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I Stink at April Fool's

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

I love April Fool's Day. It's a no-expectations, no-gifts holiday. It gives me a pass to be my true, awful self. But I have a problem the last couple of AFD' Facebook and Instagram posts, which I find hilarious and terrible, have sailed right by most people who read them. Too subtle? I dunno. In 2023 I announced that I'd watched a few YouTube videos, bought a bulldozer and learned to use it. I posted an outrageous video of a pro I hired skillfully obliterating a hedge of Japanese honeysuckle on my meadow edge, saying it was me operating the dozer. What did I get? "You GO, girl!" "Wow!" "You're AMAZING!"  and on and on. Virtually no one said, "Wait a minute. You did WUT?"

I posted it on April 1!! Figured I'd fool a few, but who buys a bulldozer and learns how to operate it by watching YouTube? Not me, sister.

Fast forward to April 1, 2024. I take a bunch of Before photos of my house interior, marred by black smoke from our awful gas fireplace (just another in a long line of things I have yet to see to). 32 year old carpet, and a bookcase from hell.  The bookcase is a jumbled mess, with ugly black smoke streaks on the wall above it. Granted, you have to look closely to see the smoke marks, and the carpet doesn't look 32 years old. It's livable. I lived in it for 32 years!

Wayfair curtains that turned from gray to pink when exposed to sun. A collapsing 25-year-old sofa, draped in a Guatemalan spread. Liam's studio corner, designated with pinned-up prints and drawing table. I loved having him drawing there in the living room, don't get me wrong. It is a bit busy for my tastes though.

  You can really see the smoke streaks in this shot of the east wall. And oh, the ceiling. Egad.

And the bookcase. OMG. No. NOOOO. This bookcase (and three more in my bedroom and studio) contained about half the books Bill brought home from Bird Watcher's Digest over the nearly 30 years he worked there. The rest were in the basement. I came to the relationship with my own ton of books, too. But Bill just blithely brought home a load of books every week, and I had to figure out where to put them all. I didn't do a good job of it. The bookcases at the magazine's office were overflowing and stacked on the floors, too. That's what happens to any magazine that does book reviews. Publishers start sending you everything they print. Unbelievable. And look at the smoking on the walls!

So I posted these Before photos as if I'm bursting with pride, and write a caption, trying to sound like a self-satisfied Instagram "influencer:"

"The house renovation is all but done and I promised you photos! Here's the living room. I had the painters put an aged patina on the walls, imitating the smoking marks seen in old colonial homes. For the bookshelves, photo 3, I went for an über-trendy, "Book Rich" look with a casual but studied jumble of tomes that I think nicely conveys "Intellectual Curiosity." What do you think? 

Then I posted a poll, which I never do, with two choices. "I love it!" and "That's a renovation??"

29 poll responses, and only 10% chose option 2. 90% said they loved it. Oh no!

333 likes, and 20 rah rah I love it comments. Thank goodness, 14 of the commenters indicated they got it with laugh emojis or sly comments. 

That was Instagram. Facebook was way worse. 555 likes, 89 comments. 62 commenters lauding it, trying to be nice in the face of the evidence that it looked pretty terrible. Only 10 indicated that they got the joke. 

I had the painters put an aged patina on the walls, imitating the smoking marks seen in old colonial homes.  

Who does that??

For the bookshelves, photo 3, I went for an über-trendy, "Book Rich" look with a casual but studied jumble of tomes that I think nicely conveys "Intellectual Curiosity." 

First off, have I ever used the words, "I went for an über-trendy look"? 

Second, would I actually write, "that I think nicely conveys 'Intellectual Curiosity' with capital letters and quotation marks??

I know what happened here. People are not dumb. Far from it. No, they are kind. They may have private thoughts about things they see in the photos, but I've said I'm happy with the renovation and they are happy for me. They don't want to risk offending someone who seems to be genuinely excited about her smoke-striped walls. Who knows what they're saying to their friends though? I can only guess. "What a hot mess that Zickefoose woman is! Have you seen her paint job?" 

 I have no pride. I'll do anything on April Fool's Day.

I have painted myself into a corner. Now I have to show everyone the actual After photos! And that I'm delighted to do! But there's a story in between that I think will resonate for anyone who's undertaken a home renovation. I'm still at it, in fact. Here's a sneak peek at the living room, my cozy clean new refuge. 

I have spent all day (when I wasn't reaming piles of dead stinkbugs out of window frames) on this post. It has unfolded like a Burmese python and it has gotten way too long. I reluctantly must leave the rest for another post, but I promise I'll be back soon! Until then, enjoy the new look and thank you for being so kind and encouraging on my Instagram and Facebook feeds. I really do have the nicest friends, and I don't deserve you all.


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