Damn You, Pinterest!

Okay, okay…so I got all high and mighty about Pinterest last week. I couldn’t help myself. I was stuck in that weird time-sucking vortex. I was beginning to believe that, by myself, I could build a pole barn out of recycled wood pallets. I’d construct it using a hot glue gun and organic paint which I’d mix by hand and apply with a horse hair brush. Of course, I’d pluck the horse hairs individually, thus taking months to fabricate said paint brush.

Then I’d pin it.

I’d pin the shit right out of it.

And so it was that I needed to step away from my laptop. I forced myself to click that little x in the upper right-hand corner and bid Pinterest a fond farewell.

Then I remembered there was that cute little girl’s room that inspired me to make some changes to the bedroom of my own cute little girls.

 

It’s true.

And in the height of my Pinterest-induced frenzy, I couldn’t locate the exact wallpaper I wanted Stateside, so I ordered it from Great Britain. That’s right. I am the idiot who ordered British wallpaper for my daughters’ bedroom because, evidently in the midst of my psychotic state, Great Britain was the only country that had the exact pattern I required. (Is it necessary to point out that I’m being sarcastic and basically calling myself a complete moron?)

Anyway, I found the paper and it was super-expensive so I hit eBay and I found it for $11.00 a roll. Plus $20 shipping via Royal Airmail. (Say it with me… Moron!)

So while we waited for the royal paper to arrive, I began pulling the room together…

First, I came up with the palette. Thankfully, I already had a lot of items in these colors lurking around the house in storage bins or linen closets, so I basically just went shopping in the attic.

Then one day I showed Dave a picture I’d pinned. The one that inspired my grand idea. This one, to be exact:

There happens to be a huge beam running across the ceiling in Gwen and Kate’s room which, in my humble opinion, screams for a swing. However, Dave thought that was a horrible idea. He started yammering on about broken bones and windows and head injuries and I had to nix the swing.

Despite refusing to install a swing, he did agree to rip up the carpet so we could get a look at the floor underneath. The prior owners told us it was wood and we knew it was painted, but we hardly expected this:

So we sanded and vacuumed and painted three coats of floor paint over the orange and flourescent green mess. It took three days.

 

Kate was not at all pleased about this. Until she found out that she’d be bunking with Mommy and Daddy while the paint dried. Then she was thrilled and we, well…we weren’t. They don’t mention those kind of details on Pinterest, do they? The late night kicks in the gut and tiny elbows poking into your temples. No, Pinterest does not say a damn thing about that.

Then one day Queen’s footmen delivered the wallpaper…Okay, not really. It was just waiting in the mailbox one afternoon.

We began wallpapering last weekend.

Dave is the best paper hanger in the house. I can’t take any credit for this at all… You know, other than buying such gorgeous paper all the way from England. Those Brits sure know how to make wallpaper!

And today we found this cute little wagon ($2.99) at our local Goodwill. The dresser that the wagon is sitting on was once picked up off the curb in Boston on garbage day. Yes, I said garbage day. I made my mother pick it up that so the neighbors wouldn’t see me do it. After she came back around the block with someone else’s garbage dresser, I painted it, distressed it and added those cute little bunnies and some glass knobs.

Sadly, I think Gwennie is getting to big for this little chest of drawers now so I’m on the hunt for a bigger piece to put between the two beds. Thus my never-ending Goodwill visits.

And there you have it. Proof that Pinterest continues to suck my time even when I’m not on the computer. I should be writing, but instead I’m decorating, Goodwilling and painting floors.

As soon as we’re done I’ll post more pictures but I have to tell you, it KILLS me to say that. It sounds so Mommy Blog-ish.

Dear Pinterest,

Dear Pinterest,

I hereby write to inform you that you are full of shit.

That’s right. I said you are full of shit.

You suck people in with your pretty pictures. The alleged proof that somewhere in the world, there is a woman who has a perfect kitchen/home office/garden and a professional photographer on hand…I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this tirade.

In the late hours of the evening, when my family slumbers around me, I lay awake with my iPad, unable to log off because I might find just one more photograph of perfection. One that will change my world. I might stumble upon something like a photograph of a baby carrot perfectly carved into a minute totem pole, surrounded by tiny trees fashioned from organic broccoli and standing in fluffy piles mashed potatoes meant to resemble snow! Whew…deep breath.

In my state of exhaustion, you will lead me to believe that if I can carve tiny baby carrot totems, my children will be happier. That I will become a better mother and my artistic carrot carving abilities will be world-renowned.

Then I pass out with my face plastered against the iPad’s screen and dream of my shortcomings and failures as a woman.

Well, as I wiped drool off my iPad’s screen the other morning, I started thinking. I can’t help but notice the Pinterest-wide obsession with mud rooms. You know, coat racks, hooks, nooks, cubbies and shelves. Boot trays and tile. To-do lists and messages of love written on chalkboard walls to families so utterly loved that their mother has provided them with a perfectly organized room. One designed to deal with mud, but which according to  thousands of pinned photographs, never get muddy.

Also, at our house, the chalkboard wall tends to hold messages of power in the form of potty words. So, if you’re okay with your guests reading something like, “Mom is a big poo poo head” immediately upon entry into your home, paint away. Chalk it up, baby. Nothing relaxes a guest and makes them feel more at home than proof that their hostess is a big shithead.

courtesy of Pinterest

Please refer to Exhibit 1 (above.) Does anyone actually live at this house? Where’s all the crap?

Don’t be fooled. Those baskets will be filled with petrified grilled cheese sandwich crusts and unidentifiable masses of glue and glitter soaked in apple juice in no time at all. And that gorgeous hardwood floor? I’d like to see what it looks like right now. Right this minute. Because I’m willing to slap down a sizeable bet that they are neither shiny or clean. I’m thinking there might even be a pile of shoes spilling out of those pristine white cubbies.

courtesy of Pinterest

Exhibit 2. Oh… would you look at the lovely doors in that mudroom? I can only imagine the multitude of sins that women believe will be kept hidden behind them. The mess concealed. The crap kept secret. No one will ever know that a bunch of filthy little animals live in your house! Visitors will naturally assume that you are the worlds the most perfect housekeeper!

SIGH

Well, ladies. I am about to offer up a foul-tasting dose of reality. I am here to tell you that you shouldn’t believe the hype. Don’t let Pinterest fool you into believing that a perfectly designed mud room will solve all your problems. Don’t you think for even a second that your children (or husband) will gladly fling those cubby doors open to  hang up a coat. And those individual shoe drawers? Forget about it. The only person putting away muddy boots and soggy sneakers away will be you.  That’s right, sister. YOU.

Here is the ugly truth behind what actually goes on in a well-designed mudroom.

And here’s what it looks like when guests are coming over and I want to fake them out and make them think I am the world’s greatest housekeeper with a fantastic mud room.

 

My pictures are terrible, I know. I recently fired my professional photographer. My pictures were taken with an Android phone in a moment of motherly frustration for use in my crusade to reveal the truth behind motherhood. You see, I’d just re-entered the house after a rare hour of child-free time. I was relaxed and happy until I opened the door and promptly fell over the pile of boots and outerwear sitting beneath the wall of cabinets and shoe drawers. Yes, that is exactly one cabinet and one shoe drawer for each member of the family. Wouldn’t it be nice if each person actually used them?

Here’s how I deal the mess. I shut the door and walk away. Somehow, I highly doubt my grainy mudroom photos will be added to Pinterest.

Just walk away

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Outlets: How I Try Not To Lose My Mind

During my last MFA residency, a wise group of women authors/faculty members led a presentation about creativity. In other words, what writers do when we aren’t painting portraits with our words. Come to find out, writers are also talented graphic designers, knitters, artists, musicians, photographers and interior designers. Yeah, yeah, I know there are other creative pursuits, but these are the ones that hit home for me. The ones that spoke to me. Those creative outlets that faculty members discussed as fuel for writing and those fulfilling pursuits that we escape to when our word well has temporarily dried up.

February brought draught-like conditions to Narragansett No. 7 and to those more serious writing projects I’m currently working on. The ones I am attending graduate school to perfect…under the tutelage of those aforementioned authors/faculty members.

In the midst of last month’s barfing, coughing, cleaning, nurturing, crying, sleeping and mental breakdowns, I began questioning my choice to attend graduate school. I did that thing that so many writers do and I decided that I am most certainly not a writer.

For the 1,457,962nd time, I came to the conclusion that everyone else at Stonecoast is a serious writer and I’m just there by some fluke. Some day, those smart faculty members and writers diligently pursuing their MFAs are going to find out and they’ll all laugh at me. They’ll point and they’ll laugh and then they’ll all tell me to leave after dumping a secretly stashed bucket of pig’s blood on my head at the next Stonecoast prom. (You have to be a Stephen King fan to appreciate that list bit.)

See how whacked out I became last month? I’m the first to admit that I do this every so often and I’m finding out that many writers go through similar patterns of self-doubt.

So I went with it. I decided to let my word well fill up again and I read a few of the books assigned to me for this semester. Mostly, I just tried to forget about the pressure of the writing part. I realized that I must have faith in my ability and the learning process and that the words always find their way back to brain. (At least, this is what I repeated to myself over and over again.)

Aside from reading, I nested.

1. I ordered chickens. 8 chickens to be exact. They will arrive during the second week of April. Prepare yourself for the insanity.

Not my Domoniques - photo courtesy Wikipedia

2. Two nights a week for two weeks, I made dinner for my family plus two others. Remember when I shared that post about my friend Jess? She’s home and recovering from surgery but we’re all trying to help out in any way we can. I also cooked dinners for the family of a little boy named Finn who went to Gwen’s preschool last year. Finn is being treated for brain cancer and I hope to post more about him in the next few weeks as they are at the point where fundraising has become needed. And prayers. Don’t forget the prayers.

Jessica and her beautiful family

3. In the name of St. Valentine, I made cake pops and Oreo cookie pops and blew the insides out of eggs  and cut heart-shaped pieces of watermelon. And I did this while I should have been writing.

4. I entertained a cursing fairy to the point of exhaustion. She slumbered in a beanbag on the kitchen floor. Presumably having dragged it there to escape her mother’s manic creative pursuits and ADHD-riddled thought patterns. Note to self: adults with short attention spans confuse the shit out of children. Please don’t forget the ADHD medication.

Swearing fairies require naps up to the age of 4

5.  I became addicted to Pinterest whilst nursing my children into the wee hours during the now infamous Barf Fest of 2012.

6.  I was overcome with the need to make some changes around the house that we just moved into and which I just made changes to last year. But that’s me. I like to make things pretty. In fact, I struggled between returning to grad school for that MFA or pursuing a degree in Interior Design. Somehow the thought of bitchy women being bitchy about something I designed didn’t appeal to me, so I opted for the MFA.

Anyway…Pinterest sparked that creative side of me that dives headfirst into design projects and I spend my writing dry spell on little projects like this: 

Joe's dresser, newly painted and with knotted rope handles. I'll post more on this later!

 And this…

 
The Valentine’s Day eggs that I blew out, painted and then proceeded to shove tiny messages of love inside off. Damn you, crafty Pinterest people. Damn.You. Life was much easier back when I just went to the store and grabbed a couple of Hallmark cards and some chocolate.
 
And this…

The girl's bedroom - undergoing some changes

 
Gwen and I went to My Sister’s Garage in Windam, Maine and she fell in love with a vintage children’s room they had so perfectly arranged. For those of you not in the area, My Sister’ Garage is a local antique/vintage shop that gives new life to furniture and collectibles and I just love to go there. They will be at Brimfield in May if you want to check them out. They also have a website with just a sample of some wares. Pop over and take look. Gwen loves My Sister’s Garage much that she cried last week when I said we wouldn’t have time go. I think I have pickin’ partner in Gwen because she has inspired a new vintage bedroom for herself and Kate. I’ll post more about this later in the week.

photo courtesy My Sister's Garage

So there you have it. This is what I was doing during the month of February when Narragansett No. 7 sat collecting dust and the only thing I was writing were status updates. Sometimes, you just need to take a little vacation from what you love. And that’s okay.