In less than 2 weeks I will have lived in this apartment 5 years. In that time, the furniture in my living room has sat in the exact same place I put it the day I moved in. I’m one of those homosexuals who regard decorating as a participatory sport and so of course this sorry state of affairs could be tolerated no longer.
The problem is that I am just one old man, and a feeble old man at that so hauling a couch and a sizable credenza around by myself was a laughable idea. Hahaha. I laughed and then I hired a couple of movers to come in and help me move stuff. They were a nice couple of guys, amenable even if they seemed baffled by my idea of just shuffling the pieces around.
Let me introduce the players here, a large curved couch, a sleek credenza, and a stylish pair of low chairs. The room is in the point of the flat iron building I live in, which makes for an interesting but difficult triangular room to work with. Plus the great big windows help hide the fact that it’s a tiny space.
There is a large dead space between the couch and the chairs and I thought if I could just rotate the pieces so that the dead space fell in the entrance, the whole room would work better. I don’t know why that idea didn’t work out, probably something to do with geometry or physics or another one of those stupid subjects I never paid attention to.
Anyway, the boys and I wrestled all the furniture around and around and none of it was successful. One of the drawbacks was the lead mover overcame his initial skepticism to join in enthusiastically with suggestions. They were all idiotic, but they were suggestions. He seemed particularly struck by the apex of the triangle and kept struggling to shove something up in there.
Eventually I just threw in the towel and had them put all the furniture right back where it started and then paid them $200 for having helped me, as the b-52s put it, “dance this mess around.”
I think the long nightmare of my Bone Hole TM saga may be drawing to a close. If you were lucky enough to miss my whining about this, my Bone Hole TM is an actual hole in my jaw bone that led to an absolutely baroque series of dental procedures up to and including pulling the stupid tooth above it. Since the tooth next to it had been removed years ago for a crown, I wound up with a sizable gap in that neighborhood. Last week, I got a “removable partial” to deal with that and, please baby jeebus, finish up with the whole sorry mess.
I hadn’t realized when discussing this with my dentist that the “partial” in “removable partial” is short for “partial denture.” A denture. Yes, one more entry in our exciting If You Don’t Die, You Get Old sitcom. I also hadn’t realized how massive this bitch would turn out. I lost another tooth 40 years ago on the other side of my mouth. You couldn’t see it, it was the tiny tooth behind the canine so I just ignored it all these years, but my current dentist decided he would include a replacement for it as an anchor for the new partial. That means the structure reaches across my mouth behind my lower incisors and is enormous. Even I, who am fairly casual about sticking big things in my maw, am intimidated by it. When I manage to wrestle it in, it feels a lot like I had taken a whim to swallow a car’s dashboard but gotten stuck on the turn signal.
Of course, it helps a lot in chewing, but comfort is not a big part of its profile. I decided early on I would just put up with it when I’m eating, but I keep forgetting to put it in, so it spends most of the time lurking in the cabinet, silently rebuking me. Since I get enough of that from Saki, I’m considering a life of pudding and cottage cheese.
Changing gears, I’d like to address the plague of the all white room. I spend a fair chunk of time idly scrolling through Tumblr, mostly harvesting pictures of attractive, if scantily clothed young men for these posts. Perhaps you’ve noticed.
Who doesn’t love a good tanline?
Lately though, my Tumblr feed has been choked with image after image of these insipid white-on-white-on-white rooms, a design decision that I loathe. It’s nothing particularly new, this is the at least the fourth big go-round it’s had since the 1980s, but just because something won’t die doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
As far as I can tell, its appeal lies with it being easy to do on the cheap (anyone with access to a bucket of white paint has most of the look nailed down) and that it comforts namby pambies who are afraid of picking colors. I love color in decorating, strong, bright, dramatic hues especially. Here’s a secret: if you don’t like a color, you can change it. I know painting is a hassle, but do you really think trying to live with white floors isn’t?
These rooms are so insipid, so bloodless. I believe their current popularity rises in part from the de-cluttering gospel that writer Marie Kondo has passed on to her cult. Her motto is “Discard anything that doesn’t spark joy” which is fine with me, People cling to too much crap. Got it, and agree with it, but the problem is adhering to passionately to it brings you to these anemic spaces.
This sparks joy for someone? It would be like living in a tidy refrigerator. This type of decorating is committed to an absence of knick knacks, art, books, everything that adds warmth and color and personality to a room. Who would want to live without them?
Speaking of dealing with the gorgeous clutter that a full book case brings:
I’m not sure if they were trying to be ironic, but that image upsets me so much, so fills me with a disturbing rage, I can understand what opponents of pornography must feel when faced with something as beautiful as this
A personal problem, I think.
I loved my garden, but I’m tepid towards house plants. Even if I wasn’t I would still feel strongly against dragging in large, semi-tropical plants like birds of paradise or bananas, such as here to an environment where they will jsut suffer a lingering death. Indoor plants need to be able to tolerate the temperatures we like inside, the arid dryness of our homes and the insufficient light that comes from not being outside, and bananas are not going to do that. Knock it off.
But it’s not all complaints about teeth and bad design decisions around here. California has re-opened from our last round of lockdown, which I honestly expected to last until April, so yay. Because of that, I was able to spend part of this afternoon out on Peet’s cafe’s outside parklette knocking back a latte and a muffin. In these sad times, that’s what constitutes decadence. Also, I have a haircut appointment scheduled whihc is plenty enough to get me in a good mood.
Helping with good moods, our latest selection of mens
My motto. You got a problem with that?
The aptly named Dick Huge.
You know how I love a ginger.
Mike Branson, discovered back in the vaults, from a time when dinosaurs roamed the porn aisle.
Oh, he’s an angel.
I don’t understand how people get their butt do that. And how do you live with it once you do? How do you sit in a chair, or maneuver down the grocery aisle, or pull your fucking pants up? For that matter, how do people behind you in line at Starbucks resist just reaching over and squeezing it to see if it’s real? Anyway, we salute you, Butt Man.
I was wandering up Castro Street in that sort of aimless way which is such an important part of my charm when I bumped into our old friend Gaye. We caught up, which was easy for my part since I am a Lady of Leisure and thus the answer to “What have you been up to?” tends to brief in the extreme. Gaye then enthused about a documentary she was off to see about minimalism. She went on at some length about the importance of unburdening oneself when I finally interrupted to remind her that she and her husband own two homes, one of which is actually a compound, comprising a main house, two guest cottages, a barn, a shed of indeterminate purpose, and a pond. A motherfucking pond. Gaye had the grace to look sheepish.
I am no real fan of minimalism, Oh, maybe in museums or gas stations, but as for home decor or a mode of living, no thanks. I think all gay men of my generation can remember being hit with both barrels of decorating restraint in the 80s and I, for one, am still reeling. Severe bleached wood floors, chilly white walls and the ambiance of an operating theatre. Sex in those environs always carried with it the pleasant frisson of despoiling something, but then after, finding a towel to wipe up with was such an hassle.
True to my inner old dowager, I like stuff. Tchotckes on tables, pillows on sofas, nice things for the cat to fuck up. Stupid cat. Not to the level of madness that Victorian spinsters hit, or some of the queens I have known who had to dust with dental floss to squeeze between all the bibelots, but still, some stuff.
I try to be mindful that too much knickknackery is a dead giveaway sign of having crossed over into old poofhood, so the other day when Secret Agent Fred dropped by and asked “What is that thing rolled up in the hall? Is it a dead body?” I briefly considered going with the corpse angle to hide my shame. In the end, though, I had to admit the truth. “I might have bought another rug,” I said. Airily. Fred wondered where a new rug was going. I assured him if I moved three of the existing ones around, everything would be fine. That’s when I started to wonder if I have a problem. Is there a home decor intervention in my future? Is there redecorator rehab?
In my defense, let me point out it is a gorgeous piece. In the late 1920s up until World War II shuttered them, there were several rug weavers in Shanghai that created these stunning rugs in odd, vibrant colors and charming pictoral designs like pagodas and lanterns and bamboos.
This one is the most beautiful tones of chartreuse and lavender and the design is something that I think is a geyser and a parrot, dahlias, and lotus. Obviously, I had to have it. And this is the LAST ONE. I swear.
When I packed up my house in New Orleans and shipped the moving pod which contained all that flotsam and jetsam, I vaguely understood the destination was my house here in San Francisco, but I didn’t much pay attention to that, caught up in the byzantine drama of selling a house. Imagine my surprise on Tuesday evening when a breezy recorded message announced the pod would be arriving the next morning. Sure enough, it did.
I stood eyeing it as it sat in my driveway, trying to look all innocent and stuff, but I knew it contained heartache. Heartache and backache. “What are you doing?” I asked it, like it was some old trick that had turned up ready to wreck havoc. “I already have a houseful of stuff. I don’t need you.” But the pod just ignored me; it knew the truth. It knew it had brought treasures from the old country, treasures I secretly longed for. Treasures like the skull and bones couch.
When I was decorating New Orleans, I bought a prim little Duncan Phyfe or Georgian style settee online and then started looking around for something to reupholster it with. My original idea was to go with some blazingly tasteless Peter Max style graphic. Instead I found a polished chintz decorated with what looked like pen-and-ink depictions of skull tattoos. Hilarious and stylish, it was just the fabric to counter the slightly prissy air of the couch’s design. I turned down the buyer of my house when she asked if she could have the sofa. I was thrilled at how annoyed she seemed to get when I refused.
Anyway, to get the skull and bones couch, had to take all the rest of the pod. Didn’t I? The problem was space is finite and the space in my house was already full. Just squeezing a new lamp can cause a domino effect that results in every room in the house needing adjustments. I called the mover guys I use when dragging home my various ill advised finds from thrift stores around town and they showed up to start hauling down roomsful of tasteful appointments to open up space.
The fabulous chaise we struggled with to fit in the living room? Gone. The dining table and chairs that always seemed to me to be such landmarks of good taste? Out, bitch, out.
I spent all day today unpacking boxes of china and goods, all of which I meticulously shipped off to New Orleans less than a year ago. I hope the enjoyed the trip. I was very impressed in New Orleans with the speed the packers demonstrated. Now I know it was the result of an insousiance towards my breakables. And oddly inconsistent, too. The Imari plates that cost more than I paid the three of them for a day’s work? Stacked with half a sheet of paper laid, more or less, between each one. The cheap glass florists vases which I know not why I took nor why I brought back? Padded to survive a nuclear blast. And a really fascinating packing style that put lots more paper inside the glasses than around them. Maybe they were concerned with implosions. They all looked sort of like structural engineers. Structural engineers taking a break from their sidelines as pornstars. That probably has something to do with my own forgiving attitude about their skills.
So now I have a semi-new house. How thrilling! Complete with skull and bones couch and a mantel clock that seems to have made it through being shipped upside down.
Expect photos shortly.
Also, I’ve meant to brag about how humpy the electrician in New Orleans was. Meticulously groomed, muscley, and not too bright. What could be better?
Two years ago, I was visiting New Orleans. As I was walking over to visit my dear old chum Magda, I stumbled onto a parade. It’s New Orleans, parades happen like that. It was the Crewe de Boo. Halloween, you get it? Anyway this evening, I was going to the drug store and once again ran into the Crewe de Boo. It’s possible they’ve been just parading around nonstop for the last couple of years.
Interestingly enough, the visit that included that original serendipitous parade viewing was also the one where I decided to buy a house here. And so why am I in town now? Because I am selling the house I bought. What a coincidence, huh? The act of sale is next week so I have to go and be all serious and stuff as well as pack up.
When I got the house originally, part of its dilapidated condition included a half ass little addition to the back that we referred to as Granny Clampett’s Wash Shed. Amazingly, the door knob was this copper plated Art Noveau charmer.
I announced I had bought the house in order to get the knob, a bit of blather Magda remembered when it came time to rip the shed down and so he pounced on the knobs and saved them for me. We consequently used them for cabinet pulls, but I am not about to allow the new owners to benefit from dear Magda’s recycling efforts so I removed them and will take them back to San Francisco with me. I have no idea what I might use a pair of semi-antique dor knobs for, but I’m sure something will come to me. Earrings, possibly.
Crepe myrtles, one of my favorite Southern flowers, in bloom
Attention, People of Earth:
So anyway, I got a charming postcard from an old friend (isn’t that quaint?) which reminded me I needed to attend to my own quaint writing medium and now here we all are. Welcome back.
New Orleans? Fabulous, darlings. I swept through thrift stores, junk malls, and Good Antique Shoppes with equal abandon, flinging the bucks like a drunk sailor in a cathouse. mrpeenee’s credit card has a new, possibly permanent dent in it, but it was worth it.
I found a beautiful big dining table with a huge dark green marble top, a pair of charming antique armchairs, reupholstered in a lovely grey and white stripe, a couple of chest of drawers, a very pretty chandelier that will be much improved by having some of its fussier crystals removed, lamps and a vase. I also met with the cabinet maker who’s doing the kitchen and picked out the marble and tiles for the baths and the kitchen and the bricks for the patio.
Also, I got to see for the first time the couch I bought online. Sweet.
Ooh, also, a lovely little drop leaf desk. We must have seen fifty of them, or more. Where on earth could they all have come from suddenly?
Chandelier in a box. I rather like the minimalist implications, but I think I might hang it without the cardboard, what the hell.
My talent for arbitrary decisions stood me in good stead; I chose the bricks in under five minutes. It probably took us longer to park. I just don’t see the point of dithering, especially over something like patio flooring. I’ve discovered it seems so overwhelming when you’re standing in the middle of eleventy million options, but then once they’re installed you never critically look at them again. After all, they’re just bricks, or light fixtures, or faucets. You see something you like, take it. Perfection is not achievable, says the buddha. Or mrpeenee. One of us, anyway.
Quiet, please. Can’t you see tattoo buddha is taking a nap?
But that’s only in person. I came home to nail down the bathtubs and sinks and stoves and whatnot online and once again the internet with its vast universe of choices reduced me to a blob of indecision. Until, that is, I recalled how effective cutting myself off from porn until I at least picked out a goddam tub had been.
And it’s a good thing naked muscly men are such an effective driver for me since renovation on the house has suddenly shifted into some kind of warp speed. When I left there, all the interior walls had been ripped out and the floors in the bathrooms were nonexistent. Now word reaches us framing has finished and walls are going up. Hoo hoo! Walls! Floors! All kinds of cool house stuff.
I’m still struggling with picking out fixtures for the house in New Orleans. Selecting bathtubs and whatnot was a chore I knocked out in an afternoon when I redid the bathrooms here at Chez peenee, so why it’s taking me more than three months to grind these out truly baffles me. My talents at procrastination just seem to have developed, I suppose.
I did manage to scrape together a frantic few, so I could get the specs off to Sister Mary Legs in the Air, who’s been very patiently putting up with my doddering all this time. I motivated myself by prohibiting porn until I had made some decisions. That’s right: I have moved from nagging myself to punishing myself. Oy.
Items I snagged included sconces. I like this one very much, plus I was thrilled by its description:
“Ostentatiously crisp white shades rise from a sparkling chrome bar in an effortless statement of both class and gentility”
cause I am all about ostentatious gentility. I sort of love the passion whoever wrote this brings to modifiers for modifying’s sake, although understanding what those big words actually meant would probably have helped.
So now I get to hoist back up on the porn train. What am I watching these days, you ask? Oh, just a little something called momronboyz.com. Rosy cheeked, smooth skinned lads in white shirts and ties and very odd underwear being molested. What could be better?
In buying my house in New Orleans, I merrily believed the most taxing decisions would involve decorating conundrums like paint colors and such. I overlooked the fact that in ripping out everything from the kitchens to the electric sockets, someone (that would be me) would have to pick out new ones to replace all that.
I’ve spent the whole evening looking at bathtubs and then, just for laughs, toilets. I’m sure I don’t have to explain to anyone living in this consumers’ paradise, choice really isn’t a problem. It’s narrowing things down that’s the bitch. All I want is a potty that transports the poo out of the house. A built-in nightlight is not something I had me heart set on. Even when I cleared the list of lights and surround sound and “cleansing devices” (oh dear. Oh very dear.) I wound up with a considerable table of comparisons most of which seem identical.
The search engine on the Lowe’s store page asks “What are you looking for?’ I understand they’re trying to be helpful, but I was so frustrated by that time, I took it as a more philosophical question and decided if their page wanted to know why I was bothering to look, maybe it was time to go to bed.
Secret Agent Fred and I are back in New Orleans, living the high life. Fred is, anyway. We got here at midnight last night and he has already snagged more pussy than I have in the last three years. Not that I mind, of course not. One has to admire both his talent and his dedication.
The nominal reason for the trip is shopping; I have realized that if I wait until the house renovation here is finished and then try to fit out the whole place at once, I’d be just overwhelmed. Plus I like decorating. Also, I wanted some shrimp.
It seems our appearance brought with it a tremendous storm. I grew up with these Gulf Coast downpours and even I am impressed. And wet. Fred wanted to know if I planned on going out tonight. Go out in a drowning downpour to visit tired gay bars I didn’t like that much thirty years ago? No thanks.
We stopped by my house to get a peek at the work wrought on it so far. The roof has been replaced and all the nasty, stinky old plaster and lath walls have been ripped out, great progress. Less thrilling was the revelation that termites had eaten so much of the studs, the only thing holding the whole place up was inertia and love of Baby Jesus. The crew is just about finished with replacing all the studs in the house.
That means the roof, the wiring, the sill and all the interior walls of the house I bought three months ago are now gone, so what’s left is pretty much the siding and the ground the place sits on. This just in: some of the siding has to be replaced. I’m beginning to believe that soon I will only own the concept of a house here.
On the bright side, Sister Mary Legs in the Air is leading a charge into renovation that is nothing short of inspiring. When he’s through with it, the whole place will be snug and solid. And pretty much rebuilt from scratch.
Oh well, I am a mere vessel, facilitating the spread of Fred’s slutty reign over New Orleans. And I plan on shrimp for lunch tomorrow, so, you know, yay.
Secret Agent Fred and I walking down Market Street in the Castro, talking the talk: “Nice people call it anal rape….” What do people overhearing us think? One wonders.
Fred and I have re-entered the world of The Rock n Roll Lifestyle, which is pretty fabulous, but difficult to accomplish anything in. I stayed more or less in bed for 20 hours a day for several days over the last weekend, fending off all sorts of attempts to lure me out. When I finally turned to on Tuesday, I had an astonishing stack of emails and stuff to deal with. I had seen something from my tax guy that was something about filing an extension. When I got around to opening the attachment, it turned out I needed to cough up $3,000 to the state by April 15, which was that day. Luckily I was able to stop squealing long enough to notice I could do it online, and I did.
Fred and I did manage a very productive day last week. We went out decorating shopping, looking at tile for the bathrooms in New Orleans and then couches. Tiles were a big success, couches less so. When did Room and Board turn into an expensive version of Ikea? The only couch they had that I liked was the one we already have here, and I’m very conscious of the fact I seem to be replicating my house here at the one in New Orleans already, so no.
We also hit a sort of antique mall and found a lovely little orange lamp and then a weird gallery where I found a lithograph we’re both wild about.
When I got them home, I realized they’re perfect in the living room here, goddamit. This happens a lot, I try to pay attention to the New Orleans house and suddenly I’m redecorating San Francisco. So very not productive, but now I have lovely addition to my living room.