Sunday, October 5, 2008

List: 10 House Projects I Could Tackle

After three weeks of my single parenting on the homefront, Husband abandoned the traveling sailing team this weekend and I abandoned our kids to go visit my Dear Friend From Fifth Grade and her two chilluns, one of whom is pretty Brand New.

The plane ride was just long enough for me to read a novel on the way to and fro, satisfying my need to digest something remotely literary beyond email and half a Newsweek article (average daily reading before falling asleep). Thank you, Jodi Picoult. Meanwhile, I am intimidated by my Book Club's book, Team of Rivals, which, like a wholesome meal, will be good for me, but which, like a five-pound weight, looks too heavy at the moment.

At my friend's house, I got to snuggle Baby G, who was showing off his new smiliness (and I swear he laughed for the first time today, too); make goblin paintings with Sy, my buddy's three-year-old daughter; and bond with her husband, with whom I've shared pithy ponderings recently via Twitter.

But the best part was reconnecting with my friend, who was navigating adding a second child to her nest. And also balancing wanting a new pair of pants and a clean house and a preschooler who eats a square meal. It was so great to leave my own issues behind and help her (and while I was gone, Issue #1 slapped Little Issue #2 Right In The Face).

Among her many talents, my friend has an interior design degree and fabulous taste, and her children's rooms are zen havens of cool colors and coordinating textiles. But like any self-respecting Keeper of Hearth and Home, she has a million plans and fantasies for transforming the rest of her house.

Back at our bungalow (and all across America?), Big Ticket Projects like installing irrigation systems, remodeling the kitchen, and adding on new rooms have slipped behind the hills of Mounting Debt. So I satisfy my urges for home improvement by painting things. Changing out light fixtures. And throwing crap away.

But sometimes I have trouble prioritizing. My little idea is that I should swallow my pride and invite five different friends over, asking each of them, if this were your house, which ten (cheap) projects would you tackle first? I mean, when you enter our manse, which piles of papers or lame lampshades bug you? Tell me, because I will be motivated to take care of them.

When I shared this idea with my friend, she got that hungry Bring It, Sister look on her face. So I meekly started pointing, and in between entertaining and feeding a baby and preschooler, we spent Sunday reorganizing bookshelves, cleaning her kitchen, and making lists and piles. And when I got overly aggressive with the trashbag, she bravely fought back.

Now I can't wait for her to visit. My bedroom needs a makeover and there are some cupboards and drawers waiting for her discerning eye.

Here's what I'd like to Presto Change-O at our house:

1. Replace carpet in bedrooms, hallway
2. Replace monstrous fluorescent lighting box in the kitchen with recessed lighting and/or skylight
3. Paint kitchen a slate blue
4. Paint bedroom some elusive, perfect color
5. Replace bathroom vanity (which is crumbling away in the corner. Stop splashing in the bath! Sheesh)
6. Permanently close up chimney (which is apparently detaching from the house)/replace with energy-friendly heating device
7. Buy a new stove (unfortunately--or fortunately--not necessary yet)
8. Replace gross kitchen linoleum
9. Repaint peeling doors
10. Get rid of crib in kids' room, rearrange furniture

You're welcome to swing on by! Give me your top ten! And when you suggest deep-sixing my favorite piece of tchotchke, I'll just ignore you.

1 comment:

me said...

#2 How about a solar tube???? My next door neighbors have one in their second bathroom and apparently it's awesome!!!