The other day, Mr. H and I hit on a brilliant plan for cheap entertainment: attending real estate open houses. It’s fall, and these things are on every corner, not unlike dead squirrels. Sure, if we see a really spanky place, we might buy it. That is the endgame of this harebrained scheme. But it’s really about the thrill of the hunt. You can’t beat whiling away a Sunday afternoon by poking your nose in other people’s closets: we saw His n’ Hers Nascar apparel.
Apparently any ol’ body can go to these open house things, which we did not realize. You have to write your name down, but no one’s checking to see if it’s even your real name. You do not have to present a photo of yourself doing the backstroke through your money bin.
And then you roam around, making disparaging remarks about wallpaper borders. The homeowners aren’t there, so what they don’t hear won’t hurt them. It is my personal and frequently-voiced opinion that wallpaper borders should be made illegal, possibly via a rider tacked on to some federal act. We saw a perfect house, but there were two borders in each room. I mentally calculated the time it would take me to steam and scrape off these beautiful harvest scenes, these sailboats and grapevines and bears clutching balloon bouquets. Not worth it! We decided that if we can’t find a suitable makeshift chamber of horrors by the end of the year, we will just buy a crappy one and burn it down for fun.
In further “people really live this way” news, I went to Costco yesterday. It seems purchasing a house requires something called a “down payment,” and this requires “saving money.” So I guess we won’t be eating Komodo dragon carpaccio at every meal anymore. Costco left me with a raging headache, 3,500 Q-tips, and a deep sense of shame and my own mortality. Why, I saw a man up-end a two-gallon jug of barbecue sauce and chug it right in the checkout lane. So this is what we’ve become. Peeping Tom bulk shoppers. Filthy-filthy-can’t-get-clean.
Faustus posted this hilarious link to Lurid Digs, which showcases the decorating inadequacies of amateur gay porn. Needless to say, you may not wish to open this at work, although the first page is tame enough.
These hopeless people and their overstuffed naugahyde couches reminded me of a depressing hobby from a few years back. My pet monster at the time worked for an online personal ad service, and this service allowed users to send in photos to be scanned into their ads, as this was 1998 or so, before all Americans were issued camera phones.
Pictures would trickle in each week, and he would bring them home for me to gleefully rifle through. We’d dive into the envelopes, exclaiming at the backdrops of inflatable furniture, play pens, and bean bag chairs. Didn’t people know they should “stage” their room before taking the picture? At least move that stack of TV Guides and the bottle of spray cheese! It’s the least you could do in your quest to ensnare a new mate. Well, that and wearing a shirt and shoes.
I’d scan these in, rotating and cropping to bring some sense of order to their terrible worlds. I’d zot specks of dandruff and lint, make subtle adjustments to the color balance to improve the complexion, and perhaps even blur crow’s feet here and there. Nothing too unrealistic, but clearly they needed all the help they could get.
At first it was fun to laugh at these people and their hideous draperies and wallpaper borders, the unmitigated squalor in which they lived. The poor choice in attire alone, the missing teeth, the occasional blacked out ex-lover’s face. But every now and then, I’d run across some hollow-eyed old man pictured next to an old woman, and on the back it would say something like “You can crop Gladys out, she has passed away.”
The healing brush in Photoshop is really a misnomer.
The big move is tomorrow. We are wildly unprepared, but that’s the beauty of having movers. If only they’d stay and clean up after us too. Part of me is tempted to just abandon the stuff in storage and live like wolves. We’ll burrow, we’ll chase things, we’ll roll in dead stuff. It’ll be great. Who needs furniture when you have wall-to-wall carpeting?
A flash of peripheral motion caught my eye out the window, and I looked up to see a red-tailed hawk on the ground, bending and bobbing over something. Then it swooped off, clutching the limp dangling body of a squirrel. Stupid squirrel, of course you’re going to show up against white snow. Duh. My mother used to dress my sister and I in bright colors, to avoid hunters, she said, but maybe she was trying to attract hawks.
I owe this nature hour to the backyard of Mr. H’s parents’ house, where we’re still bunking. The evil building management people say our new place will be open for business on February 1, and that the holdup is the state elevator inspection people. I wonder if they have heard the phrase “cross my palm with silver.” It seems to be indicated. I have also heard of a person called a “permit expediter.” Apparently they hand out $100 bills all day at City Hall. Maybe this doesn’t work with a state agency, although I don’t see why it wouldn’t.
Some alert and concerned readers have asked if Lambchop and I are both stark, raving mad. I would have to say we’ve both seen better days, but in many ways no more so than usual. She handles the mania, and I am in charge of ennui. You see, we are a team! We both might fancy a trip to someplace warm, involving umbrella drinks!
Wow. A job AND a place to live. It almost seems like too much to ask. I am going to have the poshest pit in town. (as soon as I can scare up enough dosh to replace the suitcase in which I sleep with an actual bed. Hurray for both large suitcases AND compact women!)
My new room is pink!
Forces conspire against a body- i am skint, I am grateful to work in Siberia, my plate seems always full of something of something tasteless, the weather is very swimming pool-like, and I locked myself out of the house-sit around midnight. There I was, out in the swimming pool night on one side of the door, convulsing, sweating and jerking futilely at the handle, while on the other side a comfortable bed and two attention hungry, squalling cats. Hurray again for compact women (and unlocked kitchen windows)!
Did I mention I am skint? Nary a pot to pee in!
As depressing as one’s bank balance and minimal decorating style may be, I am glad to be in the Americas. My friends have given me money and food and taken me to see awful films. They have listened to me grind my teeth and chew my nails and weep. They have stood by me while i unleashed obscenities at locked doors at midnight. They have made me laugh and gotten me drunk. And most importantly of
all, they have Given Me Money.
Hurray for Amerika!
(tank you very much)