We recently moved into a new home that, we were told, was recently updated. Now that we live there, we realize that “recent” meant the 1980s. Ah, the recent 1980s, when splatter paint wallpaper trim in the kitchen and glass block walls in the entryway were all the rage.
I love to remember the 80s: when closets were covered in full length mirrors, and every bathroom had gold plated faucets. However, just as I do not want to wear my leg-warmers and flash-dance sweatshirts anymore, it’s time to move on.
So, we are “remodeling.” Never heard of it? This is a game where you look at your own house and imagine it looking like someone else’s house. It’s just like Jane Austin’s “Emma,” (or Clueless for you youngsters. ) Take an unpopular girl and, to make yourself feel better, try to make her prettier so she’ll be really cool.
You take your house to get a makeover and a personality change, and hope it will make everything all better. However, when you remodel, even if you ultimately realize that what’s on the inside really matters, you can’t go back in your house because the toxic paint fumes may kill you. And even if you realize your house didn’t need to change it’s looks to be cool, you are still stuck living in a Days Inn for weeks because you have no floors.
So, while we are living out a really bad episode of extreme makeover: home edition, no one has whisked us away to Disneyland while we await the results. Instead, we are in a musty old hotel room with NASCAR fans making out in the hot tub near our room.
My home is in shambles, and I haven’t been able to locate either my strapless bra or Lauren’s science project.
My house is covered in plastic sheets, and I’m having nightmares that they are not actually remodeling in there. I’m scared that they are actually doing experiments on E.T. and Elliott. I have panic attacks that the men in the white face masks are not painters, but are actually scientists trying to kill an innocent little alien who just wants to phone home.
I dropped off my dogs with the vet and told them I would be back as soon as I could. I felt how Annie’s parents must have felt leaving her at the orphanage . Perhaps my dogs are there right now singing “Maybe” out the kennel window. I should have given them a locket so they know I’m coming back for them one day real soon.
Many a singer has crooned that home can be anywhere, as long as you are with the people you love. Those singers, however, have never undergone a remodel.
I’m with my children, and, as anyone who has lived with children in a hotel during school, its fantastic. They suddenly realize they need items from home all day long. Homework, certain pieces of clothing, and, in our case, scripts and cheerleading uniforms, are all “back at the house.” In all these cases, they need it NOW.
I, too, want my things. I want my hair straightener, my coffee maker and my washing machine. I also need Valium.
I want to find the mail and some clean underwear. Both are equally important.
So let’s be clear. When you are displaced from your house, it doesn’t matter that you are still surrounded by laughter and warm hugs. You cannot charge your phone with the love of your family.
Home is not where the heart is.
Home is where your shit is.