grrgoyl: (Ewan Moulin)
Today's home was actually the last one we saw on day four, but I thought I'd separate it out as the most spectacular of the Parade. It's no $6 million property (actually think it's "only" going for $550,000), but it's an exciting new eco-home, ultra green and efficient, and of course super modern.

Welcome to the future

::Parade of Homes 2011: Green Cube:: )

Final verdict: Works as a life-sized coffee table book, but for day-to-day living? I simply can't picture it. Not terribly cosy and inviting.

And that concludes this year's Parade of Homes! Sorry it was sort of lazy, but the houses were kind of generic and tended to run together. Blame Obama and this economy.
grrgoyl: (snowcake scrabble)
The good news is I FINALLY have my Parade of Homes posts sorted. I'm dividing them into five days so I don't deluge you all at once. You're welcome.

The REALLY good news, in case you missed my previous post, is I got tickets to see Rickman on Broadway!!! They went on sale at midnight (10 pm to me) and I was on the site at five minutes of. I got front row seats in the most expensive section we could afford, which unfortunately is the rear mezzanine, but still, front row!

My excitement over this development is only slightly (okay, pretty heavily actually) marred by my morning-after realization that the date I chose is the precise date of my period that month. I was so prepared three months ago that I got an app to plot my periods (don't roll your eyes at me -- they're not always the same length and I'm still not exactly clear when you're supposed to start counting the 28-day cycle, and anyway my last day isn't as well-defined as my first as they just sort of gradually taper off, and gentlemen, I apologize at this late juncture if all of this is TMI). Then in the heat of the moment I panicked that all the best tickets would get bought up quickly (you can imagine how Tery snorted at this) and the thought of my period just evaporated into thin air. Ironic, considering I'm actually on it right now.

So on my sister the nurse's advice, I'm seeing a gyno for medication options, because I'll be damned if I'm spending the day traipsing all over New York with a backpack full of maxipads and needing to find a bathroom every two hours. Dear Alan Rickman: I'm willing to chemically mess up my hormones for you. Call me!


Okay. Without further ado, the Parade of Homes 2011!

Sorry. A little more ado. Because I've been promising [ profile] kavieshana for so long, the tale of standing up to MyFriendDeb: I've complained about this before, but as a refresher course, Deb has this peculiar habit of never being ready to go on time. I mean ever. And I mean I'll call to say I'm on my way right now (this is usually after calling 30 minutes previously to establish that I was starting to get ready). She lives ten minutes away. She KNOWS she lives ten minutes away. And without fail, I'll knock on the door and be greeted by the sight of her lagging woefully behind in preparations. Like, with no shoes on (big deal, you say. Well it wouldn't be if it didn't take her ten minutes to get shoes on, and don't ask me what in God's name she's doing that whole time to draw it out like that). Or still finding a coat. Or in this instance just starting in on what appeared to be lunch (and the woman eats like a bird. She can make a meal last 45 minutes).

I would estimate over the course of our 15-year friendship, I've spent a solid month standing at her front door watching her get ready (keep in mind we only hang out once a month or so). It's inconsiderate and selfish, and I doubt she's even aware she's doing it.

This time I had even deliberately stalled after making the "on my way right now" call, KNOWING this would happen. I sat in my car and fiddled with my phone's mp3 player a good ten minutes before leaving. I knew she would still make me wait, and I thought of what I would say if I had the balls.

Well, it turns out I DO have the balls, although I swear I hadn't made the conscious decision to actually use them. I took one look at her starting her meal when she knew I would be arriving at any second, and my mouth opened and I heard myself say, "Don't take this the wrong way, but my dream is to one day show up and have you actually be ready to go when I arrive."

She took it exactly the wrong way and I could feel her bristle. She mumbled some excuse that she had been ready, but she sat down and lost her momentum, which of course didn't explain why a loss of momentum would involve initiating a meal, but whatevs. Her excuse is she has no excuse, other than the fact she's lived alone for so long she's forgotten how (or perhaps never cared in the first place) to accommodate other people even minimally. This is Deb, and I doubt my statement will make a bit of difference next time, but at least I got an iota of anger off my chest.

I diffused the tense atmosphere with an observation that there was a single sneaker sitting on top of the carport outside, we laughed about it and the fight (and believe me, for us this was a fight) was forgotten.

So, NOW without further ado ::Parade of Homes 2011; Day One:: )

Coming soon: Days 2-5
grrgoyl: (shrek)
Here it is, the Parade of Homes 2010 season finale: 6.3 miiiiiiiiiiillion dollars!

::I don't know what to say to top that opening:: )

And that does it for another year.

I just have to say, 5000 sq ft sounds like a nice amount of space (well, The Lodge is actually 6400). But I picture Tery and me living in one of these houses and, let's face it, probably only using half the rooms on a regular basis. I had a memory the other day of growing up in my family's modest 1500 sq ft house with four of us. In the evenings we would all sit in the family room. Because my parents grew up in the Depression, every other light in the house would be off, creating a spooky darkness outside our cozy little oasis. If we had to pee or get a snack, we would run as fast as we could and snap the light on in the other room before anything could get us.

This was before I grew up and developed valid security issues, like I have now. Like thinking about someone hiding in one of those dark rooms on the other side of my 5000 sq ft house without me ever noticing. Sure, it's crazy, but I'm sticking with it and staying perfectly happy with my small, manageable and easily secured condo. As if I need to talk myself out of buying a $500,000 house when going to a movie theater these days is a shamefully irresponsible indulgence for me.
grrgoyl: (shrek)
Okey dokey. Now we've got a chance to catch our breath, here's the second installment of the second installment. My goal is to have you be sick to death of the word "installment." How am I doing?

::Step right up, and don't be shy:: )

Enough of these plain Jane $3 million houses. Up next: What $6.3 million will get you these days!
grrgoyl: (shrek)
At last, the long awaited second (and last) installment of the Parade of Homes 2010! It was a very busy day, with 10 homes and over 500 photos (I've narrowed it down to considerably less for y'all). This installment will be broken into three installments, with a grand finale of a $6.3 million shanty in, of all places, Deer Creek Canyon.

Before we start, I have a correction to make from the first installment. People seemed most confused by the "door collection" photo. Tery explained it; they take the doors off all the frames inside the house for the tour, probably to prevent people slamming them into walls, etc. I'm embarrassed to admit that, after all these Parades, I've never noticed that. I hope I'm not called upon for any composite sketch police work, with these powers of observation.

::We'd better get going, there's a lot of ground to cover:: )
grrgoyl: (Monkeybone)
We had an adventure of a different kind this weekend, one that didn't involve Red Bull ([ profile] kavieshana's contribution): The Parade of Homes 2010!

If you're wondering what became of last year, they changed the format from just seven or eight luxury houses all on the same street to a lot more, in all different price ranges, spread out all over town. And, rumor had it, most of them were unfurnished. None of us could see the appeal of that, so unanimously voted to give it a miss.

This year it's the same deal, except the homes are furnished and for the most part clustered in at least the same neighborhood. And totally free (hoping to lure in more potential buyers), so what better way for a trio of penny pinchers to spend the day?

I should warn you, the benefit of it being free means we might be visiting a different neighborhood some other time, so this might just be the first installment. In fact, this will only be the first installment of the first installment, or I might crash LJ's servers. I assure you, there's plenty in this one for your amusement.

Massive amount of pictures behind the cut -- but also much less of me blathering on. ::I mean it. If a picture is worth a thousand words, I've got "War and Peace" in here:: )

That's about halfway. Stay tuned for the conclusion of the first installment!
grrgoyl: (U2 iPod)
More excitement this weekend than I ever could have wanted (or bargained for). Friday night I had Oscar, a shih tzu that seemed in pretty bad shape: morbidly obese, could barely walk, severe respiratory issues, C. difficile infection, bloody diarrhea. The works.

He wasn't terrible for me other than having very labored breathing, and I felt confident that he'd be gone Saturday night, as most hospitalized cases usually are. I was mistaken. He was there, but seemed pretty much the same. He reacted more violently when I tried to get him outside, seeming not willing to walk at all, and once outside did nothing (strange for being on IV fluids for hours). I asked Tery about him. Normally dogs this sick are owned by little old ladies who can't walk them regularly. This dog, however, was owned by some rich woman who didn't have time to walk him regularly, whose idea of exercise was to get Oscar a puppy that he couldn't stand. Tery said the head doctor knew she had money and would pay anything without question, which is why he was still there Saturday.

Around 3 a.m. I noticed a strange quiet in Recovery. I realized it was due to Oscar having a seizure and no longer breathing. Oh god.

I tried the holistic approach at first (worked with another seizure dog I had once), talking to him, soothing him, trying to calm him down/snap him out of it. No go. I desperately pawed through the box of controlled substances looking for phenobarbital. All I could find was diazepam (Valium). I gave him a shot, no idea what dosage, and waited. No go. I went back and found the pheno on the second pass, gave him a shot of that. No go. (Later going back and reading up on these drugs, the book said they weren't advisable in cases of extreme respiratory illness. But I figured Oscar probably had nothing to lose at this point.)

By this time his tongue was lolling out and he was turning blue. Oh god. This dog was going to die. This dog was going to die and I had to sit here and watch every agonizing second of it.

(I of course tried to call the head doctor (whose case it was) for some assistance. She didn't answer, deep in her untroubled sleep, dreaming of all the money she was making off this dog that was going to die.)

I couldn't just watch this dog die. I'd have nightmares for months. I knew I had to intubate him. I had intubated a dog exactly once, when I came in during the day for some training and had two techs holding the dog plus another behind my shoulder walking me through every step. This was going to be nothing like that, but I couldn't make it much worse. His twitching had stopped but he still wasn't breathing, and growing weaker by the second.

I grabbed an intubation tube (they're all different sizes depending on the size of the dog's airway (the distance between their nostrils). I didn't have the luxury of precision so grabbed what looked best). I hooked it to an AmbuBag (a bag that pumps air when you squeeze it, a preferable alternative to giving canine mouth-to-mouth) and hooked it to the tube. I shoved it in his mouth haphazardly (his jaw was locked in a half-open position), squeezed the bag and prayed. And to my astonishment he started coughing. I kept it up, and he started breathing -- it wasn't pretty, but he was breathing all the same.

I called Becca, a vet tech who absolutely isn't required to answer her phone at 3 a.m. (unlike the doctor, in my opinion). She said she had a feeling he might go downhill. She said all I could do was put him on oxygen and see how he did. She apologized to me profusely, as if it was her fault the dog had flatlined.

I had never set up the oxygen tank before, but it was really child's play after semi-intubating a dog.

Oscar made it to the end of my shift. I left with a feeling of accomplishment and pride, tempered with the certain knowledge that he would probably be euthanized come Monday anyway. But, as Tery pointed out proudly, he didn't die on my watch (turns out I was half right -- first he was brought to a specialist hospital Sunday, where x-rays revealed his lungs and abdomen full of fluid. Soon after he was euthanized).

Tery was proud of me, but just as angry as I was that the doctor didn't answer her phone. Tery figured she'd have some excuse like how it was her night off and I should've called the other doctor. When I'm trying to save an animal's life, I'd rather not have to scurry around figuring out which doctor to call. I think it should be a team effort in an emergency situation, not a childish game of "whose turn is it?"

Meanwhile, Tabby thinks she deserves a raise because she can stamp invoices better than anyone else.

I'm attending a seminar next week on emergency medicine. It's paid training, and hopefully I'll pick up one or two helpful tips. My bigger hope, however, is that critical cases like poor old Oscar are sent off for the appropriate care before I start my shift.


Enough of that unpleasantness. Now I give you ::Parade of Homes 2008: Solterra. Many pictures, thoughtfully resized:: )


Last but not least: Tery told me about a bumper sticker she saw the other day. It read "Barack Hussein Obama...enough said!"

I'm not sure which terrifies me more, a.) the fact that people are this ignorant, b.) the fact that people aren't afraid of advertising how ignorant they are, or c.) the fact that such ignorant people have the right to vote.
grrgoyl: (Greg Egg)
Weekend the First: Kennels. I had many, many, many bad, bad, bad dogs this weekend. I had Ruffles, the uncontrollable chow, back with a new brother, Horatio the German shepherd puppy, who made Ruffles look like he belonged to Cesar Millan by comparison. This is the same crazy family with 5 cats and a handful of birds besides. I guess it isn't a hardship to get another dog when you aren't going to train that one either.

It needs to be said: I hate puppies. They're like babies, great to visit for short periods of time, but a pain in the ass to live with. Puppies don't know that the outside is for pooping. They don't know that the nighttime is for sleeping. And they don't know that some people need more than sheer cuteness to tolerate their shenanigans. It irritates me because we aren't running an obedience school, and I'm not paid nearly enough to train your puppy for you.

I had Bogart, a min-pin who pooped with clockwork regularity, unfortunately every single time in his kennel. Even after 8 hours with no food, he pooped. So much poop I thought he had to be smuggling it in from other dogs. And he wouldn't just poop, he would poop and then dance around in it, tracking it everywhere. Then go outside where it was raining and become this huge primadonna, tiptoeing around the puddles gingerly. Bogart was 6 years old. If a dog isn't pottytrained at 6 years old, that's the sign of a bad owner. Tery told me he was owned by an elderly woman who probably couldn't walk him properly. Compounding the problem was the fact that, fed up with Bogart's recalcitrance, what did the stupid old woman do but go out and get a 6-month-old bull terrier (who as of yet doesn't poop in her kennel). Bogart probably doesn't poop outside because he spends the entire time fending off the very enthusiastic bull terrier. I simply don't understand.

Oh, how I wished that this was the weekend I left for England, not next.

Speaking of England, Weekend the Second: Today the cheapest fare going is $1313. This is a complete reversal of my usual luck, which in the past would have had the prices plummeting in a steady downward slide, until the day before I left they'd be advertising for paid volunteers just to fill the plane.

Spare PDA battery: Check (I'm worried about keeping my electronic entertainment juiced for the entire flight. Even though I'll likely pass out and sleep the whole way anyway). Gobs of new Snarry to fill my PDA: Check. Period: Check (one of the major deciding factors when I chose dates, because I sure as hell wasn't flying to England with a suitcase full of maxipads. As a bonus, this was one of the shortest, most painless periods of my entire life. I attribute it to the awesome power of the Bowflex changing my metabolism).

Finally, haircut: Check. Which should be a good thing, except I hate it. HATE. IT. Easily one of the top five worst haircuts of my entire life. I don't know what the lady did, but the only way to fix it is to grow it out. In just a week. Grrrrrr.

Weekend the Third: We did Parade of Homes again this year with MyFriendDeb. The theme this year was, of all things, New England. As we shall see, these Coloradan designers have some pretty peculiar ideas about New England. I'm cutting for massive amounts of pictures and equally massive snark. And you can thank this atrocity of a haircut for me not appearing in any of them.

::Dial-up users, come nae further!:: )
grrgoyl: (mars who I am)
MyFriendDeb and I returned to the Parade of Homes this year. The parade this time was not held in a "community" like last year's Pradera, but rather it was hosted by "Reunion, CO." I put it in quotes because when I asked Tery where the hell Reunion was, she told me it was one of these new fake towns going up everywhere on the outskirts of Denver and Aurora.

Ahhhh, Reunion, CO (which is actually a township or something in Commerce City, CO, best known for its foul-smelling industrial smokestacks). What a welcoming name, with streets like "Heartland Drive" and "Unity Street" (I'm not making this up). All they need is for John Cougar Mellencamp to move in to complete the image. It doesn't get more American pie, good old family values than this (except that the town is built on what used to be farmland and is about 5 miles from Denver International Airport). It does look like Main Street, USA. Sadly, the houses on the parade this year were just about as nondescript.

So nondescript that, despite finally remembering a camera after taking the tour two years in a row, I ultimately took pictures mostly of the bizarre kooky things that rich folks are putting in their houses these days. ::won't you join me on my walking tour of the houses of people with more money than brains?:: )

Those wacky, wacky rich people.

Finally a picture post wouldn't be complete without some critters. I won't bother cutting these because they're tiny and cute and I want everyone to see them.

Blackjack, the Sheltie that could power a small city with his excess energy.

Mr. Beanzy
My Beanzy. Who could ever think he was nasty?

Xandir and anonymous boytoy
Finally, my gay, gay Xandir. While in the hospital overnight for an infection (he's fine now), he didn't have Gideon to lick so he settled for this Petco baby instead. We might have adopted the baby if Petco hadn't picked him up.
grrgoyl: (Donnie)
It's August so it must be time for Denver's Parade of Homes again.

This year's Parade was held at a development called "Pradera." Its tagline, according to the official program, is "Live where you belong." Which sounds pretty unapologetically classist to me. Might as well call it "Pradera: Priced to keep out the undesirables."

Just like last year, we thought we'd be clever and start with the last house working backward. This also made more sense because the last house was at the very top of the hill, and who wouldn't rather work down rather than up a big hill? Unfortunately it seemed that a lot more people had the same idea this time, but what can you do? Apparently no one works on Monday mornings anymore.

The first one we saw was "Dolce Vita," a house that was the most remarkable because an accidental fire had burnt it to the ground just as it neared completion. The builders worked 24 hours a day for 79 days to rebuild it, finally finishing it a second time 15 minutes before the official judging began (or so the informational pamphlet claimed). For this reason we could forgive the fact that the basement wasn't finished and most of the doorknobs were a little loose. Being the result of such hard work and dedication it was indeed an architectural marvel, but didn't really make much of an impression on me. It swept most of the awards, but only in second place.

First place went to "Synthesis," a house devoted almost entirely to an Asian decor. My sister Nancy would have bought it the minute she stepped in the front door. It had lots of nice touches, like shoji screens on the windows and fountains and waterfalls almost everywhere you looked, not to mention a beautiful tear-shaped copper sink in one of the bathrooms. But the lines were a little too clean and the color themes a little too stark for MyFriendDeb's tastes. She put it best when she described it as "aggressively Asian." The only reason we could see that it was called "Synthesis" was because of a couple of art pieces in a bedroom that were aggressively African just to shake things up a bit, and glaringly out of place. The problem with the house, we decided, was that the decor was so uniformly and overwhelmingly Oriental that decorating or furnishing it with anything slightly more Occidental would be hopelessly at odds with the rest of the room. And our hodge-podge stuff, barely a step removed from a dorm room, simply wouldn't do at all.

Third place went to what I consider to be my dream house, "The Outlook." I'm kicking myself for forgetting my camera, but I LOVED this house. It was done in the Arts & Crafts style, which I adore. Mission furniture, oak, stained glass, that's what I'm talking about. It was one of the smaller homes at a paltry 6200 square feet, but that's what I liked about it. The rooms were cozy, warm and inviting, and didn't echo like the vast spaces of the fancier homes. They also felt like rooms you could live in, not just keep in suspended animation to show off for guests. The color theme was autumn leaves, all burnt reds, golds and browns, but brought to life with the generous use of primary-colored glass accents everywhere, like in the tile, or the risers of the staircase made of concrete embedded with glass blobs, or the artwork, or the stained glass windows. I really can't do it justice with words, WHY didn't I bring my camera?? The only pics I can find online are these: The wall outside the master bedroom and A sink, which doesn't give you much of an idea what the rest of the house looks like. Trust me, it was simply perfect. Tery liked it too, but in a sad commentary on how she views living spaces, her only remark was, "This is a house I feel like I can clean myself." At $1.8 million, we'll be making an offer on it about 4 lifetimes from now.

Not all the houses were impressive though, despite all having million-dollar-plus pricetags. The "Villa Della Viste" was decorated with horribly uncomfortable-looking French furniture and had an exceedingly silly name. The "La Chiripada," the only house that was sold when we looked at it, seemed nice enough but the floor plan was awkward and made very little sense. For instance, it boasted a detached building in the front yard that was set up as a free-standing office. Nice, except it had a clear view of the master bath and the lady of the house's spa tub, which itself also overlooked the driveway and front entrance of the house. Huh? There was a little girl's room directly off the kitchen, Tery explained for the stepchild that had to get up every morning and stoke the fire. The workout room was huge and consequently mostly empty, with a putting green and driving net stashed in the corner almost as an afterthought. Bleah. Behind the wet bar in the basement was a small room with an elaborate, wrought iron door with twisting vines around the bars. Can you guess what the room was? You don't have to, because it quite unnecessarily had a huge stylized sign above it declaring that this was the "Wine Cellar." It was downright insulting, I tell you. I joked about an improvised wheelchair ramp leading from the great room to the patio outside, a piece of plywood painted safety orange and thrown down, how it really didn't fit in at all with the granite in the kitchen. Hee! I went from room to room declaring my intense dislike of the house, and a passing old man agreed with me, "It's too dark!" he added. $2.2 mil for this, you must be mad! I would have viciously crossed it off my list even if it hadn't already (inexplicably) been sold.

But by far the absolute worst was unfortunately the last one, and therefore the one I remember the best (besides my darling "Outlook," that is). "The Aldwyn." You can tell from the name already that it's a real winner (I'm joking, you probably can't). The first thing you see when you enter this house is the formal dining room, a room which I consider practically useless in any house and hardly the first thing I want to come home to. But it gets worse. From there you entered the kitchen, a hideous work of design with 50's-esque tiles in a repeating retro (but not cool retro) ornament-shaped pattern, and "pre-distressed" farmhouse style cabinets. Ugh. Off to one side was the library with artwork depicting -- I kid you not -- the apostles exploring Christ's wounds. THAT has wide appeal. And nooks in the shelving with big, heavy devotional books propped open and illuminated with museum lamps. Creepy. Off the library was a bathroom with an embroidered poem, something about bad little boys and girls being attacked by "ghoulies" and ghosts and pray for Jesus to save you, children. Nice. Throughout the house were these huge, obtrusive wooden beams obviously designed to resemble a gothic cathedral. Fuuuuuuugly. Over the stairway was a normal-sized window that was set 10 feet up the wall. I wouldn't have a problem with this except for the shroud-of-Turin-colored drapes flanking it that cascaded all the way down and pooled onto the floor. I'm sure when they were drawn closed it created the illusion of a massive window behind them, but opened as they were they just looked retarded. And I tripped on them. The house also had a 4-foot high room accessed by a 4-foot high hallway, clearly meant to be a kid playroom, as well as another room with a kiddie stage and a treehouse built in. If you ask me, this is two rooms too many to devote to only children. I also didn't care for the little girl's room that featured a small writing desk turned diagonally, CEO-style. The only other thing I clearly remember about the house was the master bath. It had a large, centrally placed tub like all the others, except this one looked like a person-sized vegetable sink, perfectly rectangular except for a 5-degree slope on one side for luxurious reclining, because everyone knows that bathtubs with rounded, curvacious edges are nothing but an invitation to sin.

Gah. If I'm going to shell out $1.6 mil for a home, I'd like one that isn't so aggressively preachy. The whole house seemed to scream "FAMILY VALUES!" and "FAG, GO HOME!" (okay, that might have been a bit of paranoia on my part). I was gratified that the judges seemed to agree, as the house deservedly did not win a single award. Burn it to the ground, I say, and salt the earth. I hated it that much.

Some overall observations: I don't much care for the new trend of making all the bathrooms but the master these dark little rooms. And I don't understand the tendency to stick the commode into its own little hallway off the main room. Most of them feel like prisons, and like Tery said not even any room for a magazine rack or some reading material (don't laugh, if it weren't for this multitasking I wouldn't get any reading done at all these days).

Tery doesn't see any wisdom in putting what is obviously meant to be a teenager's room in the basement with its own door out to the back patio, for ease of sneaking in (or out) late at night. I agree.

Finally, while sitting on one of the four patios at the "Synthesis," I told Deb how hard it was for me to wrap my mind around the idea of people being able to afford these homes without having to work 24 hours a day. This is because I myself work two jobs just to be able to afford our measly $800-a-month mortgage. I just can't imagine buying a million dollar house and not worrying night and day about paying for it, no matter what my job was. You can take the girl out of the working class, but you can't take the working class out of the girl. Luckily, I don't foresee this being a problem in my lifetime.

My Crackwhore update really isn't terribly exciting. We STILL haven't heard the dogs since last Thurs night. It's as if they've evaporated into thin air. We don't know what she's doing to keep them quiet, or if they are even in the unit, but the silence is breathtaking. It makes me really, really, REALLY glad I didn't follow the Alcoholic down her path of vindictiveness. She did take the screen a step farther and cover the sides as well, taking the pressure off me of staying on top of the poop (so to speak). This also is an indescribable relief. Not to the Alcoholic of course, but she can at least drown her pain.

Finally, Kay. She couldn't wait to tell Tery a "really funny story" at work the other day. She's planning a trip to Africa to help build a hospital for the locals. During the final week they get to take a safari. Before you start admiring her selflessness, she told Tery about her father's pricelessly amusing reaction to the news, which was "Africa....isn't that country full of Negroes?" Oh, what a knee-slapper. Yes, Kay, racism is hi-LA-rious. Again, Tery didn't know what to say. If nothing else, I think it sheds some light on why Kay is as tactless as she is. Like father, like daughter. Like hell.
grrgoyl: (buffycorpse)
On Sunday Tery and I went with OurFriendDeb to Denver's Parade of Homes. I figure it will be challenging to produce an entertaining journal entry about walking through houses, but I plan to mock the fabulously wealthy at the same time (not out of envy, mind you. What on earth would I do with money beyond reckoning? I'd much rather stay where I am, keepin' it real for my homies.)

The Parade of Homes is a chance for poor shlubs like me, up to our eyeballs in debt, to tour million-dollar homes without involving security personnel of any type. Last year was my first experience of this phenomenon, and just like I can't get enough of watching HGTV's myriad of decorating shows and getting a peek into other people's houses, it is oddly satisfying and entertaining to walk through homes that I could probably never afford even if I did give up such luxuries as food and heat in the winter for my entire life (even retroactively). These houses aren't filthy rich like the Newport mansions, just stinking rich, like families with incomes of $100,000 or more might live in. I feel more than a little bad for the people standing in each room waiting to sell their wares (as the homes are a showcase for builders), forced to give their spiel to our ragtag little group, knowing damn well that we can't even afford the property taxes on such a spread. Deb had the idea that people like us should get a big red stamp on our foreheads, like a big "L" for "looking," or perhaps "loser," so they can save their breath.

We went on Sunday for a reason. Last year Deb and I went on a weekday and there were about 20 other people also taking the tour, and our biggest annoyance was one exceptionally loud, pushy woman that seemed to turn up everywhere we went. This year to accomodate Tery's schedule it had to be on the weekend, so we figured first thing Sunday morning perhaps all the churchgoing people would be going to church and thin the herd. Apparently there are a lot more godless sinners in Colorado than we thought, because by the time we were half done with the first house there was a crowd of what seemed like 100 people there, none of whom had any regard whatsoever for the concept of personal space. My stress level goes through the roof in situations like this; I intensely dislike being touched by strangers, even an accidental brushing by, and being stuck elbow-to-elbow with no escape route is just intolerable to me.

So I had the brilliant idea of hiking down to the last house on the tour and working our way backwards. Thankfully (and not surprisingly) no one else caught on to this and we were relatively unmolested for about three houses. Inevitably we caught up with the throng in the second house, which naturally was also the smallest, a paltry 4400 square feet. I was dealing until I walked past a woman who somehow managed to full-on grab my right breast as she passed. I'm sure it was accidental, but I prefer to at least be on a first-name basis before someone gets to second base with me. I told Tery and Deb about it in the car and Tery jokingly pretended to reach for my chest and exclaim, "I love the textures in this house!" But enough about my sexcapades....onto the houses.

There were only five homes this year (last year there were eight), and they all had their nice little features, but one stood out heads above the rest. The judges agreed too, as it won 11 of the 12 awards presented. It was the "Eureka!" house, designed with a Colorado mining/motorcycle theme in mind. It's called the "mining house," but the first thing we saw as we entered the front courtyard was a garage just for your motorcycle (apart from the standard 3-car set apart from this). Motorcycle decor runs throughout the house, including an awesome ceiling fan with translucent blades affixed to a chrome motorcycle headlamp in the gym. The courtyard fountain was water running down a rusty motorcycle gear chain and the railing of the main staircase inside was a thick rope cable. But these weren't the award-winning features, not by a long shot. When you entered the front door, the first thing you saw was a gorgeous, outdoor living room looking straight out to the mountains, unimpeded by windows or walls of any kind. There was a huge, telescoping glass wall that could be closed in the winter obviously. In the middle of this was a copper bowl (LOL I typed "bowel" first) fountain that extended through the floor to the downstairs patio. There was a similar, smaller fountain that the main staircase wrapped around. In addition to the main spiral staircase were two others, a hidden back stair that came out in the wine cellar behind the bar, as well as one between the his/hers (or hers/hers) upstairs/downstairs walk-in closets. There was a room called the "jewelry box" that was lined 100% with red velvet so you felt like you were inside a jewelry box. Everything else was similarly expansive and gorgeous, with a greatroom incorporating the open kitchen and living room area done tastefully in all oranges and reds (mining theme), a 2-floor master bedroom with a small loft sitting area with a perfect view of the mountains, and a billiard room with built-in loveseat, cafe tables and 3 flat-screen plasma TVs on one wall (so you never have to miss a single sports event, ever). The gym wasn't as nice as the one in the second house with its attached sauna and walking lap closet (I kid you not! Looks like a closet, but it's just a corridor that goes in a circle to walk or run laps!) but still beats my Bowflex that has to be packed up out of the way after every use.

But enough of the descriptions. I feel the urge to mock. Mostly it is just impossible to imagine the lifestyle required to live in a place like this. First and foremost, with over 6,000 square feet (compared to our barely 1,000 we have now), we could conceivably go days or weeks without ever seeing one of our ferrets, or even each other. Secondly, I can't imagine when I would find the time to enjoy my "sky lounge" in my bedroom suite, just sitting and admiring the countryside, without getting restless pretty quickly. Rich people are busy too, aren't they? Third, I see absolutely no use whatsoever for a full bathroom just for the den. There I am, working away at my desk, when suddenly I am overcome with such an urgent need to shower that I can't even make it to the main bathroom to do it (which granted in this house is about a mile and a half away). I mean, come on. A common scoffing point in these houses is the placement of bathrooms, full, 3/4 or half. Rich folk must have small bladders indeed to want to make sure they never have to walk more than 10 feet to get to a bathroom. The wine cellar was nice, but the racks easily held close to 200 bottles. I can't picture ever owning 200 bottles of wine, but I am sure Tery could. Naturally the house has a sound system with speakers in every room and out on the patio. Unfortunately, the console for it is down in the basement. You'd have to be pretty committed to your CD choices before leaving them so far behind (but naturally I would have a 100-disc player in that case).

I realize most of my jokes about the impracticality of the house would be moot if I could actually afford to buy it. I can't help picturing where I would do my transcription work if I lived there, but of course I wouldn't be working that $7-an-hour job at all. Maintaining such a place is a daunting task, until remembering that if I lived there I would no doubt have some kind of hired help. Where would I put the computer in such a huge house? Easy, silly, I could afford 10 laptops and just scatter them about the house, perhaps one in every bathroom. How would you pay to heat such a place? I would be like my father, obsessively closing off rooms and only using a third of the living space. The lifestyle I have right now would be extremely difficult to work into such a structure, so I suppose it is fitting that the lifestyle I have now all but ensures I will never have to worry about that particular problem. There just seems to be such an enormous, gaping chasm separating me from that world, I might as well be living on a different planet.

Of course the downside of this little adventure is having to leave and return to our lower-middle-class existence. Don't get me wrong, our condo suits us just fine and we love it the rest of the year. It is the perfect size for two people (and two ferrets...and two cats...and a bird now) and has lots of nice features that give it character while being comfortable. We don't need walkie-talkies to communicate. It is virtually impossible to get lost in. True, I do have to go all the way downstairs to pee, but we only have one bathroom to clean. But that's how we live, chillin' and keepin' it real.....

(My apologies to anyone who does live in a million-dollar home reading this who might be offended. But a substantial monetary donation would go a long way towards changing my attitude, I'm sure....)



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December 2011

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