The problem with move-in-ready houses is that they aren’t ever actually move in ready. I’ve learned that extensively over the past week and a half. There are always things to do, walls to decorate, personal touches to put throughout the house, noises to understand, keys to change, door codes to coordinate, and multiple times to wonder what on earth the previous tenants were doing.
Oh and the glitter wall, of course.
My wife and I were blessed to purchase our first home this month. We were so excited to find a house that we considered move in ready that was in our price range, and we have continually fallen in love with our house. After three years in a one bedroom apartment (and nearly 23 years of living with roommates before that, on a scale of awesome to siblings), we were so excited to have the opportunity to be in separate rooms inside of the same dwelling. It has been wonderful and eerie and fulfilling and challenging and exciting and terrifying and all of everything. For the foreseeable future, this is where we will be making our memories, dreaming of infinite possibilities, and enacting many of them.
Now’s there finally a setting for those stories.
I don’t know about you, but I think I dozed off during that lesson where I learned, “Measure twice, cut once.” I had to have fallen asleep, because that’s only part of the saying. I learned the other half this week:
“Measure Twice, Cut once, Find the stud at least 6 times, forget where the stud is because you are going to miss drilling into the stud anyways, don’t forget which one of your pencil marks are actually the pencil marks you want to use, GOSH DANG IT MY DRILL ISN’T POWERFUL ENOUGH TO DRILL A SCREW INTO THIS STUD SO I HAVE TO DO IT BY HAND, are you sure you should be doing this, now I can’t feel my hand, hi honey, yeah I tried to do all the projects you wanted me today because at some point during the night all of my useless knowledge that was in my brain miraculously converted into useful house project knowledge, DON’T OPEN THE DOOR TO THE GLITTER WALL no, I don’t quite understand either, measure a third time just to make sure because your first measure gave you a crooked result, it really doesn’t matter because I’m not really a handyman anyways ”
That saying makes way more sense to me than just measure twice, cut once.
It’s been a week. Week one. I’m already looking forward to just sitting in and enjoying the house with no tasks to accomplish. From what I’ve heard, those days don’t really come around all that often. I hope they do. Even if they don’t, it’s still worth it.
Let’s talk about the glitter wall. Man this house is great right? We see the pictures online, we take a visit to the house, and we look in the room that has this odd coloring. It’s pink, but also shiny. A little odd, but no big deal. It never comes up as a hindrance to us buying the house, and then we arrive for our final walk through and touch the wall, and begin to realize exactly what we are up against. Simply pressing your hand to the wall yields a fistful of glitter. Bright pink glitter. Bright pink glitter on a bright pink wall. We start noticing the glitter deposits around the house, in the carpet, in the closets, on the front door. We need a new name for exactly what we are up against, so we start using the simple moniker: the glitter wall.
Here’s the glitter wall:
Now I should point out, this is not the original picture of us walking into the house. This is a picture after rough estimate of 20 man-hours put in for the specific purpose of removing the glitter from the wall. And before you ask, we’ve done everything: scrape, sand, wet, electric sander, everything.
No this glitter wall has been the bane of our existence for the first ten days of the house.
So last Sunday, after all our furniture was moved in, after our families and friends had left, after we finally took a sigh of relief, we closed the door that led to the glitter wall.
It’s been closed for about 10 days.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that closed door in the last ten days. For anyone coming to our house, our house looks great. We show them our family room, our kitchen, the wonderfully decorated guest bedroom, the entry way, we give them the grand tour.
We don’t open the door to the glitter wall, if we can help it. We don’t want to get into that conversation.
And the thought that keeps running through my head: we aren’t all that different from the glitter wall.
I’ve grown up in the age of social media. I love social media. I love being able to keep up with friends, relatives, and even the people that I’ve encountered in strange and hilarious ways.
I also know that social media scrubs all portions of reality from our perceptions of who we, and each other, are actually.
I’m guilty of this so much. My last few Instagram posts include a picture of a new house, my completed murder mystery party, my wife and I attending Hamilton, the completion of my master’s program, and many more glimmers of highlights. What my Instagram page doesn’t show is a brutal amount of stress over the last couple of months, a weekly existential dread about what I am supposed to be doing with my life, a fender bender, daily concerns about my friends, my family, and myself.
I’ve just shut the door to the glitter wall and showed everyone the nicely decorated guest bedroom instead.
Mel and I are still debating exactly what to do with the glitter wall. The leader in the clubhouse is to put up wood paneling (or shiplap for your Gaines’s fans). A very close second is a sledgehammer. We’ve just decided we can’t stand to have it anymore. We have so many dreams for what that room can be, and we can’t wait to institute it. An office now, for sure, perhaps a nursery down the road, then maybe a nice sitting room? The possibilities are endless. But none of that can happen if we sit and keep the door to the glitter wall closed. We have to open the door.
We have to do the work getting the glitter out into real life.
We have to do what’s necessary to clean it all up.
We have to create something out of the mess that we’ve been hiding.
We have to.
We have to.
I can promise you one thing. I’m still going to be terrible at showing my glitter wall. I don’t want you to see it, I don’t want Mel to see it, I don’t want to see it myself.
I also really don’t want to show you any of the glitter walls in my life either. I don’t want you to see it, I don’t want Mel to see it, I don’t want to see it myself.
But we have to.
Our house can’t stand up without the glitter wall. It needs it to stand at the moment. It’s part of it.
It’s so daunting to know that we are going to have to do something with the glitter wall. Man, every day I just wish the glitter would be gone. How great would it be to sit in that room and work on everything that I need to get done without having the glints of pink echoing across the room, the evidence of my time in that room following me wherever I go. I wish it would just go away.
But it won’t unless I open the door.
So here’s the glitter wall. Get a laugh at it, enjoy it while it lasts, and remember that it is there. Our house, that we have affectionately named Cornerstone contains a glitter wall. If our house is named correctly, and we certainly believe it is, we have to. “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,[d] but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.”
The whole structure, not just the pretty, Instagram worthy, prayers of praise, gotta look good for everyone else, keep up with the Jones’s, check out my abs, look at the awesome job I did parts.
The whole structure.
Including the glitter wall.