Friday, August 6, 2010


My house has no floor.

No, that’s not a metaphor, but it is, hopefully, a temporary situation. We’ve ripped out all the carpeting and are installing hardwood in an attempt to remedy the muddy dog print/food spillage/cat puke/dirty soccer cleats situation that‘s currently out of control. Oh, and by 'we', I of course mean Charlie.

So as you can imagine, we've been spending much of our quality time in places like this...

trying to choose between sample chips of wood called harvest cherry and honeyed maple and toasted oak which all sound oddly appetizing but look exactly the same under the florescent lights.

And these projects are always, always more complicated than you’d think. Because pulling up the floor doesn’t just involve pulling up the floor. Turns out, in order to pull up the floor, you have to first move all the furniture off the floor. This, of course, hadn’t eluded me. But what I’d forgotten was that most of this furniture has stuff in it/on it/under it which also needs to be moved, set aside, and re-shelved. And as we’ve been doing this (and by 'we', I of course mean me), you’d be amazed what I’ve found hiding at the bottom of closets, under desks, and behind couches. Amongst other things, I’ve sorted and discarded plastic Easter eggs, AWOL Rescue Heroes, notes from a class I took five years ago, a desk chair massage pad (I can only assume this was a gift), the instruction manual to the Nikon camera Toby dumped a bucket of sand onto at the beach last year, my Wii Fit, Calvin’s lost Shuffle, a big pile of 2T clothes, toys that haven’t been touched since Calvin was born, and more dust balls than we were frankly prepared to handle.

And until this project is done, I have no idea what to do with all this stuff. (Shout out to my mom: I finally found my flute from high school!) But how did we even get so much stuff? Worthless stuff. Stuff we must have thought we needed when we bought it, but haven’t missed for half a decade. I’ll be damned if it’s going to all be reinstated back into drawers and shelves once all the furniture is back in place.

So I've set it all aside into garage sale and toss piles, which is a noble intention in theory, but in reality, space is becoming an issue. When two complete rooms’ worth of furniture are removed, they have to go somewhere. (I believe that’s some law of physics or another…when one object is removed from its current space, it must fill another space of equal or lesser…er…it doesn't feel like I have that quite right.) Currently, there’s a couch in our hallway (which means you have to climb over it to get past), rolls of used carpeting in our backyard (which the dog seems to enjoy munching on), bookcases in the kitchen, and piles of all that worthless stuff in the garage.

Which leaves us with two large, bare rooms to work on (which was the whole idea), but an additional problem. Because there's something about staring at bare walls (and your couch squished into the hallway) that makes you think that while you're at it, maybe you should invest in a new couch. And new lighting while you're at it. And a better office desk, which will match the new hardwood.

And so I retreated to the kitchen to escape all the shortcomings of the living, family and dining rooms, but I'm suddenly reminded that the cabinetry there looks just as 'loved' as the family room walls, and that we're in need of new counter tops. On a more manageable scale,  my food processor died last spring (had I cooked even once this summer, I'd have remembered this earlier) and I'm reminded that I really want this new one.

It's like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, the home improvement edition. And it ain't cheap.

Which brings me back to the issue of stuff: what do you think I can get for a partially warped travel-sized Battleship game? A lamp with a leaf-patterned shade I bought in the late '90s? A very cute and only slightly bent wicker basket? Nothing at all? That's what I thought.

I guess this is why Craigslist was invented.
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