Home Improvement By Debster Anna

I should start by explaining that I’m not writing off topic — even though the topic of the week is the supernatural and I’m about to be writing about home improvement. I’m simply pretending that I didn’t notice that the topic du semaine was changed God knows how long back because I feel I have more to offer on the home improvement front.

This is how my most recent experience with home improvement went…

Somehow break out of my obsessive writing mode long enough to notice that the lavender color of my walls doesn’t remotely go with the striped forest green motif I’ve been developing, furniture-wise, for the past few years. Wonder how the hell it’s taken me this long to see the egregiousness of the color clash. Wonder how many people have come in here, observed it, and written me off as color blind or insane or both. Hire a painter to come in and alter the situation at once. Painter starts painting and I start noticing that the pink colored bedroom, which had seemed completely fine back when I was only horrified by the living room, is also thoroughly inappropriate. What am I going to have, pink-and-green colored walls, like some real-life version of the The Preppy Handbook? Painter agrees to also re-do the bedroom, just as I’m noticing how crappy the once-white, now somewhere grey-ish walls of the kitchen look. I book the painter for several more days, during which I realize that the time has come to make those bathroom walls match the coral tile once and for all. Noxious fumes cease to seem noxious, so accustomed am I getting to Cesar returning from the paint store and applying fresh coats.

Now that the walls are looking more appropriate, I begin to obsess over the curtains. Those Pottery Barn ones are not only as ubiquitous as Gap jeans were in the 80s; they also do an atrocious job of shielding me from the light. Actually, the time has come to deal with how incredibly hot my apartment gets in the summer — so I order thermal curtains for the windows as well as for the doorless doorways connecting the living room to the kitchen and hallway so that the up-until-now-unhelpful AC only has to work on cooling one room. Which, once they’re hung, only highlight the need for a whole new lighting system in the living room — not to mention the bedroom, where everything feels like it was purchased at different garage sales and flea markets for the precise reason that it was. It’s time to get a white stereo — black always looked so harsh so close to my antique four-poster bed — and a white CD holder (who cares that I don’t listen to CDs in my bedroom — one day I just might want to) and a nice clock. Every improvement brings with it the need for several more until finally, one day, I realize that the apartment is as nice as it’s ever going to be and what’s more, that clock may be nice but as a child of the digital age, I actually can’t tell time without a concentrated effort if the clock’s not doing it for me. So I get a small digital one at Target, placing it next to its brighter, shinier, less practical model.

No need to worry about if that looks strange; I’ve retreated back into my regular obsessive writer mode, where my walls are my walls, my clock is my clock, my curtains are my curtains and I don’t question or want to change any of it.

Until I break out of obsessive writing mode again and decide that none of it works, anyway.

6 Replies to “Home Improvement By Debster Anna”

  1. “I don’t question or want to change any of it”.
    I would hope NOT after painting the whole place, new curtains, new stereo, new lighting system, and then to top it all off a new clock. I sure hope your book sells well although it might have been cheaper to buy a new place and have the builder do all the work.
    It does sound nice though and hope you enjoy it.

  2. A few weeks ago the UPS man was mentioned, last week there was the Wall man and this week it’s Cesar. How super and natural is human contact for the writing mode? ;o)

  3. I’m all for staying in obsessive writer mode. That’s how I ignore the fact that the fancy pressed tin backsplash I ordered for our kitchen is still in its box (and has been for almost a year now)and our living room walls are a still that horrid pale yellow they were when we moved in.

    Do you think Cesar would travel to Vermont?

  4. For me at least, a well-ordered home is the sign of a writer avoiding her laptop (or an upcoming visit from my Mother). Put the paint chips away and get back to writing! 🙂

  5. I do the same thing. The moment I’m between writing projects, I obsess over my ugly kitchen floor tiles. And the paint job we need. And then there’s the ghastly brass ceiling fixtures. And so on. And so on…

  6. I try not to look too closely these days, or I swear, I’ll go out of my mind! It’s bad enough that I share the same obsession with you for cleaning out my keyboard with air blasts, Q-tips, letter openers, toothpicks … because, really, what if you’re typing away and a letter gets stuck? It would totally interrupt the whole creative process!

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