The KINGDOM mirror– proving that you NEVER KNOW what is on the other end of a Craigslist ad.
After the Victorian wardrobe salvage saga…
After spending four hours in an unheated building.
After ripping apart a wall with a toothpick.
After loading and unloading a truck until nearly midnight…
Paul told me to stop looking on Craigslist for a while.
He said I had reached my quota.
I nodded and pretended like he was the one who made such decisions.
Then I went and looked on Craigslist.
1. I have a totally ill-advised fondness for anyone named Rocky.
2. a FIFTEEN-foot-tall mirror is far too large for our house.
3. a posting with no photo = guaranteed garbage.
So I closed the tab.
But a few weeks later, I saw it again… and the primordial-mirror-troll who lives in my head said— you should find out what that is.
And I was like— look, mirror-troll:
A. Paul’s head will explode.
B. How would I get a 15 FOOT mirror into the house?
And the mirror-troll said— what if it’s fancy?
So I emailed the guy.
Did you read that?
Did you read it closely?
Is there any description that could possibly be more appealing, than something that looks like a KINGDOM?
There is not.
So the mirror-troll was like— S.C.O.R.E.
But I was like— ummm hello, twelve-feet is still WAY TOO BIG.
The mirror-troll said— I bet it’s not that big.
I bet they didn’t even measure it.
I BET YOU SHOULD GET IT.
I was like— word.
So on Saturday morning, I said to Paul, casually— do you want to go look at something?
I think his hair actually stood on end.
He was like— WHAT?
No. No, I do not.
I was like— oh, okay, well… we could go this afternoon… if you wanted to.
You know what he said?
Nothing. NOT ONE THING.
That silence USED to make me insane. But now I see it as a stage in the Kübler-Ross model of acceptance.
Not even twenty minutes later, he said— what is this thing you want to see?
To you, this sounds like a question. To me, it sounds like defeat.
You can see that this is not precisely the kingdom’s home I had imagined; and I was sort of like, hmmmm… is it possible the mirror-troll has steered me wrong?
We rang the bell, and the guy came out… He walked past us, down the front steps, and started down the sidewalk.
Paul said—should we follow you? Where are we going?
And the guy said— it’s in the alley, under a tarp… it doesn’t fit in the house.
I really wish I had a photo of the look on Paul’s face.
Paul said— wait. What? How big is this?
The guy said—about 12 feet.
Paul said—TWELVE feet?
We got to the backyard and I said cheerfully— look! That’s NOT twelve feet tall!
Paul acted like this was somehow not of utmost importance.
He said— did you bring me to look at a mirror that was advertised as 12 feet tall?
And I said— no.
It was advertised as 15 feet tall.
But I thought they might be wrong.
I guess Paul is jealous of the way the universe is my personal shopper because he didn’t even acknowledge that it’s pretty amazing how I psychically knew this.
I was like— I think I’m going to have a seizure.
The mirror-troll said— I TOLD YOU SO.
Proving for all time, that you NEVER KNOW what is on the other end of a Craigslist ad.
It’s probably total crap.
But it might be this:
I was like— alrighty then. YUP. For sure. I will DEFINITELY be needing that.
Let’s pack it up.
Paul said— are you kidding me? Are you even seeing the same thing I am?
And I was like— look at me. Look me in the eye. Do you really believe I am leaving here without this? Because I’m not.
If I have to go on steroids for the next six months? And get a trainer to teach me to dead-lift 1,000 pounds so that I can move it myself?
This will happen.
Paul has this look that he gets. Where CLEARLY he would like to kill someone. But now he is totally inconvenienced because he CAN’T.
Because he has to move a giant mirror.
Obviously, I’m fine with murderous irritation… it’s a small price to pay for my everlasting happiness.
Besides, it’s not my fault that the universe WANTS ME TO HAVE THESE THINGS.
It is OUTSIDE MY CONTROL.
We went home to get Brian’s truck… and on the way, I texted a photo to my mom.
She said— WOW! I cannot WAIT to see it in your house!
I told Paul— my mom loves it!
Paul said– that’s because everyone in your family is an insane enabler with no concept of reality.
Which is true. And also why I love them.
You’re thinking this does not look totally reasonable?
Well, it is.
All we had to do was lay it on the bed of the truck. And then use the magic straps which, for about five dollars and a lot of irritation, will do everything including hauling giant bookshelves up three flights of stairs.
Then we drove home on I-95, which is 14-lanes wide… and I have to say that there is nothing like transporting a Kingdom, down a freeway, at 60 miles-an-hour, while tractor-trailers blow by you.
You have not experienced the meaning of FUN, until you have done this.
Especially since everyone got to listen to me say 47,984 times— OH MY GOD I CAN NOT BELIEVE WE ARE GETTING THIS.
CAN YOU BELIEVE WE ARE GETTING THIS?
I CAN NOT BELIEVE IT.
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?
Everyone really enjoyed that part.
The guys who helped us get it in the house were like— what are you going to do with it?
And I’m confused by what that question means.
I’m not going to DO anything with it.
Therefore it is mine.
see the even GIANT-er FANCIER mirror I got at auction!
June 18, 2013 @ 10:13 am
Wow. Just WOW. what else can be said?
June 24, 2013 @ 7:06 pm
What Jessica said exactly.
This story was brilliant. I fell in love, not just with the mirror, but with your mirror-troll and with you. I can’t wait to read more.
June 30, 2013 @ 3:24 pm
OK, how inane is this: I’m a writer? And I can’t come up with anything better than this … ^^^ Janice S., WORD, with extra-excited hand motions.
May 27, 2016 @ 9:59 am
love the mirror! Love the story! Love the troll! Love the writer!
August 13, 2016 @ 9:18 pm
WOW–what a FIND!!! Love your hunting dog nose, your taste in mirrors, and esp, your writing about it all!!! And I LOVE that mirror!!!!!!!
August 1, 2017 @ 7:48 pm
I love her “Paul” He is infinitely patient.
Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting
June 25, 2013 @ 4:00 pm
Totally and completely agree. I am so jelly over this fantastic find! You and I are so much alike, as are our husbands. My husband groans and moans every-friggin-time I find something on Craiglist I adore and want to see/get/buy. Why are we not neighbors?
June 25, 2013 @ 7:00 pm
Perhaps because if you two were neighbors you would be constantly jealous of one another AND fighting over each other’s items!!!
June 27, 2013 @ 8:15 pm
Karon (I think you are a guy), lay off the feeding into the strategy to turn women against each other. That’s an old technique. The only people who are jealous of anyone is men jealous of women which is why these women are so progressive that they accept technology and know how to use it their advantage and why their lazy sorry husbands hold them back by discrediting their savvy ideas. (sorry ladies about the husband comment, nothing personal)
Get a life!
June 28, 2013 @ 6:39 pm
I think you need to relax. It was a light hearted comment.
June 29, 2013 @ 2:44 am
Their husbands are lazy and sorry because they’re tired of all the wild goose chases? You clearly have no idea what a balanced and respectful relationship is about. And even less idea of how much a guy does for a woman he loves. You ungrateful troll.
Brian D. Meeks (@ExtremelyAvg)
June 25, 2013 @ 5:58 pm
This is a brilliantly written blog post. I can’t believe how much I enjoyed it. Wow, you really can write! Two points.
August 13, 2016 @ 9:19 pm
I agree completely, to the highest nth degree!
June 30, 2013 @ 1:38 pm
As a fellow craiglist-obsessed, score-hungry home decorator, I am very impressed, and a little bit jealous! The mirror is perfect where you put it–just beautiful! I posted your amazing story on my blog, which is dedicated to the best in Toronto craigslist furniture postings. May you enjoy your kingdom now even more.
June 30, 2013 @ 8:37 pm
Victoria – you’re a woman after my own heart. I too scored the Versailles of mirrors on Kijiji with a four foot wide gilt wood sunburst, with nothing to go on but the seller’s faded 1962 Christmas photo from her late brother-in-law’s shindig (turns out the SIL was a pricey Palm Beach decorator…) Uncrating that baby in a storage unit, with reluctant husband in tow, was a sweet, sweet moment.
Too many more mirrors in our future!!
July 1, 2013 @ 11:18 am
OMG! I nearly snorted out my morning coffee reading this post! You are awesome, Victoria! I found your blog via Claire’s Take This Sofa and you are my new favourite. I particularly loved your post on the many very high end design blogs out there. So funny, and so how I feel. “the amount of posturing necessary…”. Ha ha! Most of the blogs I follow are Scandinavian based because I feel like their spaces are more attainable and liveable. Looking forward to reading more of your blog! Fantastic mirror by the way! Great find!
March 13, 2016 @ 9:49 pm
Oh my god! You are my mind doppelganger. I have had this same exact experience over Craigslist items with my other half. You have described the murderous intent face exactly and my response to it. I even said just exactly the same “And I was like—look at me. Look me in the eye. Do you really believe I am leaving here without this? Because I’m not.” Of course my miracle find was turn of the century goods display case from an old general store. But the build up, and the thought process , and end result are all the same. You are a kindred spirit!
May 17, 2016 @ 2:36 am
OMG!! is it telling that im heading DIRECTLY over to Craigslist RIGHT NOW!? 😮 amazing mirror and amazing story! xo
June 18, 2013 @ 10:14 am
Haha! I absolutely love this post! You’re such a funny storyteller 🙂
& what another amazing find! I’m terrible at finding anything online. I’m going to see what the UK Craigslist has to offer and keep you posted if I find anything!
June 18, 2013 @ 10:18 am
I LOVE CRAIGSLIST!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations!!!!!!
Melissa from the Blue House
June 18, 2013 @ 10:23 am
Oh my gosh. OH MY GOSH! Listen, I’m a good Christian girl who doesn’t even say the sh** word, and I almost said the sh** word when I saw that first picture of the tarp coming off.
I’m so jealous I’m in actual physical pain AND yet I want to be your BFF. You find the best stuff!!
June 27, 2013 @ 5:53 am
I’m an atheist and said Holy Shit before I even saw Victoria’s reaction. Out loud. To my cats. Good story thanks.
June 28, 2013 @ 10:58 pm
lol, melissa!! 🙂 hilarious…your comment, and to see you here. fun.
June 18, 2013 @ 10:27 am
That is the greatest mirror/story of all time. Nice work!
June 18, 2013 @ 10:28 am
Good thing he never posted a photo of the mirror! What a beautiful find! What a great husband you have too!
June 18, 2013 @ 10:42 am
Wow! Incredible find! I’m about to hop on Craigslist now and look for my own Kingdom mirror! WOW. Wow. wow.
June 18, 2013 @ 11:02 am
Dear Victoria Elizabeth Barnes,
You are officially now one of my favorite bloggers ever. Your affection for Craigslist rivals my own, and I share your love for ornate, gorgeous, kingdom-y things. I can’t wait to see what you drag home next!
June 19, 2013 @ 2:30 pm
I second this. I second this SO HARD.
I love your house, I love your taste, I love your writing, and I feel like I’ve finally found a blogger that I can identify with in a world of chevron, West Elm, and IKEA.
June 18, 2013 @ 11:08 am
First of all: Score! I’m jumping in the air high-fiving you in my head. Oh yeah!
Secondly: What is Paul’s problem? He’s kind of testy all of the time. I really think he wants you to have NOTHING shiny. Nothing you love. Nothing at all. I think he would be happiest if you lived in a cardboard box under a bridge. Paul makes me sad. Maybe he needs counseling? I am pretty much certain he needs glitter therapy.
Also, your mom is a great, supportive, loving creature full of joy for you and your Kingdom. As it should be.
Paul needs to get busy on his Yul Brynner and quit trying to harsh your sparkly mellow.
You know that Save-On-Crafts website? They sell German Glass Glitter by the pound. And it is wonderful.
June 28, 2013 @ 11:43 pm
Without Paul this story isn’t nearly as good. Paul is awesome. He does things he doesn’t want to do (REALLY doesn’t want to do!) for the woman he loves. There’s a bit of griping, sure, but it’s minimal and it’s funny. Paul deserves kudos!
June 29, 2013 @ 4:46 pm
I totally agree with you Maisy. I kind of assumed Victoria knew I was mostly kidding about this. If not, now she does. 🙂
August 9, 2017 @ 9:59 pm
I agree completely.
June 18, 2013 @ 11:10 am
Wow! Love it!!!!
June 18, 2013 @ 11:24 am
OK… So the real question that I have here (besides my blinding jealousy over a mirror that a. would never fit in my house, and b. would never “fit” in my house), is why the heck did these people have a mirror that they couldn’t even get into their house in their back yard?
June 18, 2013 @ 1:32 pm
I had the EXACT question!!
Garden, Home and Party
June 18, 2013 @ 11:29 am
I can read the headlines…310 antique mirrors found near the woman’s lifeless body! Actually, I now see the wisdom of these mirrors from craigslist…they are an investment and in your old age, before you move to the old folks home, you can sell them and have a well-funded retirement. lol!
Seriously, this is so beautiful…I love the “kingdom” top to it. It’s looks like it’s in great condition, especially considering the age. Wow!
June 18, 2013 @ 11:34 am
WOW! I’m totally jealous. I hope you were extra nice to Paul for carrying this thing!
You are so funny! Thanks for making me laugh, I’m having a stressful day and it is just what I needed!
June 18, 2013 @ 11:40 am
Oh my goodness, when I saw KINGDOM I about fell of my chair. I was like, “oh, it is all over for Paul. This will definitely be happening”. And I’m pretty sure all those cars and tractor trailers heard chamber music and horses whinnying as they flew past you and your kingdom. That mirror is beautiful and amazing. Curious- what were the final dimensions? Also, do you know the story of how it ended up in Rocky’s backyard? (if it’s worth telling). Oh Ms. Barnes, I enjoyed this post immensely and laughed deep in my stomach so many times. Thank you thank you!
June 18, 2013 @ 11:45 am
I have GOT to quit reading you at work. I start making funny little choked snorty sounds trying to keep from laughing out loud ad EVERYTHING you write. EVERYTHING. Thank you for existing.
June 18, 2013 @ 11:48 am
Oh my GAAAUD. That’s gorgeous. I think I need to give you my contact info for your craigs list overflow. Please PLEASE send me a heads up when you find something you NEED but just cant HAVE. I’m right outside of Philly, your castoffs could be my treasures!
I’m kind of obsessed with the antique wardrobe…
June 18, 2013 @ 12:45 pm
I want to be you for just one day!!!
June 18, 2013 @ 12:54 pm
I seriously don’t know how you do it. AMAZING!!! and am I dreaming or does it partially match the mirror in the hallway?
March 1, 2016 @ 10:41 am
Agree – I was like, “Wow, she has TWO Kingdom mirrors!”
June 18, 2013 @ 12:55 pm
Also, you need to do a “my secrets to legit CL’s finds” post. Unless you did one and I missed it.
June 18, 2013 @ 1:00 pm
I don’t even know where to start. I’ll just be in quiet solidarity with Paul.
April 14, 2016 @ 11:31 am
It’s not just you, man. It looks like everyone’s gone crazy, but it’s just a narcissist and enabler convention up in here, so they have.