...but not quite yet; I've Swiffered the stairs of plaster dust, and the downstairs apartment is looking quite spiffy after its spackle and paint job. Walls are Benjamin Moore "dove white" (which is, well, white but not glaring-hospital-white) and "historical" pale-mint "Hollingsworth" green. (BestFriend says that "Hollingsworth Green" sounds like a gated housing complex to which Hyacinth Bucket would aspire.) Kudos to John and team from JP Interiors--not cheap, but good. Here's the stained-glass window:
[By the way, if you go to BenjaminMoore.com, and go to "Personal Color Viewer," you can play this cool game of "Paint the Fancy Designer Room Any Color You Want." Try silly pink on the preppy-looking den! Paint it black!]
Speaking of which, it's Ash Wednesday, and as usual, the day's scriptures have a strange habit of serendipitously intersecting with my deepest needs. Just this morning, I was despairing of...my hair. No pictures will be provided for your Schadenfreude (German for "pleasure at the frizziness of another"), but suffice it to say that I've embarked on my once-every-decade attempt to Grow My Hair. My nickname around the house, conferred by the Child, is "Fuzzhead." (The Child has a head full of silky Scandinavian-looking blonde tresses; easy for her to jest.) Hair-wise, I'm getting to the Einstein stage (minus the mustache), when what I was hoping for (always in vain) was the English chick from "ER."
[At right: Alex Kingston. So not me.]
It just needs a good shaping, I tell myself hopefully--except our latest wavy-talented haircutter, Dana, is just about to go on maternity leave. So on a whim I Google "curly hair salon" and find this. The Valhalla of curliness on posh 57th Street...starting at $125 for their lowliest (but still superbly curl-certified) stylist. This of course does not include the line of exclusive curl-goddess products, and is already $90 more than my usual haircuts from Dana. But $90 is only 13% of one budget-plan monthly gas bill, and after shelling out six gas-bills' worth for the paint job, I am having a serious case of what-the-hell syndrome, not to mention I-deserve-it syndrome. (Just for once, couldn't we spend money like drunken sailors on something besides the Crazy Stable and the Black Hole of Renovation?) However, it hardly seems the way to start the penitential season of Lent...
until I listen to the gospel at this afternoon's ash-distribution liturgy:
“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. " --Matthew 6: 16-18
Did you catch that? "Anoint your head"? What else could Matthew possibly be referring to except Ouidad's deep-penetrating hot oil treatment? And what better way to avoid the spiritual pitfall of mopey sacrificial showboating than by bravely heeding the Scriptural command to look fabulous while fasting? As I pushed my split ends out of my satisfyingly smudgy ash-blob, I promised myself I'd seriously consider it.
Meanwhile, time to proceed on the remaining apartment chores: buying a new range and new carpeting. Wall-to-wall is a necessity; the floors (I suppose there are still floors under there) were sloping wrecks beyond the ministrations of any refinisher. Anybody know a good place to buy carpet? (Spouse suggested some outfit that advertises on TV that they'll send a guy and a swatch book to your home...dear God, not unless I'm heavily armed, thank you.)