Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Channeling Michael Douglas

We finally tackled the home office remodel project. And it should surprise no one that my current frame of mind, mid-home office remodel project, is "Michael Douglas in 'Falling Down'." I am THIIIIIIIIIIIIS close to going clock-tower sniper.

Project started out smoothly enough. Husband finished moving books, etc., out of the room at 6:30 am Saturday morning, and midway through he quit boxing them and started piling them on the kitchen table, but hey - I'll take it. I believe that he worked the graveyard shift to finish the task, because he was not in bed when I woke up around 3 am, and I remember him crawling back into bed at the aforementioned half past six. I got up shortly thereafter, intending to tape off the walls while he caught some ZZZZ's. Wouldn't want his hard work to be for naught, right? Except . . . I couldn't find the painter's tape. So instead I started working in the backyard, or, as I like to call it, "Vietnam." A day and a half later of pulling weeds, moving paving stones, planting cannas and ground cover, raking leaves and hosing off patio furniture, I was ready to start painting . . . having remembered where I put the painter's tape two seconds after my spouse woke up and inquired, "Um, wasn't the whole point of me working the graveyard shift to allow you to start painting as soon as you got up?" "I planned to, honey, but I couldn't find the painter's tape - oh, I just remembered where I put it!" Yeah, he wasn't all that impressed.

So Sunday afternoon an angel appeared in the form of friend Robyn, fresh from softball practice, and with her help we got the first coat on the walls. A good friend helps you paint your home office without being asked, agreeing to payment in the form of sushi take-out, and talks you out of your tree when you freak because "OMIGOD, IT'S TOO PURPLE! I SAID I WANTED A PURPLISH-TAUPE, BUT THIS IS REALLY, REALLY PURPLE!" (Robyn reminded me that I work from a 64-crayon palette, whereas most of the rest of the world operates out of the box of 8, so I see shades where others don't, and also paint has a tendency to mellow. She was right on both counts, and I really do love the color.) A good friend also stays to play Wii bowling with you as a stress-reliever.

After Robyn left, we went to put up coat #2, and I commented that it looked like we might be running out of paint. And my spouse agreed. Wait - WHAT? No, that's not right - I forecast gloom and doom, and YOU tell me that I'm on crack cocaine. You don't AGREE with me. But we were both right - the paint stretched to cover ALMOST everything except one bi-fold laundry room door. Nuts. Nothing worse than going to bed with a job that's 99.5% finished.

Except it wasn't 99.5% finished, because in the light of day we saw the really HUGE semi-painted areas hiding in the shadows behind Parnell's massive desk, which had been moved out into the center of the room. So we would have needed can #2 in any event, right?

Monday was Columbus Day, and the kids didn't have school, so we went couch-shopping. We quickly found the one we wanted (I had done considerable recon first), but - after learning that Soulless Big-Box Furniture Store had changed credit underwriters, meaning that our existing "twelve gajillion months, no interest" account wouldn't work and we had to reapply - I acquiesced when Parnell suggested that we wait to complete the couch transaction at a point in time when we didn't have two squirmy kids underfoot. I went into the office to get some work done, he took the kids to buy new bookcases, and learned that our furniture has been discontinued. Of COURSE it has; why would it not be otherwise? I mean, this IS us we're talking about, after all.

Drop back and punt. Oh - did I mention that we're hosting people at our house on Sunday and Monday? Before you ask, "What kind of idiots tackle a major home decor project right before they throw two parties?" let me provide you with two answers:

1. You make a really good point; and
2. It's basically on purpose, because if we don't have a deadline hanging over our head, WE NEVER FINISH.

So I sent Spouse and boys to my favorite unfinished furniture showroom, and the following morning Spouse and I made a return trip. We procured a very nice bookcase, for a very reasonable price, along with wood stain - for the shelves only. Because I am certifiably insane, and completely fixated on this picture out of Martha Stewart Magazine where she painted built-in bookshelves the color of the walls and stained just the shelves. Since the bookcase, once it is tricked out with a back panel the same thickness as our baseboard, thus bringing it flush to the wall, will look like a built-in, I really wanted to try the custom shelf thing. And I think it will look very cool - and very similar to the idea bookcase - once we're finished. But a couple of bumps along the way:

1. Paint can #2 didn't quite stretch to cover the entire bookcase. Paint can #3 procured this afternoon, and Spouse may be finishing the painting as I type this.

2. Forgot about stain being a major pain in the butt - particularly stain that has poly built in, which is supposed to save you a step but, yeah, MAJOR pain in the butt. Put on a coat . . . wait six hours. Sand, then put on another coat . . . wait six more hours. Then flip and repeat. DID I MENTION THE PEOPLE COMING THIS WEEKEND? AND THE FUNERAL PYRE OF LAW BOOKS AND MYSTERY NOVELS ON MY KITCHEN TABLE?

3. Also forgot that stain is not water-based - waded in without gloves on, got stain all over me, then realized that I had no mineral spirits or other solvent with which to clean up the mess. So I watched forty five minutes of the Texas Rangers game last night sitting in Parnell's desk chair, watching baseball in the middle of a construction zone with my gunky brown hands held up in front of me, "scrubbed-in surgeon" style, while my spouse made not one, but two, trips looking for an appropriate cleaning product.

In the midst of all of this, I attempted to open a new credit account online via Soulless Big-Box Furniture Store's Web site, only to be directed to the credit hotline. Oh, yeah, just remembered - we put a fraud alert on our social security numbers after a security breach at our doctor's office. Nuts. "Credit specialist" picked up, and I said, "Hi, I was prompted to call in, and I think it's because I have a fraud alert on my credit."

"Just a moment, please. [Two-minute pause.] It appears that you have a fraud alert on your credit, which is why you were prompted to call in."

Um, is there an echo in here? Seriously?

"It will just take me a minute to fix. [Five-minute pause.] Okay, you'll need to call me back, FROM THE NUMBER FROM WHICH YOU PLACED THE FRAUD ALERT."

SERIOUSLY? I have to DRIVE HOME to do this?

So, naturally, when I went home last night, I LEFT THE ACCOUNT REFERENCE NUMBER AT MY OFFICE. Take two, this afternoon (minutes after the youngest child was sent home with a fever, possibly strep; lovely): called from the home phone, opened the account, was told to complete the purchase online or via phone . . . and then was unable to complete the purchase online, called the store, and was informed that I could not complete it by phone, either. No, my sole option was to drive the Scary Interstate O' Death back to Soulless Big-Box Furniture Store, where a nice man completed my purchase using a computer and a phone - THE VERY TOOLS THAT I HAD ATTEMPTED TO USE IN MY OWN, PERSONAL HOME!

All of this in the interest of securing a "no interest until 2015" deal . . . which, WAIT FOR IT, expired . . . ON COLUMBUS DAY. You can't make this up, people.

Got back to my office and found a package in my desk chair from JC Penney's. You may or may not know that JC Penney's HAS THE BEST CURTAINS EVER. This, according to my mother, and I have to say - she is dead-on accurate on this one. Except (you knew that there would be an "except", right?):

1. Inexplicably, JC Penney's UPS'd the curtains, not to me, but to an undisclosed post office, and the post office completed the last leg of the delivery. Meaning that the last two notations on UPS's Web site read as follows: "Monday, 12:01PM/Package arrives Fort Worth; unable to deliver to destination due to holiday closure" (YEAH, OKAY, OKAY - COLUMBUS DAY WAS MONDAY. MONDAY ONLY. NOOOOOOOOOOO RIDICULOUSLY DRAWN-OUT FINANCING DEAL AFTER MONDAY. ARE YOU PURPOSELY MOCKING ME, UPS?), then "Tuesday, 11:07 AM/Delivered to post office." Fifteen hours later, I got the package. FIFTEEN HOURS - to move a box from some place in Fort Worth to ANOTHER place in Fort Worth. Seriously? We're a relatively big metropolitan area, but we're not that big.

2. When they did arrive, the curtains were nowhere near the color that they were on the Web site. Web site color - a true amethyst (purple mixed with some blue, of a medium hue). Color of what is currently sitting on my desk - plum. Plum, plum, plum. They are great curtains - great fabric, very well lined - but they are PLUM.

Clock tower sniper . . . CLOCK. TOWER. SNIPER.

Photos to follow - if/when we finish.

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