In a Dark Wood

I wish I were better at decorating… I know there are those who can decorate on a shoestring and it comes out amazing. I’m not one of those people. I often say to myself that if I had enough money – which can seriously increase your ability to fashion a smart, trendy living space, my home would look like it belongs on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens or House Beautiful.  Of course, I’d need a house first. But still. Despite my current lack of skills, I continue to assure myself that the potential for greatness is there, somewhere.

Then, I see things like this. And I just throw up my hands and hang my head, knowing that I will never be on par with the truly gifted home decorators who view such items as “must haves.”

please… click the pic to see the seller’s page 

I mean, maybe it’s just me, but I look at this and rather than a trendy fashionable occasional table and/or casual seating, all I see is a log. A log. A. Log. A piece of tree that would ordinarily go in the fireplace or on a bonfire. A. LOG. Firewood, if you will.

So be honest. I can take it. Is it just me? I will admit that this whole interior decorating thing has me perplexed. But, it’s a log, right? Right!?

To further add to my confusion… this firewood occasional table is almost $200 (shipping not included).  Oh, it’s on sale!  Even better. 44% off to be exact. The usual price is closer to $350.  For. A. Log.

I can envision the elegant party I would have in my newly decorated home… guests milling about in their best ‘black tie’ apparel, sipping on champagne and cosmopolitans, nibbling on caviar, enjoying the glow of the fireplace while listening to the soft, ambient music piped in from above, chatting excitedly about art and philosophy, and as the evening wears on and it gets a tad bit chilly, I ask the gentleman in the top hat and tails to throw another log on the fire, he’s right there, after all, and don’t you know it? There goes my $350 occasional table… up in flames.

Kudos to whoever pitched this product idea to the decision-makers at the webstore… they’re one hell of a sales person. Bigger and more kudos to the designer for having their finger on the pulse of the lumberjack decorating movement going on out here.

As for me? Yeah, I give up. This whole interior design thing is obviously not my forte.  However, I will say just one more thing before I go… it’s a LOG, people!

 

Phone Misconduct

Okay, so have you ever been walking down the sidewalk, minding your own business, enjoying a nice hot caramel soy latte? The sidewalk is clearly wide enough for two, three, even four people to pass by each other without bumping shoulders. Yet, it happens. Or almost happens. Someone comes amazingly close to running directly into you and as you dance a side-step to get out of the way, your latte ends up decorating your shirt.

And why? Because the person who caused this coffee disaster (and the reason why you have to keep explaining the stain on your chest for the rest of the day) was looking down at their phone, mindlessly poking at the screen instead of watching where they were going.

This is something I’ve seen happening more and more lately and quite frankly it’s frustrating as hell. Not so much the near collisions that would send my latte flying to the ground, but rather the lack of awareness many people have for those around them. Since when did the person or email or text or game on the phone gain priority over the flesh and blood human right in front of you?

Without noticing the presence of others, without that silent communication that exists when you spot someone else on the street or sidewalk or aisle, there’s only going to be more crashes and basic overall breakdowns in a smooth-running society.

Or how about this… you’re in the check out line at a store. It ought to be going quickly, no-one in front of you is buying anything of substance and the cashier’s on her game. But there’s always that one. That one who can’t put down their phone long enough to deal with the issue at hand, namely, putting their groceries up on the conveyor belt or paying attention to the cashier who’s trying to explain that the coupon they just handed to her expired three years ago.  Oh, okay, yeah, let’s all wait for the ten minutes it takes you to find your bank card because you only have one hand to dig through that cavernous purse of yours because the conversation about your coworker’s drunken fling at last week’s convention being the talk of the office is just that Earth shattering and you wouldn’t dream of setting down the phone for ten seconds. Ugh. Here we go. That’s a chip on your card… insert don’t swipe. No, it’s a chip.  It’s. A. Chip. Putting in that pin and talking can be quite the feat, yeah, I know… chewing gum and walking has the same effect on you, I bet. There you go, you got it. A great deal slower cause you’re distracted, but you got there in the end. Oh, okay. We’re going to do the whole slo-mo thing with placing your bags in the cart are we? Oh sure, offering your phone mate advice on holiday menu plans takes precedence… I mean, of course it does. Silly me. And off they go, with no concern whatsoever for the cashier just trying to do her job or the people they’ve held up in line, because they’re in their own little world still chatting away on the phone.

More interesting than the people utterly engrossed with their phones are the people who have no sense of privacy when they’re speaking on the phone. I’m talking about the people who yell into their phone while on the bus or subway or walking down the grocery aisle so that everyone within 20 feet knows exactly what happened to Rhonda at the foot doctor last week.  And trust me.  We’d rather not know. They open up their personal stories to the public which can become a little embarrassing to the people eavesdropping who don’t really want to be eavesdropping.   I sit there and think, “Wow, I really wish I wasn’t able to hear this right now.” At least that’s the cleaned-up version of what I sit there and think.

Alas, sometimes you’re stuck next to a person who has absolutely no sense of propriety or the concept of low voices. Thus, you’re getting all the details on how Kevin’s dog’s surgery went (the lump was removed successfully I’m happy to say!) and how bad of a kisser Mr. OKCupid was even after four Long Island Ice Teas (how truly awful for you, Judy!).

Inside voices people, inside voices!  And remember — you’re in public. Not only do we not want to be subjected to the gruesome horror story of your facial wart removal, but other people depend on you so they can get where they need to go without incident — so please try to keep those eyes up as you’re strolling along and for god’s sake, when interacting with others, put the damn phone down.

Thank you for listening. I can text this to you as well if you’d like.

Greatness Among Us

You know, I didn’t realize it, but we have royalty among us commoners at my humble abode.  Although, if I had been paying attention, I would have noticed sooner. I mean the evidence has been there, right under my nose and on my clothes, this entire time. It became evident the other day though as I was vacuuming said evidence off my couch.

May I present for your worship and adoration, ‘Shaylee the First, Her Royal Highness of Savagery and Grace, Defender of Her Realm, Queen of the Pillow Mountain and Surrounding Territories.’

royalty, in the flesh. bow down, peasant! you’re making an awful lot of noise with the vacuum cleaner, you know. i can’t really nap with all of the racket going on.

 

peasant! what are you doing, peasant!? more importantly, where are the treats!? i’m royalty after all. you’re still vacuuming? what the hell, peasant!? i want treats!

 

royalty is boring. i’m bored now. the peasant has failed to keep me entertained.

Not so Neighborly Neighbors

As you may remember, I moved to a new condo over the summer.  Adjusting to my last place was a bit of a challenge as there was never a moment of peace or quiet. Imagine if Grand Central Station and Hell had babies. Yes, plural. The paper-thin walls (practically curtains, really), and endless noise made me wish I could crawl into a soundproof box and go to sleep. I drew up plans for an underground soundproof bunker, but I couldn’t get the permit; apparently you have to actually own the property you want to enhance. So stupid.

After I moved, all was right with the world again, except for occasionally hearing my new neighbor’s ummm… boisterous… patio phone calls. If her conversations are any indication, both her ex and her vent buddy are on speed dial. In general, though, quiet reigned supreme.  We’re only a few months in, but I guess the gods that be thought I was just a little too snug in my surroundings and they wanted to shake things up a bit, as they are wont to do when things are going well.

You know the saying, “you never know what you have until it’s gone”? Yeah, well, what I had were two perfect elderly neighbors with a perfectly well-behaved labradoodle who was just as polite and laid back as his owners. Maybe you can see where this is going.

They moved. I know, right!?

When I saw their boxes being loaded in the moving truck, I didn’t realize at the time, but the boxes may as well have been labeled “Peace,” “Quiet,” and “Sanity” because when they left, they took all of those things with them.

Let me introduce you to my new neighbors.

There is a mom, a dad, two young hell spawn children, and a beloved family dog who weighs roughly 500 pounds.

They moved in right above me where the two perfect neighbors with their perfect dog once resided, and I believe their hobbies include:

Crying simultaneously, dropping bowling balls, marathon training in the living room, vacuuming after midnight, jumping from furniture, wailing “Old McDonald” at odd hours of the night, and so much more!

Also, I think they wear concrete blocks on their feet. Or else, they have a raging elephant infestation.

I’d blame it on the hell spawn, but it’s the whole family. The parents get it on the noise game too. On any given night, it sounds like they could be playing basketball, woodworking, amateur clogging, or quite possibly murdering someone.

And the dog doesn’t seem to like his crate, I’ll tell you that right now. It has apparently occurred to the Loud Family as well because they’ve taken to locking him in the bathroom. And while my heart truly goes out to this obviously lonely dog, the other night it sounded like he escaped — taking what I think was the bathroom door with him, and possibly ate someone, I couldn’t tell. The mind is groggy at 3 AM.

Oh, wait! I forgot the best part… the smallest hell spawn (just guessing from the loudness and intensity of the footfalls), runs from one end of the condo to the other at very weird times of the evening. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that Chucky or the kid from Pet Semetary was up there running around when everyone’s asleep, it’s that freakin’ creepy.

I think about my perfect elderly neighbors and their perfect labradoodle often… and I have questions. Where did they go? Is it peaceful there? I wonder if I could join them. Do you think they would mind? I don’t take up much room and I’m quiet, oh so quiet.

It’s desperate thoughts like these that go through my mind at 1 AM, when I’m lying in bed listening to what sounds like yet another reenactment of a battle scene from the movie Braveheart. They may take our peace and quiet… but they won’t take our sanity!