On occasion I realize how surprisingly important blogging has become to me. By no means am I a particularly prolific blogger, if you’re lucky, you get three posts a week from me, but I do care about the content I put out there and I’m grateful when I get any sort of response from people. In what constitutes my real world, my love of reading is actually considered a character flaw, so I’m happy to have found others who share that same
undesirable trait. Recently Lori said some really wonderful things about me (if you’re curious you can read it here, she makes me sound far better than I actually am) that turned me into a puddle of sappy mush. However, it also made me realize that despite being the smallest of small blogs, I’m happy to have met you (‘you’ applies to everyone reading this). Now that I’ve gotten the sentimental part out of the way, I’ll share the reason behind it.
Julz (from JulzReads) is going on vacation and asked if I’d be willing to guest post on her blog – to which I said yes, of course, I’d be happy to. Really, I’m quite honored she asked. Those of you who have gotten to know me (for better or for worse) know that not only am I verbose on my own blog, I also suffer from the tendency to leave long comments on other blogs as well. This is my way of saying that I’ll try to keep this reasonable, but let’s not expect miracles.
Julz was looking for bloggers to share images of their personal libraries. Given I’m in the middle of a home renovation, I’m always looking for an excuse to take before and after photos. In the interest of honesty, I’ll give you a brief run down of the living conditions. At the end of 2010, I moved into a shit hole. Granted most of the shitty things are of the ‘first world problem’ nature. I had heat and water. Sometimes. My boiler didn’t always work, some of the windows were cracked and broken and all of them froze – on the inside – during the winter (cardboard windows are high class!). There’s also no form of cooling, this might be okay if I didn’t sleep in the equivalent of an attic in a cape style house. There was lead paint, pissed-on carpets, and, as the EPA tells me, unacceptably high levels of radon. There were infestations of flying ants and spiders and don’t get me started on the smell. Sometimes I think I’ve forgotten the power of that smell (hey Lynyrd Skynyrd) and then I’ll open a little used closet and gag. Have you ever seen Trainspotting? Because I have the bathroom from that movie (luckily it’s not the only bathroom, so right now I’m pretending it doesn’t exist). So it started as an arachnid-infested, dreary 1960’s hole in the wall. Now it’s spider free and the place I call home. You’ll get to see the inside of my bedroom. And more importantly, you’ll get to see some of the books I consider important enough to own. You know you want to know.
To see the full post, go here (it’s profanity free, though the language below is rather mild in comparison to the actual words used).
On the off chance you need more convincing, here are a few of the highlights:
The beginning, my bedroom. You might be thinking it’s not sooo bad. See those dark spots on the floor? That’s urine. The weird wood on the wall? That’s unfinished wood flooring that they glued AND nailed (because they didn’t ever want it falling off the walls). Did I mention that the house was infested with flying ants? I did, right? Did I mention that winged ants are termites? Because they are. Also, spiders congregated behind those boards in droves. The first time I turned down my sheets and spiders were in my bed I lost my shit. In my outrage I considered burning down the house (hey Talking Heads). I seriously revisited that notion when a spider nest hatched on my ceiling. Soon after the sheet incident, the room looked like this:
Carpet’s gone. I had the wood floors refinished and they do look nice. But I had them refinished in October – hello wood stain and polyurethane smell for months. I would’ve opened my windows except it was freezing and my windows were painted shut. The wood flooring didn’t come off of the walls until the spider incident in early January. And it looked like the picture above for a month. This is the opposite side of the room. It felt very cathartic to rip the sink out of the counter. It’s easier than you’d think, but still provides that nice Hulk-like feeling of grandiose accomplishment. Even thought I knew I didn’t want to keep the extraneous vanity, I failed to realize that there would be wood floors under the vanity and that, upon removing said vanity, they would not match. Cue tears of frustrations and the bitterness of hindsight.
I proceeded to live with plumbing hanging out of my walls and mismatched floors for a year. I couldn’t find a decent plumber. And I don’t know how to wield a blow torch, which I needed. I don’t know if my difficulties had to do with my gender, my age, or a sincere lack of good plumbers in the area.
After 12 long months of waking up to open pipes, I decided a window seat was needed. It solved a number of problems. The unfinished flooring is now hidden, as is the hole in the wall to access the pipes I had sealed off. Now, instead of defunct plumbing, I wake up to Bob Dylan. And books. I can’t imagine either of those things are a surprise. And yes, the hideous gold-plated globe light fixtures are an ever present reminder of my to do list. And my need to win the lottery (in which case I’m jumping ship and heading down to Melbourne, Australia anyway – there’s a concert I need to see).
I sleep here. It is so far the only furniture I’ve ever splurged on. And it’s white. I like white because you’re instantly able to see if anything is on there that shouldn’t be (like something with eight legs). Most of my reading and nearly all of my blogging occur in this space.
To see the rest of the renovation photos of my home library, go here. You can also check out these great libraries: Sophisticated Dork’s library, Bookishly Boisterous’s library, or the Literate housewife’s library. Anyone else ever undertaken a home renovation? Julz thought the design was rather minimalist, which made me laugh, because I always thought it was a bit cluttered.