As I mentioned in my previous post my DIY libido has been a little low lately. I look around my apartment and I see a lot of things I want to tackle–bathroom renovation, patio facelift, custom planters, new hallway fixture, new fence, new kitchen cabinets, new doors, NEW EVERYTHING. When you’re a renter like me some of this stuff is realistic and maybe some of it’s not, but all of it is most definitely overwhelming when you can’t to take a step back and break it up into manageable bits. I Want It All Done And I Want It All Done Now is the common M.O. of someone who struggles with patience and rationality and their undeniable lovechild, prioritization. A sane, productive person would look at a mountainous pile of To Do’s and set small achievable goals. Then they’d begin chipping away at it, brick by brick, project by project, until the task is completed, always keeping in mind that the whole is only as great and the sum of its parts. But what do you, the restless, self-doubting, self-sabotaging person, end up doing? Buckle under the enormous pressure to finish everything by planting yourself in bed, hoping to drink red wine and watch Bob’s Burgers but really playing Candy Crush, staining your sheets red and hating yourself for not giving your full attention to Bob’s Burgers.
Of these two types of people, Type A and Type Human Landfill, I will forever be the latter. It’s my birthright. That kind of destructive behavior is never going away.
Here’s an example of the dialogue I have with myself every evening, upon walking in the door from work:
Smart Evan: Hm, my place looks pretty damn good. Go me! [Grunting]
Dumb Evan: What are you doing?
Resourceful Evan: Trying to get this dresser I found on the street through the door! Can you get the other side, Daddy-o?
Unimaginative Evan: No.
Sane Evan: [sweating] Whew! That was heavy! I can’t wait to start sanding this down. It’s going to look great over there in the corner.
Stupid Evan: Mother of God.
Rational Evan: What’s that?
Destructive Evan: [stepping into the hallway] I said, there’s a half-painted flower pot over there that should be a fully-painted flower pot.
Rational: Oh, you! I see that but I’m not in a rush, mister man! I’m letting it dry completely before applying a second coat, otherwise it may streak or chip. Duh!
Destructive: I see. And that pile of salvaged wood out by the patio? That must be waiting for a second coat, too?
Rational: No, you silly-ba-nilly! The wood is there for when I start building the fence. But before I can do that I need to get these pots done. And then after the fence I’m going to do this dresser. You are too funny!
Destructive: Ooooh, ok ok ok. Got it got it gooot iiit. Because, like, I didn’t know if you were actually trying to accomplish something or just auditioning for the next season of Hoarders.
Rational: No way, Jose! What’s Hoarders?
Destructive: Yea! You know it’s that show where people can’t stop saving things and it piles up and up and up and eventually they bury themselves alive in their own, like, mausoleum of junk and broken dreams?
Destructive: No no no, it’s not a big thing I’m just saying, like, if you need someone to film your submission tape I’m more than happy to do it. We just need a few more paint cans and secondhand wicker dining chairs and you’ll be golden.
Rational: I’m sensing some sarcasm.
Destructive. What? PFFF! Fat chance, Lance! No sarcasm here.
Destructive: I mean, ok, there was a tinsy bit of sarcasm.
Rational: I knew it–
Destructive: –you don’t need any more paint cans or secondhand wicker dining chairs. You have enough already.
Rational: It’s not that bad.
Destructive: Hey, who am I to judge, right? Today I had guacamole and chips for breakfast. Lemme just ask you this: are you really going to get this all done?
Rational: Well, that’s the plan…
Destructive: Because I’m ALL FOR you getting it done, don’t get me wrong…
Destructive: …BUUUUUUUT it just seems like, you know, all I see is an apartment full of half finished projects and projects that haven’t even been started and projects that even if you wanted to start you wouldn’t have the room to start because the half finished ones are taking up all the available space.
Rational: I….I can see that, sure.
Destructive: And, you know, I’m just looking out for YOU.
Rational: I…appreciate that.
Destructive: Because, hey, lemme tell you right now buddy it’s not normal to have a shipping palette in your bathroom.
Rational: I AM PLANNING ON BREAKING IT DOWN AND MAKING IT INTO A WALL TREATMENT!!!$%#@
Rational: I’m sorry. I’m so stressed. I want to die all of the deaths.
Destructive: Shhhhh. Shh-shh-shhhhh. There there. You don’t need to be stressed.
Rational: I don’t?
Destructive: No. Just sit down. Relax. Drop your bag and lay down on the bed. [Goes into the kitchen]
Destructive: Red or white?
Destructive: Do you want a glass of wine? To unwind?
Rational: Oh. Sure. Yes, that does sound nice. Red, please.
Destructive: Great. [Returns to the bed] Here you go. Poor baby. You’re so exhausted.
Rational: I really am.
Destructive: Would you like me to turn on the TV, see what’s on?
Rational: That’s perfect.
Rational: Mmm, yes.
Destructive: Bob’s Burgers is streaming. Sound good?
Irrational: You’re the best.
And so it’s been going, every night for the past few months. Rational Evan eventually caves and willingly, cooly and numbly falls into the warm, cozy embrace of Destructive Evan’s clutches, or what is commonly referred to in my home as The Cabernet Haze.
It was after this last stretch of The Haze that I realized my creativity boner would need a little Viagra if I was ever going to get back on track and stockpiling old futon frames in the corner of my living room again. What I needed was the movie equivalent of a nerdy girl makeover–low effort, high impact–like when Molly Ringwald pulls back Ally Sheedy’s hair to reveal she has a jaw or when a girl discovers contacts and snags Freddie Prinze Jr. [SIDE NOTE: Try getting that Six Pence None The Richer song out of your head now. I dare you.]
I sat in my bed for a long while, looking around my apartment with a discerning eye, before it jumped out at me as if to say, “HELLO, MORON,” like a stripped sweater in a Where’s Waldo book:
Say what you will about IKEA but this Hemnes dresser has been a stalwart–A STALWART, I TELL YOU. To be unabashedly hyperbolic, it is, without a doubt, the William Wallace of my apartment because for three hundred bucks and half a dozen meatballs no other piece of furniture in this shack is as much of a warrior, OK? (Sorry, Design Within Reach. I’m still available for sponsorship. This post can and will be deleted without hesitation.) But, despite it’s redurlability–that’s durability and reliability (you’re welcome)–I think we can all agree its monochromaticity is a little bit like a wet fart, no? A big brown mess that just kinda runs all over the floor.
Cue Home Depot:
No, this is not the back of an issue of Highlights; the knobs are a different color! What a novel idea, right? I AM A DESIGN GURU.
But seriously–honestly–look at those brass beauties and what a difference they make. Then look in the mirror and tell yourself a well-deserved I Could’ve Done That because you can and you should and it’s ridiculous that for *$20 you can justify having a blog about home design.
Anyway, that’s the show, kids. I hope the heavy fireworks delivered. Knobs. Unscrewing old ones and screwing on new ones. Who would’ve guessed? It may not seem like a lot (and it’s not) but it was what I needed to put that spring back in my step.
*If you can claim you found the knobs were mislabeled the whole abysmally unskilful project can come in under ten bucks, but the money you save you will pay for with your pride. This comes from a trusted source. My pride is worth ten whole dollars.