Archive for November, 2008

House-shabby

November 3, 2008

Img_2424_2I’m living in a house we moved into more than 10 years ago. Seven months pregnant at the time, with money too tight to carry two houses for even a week or two to get floors refinished or painting done, we simply said it’s all good enough for now, arranged our existing furniture to fit as best we could, and started unpacking boxes. I did paint the walls a few years later (easy stuff, I ignored the woodwork and ceilings, which are hard). And this past year I repainted a couple of rooms when we moved my office into the “dining room” and gave each kid a private room.

But mostly, nothing has changed since we moved in, except to break. The stove lost a burner, the dishwasher is dead. The area rugs, moved in from our previous house, are shabby; the slipcovers on the couches are faded and starting to tear. The woodwork paint is freckled with chips.

Fixing the kitchen, yeah, that’s hard; we need to do a real remodel, and that’s expensive in terms of cash and time. But the rest of it, the paint, the slipcovers, the rugs—this should be easy to deal with, and it’s certainly not expensive, we’re not talking pricey Oriental carpets here, we’re talking Ikea or Pottery Barn at best.

I’ve made a few attempts at starting the process. I called a painter back in June, thinking I could get the painting done when we were away on summer vacation. And then a family emergency scrambled my summer, and though he called me back, I never followed up on it. I found a place with reasonably priced slipcovers and ordered fabric swatches; I ordered a few carpet samples as well. All it would take is a week or two to put it all together; go through the paint files to identify the colors we want to keep the same, pick out carpets, select a fabric and order slipcovers.

But I can’t even seem to put it on my to do list, already jammed with work deadlines and school deadlines and meetings meetings meetings. We were late turning in the elementary school paperwork (trip permission slips, checks); I’m pushing the deadline for the high school cap and gown order form. There’s so much stuff I have to do, that things that I’d simply like to do aren’t happening.

And while it’d be easy to say, well, just take one step, just order the frickin’ slipcovers, it’s not that easy, because it’s all linked together. If I go with a darker carpet, I’ll want lighter slipcovers, so I should pick out the carpet first; but if I get the carpet and then don’t get around to the the slipcovers, the whole place will look weird. And of course there’s the question of why I’m buying new slipcovers for a couch that I don’t love that much to begin with, but the thought of starting completely from scratch is paralyzing.

So if you come visit me, yeah, I know my house is dump right now, could you just pretend it’s been recently painted, and that the carpet isn’t stained, and that that rip in the arm of the couch that’s patched with duct tape is a design feature? Because unless I figure out a way to give up sleep, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to even attempt to play house beautiful.

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