Of all the things i missed in “chick school”…

i think that “Home Decorating 101” is currently the most desperately needed.  The genetically-coded shopping thing bypassed me as well, and was replaced with a near maniacal hatred of shopping malls.  And while i like shoes, shoe shopping brings no emotional orgasm.

The Barbie Dream Condo is coming along nicely, with the addition of the pool table, home theater/digital audio zones and plans for the custom wet bar well underway.  Never mind the fact that there’s no furniture in the living room.  The Girl will help me with that when she gets back in country next month.  My priorities are fine, thank you very much.

The most egregious decor in the newly purchased condo was the “fruit basket” wallpaper in the kitchen.  Beyond hideous, i removed it from the walls within a week of living here.  Figuring i’d eventually get around to painting.  That was a month ago.  Having no color sense, and not knowing the difference between “feisty autumn gonad” and “roasted pepper giblet”, i knew i needed help.  And i found it at the local Paint Emporium! 

Rather than go to the hardware store again, and chat up the burly-hot biker boy in the paint department – and risk household hideosity– i took the advice of a friend and went to the Big Time Paint Professionals!  If i agreed to buy at least $75 worth of stuff, they offer a free home “Color Consultant” service!  Woo Hoo!

A few weeks ago, the Color Consultant arrived at the condo.  Trying to gauge my tastes, she eyed various objects d’art*, and enquired about how i’d like to the place to feel.  Explaining that i like to throw parties, have no actual artwork, and wouldn’t know sophistication or class if it bit me in the shorts, she furrowed her brow and made some notes.  Spying the giant plastic Sea Monkey hanging from the dining room chandelier, as well as the 3′ steel sword by the stairs, she continued to scribble furiously – and headed out to her car to retrieve more paint samples.

Returning with a dusty box – which, in hindsight may have been labeled “Paint Samples – Cyndi Lauper 1985 Collection” – she said i seem to be the “eclectic, international party girl”  What she left out were the words “dorky, unsophisticated and juvenile”.  We walked through each room, she made suggestions, stuck little colored papers here and there, and wrote everything down for me.  At the end of the hour, she gave me my “Color Strategy“!  Do you hear that?  i had a COLOR STRATEGY!

Armed with the confidence that only a certified Color Strategy provides, i wandered off the the Paint Emporium yesterday morning.  It was finally time to tackle the kitchen**.  Taking three of the colored papers (for the kitchen and living room) to the manager, i explained that i was “Deploying Phase I of my Color Strategy”.  And i might have done so with just the hint of smirk.  He asked what finish, and which type of paint, i wanted for each color.  “Huh?”  Oh, and he even asked me how much…  Shit, i don’t know.  Enough to paint a fucking kitchen, for christsakes!

Confidence rattled, i returned home and set about painting.  Going from a “melted butter jism” color to a “festering mosquito bite red”, even i knew it would take a few coats to fully cover the walls. Painting away merrily, i was disturbed to find that the walls were really splotchy.  Maybe from the wall paper glue residue?  Crap.  Well, i had enough paint for three coats, so it would probably cover ok… Finishing the second coat, i knew i was hosed… Let it dry?  My walls looked like “Sunburnt Teenager with Acne”.  Shit.  Should i have used primer?

Returning to the Paint Emporium, wearing my paint covered t-shirt and looking a bit despondent, i noticed the manager and clerk exchanged knowing glances.  As if to say “Another Paint-tard…”.  The manager looked at the clock.  Hey… did those little shit weasels make a bet on how long before i came back to report disaster?  The manager set his strategically stubbled metrosexual jaw, and drilled in with questions about my “situation”.

After consulting with nearly every clerk in the store – and perhaps a few customers to assure my complete public humiliation – they gave me some tinted enamel primer, another quart of “festering mosquito bite” paint, new roller pads, and i was on my way. 

The best thing about oil-based primer?  Massive destruction of brain cells.  i hadn’t realized it was a problem until The Boy arrived with a few of his friends, and demanded that i quit huffing fumes.  My response?  “Hey, anybody wanna get high?”  He opened some doors and they scooted downstairs to avoid the toxic cloud in the kitchen.

Whew.  It turned out lovely.  My confidence rattled, but not completely shattered.  i’m not afraid of color… and i still have a Color Strategy!

__________

* during our discussion, the only thing i plan to hang on my wall in the living room is the bedspread my paternal grandmother made for her marriage bed.  it was used once (Ewwww!) and is simply stunning.  Color Consultant?  Went nuts, said that with a 30′ tall wall, i’d be crazy not to mount it and display it in the living room… and off we went!

** Motivation?  Hosting a party for my fellow “professional degree” graduates Monday.  Somewhere between 20-40 people will descend upon me for a major throw down.  i thought it might be good to paint the kitchen first…

Travel Nuggets

From the road…

– Annoying Travelers:  Old Fart – full of himself and his “connections” sharing wisdom with a Young Fart.  In the seats behind me on the flight out of town yesterday.  Old Fart was talking about a friend who was wealthy beyond belief.  Mentioned that the friend had a dozen collector cars, six homes – including a 10,000 square foot mansion that he ony visited twice a year, which cost him $10,000 per month to maintain.  Young Fart asked if the rich friend was in finance.  Old Fart replied “No.  He’s in food.  You’d be amazed how much money there is in food”.  At this point, i slammed my seatback into the reclined position as quickly as possible.  Hoping i’d permanently damaged some Old Fart knees.

– Board Meeting:  i am occasionally requested to participate in a small, high tech business “red team” program, where we effectively serve as a Board of Directors for a day.  Older, mostly retired gentlemen – average age = 65.  i’ve been the “young hottie” for about 8 years with this group.  Tickled this time to  have two other women on the Board.   One?  A very accomplished woman, but if you look up “Lesbitarian Professional” in the dictionary, her photo is there.  Compelling urge to wax her eyebrows and put some face paint on her… and tear the “reading glasses on beaded chain” from her neck.  Quite competent, but hate the stereotypical “man suit” in a “girl color” (sage).  The other?  Alas, younger, prettier and spunkier, now relegating me officially to the ranks of “middle aged”.  Damn.

– Blow Holes in Cheap Suits:  Format for these events includes a board member presenting a lunch talk.  Something enlightening, entertaining – or if the gods of banality are kind – both.  i’ve done these in the past, and it wasn’t my turn.  Today’s Blow Hole Du Jour?  A festering, leg-humping parasite who unfortunately chose to present an update about my organization.  Ripped from a talk my CEO gave to a trade organization last month.  Blow Hole approached me prior to lunch, sheepishly acknowledged that he hadn’t realized i’d be in attendance, and was hopeful that i wouldn’t disagree with what he presented.  Needless to say, my tongue has bleeding welts.  Not only was he WRONG, but he was ARROGANT.  Revenge was inadvertently exacted, however, by the end of the discussion session.  While i was trying to let him twist in the fucking wind mind my own business and snarf down ridiculously decadent chocolate cake, attendees were addressing their questions in my direction, while he stood at the front of the room and scratched mindlessly at his shriveled nutsack.  A small victory in a battle i never declared…. The cake was pretty good, too.

– Serendipity: i’m a crusty business traveler.  Slapping on the noise-canceling headphones with iPod soundtrack at the first opportunity to avoid contact with traveling humanity.  Tonight, in a dazed, kd lang-infused haze, i was blown away by the most amazing sunset.  Flying home, westward into the sunset?  We broke through thick cloud cover at 10,000 feet, and i was knocked on my ass by a sunset for the ages…  Dozing (and drooling onto my suit), i was further knocked back by the moonrise… No matter how many times i fly, i will never completely lose my astonishment at the miracle of flight.  In a steel vacuum tube, traveling at subsonic speeds above the earth – defying gravity.  It’s pretty.

Alcohol:  Landing. Driving home. Triage on two days worth of mail.  Taking the dog out for his evening constitutional, and experiencing that special joy that is picking up warm dogshit in a plastic bag.  Triage on work-related crap.  Talking with The Boy and his friend – quiet joy at the outcome of the election.  On the phone with a work colleague – plotting the overthrow of the organizational bureacuracy.  While slamming back some serious whiskey.  It’s what’s for supper.  Going to bed… 

Another roadtrip…

Grieving on Election Eve

No matter what happens tomorrow, i’ll be sad…

We will remain horrifically divided as a nation.  There will be cries of election fraud regardless of the outcome.  There will be outbursts of intolerance – potentially from either side of the argument. 

What brought me down?  Two separate conversations over the past week tell me that i need to get working on my “Find Me a Husband” profile on a Canadian dating website. 

The first?  In the office.  After a strategic planning meeting with the working troops, a few of us were doing the post-meeting analysis.  One mentioned that he was encouraged to learn that a mutual friend – an outspoken lifelong democrat – had “seen the light” and plans to vote for McCain.  i expressed surprise, as this individual had been so far left of center in his positions, he made me feel downright uptight in my own.  But he was apparently appalled by the “scam” that is Mr. Obama. 

colleague A:  well, you know, they’ll riot no matter what happens.

daisyfae:  Huh?  Who?

colleague B:  you know, they riot no matter what’s going on…

daisyfae:  Seriously, who “they”?

colleague B: Remember Rodney King?  C’mon… you know there’ll be trouble no matter who gets elected!

i was stunned.  But rather than express an opinion, i did the best i could – and played dumb.  Keeping with the “who are the ‘they’ you guys are talking about?” to see if they would eventually say it…

colleague A:  They riot when their sports teams win or lose, so a presidential election with this much at stake is bound to get them in the streets!

daisyfae: What? Ohio State football fans? Not tracking here, guys…

and so it went…  and by the end of the conversation, i was just very sad. 

And then there was this little bit from Mom over the weekend.  Mom has made her choice, is disturbed by the direction the country has taken under 8 years of Republican leadership, and voted for Mr. Obama.  She shared that my sister, S, is worried about the outcome of the election.  S works in downtown Cincinnati, at a large law firm.

Mom:  S is thinking about taking the day off Tuesday in case there’s trouble.

daisyfae:  What?  What sort of trouble?

Mom:  She said she’s seen so many foreign people downtown for the past few weeks.  They’re taking pictures of the buildings.  Wearing backpacks.  All the people she works with are worried that there will be bombings or riots.

daisyfae:  You’re shitting me, right?  She’s serious?

Mom:  It’s not just her, but it’s everybody she works with… there was talk of letting everyone work from home because people are so nervous.

What do i grieve for?  The loss of critical thinking skills, rational thought and intelligent debate…  We’re fucked, people… And i’m off to learn the words to the Canadian National Anthem.

Truly frightening

What’s not to like about Halloween?  You get to dress up, and pretend to be someone (or something) you’re not.  Little critters come to your door displaying full-spectrum adorability*.  You don’t have to spend time with family, buy presents or cook things.  Oh, and there’s chocolate!

Me?  i dress up.  From the year of the Elvii**, to Xena to Marge Simpson, i’m a big fan of costuming for the holiday.  This year, a great Friday night party option dropped at my feet… Let the games begin!  Swiping the idea from the “barney huntress” from a few years back, i dragged my “partner in costume crime” to every thrift store in the city.

Successfully capturing our quarry – as many stuffed Elmo’s and Cookie Monsters as we could carry – we spent last Saturday night in my dining room.  Listening to tunes and decapitating our prey.  Skinning stuffed animals for their pelts?  Strangely satisfying.  Lost in our task, it was after midnight when The Boy and three of his friends emerged from the billiards room downstairs… to encounter my friend wearing a baby blue fur loincloth at the top of the stairway.  And nothing else. 

cookie monster slayer: Hey.  How ya doin’?

The look on their faces was precious.  Well, The Boy didn’t flinch.  Been there.  Seen it all before… 

daisyfae:  What?  Your parents don’t do this shit?

Apparently not.  We went on to explain the costume concept – cookie monster in his loincloth and me wearing nothing more than a bra and a red fur sarong.  As the pack calmed down from their initial shock, i mentioned that we were, in fact, “Furries“***.  This was met with instantaneous shock and disgust by the one member of The Boy’s entourage who knew what i meant!

J:  Oh my GAWD!!!  That’s DISGUSTING!  I saw that on CSI

The final result?  Quite fetching, don’t you think?  My favorite aspect was the Elmo pelt hanging around my waist – complete with working “voicebox”.  When i bumped him, or accidently caught him in the car door?  The headless little bugger would still chatter excitedly – sometimes even vibrating enthusiastically!

Elmo: That Tickles!  Toss Elmo!

Right.  “Toss Elmo into the Fire” is more like it….

Be Afraid.  Be Very Afraid...

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid...

 More pics at the flickr site

* This was the first year i had ZERO trick-or-treaters on Beggars’ Night.  Sad.  i used to live for this – sitting on the porch, in costume, with a basket of full-sized candy bars for the kiddies.  And a small cooler of chilled beer for the parents… Even dressed up the damn dog.  Carved punkins like a madwoman. (sigh).  i moved to Oldsville this year.  No one drops their kids off to run the neighborhood at Geriatric Condo Central.  Fuck.  i may have to crash in with friends next year…

** The last year the kids let me dress them for Halloween, we were the Three Elvii – Big Elvis, Medium-Sized Elvis and The Littlest Elvis.  i made three matching white satin jumpsuits, with capes and sequins. We were quite the hit on Beggar’s Night!  Teaching your 4 year old son to say “Thank you.  Thankyouverymuch”  – complete with “lip twitch” – after receiving candy?  Perhaps reason enough that he’ll never let you costume him again…

*** Technically, we decided we were “Plushies”, rather than “Furries”, since Elmo and Cookie Monster are stuffed creatures, rather than cute anthropomorphic woodland critters.