One of the things about setting myself up in a new place, simultaneously obvious and astounding, is that everything is mine. The fridge is mine, the bookcases are mine, the decorations are mine, the wafting piles of dog fur lurking in all the corners are actually Indy’s and/or Jet’s, but since they’re unlikely to pick them up themselves, those are mine too. Of course, Josh shares ownership in all these domestic delights as well. But since this post is largely regarding home decor, we’ll go with mine as the possessive here, and perpetuate a century of gender-based stereotypes by assuming men have limited agency in the decoration of their homes. However, this gender segregation is not an entirely unfair representation of decorating at TTH, since Josh is pathologically easy-going:
M: Here, I got this, I want to hang it on the wall.
M: What that means is I want you to hang it on the wall.
J: Okay. Here?
M: A little to the left.
M: No, actually, I think in line with the other thing?
M: No, it needs to go back where it was, to the right. Oh gosh. I just don’t know. No. More to the right.
M: Down a little. Oh, that’s good. Do you want to hang up this other thing which belongs to you, so you have something on the walls too?
To be fair, at TTH, my abuse of Josh’s good will only applies to interior decorating. Outdoors, it goes like this:
J: Look at this plant I rescued from your mom!
J: Isn’t it pretty?
M: Certainly is a plant!
J: I was thinking of replanting it and putting it over on the patio. It will look good with the other succulents and the manzanita. Or maybe I could put it in the front when we redo the planters, what do you think?
M: (blank stare)
J: No, I agree, the patio is better.
So anyway, back to the indoors. While I am deeply grateful for the time my family sheltered me under their roof, that was my mom’s house, not mine. Her furniture, her decorations. It never really occurred or mattered to me much until I got my own place, where all of the furnishings and mess are suddenly my private, tiny domain in which to go mad with power. Lamps and window coverings and throw pillows, once strictly confined to the aggressively dull world of Grown Ups, are now of compelling interest to me. Forget sex stuff, that is nothing — real, true “adult content” is when you spend longer than six minutes considering your shelving options, and you are excited about it.
The reason shelving options were of primary concern is that the mud room was a mess. You might think this goes part and parcel with a room called the mud room, but while dirt can be expected, I came to wholeheartedly disapprove of the clutter slowly populating the space between the washer/dryer and pantry. Supplies popped up like large, clumsy mushrooms on the floor and the top surfaces of the appliances, and I’d had enough. I needed shelves. Shelves for my tubs of dog food, shelves for my tub of dog treats, shelves for my tub of dog veterinary supplies, shelves for my tub of holiday-themed dog bandanas, shelves for my tub of dog toys, shelves for my little box of caplets meant to prevent Indy from eating Jet’s poop because seriously Indy that is disgusting. Also, shelves for the laundry soap. I guess.
The difficulty here is that when you live in a house smaller than the average walk-in closet, every inch matters. I had exactly 30 inches for my shelves, no more and no less, and every shelving unit I found at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Target, Ikea, and other such boring Adult Stores was at least 32 inches wide. I decided to cry about it to Georgia, who has been listening to me cry about my problems since 1998 and is miraculously still my friend.
“Georgia,” I whimpered, “I need shelves and I can’t find any which are only 30 inches wide, and also backless to let the window light in.”
“Have you tried Ikea?” Georgia asked, reasonably. We love Ikea. We used to go to Ikea together in West Sacramento when I was in college, and feast like kings upon $1 hot dogs and $0.50 sodas after acquiring cheap yet fashionable accessories for our bland apartments.
“Yes,” I whined, “They don’t have anything.” I decided to actually search the Ikea site after I said that, to make sure I didn’t sound like an idiot. Within two seconds I discovered both that they have a 30-inch unit, and that I sound like an idiot. “Never mind,” I told Georgia, “They have the Gorm.”
“I too have a Gorm,” Georgia declared, and at that moment, the matter was settled. I determined to buy a Gorm of my very own. “Now no one can call you guys gormless,” Georgia remarked, and we had a good chortle. We think we’re funny.
It’s worth noting at this point that I decided to buy shelves, and I bought shelves which require assembly, all with absolutely no intention whatsoever of assembling them myself. I got up from the computer to run over and share the good news with Josh. “Josh!” I happily declared. “I bought shelves!”
“Hnnghh,” said Josh, because he was Not Sick. In Josh-speak, Not Sick is the first stage of debilitating illness. It comes right before Almost Dead.
“For the laundry room!” I continued. “They’re 30 inches wide exactly and Ikea will ship them for ten dollars and the light wood will match the rest of the house and I can finally get all the dog stuff off the floor.”
“Hrgk,” Josh said.
“I need you to put them together,” I filled him in on his role in home organization at TTH.
I am happy to say that the Gorm arrived quickly and without incident. Because I didn’t want to get contacted by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Joshua, I did not ask him to put it together while he was still Not Sick or Almost Dead. Instead, Josh himself chose to put it together a few nights later, when he was exhausted but consumed with a burning desire not to be mocked any longer by the patient, unassembled Gorm box leaning against the wall heater. I believe he felt it was glowering at him in silent reproach.
All things considered, the Gorm was pretty easy to put together. It went smoothly.
TOO, TOO SMOOTHLY.
Once we stood it up and looked at it, we tilted our heads to one side… and then the other side. It didn’t help. The Gorm is only made of eight pieces of pine, a couple screws, pre-drilled holes and Swedish optimism, without much in the way of stabilizing structures. We couldn’t deny it. The Gorm was crooked.
“Mine was, too,” Georgia assured. “Just shove it really hard to one side, that’ll straighten it right up.” Georgia should probably not be an architect.
“Whatever,” I declared to Josh. Our exhaustion and my lust for organization exceeded my desire for furniture which is unlikely to fall over and crush me beneath tubs of holiday-themed bandanas. “Just put it up, we’ll fix it later!” He did. And lo, the mud room was become organized, and the Meg looked upon it and saw that it was good.
For those of you (Mom…) concerned about my safety in the face of collapsed Gorm peril, not to worry. It really will be fixed. Georgia is coming to visit at Thanksgiving and bringing extra Gorm shelves with her, at which point the thing will be disassembled, shelves added, and rebuilt to code.
For now, I have to say that having my laundry soap and coprophagia deterrent within easy, tidy reach is just utterly fantastic. I’m so happy to have shelves of my very own to put things on. And sure, that might be lame, considering that I used to get this level of excited over cool stuff like the toy section of the Sears Christmas catalog or my neighbor’s Skip-It. But considering you just read nearly 1500 words about a shelving unit… I’m not the only grown-up here, eh?