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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

3 House Horribles

As someone on the brink of first-time home ownership, I am keenly aware and even anxious about how to fill up my new house - especially since I’ve mostly lived in apartments for the last ten years or so. As opposed to apartment living, there is a veritable universe of options when it comes to things to populate a home with: furniture, appliances, decorations, etc. After watching years of Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous and Cribs, I have some very big ideas, and after living by myself for the past six years, some very strong preferences for the small stuff. But, in my searches and observations I have come across some items that you should definitely not put into a place. And so, in the hopes that mine won’t be the only house I’ll never have to see these articles in, here are 3 things that should not be in your house (or anyone else’s):

1. Unbreakable. The 1970’s was an era of fashion, style and home decor that is usually best forgotten. It was also, as it turns out, the last time that ceramics were a welcome addition to interior design. With the notable exception of handprints, ashtrays or other basic pottery made by your own young children, the only thing in your house that should need to be “fired” is any interior decorator who thinks it’s ok to put this kind of kitschy crap where you live. And you can only hope that the worst ceramic thing you’ve got is pottery, because the only thing creepier to have in your house than ceramic figurines is human body parts. Honestly, I’d rather stay in a house full of feral cats and discarded food containers than one full of Precious Moments and Hummels; at least I know the cat-owning slob in the first house isn’t going to trying to make me a life-size part of their “collection” of pretty things. “It puts the lotion on!” If you need something fragile in your house, stick with your ego, and leave the ceramics for the garage sale.

2. Work Outdated. There is only one type of product that gets outdated faster than the consumer electronics in your house, and that’s exercise equipment. Which is unfortunate since it’s usually really expensive, really big, and has the aesthetic appeal of your average dungeon setup. Of course, there are some less-expensive options (i.e. infomercial fitness), but if you’re the kind of person who will display anything in your house that you bought from a television commercial airing after midnight - you’re likely beyond any kind of help that I can offer. For the price of one decent piece of equipment you could buy a couple of years worth of gym membership, where they keep the equipment updated and repaired regularly. But for some reason you don’t want anyone to see you work out? Listen, don’t buy into the advertising, not everyone at the gym is a fitness model. In fact, most of the folks there will be there for the same reason you are - to get their fat asses into shape. Besides, which would you rather have as a totem of your utter lack of resolve and laziness: a barely used membership card, or a stationary bike/treadmill/Bowflex machine with a year’s worth of dust on it? Only one them will fit into a drawer when you’re having company over that may want to have some kind of respect for you.

3. Going Down. There is one fixture that you can have in your house that makes you, inalterably, into an asshole. One device that, no matter what other tasteful and carefully considered items you fill you house with, will make everyone who visits think you’re a douchebag. And that item is an elevator. There is simply no defensible reason to have an elevator in your house. If you have more than three floors in a house that only you live in, you’re an ass. If you have three floors or less, there’s a solid possibility that you could use the exercise that a couple of flights of stairs could regularly provide. Seriously, you could have a laboratory dedicated to finding a cure for cancer, three bedrooms for orphans and a soup kitchen for the homeless, and as soon as I see an elevator I’ll want to punch you in the mouth. I’d rather see a full-sized bronze statue surrounded by painted portraits and a wall-sized photo montage of just you than one elevator - and the personal shrine is the only one of those two options that won’t make me want to slap you. Having a home elevator is an excellent way to make your guests (a) wonder where your stairs are in case your house burns down and (b) hope they get used for that very same reason.

* * *

There may be no more personal canvas for you than your home. It is, inside and out, an expression and reflection of who you are, where you’ve come from and what you want the the world to see. It is both intensely personal and inescapably public. And notwithstanding the foregoing, I’ve always believed that you have an absolute right to do whatever makes you happy behind the closed doors of that home (provided you’re committing no felonies). But that said, with this freedom comes the responsibility for what you choose to do with it - and my right to mock/judge you for abusing it. In the end, you can fill your house with whatever you’d like, hopefully steering clear of all of the above. As for me, I’m hoping to fill mine with three things of my own: love, friends, and way too many toys.


Anonymous said...

What if you use that BowFlex as a part of your dungeon setup?

Excellent article, as usual! Love it!!! And now I know just what to gift you when you move: a priceless glass menagerie from the 1970s like this:


Anonymous said...

I choked on my Pepsi when I read, "It puts the lotion on." lol

Sooo... I should probably stay away from the Ceramic Cat aisle at Home Goods for your House Warming gift, huh? It would look so good over the mantel...just sayin'..

*Your G Efff

Bill Friday said...

I take offense at your idea that I have to disable my elevator (which, by the way, doubles brilliantly as a couples-size Panic Room), for fear that visitors might find their way to my sub-basement, and see my full-size, bronze statue of Jen and Tonic.

For someone who spent quality time aboard the USS Jimmy Carter, I should think you'd understand.

As for the feral cats, they live on the first floor... near that unbreakable plastic box I like to refer to as "Mom".

Anonymous said...

I think having naked paintings of yourself "hung" around the house is also something full of douchebaggery. There is something that is very appealing about and elevator though. No sense for it whatsoever, but it's one of those things that a guy sees in a house and he thinks twice about it for sure. A woman wouldn't of course, they would just be shaking their head at the guy as his brain gently folds over on itself.


Jen and Tonic said...

First, I am getting you a ceramic kitty from Goodwill the next time I go. You're welcome.

Secondly, I have a Topsy Turvy which I bought at WALGREENS. God, I'm lame. In my defense, it was the only way we could get tomatoes to grow on our balcony.

Lastly, your writing was as brilliant as ever.

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