As the kitchen was coming to its conclusion, I felt:
I have *won life.*
Not just because the finished kitchen was somehow EVEN BETTER THAN I IMAGINED— but ALSO because my existence on the planet was about to get SO INCREDIBLY GOOD:
Obviously, it’s time to open my antique store:
Giant Fancy Things.
The universe was like— finally!
At great speed, I collected things I literally could not believe.
I was BEYOND excited.
I started looking for retail spaces.
I made spreadsheets.
I learned about triple-net-specifications; which is simply learning that everything is nine-thousand-dollars-more than you need it to be.
I had THE VERY BEST blog-post-title; which everyone knows is the *most* important part of any life-plan.
I MET SOMEONE, ELSE, AND WE ARE GETTING A TV SHOW.*
*we are not getting a tv show.
First, I should say that ALL house-bloggers have had 127,894 skypes with 64,512 TV producers.
Some go further than others, and for the first 127,893 you get really super excited because if you are on television, then you have solved life.
So me and Else were TOTALLY STOKED about how WE HAVE SOLVED LIFE.*
*we have not solved life.
BUT TOTALLY NO WORRIES! Because I realized that if THIS particular tv-producer did not see our magic, I can just go back to the other 64,512 tv-producers and say— hey, remember me? I ditched that old dude Paul, and you definitely want to see the new dude.
AND! If none of them were interested, NO WORRIES— Self and Else will just make OUR OWN tv show.
Once I had THIS realization– I saw that a show, written and produced entirely by Self, would be so spectacular and avant-garde and full of cats, that it would actually be a tragedy to confine my genius to cable television, and that actually it would be SO MUCH BETTER to make my own show.
I got SO EXCITED to write ALL the stories about Self and Else and make such FUN AMAZING VIDEOS AND…
Who is Else?
Oh! Right! Duh!
Let me introduce you!
Spelled Else, pronounced Elsa.
She lives around the corner from me, I can walk to her house in five seconds. A month after we met, I texted her— hey, I just said you would do a tv show with me, ok?
And she was like— 👍
The thing with all the tv-show-possibilities, is that what they want is an existing business— preferably ABOUT HOUSES; most-preferably, flipping houses— television producers are looking for an *avalanche* of already-existing content that they can just show up and film and it fits perfectly into the HGTV lineup.
Pre-Else, my partner in all of this was TOTALLY DISINTERESTED; the very instant the tv person would ask about flipping houses, Paul would basically SHOUT at them— WE DO *NOT* FLIP HOUSES.
And I would furiously grit my teeth; like— why does he not understand that we COULD flip houses! We really really could! PLUS, we would really be so good at it! So just say OK! YES! We sometimes, (like, say, in the future,) flip houses!
For me, every Skype, with every tv person, I said— I WILL DO ANY SHOW.
If you want me to pick up trash,
alongside a nine-lane highway,
while drinking wine out of an old shoe and battling the other contestants with pool noodles,
JUST TELL ME WHERE.
If you might be interested.
I have AN IDEA for a show that lives in my head that is VERY EXCELLENT.
And the tv person is always like— OH! REALLY! TELL ME!!!
And I am like— OK! GET READY!
Here it is:
I find AWESOME STUFF ON CRAIGSLIST,
People get to see it.
HOW AWESOME IS THAT!?
Then I would elaborate on how this area is SO FULL OF AMAZING THINGS, and I would explain how I would get a crew and a truck and CLEAN OUT Philadelphia, and when THAT was empty, I’d go to New York City, and New England, and New Orleans, and… and… and…
And the tv person would always be like— ohhh…
…are you going to buy another house?…
… Might it be soon? …
… MIGHT YOU FLIP THAT HOUSE?
It wasn’t until THIS time that I FINALLY SAW what should have been obvious, all along:
I DON’T NEED ANYONE TO THINK THIS IS A GOOD IDEA.
I can just do it all myself.
So rather than being disappointed that yet another tv person could not see my VISION; instead, it was AMAZING… because I SAW the next step and it was so beyond fabulous— the MOST GLORIOUS STEP; SO TREMENDOUS, BETTER THAN NEIL ARMSTRONG, EVERYONE IS SAYING.
I saw the FUN I would have, and all of the elements I could include; and even though my budget and production quality would be LOW, I would genuinely prefer TO DO IT ALL MYSELF; because being the boss of everything is my jam.
I planned and planned and planned.
I planned how I would go to Brimfield, and Round Top, and the Highway 80 yard sale, and an auction in Miami— to buy a collection of LIFE-SIZED, glazed-terracotta, jungle animals from the 70’s that I was OBSESSED with and am forever heartbroken that I didn’t have $278,982 handy.
I planned the font on my shop awnings.
I planned the playlist for my grand opening.
I planned my annual, costume-mandatory Halloween party.
I began an intensive training program for Else, schooling her in auctions and old garbage; I could not ask for a better student— she has the demented-love-of-broken-garbage-disease and her enthusiasm leaves NOTHING to be desired.
I started having stress dreams.
I dreamed that I spent ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS at an auction; unwittingly bidding on the WRONG item.
When I went, in my dream, to collect my item— I was anticipated something SO AMAZING… but OMG WAIT NO… DUDE… this is not what I bought!!
And the auction guy in my dream was like— yes! it IS! That is totally what you bought!
What was it?
It was a tea-set.
FROM THE 80’s.
I spent one hundred thousand dollars on a TEA-SET from the 80s.
Can you even imagine anything worse?
You can’t. It’s literally the worst thing imaginable.
We haven’t even BEGUN to address the *MOST* important question of all:
what is the *best outfit* for a well-appointed proprietor of fine antiques (and also broken garbage)?
SO MUCH PLAID.
LAYERS OF PLAID.
AN AVALANCHE OF PLAID.
A vintage machine-shop apron, of course.
Circle skirts with MAD PETTICOATS.
Platforms from the 70’s.
Antique chandelier earrings.
Men’s suits from the 60’s.
Chunky tortoiseshell glasses.
Vintage jeans, rolled way up, with velvet heels, colorful tights, and a cropped bolero jacket from the 1920s.
Basically, if Sherlock Holmes collaborated with Walter Mercado.
All the while, the universe kept sending MORE STUFF.
The stuff was getting BIGGER.
Sometimes there was too much and I had to make multiple trips— back-and-forth, across Philadelphia, trying to shove as many stabby clanky pointy heavy iron pieces into the van and getting totally irritated and now I am in rush hour and I still have to make another trip and I don’t even care how much I can sell this for I just want it to be over.
When I got home, I said to Paul— I need you to tell me all of the reasons why I cannot buy a box truck… but NOT in an ANGRY way… in a PLEASANT way.
Paul looked up from his phone and said— I cannot think of any reasons you should not buy a box truck… then he went back to looking at his phone.
I was like— no, FOR REAL, I want you to tell me; I’m literally asking.
And he was like— it really sounds like a fantastic idea.
As I know the sky is blue, I know that Paul does not want me to buy a box truck, so I still do not know what is up with that.
Anyway, my point is: everything was absolutely terrific.
Aside from the fact that any appealing storefront began at about $7,000 a month; assuming I was willing to have only an eighth of the space I actually wanted; and also ignoring that I do not have $7,000 every month, or ANY month… and also ignoring that I have no crew, and no money to get a crew… and also ignoring Paul, who asked repeatedly and specifically— are you *very sure* you want to do this? It seems like a LOT.
I was like— YUP.
I looked at shops ALL OVER:
The entirety of the Main Line
I asked myself— WHERE CAN I SELL MY SOUL TO RAISE THE FUNDS TO BUY A HUGE OLD STONE CHURCH FROM 1863?
Then I could name it:
THE CHURCH OF GIANT FANCY THINGS.
I chewed my fingernails and made lists of THINGS TO DO.
Mostly the list was just: sell unneeded organs.
THINGS TO DO:
Go to the preview-day of any auction you are interested in.
Drive as far as needed.
With a selfie stick.
Figure out how to bring all of this crap home.
Sell some of it to get more money to buy more stuff and also save for the storefront you cannot afford.
First, though, you have to clean it and arrange it and make it look tremendous; let’s try here? no. here? no. here? eh. here? no. here?
Where can I buy $300 worth of mini cactuses?
THAT would REALLY make this SPECTACULAR.
Don’t forget to video all of this, oh shit you did that thing where you think you are videoing but you aren’t because you are frequently turning the video on and off and it’s so easy to be distracted and so you ended up videoing your shoes for ten minutes and now you have absolutely zero video of the amazing thing you thought you were videoing.
CHECK YOUR LIPSTICK.
Now write about all of it on the internet.
Be SO INCREDIBLY FUNNY.
Have hilarious pictures.
Don’t forget to put it all on social media because no one actually reads blogs or watches whole videos.
Did you do all of that?
You’re not EVEN REMOTELY DONE!
Now it’s time to take the ten-thousand-hours of video and put it into the video-editor and start hacking away at it to find three seconds of good content.
Do you want to see the three seconds of good content!?
Here it is!
I was EXCITED!
For about six months, I did GREAT.
I CHARGED, FULL SPEED AHEAD.
No one charges like I do.
If there were an intensity-olympics, I would win.
All of the events.
All of the medals.
I am the Michael Phelps of zealous fanatical intensity.
It was all going SO INTENSELY WELL.
I’d need to write 300 pages to explain, but a very brief overview goes sort of like:
How else to explain? Standing in my den of chaos, overwhelmed— surrounded by aquariums, mountains of patio furniture, lamps, medical cabinets, a bed, dishes, more dishes, WAY MORE DISHES… piles, leaning, falling, precarious…
It occurred to me:
I just choose NOT lunacy?
Self was like— say what?
OBVS WE CHOOSE LUNACY.
And I was like— right, right, I thought so… I was just… checking... because I was sort of thinking… what IF:
Rather than frenetic chaos and overwhelm and flogging myself,
I just choose