The Just Say Nope To Taupe Project

Twelve years ago we had our house built.  Today we both agree that the floor plan is great for us.  It’s a transitional style home, so we have rooms that are traditional and we have rooms that are contemporary.  The rooms are juxtaposed in such a way as to create an interesting, non-cookie cutter feel to the house which adds a fun energy to the place.

But I never really liked how the inside of this house looked.  We worked with the builder’s interior designer and I’m not sure that she knew what she was doing.  She gave us pinky beige and taupe walls– with dark cherry cabinets, creamy tile, yellowish bathroom counters– and shiny brass knobs and door handles everywhere.  I trusted her, but either she put the wrong neutrals together because she was stupid.  Or she put the wrong neutrals together because she was malicious.  [We refused to go with her first design plan for our house: purple walls, leopard print, shiny brass with beveled glass light fixtures, and black counters.  Really.  Not kidding.]

So for eight years we lived with what we paid for.  I tried to correct a few of the rooms but ended up with a so-so look in each space.  It bummed me that things never looked right and Zen-Den, who has a good eye for decorating, was too busy at work to focus on how to fix things here at home.

Then four years ago, in what I can only describe as a burst of peri-menopausal bravado, I announced that: “If I’m going through the change, so is the house.”  Zen-Den, bless his heart, said: “okay.”  And with that, we set out on what has come to be known as The Just Say Nope To Taupe Project.

Since then it’s been almost non-stop change.  We’ve kept the furniture and accessories that we both liked– and sold, Goodwilled, or St. Vincent de Pauled the rest.  [A few antiques still need to be sold to a dealer.]  We’ve painted or had someone else paint almost all the walls and ceilings and trim in the whole house.  [One room to go.]  The kitchen has been entirely remodeled and the master bathroom has been refreshed.  And now we’re to the point where we’re slowly removing the old wall-to-wall carpet and putting wood floors downstairs/new carpeting upstairs.

While I did have a pretty good idea of how much money it was going to cost to redo everything, I didn’t have any idea of how much clutter this project was going to generate.  At some point in the last four years every room in our home has undergone some sort of change– which has created various degrees of chaos caused by stuff shifting back and forth between rooms and the basement.  Zen-Den has taken this process in stride.  Me, perhaps, not so much.

I’m glad that we decided to do this whole house overhaul instead of moving, but I won’t lie and say that it’s been a fun project.  It’s been very anxiety inducing for me, an English major turned self-taught interior designer, to make all these color and style choices.  Obviously, improving a house while property values are dropping across the country is a bit of a worry, too.  I doubt that we’ll ever get our money back from The Just Say Nope To Taupe Project.  But I don’t know that I really care about that.

What I do care about is the fact that we have a home with a cohesive color scheme, comfortable furniture, and a sense of our quirky personalities— three things that were lacking previously.  We’re relaxed when we’re at home now.  It’s our house fixed up the way we like it.  And we both feel like we belong here– finally.

How To Make Me Snarl

[First, here’s “why” I’m talking about this.]

I introduce this topic today because:

  1. It makes me irritable and therefore is rant-worthy;
  2. No one I know irl can figure out what to do about the sort of rudeness I will describe below;  and
  3. I’m hearing about more and more adults who are changing their first names.  So even if you haven’t experienced firsthand what I’m talking about here, I’m betting that sometime soon you will.

[This is not the snarl part.]

A few of my friends have changed their first names.  Some have adopted a different version of their childhood name e.g. Kathy became Katie.  Others have tweaked their childhood name e.g. Sandy became Sondy.  While others have changed their names completely e.g. Joyce became Suzy.

[Still not the snarl part.]

I’m always happy to use whatever name a friend wants me to use.  I figure that he or she has good reasons for changing his or her name, and I can’t imagine being so rude to someone as to not respect what he or she wants to be called.

[This is the beginning of the snarl part.]

But I’ve noticed that not everyone I know is as gracious about name changes as I am.  In fact, on a few occasions I’ve been shocked when someone I know insists that he or she doesn’t have to adopt a friend’ s new name because he or she knew this person before the name change.  Therefore, he or she is exempt from cooperating.

I’ve come to think of these uncooperative sorts of people as the louts.

[Full snarl here.]

Obviously, this behavior is insulting to the name changer, but it is also awkward for those of us who know both the name changer and the uncooperative lout.  While I understand that there is a power play going on here, I can’t figure out what the end game is.  Is the lout trying to undermine the name changer?  Or is the lout trying to punish those of us who cooperative with the name changer?  Or is the lout so obtuse that he or she really doesn’t understand how irritating his or her behavior truly is?

[And finally, I conclude.]

I realize that lack of courtesy is an epidemic in our world.  And I also realize that I cannot change people (nor do I want to).  But this situation has made me more aware of how fragile personal relationships are.  And how nonchalantly some people I know will throw them away when asked to bend just a little bit.

Can you blame me when I say that I have an overwhelming urge to snarl?

It Is Still Raining Here

“April is the cruelest month.”  ~ T. S. Eliot, “The Wasteland”

I’m sick of the rain.  We’ve had wet weather here almost every day since mid-March.  In fact, in April we had 3x our normal rainfall, making this past April the second wettest on record.

[Oh joy.]

  • At this point, I can’t stand looking at the rain:  boring raindrops descending from gray skies that never go away.
  • I can’t stand hearing the sound of the rain pounding on the roof all night: *plop, plop… plop… splat* over and over again.
  • I can’t stand driving the car in the rain: *swish, swish* {sound of windshield wipers} *splash. splash. splash* {driving through a puddle}
  • I can’t stand walking in the rain: wet feet, muddy shoes/ cold ankles, soggy pants bottoms.

I’ve been a trooper about this lousy weather.  Really, I have.  I’ve looked on the bright side and been understanding about the fickle nature of spring.

[Spring: the passive-aggressive season.]

  • Yes, yes– I know that we had a drought last summer/autumn and that this rainfall is wonderful for the trees and grass.
  • Yes, yes– I get it that the early farm crops are thriving and this pleases some farmers.
  • Yes, yes– I’m delighted that because of the plethora of worms available, the birds are so healthy and happy this spring.  Bully for them.

But the reality is that after a very long winter I’ve endured almost two extra months of cabin fever, unable to go for long walks– or to putter in the garden– or to enjoy cook-outs on the deck.  I’ve been cooperative.  I’ve put up with this weather nonsense without much complaint.

And what have I got for all my goodness?  More fricking rain.  Predicted through the weekend.  Maybe into next week.

[And my life remains on hold.]

Twitter Me This

First I wrote this.

For smirks and giggles I started a Twitter account last week.  And to date, I am underwhelmed.

I can see that if you have family and friends who are on Twitter, you could have a fun time staying in touch and sharing info that is of interest to your group.  I don’t have any family and friends on Twitter that I know of.

I can see that if you were a fan of some celebrity, then it might be fun to see what this person had to say.  I am not a big enough fan of any celebrity to care about their day-to-day thoughts and actions.

I can see that if you had a smart phone and were in a boring real-life situation– at the doc’s office– on the bus riding home from work– waiting at the airport– visiting a crazy old relative whose politics were the opposite of yours– it could be a blessing to have to check your Twitter account.  But my phone isn’t smart, so I don’t have that option.

I can see that if you had no access to the internet via a desk or laptop computer, then a Twitter account could give you a fast RSS-style service that would keep you up-to-date on your favorite topics, websites, mags, and newspapers.  But I am very fortunate and have both a desk and a laptop computer with internet connection that are available to me at any time.

So, what am I missing about Twitter?  Is there something there to hook my interest so that I might begin to smirk and giggle as I had hoped that I would?  Or is it as pointless as it seems to me?

Then I did some research and found this information.

Twitter Looks Chaotic: Don’t Be Afraid“But behind the churn of news and trivia there’s a remarkable depth of knowledge and opinion.”

Twitter Tweets Some Big Q1 Stats“Twitter is now seeing 155 million tweets a day.”

Twitter in Plain EnglishReal life happens between blog posts and emails.”

Now I am left really wondering.

So I’ll ask you, gentle readers? Do you twitter and tweet?  And if so, what do you get from the experience?  Explain Twitter to me.  Please.

This & That

{april – monday – morning}

It’s Get To Know Your Neighbor’s Trash Day in our suburb this morning.

Monday is trash day here and most neighbors put their trash by the curb on Sunday night.  Last night we had high winds that blew everyone’s trash around the yards and into the street.  So far no one has been a slug about picking up the mess in front of their property.  Yeah!

However, every once in a while we have someone who moves here and refuses to pick up any trash but their own.  We don’t like those sort of people.  They don’t last long here in Mom Trails.  [That’s my nickname for this subdivision.]

Word of the day is slabjacking. I love saying it.  *slabjacking*

It means that our front sidewalk will be “magically” lifted from underneath to make the sidewalk level again and connect with the bottom of the front stoop.  This requires specialized equipment and the expertise of a concrete company.  *slabjacking*

Currently the front sidewalk is uneven and sinking to the right which is dangerous and ugly.  When the company finishes this repair, we will have a level sidewalk and everything will look almost like new.  *slabjacking*

I’m allergic to April.

My allergist refers to my particular allergies as “rose fever.”  I’d be a darned bit less snarly about these allergies if there were some roses on the bushes now.  But the bushes around here are all thorny and dormant with no flowers on them.

I asked my allergist about this obvious discrepancy between reality [no roses in sight] and his term for my malady [clearly based on the concept of roses causing something].  He just laughed, said it was an old-fashioned term, and kept on telling me what to do to relieve my itchy, bitchy, twitchy-ness.  Nothing like modern medicine, eh?

A Weekend In Las Vegas

Last weekend Zen-Den and I went to Las Vegas, a four-hour direct flight from here.  He was going there for work, so I decided to tag along for a 48 hour getaway because I thought that it would be entertaining.  And it was… sort of… in a “well, I guess this is better than sitting home alone” kind of way. Here’s my take on our trip.

The Good: Where We Stayed

Having been to Las Vegas many times before we wanted to see what it’d be like to stay in a non-gaming hotel, so we stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel.  [Not quite as pricey as you might think when booked together with airfare on Travelocity.]  The hotel was clean and quiet and stylish and refined– which was in complete contrast to the smoky and noisy and tacky and loud casinos.  I liked going back to the stillness of our room after the chaos of The Strip.  Very yin and yang.  This was a wonderful choice for us.

The Bad:  Meals.  Shopping.  Shows.

Meals in the restaurants were okay, but very expensive.  Drinks weren’t cheap, either.  Shopping was either high-end designer shops, or the “same-old, same-old” mall stores available all across the USA.  The shows were stale.  Many had been there for years and we’d seen them before;  or they were just another one of those “Cirque du Soleil” shows that all seem the same to me.  Overall, there was nothing special for us about the meals/shopping/shows, so we spent more time in the casinos playing penny slots– which got kind of old.

The Ugly:  Transportation

Getting around on The Strip was slow and difficult.  We didn’t have a car so we walked, used public transportation or grabbed a cab.  Many of the escalators and moving sidewalks were broken.  [I’m looking at you, Excaliber.]  Alternate stairways were dirty.  [Shame on you, Imperial Palace.]  The monorail service was available but it wasn’t easy to find– and inexplicably, it no longer had a stop at the Convention Center.  Tram service between casinos was arbitrary.  [A few signs, clearly posted, with the hours of tram service would be nice, Mandalay Bay.]  Taxis, while plentiful, were painfully slow driving up and down The Strip.   We spent more time getting around Las Vegas than we wanted to and this made us cranky, tired, and not thinking happy thoughts.

In Conclusion:

I used to like Las Vegas because it was so unique and happening, but now it seems like it’s trying too hard– desperate– out-of-touch with the times.  In a world with legalized gambling in 49 states — the ability to have any show delivered to my living room via Netflix — and online shopping, there’s little reason for me to go there anymore.  Sure, we had a good enough time.  But in the future when given the option to go to Las Vegas for a personal vacation, I’m going to pass.  Too much hassle, not enough fun.

[Image above of the Iconic Las Vegas Sign from here.]

[Hello FTC!  So we meet again. Just to be clear, this is only my opinion about my experiences.  I’ve received no money or other compensation for this review. Are we good, FTC?]