Tales of a Failed Home Decorator.

It all started with a doormat.

I mentioned recently that Kellan and I made the move from our two bedroom apartment to a real adult house. A house that understandably looks rather barren, given the fact that our earthly possessions are comprised primarily of the treasures that independently, we both thought were valuable back in college. The whole scene is utterly idyllic if you need a set for a play that takes place in the Great Depression.

I’ll put it to you this way: the other day, my sweetly sentimental husband informed me that if I suddenly drop dead, there’s pretty much nothing that I brought into our marriage that he’ll want to keep.

What can I say? I married romance.

After we’d finished schlepping our boxes across town, the love of my life and I collapsed in utter exhaustion onto our couch and stared at the bare white walls that we could finally call 11.43% ours. Rubbing his aching temples, Kellan glanced my way and offhandedly mentioned that maybe, we ought to buy a doormat. We do, after all, live in New York, where it snows eleven and a half months out of the year and tell-tale snowy footprints follow friends through front doors.

I beamed. Of course. A doormat! An inconsequential purchase that wouldn’t break the bank, but would serve as a tiny step towards making our little house a home. A warm welcome into the gateway of our messy lives that would introduce us to the waiting world! Dreamy.

I took my doormat mission seriously. I wanted something cute, but not precious. [Is there anything worse than being precious?] Something different. Something that said, Hey, welcome to our home! We’re just tickled that you’re here. Especially if you’re holding a box of Girl Scout Cookies. Less so if you’re holding a Book of Mormon. Please come back when you have Thin Mints.

It wasn’t too much to ask.

I visited the usual cast of characters. Target, Bed, Bath and Beyond and Home Goods all left me hanging—everything was terribly underwhelming. So bland. So tacky. It was as if doormats on shelves everywhere had waved their dirty brown flag of surrender, heaved a collective, heavy sigh of relief and given up for the year. There was nothing worth the twenty dollars in my hot little hand.

Undaunted, I took to the interwebs. After all, we live in a world where you can order your toothpaste online—surely I could find a doormat that didn’t boast “I CAN SEE YOUR UNDERWEAR” in Times New Roman.

Days later, my bloodshot eyes were still scouring pages of doormats as I seriously contemplated the merits of hard drugs. Meanwhile, Kellan kept unhelpfully asking where our doormat was, blithely unaware that I was one more ugly chevron number away from burning our house down to the stakes and screaming Adele songs at our neighbor’s golden retriever.

In an act of utter desperation, I took to Pinterest. Tediously hand-painted, knitted doormats mocked me from my computer screen. Easy as Pie! they taunted, just so long as you’re comfortable breeding Alpacas in your backyard and hand-spinning yarn from the wool. Don’t forget to pick up the dye at your local Hungarian craft store!

Also, learn to knit.

Now, listen. I appreciate a good craft as much as the next woman, just so long as I don’t have to make it. I come from the “Buy it on Etsy and take credit for it” school of thought. I feel like the ability to craft is a part of our genetic makeup. It’s a gift, like being a size 0. And sure, there are things that we can do to help ourselves along, but at a certain point we’re at the mercy of the genes our Mama gave us and a steady supply of red wine. Also, the aforementioned Girl Scout Cookies.

Some women were born to spend their days hot-gluing eleventy-billion dirty acorns onto a Styrofoam ring and decoupaging their wallpaper , and other women are me. We do not own craft boxes. WE BARELY OWN IRONING BOARDS for heaven’s sake. You will not find us baking cakes with ART on the inside or constructing Mason jar chandeliers. You will find our grocery lists hastily scribbled on the backs of wadded up receipts discovered in the depths of dirty purses, not painstakingly lettered in calligraphy onto homemade kitchen chalkboards. There will be no murals of precious woodland creatures hand-painted on our children’s nursery room walls—in fact, if those walls are painted an actual color of the rainbow it’s an enormous victory meriting the pomp and circumstance normally afforded to chubby toddlers taking their first steps because THIS IS OUR BEST WORK.

Something inside my newly-minted homeowner’s mind snapped. Pinterest and the Alpaca doormats had broken my spirit. Defeated, I informed Kellan that if he wanted a decorated house, he was going to have to talk to one of the visiting Mormons about getting me a sister-wife.

[Preferably one that knows how to make Mason jar chandeliers.]

Comments

  1. brilliant piece of writing…

  2. I do hereby apologize for your genes. I had hopes that you would inherit the good genes from one or both of your grandmothers. My mother was the one who worked for two and a half months three to four hour a day making my wedding dress spending more time sewing on the tiny pearls than a perfectly good oyster spent making them. It was flawless. Since her sewing genes skipped me, I thought that maybe, just maybe they would land in your pool. Then there was Grandma who sat around knitting intricate designs in the most beautiful wool sweaters. Alas, you did not inherit HER genes either which isn’t necessarily my fault. The only reason you might pick up a knitting needle is to defend yourself in a seedy neighborhood. So you see, the potential to be a master crafter is there. Deep within you there is an inner crafter, (seated next to your inner child,) who is screaming to be heard. I say to you, tell it to SHUT UP! Those people on ETSY need people like us to buy their calligraphied crap. The global economy depends on us. If we do not purchase their yard art of grandma’s bent over butts OR the pigs that hold a water hose that makes their tails turn in circles thereby evenly watering your yard, we would be responsible for the collapse of the internet and Al Gore might be evicted from his home. Well, Al might be okay. I think he has a second home but you get the point. The world NEEDS people like us. I tried, (as every good mother should,) to guide you towards a life of crafting. You glued macaroni and beans onto plates and made tamborines out of said plates. But the student did not rise above the teacher. We are both relegated to a life of macaroni necklaces and staying away from sharp scissors. Take heart, my dear. In a world where neither of us will ever sew our own underwear or embroider a child’s handsewn diaper, there is still an opportunity for us to be useful to society. We shall go out for high tea, or high coffee, shop till the car can hold no more and giggle with glee at our craftless afternoon knowing full well that the security of the free world depends on us. I feel better now. Don’t you?

  3. Molly Spragins says:

    Amen! Pinterest crafts that say “easy…anyone can do it!” are really just artsy, crafty people mocking the rest of us. Love this post. :)

  4. Veronica says:

    I once received a crafts for toddlers book that said it was easy and done with just things you have around teh house. And then the first one my child picked out to try called for googly eyes and pipe cleaners. wt*?!?!

  5. hahaha i feel your pain, it took us almost 2 years to buy a door mat. no joke, we were using a big scrap of carpet the previous owners left us on move in day. that sounds way more pathetic typed out then it looks i swear. it’s a very symmetrical nice square! and the mat we just got is SO basic, but makes me so much happier. why didn’t we do this sooner? pulling the trigger on home purchases is hard! our front room is still empty. and i have not made anything i’ve pinned on pinterest…ever.

    • That makes me feel a little bit better! I am SO slow to pull the trigger on things…perfection is the enemy of getting anything done around here. ;)

  6. brisan81 says:

    test, is this a way to get a hold of you Ashley? sandee

  7. hahaha this ghetto fab. what’s even more awesome is your mom’s verbose quip ;)

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