I love my little house. It’s just the right size for me and the hairy beasts, Leroy and Sherman. It sits pertly in a great little neighbourhood in an excellent location for resale and rental potential. Great big honking trees line the avenue in front. My bedroom is rich pink, like the belly of a ripe watermelon and my bathroom is drenched in natural light. My wee house is nifty: it’s 850 square feet of the ideal house for me, and I’m grateful that it’s mine.
Here’s the deal, though, I’ve gotten into watching those home and garden renovation shows. You know, the type where a family’s home is less than stellar and the designers show up to save the day. I’m going to get myself into a lot of trouble watching these programs, because they make it seem that a house can be completely and stunningly renovated in an hour, minus time for Huggies and Lady Speed Stick commercials.
Also, according to some of these shows, the dollhouse is a glorified broom closet.
Tonight, I watched a designer knock out a couple of walls, repair the flooring, install larger windows, and make the whole place look like something out of a magazine. The wall directly behind my television separates the kitchen and the living room, and I find myself staring at it wishing I could rip it down and have the “open concept” thing going on. In my mind, it would be a nice little weekend project, after which I could host fabulous dinner parties and have friends over to play Twister where the wall used to be.
These shows are so misleading. They make renovating seem as nonchalant as getting an eyebrow wax: less than pleasant but over quickly and definitely worth it, no coveralls needed. My bathroom renovation is inching slowly toward the finish line. Never mind that the finish line keeps moving, because we’re getting closer overall. When I watch a home renovation show, I lose all perspective about the realities of changing my house. I start formulating and scheming. Sometimes things get way out of hand and I start sketching ideas. I’ve hidden my pencil crayons because I know that if they colours come out, there is no stopping me. It’s for my own good.
The other problem with watching stupid home shows is the guilt factor. I look at these peoples’ homes, where the floors are pristine despite owning seven great danes, and no toys or abandoned laundry or sticky fingerprints are to be seen, despite a set of triplets and half a dozen exchange students. Seriously, it’s like taking a magazine tour. I realize, truly, that it’s all a set-up to make things pretty-pretty for the television audience. That fact doesn’t stop me from feeling like crap about the fact that there are dirty dishes in my sink, a balled up sweater and a partial bag of mini rice cakes on my couch, among considerable other rubble, and the great balls of dog hair that make a scuffling sound as they blow across the floor.
I don’t own any throw pillows. Not even a little one that doesn’t match anything.
I get watching home and garden television, and I start to feel like a horrid homeowner because I don’t have drapes in most of my rooms, and there are little jobs to be done here and there and everywhere around here. I’m bothered, after watching designers work their magic, by the lack of fabulous textiles made of exotic things like llama wool, ostrich leather and carpets made of orangutan toe hairs. I start thinking about all the things I should go buy, right stinkin’ now, to dress the place up a bit more, but then the gaps in my plan become painfully obvious:
gap one: I am currently broke, especially because it’s two days until payday, when I will be “rich” for the roughly 38 hours until my next mortgage payment comes out.
gap two: It’s ten at night and the only thing open is Wal-Mart. Home and Garden television most emphatically does not feature design elements found at Wal-Mart, or any store with “mart” in the title.
gap three: If it’s not too late right now to use power tools, it’s certainly going to be too late by the time I get back from Wal-Mart.
Tonight I made a good decision and turned the channel. I feel much better about myself and about my house now. Problem is, now I’m watching Antiques Roadshow and actively scanning my surroundings for something with surprising hidden value to fund my prospective decor purchases.
Sometimes I really wish I hadn’t cheaped out and cancelled the Cartoon Network.
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