We’ve all been there. You’re at a good friend’s house chatting about what a fun summer it was but “isn’t it great to have the children back in school?” and you spy something unusual on her kitchen windowsill. “What’s this doing here?” you ask. Perhaps you will get a great story, or perhaps you won’t get an answer at all, which is probably an even better story! So the next time you’re having morning coffee or evening wine and whine with your friends, notice what’s on their windowsill and use this guide to navigate the subtleties of windowsill décor. But remember, what you learn in the kitchen stays in the kitchen!
Plants (of the living, dying or plastic variety)
This girl is an Earth Mother and sees herself as a nurturer, never mind that the plant may be on its last leg. She cares for everyone and wants to see all around her mellow and happy, happy, happy so give her bonus points if there are questionable seeds sprouting from an ice cube tray. This friend will bring you a lovely chicken casserole when there is an illness in your family with an accompanying bottle of organic wine. If the plant is plastic, her mother-in-law probably gave it to her and the ever loyal Earth Mother feels the obligation to display it. A mason jar of colored liquid? It may be plant food but is most likely leftover wine, used when necessary to fortify herself in dealing with aforementioned mother-in-law.
Your friend is a Party Girl. After staggering in at midnight from an evening with her old college roommates and chugging water at the sink, she sheds her J. Crew bangles and sterling hoops on the windowsill so as not to wake sleeping babies as she creeps upstairs. The party girl will be up and chipper first thing in the morning, with coffee on and fresh stories to tell of her roommate’s husband’s college antics. The only plants in her windowsill will be dead or plastic as she is too busy living life to the fullest and making sure her family does the same. Always include the party girl in your girls’ nights out; she is fun, fun, fun!
We all know this person—the Sentimentalist. She is so soft-hearted she cannot bear to part with the aluminum foil sculpture or the yellowed paper plate art even though her babies now have babies of their own. She mentions packing up items and cleaning out closets frequently but it never seems to happen as she is happily occupied remembering everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries and graduations. She is most likely an animal lover and may keep her window open so her five cats can easily slip in and out through the cut screen. Sentimentalists make the world a better, less threatening place. If you know one, consider yourself lucky!
This girl is a Purist. She enjoys the sun streaming in through the various glass colors and most likely will not clutter her windowsill with other distracting elements. She can be one-sided on issues, but give this girl a project and sit back and watch her get it done! She’s the girl to assign to handle that difficult client, elect as PTA president, or negotiate the best price on the new family Volvo. Deep down, she is a “why can’t we all just get along?” kind of girl and dislikes conflict, but definitely knows how to handle it. If the bottles are beer or wine, give the Purist bonus points and introduce her to a Party Girl!
Coffee Mug (with yesterday’s leftover coffee)
Meet the Working Girl! The working girl is ALWAYS running late and abandons her half-drunk coffee mug on the windowsill. Ever the optimist, she is certain that today she will finish a full cup before dashing out the door to get the children to school and picking up Barfy’s anti-itch medicine at the vet. And all this before she slides in the rear office door only 6 1/2 minutes late! The working girl is a master at manipulating deadlines and managing the household from her cell phone. She frequently has a work-from-home husband, who has a PhD in quantum physics and while quite lovable, somehow manages to still be in his jammies when she walks in at 6:30. Although the Working Girl and the Purist can butt heads, together they can stage a killer football tailgate, even if it is for opposing teams.
Chewed Gum Tree & Other Curiosities
Yes, my friends; there really have been sightings of such an oddity although they are sometimes kept in hiding behind a café curtain. If you encounter one of these charming multi-colored gooey pyramids you are in the kitchen of an Ultimate Recycler. Before you make a run for the back door, consider the 1001 uses for previously chewed gum; i.e., caulking that drafty window, attaching photos and artwork to the fridge, plugging that pesky leak under the sink, etc. The ultimate recycler is prepared for any emergency in her home with Zip-locs saved from 1993 and spare buttons from every item of clothing she ever purchased. Even better, she is most happy to share her gum and repair skills with you in your time of need—extremely handy, especially if you are a working girl with a work-from-home hubby (see above). Recyclers have been known to spirit away purists’ glass bottles to the recycling bin when they are not looking, so if you are a purist, secure those bottles with a wad of gum!
This seemingly straight-arrow Wired Girl collects small electronic gizmos on her windowsill with plans to read all the “how tos” any day now. She is on the cutting edge of technology even though the windowsill plays host to an old Palm Pilot and various memory sticks with no memory of what’s on them. The Parliamentarian in her sorority, she still makes her grocery lists on sticky notes; however she is your go-to girl if you bring home something new with a cord or charger attached and need assistance. The Wired Girl is quite instinctive and always offers to help with computer issues you may have. Secretly, she keeps a list on her iPad of what all her friends have on their windowsills and is always at the ready to provide a quickie psych consult. Seat Wendy Wired next to that difficult-to-talk-to guest at your dinner party. She can get a conversation started with anyone! But electronics and liquid fertilizer don’t mix well so don’t expect to see a wired girl hanging out with an earth mother.
You have met the Minimalist. Ms. Minimalist is a big believer in “less is more” but unfortunately, her family has not bought into this concept Her husband, five children, three dogs, gerbil and Great Aunt Gladys have thwarted each of her attempts to Feng Shui the house. Ever optimistic that some day she will succeed, she declares the windowsill off limits and clears away gum wrappers, doggie treats, dead batteries and paper plate art on a daily basis. Ms. Minimalist is the reigning queen of organizing neighborhood yard sales, often frequented by the Ultimate Recycler. Now if she could only keep her children from dragging their belongings back in the house!