There’s something so sweet and so shy about moving into a new nest, don’t you think?

You have to go and introduce yourself to every empty room, and each room, naked without its furnishings, blushingly reveals that one cracked tile; the small chip in the paint; a tiny stain on the carpet. It’s vulnerable and sweet and glowing with possibility. Bringing home new furniture feels sometimes like giving a woman a new dress to try, with both of you earnestly hoping that it will flatter the unique little quirks that make her the most beautiful.

Because we’re new to the island and unsure of how long we’ll be staying in this particular apartment, I’ve been going to garage sales and estate sales to try and buy used furniture. Some days I come home with nothing, and other days I come home with treasures: a rattan dining set to put in our breakfast lanai; a starfish ornament I’ll hang on our first Christmas tree. Case and point with the starfish ornament — shopping at garage sales requires much more restraint than I had expected. When things end up costing cents (not dollars, but cents!) they become proportionally easier to validate.

My favourite purchase for our new nest, though, is this beautiful abstract painting. I’m not sure what the artist intended, but to me it looks like nothing more than the wild waves that crash against Oahu’s windward coast at sunset. I can’t think of a more magical place for this mermaid to lay her head at night.

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