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Internal Ramblings of a Semi-reformed Type-A Personality
November, 2010 - Issue #73
My youngest is only 2 and I am certain I've already destined her to a senseless, soul-killing, life-long quest for unobtainable perfection. "Do it right or not at all, Olive," I tisk. And then I realize my mistake. "Actually, Olive, it's best to 'leave well enough alone.'" I should leave it there, but I don't. "You know, Olive, maybe Mommy will help you separate the Legos from the Lincoln Logs, just this once." Sigh. My perfection-seeking, order-craving, Type-A side won out again.

I'm one of those messy perfectionists, the kind that simply cannot do anything unless it can be done perfectly - by me, of course, because I am the only one who can meet my impossibly high standards. With three small kids and a busy career, this means that lots of things don't get done.

And now you see the conflict: The more I try to obtain my "perfect" sense of order, the less order is actually achieved.

Which brings me to the holidays. It's my turn to play hostess and members of my immediate family started expressing dread at the prospect around, oh... July.

So, to keep the peace and restore my sanity, I've decided to cultivate a B personality of my very own. And, because I'm nothing if not a high achiever, I decided to let the "B Me" have a say in my annual "Home improvements that Simply must get Done Before the Holidays or I will Wither and Die from Shame" list. Here is an excerpt from our internal debates.

"How I Intend to Save the Holidays from Myself"


Task One:
Set Up Stunning Outdoor Holiday Lighting that Impresses the Neighbors (After they Recover from Temporary "Too Bright!"-induced Blindness)

Therese A: We need to set the holiday tone as soon as guests arrive. I'll draw up a lighting schematic and have Eric start pricing LED lighting strands. I'm thinking "The Ghosts of Christmas Past" as a theme. Where do you think we could get a spotlight?

Therese B: Who do you think you are, Batman? And who, by chance, is going to set all of that up?

A: Me. And Eric. And Kati can help.

B: Kati is only 11.

A: Yes, and isn't that a great age to learn about electrical currents?

B: Um, no. Let's call Fantastic Electric (800-800-3871). They're affordable holiday lighting pros who will do the work for us. Do you think that Martha Stewart sets up her own lights!?

A: Oooh... Touche! Call 'em.

Task Two:
Touch Up All Interior Paint (AKA "Totally Repaint Everything")

B: I read that a simple, cheap way to make your walls look fresh and clean was to re-paint the baseboards. I'm already on this. J & B Painting (800-949-2534) is coming in next week.

A: I was going to do that.

B: You've been saying that for two years.

Task Three:
Purchase New Dining Room Table Set so as to Reduce Interaction between Self and Judgmental Family Members who Think they are Better than Me

A: The family has grown. We can't get away with that tiny dining set any longer. Otherwise we're going to have to put You Know Who at the kids' table again.

B: Why can't she eat at the kids' table? No one likes her!

A: Do you want to tell her that you don't like her?

B: God, no! That woman eats B personalities like me for dinner. Let's go to Douglas Furniture (255-8366) and find a nice, loooong table on sale so that we can sit her at the opposite end, next to Dad.

Task Four:
Revitalize Tile & Grout (Toothbrush Required)

A: Did you know that Jeanna used to clean her tile floor with those Magic Eraser thingies? It took her, like, six hours and 20 sponges, but ohmygosh - those floors looked brand new!

B: Please, no.

A: We can get an economy pack at Costco. It will be fun! We'll do it as a family. We can tie sponges to William's feet. He'll love it! We'll tell him it's just like ice skating.

B: Or, um, we could have Carpenter's Steam Rite (251-5667) do it for us and - you know - actually take the kids ice skating.

A: Now where's the fun in that?

Task Five:
Create Impressive Designer-quality Holiday Vignettes throughout Home to Prove my Inherent Skill at Interior Decorating

A: Did you notice that our sister in law still had Halloween decor up this time last year? How does she live with the shame?

B: You should talk. You haven't gotten around to putting up Christmas decorations for years.

A: Now wait! That's not fair. I have, like, three idea books filled with ideas for Christmas decor. I just haven't been able to settle on a theme that is true to our home's history and architecture.

B: The kids don't care about that. They just want something fun! Something magical!

A: I could take them to Green Thumb's (259-1072) Christmas Open House on November 13 and let them pick out a few fun and magical things.

B: And you'll be cool, and never utter, "Hmm... That's very cute, Honey. But it doesn't really go with our flooring?"

A: I make no promises. Rome was not built in a day.

Task Six:
Convince Eric that New Carpet is what He really wants for Christmas

A: We absolutely must get new carpet before Thanksgiving. This stuff is beyond embarrassing. Look - you can see where William traced Olive's body outline in chocolate syrup. That stain's never coming out. Why did you let them watch the True Crime channel at Dad's!?

B: My bad. It seemed educational at the time. On the bright side, now Kati wants to major in blood borne pathogens!

A: You B personalities are so lenient. Back to the flooring. I went to Wicall's Carpets (259-6040) - they're having a killer sale and the style I want is almost sold out.

B: How about making a compromise? We'll get new carpet downstairs, where our guests will be. And then we'll have Truly Dry (476-7775) clean the rest of the carpets. They'll lift and fluff the matted traffic areas, like on the stairs, so they'll look brand new.

Task Seven:
Clean Everything. With Bleach. Twice.

B: We need to talk. About... chores.

A: What about them? Everyone's jobs are outlined on the fridge. It's very clear. I formatted the list in an Excel worksheet, for Pete's sake.

B: It's just, well - excessive.

A: Oh, I see. People don't want to pull their weight. Who complained? Olive? She's been holding a grudge ever since I made her reorganize the Lego and Lincoln Log boxes. Fine. I'll do it all myself.

B: Knock it off, Miss Passive Aggressive. We're a busy family. Yes, we need to keep our house neat. But if you want the second floor windows washed, cabinet faces cleaned and the stair rails polished, maybe you shouldn't assign those tasks to a 4 year old boy. Clean and Bright Maintenance (433-4035) can come a few days before the party and do a real deep clean while you run to the grocery store and finish last-minute errands. And Fan-Tastic Ceiling Fan Cleaning (208-0100) can do a better job cleaning and maintaining the ceiling fans than either one of us. Now please pry the can of Pledge out of William's hands.

Home Improvement Can Be your Gift This Holiday
If you're planning to entertain over the holidays, why not gift yourself with a home makeover that will impress your guests and bring you year-round joy? To make things go smoothly, consider these tips, courtesy of Just SCV's Best.

• Select a team that has worked together and that, ideally, live in your community.

• Hire skilled workers in their trade - men and women who care about your goals and their finished work.

• Consider sourcing quotes through a co-operative group that only includes companies that are qualified and have a reputation for highest-quality work and professionalism. That way, you get a double guarantee for your project - one from the company and one from the group.

Just SCV's Best is a group of companies that has over 300 combined years of experience serving the SCV. Member businesses offer trust, dependability and the assurance that they will to get the job done; www.justscvsbest.com
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