The house was beautiful when it was built back in 1992. But after eighteen years as the backdrop for the escapades of two boys, two dogs, five cats and two free-ranging guinea pigs? It resembled a biker bar after a particularly ugly night of spilled drinks, bar room brawls and piss-poor bathroom aim.
She'd like to fully blame the menagerie of pets and human boy animals for the home's slow demise. Yet she is forced to admit her own bad judgment might, just possibly, have played some small part.
Like that time when she was overserved on a night out with the girls. The next morning, she stayed curled semi-comatose in a fetal position, pillow over her head, even as she heard the then two-year-old leave his bedroom and descend the stairs. When she finally climbed out of bed, she was greeted not only with the hangover from hell but with a trio of other treats: Silk flower arrangements plucked, their petals strewn from the back deck into the breeze. Eggs cracked and dropped into translucent goop on the hardwood kitchen floor. And every one of the carpeted stairs marked painstakingly, with a black Sharpie.
All that red Kool-Aid her children loved, but which never seemed to find a straight path from cup to mouth? Clearly bad judgment. Banishing it from the house was such a wise choice! She learned her lesson indeed after, say, the seventeenth spill on the light gray carpet. The decision to switch to orange Kool-Aid, however, might only qualify her for the short bus.
And maybe it wasn't the best judgment, a couple years back, to leave her college age son home to "house-sit" for a weekend. In retrospect, perhaps she should have realized her mahogany dining room table was the perfect size for 48 straight hours of beer pong.
But eighteen years after moving in, she deduced it was finally time to repair and redecorate. The kids were grown and gone, and the newest dog house-trained. And her own judgment at this mature age?
Sadly, still questionable.
Why else would she believe the painter who told her the entire job (painting every interior wall and piece of trim) would take only two weeks? Why would she plan a week-long vacation--eight hours and two states away--for the very next week?
Why would she assume the aforementioned painter would be sure to close all the windows before he left each day? Why would she not surmise a curious, badly behaved cat (yes, badly behaved cat=oxymoron) would end up on the roof?
Why would she trust this same painter to move the two fishbowls, from a to-be-painted high shelf, into another safe location? Why was she shocked when one of her college age sons, stopping home during the day for a free lunch, called her as she vacationed, screaming, "The cats knocked over the fishbowls! They're spilled all over the carpet! The fish are dead!" *
Why was she dumbfounded to come home, expecting to admire a brick red foyer, only to shield her eyes from the glare of bright fuschia walls?
And why would she choose now to adopt a stray cat who's never used a litterbox in his life and expect him to comprehend that her new $7,500-khaki colored carpet is not one great, glorious toilet?
Perhaps--just a guess here--it was due to bad judgment.
Her new counter tops went in this week. They tell her quartz is quite durable, although not exactly stain-proof.
Ha! This one, she has covered. Not a single ounce of red or orange-colored drink remains in the house. Oh no.
After everything she's experienced, she's existing solely on margaritas.
* Happy aside here: Her next-door neighbor Annette proved to be the Fish Whisperer.