Category Archives: Home Improvement

Failing by way of setting yourself up to succeed

So hey! I had a baby! He’s really cute and doesn’t let me eat anything but rice and beans, but I guess I’ll keep him anyway. But let’s not talk about that.

See, okay. We moved into our house over five years ago. We moved in here with one not-yet-fully-cooked baby in the ol’ uterus, and now we’ve got three actual children. A lot can go down in five years, apparently.

Now, I’ve talked before about how bad I am about decorating the house. I even wrote a post like a year or two ago (I’d go looking for it, but then I’d read it and realize it says all the stuff I’m about to say and that would ruin EVERYTHING) about how I hate stuff but I was going to make an effort and maybe paint some walls or get throw pillows or whatever it is you people who are good at this just do ON A WHIM.

I haven’t done any of those things. What I HAVE done is have more children so I have the I’m Too Busy to Decorate excuse. Okay, I didn’t have them JUST for that, but the early baby days suck and I need some benefit.

I did try to do some things! I swear! And what I did was hang this picture frame I got from an end cap at Target for CHEAP (orange stickers, my precious). See, it’s one of those MONTAGE frames or whatever they are supposed to be called. You can put lots of pictures in it. A multi-picture picture frame. But I asked Matt to hang it before I actually had photos printed to put in it, at which point it had ALREADY been sitting in a closet collecting dust for at least six months.

“If we wait around for me to pick out pictures and order prints, we’ll be waiting forever. If you hang it now, the stock photos will annoy me and I’ll be more apt to order prints.”

You guys. YOU GUYS.

HE HUNG THAT THING OVER A YEAR AGO AND IT STILL HAS NO PICTURES IN IT. My family teases me every time they are here. But do you know how many photos we have? DO YOU EVEN KNOW? And if I HAD put photos in it over a year ago, do you think they’d still be CURRENT? I had a four-year-old and a one-year-old back then! Did you read the part above about a whole extra child? I WOULD BE BEHIND ANYWAY.

And please. Don’t think I’m writing this to be all ISN’T IT ADORABLE HOW MUCH OF A SLACKER I AM? Be amazed by my precious personality quirks! No. Not that. Because I hate that. I hate when ANY OF YOU do that. Really. It makes me crazy. That’s why I’m disclaiming all up in here. Because this? This is a PROBLEM. It’s a problem I have JUST figured out I even have. Because.

That’s not the only thing like that I’ve done. This morning my brother (I love you, Scotty! I’m not mad about this! We ALL do it!) came by to hang out with the kids (and me, sort of, I guess, possibly, I mean we are RELATED and all) and tracked in a little bit of dirt. NOT a big deal. But it would be even LESS of a big deal if there were a mat inside the front door on which to wipe one’s feet. (We have one OUTSIDE the door, but it’s a piece of crap from IKEA, and I swear it just makes our shoes DIRTIER.) We used to have a mat there! We really did. For like the first year we lived here. Then it got ratty. So you know what I said?

“Let’s just throw it out. If we leave it there, I’ll never bother replacing it, because every time I see one in the store I’ll think, ‘We already have one. It’s dirty, but it’s good enough.'” So we threw it out.

YUP. STILL HAVEN’T REPLACED IT. In fact, it has been so many years since we even had a mat there, I’d forgotten it was an OPTION. I haven’t even been looking! Just sweeping up little piles of dirt by the front door on a near daily (FINE, weekly, if we’re lucky) basis.

Do you do this? Try to trick Future You by setting up a situation in which she is GUARANTEED SUCCESS only to have her laugh in your face? I AM MAKING IT SO EASY FOR YOU, FUTURE ME. Man. It’s almost like she’s exactly as smart as I am.


Whatever. It’s not like my photographs could possibly be more awesome than these.



Filed under Home Improvement, Not even kidding

Because I’d really like there to be an AFTER

Come Memorial Day weekend, we will have lived in this house four years.

It was supposed to be temporary. “You’ll have NO PROBLEM selling it,” Real Estate Agent Aunt-in-Law assured us.

Hahahahahahahahaha. Ha.

So I didn’t really try to get comfortable. I’ve talked extensively about my Stuff Aversion, so I won’t bother weeping about that again, but this past weekend, something REVOLUTIONARY happened.

We hung up some pictures.

I KNOW. Two WHOLE pictures, in the dining room. And I’ll be damned if it doesn’t feel like a whole different room in there. Like an actual room and not just another Institution-Beige Walled-Off Environment.

(Because we haven’t painted, either. The house was “move-in” ready, with fresh beige paint all up looking so pretty that we didn’t bother messing with it. Because we wanted to sell in two or three years! Let’s not paint it wacky colors no one will appreciate! HA AGAIN.)

And those two pictures were my gateway drug to wanting to make the house more HOMEY. It’s like a whole house’s worth of nesting going on up in my head, but with no excuse to eat a bucket of ice cream.

All of this brings me into the most glaring problem of my entire existence, which is that I have absolutely no sense of style. I wear jeans. Plain-ish tops. Flip-flops or sneakers. Ponytail. Glasses.

Basically, I’m the BEFORE in all those movies where they take the Awkward Girl and turn her into Awesome Girl within about 90 minutes, give or take a few Sixpence None the Richer songs or however regular people measure these things.

The DECOR of my home is a reflection of this. I gave up after cream, taupe, off-white, and BLEH — but whatever colors you can think of that basically mean BEIGE, those are the colors of everything in my house.

So what the hell do I do? With myself AND my house? I feel like I USED TO have some idea of, like, who I am and all that, but I just don’t know anymore. Which sounds depressing only because it REALLY REALLY IS.

I can’t believe I am WHINING on my BLOG about not having pretty things on my walls. PERSPECTIVE MUCH?

But that’s the reason! Right there! Whenever I start thinking that I hate how this place looks, I convince myself it would be wasteful to do anything about it. That I should just accept how it is as Good Enough and move on to more important things. Like … making dinner? I guess? I really have no idea what I’m getting at here. Other than I know exactly what I’m getting at which is that I need to do something about this house. Because I’m in it ALL THE DAY.

So … uh. How do I get in the interior design mindset? I don’t want anything too crazy, you know? Just a little color, maybe some artwork or cool shelf things. I’ve walked around IKEA and other such home decor stores, but I get overwhelmed and end up coming home with a feather duster and maybe a TRASH CAN. I’m forever seeing cute pictures of cute people’s cute houses and thinking THAT IS SO CUTE I WANT SOMETHING LIKE THAT THING WITH A BIRD ON IT, but I can’t ever picture the things I see in a store or on the internet in my actual house. Should I just start getting little things here and there and amass them in a pile until I sense a theme and can make something happen? Buy a bunch of things at once?

Help, oh wise pretty ladys and gentlemens of the internet. My walls will thank you.


Filed under Home Improvement, NaBloPoMo

This is not nearly as funny as yesterday’s post, mostly because it just makes me want to CRY

After three straight years of living in this house and me complaining about our ratty, shallow sink, we finally decided to replace it. We bought a shiny new enameled cast iron 9.5″ deep sink a couple of months ago, and then weekend after weekend there was a reason it couldn’t be put in. My parents were out of town, house guests were visiting, someone had the plague.

We are really good at excuses.

I took some before pictures hoping to capture the nasty that was this sink, but my point-and-shoot abilities didn’t really do it justice. I think we CAN agree on one thing, though:

Sink Disaster1

Just very shallow, and very MEH, and very caked with Florida’s specialty: HARD WATER DEPOSITS. No amount of vinegar could get rid of it. And the sprayer never actually worked.

So we yoinked it out:

Sink Disaster4

And Matt and my dad set about the task of redoing all the plumbing underneath to accommodate a much deeper sink.

Meanwhile, my mom and I kept the girls entertained:

Sink Disaster5

And, fine. Maybe we kept ME entertained too:

Sink Disaster8

I swear to you, Roo got that almost empty bottle of seltzer out of the fridge HERSELF.

They set in the sink and I about CRIED tears of joy at the simple beauty of it.

Sink Disaster9

It was perfect! Everything was going to be OK! Finally, one project was going to go just as pla–


Suddenly there were HUSHED TONES coming from the kitchen. And no one wanted to look at me. Or answer my “WHAT? WHAT IS IT?” questions. (I totally wasn’t freaking out or ANYTHING, can’t imagine why they didn’t want to tell me what was up.)

(Ho hum.)

The drain is set too high in the wall.

In other words, we need the water magically to flow along the arrow:

Sink Disaster 11


Which … HA!


Not much to be done beyond hoping the dishwasher draining doesn’t back up into the sink. If it’s horrible, we can always (HOLD ME) cut into the wall and try to set the drain lower.

Meanwhile, if anyone knows any good ways to defy physics, I’m all ears.


Filed under Home Improvement, NaBloPoMo, Not even kidding, Photo essay