Thursday, January 05, 2006

Is a House Without "Window Treatments" a Home?

Thanks to recent information given to me by a member of the female gender I now know that, as a homeowner, I’m a complete idiot. I bought my house brand-new a little over two years ago, and was conversing with my sister Lori a few months ago about the purchase. It went a little like this:

Lori: When you were going over the plans with the homebuilder, what options did they give you for the kitchen counters? Where they all pre-fab? Or did they offer any solid-surfaces such as granite or concrete?

Me: (Blank stare)

Lori: You have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?

Me: (Eyes glazing over)

The conversation went on for quite a while (I did manage to actually speak at some point), the rest of which illuminated for my sister the depth and breadth of my ignorance about all things homeowner-related. She stated that I should not be the one making home-design decisions, due to the fact that I might forget to include one of the many subtle yet important features that all “cozy, warm” houses should have, like say a kitchen.

I thought this was unfair. Clearly I’d notice if my house didn’t have a kitchen. I’d need someplace to put my leftover delivery pizza. Besides, it is also the number one place for me to look when I absolutely, positively, cannot find my television’s remote control. Just when I reach the point of complete exasperation, I’ll decide to look in the kitchen, where it will most likely be found in the refrigerator next to a container of sour cream dip (“best if used by 8/13/01”). The kitchen is actually the one place in my house where I find the oddest items. I’ll sometimes find car keys, old rental DVDs, envelopes marked “Final Notice”, food, etc.

I have been given a lot of grief because of the current state of my house. This is a true fact: I have owned my house for over two years now, and I still have yet to hang anything on any wall. I also do not have a single blind or curtain covering any of my windows. Without fail, whenever I invite someone over for the first time, they always ask the same question: “So, um, did you just move in?”

When did having a home become so complicated? It certainly wasn’t this difficult when I was in college. I didn’t have to worry about interior details when I shared a two-bedroom apartment with my old high school chum Eddie Murnane. We never thought about things such as "crown molding" or “window treatments”. We used more simplistic, practical ways to deal with the incoming sun, such as squinting. If we absolutely had to block the light, we would just jam couch pillows into the windows. We did what we had to do. Hey, that Nintendo wasn’t going to play itself.

Don’t get me wrong; I care about how my place looks now. My motto is “I'll do whatever it takes to have a nice interior, unless, you know, it takes time or effort or money or anything like that.” This is the same strong, smart, efficient process that got me through college, and I'm "staying with what works". Now, if you’ll excuse me, I'm about to go to the kitchen. I need my remote control.


  1. Well, get married. As soon as you get back from your honeymoon, your wife will start decorating your house. She might even decorate it before you get married. No, forget that. You must not show her your house before you get married. It will scare her off.

  2. Hmmm...anonymous sounds like he or she knows you. :) Hey, do you remember when you were living in that condo with Eddie and Smudge was locked in the bathroom? She 'redecorated' for you by ripping up the linoleum floor in the john. Maintaining a home is way more expensive than renting. With renting, you just don't get your deposit back.

  3. Pretty funny stuff - you are without a doubt the Dave Barry of Cape Coral, possibly even Lee County. I watched you through your dressing-less window last night: your secret is safe with me.

  4. Um, that wasn't me! I have a twin brother that lives in my house! ;-)

    Okay, it was me. first stalker. I was warned that there was a downside to being a world-famous writer. ;-)

  5. You must spend a lot more time, energy, and money to decorate your house. This will make your dates think better of you. Unfortunately, this takes talent and energy or money. Since you don't seem to have evinced the necessary talent and energy to decorate, your only other alternative is to enlist professional help - consult an interior designer. Note: make sure not to call your interior designer an interior decorator. Interior designers regard themselves as a higher species of being than lowly interior decorators.

    I can tell that you have not been married. If you had, you wouldn't have reacted so blankly to talk of window treatments, faux finishes, etc.

    There are two more options. You could spend several hours a day watching HGTV (Home and Garden TV). This would, however, require taking time out of your busy schedule. Another option is to begin dating someone with good taste. Seeing your very modest attempt at decorating, she might help out.

    Or you could take the $10-15,000 all this would cost, put a down payment on a piece of real estate in SW Florida, and wait on it to appreciate in value enough to sell, realize a huge profit, and get all of this done for you.

  6. I'm not sure how I was lucky enough to capture my wife, but I'm sure she bumped her head real hard and then I pounced. If not for this lack of judgement on her part (marrying me) I know for a fact that I would still be using that motto myself today. I'm not so sure that it ever really worked for us but if you could ever get a girl over there she may feel the need to rescue you from that existence you lead, as Larry suggests.

  7. *snicker* we have those paper blinds over the windows, and it took 3 months for those to go up. and even then it was only because i realized there is not one place you can stand on the first floor that can't be seen from the outside.(except the bathroom of course) i may be an exhibitionist, but that's pushing it a bit ;)

  8. Awe, the advantages of not buying new construction. It it wasn't hideous it didn't get replaced, not that my dollar store curtains are any better.


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