When the cat’s away, the mice. . .

By Mir
October 15, 2007

… have big plans but in the end are astonishingly lazy.

(Wow, that really doesn’t roll off the tongue quite the way the original does, huh?)

The kids spent the weekend with their father, which meant that after Monkey’s soccer game on Saturday they piled into a rental car and headed off to… well, I’m not sure where. Maybe they told me, but I was too busy waving and driving off with Otto yelling “FREE AT LAST! FREE AT LAST!” Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that bad.

We set off on a rollicking adventure which would take us out to lunch and over to the local Goodwill. Because we are WILD.

We also, of course, had weekend plans equivalent to about three weeks worth of projects and decadence. On the one hand, there were so many things we needed to accomplish around the house, things which would be easier to do without kids underfoot. On the other hand, ice cream. You can see our dilemma, I’m sure.

So we did our best to make the most of the weekend, despite the strong gravitational pull we experienced from the couch.

Back during the early days of owning this house, when we were still staying over at Otto’s old house and coming over here and painting for 23 hours a day, we removed a valance from the windows in the living room. I use the word “valance” lightly, as I’m certain that what we took off the wall was SUPPOSED to be a valance. What it was in reality was a large piece of overwrought carpeting mounted on brackets which were bending under its weight, and it had tassels and smelled like cats. None of these things are attributes I believe window dressing should possess, but I’m sort of a stickler that way.

[Here is a list of things which are allowed to have tassels: Lamp pulls; strippers. I hope that clears things up.]

[Also: Things which are allowed to smell like cats: Cats. Duh.]

Anyway. We took that monstrosity off the wall and patched the holes it left behind (and as it’s a bank of windows and the valance weighed more than I do, there were about twenty-five holes left in the wall after we removed it) and then proceeded to paint the wall copper, which—if you’ll remember—was an adventure unto itself. (No, I still don’t have any pictures. Guess what! Unless you’re a professional photographer, any attempt to photograph the copper wall just looks… brown. And if you ARE a professional photographer, chances are your annoying wife has whined about so many things she wants you to do that that taking a picture of the stupid copper wall is around item #83 on your list. So.)

After painting the house, shopping for window treatments seemed like an additional circle of hell. And really, I am just not a window-treatment-y person in general. And Otto is, you know, a guy. So we left it.

After a couple of months it became clear that the combination of the copper wall and the un-treated windows was just not quite right. “We need something on that window,” I said.

“Okay,” said Otto. He’s agreeable. I like that about him.

“Maybe a scarf?” I said.

“Okay,” said Otto. He’s like a ROCK, people.

We looked at window treatments a few times while we were out, and found a few things we liked but didn’t want to pay for, and didn’t buy anything. Then one day we found a sheer copper window scarf and said “Hey, I bet this would match the copper wall!” After a short discussion we bought it.

We brought it home and held it up against the wall and said “Oh, nice choice!”

That was two months ago.

Yesterday I asked Otto where he’d put the scarf, and he asked ME where I’d put the scarf, and we spent 30 minutes looking for it. First I looked in five different places and complained that I couldn’t find it, then Otto looked in those same five places, and then eventually I found it in our bedroom under a box. We decided that in addition to our other designated tasks for the day, we would buy some hardware to put the valance up. Seeing as how we’ve now lived here for four months and all.

So yesterday’s big tasks included locating and purchasing window hardware and closing the pool for the season.

And let me just say, WHOSE IDEA WAS THAT STUPID POOL?? (Oh. Mine? Right. Moving on.) Have you ever closed a pool? Here is what you do: You go to the pool store with a water sample and they dump it into three different receptacles and put it through a fancy machine and print out three pages worth of “information” (“Your water is wet,” is pretty much what the first two pages say) and then they inform you that you’ll need $4,000 worth of chemicals and treatments before the Pool Gods will bless the Placement Of The Tarp.

Several times over the weekend Otto suggested that we finish closing the pool and I would suggest scintillating alternatives, such as clipping our toenails or watching the grass die, instead. Also, I am not looking forward to telling the children that I spent their inheritance on algaecide.

The good news is that we bought some hook thingies (yes, that is the technical term) for the window scarf, so that’s done, at least. Now that room is, like, totally fancy!

Last night we went out to dinner using a gift card (because after buying the pool chemicals and the hook thingies we are out of money) and had a lovely meal and talked about how we need to go out on dates more often and also maybe hang up some pictures on the walls sometime before we’ve lived here for 10 years.

Then we stared deeply into one another’s eyes and decided to spring for dessert. We are such romantics.


  1. Megan

    Meh. Pictures. As the queen of moves I have: put pictures up the first day in the house (to cover up the ugly, ugly walls mostly); found pictures carefully boxed up after a year or so and though oh… I have pictures…; refused to unpack the pictures at all because WE ARE NOT LIVING HERE!! and nothing says true denial like no pictures. However I’ve never been cool enough to have a fancy copper wall scarf! Deeply impressed.

  2. Stacia

    We have so much stuff we only had one empty wall. After living here a year, we finally put up a bunch of family/kid 4×6 pictures. However, they are all crooked. And still are, 4 months after hanging. I keep hoping there will be an earthquake that will straighten them all up.

  3. Crinklish

    Wait, a window scarf is a real thing? I thought you were just being charmingly insouciant about your curtains. This probably explains the fact that I still have those accordian-fold paper curtains up in my apartment.

  4. tuney

    OK, two years ago I took everything off the living room walls so I could paint. I did the bottom half below the chair rail…and stacked the paint cans in the corner. I am nothing if not a “finisher.” The *ahem* cats love playing in and around the stacks of pictures leaning against the painted half of the wall. Window treatments? Just enough to keep the neighbors who walk through my yard at night from seeing me naked. ‘Nuff said.

  5. All Adither

    I guess with the purchase of the pool chemicals that means you won’t be buying the Pier One dining table?

  6. Heather

    You guys are so cute ;-) I’m glad you had a good weekend…time off from the kids can be a very good thing, I think. Wonderful as they are! (Sentence fragment. Too lazy to fix :P)

  7. Burgh Baby's Mom

    I think you should have skipped the algaecide. Surely Monkey and Chickadee would have LOVED swimming in green water next year.

  8. saucygrrl

    Well, let’s see, I’ve lived here for a year and 8 months and we have exactly three 7 pictures up and exactly ZERO curtains because A. I take approxiamtely 3 years to decide on curtains and B. We have 27 windows and curtains get to be expensive, soooo… me? No curtains. la la la la la… Ooo… look… something shiny…

  9. Beth

    It was amazing how much even getting one of my framed pieces on the wall made the temporary place feel like home. I highly recommend it for mental health reasons ;-)

    And pools? I like to visit them, wouldn’t want to have to support one!

  10. Traci

    Maybe I should have done window treatments myself…I’m still waiting for the insanely expensive ones I ordered through a decorator to come. If you spend all of your six childrens’ college money, you’d think they’d be a little speedy about it. I know my husband just stands in the corners and makes boat noises when he hears the words window coverings.

    But like you, we did go to dinner last night too. We skipped dessert…me thinks romance didn’t mix with a weekend spent finally unpacking the garages so the cars could be parked in them (which coincidentally was timed just before the biggest rain storm I’ve ever seen in my life…we native Californian’s don’t see much rain…so this stuff in Texas is amazing).

  11. Leandra

    I love Megan’s “WE ARE NOT LIVING HERE.” I do that. Except with plants and curtains. We have no curtains in our house b/c I don’t want to buy curtains for a house we don’t own. I think it already a shame that we spent $300 in blinds for a rental house.

  12. Amy-Go

    I hang stuff on the walls to distract me from the fact that I live in Kansas. In other words, most of the pictures I have up are of the beach – and I spend lots of time gazing at them and pretending they are windows. Windows with such beautiful views that no one would ever want to hang up a window treatment to interfere with their loveliness. So that way I deny reality AND never have to pick out or pay for curtains. I know, I’m a genius. Try not to hate me.

  13. LuAnn

    Awww…y’all are so cute. :) Wow, time away from kids? No way! :p

  14. fiona

    Also queen of moves. The bad thing I do it put the pictures up straight away on any available hooks (not to make any more holes in case I move again) and whatever totally inappropriate conglomorate of disparate pictures ends on the walls (by committee, or order of unpacking) thats the way they stay until I move out. Hence the picture of my mother ended up in the bathroom and a romantic nude in the kids room etc.

  15. daring one

    FANCY!? Well I would expect no less from a spry, spontaneous and romantical young couple like yourselves.

  16. Brigitte

    Gee, my parents always let the pool just turn green all winter, then shocked it in the spring, that isn’t the regular way to do it?

  17. Jenny

    We did almost the SAME THING except we don’t have a pool. So we didn’t buy algaecide. But we did talk about how we never have liked the curtains we put up in our dining room and we should look for new ones. He was all about the decorating this weekend.

    Y’all tell me this — what on EARTH do you put on your wrought iron hangy-basket plant hook things on either side of your front door in fall and winter? Wilbur’s suggestion was skeletons, for Halloween, only we could leave them up all year and dress them appropriately for different holidays. As amusing as part of me thinks that would be, the neighbors look at us strangely enough as it is.

  18. Summer

    For once I disagree with you, Mir. I think tassels are also appropriate on the ends of curtain tie-backs, at the corners of fancy throw pillows, and on the interiors of low-riders.

    But I’ve lived in my house for 7.5 years, and I still have pictures waiting to go on the walls. The house is old, the walls are real plaster, and any time I put a nail in the wall I tremble with the fear that the wall will crumble. (Yes, I can patch plaster, with some skill, but that means I know exactly how much work that job entails.) Pictures look nice propped against furniture, don’t you think?

  19. Ilona

    This may have been answered in the comments I’m too distracted to read, but … can you not just drain the pool? Or is this an incredibly naive and foolish question, there being some arcane pool reality of which I’m ignorant?

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