It all started with the new TV.
Steve turned 40 this year, so we decided that his big gift would be a flat screen television. That was back in September and we haven't actually bought it yet, since we're feeling skittish about spending money before bonus time. We'll probably get up the nerve to buy one in the next couple of weeks. After a decade in grad school, we have trouble spending large amounts of money. Makes us rather nauseous.
Then we were thinking that if we get a new TV, we should get a proper piece of furniture for it. Right now, our TV sits on a coffee table from some Bronx paisan that we painted in cheap black paint.
Yesterday, I looked around the living room and decided the whole room needed a face lift. All the furniture is grad school chic — found objects from NYC dumpsters and IKEA. The furniture is arranged the same way as the day that the moving truck left it four years ago. We never painted the room. In fact, I think Steve just stuck the clock on a random nail in the wall left by the previous owner. The curtains cost $9 from IKEA. And when I looked at them closer yesterday, I noticed that they were covered in black dust. We have the worst cleaning lady in Northern New Jersey.
After I overcame a lot of guilt, I hired a cleaning lady to help out when I went back to work. Luz has been cleaning my mom's house for the past three years. Luz only cleans things that are at waist level. She doesn't bend down or reach up. So, there are crumbs under the coffee table and dust on light fixtures and cobwebs on the curtains. She has many physical ailments and whenever I see her (she misses a lot of days), she says, "Oh, Louda, my aching back. Oh, the pain."
I would like to fire her, but her husband just got fired and I don't know how to do these sorts of things. When I ask my mom whether or not Luz really cleans her house, my mom says "I just get down on my knees and thanks the sweet Lord for sending me someone to help." Anybody who had to clean a Cape Cod with three worthless children and a husband for decades will take any help at all, even help that doesn't bend down.
So, after coming up with plans for new furniture, I decided that I needed new, cobweb-free curtains. The $9 IKEA curtains aren't washable. I do hate to spend money on curtains. They're just strips of fabric. I don't get why they should cost $100 a panel. A piece of furniture is one thing. It's solid and someone spent some time making it. But curtains? Nobody really looks at curtains anyway. It's like underwear. Another item that just shouldn't cost as much as it does.
Now, it's new furniture, new curtains. The next step was a coat of paint. But did I really want to paint the walls, when there was that nasty drop ceiling that we wanted to pull down very soon? The jerko who owned the house in the 70s did all sorts of nasty things to the house that we've been working very hard to undo. The living room ceiling was dropped by nearly two feet and is covering some molding and a light fixture.
The trouble was that I didn't know what the condition was of the ceiling under that fake cardboard stuff. This morning I punched a hole in the ceiling and looked around. It's a much bigger mess than we can fix with a little DIY patching. Professionals will need to be called in. Expensive professionals. Ugh. this isn't going to happen soon.