A Warning Against Impulsiveness

My crazy, anxiety-prone brain is a real jerk sometimes. Throughout our home building process, I've been required to meet with different suppliers one-on-one at least a dozen times and usually do a believable enough job playing the part of competent homeowner. Today, however, I set out on a quest for carpet prices feeling like a meek, pitiful shell of a human, wasting everyone's time and making a fool of myself. There was no reason for it. What's so difficult about asking for a carpet price? I even had a good idea what I wanted for once, so I could skip my usual look of indecisive puzzlement.

My anxiety and I stepped timidly through the door of the flooring shop, my forehead knit with concern. I try to stop myself from doing this. The raised eyebrows don't do me, or my wrinkles, any favors. I've tried Botox to fix this bad habit, but apparently I'm immune to botulism. I even remind myself to relax my face periodically, reaching up both hands and smoothing the grooves between my eyes. I'd barely set both feet inside the store before a loud saleswoman was at my side. Rather than allow me to browse the carpet choices myself, she eagerly brought me from display to display and peppered me with questions. I hated it. It was exactly what I'd needed.

By the time I was ready to leave, that loud saleswoman had stacked 6 different sample boards for me to take home, priced 4 different Mohawk carpets, answered my warranty questions, advised me on the pros and cons of various carpet lengths, and, after complimenting the emerald green of my purse, become my new best friend. I was feeling much better. She disappeared briefly and returned with one more sample board of carpet, which she placed on the countertop. A small spider scurried out from the fibers.

"Oh," she said, taking a step back. "I hope you're not afraid of spiders."

I am, but this was my chance to repay the saleswoman for all the time she'd invested in me. Impulsively, I locked eyes on the spider, barely a dot on the speckled granite, and prepared to strike. I didn't even have anything to smack him with. After the saleswoman had been so kind to me though, my bare hand would just have to do.

Anxiety chimed its ugly voice in again. You'll miss. It'll bite you. There was never even a spider there and now you're going to bang your fist on their counter like a crazy person and probably break your hand and break their counter and everyone here is going to see it happen and whisper about you and you'll never be able to show your face in here again, if you're even allowed to return at all.

A split second after I'd hesitated, the saleswoman pulled out a sheet of paper. "Come here, baby," she cooed. Yes, she was actually talking to the spider. I'm not making this up. "We'll get you outside nice and safe, won't we little baby?" After finding a suitable spider home outside, the saleswoman launched into a tirade against her manager. "The last time he found a spider," she said in a hushed tone of disapproval, "he killed it. Monster, right?"

Thank god for anxiety.

funny social anxiety story
I was going to share a photo of a spider here, but they were all so icky, with their millions of beady little eyes and pokey little legs. I found a photo of a dandelion with the teensiest spider hanging out on the stem, then decided the photo would be so much nicer without that creepy crawly photobomber. You're welcome.

Crazy Boss Quote of the Day

For the record, I'm using the term "crazy" in only the most loving of ways, especially if you happen to actually be my boss currently reading this. You are still my boss, right? C'mon, ol' buddy, ol' pal.

Also, "ol" is not short for old in the above sentence. Sixties are the new forties, after all.

I love my boss. I've worked for her for more than 12 years and am planning to stick with her until she retires. She's a pediatric dentist who gets enjoyment out of treating her patients with compassion and kindness. How can you not love a person like that? Okay, here is the quote:

I was walking down the hallway at work and my boss and I crossed paths. I always feel a little out of place when this happens, thinking that because my job is at a desk up front, I must surely be loafering* around if I'm spotted in the hall. But nature doesn't care, so as we walked by each other, I awkwardly squeaked that I was just heading for the restroom.

"Oh," she said. Then, she stopped. She turned and yelled down the hall to me. "Enjoy it!"

My boss is the second from the right. We all love her, but part of that love is accepting that you just never know what she's going to say.

*Yes, I did mean to write "loafering" instead of "loafing", thank-you-very-much Spell Check. I've been enjoying My Southern Journey by Rick Bragg. I'll best be speaking like a southerner from now on until forever, I reckon...or at least until I hit Play on my next audiobook.

Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home: Bad Real Estate Photos

Construction on our custom, mountain dream home should finally be finished soon, after only a million years. Can you believe it? That said, you may be surprised to read my days of browsing Redfin and Realtor.com are anything but over. Listing photos are a fantastic resource for decorating ideas! Unlike Houzz, which features image after image of too-perfect-to-be-real (hint: they're usually not) pictures, real estate photos show you actual homes (just like yours!) with decorating ideas that are functional for real life.

As much as I love finding a Pinterest-worthy home on Redfin, my guilty pleasure is the bad listings. Like, yell at the computer, what-were-they-thinking bad listings.

Here is one for the record books. Just try to keep a straight face while browsing through these listing photos from a home in Holladay, UT. And remember, the photos you are about to see are all from the same house. The last one will blow your mind.


The listing price is on the bottom of this post. See if you can correctly guess the price by the time you get down there.

I can't figure out what's going on with that pink lamp in the corner, among other things. Is it touching the ceiling and the tabletop? Who or what fogged up the glass?

With "rustic bling" as my decorating style, the chandeliers and stone would actually be selling points for me. It's hard to overlook the orange, shaggy stairs though. My initial thought was that it couldn't possibly be that difficult to remove the carpeting, but look closer. Top, bottom, and sides; those steps are wrapped up tight.

It gets better though...

Carpeted shelves in mismatched colors. And how did stains get on the underside of that upper shelf?

Let's say this is somehow impossible to fix. "The shag carpeting on these shelves is crucial to the structural integrity of this house," you cry. "These are load-bearing shag shelves!" Fine.

But wouldn't the listing be better off without this photo? Mention the large walk-in closet in your description and let your potential buyers imagine they're better than they actually are. 

Out of everything going on in this photo, the counter is what really *calls* my attention.

For the longest time, I thought that was a mirror instead of a door. It's just the photo right...and not a crooked door?

If orange shag (at least, it used to be orange) and orange wallpaper are not your preferred color scheme, have no fear... 

...there's plenty of green goodness to go around!

Based on the rest of these listing photos, I'd say this room is the main selling point of this house. Considering we're not in the 70s, 80s, or 90s though, wouldn't it have been better to remove the window treatments? Showcase that enormous wall of windows!

Wood paneling could come back into style, I suppose. Do you think those bizarre window treatments are there because of the homeowner's strange taste or are they concealing an eyesore? There could be a cemetery or a nuclear power plant down there.

WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THIS HOUSE?!

This is one of my biggest pet peeves in real estate listing photos. Close the closet door when trying to sell your home.

Not that it really matters at this point.

This photo makes me giggle. Does that built-in TV have a knob? How do you reach it with the TV all the heck of the way up there?

Someone in this house really has a flair for style.

I appreciate the attempt at staging here, but can't help thinking the little bathroom friend made things worse.

I wasn't alive during the 70s. Can someone please tell me what that contraption is above the stove? My first guess was microwave, but I see one of those on the counter. And is it actually attached to the stove?

Crazy stairs!

And now, for the grand finale...

Are you ready? Once you see this, you can't unsee it.

Remember, all of the photos here are from the same, tragic 70s house...

OMG! Was this a 70s thing? I'm no expert, but I feel like this was never a thing, 70s or otherwise.

The best part? The asking price for this gem of a home is a mere 1.2 million dollars.

My parents have a house they're preparing to list. Over the past month, they've invested time and money to make it shine. They've done more to stage the entire home than has been done to even one room of this house. They're listing it as a rental. AS. A. CHEAP. RENTAL.

I have more hilariously bad real estate photos to share here. There are also some great examples of what you should do when photographing your house for sale here. Heck, visit that last link even if you don't have a house to sell. The photos are gorgeous!

Construction Update: Drywall

I've been told I need to post more photos of the construction of our new dream home. Happy to oblige!

Currently, most of our windows are covered with plastic film to protect them when the house is stuccoed, so everything has a hazy, greenish hue. Note that I said "most". Apparently, it's fine for some of the windows to end up splattered in stucco.

 Kitchen

Other side of the kitchen 

Ack! I hate that cutout along the ceiling SO MUCH. Seriously, what is wrong with our construction crew? Does that look anything like the photo to you? 

Groin ceiling inside the dining nook

Curved floor of the hallway bathroom...because why not? 

Hallway beams and my infamous crapper window

Looking the other direction down the hallway

Barrel vault ceiling 

Guest bedroom 

Double tray ceiling inside the master bedroom 

Even in a green-certified home, there's nothing green about the construction process. 

Here are our interior doors, patiently waiting to be installed. The construction crew ordered these much further in advance than necessary, probably so their indecisive customer would be forced to stop changing her mind about them.

We've finally chosen paint colors, wood stain, kitchen cabinets, flooring, and all the other little details required to build a house from scratch, which is great because the crew needed these decisions yesterday. Well, we've almost, nearly decided. We're very close to reaching final decisions. I think.
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