When you SEE what I just got on Craigslist?
You will fall over.
But first, you need the prequel— about my antique mirror fetish… So you can understand how on top of the Victorian wardrobe, this year is ushering in an entirely new and stratospherically-superior level of craigslist treasures.
When we moved here, I somehow started collecting antique mirrors.
REALLY GIANT, gilded Victorian mirrors… the bigger, the fancier, the more ornate, the better.
I don’t know how it happened—at first, I assumed it was luck… But eventually, I realized that the universe just loves me more than it loves other people.
So far I have four: two pier mirrors, and two mantel mirrors.
Paul thinks that is enough. I think it is not.
He does not understand that when you COLLECT something, you can KEEP getting it. That’s how collections work—you ADD to them.
Paul says I cannot collect something that requires a UHaul and four strong men.
But once again, he has been proven wrong.
The taller pier mirror used to be in the corner of the living room. Until the wardrobe moved in.
When we were bringing the cabinet pieces in, Paul said—where do you want to put the mirror? And I was like, I don’t know… let’s move it around and see where it looks best!!
Paul said—how about you just pick a spot?
I was like, fine, whatever… we can put it over there with the other one. I’ll figure it out later.
It took me about a day to realize that I would prefer to see NO walls in this house.
I would like ONLY to see giant, fancy, shiny things.
Which may actually be what the universe has planned for me.
The mantel mirror in the foyer was the first… it’s the only one that still has the original gilding. The others have all been painted various shades of radiator paint.
I saw it on craigslist shortly after we moved in… It would be impossible for me to overstate either my enthusiasm OR the way I had to set myself on fire to convince Paul that I would not take no for an answer.
It was February, we’d been here five months… my proposition that we go out in the bitter cold to transport a six-foot by six-foot mirror to the garage… where it would sit for YEARS until we finished the foyer… did not appeal to Paul.
You can see how that worked out for him.
Five months here, had been long enough for both of us to fully grasp what we’d signed up for.
For me, it was the physical recognition—the actual scope of the project… having my enthusiasm for the fancy front-door hinges, replaced by the reality of slogging through plaster and lath.
Also, the very disappointing realization that magic would not be involved.
For Paul, it was the realization that renovating a house with his wife was a totally different situation than renovating a house by himself.
One might wonder how either of us could have thought otherwise.
Five months was also long enough to discover that snow, at a certain angle, drifted INTO the house… And that if you stood in the stairwell of the third-floor landing, you could feel the heat RUSHING by you… like a wind-tunnel. Hurrying out the roof, the windows, the walls, the holes… like the entire house was just a colander masquerading as livable space.
Paul’s solution to the snow, the leaks, and the futile task of essentially heating the outdoors… was to work on it all the time.
ALL the time.
If he could have done it twenty-four hours a day, he would have.
If he could have given up eating and sleeping, he would have gladly traded it for more time to gut, and demolish, and move ladders, and insulate, and make lists, and draw diagrams.
Surprisingly, this did not make him cranky. What DID make him cranky was being interrupted. In any way.
In ANY way.
Having his shrine-to-progress disrupted is the single greatest thing that makes him insane.
And I was coming in, and tromping around, and picking up all the deities… Saying things like— let’s rearrange them! This one looks lonely! Let’s get them all together and have a tea-party!
Maybe we should do it this way!
Maybe we should do it that way!
Why don’t we do this?
Why don’t we do that?
Maybe we should move the stairwell?
Do we actually need this wall?
My learning curve made us both crazy… Also, my inability to simply accept reality and move on.
This house was the very first construction project I had ever experienced.
I had no idea of timeframes or schedules.
Or that your house’s plumbing runs IN THE WALLS.
Which is totally disgusting and I have NO IDEA why the people at that brainstorming session were like—OK! Solved! We’ll go with THAT idea.
I guess theoretically, this is obvious. But to me, I had never, ever, ever, given it any thought. Until we opened up a wall, and I was like—what’s this?
And Paul said— it’s the sewage pipe.
And I was like—OH MY GOD.
Who would do such a thing?
We have to move.
This mirror illustrated every single way that me and Paul’s approach to this house was diametrically opposite.
Paul bought the house to fix it.
I bought the house to hang shiny stuff on the walls… To collect and store unwieldy, billboard-sized, useless objects in the garage; until an undetermined time in the future, when we might have time and space to put them somewhere.
Regardless of whether it snowed INSIDE.
Regardless of whether the project list was forty-thousand pages long.
Regardless of whether some of our windows were manufactured out of cardboard and saranwrap.
Those details are nothing in the face of destiny.
Why Paul wanted to ruin my destiny, I cannot say.
I CAN say that it made me mad.
Mad. Mad. Mad.
Not mad he couldn’t see the necessity… but that he would not TAKE MY WORD FOR IT.
If I tell you: this is my destiny.
And you say: oh well.
Where am I supposed to go from there?
Especially since it was $150.00.
ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY AMERICAN DOLLARS.
That’s practically free.
They are essentially GIVING AWAY my destiny on a street corner, and you’re going to let some homeless dude put it in his shopping cart and wheel it away.
I don’t think so.
Have you forgotten? That day you put your tuxedo on? And I wore a white dress? And you promised to LOVE AND CHERISH me?
Do you remember?
Because TODAY IS THE DAY for that.