This is the spiral staircase edition of DIY from Hell, and it begins with foolish optimism and ends in near divorce.
Let’s start with some background. Here it is. Or, here it was.
When I moved in with my husband, this is what remained of what I’m sure was once a glorious spiral staircase. This one made scary noises. The bottom step was held up by a book, and then by nothing. We added the mustache duct tape after a near fatal experience with our clumsy dog.
It was time to replace the spiral staircase. Riding high from our previous successes in painting and caulking and electrical work, we made a crucial error. We thought: Why not do it ourselves?
Here’s why. All of this is why.
We’re getting ready to put our little condo up for sale, which is kind of sad because summer is approaching and we are mere steps from a lake and a pool and neighbors who can actually outdrink us, but whatever. We’ve become a little too aware of each other’s bathroom activities, and keeping kitchen supplies in the storage unit just isn’t working anymore.
So we’re doing some more home improvement, which is a nightmare.
And I’m stalking Zillow, which is a dream.
I found a house.
It is amazing.
My husband and I figured that if we cashed out our retirement accounts, sold our condo and both our vehicles and everything else we owned, we still couldn’t afford the down payment.
So here’s an idea — what if we all split this place?
OK, so maybe it’s 969,900. But it’s 6,180 square feet, which kind of makes it a steal. Also, it has a bocce court and an outdoor pool with a bar and pool house, and a formal indoor room with what looks to be a bridge. We can operate our business out of this house. We can live our fantasies! We all just need to chip in. Like, 100 people. There have been dumber ideas in the world, right?
Experience the head-exploding awesomeness of this place for yourself.
It’s a subtle shift, really. You don’t even realize it’s happening.
The language changes first: “they” becomes “we.”
It all slips off the cliff from there.
Everything that was annoying — the “O-H” screams, the carefully posed foursome photos, the random “Go Bucks!” greetings from strangers — becomes charming. You buy a red shirt. You buy your dog a red shirt. You know the names of the guy throwing the ball and the guy catching the ball and the guy smashing his flesh against someone else to make it all happen.
I did it, and I’m not sorry. I fully jumped on the Ohio State bandwagon and adopted this university — and the city that barely contains it — as my own. Monday night I watched the Buckeyes nimbly claim the national championship and I felt my heart swell. The next morning I listened to a recap on the radio and fought tears.
Yes, I hate me, too.
But here’s the deal: I have lived in several states, none of which has a team that actually wins. (We’re going to forget about Wisconsin here because that was college and also because we are going to forget about Wisconsin.) I rooted for the Vikings. I tried to support the Bengals. I gave up. I forgot all of football’s rules, and then I guess all the rules changed.
But now I don’t have to be disappointed! I get to see a team — MY TEAM! — win!
And so I’m not ashamed. I’m not doing an O-H-I-O photo, either. But still. Go Bucks. Go sports!
Sigh. Pics to come.
UPDATE: Well, I guess I’ll post a pic, but it turns out dying your hair (badly) is a completely dull and routine mid-life crisis move that does nothing but give the people around you an opportunity to tell you that you’re looking particularly ugly with your hair like that.
I think it’s time to step it up, which means tattoos or piercing or limb removal. My boyfriend suggested I go crazy and dye my hair brown, which I’m going to take as a hint (and promptly ignore, but whatever).
Anyway, sorry to disappoint, but disappointment is the currency here at LEAB (the name of the blog; I have no idea) and so here you go, reddish hair and the sad resignation that we are who we are, no matter how many times we repaint the picture.
It is not enough just to live. It is not enough to be surrounded by four walls and a roof that only leaks a little at the seams and to fall asleep safe with the knowledge that it will take an especially strong boot to kick in the front door and take the Xbox that was worth something three years ago. It’s not enough to have cabinets that hold dishes accumulated over two decades of poor taste. Never mind that those cabinets work. Never mind that someone carefully selected them and assembled them and admired how they glowed there beneath the fluorescent light that beamed like Jesus smiles from the ceiling.
They needed to go. The Internet said so.
I moved in with my boyfriend recently and decided — in a move so uncharacteristic that I retch as I admit this — that I was one of those sledgehammer-wielding HDTV DIY ladies. I could measure things! I could paint! I could replace electric socket covers! I could paint!
I became an interior design expert in days. Which is how I came to decide that the kitchen cabinets just weren’t working. After we’d painted ceilings and walls and bought new lighting and replaced old blinds and said the word “treatments” while referring to windows, I took a look at our tiny kitchen and its butterscotch cabinets and shook my head. No. Something had to be done here.
He gets to stay anonymous. This is not his fault. Behold, the Before.
So I had a dinner party the other day. It was an extravagant event. We served only the finest. Only the finest stuff wrapped in the finest bacon. Stuff in bacon. Behold, and be jealous.
I used to power through a cold. Just load myself up with meds and slog through the workday, conducting interviews where my questions made no sense. I’d simply hit the mute button during a coughing fit. But I am old now. Old people take sick days, and not the fun kind. Old people lay on the couch and pray to die while watching the movies on Netflix that no one actually paid to see in the theater. Old people sweat and groan and find that the refrigerator is miles away.
Old people do sick in the ugliest manner possible. In the dark. In glasses. In the clothes I wore yesterday and never managed to pry off my hacking, infested body. Covered in crumbs.
Let’s hope for a quick recovery. You people deserve better.