Our house was pretty put-together when we first moved in. Then we had kids. And now, even changing a light bulb can seem like a monumental task; who has the time? Things get broken or ruined, and we ignore them. And like poison ivy, the kids’ toys and random treasures have spread around the house, occupying every nook and cranny. Once, I opened the fridge door and a bunch of Rainbow Loom rubber bands fell out. “I just thought it would be fun to make a bracelet with cold ones!” my daughter explained. Oh.
Our exterior home style is colonial; the interior decor can best be described as whatever. Here, a glimpse at just some of the many oddities in our house these days.
A toy car is our most prized possession 1 of 12
That's what you might think, if you were to visit. Because a Lightning McQueen car is displayed in the center of our lovely dining room maple breakfront, along with our crystal stemware and vases, silver candlesticks and various other fancy wedding gifts we got. My son is obsessed with Lightning and months ago, he asked if I'd put it there. Inexplicably, I obliged. And I've never bothered to remove it.
Our paint-swatch motif 2 of 12
It seemed simple enough: Choose a new neutral paint for the front hallway. Only this one is too yellow and that one is too pale and that one's dark-ish and so, this is how our hallway has looked for months now. "Honey, which color do you like?" I'll ask my husband. "Whatever you want!" he responds. Which is why the color you see when you walk into our house is Benjamin Moore Latte Stone House Monroe Bisque Putnam Ivory Muslin.
The half-naked armchair 3 of 12
For years, this chair had two slipcovered arms. Then suddenly, there was just one slipcover. Neither kid knows what happened. My husband pleads ignorance as well. Where did it go? And why can't I just get rid of the other one and call it a day?
World’s most pathetic plant 4 of 12
This used to be a lush plant. Now it's a droopy sprig. I water it faithfully, yet it does nothing but look pitiful. Or as my daughter's said, "Mommy, that plant is sick!" It's been hanging in there for months now, and I don't have the heart to put it out of its misery.
The dubious bug defender 5 of 12
This thingie is 11 years old, which I know because I got it when we first moved into the house. What a clever device! I thought. An electromagnetic way to fend off pests! I have bug-phobia — and it's never gone away because over the years, the house has been plagued by everything from ants to centipedes. Thingie doesn't work. But there it sits, because part of me believes that someday, it will.
The pole that’s holding up our entire house 6 of 12
OK, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but for sure this is some sort of supportive pole that stands in our basement. Actually, it's an oversized jack, a handyman once told us. "That's interesting," were his exact words. "You might want to replace that with an actual beam." Never have. Once, I caught my 8-year-old attempting to pole dance around it. I wanted to screech, "STOP! THE HOUSE IS GOING TO FALL DOWN!" but managed to eke out, "That's not safe."
The shrine in my son’s room 7 of 12
This is a very cool desk made for my son out of painted corrugated cardboard boxes. He refuses to use it, however, because his remote-control Lightning McQueen occupies it.
The sock drawer in my daughter’s desk 8 of 12
My daughter has a bureau with plenty of drawers, so I'm not sure why she keeps her socks in a desk drawer. "Why are the socks there?" I asked. "So I know where they are!" she explained, non-helpfully.
The gigantic plaster purple heart 9 of 12
My son made this for me years ago, a purple plaster heart with plastic flowers. Unsure where to keep it, I put it on the kitchen stand, next to our wine collection. And there it's stayed, making us look impossibly chic when guests come over (if the Lighting McQueen in the breakfront didn't already give us away).
The suitcase next to my son’s bed 10 of 12
This suitcase sits next to his bed at all times. It is filled with toys and clothes. We don't think he's planning to run away. He just likes it there, so he's all ready for our next family trip ... even if it's not happening for another eight months.
The road on our bathtub wall 11 of 12
It's been a couple of years since the kids quit playing with these traffic decals. I haven't taken them down because 1) I keep forgetting to and 2) I don't want to deal with what lies beneath.
The phantom limb plant 12 of 12
This used to be a two-branch plant, but one had to be amputated. We're not quite sure what to do with the remaining stump. My son thinks it would be a good place to perch a Lightning McQueen.