed lessons. For as long as it took for you to learn.

Then ladies and gentlemen, you'd consider French shutters a Wonder of the World too!

I call them French shutters, but I just mean shutters that can actually shut. Most American shutters don't do that. I am aware that there are shutters that close all over the world, not just in France. I call them French shutters because those particular ones were located in France. Are we clear on that?

Take a look at the shutters I'm talking about. This is the house we had in France.

(This was taken before I realized that two measly flower boxes do not make for a charming balcony.)
I absolutely loved those shutters. If you're not acquainted with using shutters that close, here's five reasons why:

1. Old fashioned Air Conditioning. When it was hot, I'd open the windows wide in the cool morning air and close the shutters midmorning. The cool air would stay in and the heat would stay out.

2. Sound control. Guitar playing, the occasional argument. Curious neighbors.
Enough said.
By the way, scroll back to the children with the guitar picture. See how there's no light coming through those lace curtains? The shutters are closed.

3. Movie nights. The house was pitch black inside with the shutters closed. COZY!

4. Flying animal filtering. Clipping the shutters barely closed at night let the cool night air in but kept the birds and bats out. Except for one time. But that's another story.

5. Fortress building. When I was new and a chicken and Todd traveled all the time, I'd close those shutters at night and turn the house into a fortress. It was better than having a moat.

But now we're back home.
You might think we have no use for shutters.
Bwa ha ha.

I still think they're pretty, so I put some on each side of my mantle.

When I stuck them up there, Todd told me they needed a new paint job.
He just doesn't get it.
See the antique knobs? I screwed them on there because I like them too. I know they're too big for the shutters but I don't care.

I have another pair that I use in our den. I bought them at the same salvage yard where I got the mantle ones. I use them to organize my chapters when I'm writing. See?

I write the scenes on index cards, put the cards in clothespins, and then position them in order on the shutters. I can change the order whenever I want.
Pretty good idea, huh? I can be pretty inventive if it means I get to bring more shutters into my house.

One last picture.
Here is a house that I covet. You can't see much about it because there are people living in it who might think I was a stalker, so I couldn't get closer. I love this house also because it's on a nice big piece of land. And there's a red BARN behind it! And it's near the graveyard and all that moss that you know I love. And look...there are shutters. I could replace them with ones that close!

If you're reading this and it's your house, sorry about that. I'm not a scary person. I really just love to look at your house. I won't try to take it from you--unless you die, and then I'd just buy it from your relatives. Not that I want you to die, because I don't.

If you had French shutters right now, you'd probably close them on me and turn your house into a fortress. That's a great idea! Why don't you buy some? Then I won't have to do it--that is, if I ever find myself with your house.

Have a great Friday friends!
And come back this weekend. I'm going to let Tanner the Slobber Dog take the weekend shift!
He'll probably just post pictures since his doggy paws can't work the keyboard!


Julee Ann said...

Yes, please!

And I am linking you as well.

I adore your blog and writing style.

I usually get my books at the local library, but I have a short list of ones I want to own. Guess what is at the top of my list?

That's right French By Heart

Nice to meet ya. BTW, I'm Parisienne Farmgirl's Aunt.

Sherri @ Life As I Live It said...

I always wanted a house with shutters that fairytale like in my opinion(you know in fairytale books they always have illustrations of someone standing at a window opening or closing shutters.)

About your flying animal filter,I don't know if you went back into my blog but I posted something last week that's funny..
Sorry I don't yet know how to do the little link where you can type "here" or whatnot and go to were you're supposed to go.

I love that house too! It's sorta my kind of dream house too except my dream house also has the little doghouses upstairs and a wraparound porch...ah,a wraparound porch! I can just see myself sitting on it drinking some sweet tea!

Susan Sandmore said...

You are so funny, Rebecca. "Mommmm, the neighbor lady's taking pictures of our house again!"

My little darling plays the violin. She is an enthusiastic beginner. Do I shut our shutters (BTW, if you open them, are they openers?). No. We go outside and practice on the porch. Because everybody loves screechy twinkle!

JaxPop said...

I'll grant you that shutters look great, but we don't have them on our house here in Florida.

We had plenty of 'em on our house in Pennsylvania - 8 pair. They needed to be painted every other year - which meant changing the color, & also the color of the front door. We lived in that house for 18 years - 9 paint jobs. Mostly high work.

We bought a beachhouse in Delaware for weekends. The Homeowner's Assoc. required that all homes have shutters. I completely renovated that place. The shutters were in bad shape & I needed 14 pair, big bucks to buy & I was already way over budget - so I made them myself.... & painted them. They looked good, but lots of work.

No offense, but we sold both of those places & I don't miss the shutters - but your blog is still terrific.

alisa said...

i also love french shutters - i love that you can open then, close them 1/2 way, close them all the the colors they are painted...such beautiful colors, the house we are renting for the year in france has beautiful periwinkle blue shutters, they look so lovely against the stone house. last year when we staying a small village in the langedeuc called Maury, our village house had beautiful shutters, but there was a big note saying "don't leave the house with the shutters open, the winds come in and it will make the neighbors mad"....we did really well except for 1 day when we went for a quick ride and thought we'd be right back, but got side-tracked and ended up being gone for 4 hours. We came home all happy and ready for a glass of rose when out came our neighbor, pointed up to the shutter that was flapping in the wind, hitting the stone wall and making all sorts of racket. She was very upset and asked us to please close them when we leave. We were glad that we were leaving the next day as I am sure she was too.

Adaora A. said...

LOL! They look like their guitar's are a bit to big for them. Your son's looks a lot like my vantage acoustic. Rock on!

P.S. That sound you described sounds about right for a beginner. Don't worry though, it will will get better. I'm no professional but I'm alright.

Fete et Fleur said...

Hi Rebecca!
I am so glad you found me. I read your wonderfully funny book a while back and loved it! I've been waiting for the second installment of what happened after you moved back and now to my delight I find that you have a blog! I will catch up today on what’s been happening with you. BTW the shutter file holder is a great idea!


La Belette Rouge said...

I shutter to think that someone might not have enjoyed your very own Partridge family or your American version of the Sound of Music. Some people have no taste.:-)

Terri and Bob said...

Oh, yes. I pick my blogger friends well. You are such a fun blogger to read! I love the idea of the shutter to organize, I think I could use this idea in my office at school.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Oh you people! I love love love your comments! Do you know that they make my day? Well they do!

I no longer sit in my own little world in front of the computer, writing my heart out all by myself, (except for the dog slobbering on my feet.) Thank you for hanging out with me!

I would like to say I haven't been answering today because I've been making terrific progress on my next book. But actually I've been fixing up the blog a little by adding my favorite books and doing some neatening up. Since I'm such a computer doofus, it's taken me most of the day, but it's been fun.

You folks are the greatest!

Susie Q said...

Wow. Your blog is amazing. I am so pleased to meet you! Thank you for leaving me a comment so that I could find my way here!
Your writing is fantastic, the photos are such fun...
You have a natural gift for writing and it is glorious!
I would love to add your link in my blog if it is alright!

You are amazing...and, oh yes! I love shutters too!


StitchinByTheLake said...

Just found your blog and I love it! And I love that house - just might have to fight you over that....well, maybe not. I live on a lake and shutters that would close would be wonderful here.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Hey Susie Q and stitchinbythelake! It's great to meet you too. It's great having new friends who are so creative!

Susan Tuttle said...

I love shutters too - ones that actually close seem more authentic.

I love the idea of turning old shutters into home decor items. I once used one that I found on a curbside to hold old postcards - that was when I had an apartment in Boston in the 90's.


Rebecca Ramsey said...

Hey Susan! What a great idea for my old postcards!

Anonymous said...

I like shutters...wait.. hold it.. did you say that you were a chicken?

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Yes, f.o.t., not a physical chicken--a figurative one. (Although that would have been something to write a book about--my life as a French chicken.)

When we first moved I was too scared to leave my windows wide open at night. But then I learned that the only thing to fear in France was fear itself.
(I realize I'm not the first one to say that.) :)

liquidambar said...

I love the picture of the shutters being used as a writing aid. Do you mind if I link to it?

Jenn H.

Rebecca Ramsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebecca Ramsey said...

Fine by me!
In fact I thought of this whole post because your post on your cryptic notes reminded me of how I organize my notes, which got me thinking of my shutters.
So link away!