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.

The Siren Call of Vitamins and Supplements

You've probably seen all the hubbub in the news about how many of the supplements on the market are a scam, often containing little or none (NONE!?) of the ingredients claimed. It's especially bad news here in our household, where we have a bottle or two...thirteen...of vitamins and supplements.

The ones I take every morning.

Oh, and these too.
I hate mushrooms, so reishi pills make a lot of sense, right?

Sexy Nerd and I take these each day. The Saw Palmetto was recommended for our lousy, acne-prone skin.
(I am not taking it for prostate health. I really can't stress that enough!)

Even our dogs take a daily fish oil pill!

 
Pica loooves them, whether there are any health benefits or not. She's addicted to sucking on her own toes (aren't dogs just the worst?) and fish oil pills supposedly help reduce the hacking that results. She still hacks just as much as ever.

In my defense, I never intended to buy some of these. They just sort of found their way into my online shopping cart. I'm fairly certain the Nature's Way Astragalus Root, Now Apple Cider Vinegar, and Enzymatic Therapy Tart Cherry Ultra supplements are all a scam. The Tart Cherry was supposed to help me sleep. It didn't. The others claimed to do everything, from improving your memory to keeping you alive. Who's to say I'd be breathing and typing this right now if it weren't for the supplements? The benefits sounded far-fetched.

But then you read the reviews, claiming that these magic pills will maximize your health:

"I was on the verge of death until I started drinking apple cider vinegar each morning. I just completed my 27th marathon! I'm 102 years old."

"Just because Google's spellchecker doesn't recognize astragalus doesn't mean it won't change your life. Just 8 pills daily is all you need for the enzymes in your skin to eat away your wrinkles. Your body is capable of it if you just give it the nourishment it needs!"

"All the naysayers told me I was wasting my time with tart cherry supplements, but they've all changed their tune now that I fart rainbows."

Although these magic pills may seem expensive when priced by the bottle, they're practically free when you look at the cost per pill. Only three cents a day to fart rainbows! Who wouldn't buy that? And it's certainly reassuring to think I'm filling any nutritional gaps in my diet.

For breakfast this morning, I enjoyed a few leftover slices of Little Caesar's Pretzel Crust Pepperoni Pizza (so good!) 
I would have eaten this whether or not I was taking supplements, so why not?

Construction Update: Electrical and Insulation (Finally!)

The "finally" mentioned in the title is totally aimed at our construction crew...and at myself. These photos were taken more than a month ago. I may be slightly behind on my blogging.

In my defense, photos of insulated walls and wiring are only so interesting. When can I decorate?!

No can lights in this room...well, except for this one random can light. But don't worry. The builder is going to take it down tomorrow...or at least before installing insulation...no, drywalling...umm, I mean after drywalling but certainly before cutting a hole in the drywall for this can light that isn't supposed to be here.

 The can light, by the way, is not even wired in.

F you, can light.

I'm convinced that whenever Sexy Nerd says "Look over here", Pica and Biscuit intentionally turn the other way.

Or perhaps they were just mesmerized by my pants.

For a green-certified home, this sure seems like a high electrical demand.

Soon, Sexy Nerd is going to fill the opening at the top of this photo with billions of end-cut logs. Let's hope the final product looks better than it sounds.

In the photo above, I adore the charming cutout toward the ceiling. I remembered this too late and had to pay the framers to add this. I also had to have the ductwork re-run because they'd had an entire gigantic wall to choose from and of course it had been placed in the exact same spot as my charming cutout.

 There's a photo of the original framing featured in this construction post. $200 well spent? 

IT LOOKS NOTHING LIKE THE PHOTO!!!

Aargh, I hate my "charming" cutout. Why is it so big? What the heck am I going to put up there?

My future office. Somehow, I always knew I'd end up in a room with padded walls.

Sexy Nerd took a "panorama" shot of his garage because it was built by Panorama Homes. Hee, hee.

Funny enough, everyone who has seen our garage door has commented on how great it is. They never seem to realize it's just a temporary door pieced together with scraps from multiple salvaged/broken doors. 

Clearly, everyone in my life is just humoring me.

Our builder stressed to us again and again (and then a little more) that the best way to keep costs down was to build a simple box of a house. This photo of the back courtyard is a reminder that when designing a custom home, even the most frugal cheapskates will go frivolously out of their minds.

I requested to have my photo taken next to our new fireplace "in the exact same pose as our builder, minus the yellow hat". My memory of the pose was off, but the hat was spot on. Though he's a great builder, there's no denying his trademark yellow hat was a big part of our decision to go with him.

Here is a guy who won't balk at our dream of bright yellow doors and shutters, we'd thought, so young and naive in our pre-construction days.

Long Distance Marriage

I don't say it enough here on my site, but I just absolutely love that Sexy Nerd of mine. You wouldn't suspect it if you knew him in real life, with his professional attire and reasonable social skills, but he's every bit as weird as me. I'm missing him this week because he's been traveling for work more than usual. He just got home from Kansas City last night and he's already gone again for a different business trip! And he leaves again next week for California. Sexy Nerd insists he doesn't have a secret other family, but isn't all this travelling exactly what someone with a secret other family would do?

You'd expect this would mean lots of phone calls, but guess what? I don't have a phone, home or otherwise. Well, not a working phone, at least, but my non-working phone is only $5 per month (more than $6 with taxes...which seems like a heck of a lot of taxes, now that I think of it. More than 20% taxes??) so we are all about emailing. Pretty appropriate for us, since we met on Match and built our relationship on a foundation of online conversations. He liked that I baked cookies and I liked that he took his grandpa to the museum. I'm getting off-topic though. Today, I thought it would be nice to share an email from Sexy Nerd that was waiting for me when I woke up the other day, along with my replies.

Oh, and Ansel is the interior decorator whose services are being provided to us free of charge through our builder, Panorama Homes. She's exactly like my crazy boss, so now I get to spend all day with my boss when I'm at work and all day with my boss when I'm not at work. That's a chocolate-covered story for another day though.

SN: Hello my love. The plane is super late, so I won't be at the hotel until really late tonight. Get some good sleep and don't forget to feed the puppies. They are so skinny.

Me: These fat puppies? Do you have some secret, hidden puppies I don't know about? Because that would be awesome.

Sorry your plane is being a jerk. Our travels went so smoothly. Maybe I was your good luck charm.

Mwah! Ansel and I are going to design you a hot pink house with lots of florals and glitter and little garden gnomes. Wait, would you enjoy the gnomes?

SN: I love garden gnomes!  I missed getting to talk to you last night.  Thought I would send you an email this morning since you are probably not up yet. How did your meeting with Ansel go?  How many gnomes did you add?  What shade of fuscia?

Me: You're right that I was not awake at 4:49 am. 2 am would have worked. Sooo close! I MISS YOU! That said, going to bed at 6:45 last night and watching Sailor Moon when I woke up at 11 pm was pretty awesome. It turns out the bad guys aren't really humans and they didn't even know it; they were a bird, a tiger, and a fish. When they died, Pegasus gifted them each with a dream mirror so that they could have a soul and "find salvation in the afterlife." Sailor Moon is a lot more Jesusy than I remember.

Oh, I almost forgot the best part. Ansel wants to know when we're going to have a baby. I suspect she'll be designing our house with a future baby in mind. Bah!
A man who loves garden gnomes is a rare catch. Isn't he just the greatest husband ever?

Cabinet Hardware OOPS

For my new master bathroom, I've bought pendant lights matching the one above. Sexy Nerd is building my vanity and, per my request, he is going to paint the drawers in a variety of colors to match the lights. The final product should be similar, colorwise, to the photo above, minus all that yucky, boring white.

Me: Cost Plus has cabinet hardware on sale today for 20% off, plus I have a coupon for an extra 30% off on top of that. How many knobs will I need for my bathroom vanity?

Sexy Nerd starts counting to himself, adding things up in the air because even calculating the number of drawers he's building must be done in a super-intelligent, nerdy fashion.

Him: 18.

Me, frustrated that my husband isn't paying attention: No, not hardware for everything. How many knobs do I need for only my bathroom vanity?

Him: Yeah. 18. You wanted a lot of drawers.

18?! Don't tell Sexy Nerd, but I probably shouldn't have been trusted with free reign of designing my new closet and vanity. I may have gotten a little carried away.

Side note: If you're reading this on Saturday, March 11th, the Cost Plus World Market sale is TODAY! Sign up for their emails to get the 30% off coupon. Hopefully, I'll be updating this post later to show off an excessive amount of cute new cabinet knobs.
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