Category Archives: Interior Decorating
“So I can get a locker chandelier.”
That was my daughter’s response to, “Why do we need to go there?”
Which was my response to, “Okay, let’s go to the Container Store.”
Which was her response to, “Let’s take care of your school supply list today.”
My daughter, Dimples, is starting middle school. I was only slightly reassured to see that the middle school supply list is shorter than the elementary one (and, apparently, Trapper Keepers do not pose the same threat to 6th graders that looms over elementary school students). The reason for the tempered relief was that I have already been notified by parents of older kids that the middle school supply list means diddly squat. Dimples’ teachers will give her completely different demands as soon as she hits class, so I will most likely exceed last year’s national defense budget by the end of the first week of school.
I don’t expect any of her teachers will require a locker chandelier (fully equipped with a motion sensor), however.
I used my standard test to see how desperate Dimples was for this item, “You will have to spend your own money, then.”
“Okay,” she replied without hestitation.
So, I begrudgingly made the trek to the Container Store so I could watch my daughter spend her Life Savings on a light fixture for her locker.
Alas, to Dimples’ great consternation, there were no white ones left on the shelf. According to the helpful salesperson, those always sell out right away.
This concerns me a bit, about the fate of humanity, that it is such a priority to purchase white locker chandeliers each summer. But not as much as I am bothered by the next statement.
“Oh, look, I can get this rug for my locker, instead!”
The rug, which is plusher than my bath mat, and a lovely hot pink color, is apparently just the thing for the trendy locker floor.
I try to imagine the purpose of a rug in one’s locker. Will her textbooks be doing yoga as they await their turn in class? Does her P.E. uniform need a companion with which to exchange fungus and odors? Is this the reason I did not get asked to the 6th grade dance – because I did not have a plush, pink rug in my locker?
And, even more importantly, will the next purchase be a tiny locker vacuum for the tiny locker rug?
It turned out that Dimples decided the rug did not fit with her vision for the interior design of her locker. She settled for a moderately priced, hot pink magnetic organizer to dress the space up.
But her disappointment was palpable.
The next day, I was at Target by myself, and I meandered over to the school supply section. Buried under some packs of college-ruled looseleaf, I found one white locker chandelier. Of course. And, it was less than half the price of the one Dimples had planned to obtain.
Should I surprise her with the decor she coveted? Or should I remain loyal to the voice in my head that declares the ridiculous impracticality of installing a motion-detecting light fixture in a space only slightly larger than my glove compartment, which she will visit for approximately 5 minutes each day?
I think you know the decision I made.
It’s the Bermuda Bag Blunder all over again.
You know? Those purses that had changeable covers but were completely impractical in every other way? They were all the rage when I was a kid, and I begged my mother for two years to get me one.
And she did.
And I went to school with it. And no one else had one. No one else even had a purse. They had moved on. Back to where I started. And it could have saved my mom some money if we had just stayed there.
But since she spent all that money, I had to use the purse.
Now my purse is a refrigerator.
When we moved into our first house, our kitchen appliances were mixed. Some were black and some were white. We bought a brand new white refrigerator, and spent the next five years slowly replacing the other appliances to match. By the time we got them all matched, it was time to move.
And we moved to a house with black appliances – which really didn’t complement our pure white refrigerator. No matter. Because, by this time, white was so yesterday and stainless steel was the rage.
Our white refrigerator died. (Natural causes, I say. And I’m sticking to it.) Stainless steel or black, we asked ourselves. My husband was leaning toward stainless steel. But I was hesitant. I didn’t want to be Bermudaed again. I mean, stainless had been the rage for awhile now. It was getting time for a new trend. I could feel it.
But I could not find any record of the new trend anywhere. So, we joined the masses, and bought our stainless steel fridge. And we are slowly getting the rest of the kitchen stainless. Of course, we have to wait until they die, too. I mean, you wouldn’t replace your grandmother while she was still alive just because she was the wrong color, would you?
Okay, that didn’t really sound right, but I’m not sure how to fix it.
Anyway, this morning, there happened to be a news report on appliance trends – specifically, refrigerators.
“Stainless is going out, ” they said.
The new trend?
The old one – white.
“Like iPhones!” was the reasoning.
Now why didn’t I see that one coming?
Someone needs to invent a Bermuda Refrigerator.
I need to title these a bit more carefully, I guess. I was searching my own blog to find out if I ever did a November Dead Rubber Post, and found the one that I did last year. Only, I had to read half of it to realize that I wrote it over a year ago. Which makes me wonder, “If I don’t even remember it, my readers, half of whom had probably not even chanced upon my blog yet last November, would probably not remember it. Which means that I could do a little copy/paste trick and none would be the wiser.” Except now that I’ve filled you in on my evil scheme, you would be wiser. If I even had the energy to erase those first few sentences, I would not have to be composing a Dead Rubber Post to begin with. So, here we are.
If you would like to read last November’s Dead Rubber Post, and to find out what the heck a Dead Rubber Post is, then you can click here. Otherwise, you can just look at some pictures of Wonderbutt the Bulldog employing his usual diplomatic manners as he encounters more evidence of nefarious Christmas decor that must be eaten.
When do real people clean out their closets? Seriously. I ask this because I have been polling my fellow teachers about what they will be doing when we get the whole week off for Thanksgiving next week, and nearly all of them said that they will be cleaning out closets. This is the same response I get when I ask what they are doing for Spring Break or the rare three-day weekend. And summers.
I, too, plan to exorcise the demons lurking in my closets during the break next week.
Which leads me, again, to the question, “When do real people clean out their closets?” ”
“Real people”, meaning “not teachers.” Also not multimillionaires like The Man Who Must Not Be Named Because I Don’t Want You to Think I am Obsessed With Him, who probably has people to do that for him. Real people.
I mean, do you just not clean your closets out? Ever? Is it because you are so obsessively compulsively neat? Or, is it because you never buy awful-looking purple polka dot shirts that seem quite fashionable at the time, but never seem like the quite right thing to wear whenever you are getting dressed in the morning and so you have to buy more things so you don’t leave the house naked and then they don’t fit anymore and you suddenly have this traffic jam of clothing on rods in your closet which makes it easier to just throw things (clean or dirty) on the floor so you don’t get attacked by a hanger that suddenly cuts loose from the two different shirts that were entwined around it, nearly blinding you in the right eye and forcing you to question the need to actually wear anything other than yoga pants and a t-shirt for the rest of your life? Are you saying this does not happen to you?
That’s just not normal.
I feel like I’ve been watching one of those nature videos during this last week. You know, the ones where they show the sped up footage of the decomposition of a dead animal? Except the object decomposing was not a dead animal. In fact, I’m pretty sure the object was entirely composed of inorganic material. And I am somewhat doubtful that dog beds were meant to be included in the Circle of Life.
I mentioned a few days ago that Wonderbutt had taken over Mrs. P.I.B.’s new dog bed. Even though he already has three of his own. And I also exhibited a few pieces of evidence of his determination to mark his territory by defacing it.
So, here was the original bed with Mrs. P.I.B. comfortably esconced:
And then Wonderbutt established his Domination of the Bedding:
But, Wonderbutt is apparently a Cut-Off-Your-Nose-to-Spite-Your-Face kind of dog. Perhaps because he has very little nose on his squished in face to begin with. Anyhow, he was not satisified with the message he had conveyed, so he took it a bit further.
And he gave me his signature “raspberry” to show that he was quite proud of his work.
But, later on, Cap’n Firepants caught him unawares, and I think poor Wonderbutt may have been regretting his evisceration of the bed:
Or, he could just be contemplating his next victim. It’s difficult to tell with Wonderbutt…
Somehow I missed posting one of these in September. So, I think that means I can post two this month. Since I make up the rules, who’s going to stop me?
“Dead Rubber”, by the way, is slang for “boring”. So, I hope you weren’t thinking this was going to be something else…
The Cap’n and I are in the middle of doing some more Home Improving. Coincidentally, we are also in the middle of debating whether or not we are actually Improving or Worsening. I will let you be the judge (Keep in mind that these are not Before and After pics. They are Before and Part of the Way Through pics. Actually, now that I think about it, since the blue walls were the result of our first Home Improving when we moved in, then they are actually Part of the Way Through pics, too. So, this series is, “Part of the Way Through and We’re Never Going to Be Finished Because We Keep Changing Our Minds” pics):
We are still not done. I’ll try to give you a panoramic view of the kitchen once we finish. But that may be another 10 years or so…
Cap’n Firepants: We need to get these Wonderbutt spots out of the office carpet.
Me: O.K. Let me just get our handy Missile Dot Blot Machine, especially designed for Wonderbutt the Bulldog stains.
Cap’n Firepants: Why do you always use the hose part? Aren’t we supposed to be able to just put it on the spot, hit a button, and it cleans it by itself?
Me: We tried that on the living room, and it made it look worse. Remember? The whole reason we got the stained concrete floors?
Cap’n Firepants: Nope. Let’s try it again.
Now we just need to position our Missile Dot Blot Machine on every square inch of the floor in our office, and it will be perfect.
People often ask me, “How do you do it all, Mrs. Cap’n Firepants?” They cannot believe that I write a daily blog (actually, I have two), am such an awesome mother and wife, and manage to somewhat control the terrible canine twosome of Wonderbutt and Mrs. Pain in the Butt. The answer is simple.
I have super powers.
You may laugh, but haven’t you wondered why I have never revealed my true identity on this blog?
Superheroes like to blog, too.
Here is proof of my superhero-ness:
We got a mattress a month ago. It had an odor. The odor did not go away.
I called the mattress company today.
“Hello, Hapless Mattress Megastore. How can I help you?”
“My mattress still smells.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. Would you like it replaced?”
“How about this afternoon?”
“Really? That fast?”
“O.K. Well, I can’t tell you my name or address because I’m a superhero.”
“No problem. ”
Well, maybe the last two lines of our exchange did not go exactly like that. But the rest was pretty much verbatim. Almost.
So, they brought the new mattress (a newer model, even!), took away the old one, and I put my superhero sniffer to the test.
The smell was gone. The old smell. Now, our mattress just smells like gasoline instead of mildewed bathroom towels.
This is just one example of my superhero powers. I would give you more, but I don’t want to give my enemies too much information.
So, if you are having a hard time doing it all, give yourself a break. Not everyone can get their smelly mattress exchanged practically immediately for another one with a different but equally potent smell. It’s a gift.
In all of my zeal to be vigilant over our bulldog to be sure he does not destroy our new furniture within the first week of its delivery, I forgot to watch over my husband, Cap’n Firepants.
The Cap’n has been quite calm about the gradual demolition of our home by Wonderbutt, the Dog Who Ate the World. Periodically, the Cap’n even contributes to the demolition by doing such things as knocking down walls and tearing out flooring. He claims he is trying to improve our home, but I’m sure that is what Wonderbutt would say, too, if only he could talk.
We were all so energized by the delivery of new furniture to our household on Friday, that the Cap’n decided it was time for him to do some more home improving which involved removing some planks of cedar off of the wall so he could replace it with drywall and paint.
I could hear him tearing it down, and, instead of being concerned, I felt comforted by the fact that he was in the same vicinity as Wonderbutt, meaning any assaults on the couch would be unlikely to occur in my absence.
After the noise died down, I wandered out to the living room to survey the damage. To the wall. The intended damage that was in our Grand Plan of Creating a Designer Home.
The Cap’n looked at me apologetically.
“It turns out our floor isn’t so indestructible, after all,” he stated.
“What are you talking about?” I asked. He pointed down. Because, like an idiot, I was still looking at the wall even though he’d said the word “floor”.
There, on our newish concrete floor, in the middle of the Cap’n’s very own design for our entryway, was a long, deep white scratch – presumably from a vengeful piece of cedar desperate to mark its territory one last time.
I am the Wife Who Backed My Car into His Truck, the Wife Who Brought the Dog Who Ate the World into Our Household, the Wife Who Sets off Smoke Alarms When She Cooks.
I cannot fault him for a white scratch on our floor.
But it will be a good weapon in my arsenal when Wonderbutt finally makes his mark on the new sofas.
My husband, Cap’n Firepants, is a big proponent of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. However, in reality, he often just Rearranges… the Garage to Fit One More Thing. In his mind, he can imagine many other uses for each piece, but these uses do not usually get implemented within the century of their retirement.
With the addition of new furniture to the house, I was afraid that the old furniture would join the other odds and ends piling up in the garage. And donating it to Goodwill would have resulted in quite a bit of Ill Will toward the Firepants Family, I was certain. Considering that it looked like this
and smelled much worse than it looked, there was only one possible destination for these pieces.
“But Wonderbutt looks sad,” Dimples, our nine year old, protested. Wonderbutt is the one responsible for the sorry state of the old furniture. He is our insatiable bulldog with an affinity for foam – particularly the foam in carpet padding and furniture.
“Wonderbutt is a bulldog. He always looks sad.”
She was right, however, because, at the moment, Wonderbutt was sitting on our old couch, cushion removed, leaning heavily against the corner, with eyes glazed over, and his wrinkly face staring down as though he were mourning the death of the only one he truly cares about – Wonderbutt.
I hardened my heart.
“It doesn’t matter. Tomorrow is the Dial-a-Trailer across the street. And that is pretty much the only way are going to be able to get rid of these things – legally, at least.”
I did not tell Dimples, or Wonderbutt, that Dial-a-Trailer is a big ole truck that consumes tree limbs and furniture as easily as a giant masticating bran cereal.
So, this morning, Cap’n Firepants and I loaded the old pieces into Cap’n Firepants’ truck, and delivered them to the Jaws of Death. And I only sniffled a bit as I watched the spines get snapped on our first set of furniture bought as a married couple at a store that went out of business eighteen months ago. (That’s when they went out of business, not when we purchased the sofa and love seat. Although, that is roughly around when Wonderbutt came into our lives, so I would not put it past him to be responsible in some way, shape, or form for the entire collapse of the furniture industry.)
Then we came back to the house, and I realized that 2 of the sofa cushions had not made the trip. And that the Jaws of Death could help us free up another 10,000 square feet in our garage if we made a couple more trips.
After I used some gentle persuasion (“I’m sick of this mess!”) to convince him that the Jaws of Death were still hungry, Cap’n Firepants loaded our old wall into the truck – and then our old entertainment center.
That had been one of my first pieces of furniture. During my last year of college, I had purchased the unfinished piece, and sanded and stained it on my own. For years now, it has stood in our garage with a bunch of other junk piled on top.
I was ready to say good-bye.
Cap’n Firepants was not.
“I just wish we could at least try to sell it or something.”
“We did!” I pointed to the orange sticker that said 25 cents on it, a remnant of our one and only Garage
Sale Fail. I expected him to say, “Well, that didn’t really count. It poured sheets of rain the entire day, and we only had two customers the whole 8 hours.”
But he didn’t. He loaded it up.
“You don’t have to go this time,” he said. I thought he might be trying to be gentle of my feelings, maybe concerned that it would break my heart to see the old entertainment center instantly mashed into a thousand pieces. But then, I realized his true motive.
“You just don’t want me to embarrass you by taking pictures!” I accused him. I had taken out the camera to document the cushions, destroyed by Wonderbutt, that now crowned the pile in the back of the truck. And, yes, I had kind of considered taking a picture of them being eaten by the Trailer.
“You’re right,” he said.
And he left. And he returned 15 minutes later without the cushions or the wall or the entertainment center.
Unfortunately, neither one of us thought of the true solution to all of our problems – which would have been to feed Wonderbutt to the Trailer.