Friday, September 02, 2005

Confessions of an HGTV Addict

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, and then embrace.
-Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

How true this is! Almost eight years ago we moved into our brand-new home. It had plain vanilla walls, cream-colored carpet and for many years it stayed that way. I didn’t really care much to decorate. I remember thinking then, “Why waste all the time and effort?” I guess you could say, as does Mr. Pope, I “hated” decorating. My mother-in-law would come into town and do little things around my home to make it pretty and cozy. I didn’t really think it mattered, but she liked it, so I let her. Decorating was “endured” at this point.

Then the tide really turned. We got satellite TV 3 years ago because we didn’t want to miss any of the winter Olympic sports that were to be broadcast. (Ironically enough the winter Olympics were right HERE so we really didn’t have to miss anything if we would’ve forked out thousands of dollars to go to the events.) With satellite TV I discovered HGTV (Home and Garden Television). Ah, 24 hours a day of non-stop decorating advice. What started out as something hated, became something endured, and then embraced. I am now a decorating addict. What started out as simply a form of entertainment has led to a subscription to Better Homes and Gardens magazine, a purchase of many decorating books and power tools. (For Mother’s Day I asked Paul for a pneumatic nailer. Dang it! I didn’t get it.) I am on fire. I find that a beautiful room makes me feel better. It’s somewhat of a high to be in a room I have “made over”. (That’s lingo for—this room once was disgusting and is now sort of livable.) Ah, the fruits of my labor!

Now I wish I could say that I simply paint a room and buy cute furnishings but this obsession has cost me much more. It has cost me sleep, frustration, money, etc. I think I am Superwoman. After all, if they can do it on TV then surely I can do it too! I have a brain so I can figure things out, right? Let me explain, and then you decide how wacko I really am—

1. I have been obsessed with getting new countertops in my kitchen for at least a year now. I must have been crazy when I chose blue laminate for my counters back in 1997. They were in style then, I think. I have had bids to resurface them (a cheap look) and bids to install Corian (a budget breaker). Financial reality has set in so I decided that we would tile the new countertops ourselves! I have never tiled before but I have a brain right? I can do it! I have been running around town all week buying this and buying that. I lay awake at night and wonder how I am going to polish the edges of the granite tile if I can’t get a hold of a 4” grinder saw. (So I bought one last night.) Who knows how this will turn out? The worst is I drag Paul along on the crazy schemes. I overhead him say to his dad on the phone the other day something about “dragged into.” I can’t imagine what he’s talking about?

2. I resurface furniture too often. The fumes must be affecting me because I find it enjoyable. In the last year I have re-surfaced my dining table, a dresser for my room, and last weekend a little dresser for my 7-year old Nathan to use as a nightstand. Oh and I can’t forget all my kitchen cabinets in their entirety. I sanded, primed and painted for two days straight (14 hour days) last Labor Day.

3. I paint my walls like crazy. In fact, I have painted my kitchen walls 3 times in the last year. I know, that’s embarrassing. My motto is, “Some women paint their nails, I paint my walls.” I tell Paul that he could have a froo-froo wife instead—one who loves to shop weekly at Nordstrom and gets manicures or one who spends that money instead on our house. He says, “Is there a choice?” Ha, ha. Funny guy.

4. I’ve planted 7 trees in the last month. Okay, five are evergreen trees and will someday hedge a view of my neighbor’s yard, but still, who plants trees in August? I am certifiable! I swear I almost got heat stroke the day I did all that. Digging holes in this yard is tantamount to digging through concrete. Smart.

5. I slipcover anything and everything. Oh yes, I have slipcovered 8 major pieces of furniture (two of the couches were my friend’s) in the last 2 years. I buy used furniture at the thrift store and then buy yards and yards of fabric at cheap fabric stores—or else make special pilgrimages to the garment district in downtown Los Angeles to find what I want—“Yes, I would like 25 yards of this brushed twill in beige.” What am I thinking? At the time I did that I had an infant! Who slipcovers giant couches when they have a 6-month old baby? Lots of naptime and nighttime work for this sweat-shop seamstress. Ugh. I think I need medication.

6. Does it get worse? Oh yes. A year and a half ago I decided I wanted to take up carpentry. My dad can do it, so it must be in my genes, right? So I signed up for a night class and attempted to make a blanket chest out of Alder with drawers, decorative panels, etc. The class was a 6-week course. I was so in over my head. It took me 6 months.

7. My kitchen is finished and gorgeous with the granite tiles and “subway” tile backsplash. This is one happy woman. And yes, I drag Paul into these projects but he is so proud of himself for accomplishing such a task. So see? New skills are learned and confidence is built during all these crazy projects. I am naïve when it comes to the time commitment required for these projects. I thought this was a Labor Day weekend project. It turned into a week of frozen meals and sandwiches on paper plates. Never again!

I know I am an addict because I think I could stop at any moment, and yet I realize that I don’t want to. I love this kind of stuff. Gotta go, Divine Design is on.

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