This past weekend Dave and I decided to dig deep and fix up all the facial deformities our apartment had been suffering from. Since we have lived in our rickety residence longer than a tween Disney star has breathed in the tainted air of the magical kingdom, it was no surprise that it looked a bit long in the molars. Every few years the landlords legally and reluctantly repaint and respond to our requests to fix the many things that have broken or sagged. But in the three and a half years since Otto’s arrival, the last thing we wanted was a tag team of handymen and painters traipsing through out living quarters leaving flecks of putty and footprints of filth in their wake while our wolverine lay sleeping.
Saturday night, after a particularly great gin and tonic, using a gin that I must certainly recommend and forgot to put on my stuff crush list a few days ago, Dave and I got in a heated exchange about the condition of our humble abode. Being a woman on the verge and the one without a steady income in this house of hilarity as well as a chick with a lack of vision in home décor since giving birth (I used to work for a super star interior designer and collect $15 design periodicals like a meth head collects scabs and now look at me and my old throw pillows... pathetic) I felt guilty and bummed and lame and lazy.
Dave was, by no means, implying it was my role to spruce up our pad, like I did back in the days when I gave a shit and redid everything every few weeks instead of figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. He simply put his head back, looked up and suddenly noticed that our walls and ceiling seemed to be imitating the California fault system most famous for causing the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.
Perhaps the strong, earthy gin made his vision ex-ray and exceptional. Maybe the long, lean month that he has lived through had just caught up. Or maybe the light coming from our green, three-dollar, thrift store lamp just happen to fall in a certain, unflattering way on the twelve-foot line racing across our living room, a line that made it seem more than plausible that a Samurai warrior tried to attack us through the roof shingles instead of simply using the front door. Whatever the case was I took his disgust and frustration as a personal attack, like only a premenstrual woman of South American/Unitarian descent could and dramatically wept into my drink.
I too had noticed the complex estuary system that had formed in our apartment and chose to ignore it for longer than I cared to admit. As is, I could barely keep the toys in the bins and the dishes washed and the words written. Somehow I had argued with myself that since we were renters and restless and I was mentally exhausted from motherhood and mood swings the apartment had passed it’s expiration date and not worth the trouble anymore. I poured out the remaining gin and tonic that now tasted like lighter fluid in a rainboot and went to bed defeated by household paint and sloppy scenic design.
The next morning we both woke up at the same moment, looked at each other with Cheshire grins, apologized with crusty hugs and silly sayings and started anew. I walked down the stairs in a bathrobe fit for a ragbag and rearranged all the furniture. I then began a march of madness by cleaning out every drawer, cupboard, corner and crevice using the focus and determination of a Hoarders helper. Dave got out the putty and the paint and gave the whole castle a cosmetic career boost of a thousand cougars and put up all artwork that we had been too busy to nail in during our entire marriage of the minds.
We have a good deal more work to do in our bedroom, the upstairs hallway and around the rusty edges but now the to-do list feels fun and doable, like a sorority girl on spring break before the awkward morning-after walk of shame. This whole silly experience made me realized that I have been so caught up in the day to day minutia of just keeping my head above bathwater and my eyes on the booby prize that I forgot to find the balance and bring it all home. Our hut now actually looks like a home and are hearts are so much hipper.
Now, if only I can perform some mini-miracles inside my disastrous, dresser drawers then life really would be more than just a discounted chemical peel. It would be a complete magical makeover, new nose and all.
Don't let your friends redecorate drunk