“He’s Making a List, He’s Checkin’ it Twice” – or more!

O.M.G. When did life get so complicated and I-N-T-E-N-S-E?

You may or may not remember that I am co-owner of an interior design practice attached to a small, retail home furnishings and accessories boutique called duoHOME. After 5.5 years in our current location, duoHOME is moving to a new office/storefront in about a month. Seems exciting, right? Well, it is – and I am excited! – but the things that need to be done!

to-do-list

It seems like there is a “list” like the one above – only filled in! – that needs to be addressed every day! Now, I am blessed in my life with TWO fantastic partners, my Life Partner Martin (I love him!) and my Business Partner Scott (I am fond of him as well, only in a different way, LOL!). Both these guys will have their hands full with me and the “lists” over the next four weeks or so. Martin will be largely in charge of managing my mental and emotional health every day (like that is different from any other day – are you ready, babe?) and Scott will be my super-organized partner in crime as we navigate the endless task lists. We have a list for transferring utilities, coordinating the renovation of our new space (think painting, cleaning, etc.), closing down our existing space, updating our website and Facebook page, and just about every other major and minuscule task you can imagine. And all of this is happening while the day-to-day operation of our design business keeps rolling on.

As they say in our business, “Clients wait for no one.”

We will be fine, of course. And I am SUPER excited about the move – I just wish it were over already. As my close friends know, I have a mild case of adult ADHD and I often joke that I am a Franklin Covey failure. I am pretty good at creating and organizing task lists, I just have to remember at some point this needs to be happening:

list

Fortunately for me, BOTH my partners will be great support and help during this transition time, and I hope I can be the same for them. I also plan on keeping in mind a great piece of advice I learned three decades ago when I was a restaurant manager…

Years ago, I used to be a front of the house manager for a huge, national chain of Mexican restaurants. During one particularly bad Tuesday Margaritaville shift, as our quoted wait time for tables was spiraling out of control and I had to have several loud drunks “escorted” from our cantina by the police, a tiny, sweet hostess – probably no more than sixteen or seventeen years old at the time – squeezed my hand, smiled at me serenely and said,“Tim you just have to remember, no matter how bad it may seem now, the dining room closes at 11PM and it will all be over then…” 

I’d like to thank that hostess for that bit of wisdom; it has guided me almost every day since she shared it with me. Sure, it has morphed into a slightly more universal message, something like, “No matter how daunting a task may seem, know that every challenge has an ending” or something like that but it is great advice.

Our upcoming move? As long as we stay focused, committed and on task (the lists!), we will be fine. I better make sure I have a good supply of pens and pencils on hand – I can see a lot of check marks in my immediate future!

(insert your own title here)

Some days I have trouble deciding on a blog subject, you know, “what to write about.” I struggle to have a clear idea or concept in mind when I sit down here at the keyboard. Today it is quite the opposite – I have SO many ideas running through my brain that I cannot crystallize one, I cannot “pin one down.” I have started three different posts, each one rambling off first in this then in that direction, none clear or defined. I keep trying to focus but in my mind I see this:

ntscbars

That’s right, in my head it’s all one big test pattern. It’s like my mind has overloaded and kinda’ shut down for the day. I have a LOT of things on my mind, both work and personal things. They are all GOOD so no worries. It’s just that I have so many ideas and thoughts today that they actually are all combining to make one big “swirly mess” in my head…

I’m sorry.

I actually asked my beloved SBF today if he thought I was getting forgetful or maybe displaying symptoms of early onset dementia. He just laughed and told me I was silly, that I had a lot on my mind lately and that I wasn’t “going senile.” Whew – that is a relief to me.

I think I shall go watch some mindless TV and give the old noggin a rest tonight. I apologize for my “lack of focus and creativity” today. Just like old TV stations, I ask that you please stand by; normal “blogging” will resume as quickly as possible. Thank you.

At least the test pattern has pretty colors to look at…   😉

Just An Empty Bowl

Today was a pretty busy day for me – I dropped off my SBF at school at 8:30A, ran back home, worked out for 30 minutes, did a few household chores, showered, ironed a shirt, read/responded to emails, made a few phone calls for work, left to go give a blood sample for a doctor’s appointment next week, had 90 minutes of therapy, came back to pick up the SBF from school, grabbed some sandwiches at Subway, took in a movie (“Beautiful Creatures” – YAWN) then got back home about 6:40P. Anyway, it was a full and – I like to think – productive day.

Anyway, as is sometimes my habit before I began writing my blog posts, today I clicked on BING images and just scrolled thru the pics at random. I am a pretty visual person so I am often inspired by images I see; such is the case today.

For no reason in particular – in fact I cannot really even remember what I had entered to find it – I came across the image of this bowl:

bowl

Now, besides the fact that I would like to OWN this bowl, the image really spoke to me. It reminded me of how people (myself included) seem to “hang on at the edges” of life sometimes, afraid to let go and fall into the fray, in this case the bowl. The thing is I guess the reason why I am fascinated by this bowl is that it so beautifully illustrates what would happen if we all stopped trying so hard to be strong and independent and tenacious – not that there is anything wrong with any of those qualities – but look how lonely all those edge-of-the-bowl people look.

What would happen if they let go? They’d fall down into the bowl, into the people “soup.” People soup. The question is, would that be so bad?

I worry sometimes that I am too solitary a person, that maybe I cling to the edge a little more than I should. I have my life pretty “tidy,” with everything fitting together just so. The sad thing is that living that way prevents spontaneous adventures, delightful moments that no one on the edge ever gets to experience. To use the whole soup analogy again, the edge of the bowl tends to be dried up and crusty; the “good stuff” is always in the thick middle part. Noodles, hunks of meat and veggies – all the stuff that make the soup great, the substance of the soup…

Going forward, I think I will let go of the edge of the bowl, dive into the broth and swim for the nearest oyster cracker! Hope I see you in there, too…

PS – If anyone recognizes this bowl and/or knows where I can get one, please let me know. You’ll have to let go of the edge to call me but…

Stop TXTng Me. Please.

I work hard every day to remain cool and hip. I struggle/put forth effort to embrace new ideas and new things. I desperately try to be as current and up-to-date as possible. I mean, look at me – I “blog” AND I have a Facebook page, LOL! So, having said all that, it may seem odd that I would like to post this sign everywhere:

No-Texting-Thank-You

I am not a big fan of text-ing for many reasons but mostly because I have almost never, ever attempted to do anything via text that did not require a phone call to complete the action. And, as my dear friend Cal once explained to me, instant messages and texts always sound good (and complete!) in our heads because we KNOW what we want to say; we are just usually never able to completely convey that meaning.

Today was a perfect example. Here is the text chain virtually verbatim of a conversation I endured today over the course of about three and a half hours…

(Names have been changed or omitted to “protect the innocent”)

Contractor to meDo you know if  “Tile Place” was paid for the tile at K’s?

Me to ContractorYes, the tile at Tile Place is paid for in full. I can arrange to have it delivered or you can probably go pick it up if you need it right away. They are SLOW there so, if you pick it up, let me know so I can call them and have them get it ready.

ContractorI just went to Tile Place they said it wasn’t paid

MeThe tile is absolutely paid for – ugh. If I had known you were going I would have made sue it was “released” or whatever. I have 2 calls into Tile Place; I’ll keep you posted. Sorry you had that trouble/made that trip for nothing…

ContractorNo biggie

MeThe order is released now so I’d give them 10 minutes or so to pull it and then you can go pick it up, or they open at 8A if you wanna grab it tomorrow. Sorry again for the double trip.  😦

Contractor I already paid for it and picked it up they just need to Reimburse me if it was already paid for

ContractorSorry I should have been more clear

MeSorry I misunderstood. Let me know the amount you paid and how you paid (check or charge) and I’ll get you a reimbursement. It may take a few days after I get your info so hang in there – sorry again this is such an ordeal…

ContractorI paid with credit card last time I had to go back there for a reimbursement I can do that as long as they know its been paid for

MeUgh. This day has been ridiculous. Hang tight and let me find out what to do. Thanks!

So yeah – that entire conversation exchange happened via text (plus three phone calls placed BY me and two phone calls placed TO me). I’m not sure why the contractor a). didn’t let me know he was going to pick up the product and b). didn’t explain from the get go he had already paid for and picked up the goods. One phone call would have prevented all this agony.

It will all work out. It will be fine but the thing that always puzzles me is that you have to use one of these:monile-phones-recycled-for-cash-530x353

to even SEND a text. right? I mean, it’s not like we are still using one of these:

oldphone_thumb

Although, I have to say, life seemed a lot less complicated and more efficient when we did…

Men. Sex. Music. Sexy Man Music.

I love many things – my sweet Martin, Grumpy Cat memes, chocolate covered anything, movies that make me cry – lots of things. However, something I really love is music.

I love all kinds of music. Sure, I have a few favorite songs (Vogue, Last Dance, Turn the Beat Around, What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life – I know, so cliche, right?) but generally I like most any type of musical genre. So today, as I was thinking about music, a weird question popped into my head. I asked myself, “What songs, sung by men, celebrate our testosterone-based sexiness?” What songs have male artists recorded that celebrate male sexuality? I mean, female artists like Beyonce or Alicia Keyes step out on stage and ooze sexiness before they sing a note, and it seems like every one of their songs celebrate female sexuality. Who do we have in our corner?

I flipped through the files in my musical memory and honestly?  The short list I came up with was kinda’ disappointing… First up, LMFAO…

LMFAO

click image above to hear LMFAO’s “I’m Sexy and I Know it”

So LMFAO. First off, if you have to ask what LMFAO even means you probably shouldn’t be reading this post. Anyway, the two lead singers for LMFAO are OK-looking guys but are kinda’ “tools” in my opinion. The confidence they exude is admirable; they’d be fun to hang out with and do Jello shooters but are they sexy? Methinks not. And that song? I mean, haven’t we all heard it about one hundred million times? Every time it comes on the radio now I wanna’ ram an ice pick in my ears.

Then I remembered the Right Said Fred guys. I mean, these dudes are sexy, right?

Right Said Fred

click image above to hear Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy”

Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” video looks like a parody now but, when it came out, I think they were absolutely serious (about thinking they were too sexy). I mean, that awesome lip-syncing, that $247.00 production budget, those wife-beater tees and that borrowed sports car? No doubt – they were sexy (and they knew it, at least in their own minds, LOL!)

So I had to go back a bit further, trying to remember a song that celebrated men as sexual beings sung by a man or men. The Village People? Too obvious. Then I remembered Paul Lekakis…

Paul Lekakis

click image above to hear Paul Lekakis’ “Boom Boom Boom (Let’s Go back to my Room)”

One-hit dance wonder Paul Lekakis invited listeners back to his room for a little boom-boom-boom. I mean, watch the video – those sexy dance moves, those skin-tight white capri pants, those tousled bangs – could a man BE more sexy?

Sigh. I have to confess, the songs I could conjure up from memory made me a little sad – and embarrassed – at the male effort to promote our sexiness through song. We looked pathetic and silly, not powerful and hormonally-charged.

Then I remembered Rockin’ Rod Stewart…

Rod Stewart

click image above to hear Rod Stewart ask “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy”

It was 1978. The era of hair bands, animal print leggings (on men!) and pouty lips. Rod Stewart was KING in all these categories and turned the flirtations of a female around in this song and made men everywhere feel ridiculously sexy. I remember this song playing over and over in the clubs. It usually involved a silly dance called “The Rock” and always included fist pumping the air at the end. Rod Stewart made me feel sexy and empowered.  Rockin’ Rod made me believe people thought I was sexy. He was awesome…

Paul, Fred duo, LMFAO? You would do well to take a few notes from the man that started it all.

Understanding what designers do/can do…

I am a professional interior designer (or at least I like to think I am). According to The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics,

“Interior designers make interior spaces functional, safe, and beautiful for almost every type of building: offices, homes, airport terminals, shopping malls, and restaurants. They select and specify colors, finishes, fabrics, furniture, flooring and wall coverings, lighting, and other materials to create useful and stylish interiors for buildings.”

In other words, I create fabulousness…

Fabulous

I love what I do.  I mean, who wouldn’t? I get paid to look at beautiful things all day, spend other people’s money AND make money doing it. I know, right?

However, there are some things that even the most TALENTED interior designer cannot do. It makes clients sad but here are the realities of interior design –

The BEST, most talented designer cannot alter the laws of space or physics.  We are not magicians or dimensional wizards able to “bend space.” The fact is, no matter how much you want it, your 4′ x 6′ walk-in closet will NEVER hold a chaise. We will not be able to “…make this work” for you…

chaise

The same goes for your bathroom – no matter HOW much money or desire you have, this tub will never fit in your 1950’s ranch bathroom…

Tub

I’m sorry. I hate to disappoint you as a client but tubs like this have rooms built around them; they are never “added later.” Same goes for awesome lighting. Sure, an easy way to update a space is to add new lighting but, unless you have a circular dining room twenty feet in diameter – with fifteen foot ceilings! – you may not have this…

chandelier

Again, it’s not that I don’t WANT you to have what you want but the reality is that the chandelier you saw at The Aria in Las Vegas is probably gonna’ look pretty ridiculous in your dining room.

Also, in interior design (as with every other discipline), you “…get what you pay for.” What that means in my field breaks down to this: That fabric you saw in that shelter magazine, the one on that chair in the ambassador’s private residence in Vienna? Odds are it is not going to be $15/yard. Not gonna’ happen. NOT.EVEN.CLOSE. And, before you ask, the answer is no. I cannot find you anything that “…looks like it for $15/yard.”

It’s not that I don’t want to – it’s just that it doesn’t exist.

This is what I tell all my potential design clients when we interview – interior designers get up close and personal; we get in your private space. We ask who sleeps where, we look in your closets and drawers, we look at your clothes. We are not nosy – well, most of us aren’t – we just need to get to know YOU to deliver the best possible solution to your design needs. I often use the example that you would never go to a doctor and not tell them what was wrong. You need to be completely honest with them to achieve the best results.

Same with me – you need to be completely honest with me about your desires, any deal-breakers and – most importantly – your budget. In turn, I will be honest about what is possible and not possible. Deal?

As I said, I LOVE LOVE LOVE what I do. Nothing is more satisfying for me than seeing a client’s face break into a BIG smile when I deliver a completed project. So, let’s make each other a promise: we will both work together, accepting the laws of nature, to achieve the most awesome result possible for your project.  For me and you, I want nothing less than –

best 

On Being Always Right…

Some truths seem so obvious to me, so fundamental and basic. Here is one:

i-am-always-right-4

Of course, I am joking but I often catch myself acting as if this were some Universal Truth. I’m working on that.

For a huge part of my life, I totally lacked self-confidence.  I grew up the pale, freckled, slightly chubby red-headed kid – plus I was gay! – so I was never very self-assured. Many years later – through dozens of self-help books, dozens of months of  “Weight Watcher-ing” and a dozen-and-a-half years of therapy, I am pretty secure in myself, my sexuality and my appearance. Sometimes, however, that self-assurance morphs into some ugly, I-am-always-right attitude and I have to give myself an ego check.

It is good to believe in yourself and your ideas but when that conviction clouds your judgment, or closes your mind to the ideas or thoughts of others, that is a bad scenario. I struggle with the balance between conviction and bull-headedness often but I think I am winning that battle.

What am I saying? I KNOW I am winning that battle. I mean, like the graphic says, “I am ALWAYS right.”