Monday, October 10, 2011

Paint, Unicorns, and Drowned Ancestors

I own three cameras (not counting my phone) but I can't make any of them work.  One had its batteries fried inside it (they sorta 'sploded), one is brand spanking new but either its a lemon or the only AAA batteries I can find are dead as a doornail, and the other is the camcorder which also takes still pictures but it needs to be charged and I don't which one of our 3354839.34i87 cords and wires and plug in thingies will do the trick.

So, I can't put up photos of our cute house.  But that's okay because most certainly there'd be a two foot high gremlin with his fingers up his nostrils stealing the camera anyway.

I'm not much of a decorator.  Some women (you know who you are) are really amazing at knowing what to buy, what not to buy, where to put it, what colors to use, etc.  I'm not that woman.  And after our little stint as professional parents came to a close, we were forced to realize we don't own anything.  Here's what we had in June:

each other.

boxes of clothes.

boxes of books.

a Kitchen-aid mixer.


That's it.  Not a stick of furniture or a wooden spoon with which to stir the spaghetti sauce which is fine actually, because you can't make spaghetti without a pot.

So, little by little, we've managed to get the bare necessities: a sectional couch that looks like everyone else's brown sectional couch except ours is stuffed with spike balls, a free kitchen table with four chairs (count the people in our family and you may see the problem, but hey, the kids have small tushies and can share), a bunk bed, a mattress set, some Goodwill dishes, and an embarrassing number of pizza cutters and ice cream scoops.  Why?  I don't know.  Evidently every time I was in a thrift shop the past three months, I had a panic attack that we would someday have pizza and/or ice cream and have nothing with which to slice/scoop.  So, if the world indeed ends in 2012 like John Cusack said it would, I will at least have my pizza cutters and ice cream scoops.  Cuz there might be zombies or something.  I don't know if there will be, but it's only logical.  I can slice em up and then scoop out their brains.

Anyway, I was supposed to be walking you through our house.  So, back to the decorating.  The only successful thing I've done with decorating is my collection of black and white photos.  It's our Family Wall and it's come with us no matter where we've gone.  I think that sentence is grammatically WRONG, but you get my drift.  Everyone is our relative, some we knew personally, some are much too far gone for us to have known.  One is of Mike's aunt who is standing in front of the projects of NY city where she grew up: a pretty Italian girl with her black hair blowing in the breeze and wearing gloves and a scarf that look fashionable now but were probably all she owned to keep the cold out.  Another favorite is my great, great, great Grandma (totally guessing the number of greats there) Loretta, who rumor has it, died after being baptized in the Columbia River in 1877.  I'd love to know if this family legend has any truth to it and Cora and I plan on doing some genealogy this school year.  Also on the wall: my dad as a chubby toddler, both of my grandpas in their military uniforms, my grandpa as a baby in the arms of his mom who looked like a totally rockin' '20s flapper, my mom and my mom-in-law as curly haired little girls, and plenty of my own kids in black and white. 

We also bought: a hutch that doubles as a tv stand for our wee little tv, and several dressers.  You remember the craigslist dresser, right?  So, being me, I of course had to take as many shortcuts as possible with this thing, in terms of making it presentable.  It is beautiful wood with scalloped edges and just lovely, but some dingbat had painted it diarrhea brown.  No problem, says I, we'll buy the cheapest white paint on the market and that'll be that.  Well, I thought I bought the "paint and primer in one" deal, but I did not, and the diarrhea turned the weirdest shade of pepto bismol pink.  A second coat did not solve this predicament. I was in a pickle.  Also, I was out of paint.  Also, I was in trouble with my mother in law for getting paint on her patio.  That reminds me, if you're reading this, honey, will you go over to your Mom's and clean that up?  Thanks, love muffin!  Anyway, at this point I was really getting annoyed with myself and had to go buy primer.  Then I had to go buy more paint.  Then I was really high on fumes and started painting unicorns and sunbeams everywhere.  Eventually I got my dresser white.  Even though it was for Anna and she was mad that I covered up the pepto pink.  Ungrateful pixie! 

So when you're me, this is how you buy a used dresser:

1.  Risk your life and almost get chopped into pieces by craigslist sellers in remote locations.  Spend $30.

2.  Paint with cheapest paint possible. I bought a small can because I actually had two dressers to paint: $10.  The other one had to be painted because it was owned by smokers.  Smokers who evidently crawled inside their dresser to do their smoking.

3.  Go back to Lowes.

4.  Buy primer. $5.

5.  Whine a little.

6.  Enjoy the fumes.  Hum a little Doors.

7.  Go back to Lowes.  $5.

8.  Finish with spray paint.

Bask in the glory that is your $30 $50 dresser.  Easy as pie!  Except I may or may not have killed a couple brain cells.  Pretty sure I wasn't using them anyway, so no loss.

Also, when you're me you don't own a pie pan and your kids clamor for chicken pot pie and so you make it in a large skillet.  And it looks totally fabulous, like something on the cover of Martha Stewart magazine, and they snarf it all up before you can take a picture.  Which you can't do anyway because of all those cameras you can't figure out.  But it was pretty.  And it was good.  And so was my homemade pumpkin spice coffee creamer.  Also, no photo.

The end.


  1. 1. I had to make an emergency visit to the restroom so's not to embarrass myself publicly while laughing as I read your story.
    2. I do wish we were closer because I suspect my yard sale that never ends and your pizza cutters and ice cream scoops could come up with some matches made in heaven.
    3. I cannot decorate. I believe in decoration but have no knack for it myself. And, if you put enough dogs and kids in a small enough space, who needs decorations, anyway?! Any visitors are just glad to make it out alive.

  2. I'm not sure, but, if I'm doing the math right, your Great-Great Grandma LaRetta couldn't have died in 1877, because your Great Grandma Alta wasn't born until 1903. But the story about getting tuberculosis in the Columbia River after being baptized just has to be true. How could anybody have made that up?!?

  3. Love your writing style and sense of humor.