Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My house in the Spring

I love my house in the Spring.  The people before us were nice enough to invest in a shitload of landscaping, and I guess maintained the lawn like it was their job.  A lot of people feel that way. Unfortunately for our neighbors, we don't.  I love our blooming trees and bushes and porch, but most of all, I value the natural exhaust system the open windows provide in my outdated kitchen.  That emeffer heats up like a boiler room, three seasons a year.  I look forward to the Spring, like Scarlett, my dog, looks forward to the "treat sandwiches" my four-year-old makes her.  I live with a lot of shit other people would have fixed ages ago, instead of say, doing their basement, and it would be even more rural around here, if my father-in-law didn't care so much about appearances, and our overall quality of life.

We bought this house with the intention of renovating it in "stages", but now it seems all we do is put out little fires everywhere because our charming, outdated "cottage like" home is falling apart around us.  I don't mind it that much, because I see the house as a reflection of myself, and I am kind of a mess, but in a refreshing way, I hope.  If "refreshing" is the new synonym for "lazy," I mean.

Our favorite way of coping with any of these small interferences with our daily lives, is with the "bandaid approach."  We figure out, along with my father-in-law, Ken, what will cost the least amount of money, and use up the maximum amount of Ken's time. The man is a SAINT.  I call him, before I call Brad, if anything goes wrong with the house.  He is the anti-Brad, in terms of superheroes that are handy.  He keeps a running tab of all of the things he buys for the house, and then presents us with the bill, if we ever are stupid enough to disclose a windfall we recently had, like a tax refund, or an inheritance.

One of my favorite stories about Ken is when we first moved into this house, and I went to the annual Christmas "progressive party" that year.  (Don't worry, haters, I don't mean Democratic, I mean a party that involves several houses on our street.) I usually have to go alone to this, because Brad tends to travel at least two weeks out of December every year. It is great, because it is yet another opportunity for me to make an ass of myself, without anyone there to reel me in.  The bonus is, that there is not anyone there the next morning to recant my behavior in the morning, either, so it is one of those yin-yang experiences in life.  

Anyway, I am brand spankin' new to the neighborhood, and a neighbor walks up to me and introduces himself.

"Wow!  Your husband is really handy.  I mean, he is ALWAYS working on that house."

"I'm sorry, What did you just say?"  I was trying to absorb what he was talking about.

"I said, your husband, it must be really great to have him around the house.  I mean, he is always up on ladders, cleaning out gutters and mulching.  Has he been painting the house, too?  I thought I saw him painting the other day."  He has started to raise his voice as if I have a visible hearing device, or something.

"You must be mistaking me for someone else,"  I am miffed.  I am also buzzed.

"You live on the corner, right?  The house with the black lab?"

"Yea," my wheels are beginning to turn.  I nearly spit out my drink, "Oh, my GAWD.  Do you mean, Ken, my father-in-law?"  I burst out laughing.  The neighbor's face is turning red, but I don't care.  It's his own damn fault for being presumptuous. "You must think I have quite the Sugar Daddy!  I have two young kids, TOO!  Hilarious."  For once, I was not the one who had to live something down on my street for all of eternity.  Yea for me.   (Side note:  He has since moved away.  I am not nearly that brave.)  

I see my house a metaphor for my aging body and face.  There are certain things I do to maintain myself, but not too much, because I do not want the hassle, and don't want to make the time - and there is always the money.  The finished basement represents my regular pedicures and my died blond hair.  I am not psychotic about this maintenance, but I go fairly regularly, just like I keep the basement up for the most part.

The deck is maintained like I maintain my body.  I work out regularly, but eat what I think tastes good, and my body reflects this philosophy.  Basically, overall, the backyard and deck look alright, as long as you don't look too closely.   I have to weed the landscaping and bring in my cushions when it rains, but sometimes I let things go and say "F**k it."  I, sometimes, even leave the cushions out when it storms. (I used to be so meticulous about bringing them in, even going so far as to ask the neighbors and babysitters to do it for me, when I was not home.)  I relate this to how I used to always have to have lipstick and lip liner on when I was younger, and now I feel "put together" if I have on tinted lip balm and mascara.  I tend to just get desensitized to it all - meaning the maintenance of my backyard and body.  I think, in general, my face matches my body.  They have aged equally.  The cushions are starting to fade and the pillows aren't as perky as they used to be.  I guess it's because they breastfed three children.  Wait, am I talking about my pillows still?  I am confused. 

Okay, for what it is worth, I love the Nars highlighter. It is the best "beauty secret" I have.  I have it in three colors.  If you notice on, for instance, the Academy Awards, the stars literally slather their faces with highlighter.  Even the dudes.  (Ryan Seacrest is a HUGE violator, natch.)  I use it pretty sparingly.  I can vouch for the colors "Orgasm" for blush; "Luxor", if you are a decendent of "Injuns" like myself, and have a lot of red pigment in your skin; and finally, "Copacabana" for when you have a tan or you are olive-skinned.  I swipe it under the eyes when I am feeling unrested, which is most of the time, and I use it on my eyelids if I am in a hurry to go out, which is almost ALL of the time, in lieu of eyeshadow.  You are instructed by the impossibly young and hip saleslady to use a brush to apply it, but I find swiping it on and rubbing it in, in the best light you can conjure up, to work the best.  It is yet another of my "bandaid" fixes for my aging face.  Try it out.

If you are lucky, sometimes Nordy's or Sephora offers it in a trio package, with three smaller versions.  Let me know how it turns out.  But, listen, I will be sorely disappointed if you beeeaaacchhhes slather it all over your faces and I have to endure your impossibly highlighted faces at Barrington pick up.  Use it sparingly.  I beg you.  We do not live in LA.  I don't care what Cindy Tzagournis says.

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