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Let’s Build Something Together

writer x

I recently caught the home remodeling bug and that channel on cable television with all of the home improvement shows has become my crack cocaine. I can’t get enough of it.

Did you know that by gluing some wood molding around the edges of a mirror you can update your bathroom for as little as $10? Or that you can take an ice cream carton and turn it into a chandelier, simply by gluing on a few shiny beads and some velvety fabric? It’s pretty, really it is. Or that neutral paint colors make a room appear larger (and a little like an insane asylum?) There’s an endless stream of these little interior decorating tidbits on the home improvement channel 24/7 and everyone has such a lovely, happy-go-lucky time explaining them to you in their groovy goggles and vintage t-shirts. They’re like your best friends. I love them.

Once you start watching the shows, it’s hard to switch the channel, especially as you start envisioning all of the wonderfully cool changes you could make to your house which, let’s face it, seriously needs a little updating. Warning: Stopping cold turkey will require an intervention and some expensive therapy.

Take me, for instance. At first I started out with simple projects: painting a bathroom, decluttering an office, rearranging furniture around a fireplace, adding a pretty candle and some incense here and there. No biggie.

But then I got braver, hungrier for more. And that was my downfall…

That’s because it required that I venture into one of those huge home improvement stores as big as Rhode Island where merchandise and building supplies are stacked floor to ceiling and smells like sawdust while millions of sales associates run around dressed in fluorescent orange vests and flair pins.

You thought you died and gone to heaven. You can’t wait to get started. But then, very cruelly, you learn that the sales associates are always running in the opposite direction of any customers. I’ve come to the conclusion that they really don’t want to answer any of your home improvement questions—where do I find 60 watt bulbs? Is wood more durable than tile? What’s the difference between a convection oven and a microwave? How do I remove grout? Can I special order kitchen cabinets? Can I? Please? Hello?


Forget about pressing those red service bells that are installed in every aisle. I’m convinced that those are displayed purely for show by the store managers, like fake video cameras inside convenience stores to psych out thieves. When you press the red button, all of the sales associates with their orange vests huddle in a back room somewhere, belly laughing together because another paying customer was dumb enough to (1) press it and (2) think that a sales associate would respond to it.

Here’s the annoying truth I’ve learned after wasting too many Saturday afternoons in home improvement stores. DO NOT venture inside if:

1. You think there’s the slightest chance you might need to have a conversation with a sales associate.

2. Your eyes are sensitive to the color orange.

3. You can’t change a light bulb.

4. The items(s) that you’d like to buy are stored on any of the top shelves requiring assistance from a sales associate and/or a fork lift.

5. You need to use a bathroom.

If you do, you may seriously jeopardize your mental health. And your home.

Abort all of your foolish dreams for home remodeling and simply tell yourself that your carpet doesn’t need to be replaced with hardwood. It just needs a good shampoo. And you can rent those carpet cleaner thingamajigs at any supermarket.

::Writer X also writes at The 100 Most Annoying Things::

March 23, 2009 10:39 am

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