November 13, 2007

The Sales Prevention Program Sleigh Bed War (Part the First)

Remember yesterday's opening paragraph where I complained in a sideways manner about sales prevention specialists and intimated that my dog sometimes eats things that are not appropriate to eat, for example, literary icon Pat Conroy? I am pleased to report that Mr. Conroy was not the eaten thing. He was merely an EXAMPLE of things my dog WOULD eat if he found them in the den.

What Bagel ACTUALLY ate was my chair. I mean….he ATE it. Like sat there watching the air molecules drifting about and vacantly, not even really NOTICING he was doing it, ATE UP THE CHAIR, and if he thought AT ALL it went something like, "Well if she didn't want me to EAT IT why did she leave it here on the carpet?" He is approaching his second birthday and isn’t TEETHING supposed to STOP at some point??? WHEN IS THAT POINT? Is it BEFORE or AFTER I have him assassinated by dog-ninjas?


Oh—this is priceless…THE WHOLE TIME HE ATE IT, Maisy was sitting on the silver speckled trunk that serves us as a coffee table, drawing pictures of warring balloon animals. I came in and saw what the dog had done and I said, “HARGLE! GARG! GARG! OH SHHHHHHHH-ugar. OH OH SUGAR!!!!” SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHUUUUUUUUUUUGAR!”

And Maisy looked where I was looking and said, “He shunt have done that.”
And I said, “NO! No, he SHUNT.”
Maisy: *world weary* I told him.
Me: You SAW him? You SAW him eating the chair?
Maisy: Yes. It took him a long time!
Maisy: *shrugging and wide-eyed* …I forgot?
Me: Oooooooh….sugar.

Digression: The next day Maisy dropped a toy that bounced ALL THE WAY down the stairs and Scott heard her say, OH! SUGAR! in her little peepy voice. She looked down and saw him and said, “That’s what Mommy says when she is SO MAD!” I feel I deserve 500 PARENTAL EXCELLENCE points for THAT one. Here endeth the digression.

Now please understand – our den ALREADY looked like the kind of den BEARS live in.

I have previously posted pictures of the cat chair with the back ripped out;

my son has clambered around on the sofa like a monkey until the side arm wobbles like a Weeble who senses the approach of the glorious day when he at last, at last, will be allowed to fall down;

one of the stacking tables is three legged because a friend’s exceedingly mighty baby somehow tipped it over and ripped the leg off (BamBam???);

ALL the hideously expensive wooden blinds the previosu owner placed pristinely in the windows have a slat or two that some cat or child has chipped, chewed, broken out entirely, folded, spindled, or mutilated;

my TV table with the elephant fabric skirt has had, sometime in the last three weeks, a large and MYSTERIOUS PICK HOLE suddenly appear in the fabric --- front and center of course;

I took a silver Sharpie and was drawing stars all over a black sheet to hang as a starry nights backdrop for the Trunk or Treat fairy forest, and I chose to do this project on the chest that serves as our coffee table, and I neglected to connect two seemingly disparate ideas:
1) SHARPIES are permanent markers and
2) sheets are thin,
so now the table top has a slightly fainter starry night permanently glowing on top of it;

I refer to the sideboard lamp as THE TRICK LAMP because if you look DIRECTLY at it so that your eyelashes cause a breeze to waft toward it, it falls into chunks.

AND AND AND (as a Best Beloved once pointed out in poorly disguised horror) I keep a nest of plague covered drooling GERBILS on the counter between my den and the kitchen, so on the last day before a cage clean, the whole destroyed, trashy, falling apart room smells every so faintly of RODENT.

Since I am STILL not ready to sell the children, throw the gerbils into the creek, eat the dog, and give the cats to the Good Will, it’s not like that room is going to ever ever ever be….nice.

And it is not like I CARE most days.

But on the day the dog ate the chair, I had a HUGE attack of CARING. All of a sudden, I wanted a NICE ROOM. My office is trash heap stacked on top of a waste pile, our basement is a toy graveyard, the kitchen is a mish mash mess, all my plants are dead, the kids rooms stink of chaos, the guest room is mostly full of Nordic Track and OUR bedroom, dear LORD! It looks like a graduate student’s apartment bedroom because we STILL have that same furniture: A slim chest my mom gave us and Scott's grammas dresser in a finish and style so different it could be called an OPPOSING dresser. Our nice mattress and box spring sits atop the metal frame that came free with purchase. A bookshelf so tall and thin that it must be ATTACHED to the wall to be safe, and which has never, in three years, gotten attached, is LEANED aslant against one wall. While it waits to be stood upright and attached, its shelves have magically filled with clothes that need to go to the dry cleaner and two garbage bags of outfits and shoes that my kids outgrew that I have meant to take to goodwill for 18 months now and a plethora of mysterious papers and half finished childly art projects.

GRANTED – I DO have ONE nice room. The dining room is a museum celebrating the beauty of my mother’s pecan-wood dining set, but no one is allowed in that room. NO! ONE! EVER. Not so much as a TOE of LIVING CREATURE may be poked across the threshold. I have velvet ropes up at the entrance and an angel with a flaming sword is stationed by the ropes and anyone who tries to go on there and TOUCH my mother’s beautiful pecan-wood dining room furniture has his or her head lopped off forthwith.

But after the dog ATE MY CHAIR I started wishing for a nice room that we were actually allowed to LIVE in. Just ONE. JUST ONE. And I realized it was NOT going to be the den because the children and pets would systematically destroy ANYTHING I attempted in there. It needed to be a room that was MOSTLY for grown ups. So. My bedroom. I decided I wanted to redo my bedroom, and it SEEMS LIKE….how hard can that be. You paint. You invest in furniture. You ask for things for Christmas that will make it all nice and fancy. HOW. HARD CAN. IT. BE?

To be con’t
Shush. Farm plan later, because, dude… the DOG ATE MY CHAIR.

Posted by joshilyn at November 13, 2007 6:20 AM

Your house sounds so much like my house and it makes me feel so much better. I, however, don't have even the one room that is holy and perfect. Maybe one day. Sigh.

Posted by: Madame Queen at November 13, 2007 8:29 AM

My house is a catastrophe. But it's lived in, right? That's what I keep telling myself. People and animals actually LIVE here. The New Cat is systematically destroying the rugs, and he's also offended by the furlessness of them after I vacuum, and so immediately attacks the other cat to liberate some more fur the minute the vacuum is back in the closet. I can't keep up. I don't have the energy to try.

The conversation with Maisy? Oh-so-perfect. I love it. "It took him a long time!" And yes, super bonus parental excellence points, absolutely. I'm going to try saying "sugar" and see if I can make it stick...

Posted by: amy at November 13, 2007 8:50 AM

Slipcovers in the mean time?

Posted by: hollygee at November 13, 2007 9:44 AM

my dogs are the same age as bagel ... and they eat EVERYTHING. including shoes (especially flip flops), wii remotes and ... and ... oh the horror ... my father-in-law's hearing aid.


Posted by: janet at November 13, 2007 9:44 AM

Ooooooh, Bagel is SO lucky he lives with you and not with me. Bad dog! Very bad dog!

If it makes you feel any better (it may not) I potty trained my Sam this month and he has done a beautiful job! Except, He apparently peed somewhere in the playroom without telling anyone and now the whole room REEKS. Carpet shampooer, anyone? ;)

Posted by: Amy-Go at November 13, 2007 9:45 AM

Thank you thank you thank you for writing this!

The pictures that you have ever posted on here that showed your house, I have never thought anything but that it looked nice and put together (you have art, remember? That flying cat thingy? ;-) My house is such a disaster of unfinished grownup projects that I have felt like a failure as a grownup. But look! You're grownup! And you don't feel like your house is up to snuff either. For some reason, that makes me feel so much better. I'm sorry you feel this way but I am glad that I am not the only one and that people with what I think are nice homes also feel this way.

FYI, I think some furniture stores if you plan to spend your money with them will send out a designer to help plan your room. I do hope you take before and afters.

Posted by: Em at November 13, 2007 9:57 AM

I agree - if you're going to pick one room to be lovely it should be the bedroom. That's a place that should be a haven for you, for relaxing and whatnot.

Keep us posted!

Posted by: Keetha at November 13, 2007 9:59 AM

Wow, your house is just like mine. Except we don't have any animals I can blame. Just 5 and 3 year old girls, a 2 year old boy, and a 31 year old husband. I suspect the husband is the one who inflicts the most damage.

If it makes you feel any better, we have the mattresses on metal bed rails that came with the bed, too, and no furniture. In fact, we don't even have any dressers or a bookcase leaning aslant in our room. All of our clean laundry sits on the floor because I never get around to hanging it up in our closet. See, now your room isn't so bad. LOL

Posted by: Jessalyn at November 13, 2007 9:59 AM

maybe you could get one of those giant white concrete-looking chairs that denny crane and alan shore relax in on the rooftop patio at the end of every boston legal episode. the guys look like they're comfortable. somehow.

Posted by: dramamama at November 13, 2007 10:05 AM

I am SO sorry about your chair! I have no animals or children, so any damage that occurs at my house is directly attributable to the carelessness of adults. Often, me.

My bed - also on metal rails. Furthermore, I probably need to buy a new mattress and boxsprings, but I don't want to do it 'til I buy a bed (and plan to live in the same town for more than a year). It's not that it's uncomfortable to sleep on, or I wake up achy and sore - but the place where I sit on it to put on my shoes (and whatever) is decidedly saggy.

Good luck turning your bedroom into a bower of beauty and peace! Remember that that is the point - not perfection of taste and trend, and have fun choosing things you love.

Posted by: Diane (TT) at November 13, 2007 10:42 AM

That conversation with Maisy is just priceless. I once heard a similar conversation that had to do with an Easter ham.

Posted by: Aimee at November 13, 2007 10:49 AM

I have bad news for you pretty young girls. I am an empty nester, hubby and I have a dog and a cat. Neither one of them, the animals that is, tear up anything. So it must be them that are leaving all the clutter everywhere! Surely, two adults approaching retirement wouldn't be so sloppy as to leave papers, books, mail, clothes, walmart sacks, etc, lying all over the house???!!! No, there is someone else living here, too, someone I cannot ever catch in the act of strowing all this junk. I do hate to gloat, but my bedroom is the prettiest place in the house. Got new mattress and box springs yesterday. Headboard, footboard, armoire, wing back chair, pretty things on the wall, hand made quilt on the bed, - - etc. Now don't hate me, that's how it looks every other Tuesday when the cleaning girl leaves. Other times - - there's that phantom person again! Oh lord, dirty drawers in the middle of the area rug again!

Posted by: Rhonda at November 13, 2007 11:19 AM

But. But you must promise that if you do re-do your bedroom that you will take a picture with a REAL CAMERA that is NOT A PHONE so that the colors don't go all Clockwork Orange on us.

Posted by: Heather at November 13, 2007 1:31 PM

That's not the special chair you really, really wanted, is it?

I'm glad I'm not the only one whose house will look like a dorm room forever - and also not the only one who wrecks some few of my perfectly good things because I neglected to engage a few brain cells! :-)

Posted by: Brigitte at November 13, 2007 2:02 PM

Ouch. The poor chair. this is the last thing a busy novelist needs-- that and me poking fun at the gerbil cage. ;( (truly, I know the drill...I have a guinea pig and a hamster-- secreted in kid rooms). So, listen.. how about IKEA? You could outfit the whole room for less than 700.oo- with kid friendly stuff that won't kill you when it dies or gets eaten.In the meantime you can have a space you'll live in and enjoy- now the dog?? You may need a scat-mat or bubblewrap to keep him off the furniture ... so you can concentrate on asking Santa for the bedroom suite. MAy I suggest an elf outfit?
nuf said- gotta go finish reading TGWSS. so far... WOW. Yes. really. Bleeping WOW.

Posted by: Linda at November 13, 2007 2:48 PM

Four words to address the Sharpie that will change your life: Mr. Clean. Magic. Eraser. Yes, it has even taken Sharpie off of beloved plastic horses in our house -- it may work on your table as well. Good luck!

Posted by: Jennifer Morgan at November 13, 2007 6:22 PM

Wasabi. Put wasabi on something that Bagel chews that he shouldn't. It WON'T kill him, although he'll cry bitterly for a while. But afterwards, the smell will keep him away from everything you want unchewed. It works.

I don't think I'd feel comfortable in a beautifully appointed, perfect house. I need a certain amount of clutter. Not nearly as much as I have now, you understand, but some.

And Peach? We now know about Bagel's transgression, so he can't conveniently be "send to a new home on the farm"! We know!

Unless it's the Crazy Plan Farm, that is, and you're living with him there.

Posted by: Fran at November 13, 2007 10:36 PM

Wait. Wait! WAIT! There are DOG NINJAS?! Are these DOGS who are NINJAS or ninjas who, um, "take care" of horribly errant dogs? Because if its the latter, I feel okay. But if it is the former, I am very, very afraid because Snazzy and Yogi have been looking very annoyed with me lately and I'd hate to know that they have Asian bretheren who can infict revenge.

Um, also, sorry about your chair. It would not look at all out of place in our house. Which, incidentally, has something to do with why my dogs are irritated with me. (or at least they seem to look so thru the window since they are no longer allowed INSIDE)

Posted by: buffi at November 14, 2007 12:24 AM

I don't even have one Angel-guard-worthy room. The closest I come to having one of those would be my guest room and even in there they quilt I use as a bedspread is covered with cat hair. And I don't even have the excuse of kids contributing to the chaos! (But I do have 4 LARGE dogs, one of them still a puppy, and two cats, so...)

Looking forward to part two because I know - I KNOW - you won't get distracted and let us down!!! Off to put on my pink socks now. :-)

Posted by: DebR at November 14, 2007 10:03 AM

Hope this doesn't sound to preachy... but the moral to the story might be: "don't buy nice things until the kids are grown and the animals are old." That was my plan. Pretty much stuck to it... except that once MY kids were grown I was having my younger friends' younger children visit, and somehow chocolate Easter candy got smeared on stuff and toothpaste (yes, they wander around brushing their teeth and leaning on the furniture) which bleaches things and... what can you do? I'm just now, at 56, buying "nice things" for our house. Enjoy the kids and the animals!

Posted by: Susan Cushman at November 14, 2007 1:04 PM

I can't believe you shushed me. Sorry about the chair...been there done that.

Posted by: jean at November 14, 2007 10:49 PM

Sorry I shushed you but....

Posted by: joshilyn at November 14, 2007 10:56 PM

My dog ate my kitchen floor. My dog ate the windowsills. My dog ate the driver's seat in my car. And, and, and ... he would take photos out of their frames, chew off my head, and put the pictures back in the frames!!!

If you make it all nice and pretty ... the dog will eat it.

Posted by: Patti at November 15, 2007 9:58 AM

OMG all I could do was die laughing when I read this one! We have 3 Lab mixes and they eat anything and everything until they are at least 3 years old. I was looking around and I don't think I even have ONE nice room LOLOLOL Take for instance the ottoman in the livingroom. It was a nice high red-flowered chenille type comfortable ottoman. Our second dog (before we insanely got the third dog) ate all four corners off - yes the actual corners. I made a slip-cover. He promptly ate all four corners of the slip cover. I countered by patching the corners. He countered by eating all four of the patches off. So...decided to make another slip-cover and just put it on when company was coming. In the meantime just kept a terrycloth towel over it - kinda that poor white trash look. One day company was coming so on went the new slip-cover. Within the first half hour he ate two corners of the new slip cover. So...decided the heck with the towel, we'll just look like poor white trash for the next year or so. What did we do then but get the THIRD dog who is only a year old or so. He not only digs into the corners of the ottoman and is defoaming it, but constantly tries to help me reupholster the couch (and I never intended on reupholstering). I GIVE UP!

Posted by: Jill at November 15, 2007 6:32 PM

two words: Magic Erasure
takes off Sharpie! honest.
also takes off at least one layer of skin if said sharpie is on the forehead of a three year old boy. so use a light touch on anything you like the finish to stay on.

Posted by: elizabeth at November 16, 2007 1:14 PM