Saturday, April 26, 2008

Not Exactly the Sanctuary I Had Envisioned

Long, long before I ever had a mortgage, I dreamed of one day having a master bedroom that would inspire rest and romance. It would be our own little hideaway; a place of tranquility we could escape to if only to get a short break from the chaos, pressures, and responsibilities of the outside world. It would be a comfortable, yet luxurious room in which we could slow down, debrief, and you know, do that other stuff that married couples do. I had high expectations for this very important room. Expectations that didn't fully take into account that with three small children it was going to require far more than a perfectly coordinated bedroom set sporting 600 thread count linens to whisk me away to a place of serenity. But hey, that's why they call it a dream.

This brings me to my own little mortifying slice of reality. Veronica came to visit me back in late February. I'm sure someone will correct me if I am wrong, but when someone you sincerely like makes the effort to track you down in your own cul-de-sac, which is entire states away from their cul-de-sac, would not giving them a tour of your home be the courteous thing to do? Particularly if you happen to LIKE your home? Or maybe I alone am under the impression that giving "the tour" is socially appropriate simply because when someone shows me around I think it is bar none the greatest thing ever. But Veronica, despite having seen my lackluster dorm room on a multitude of occasions and not having it affect her opinion of me in the slightest, did not get the grand tour. Worse, she came over not once, but twice, which makes my deliberate breach of etiquette nothing less than a faux pas squared.

Why the curious lapse in decorum, you ask? Because I am horribly embarrased of our cave-like bedroom, that is why. And no matter how much I like the rest of our sunshiny home, I can't give a tour that includes the master bedroom without some explanation as to why it is frozen in a vast decorating abyss when the rest of the house is so bright and cheery. An explanation that could only be, "Well golly, Oprah, I really don't know how I became so house-blind. It just seems that after painting through the dining room, and the living room, and the kitchen, and the playroom, and the downstairs bathroom, and the hall, and the upstairs bathroom, and all three kids' rooms, that I hit a brick wall creatively speaking. I know, I know. I am not living my best life. Could you send Nate over?"

So a couple months ago, Jeff started repeatedly asking when I was going to do something with our room already. Apparently, we are both negatively impacted by its bleakness. And per usual, I have been dragging my feet due to a complete and utter lack of inspiration. But then a few weeks ago, I took a business trip to DC for a week and stayed at the Hotel Rouge. Their moniker, as you can imagine, pretty much tied them to a crimson color scheme, and I am happy to report that their interior decorator did not disappoint. My room looked like this:

My only regret is that I was traveling alone because with the heavy red velvet drapes at the window and the complimentary leopard print robe, it was a room just begging for some hot, fiery passion. But not to worry. After coveting the sexy red drapes for a week, I believe I've finally gotten my creative groove back. So, figuratively speaking, I still scored.

At this juncture, I will bravely expose the shallowest part of my soul and let you view the horse in the corner. And I'm showing it to you for one reason only: because I am going to fix it and later we can pretend this post never happened. I will reclaim my bruised comportment and will from this point onward be able to fearlessly lead tours of our toy-ridden home. Maybe even start charging a fee. But probably not.

Steel yourself against the onslaught of ugliness you are about to behold.

Ah yes, there it is. Really puts the boo in boudoir, doesn't it? Probably would have helped if I would have picked the comforter off the floor, but that wouldn't have been keeping it real and I'm all about flogging myself for your reading pleasure. Here's the thing. While I genuinely admire a neutral palate in the homes of others, in my own home I just can't make them work. I like sunny yellows, restful greens, and invigorating reds. Stimulating colors that make me want to get up and move. So on the very best of days, the color formally known as Pelican Brown only manages to arouse within me a debilitating truckload of ennui. The lassitude is so gripping that I take no pride whatsoever in the space. On most days, I don't even make the bed. (At this moment, my mother is wondering where she went so horribly wrong.)

You'll note the dresser is basically a dumping ground for laundry, stuff that has to be returned, clothes that the kids have grown out of, etc.. I'm just not that motivated to even try because cleaning up the stuff and straightening the bed wouldn't erase all the beige.

Lastly, I present to you the crown jewel of the space. Cast your gaze upon our high-end window treatment.

That sad twin size sheet has been hanging in the window - held up by two tacks - for at least three years. It was preceeded by three unmatched and broken window blinds that were OEM for the house (with the Pelican Brown) when we bought it from the previous owner. So really, this is a slight improvement, except for the undeniable fact that it DOESN'T ACTUALLY COVER THE WINDOW.

I really feel tonight I have come out of the closet. Exposed, but relieved. Now where is my color wheel?

Thursday, April 24, 2008


The 11th Annual Rift Valley Cup is upon us, which means the annual hunt for orange pants has consumed our lives this last week. You see, there is a small but highly influential Dutch contingent that flies in from Holland every year just to attend the event. Orange is the official color of the Dutch soccer team (which is why, Marit, I was surprised to read that you didn't like the orange door on your new house - he, he, he). Anyway, to show his solidarity, not only to the Dutch, but to the University of Tennessee which embraces the exact same disturbing hue, Jeff excitedly pulls out every orange item of clothing he owns and packs it for the trip. This morning he left in this shirt. And some pants, but I was so blinded by the shirt that I cannot confirm the color or style of pants, only that they were not orange.

Between the Volunteers and the Gators, orange shirts are relatively easy to come by. But orange pants are another matter entirely. I believe we can all admit that there is absolutely no good reason anyone should own a pair of orange pants unless that individual happens to reside in a penitentiary. Consequently, it is understandable that no retail estabishment in any surburban mall would carry such an item. Understandable to me, that is. Jeff has to prove it to himself every year. Last year, when his mile walk around Concord Mills was in vain, he actually went as far as to order a pair of pants online from an institutional uniform site.

Fetching, no? These were the right color but were rejected due to their 100% polyester status which inspired questions as to their breathability on the course. Also, I believe, because he was afraid someone would call the cops and they would send the K-9 unit to track him down.

Realizing prison apparel maybe wasn't his best bet, this year Jeff took a different approach to his quest for orange pants.

First he took an old pair of khakis...

Then he made his cousin pose with the Rit dye.

(Okay, I did that, but Cousin Patrick is so accommodating, photogenic, and all around adorable that I just can't help myself. He's single ladies, and he knows about all there is to know about produce. Just to give you the 411.)

Mix it all around with some boiling water and salt. To protect against third degree burns, wear your wife's favorite blue gloves which will heretoforth be destroyed. Fortunately, during this photographic tour, said wife will notice something sitting up in the windowsill and become very distracted by it.

Sip, sip. Slurp, slurp. Strangely, my blue glove loss is not looking nearly as dismal.
And my husband is looking hotter than ever.

Which I'm sure has absolutely nothing to do with the steam coming off the dye bath.

Survey your progess repeatedly. Smile gleefully when you realize it is working. Contemplate embarking on a new career as a fashionista.

Try to forget about the drought as you watch gallons of orange water flow down the drain.

Promise your wife you will never upon never wash your new orange pants with ANYTHING ELSE IN THE HOUSE. They will always be washed ALONE, just like they are right now.

As predicted, the finished product is not only much more breathable in its new cotton blend, but is so versatile it can be worn with almost anything.

Hello Walmart? This is Jeff. Why yes, I'd love to design a clothing line for you.