I’ve Given Up On A Grown Up House


I’m never going to have a grown up house.

I thought one day it would just happen. I’d have shadow boxes and sconces and a matching set of dishes.

I haven’t changed yet and I’m ready to go ahead and let go of that particular delusion.

I’m not going to have a put together house and I’m totally okay with that.

Trees die in the back yard? Fuck it. I’ll paint them. And tie ribbons to the dead branches.

I have a picture of Liam Neeson in a frame in my living room. While I adore Liam Neeson, I’m not a super fan. I just have his picture in my living room because it’s hilarious when people notice it for the first time.

Here is an approximate tally of the common comments I’ve heard:

Is…is that Liam Neeson? – 8

Do you have a relative who looks just like Liam Neeson? – 2

Dude, your parents are weird. – 1

I stole that idea from David Thorne. If you haven’t read David Thorne stop every fucking thing you are doing and read these links. He is goddamn hysterical.

I have River Song in my kitchen, along with a signed poster of the bootlegger Popcorn Sutton. He didn’t sign it, he had already committed suicide. The posterit was signed by his wife and the distiller.

I have Alice In Wonderland in my living room and an enormous Elvis Costello poster in the dining room.

Our furniture has mostly come from yard sales, Craigslist, and thrift shops. We bought our dining room table from a yard sale for five dollars twenty four years ago. It was a our dining room table for years but has served as Randy’s desk for over a decade. I am not a fan of spending a lot of money on furniture. Except for mattresses. We have to have a decent mattress.

I’m good with all of this.

This is our space and I will forever embrace our dorm room chic.

I don’t think that is enough, though.

I’ve decided, now that age 56 is looming, that I am ready to give up on a few other things.

I don’t mean give up in a bad way. I mean giving up on worrying about certain “shortcomings”.

I am who I am and part of who I am worries about way too much. I need cycle a few out. I’m getting older, I need extra room for my mortality anxiety.

So, here are a few things I’m going to stop worrying about.

  • I am never ever going to understand anything the health insurance company sends me.
  • I have no idea how to balance the investments in my 401k.
  • Dust bunnies happen.
  • If someone outside my family gets in my car and my car is messy? I don’t care. Also, my car is messy.
  • The funky smell in our new house is just part of the charm.
  • The mud pit in front of the house is just going to be there until spring.

Sunday night work anxiety is here to stay.

Okay, there. I already feel better.

Well, until my mortality anxiety figures out there’s more room.

Also, do you think I should get this mole checked?







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  • Yes! Get the mole checked … I just had two moles and two acne scar holes removed from my face and one from my thigh… they kept getting ‘scabby’ and the one on my thigh was always getting shaved… came back as a normal mole, but I do like having it gone 🙂
    No! We are never going to have normal, grown-up houses…. Normal, grown-up houses require dusting our pretty things and keeping everything in a Good Housekeeping centerfold display state, and that thought alone makes me wanna live in a 5th wheel…
    Much better to have a lived in and loved feeling when we get home from work, instead of planning for and executing our next big ‘wow for the Jones’s’ factor, guaranteed to cost twice as much, take twice as long to complete and delivers half the joy.
    Some of my favorite things involve low maintenance, and some of my things, like my horses, demand my undying love and total commitment to their upkeep and frankly, I’d rather spend that undying love and total commitment on things that breathe and love me back <3
    I think you have prioritized quite nicely 🙂

  • I have framed on the wall:
    *A finger painting by my younger granddaughter
    *a drawing by my son at age 6 of my mother. He was careful to draw the toes inside her shoes
    *a New Yorker cover, very old
    …and so on etc

  • Don’t worry about getting the mole looked at. Just put it back outside and it’ll go on its way, digging up your yard. Although if you want to keep them away supposedly sticking pinwheels in your yard will do that, and pinwheels in your yard would go perfectly with your decor.
    Also I love that you’ve got a framed picture from Alice In Wonderland on your very purple wall. I love all the ways you decorate your home but that one in particular seems like a way of saying you’ve created the place of your dreams.

  • I thought the dust was there to write messages in! You mean I’m supposed to get rid of it? Who ever walks into a room and says, “oh, how nice and dust-free this room looks!”

  • Heh heh – I’ve given up on a grown-up house too! Our place looks like a band of literate dogs lives here w/piles of books & DVD’s… There’s dust bunnies & pawprints on the floors, pet hair on the furniture, & all is certainly undercut by the faint (most of the time!) odor of litterboxes.
    And not to brag, but **I** have an AUTOGRAPHED photo of young Leonard Nimoy (as a regular guy, not outfitted as Spock) amongst my other family members in the dining room. (Not very many people see it since we don’t use that room much; we’re the type who eat on the couch watching TV) It’s one of my prized possessions & may actually be worth something these days…

    • Oh sweet!! We are still looking for Randy’s signed picture of the band Cheap Trick. It’s supposed to hang in the living room. It’s still in a box somewhere. Probably at my mom’s house.

  • I find I only notice the dust when I’m wearing my glasses. Now I walk around the house without them whenever possible. It gives the whole place a nice, soft Matisse quality. And I can imagine that discarded socks, random cat toys and shoes are water lillies.

  • I am a little embarrassed to have people in my house because most of it is beyond dorm room to, well, storage unit. For some reason, because I’m a single man, that is accepted by people who would normally not accept such a thing from anyone else. Even my grandmother, who was just in my place yesterday, seems okay with it.

    I need a picture of River Song. I have a picture on one of my walls that is Doctor Who-related (basically the only thing on any wall), but it lacks River Song.

  • When I was growing up, I remember some of my friend’s houses that had a living room that was set up perfectly. NO ONE WAS ALLOWED IN THAT ROOM! You walked through it to get to the family room. Some even had that plastic runner you walked on. I wish then, I would have had the courage to step off that runner. Today, I’d put as many footprints in that raked, yes fucking raked carpet. I knew then that my house was not going to be even close to perfect but a comfy home for my family and whoever wanted to visit. Your house sounds fanfuckingtastic to me.

  • I saw that pic of Alice on the purple wall and thought, well, that’s really nice! It’s in a frame, it’s got a triple(!) mat, it’s next to matching artwork, it’s really well done.
    Grown up houses always feel like anyone at all could live there, more like a template from a grocery store checkout aisle magazine than anything else. You’d be perfectly happy to stay there for a couple days while visiting elderly relatives.
    Warm, comforting, wonderful houses, the kind that belong to people you like, have junk around, books that are being read left on the couch, coffee cups on the end table, bold colors, and full shelves. The third time you visit you know where the tea is and feel comfortable making yourself some.
    Sounds like that’s what you have.Can I come make tea?

  • The only decorations I have are two concert posters from shows I attended (The Joy Formidable at a winery in Sonoma in November of 2015, and Sleater Kinney and Quasi at the Fillmore in 2004.)
    I used to have a lot more, but haven’t had an appropriate place for them for so long that more and more of them get jettisoned each move.
    None of them are what you would call grown up decorations.
    My friend Jack used to say that furniture is the work of the devil, because if you have it, you have to have somewhere to put it, which costs money, so you have to then have a day job, and when you get home from your day job, there are people sitting on the furniture who get pissy when you turn your amp up loud enough to be heard over the drums.
    And yes, a drum set has been in the living room of every place larger than a studio apartment I have been able to call my house since I moved to Oakland in 1984.
    Oh, and at that show at the Fillmore, during Quasi’s set, Janet Weiss stood up at her drum kit and played guitar, sang, and played the hi-hat and kickdrum at the same time, so that poster will be with me no matter where I go.

  • Speaking of not having a grown up house, you should check out Amy Sedaris’ house tour on YT. I think you might like it.
    Yes get the mole checked out.
    Weird story: I had a mole on my side that I told my husband I wanted to have removed, he touched it and a few days later it came off, same thing happened with another mole I had. Not sure why.

  • I endorse everything you wrote. And I, too, have a Tenniel print from Alice, which involves slithy toves. I need a River Song! It would complement the random antique snake lithograph and accidentally-artful drawing my son made in grammar school. I’m pretty sure “eclectic tag sale” is a recognized decor motif. Phew!

  • Please get skin moles checked! Remember my chemo whining? Stage 3c melanoma. In cheerier news, I agree with the well-loved furnishings phenomena. Especially as a cat owner who doesn’t want to worry about resale value. 🙂 I bought a new wooden table at Ikea and my stripey tabby promptly used all 16 sides of the legs as scratchers. Oy! Better to have hand-me-downs and goodwill finds. And my signed celeb pic is Eddie Izzard with his nails looking fabulous.

  • I’m with you. For years – decades, really – I’ve had dreams of matching towel sets and attractive decor that goes with the furniture. I always figured the reason it never magically happened was because I lived in rinky-dink apartments and cottages. Finally, we have a larger house that we love, with landlords who would probably let me paint a wall or two, but I can’t be bothered.

    And as for matching towel sets, they don’t seem to believe in washcloths here. I finally found some plain white ones in a large western-style department store. So what they hey – all my towels are different colors.

  • I finally figured out that some people have the hobby of decorating and cleaning their house. that’s why their houses look like magazine houses.

    I have a hobby of lying on the couch reading, drawing, and sewing. and eating the food my husband cooks. and petting the dogs and cats. that’s why my house looks like it does. I’m happier here.

  • Grown up houses are overrated. Where do you put your drink? You can’t put your feet on the coffee table? Touch nothing – just look! You can’t cook because you’ll mess up the kitchen. And white or even beige sofas? Are you out of your fucking mind? I once had a choice of two antique Chinese coffee tables. One was finished to a glass shine. One was a little beat up. Same price. I picked the beat up one because then I wouldn’t worry about it while we were going about the business of our lives. The only thing that creeps me out in other peoples houses is mold. I. Just. Can’t!

  • I didn’t grow up in a grown-up house, and I certainly don’t live in one now. Would I love to have matching dishes and matching linens and oh, I dunno, “real” matching furniture to entertain guests? Sure. All of our dishes have traveled from just-outta-college to combining-households to now. All of our furniture has either done the same or been bought super-cheap or even been donated by friends (following cross-country moves)! The “decor” has done the same, but frankly, I like your artwork better than ours. I think my favorite pieces are the cat trees and the two tiny mirrored wall sconces that are supposed to hold tea light candles but instead hold a keychain-matchbox version of my 2015 yellow Honda Fit (with headlights that WORK!) and a little Lego Rocker and a Disney Grumpy, all “protecting” the rest of the stuff! Oh, and the strand of TARDIS lights that will permanently reside in the front window. They are NOT seasonal; they’re LIGHTS!

    … in other news, I have a scabby-something-or-other on my arm that I should get checked out but haven’t had insurance for, so I just keep delaying that one. Not that it WORRIES me. It would probably worry you, or anyone else who WORRIES.

      • JUST TODAY, someone left a PERFECTLY GOOD chest of drawers out in our alley! We don’t *really* have a good place to put it, but we could certainly use the extra storage, so we checked it out. It has one imperfect leg connection, and the back center support could use a shoring up, but other than that, it seems pretty close to perfect for the price. And the cats have already checked out the stacked, empty drawers, so I guess it’s okay! It’s actually the most “posh” piece of furniture we have – hopefully, we don’t fill the drawers with JUNK, especially if it decides to live outside the bedroom (which it MUST – there is no room at all in there). Maybe linens or dishes or something, if it lives in the kitchen/dining areas. Maybe electronics, if it becomes a tv stand. I’m not sad about it.
        … and I will get the scabby thing checked, eventually. Like, shortly before my arm falls off, right? 😉

By Michelle

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