The Un-Manly Art of Decorating.

How, in our culture, has it become accepted that the wife is the decorator of the house? Why is it such a crime for me to hang my Pink Floyd “Wish You Were Here” poster in the living room? What’s wrong with white walls? How many candles are too many in a given room? These are some of the questions that have been plaguing me since my wedding day.

Before my wife moved into my apartment and ruined everything, I had a cool living room. The Pink Floyd poster was the centerpiece on the wall, flanked by a battle-ax and a samurai sword that I had gotten awesome deals on at the flea market. On my coffee table sat a stuffed armadillo, and in the corner stood a one-armed mannequin dressed in a tan suede tuxedo and a Viking’s helmet. The refrigerator stood next to the couch, giving me easy access to the beer crisper drawer without needing to stand up and walk into the kitchen.

But it’s all gone now. There is not a shred of my original manly flair left in our current house. Every object decorating our living room falls into one of three categories: flower-plant, candle, or huge word. (The huge words are hung or painted on the wall and say things like “LOVE” or “FAMILY” or some cheesy saying that no self-respecting man would ever utter.)

The walls have been painted a baby poop yellowish-brown, except for the brilliant red “accent” wall, which makes my head hurt and my ears ring when I look at it for too long.

As for the plant category, my wife is constantly bringing home some new potted plant that will only end up being the latest victim of her sadistic need to slowly torture and eventually kill houseplants. They start out well. For at least the first month of them taking up residence in our home, the new plant will be pampered. It will receive a daily watering and even fertilizer to feast on. But then as things get busy and other plants are introduced into the decorating scheme, the once pampered potted houseplant will begin to whither, droop, and inevitably die a slow and horrible death.

There are candles placed everywhere in our home. They are on every shelf, on top of every surface; some even have a small shelf dedicated entirely to the particular candle’s own existence. There are so many candles that if you actually light them all at the same time, it raises the air temperature a full six degrees. And if the rise in temperature weren’t bad enough, each candle has its own smell. When mixed all together, they produce the effect of a horrible three-way collision between a truck hauling fruit, another hauling flowers, and a third hauling spices. It can be overwhelming.

As for the huge-word category, it is probably my least favorite element of our décor. It would be one thing if the huge words spelled out the lyrics of a Led Zeppelin song or a knock-knock joke or something. Instead, they always say something like “HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS” or “LOVE SPOKEN HERE.”

Once, in an attempt to introduce some sort of coolness into our decorations, I had my wife talked into allowing me to paint the phrase “LIVE LONG AND PROSPER” on our living room wall, which satisfied the huge-word-decorating criteria. But just as I was beginning to paint the letters that I had sketched out in pencil, my older daughter entered the room and blurted out, “Hey, isn’t that what the pointy-ear guy on Star Trek always says?”

My shoulders slumped in disappointment.

With a look of disapproval from my wife, my idea to sneak a little coolness into our lives was shot down.

I have since given up attempting to introduce coolness into hour home.

But the living room is not the only space that my wife has invaded and taken over with her brand of decorating. She has had her way with the bathroom as well. It’s been painted a light-purple color, and she has hung mirrors everywhere to make the small space look bigger. Mirrors in the bathroom are fine for the vanity, but why do I need one hanging where I can see myself sitting on the toilet? And not just one angle—I can view myself sitting from the front or side view—I never really realized what funny faces I make when I’m pooping. There is also a small mirror hanging over the back of the toilet that provides a near perfect image of my manly parts when standing in front of the toilet to relieve myself. A floral-print shower curtain now hangs where my Star Wars shower curtain once hung.

She has basically taken over the entire house. Like a virus, the candles, plant material, huge words, and mirrors have spread into every room. All I have left is my shed. It’s where my Pink Floyd poster now hangs and my armadillo resides. It’s where I go and sit to grieve over losing my man-inspired decorating themes.

It would seem that I have no say left when it comes to our choice in home fashion, but at least I still have my shed. If she ever gets the crazy idea to decorate my shed, I’ll burn it to the ground! I’d rather see it ablaze than defiled with the candles, plants, and huge words of cheesiness.

Actual project time estimation formula.

After decades of starting innumerable house and yard projects, I have (with the use of experience and advanced mathematics) come up with a way to accurately determine how long a project will actually take.

Here are the steps to the formula. 

1. Come up with an initial time estimate for the project you are considering. So if you are going repair and paint the walls, trim and ceiling in your living room, you might make an initial estimate of three days to complete the task.

2. Double the initial estimate. Three days becomes six.

3. Convert time incremant up one level: minutes would convert up to hours, hours would convert up to days and so on. So our initial estimate of three days, which was then doubled to six days, is then converted from days up to weeks. Six days turns to six weeks.

So a painting project that is initially planned to take three days will actually end up taking six weeks.

Time Management.

When you read the title of this little article, you might have thought, “Oh, some advice on time management. This should be good!”

No.

There is no advice happening here when it comes to time management. There are so many more things that I need and want to do than I can possibly get done in one life time. It makes my head spin.

I work a full time job that sometimes requires overtime. I have a wife who I love and want to take out on “date nights”. I have two girls who I want to spend time with. I have a lawn that needs mowing and a two cars that need fixing. Our house needs cleaning and remodeling. I like writing and blogging. I like cartooning and drawing. I love being outdoors and fishing and laying in hammocks. I am a social person who values time with friends. I put a high value on volunteering my time for things I consider to be worthwhile causes.

“So how on earth do I manage to do all that?” you might ask.

“You must be a master at time management,” you might say.

The answer is simple. I don’t. I don’t do any of it.

My wife and I spend time together on the couch each evening taking turns snoring while the TV lights up the room and makes noise. It’s rare that both of us are still awake by 9:00.

I see my daughters coming and going sometimes. I manage enough effort to hope that they haven’t dropped out of school or started working at a meth lab. Sometimes I reach my arm up to hand them the money that they ask for, and I’m to tired to argue about in my after work coma state . . . . . . I’m pretty sure one of them was humming Cats in the Cradle the other night as they walked past my lifeless body.

My lawn gets mowed when it becomes so overgrown that it is embarrassing to be seen standing on it . . . . or worse yet, no one can even see me standing on it.

My cars will never get fixed.

The house is a monument to clutter. Remodeling is a ridiculous notion. Over the years I have learned that starting a remodeling project means that I will rip up the floor tile, tear out the sink, and apply spackle to spots on the wall . . . . and then abandon the project for two years . . . . . or possibly forever.

The last thing I’ve done that could be considered “volunteer work” was to chase down a piece of paper that had blown out of my neighbors garbage and put it back in the garbage can . . . . . and to be truthful, I only did it because it looked like a check stub and I wanted to know how much money an accountant makes . . . . . now that I think of it, I’m pretty sure I threw it back on the ground when I realized it wasn’t a check stub.

So my answer to trying to manage my time and get my gigantis “to do” list completed is . . . . . do nothing. I sit idle and wallow in self-pity over not possibly having enough time to get it all done, and never end up accomplishing anything, not even the things like fishing and cartooning that I actually enjoy doing. I disgust myself.

What disgusts me even more is you time management Savants. Your houses are perfect. Cars get serviced before they break down. Your houses and lawns look like home magazine covers. You volunteer for the school, the church, and you host scrapbooking clubs at your houses where delicious and visually appealing hors d’oeuvres are served on plates and napkins that match your living room décor. And you still have time left over to golf, have barbecues, and watch Dancing with the Stars.

You sicken me. Even more than I sicken myself.

But I know that I will eventually get fed up with myself and have a burst of energy. I’ll manage to half-ass my way through a few items on the list, sit down with a sigh, a beer, and a warm feeling for having gotten something done, and slowly return to my state of depression over all the things that are still left on the list.