Well, on the bright side, when (if) I ever do live in a real house one day… it will be immaculate. The attention to detail will be incredible. So incredible that every square inch of the house will be maximized to the most efficient layout possible: it will truly be a palace of easy living.
Yes, it would be great if this were the case because I’m a Pinterest guru, and happen to be shrewd enough to make anything that I see in a picture into a reality (now that I think about it, maybe that’s my aversion to Pinterest: I know that there’s never a way to make it look EXACTLY like the picture, and the whole thing is just too upsetting, and therefore I must construct my own ideas because a) unlike Pinterest, a mental picture is ALWAYS available for editing and b) IF NO ONE SEES MY MENTAL PICTURE, THEY CANT JUDGE THE OUTCOME, LIKE THEY CAN OTHERWISE JUDGE IT WHEN THEY'VE SEEN THE PINTEREST PICTURE.)
It would also be great if my Palace of Easy Living were due to the fact that I married Bob the Builder (yes, forgive my Southern upbringing, and yaaaay independent women, but I’m not going to own a house without a husband. I’m just not. I don’t see the point. Sorry I’m not sorry about it…) So if I were to marry Bob the Builder, perhaps he would be the genius behind the efficient layout of our home (and when I say “efficient layout” – HEAVENS NO, I don’t mean that it will be run on sunshine and green energy, I mean things like: there will be a counter in the laundry room that will be a little lower than waist-high, so you don’t have to awkwardly bend over to retrieve garments out of the laundry basket, or to distribute the folded garments into organized piles, like you have to do when you're folding and sorting on a couch –
I AM A SULTAN OF EFFICIENCY, DON’T JUDGE ME.)
But you and I both know… I’m no Pinterest Guru, nor am I going to marry Bob the Builder. Now to an assertion like this, my Darling Mother would insist, “Now you don’t know that, sweetie…” To which I can’t help but reply, “Ma. It’s not like I’m saying I’m gonna be settling if I don’t find me a sturdy Bob-the-Builder-type, but I just don’t see it in the cards for me to hitch my wagon to a strapping young man with a vast collection of drill bits…”
Bob the Builder and Sage Pinterest-ing aside, the reason that I will ultimately abide in a Palace of Easy Living is because I’m neurotic enough to adjust my surroundings according to the Easiest Living possible, all while adhering to the CHEAPEST WAY POSSIBLE.
That is to say: I've hauled more crap into this apartment off of the streets, than most people even see on the streets in a lifetime. (Ok yes, I do draw the line somewhere, and don’t go hauling mattresses in, off the streets – although there is a good story about how I got my mattress…)
Remember the part about my father being a thrifty Eagle Scout?
I guess I should dedicate this whole series to him, really. He taught me practically every cheap trick I know. (No, not “cheap” as in “cheating people,” but as in: THE MAN KNOWS HOW TO SAVE A PENNY, ANYWHERE, ANYTIME.) When I try and promote my blog to him, he often dramatically insists, “I can’t read it. It’s too depressing and I lose sleep.” He says this because he happened to read an entry where I talked about being loathe to spend money on groceries. DAD, WHERE DO YOU THINK THAT HABIT CAME FROM?
And when I say “thrifty,” I don’t mean I was deprived. I didn't want for much as a child... unless you count having cable in the house, or taking trips to DisneyWorld, which now that I’m on my own, I’m absolutely horrified by the thought of paying for either of those things, so I guess you win that one, Dad. But “thrifty” is to say that the song of my childhood was sung to the tune of “You kids bring some snacks to the movies. Dad’s not paying for popcorn,” or “What do you want in your lunch tomorrow? Yes that’s right, we’re packing our own lunches on this roadtrip. Dad’s not paying for Stinky Burgers at Krystal.” (Yes, he does actually refer to himself in third person, frequently.)
And when I say Eagle Scout, I mean things like this:
He was gracious enough to drive home from Miami with me, to get my car back to Nashville, two years ago, and this picture was taken on the trip home. That’s a Wendy’s bag in his left hand, housing a baked potato. In his right hand, would be rosemary, intended to season said potato, that he plucked straight off a plant, outside the Hampton Inn. (Why the Hampton Inn in Savannah, Georgia had a rosemary bush in its midst, I do not know.)
This isn't to say that I have a wild rosemary bush growing in my room, but it is to say that the man has taught me a few tricks of shrewd ingenuity.
So frugality + innovation + frugality + (did I mention I don’t have a husband to help with ANY of this?) = an apartment that has been very creatively furnished.
There’s a phenomenon in Los Angeles called “Street Shopping,” where people just dump their furniture on the side of the road when they have no more use for it – TALK ABOUT ONE MAN’S TRASH BEING ANOTHER MAN’S TREASURE, cause I will pounce on that shiz.
For the sake of time, I will now share the furniture whose story of obtainment is the shortest:
That bookshelf is one of the only pieces of furniture I've actually paid for – I found it at Goodwill for $40.00.
BUT IT WAS BLUE TAG WEEK, SO EVERYTHING WITH A BLUE TAG WAS 50% OFF.
I walked outta there, having surrendered only ONE Andy Jackson.
A strapping young fellow named Liam helped me load it into Carolyn’s car, (she has a Ford Escape, which has been much more accommodating on our furniture jaunts than Shelley would be) but then when it came time to secure the trunk over it, he started helplessly raising his hands and backing away, muttering things like, “cannot help you.”
Liam didn't speak very much English, so our exchange was difficult at first when I said, “OH YOU MEAN YOU DON’T WANT TO BE LIABLE IF YOU HELP ME SECURE IT AND SOMETHING GOES AWRY?” At his blank stare, I may or may not have gestured to tying down the trunk and then made the universal sign for handcuffs… He understood the handcuff gesture and nodded vigorously.
“WELL WHAT IF I VOCALLY ABSOLVE YOU FROM ANY GUILT? MY BROTHER IS A LAWYER, THIS IS A TOTALLY VIABLE OPTION…”
(Ok wait, first of all – the allCaps are a lie: I wasn't speaking to him like he was seven and hearing impaired. And secondly, Davey isn't a lawyer… YET! But thirdly, is it a viable option if there’s a preemptive vocal absolution? I guess Liam will never know…)
His eyes got wide at my use of the word “guilt,” and he continued backing away so I played the only card I had left: I started untying my shoe, to indicate that should he leave me there alone, I would tie that sucker off with my own shoelace and he’d really be legally responsible, for leaving me to fend for myself, when the bookshelf flew out of the car and hit Ben Affleck’s Land Rover.
At my Shoelace Trump Card, Liam launched into action and helped me securely tie the trunk down on top of the bookshelf.
Don’t worry, Dad: his sudden decision to help was not because he thought my Shoelace Dancemove was an offering of less-than-noble compensation for his aid, because as soon as I reached for my Nikes, he bolted inside to find some legitimate rope, to stand between my bookshelf and Ben Affleck’s fender.
Now that sensible Ikea desk in the picture was a Street Shopping Find. My roommate Sam texted me one morning, telling me that there were a few pieces of furniture in the yard across from her office, and Carolyn and I jumped in the car to fetch the desk before it turned into a pumpkin.
It was kind of long. So we had to move the seats forward a little. And by “a little,” I mean THIS:
Special thanks to: Carolyn, Liam, and my Phantom Husband, who could have solved all of this with a single phone call. (Oh, did I neglect to mention that he’s going to be fabulously wealthy?)