Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Parlor and the Kitchen- Legal Matters

As Charming Suitor will tell you, I have two small substance abuse problems. The first is Pumas. The shoes, not the large jungle cats. I adore Pumas. You can wear them with almost anything. I have been known to hide a pair under a floor-length black tie gown. They are incredibly comfy, come in a super variety of styles and colors, and are not ridiculously expensive. I have been wearing Pumas as my signature shoe for nearly 20 years. I discovered them in college when I would take local overhire roadie gigs for touring bands coming through Boston, and was doing 24 hour calls…they are light and have good grip, and surprisingly good arch support. I continued the love affair when I came back to Chicago and was teaching High School. Again, needing to be on my feet most of the day, but wanting cuteness as well as comfort, and Puma helped me out. I may or may not have over 35 pairs. For a 20 year collection, that does not seem SO bad. Charming Suitor may or may not disagree with that assessment, but he did buy me a new pair as a part of my birthday palooza!

The second substance abuse problem concerns procedurals on television. I love a procedural. Especially a legal or police procedural. All the Law and Orders,NCIS, Without a Trace, Cold Case, Numb3rs, Criminal Minds, Saving Grace, In Plain SightLie to Me, Life…my TiVo is filled with procedurals old and new. What is on my Netflix queue? All of Prime Suspect. What did I just finish? Pie in the Sky, a British procedural WITH FOOD! Shut up. Talk about meant for me!

My addition to procedurals, unlike my addiction to Pumas, provides some random bits of knowledge that can be useful while doing crosswords, and occasionally while supporting friends in small legal battles. I recently told a pal who is peripherally involved in a custody case that the kid needed a guardian ad litem. Her head almost popped off when she informed me that the judge had just appointed one that week, in a tone that said WHY DO YOU KNOW THAT? I just said that I am a Polymath, OF COURSE I knew that. I may not have kids of my own, but I watch a lot of television where there are kids in legal trouble.

Despite my completely television-based knowledge of the law, I apparently do not have a good track record when it comes to needing to call the Police. Not Sting et al, although I would if I had their numbers.  Not Officer K, one of my bestiest of best pals, and my brother from another mother (seriously, I send his mom Mother’s Day cards) who I talk to all the time about things having nothing to do with the law…I mean actually dialing the POLICE. And this week, I was reminded of this fact.

Let us first flash back to several years ago. Book Expo was in Chicago, at the massive McCormick Convention Center. My folks were out of town, so I borrowed their downtown apartment so that I could be closer to the action, and a quick cab to all the dinners and drinks events. Mom and Dad live in a great low-rise apartment building that faces a small access street. My second night, I got home at around 2am from some serious publisher-sponsored partying. I stepped out onto the small balcony to get some fresh air before bed, and looked down onto the access street. A car pulled up, sort of a beat-up little sedan, and a guy got out. He stood in front of another nondescript sedan, one that was parked. The beater he was in drove away. He looked right. He looked left. He removed something from his backpack, got very close to the car, and began making an up and down motion with his arms. Then he opened the door and got in. I heard the sound of a car trying to turn over unsuccessfully.

Gurrrrrssssschhhh Gur Gur Gur Guuuuuurrrrrsssssscchhhh  Gurrrrrssssschhhh Gur Gur Gur Guuuuuurrrrrsssssscchhhh  Gurrrrrssssschhhh Gur Gur Gur Guuuuuurrrrrsssssscchhhh

HOLY CRAP! He is trying steal the car!

I ran for the phone and dialed 911. I gave the address. I gave a very good description of the guy and the car and the series of events. My procedurals have taught me to pay attention, the car was silver, not white, the guy was wearing jeans and a red baseball hat, he had no facial hair, and looked from my bad angle to be about 5’9”. In moments, five police cars arrived at the scene, three blue and whites and two unmarked. (Mom and Dad live in a nice neighborhood. ‘Nough said.)

They pulled up and blocked both ends of the street. They opened the door and hauled this guy out of the car and threw him on the hood, patting him down. They handcuffed him behind his back. From my perch behind the curtains on the balcony, I felt like a superhero. I have saved some poor person from having their car stolen! I am a Good Samaritan of the highest order! I am not one of those people who just ignores the situation, as if it doesn’t involve me. I am….um….

Why are the police un-handcuffing the perp?

One officer is looking at a piece of paper. Another is shaking his head. Several others are headed back to their cars. The officer with the paper hand the sheet back to the hooligan and shakes his hand.

Wherupon the nefarious criminal mastermind gets back into the sedan.

Gurrrrrssssschhhh Gur Gur Gur Guuuuuurrrrrsssssscchhhh Vvvvrrrroooom.

And pulls away.

Because I? Called the cops on some poor guy who had locked his keys in his own car and was just trying to go home.

Am I not a hero?

I have never felt like such a dumbass. Except maybe when I told my returned parents what I did and my Dad noted that he was “So very glad you dialed 911 from MY HOME NUMBER.”. Ooops.

Last week, I arrived home to see a very old and beat up car I did not recognize parked behind my building. There are only three units and four spaces for the building, of which two spaces come with my unit. Lovely D who lives in 2 parks in a garage across the street most of the time, and Actor Jim who lives in 3 parks his small four-door in the back along with me and Charming Suitor. So often there is an extra space, and when D’s family comes to visit, they use her space. But I had never seen this car. And it was a doozy, probably from the late 1980s, huge and with two doors crushed in, one side mirror missing, rust spots everywhere. D was out of town, but it was possible her granddaughter had stopped by with a friend….

But in the morning, the car was still there. And when I ran into Jim in the hall, he didn’t know anything about it. So I? Called the police.

I started with 311, since having a car towed from my parking space didn’t seem like much of an emergency. They transferred me to 911, which seemed extreme, but I figured they knew what they were doing.

I explained to the woman on the phone that someone had abandoned a car in a private parking space and it needed to get removed.

She informed me that since it was parked on private property and not on the street, they could not tow it.

“But it is parked illegally.”

“It’s on private property.”


“So you have to call a private tow company.”

“Why would I pay a private company to remove a car someone has abandoned?”

“I’m just telling you that if you want the car gone, we cannot remove it today.”

“When can you remove it?”

“You can submit a request in writing and then after 30 days..”

At this point I had gone onto the back porch, so that I could give an accurate description of the car and license plate to someone. Across the way a guy was smoking on the back porch of the building next door. He must be new, hadn’t seen him around. I gave the “I hate talking to incompetent people shrug to him”, and continued to try and convince the woman at 911 that they should come remove the offending vehicle.

“Are you telling me that anyone can just show up and leave unwanted things on private property, and you can do nothing? I have to call and pay a private company to remove an ILLEGAL car from a place it is not allowed to be? Someone abandons this sad beat up old hooptie, which for all I know could have been used in a crime or have a dead body in the trunk, and if I want you to take care of it, I have to wait over a month, just because it is private property? If the owner of this enormous piece of crap comes back and breaks into my house to kill me, should I submit a written request to have him removed from the premises?”

The woman on the phone was about as patient with me as I was with her.

“I’m sorry you don’t like what I am telling you, but it doesn’t make it less true. We cannot remove a car from private property without documentation and investigation. If you want it gone, call a private tow company.”

“Look I know it isn’t you making these rules, but you can see how it would not be logical and would be frustrating for me…”

“Ma’am, if you want the car gone, I suggest..”

“Yes. A private tow company. I get it. Thank you for your time.”

I hang up. I am unbelievably frustrated, but cannot deal with it as Charming Suitor and I have someplace to be. We head out, and when we get to the back, the offending car…is gone.

Walking around the corner, is the Smoking Man. He looks sheepish.

“Hi, um, I’m really sorry. That was my car, and I’m visiting my friends who live here and none of them drive, so they thought that I could park there, and we didn’t know it wasn’t allowed, and I’m really so sorry for the inconvenience.”


“Okay, well I’m just relieved it wasn’t abandoned, but yes, please tell your friends that this is private parking and that their guests need to park on the street.”

“I will, we just didn’t know, and really, I’m so sorry.”

“No problem! Thanks for taking care of it.”

CS and I got in the car and headed out. After a while, he looked at me and said “Hooptie?”

Which reminded me that this poor guy had to listen to my repeatedly denigrating his car as a piece of shit WHILE trying to get it towed.

Clearly I need a Law and Order: Parking Court to launch so that I can bone up on car-related legal issues. I’d sign up for that show as fast as my little Puma-clad feet could take me!

In the meantime, it also made me think about neighbors. And being a good one. Which made me think about brownies. After all, whether welcoming a new neighbor to the area, or apologizing to one you might have offended, you are hard-pressed to go wrong with brownies. They are quick to make, cheap ingredients, and everyone loves them.

Here is the recipe I have in my card file, in my mom’s elegant script, listed as Aunt Esther’s Brownies. I have no idea who Aunt Esther was, but the recipe is killer and is my go-to for brownie deliciousness.

Here is the recipe exactly as written:

Aunt Esther’s Brownies

Melt 3 1 oz. squares unsweetened baking chocolate with ½ lb butter

1 c flour
2 c sugar
4 beaten eggs
1 t vanilla
Pinch salt
½ c nuts (optional)

Start oven at 400. Put in brownies and reduce to 300 for 30-40 minutes.

I leave out the nuts, preferring just chocolate. Especially for gifting, since you never know when a nut allergy can trip up a perfectly good gift.

Yours in Good Taste, (and sometimes bad judgement)
The Polymath

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Parlor and the Kitchen Disaster- The Winners Are Announced!

First off, let me just say how enormously enjoyable your sharing has been for everyone! It has been a rollicking good time, and I want to thank everyone who commented for their great stories!

As promised, the top 20 will receive a signed copy of Good Enough to Eat and a limited edition GETE promotional apron. In order of how the comments appear on the blog the winners are...

1. Kitchen Artist
2. Prim and Pauper
3. Jess.bedell
4. Rhonda
5. Jen on the Edge
6. Harriet M. Welsch
7. Beth
8. Carol
9. Laura
10. Laura T.
11. Ronda
12. Sarah Eytcheson
13. Hilary
14. Rusty
15. Kat
16. Berlin
17. Stacy May
18. As The Curl Turns
19. Its Just Me
20. Anonymous

Congrats! All winners, please e-mail me: staceyballisinfo (at) gmail (dot) com and send me your shipping information and I will get your prizes out to you asap!

For the rest of you, I thought I would post one of my new favorite recipes, just in time for football season when we gather around televisions to support our teams.

This amazing and decadent cheese dip was developed by my great good friend Chef D, and she brought it to Charming Suitor's birthday party. In a word...RIDICULOUS! And a welcome break from endless bowls of hummus and onion dip. Don't question, just make it. Serve it with pita chips and crudites. Use the leftovers as the best sandwich spread EVER.

Chef D's Amazing Cheese Spread

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 c mayo (I use Hellman's, don't use a Miracle Whip type, the sweetness will throw it off)
2-3 T of Greek yogurt (any fat level is fine, but Greek is preferable to regular for texture)
2-3 T lemon juice
1 t smoked paprika
10 oz grated cheddar (good quality extra sharp is amazing here)
8 oz grated fontina
4-6 scallions, sliced
¼ t red pepper flakes

Put everything into a food processor, using 2 T of yogurt and 2 of lemon juice. Blend until it is dip like - if the consistency is too thick, add another T of yogurt. Taste & adjust lemon & S+P.

Thanks again for all the comments, if you have your own quick and easy recipes that can spice up the Sunday Football get-together, share with the class!

Yours in Good Taste,
The Polymath

Friday, September 17, 2010

More Wallpaper Notes and a Mini Contest!

As many of you know, I had some really good fun at my dear pal Jen Lancaster's wallpaper's expense earlier this week.  You can read my snarkiness here.

Nothing says warm and inviting kitchen better than crazed monkeys attempting to make yakitori out of actual Asian men.

And sometimes, wallpaper fights back.

My darling Charming Suitor lives, as one would expect, in a Charming Bungalow.  Built in 1918, and renovated in the 1950s, it is classic Chicago architecture and completely, well, Charming!  And in this Charming Bungalow is a Charming Kitchen that has the 1950's awesome steel kitchen cabinets with the chrome handles.  Being that the cabinets were actually installed in the 1950s, there aren't a lot of them, just one lower unit that houses the kitchen sink, and then a large wall unit above the sink where Charming Suitor kept all his Charming Plates and Glasses and Bowls and Vases etc.

And this week, whilst we were sleeping snugly at my house, the Charming Cabinet decided it was tired of the wall.  60 plus years of hanging in one place, stocked to the gills with heavy stoneware and glassware, it's little open shelf on the bottom filled with oils and vinegars and spices and such.  It was bored.  Or maybe slightly suicidal.  Maybe it had heard that at some point it was likely that Charming Suitor might in fact be planning on taking up permanent residence at my own equally Charming abode.  Perhaps it was having a Betty Draper hissy fit, going all "I can't even FACE the idea of him dating another kitchen cabinet."and since a cabinet cannot chain smoke or suck down eleven martinis, it just decided to make a statement. 

A big statement.

CS returned to his house to discover the cats, brawny indoor/outdoor toms, named for manly sport heroes, who can face down the neighborhood mastiff with nary a moment of fear, huddled in the corner, holding each other.

A peek down the hallway revealed a ktichen floor covered wall to wall with shards of glass and pottery.

Hmmm.  That's weird.

"Methinks I have been burgled!"  CS thought to himself as he cautiously moved in to investigate.

That seems wrong.

And discovered the lovely cabinet, and all of its contents, no longer attached to the wall even the tiniest bit.

Oh, there's nothing good about this...

Bad for glassware.
Its the Poseidon Adventure at the Pottery Barn!
Yes Greg, that's a full gainer off the wall!

A lifetime of lovingly collected dishware and cookware and glasses and mugs, kaplooie.  Not just broken, EXPLODED.  It was all kinds of Kristallnacht in there.  Some items had literally been pulverized to powder.



The cabinet, only slightly bent and dented here and there, was not so much worse for wear.

Desperate cry for help from kitchen cabinet.

The wall, original 1918 lathe and plaster, was cracked and had a couple big holes, and....well....this:

I know this stuff is making a comeback, but...

...does it really need GLITTER?

Jen, you MAY NOT try to find this wallpaper for your house.  Step away from the light, Carol Anne.
Yep, a large rectangle of this 1950s kitchen theme wallpaper, WITH GOLD GLITTER ACCENTS.

Jen believes that this wallpaper pushed the cabinet off the wall in order to prove that kitschy wallpaper WILL NOT BE DENIED. 

A couple of other friends implied that I might have sneakily loosened a bolt or taken a crowbar to the unit, in order to speed up the "purge and merge" process.  (This was not made less viable by the fact that the eight plates and six bowls of mine that were currently living in the cabinet were all amongst the survivors.)

My parents both asked if it was related to the moth problem of last week, but I am pretty sure that fifteen half-dead grain moths from the pantry could not have caused this level of damage.

CS filled three enormous garbage cans with shattered glass and pottery, called a fabulous handyman, and the cabinet is now firmly reattached to the wall, as if nothing had ever been amiss.

There were THREE of these!

The cats are suffering from Vietnam flashbacks, so we are not slamming doors these days.

And yes, we did save a piece of the wallpaper for possible framing.

It will look absolutely Charming.

In my kitchen.

I'd love to hear about your own Charming household disasters....post them in the comments section and the top 20 answers will get a signed copy of Good Enough to Eat and a limited edition GETE promotional apron! 

And thank you to CS, who provided pics, most of the captions, and the kind of sense of humor to give permission for me to share this story with you all.

Yours in good taste,
The Polymath

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Because Sometimes Editorializing is Required

Well, Chickens, today it is important to talk about true friendship.  I don't mean surface "of course you look fine/love your new hair/I'm sure he'll call" friendship.  I mean deep-down-for-life-besties with actual "that color makes you look like an Oompa Loompa/Kristy McNichol called and said feathered hair is out/he's a fartweasel and you shouldn't care that he will never call" friendship.  The kind of friends who show up to lunch with cupcakes or bourbon or both, depending on whether you are celebrating or commiserating.  The kind of friends who congratulate you on your successes and call you on your bullshit and who know your honesty is a gift, and so they forgive you.

Me, reading in an overly dramatic way that makes me look like a lizard, Jen on the left, watching and thinking "Oh, honey, you're gonna need some chemical peel on that neck if you don't stop making that face, bless your heart."

It is no surprise to anyone that one of my truest and dearest friends is the incomparable Jen Lancaster.  She said a whole bunch of really nice stuff about me here.  She is often saying nice stuff about me, and if you know me, most of the time I am saying nice stuff about her too.  I've always been grateful to Printer's Row Book Fair for fixing us up on our first blind date, and to the Universe for ensuring that we would choose to have a second date.  I met Jen before I met her books, and then was delighted to find that same snarky wit present in her work that I so enjoy in her company. 

The fact that our current books are dedicated to each other sort of says it all. And if you haven't read her stuff, go buy it right now.  Just click here!

Many things have changed for me since Jen came into my life.  I now have a small Real Housewives additiction, whereas before Jen, I was pretty reality-TV free.  I have a renewed love of all things 1980s, and have now been given multiple chances to embarass myself in public with outfits almost entirely made of THINGS I STILL OWN FROM HIGH SCHOOL. 

Not only am I wearing my own stuff from HS, but Tracey is wearing one of my old jackets and some jewelry. 
Jen, of course, just looks like Jen.

I have had more girls nights and cupcakes than I can count, and a ridiculous amount of laughter. 

When I met my Charming Suitor, from the very first date, Jen led the charge of Team Charming Suitor, our other gal-pals Gina and Tracey following suit, and at every step of our budding relationship she quizzed and queried and cheer-led and generally made it clear that she was in absolute unflagging support of my new relationship, even though she knew it would alter the amount of time we could spend together. 

And when she decided to up and move her madras-clad ass up to the suburbs, effectively eliminating our spontaneous midday pilgrimages to Whole Foods, not to mention our standing Wednesday night girl dates, I made a lot of noise, I made a lot of snarky comments, and I sneered....and then I went out to see the houses they were looking at and gave honest opinions, and eventually, my blessing.  Because you want your friends to get what they want, even if it sucks for you.

Today, Jen has a post up on her blog that encourages you to come see me, and by proxy her, at my signings this week.  She also shows off some of the window treatments and wallpaper that came with the new house.  And as her best friend, I feel it important to point some things out about these items. 

When we went to see this particular house I said many honest true things. 

It has great bones.  It is in impeccable shape.  It feels like them.  I could see them really enjoying life there.  It has some wonderful special Jen/Fletchy details.  (no, I am not talking about the gun rack in the kitchen, I am talking about the sun porch and the special icemaker.  the gun rack is just a scary bonus.)

But since I am honest, I will say the following.

Whoever originally chose the wallpaper and window treatments for this house was deranged or heavily medicated or perhaps had seen Changing Rooms once too many times. 

Below is Jen's current post, you'll see my notes peppered throughout....

At some point I'm going to learn to make announcements prior to the last minute.
Today is not one of those days.
But so you know, my friend Stacey Ballis is doing some book signings this week and Fletch and I will be there. Okay, maybe Fletch won't be at the second one, but he's definitely coming tonight as he's currently in the middle of a steamy bromance with Gina's boyfriend.

For which I am very grateful, since Fletch's man-crush on Charming Suitor led to a very uncomfortable drunken lap dance at last year's 80s bash, and it was definitely time for his affections to be spread around.

Here are the specifics:
Tuesday September 14
Barnes and Noble Webster Place
1441 W. Webster
Chicago IL

Thursday September 16
Barnes and Noble Old Orchard
55 Old Orchard Shopping Center
Skokie IL

Friday September 17
Emcee for the Annual Grown Up Spelling Bee (yep, a spelling bee. with prizes. there may be slots available, so call and sign up!)
The Book Cellar
4736 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago IL

I won't actually be at the spelling bee one as I have to go to court that day regarding the idiots who tried to break into my house. (Related story - after this happened, my friend Caprice emailed me and was all, "YOU ALMOST GOT ROBBED?" to which I replied, "No, two morons almost got shot. Big difference.")

(I imagine this is not a story I will share with the judge.)

I imagine that she will also refrain from mentioning that she practically live-tweeted the event, and that the way she told Fletch there was a problem was by running through the house yelling "Perimeter Breach!!!"

Anyway, as you know, I've moved. I may have mentioned this a couple of hundred times. However, I haven't said much about the house and that's been intentional. The thing is, it's tough sledding out there for a lot of people right now. Many folks aren't buying new homes so much as they are trying desperately not to lose their old one. If they aren't in short sale or foreclosure, they're underwater on their mortgage or in a situation where a mortgage isn't even a distant possibility.

Trust me, I know what that's like; I've been there.

In regard to this house, I don't want to be all, "And this! Could be yours! If you were me!"

I'd rather just share the funny stuff, ergo today I'm rolling out...


When we ran across our house on the MLS, we immediately wrote it off. We didn't want to see it and I put "the wallpaper will haunt my dreams" in the comments section. But eventually we switched realtors and our new lady brought us here. And although we still hated the wallpaper, she helped us look past it to see an impeccably maintained home, with solid construction and a new roof and a yard the dogs would love.

At this point they brought me out to see the house, and both Jen and Fletch made all sorts of noises about the plans they were making design-wise, the desire to bring in a professional for guidence, they bandied about terms like "color story" and "design plan" and "wallpaper removal".

I would like to point out that later that night I called our friend Penny and made the following Nostradamus-like predictions:

1.  Jen and Fletch would buy this house, and be happy there.
2. They would end up keeping a huge percentage of both hideous wallpapers and tragic window treatments, as the love for the house and an affinity for kitsch would eventually be the downfall of future design.
3.  In either the packing or unpacking they would find the video camera purportedly stolen by a former cleaning service, prompting the cancellation of said service.

So here we are. Now let's get on with the show.

Did I say elephant in the living room? I meant elephant in the great room.

Yeah, it's a curtain and not wallpaper but I felt it had to be seen. Also, the more I live with this piece, the more it charms me. These curtains are pulling me in... not unlike the light in Poltergeist.

It is not a window treatment.  It is the curtain to the sideshow of the Circus of the Criminally Insane.  And slightly shiny, which doesn't really come across in this photo.  On the upside, if one is going to be possessed of five cats, providing this volume of tassels for their enjoyment will only save you money in cat toys in the long run.

Also, in terms of curtains, I'd be remiss if I didn't say that I like these in the master.

Not bad, right? Pretty matchy-matchy with our stuff, too.

More tassels.  But she is right, of all of the violations, this is very minor.

(BTW, I'm sorry about how blurry the photos are. I think I got my iPhone sweaty yesterday when I was outside.)

(Also not pictured, enormous muddy paw prints all over the duvet. Loki likes to get wet, dig for chipmunks, and then jump on the beds. It's AWESOME.)

Anyway, this is where the curtains go a bit off the rails.

And by "a bit off the rails" Jen means to say "holy shit, it's Satan's golf pantaloons!".
You would think I'd be all over pink and green striped balloon valances. You would be wrong. Just because I collect Barbies doesn't mean I want to live in her Dream House.

Methinks she doth protest too much....and if you think I am lying, do ask that she post pics of the guest room, which looks like it could be Barbie's Suite at Betty Ford.

Now we'll move onto the first paper you see once you walk in.

This isn't so awful, except that it's frigging everywhere - in the foyer, down the hall to the bedrooms, down the hall to the kitchen, up the stairs, and in the loft area. And for the record, I don't own a single thing that matches powder blue flowers.

This also, not so bad.  Especially considering what comes later....

Hey, at this point of the tour is anyone hungry? What would you prefer?


Perhaps some kind of game bird?

Fortunately in my dining room, you don't have to choose.

Again, this is some of the stuff that made me bark with laughter when I first saw it, but now at night the room almost takes on a certain glow and... the light, Jen! Run away from the light!

Jen fails to mention the entire lack of SCALE in this print.  When is the last time you saw a raspberry three times the size of a phesant's HEAD? 

NOTE:  Dear Wallpaper Designers, Please step away from the crack pipe. Thank you, Stacey


Pretty tame comparatively, right? I think so, too. Expect this to stick around for a while.

The colors on this are in fact pretty tame, and it is in good shape, so I gave it my tentative approval. I also said to stay away from embroidery in the towels and accessories, we shall see if that sank in...

The next couple of entries aren't so bad either on their own, but when you put them together with everything else... I'm not sure I understand the statement they were making as a whole.

Unless that statement is, "Let's see how much unrelated wallpaper we can slap on these walls."

This is the upstairs guest bath.

Nosegays, wherefore art there nosegays?

In the context of the rest of the room, it works. For now.

And this is the laundry room.

The walls don't have pink spots. I think that's a function of my sweaty iPhone.

Were it not for the stupid border, I'd be fine with this bathroom's paper, too.

However, this room becomes less okay when you see the related bedroom wallpaper.

What prompts a person to say, "You know what this room needs? Eight thousand powder blue ribbons repeating all over the walls."

Please feel free to do your best Nancy Kerrigan impersonation here, crying, "Whhhhhhyyyyyyy? Whhhhhhyyyyyyyy? WWWWHHHHHHHHYYYYYY?" I know I have.

Also, not pictured? The two inch thick Cookie Monster blue shag carpeting.

Also not pictured?  Stacey weeping openly, and begging Jen and Fletch to at least consider painting over it...I feel like one of those Toddlers in Tiaras is going to pop out of a closet with her little dentures gnashing and her mascara running, going all Chucky in this suite.

Now, you epileptics in the group might want to avert your eyes for this.

Staring at this, I can see through time.

Can you see through time to a place where some interior designer sat in front of a pile of cocaine and this wallpaper swatch saying "THIS ONE!  IT HAS TO BE THIS ONE!  BUT IT NEEDS SOMETHING...."

Yet to get the full effect, you need to check out the border, too.

"...CHINESE MUSICIAN BORDER!!!!  sssssnnnnnnnnnnnniiiiiiffffffffffffffff"

The room is so visually stimulating that it's hard to keep ones balance while using the powder room. I tell girls to spot the border and boys to stare at the towels. So far no casualties, but it was touch and go for a minute on Labor Day.

I told Jen in no uncertain terms to lock this room during parties, as even the most minimally tipsy guest is going to vomit Ro-Tel dip the moment they enter this powder room. 

Hmmm.  POWDER room.  (see note on coke-sniffing designer)

Seriously, those beige birds are looking pretty good right now, aren't they?

And finally, for those who didn't believe me when I mentioned that the kitchen wallpaper was covered in monkeys perpetrating hate crimes against Asian men...

Ghastly.  And vaguely racist.
As for this stuff?

The light is dangerous! Don't go near it! Don't even look at the light!

Wait for it, wait for it....

Too late.

I already love it.

Told you so. 

(Notice she didn't mention that she already had some wooden monkey art that matches it nicely.)

Anyway, hope to see you guys tonight or Thursday.

As do I.

You'll recognize me because I'll be the gal holding paint swatches.

Also?  They found the video camera :)

In all seriousness, despite my fun at their wallpaper's expense, it is a lovely house, and both Jen and Fletch are all glowy since moving, and I wish them years of happiness.

And I promise, on behalf of all who love them, I'll keep working on the wallpaper issue....