Thursday, August 11, 2011


Until I moved in to the Frankenhouse a month ago, I'd lived in apartments my entire adult life.  Now that I live in a house, I find myself with space that needs filling, and I need furniture to fill it.  Specifically, I need cheap furniture.  I need cheap furniture that I don't hate and doesn't smell.  Hunting for furniture that would fit this three-part bill, I flipped through the Ikea catalog tonight.

"A home doesn't need to be big, just smart."
And what if my house is...bigger than it is smart?

I, of course, have a lot of Ikea furniture already.  Because it's sort of cheap, I don't hate it, and it smells like fresh-baked Scandinavian practicality.  

A couple of years ago, I had a co-worker who compared Ikea to crack.   His argument was simple and dead on: once Ikea sucks you in, you're a goner.  You taste the high of getting a relatively nice couch for $400, and next thing you know, you can't imagine spending more.  Once you're in for the sheets and comforter, you go back for the coordinating bath towels, and while you're there, you pick up a plant and a new set of dishes.  It's all so cute!  It's all so affordable!  It becomes your default supplier/pusher for...everything.

When he first told me this, I thought: oh, pish.  Sure they have everything, but it's great that they do!  Now though, I feel like I'm reaching the end of my Ikea rope.  Which makes me think-- what would an Ikea rope be called?  Smorgasbaardd? Skrëvgstád!  Gerfluffen.  Whatever it's called, I'm sure at Ikea, even something like rope looks like it comes from there.  I'm so tired of that eminently identifiable, see-it-coming-from-a-mile-away Ikea look.

Maybe there's an imp at the end of this Ikea Gerfluffen rope, and that's what nudged me to notice something about the catalog as I flipped through it tonight.  On several catalog pages, Ikea includes...witty asides?  Inspirational messages?  Subtle attacks on my personhood?

goodbye junk drawers?  haaaarumph.
i have two junk drawers, and thatworks.JUSTFINE.thankyou.

Hello, locating the timer.  Yes, my timer!  I can never, ever find that blasted timer of mine.  Because I am the sort of person who...times things.  

are you calling me fat, Ikea?

Seriously, is it?   "...get a plate, a fork, and the last piece of cake..."  Yep, I'm pretty sure it's calling me fat.


"The easier it is to clean up, the sooner you'll get to your magazine."  Mmmm, so true.  My approach to clean up is really easy actually.  It's called 'read my magazine first, then take a nap and see how I feel.'

Haaaaaaaaaaaarumph.  I need a dining room table, a TV stand, a credenza (yeah, I said it-- CREDENZA), and a few other things, but I don't know if I need them badly enough to put up with this abuse!  Maybe it's time I walked away from my pusher.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Yesterday, I whined about all the little things that I didn't know about the Frankenhouse before I moved in. Things I didn't know, but now need to take care of.  Leeeetle, annoying things that I wish were different.

Today, for karmic balance and in the spirit of small victories, I took pictures of some of the things that now are done!  Things that I can, with great relief, cross off the list of projects.  Things that are now taken care of-- so I can stop trying to make them different, and start enjoying them.  And so:

Welcome mat: adorable!
if you don't love this, who ARE you?

Couch pillows: um...eclectic!
you don't have to love this-- I like it,
but I understand that it may not be universally lovable.

Also, my lovely parents helped me get many things done while they were in town.  Here's to even more  things that now are done, and that I don't need to worry about taking care of or making any different.

Security doors, painted!
thanks, dad!

Front yard flowers: awesome!



thanks, mom!

Deep breath.  Ahhh.  Housenstein's chakras, cleansed.  Much better.  Namaste.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Is there a word for the moment you drive a new car off the lot, and instantly its value drops?  

Even after you drive the car off the lot though, it's still exciting to have a new car.  There's still that new car smell that lingers for a bit.  

But eventually, it goes from being the car! of your dreams!  to-- the car.  that you have.

My house is sort of like that car, even though my house, of course, is not new.  Even before I drove it off the lot, I knew there were issues.  I thought I'd kicked the house's tires pretty thoroughly, and had a clear picture of all the potential bumps in the road.  But over the last week of driving this house around, I've realized--huh.  I don't think I expected that bump on this road.

1.  America's Narrowest Hallways
I knew Frankenhouse's hallways were narrow.  Really narrow!  There are two hallways, and like most of the house, these hallways pre-date things like city/county housing departments, or legal construction permits, or Napoleon.  I even invented a game to emphasize the narrowness of my hallways.  The game is called "How Wide Is Your Hallway?"  Here's how you play:
  • Stand in either hallway.
  • Try to stick your arms out to either side.
  • You can't!
  • You say: How wide is your hallway?!
  • I say: Nooooooooot VERY!
Oh, man.  Minutes of fun, every time.
So, I knew the hallways were narrow.  I didn't know they were this narrow.

that's a hallway.

22 inches wide.

The 22 inches came up because there was this idea that I'd get a dog gate, and I'd put it here to keep my dog from having any accidents in the hallway.  Turns out, there is no dog gate narrow enough for the hallways of the Frankenstein House. 

2.  Bathroom, with Eye Holes
This, I actually didn't know about until recently.  All the times I walked through the house before the close of escrow, all the time I spent looking at everything before I moved in-- somehow, I missed until just about a week ago that there are hungry, hungry holes in the wall under the sink in the guest bathroom.

Who DOES this?  Who tears up a wall, re-does plumbing, looks at these holes where the plumbing used to be connected, and goes-- eh, good enough, I'm stopping here.  


This will either be an amazing do it yourself project, or will go on a list of tasks for a handyperson.  The latter is more likely.

3.  Trompe l'oeil Tiles
I thought I had a fireplace that, while not usable, at least looked nice.  Turns out, I have a trick-of-the-eye fireplace, especially the tiles in front.  I thought they were lovely white tiles!  Then, the paint on them started to rip off, and I saw-- oh.  I do not have white tiles.  I have concrete, with a square pattern, which has been painted white.


I found this out after painting the living room.  I had plastic tarps taped down on the ground, and one of the tarps was taped here to the fireplace.  After I painted, I carelessly pulled up the tarp, and whoops!  The paint came off the "tile."  Did not see that coming.

Luckily, none of these things is a huge deal by itself.  It's just more stuff to do before I feel like I'm ready to drive this house off the lot.   It also makes me wonder what else about the house I don't see coming.  Then again, I guess if I knew, then I wouldn't not see it coming.  

Oooooooooh, sometimes.  Sometimes, I startle myself with my own wisdom.  "I wouldn't not see it coming."  Wiser words were never spoken.  

Well, that's not true.  Wiser words were spoken many times, including the time Billy Ocean said, "Get out of my dreams.  Get in to my car."  And you know what?  He was right.  Get out of my dreams, Frankenhouse!  Get into my car!  Stop presenting me with new things to fix, or I'll never get to drive you off the lot.