Saturday, September 10, 2011


I got a fancy new camera for my birthday, which...well, let’s be clear about the meaning of the word “gift” for a second. Milo called me from his best friend’s bachelor party a few days before my birthday and informed me he’d just won 500 bucks at the casino, so I could have a really good gift this year if I liked. So I decided I would like to finally have a good camera, I researched models (with help from my dad), I went online and ordered it with my credit card, and I answered the door when it arrived and signed for the package. Now, I ask you, dear readers, what was my birthday gift from Milo: the camera, or the money, which I happened to spend, on my own, on a camera? We MAY have a differing opinion on this.

At the very least, it’s less clear than my birthday gift from my parents. They took my car in to have the air conditioning fixed, which was somehow simultaneously a wonderful gift and kind of depressing. Two years ago — I’m not joking — they gave me new tires. Next year I expect I’ll ask them to schedule me a dentist appointment, and I will be really exceptionally pleased with this present, and I will inch another year closer to the grave.

Anyway, I didn’t tell Milo that the only reason I wanted a good camera is so that I can finally—over a year later—take some pictures of our house to prove that I, little by little over the months, triumphed over its butt-clenching terror. Flipping through the set we took the day we bought it (“Wait, we bought THIS? THIS is what it looked like? Was I drunk at the time?”), I set out to create a shot-by-shot recreation of...well, not the whole house, okay? There’s just not that much you can do with five walls and a closet sticking out into the room when the pinnacle of your remodeling skills is “buy an end table.” But some rooms have been tamed. And I show them to you here now as proof: Do not let your house defeat you. You have the power. You have the electric screwdriver. You have the Ikea catalog and the Ashley Home Furniture credit card. And you alone have the ability to tell your realtor, “No, thank you. Please show us something that doesn’t look like the Neon Spackle Museum of the Midwest.” Consider it before you get in too deep.


(Click any pic for full size!)

Remember the fuchsia eye surgery room?

It became the all black and white except for the damn brown couch that matches nothing library.

And the...uh..."windows"?

Turns out the sponge painted "clouds" were really hard to cover with paint, so I shoved a few bookcases in front of them. Helpful tip: Ugly features in your home can be always be spruced up by covering with a large wall unit.

Guess what, though? It's not just shiny silver paint that's hard to cover with a coat of primer. Thick designs don't go away either!

Be sure to admire how, in the glare to the right side of the wall, you can STILL SEE THE LINES. I for one sometimes stare at it for so long that I can't see anything but white hot blinding hate.

The bathroom, if you'll recall, had not too much wrong with it.

What was wrong with it was the lack of an octopus trash can and whale soap dispenser. Well, that and the massaging shower head had been installed incorrectly, so the first shower I took it came shooting off, hit me in the face, and sank the entire bathroom under six inches of water before I got it turned off (not pictured).

Milo complained when we bought it that the kitchen was inconveniently large, in such a way that there is nowhere to put anything.

That's still true. I hate the brown cabinets and would love to eventually replace them with the pretty kind that have glass fronts, but then you'd see the complete array of crap we have crammed into every single cabinet, ready to come cascading out the second you open them, into the giant stupid useless open space in the middle. Why are you THERE, useless open space, instead of in my closet where you belong?

I had actually managed to block this image out of my mind.

You can't even imagine the expense of this room in paint alone.

When life gives you a giant meringue-colored garage wall in your living room...

...cover it with a large wall unit. (Special for Where's Waldo lovers: Spot the cat in the above photo.)

But while I have been busily domesticating the inside of the house, I've pretty much left the outside to its own devices. I mean, the exterior actually looked nice when we bought it, so I haven't looked at it since then, really. But I thought I'd use the new camera to take some photos outdoors too (you'd forgotten by now I got a new camera, didn't you) and I started looking at them against that first set of photos...and I started noticing a lot of plants we didn't have before. And some very menacing shrubbery. And a couple entirely new trees.

This is the day we bought the house:

This is from this afternoon:



And so I write this to explain why I can never leave my house again. That and...let's face it. I don't want to. I have a really nice couch now.