Monday, January 21, 2013

This Wasn't Supposed to Be My Bookshelf

        I used to think I wanted to marry wealthy.

        I mean… right?!

        Then I could fulfill my true Cinderella, rags-to-riches, orphan-to-princess calling.
     
        I haven’t completely nailed down all the details just yet, but there’s obviously a prince involved, as well as something about me winning him over with my sharp wit and bravery (there’s probably a broadsword involved, ‘cause I’m certified to fight with one of those) and definitely a song about How the Other Half Lives, where I drag him around town and show him how you can haul bookshelves into your apartment, right off the side of the road…

        Oh and there’d absolutely be some riding off into the sunset on horseback.

        No but really: I’d drag him outside Every. Day. to ride off into the sunset, while the six designated palace staffers looked on, as our obligatory audience.

        (Dear Mom and Dad: you’re both gems. You gave me the world. I wasn’t raised as an orphan or a peasant, but sometimes (ESPECIALLY OUT HERE IN INIQUITOUS HOLLYWOOD) I have to take on a persona and embellish details, in order to entertain the people. Just think of it like that joke of a clay Nativity set that I made in third grade that looked more like a clay zoo, but you had to pretend it was good, in order to “encourage me” to “pursue my art.” I’M PURSUING MY ART, HERE.)

But, alas… I don’t know that an avaricious marriage would be the wisest move.

“Wisest move” for me, or for the lucky guy.

        Because, you see: even if I married a rock star who got paid to destroy bookshelves, I just don’t think that I could ever fully embrace the kind of lifestyle begat by such a salary.

        Wait, back up for a minute. Let’s be real: If I married any kind of vocalist, he’d have to be in the leagues of a composer, or something of the like – a realm of music about which I knew very little, otherwise… Well, I’d spend most of my time trying to prove that I was better than he was.

        If he were the love child of Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Jan Kaczmarek, I could just sit back and marvel at his genius. But if he were a pop star, I’d probably develop a reality TV show about our lives, that was secretly a competition to let the American public decide who had a better voice.

OH, THERE IT IS AND I’M NOT ASHAMED OF IT.

(But no, Joey Barriero, I won’t marry you. I just won’t do it.)


Even though, let’s be real: our marriage would probably look something more like this…


(Helloooooo I’m referencing the fact that Catherine Zeta- Jones’ character does an epic sword-fight scene – don’t get mad that I compared you to Antonio Bandaras.)

        THE BOOKSHELF. I was talking about getting paid for bookshelf destruction.
        So here’s the problem: upon marriage (don’t make me talk about Josef Stalin again; don’t) I’d probably have to give up my street shopping ways, for a more “civilized” pursuit of furniture.

        I can just see it now, Grace and the (incredibly good looking, incredibly straight) spawn of John Williams and Hans Zimmer, in the car on their way to the umpteenth awards ceremony of the season, when Grace calls out, “Jeeves, STOP THIS CAR!” (The driver’s name is Jeeves, don’t ask questions.)

Spawn: What is it this time? A dead goat or a mangled bathtub? Because we already have three of each, due to your little roadside stops. I was so displeased to see that People Magazine moved forward with their publication of that picture of you at the Globes last week, in that gorgeous Ethan Samuel number, that was steeped in mud because you insisted on hauling that unfortunate looking Lazy Susan out of a ditch on our way. Jeeves, drive on.
Grace: THAT WAS A GREAT LAZY SUSAN AND NOW I CAN ROTATE MY BAGELS, COOKIES AND POPTARTS AROUND IN THE MORNING, AT ONE FELL SWOOP. Jeeves, please stop the car. Don’t you like that dining room buffet I found for you last month?
Jeeves: Yes, madam, but I do in fact have six of them now, thanks to you. And seeing that your husband is footing my paycheck, I am legally obligated to keep driving.
Grace: But what about that carpeted cat furniture set that I found for Mr. Whiskers, that was just the right size for your living room? ? Pull over!!
Jeeves: Unfortunately Madam, Mr. Whiskers was one of your street discoveries, as well… I never asked for a cat in the first place.
Grace: Street discovery or street RECOVERY?! I rehabilitated that thing. And it was such a comfort to you, when you were so melancholy…
Jeeves: But if you remember, Madam, what were initially observed as symptoms of depression and melancholy turned out to be sluggishness and forgetfulness from the asbestos in the dresser that you forced upon me.
Spawn: You know Jeeves, I’m no fortune teller, but I foresee someone getting a Christmas bonus very early this year…

…Is it bad that I referred to him as “Spawn”? Only time will tell.
(See that reference to Ethan Samuel? See what I did there?)

In case you were worried about this story having a moral:
I hauled a bookshelf into our apartment from the streets the other day.

        And yes, I say “the streets” like I'm Channing Tatum in Step Up, and I don’t see it as misleading, because said bookshelf was literally in the back of an alley.

        Looking back, I’m not even entirely sure how I got it into (Carolyn’s) car by myself, but I just couldn’t bring myself to talk her into schlepping along on another one of my (questionable) furniture junkets.

        I’m mostly glad that no one saw me. Not because I was doing anything shady, but because it always makes for such an unfortunate social situation. Obviously one does not merely saunter around, seeking situations in which they might lend a hand (Well, maybe the Spawn does… Then again: he probably pays people to do that…) so if they offer to help you out, it’s because they’ve stopped whatever they’re doing. Which is great. But I don’t wanna make anyone stop what they’re doing to help me lift a bookshelf (that may or may not have been sitting in dog crap) into the car.
Because even though this place is filled with Yankees and Hippies, it’s not like one can casually pass me by and nod politely before continuing on: there is nothing about Grace getting a bookshelf into a car that is “easy.” And it certainly doesn't look that way, so if someone passed me by, they’d probably feel compelled to offer help.
        Even if I turn said down said offer of help, in these situations, I apparently look so pathetic that the poor bystander is beyond obligated to essay their assistance. (Alright, ok fine, I admit: maybe this wasn't my first time lugging something off of the street by myself.)
        And then, this means that while we’re both grunting in an effort to shove the thing in the car, I’ll feel pressured to offer some kind- any kind of disclaimer, to insist that I’m not a Street Rat.
        And for those of you who have yet to get a bookshelf in a car, there’s not a big window of time to successfully spit out the entirety of that disclaimer, even when you’re as brief as a one Grace Douglas.

        (I’m lying about that last line. I’m not at all brief, which makes the whole Street Rat Disclaimer IMPOSSIBLE to deliver)

        Fortunately, none of that happened, (but it could have, ok?) and I got the sucker home without incident. And while our nation did avoid a recent fiscal cliff, and while I’m sure Spawn has a vast collection of cleaning solutions underneath his sink, the best thing I could find to disinfect the Dog Crap Bookshelf was... Lysol 360 Degree Toilet cleaner. So yeah, you could say I worked at dousing all 360 degrees of the bookshelf with germicides:


Whatever. Germs are germs. Disinfectants are disinfectants. (All 360 degrees of them).

        After scraping off the dog crap and hauling it inside, (trust me: it was clean and sanitary) I was then faced with the task of painting the DCB (Dog Crap Bookshelf). After all, it probably felt pretty shabby next to our snazzy entertainment center, especially when it had streaked paint, like so:


        Somehow - SOMEHOW, I had (a tiny bit of) black acrylic craft paint. I have absolutely no idea where this came from. Seriously, the possibilities are endless. Yet from the dark recesses of a forgotten corner in a long-deserted closet, I had paint.

But not that much of it.

So what did I do? MIXED IT WITH MOD-PODGE, OF COURSE!


        I do not pretend to possess an ounce of knowledge of anything that would have actually backed up this theory, but what’s the worst that could happen, trying to extend the life of some old paint, with a formula that is also used for sealing/top coat?

What’s the worst that could happen? Um, this:


I’m just kidding.

Kind of.

        Fortunately it turned out to be clear when it dried, which I actually found kind of shocking and almost disappointing: that my craft-genius turned out to be accurate and made for a very… average-looking bookshelf.  

And to that, ladies and gentlemen, I say:

Dearest Spawn,
        You can take my fecal encrusted furniture, and you can take my ill-perceived (although well-intentioned) back alley misadventures, BUT YOU CANNOT TAKE MY MOD-PODGE.


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