As Wendy so eloquently put it during yesterday's post, she's "totally freaking out!" Honestly, I don't blame her all that much, and at least she's being totally honest and owning up to her feelings. It's much better than if she were flipping out and telling everyone "Oh, I'm fine, I'm fine." The fact of the matter is that our house is being shown on a designer tour of homes in just two weeks, and we have a lot to accomplish on regular projects before we're even ready to start decorating for the tour. But I'm confident we can get it all done, or at least everything that we consider high priority.

Before you read any further, please realize that I'm being the typical moron male in this situation, and I'm well aware of my shortcomings and significant personality flaws that come along with simply having a Y chromosome. That being said, I'm not freaking out, I'm feeling good, and I feel like we just need to take on one project at a time. (Wendy is rolling her eyes at me.)

As it currently stands, we have essentially eight days to complete our sun porch renovation and miscellaneous to do list of the problem areas in the house that we've been ignoring for years. Eight days from now our house will transform into a Christmas pumpkin and we need to then turn our attention and focus from working on completing our projects to decorating our house for Christmas. Throw in a full week of work, and celebrating Thanksgiving, and we really don't even have the full eight days.

In hopes of checking off several items from our sun porch to do list, last night Wendy and I mustered the energy after a long day at work to set out on an accessory hunt. We were determined to find a new lamp for the Asian table as well as some frames for art on the wall.

Our first stop for the night, a whole 40 minutes prior to their closing time was HomeGoods!

That's Wendy sprinting ahead of me. She knew there was no time to waste.

We were initially distracted by the Christmas end cap, featuring great bargains on Spode Christmas dish ware and ornaments. We had to fight the urge and stick to our game plan. Focus!

We stopped in the lamp section and began looking over their selection.

Wendy found a possible contendor and we gave it a once over to see if it was a viable option.

Though we were initially drawn to it, sadly, the odds were not ever in this lamp's favor, as there was a spot on the shade and a chip/imperfection or two in its base. As we were debating the style of the lamp Wendy said, "You know, I like this lamp and think it's cool right now, but it's a little trendy, and I think it might go out of style rather quickly. I'm going to pass."

Is it just me, or does that sound like the words of a rational thinking person? Perhaps HomeGoods is enough of a happy place for Wendy that this trip actually started to calm her nerves, much like music soothing the savage beast?

We continued our trip without a lamp, but we soon found some great mercury glass items that we couldn't pass up.

One of us...ahem, me...absolutely loved this large mercury glass owl, and though I placed it in our cart, it mysteriously vanished before we got to checkout. I'm not quite sure what happened. Perhaps we'll have to review the store's security tapes to see who the perpetrator was. But I had no time to investigate the theft, we had more stores to hit.

After our quick trip through HomeGoods, we dashed over to Michaels with just about 10 minutes to spare before store closing.

They obviously wouldn't have any viable lamp candidates, but we needed some supplies for the tour, like small frames, adhesive hooks, and this plaid ribbon.

As we closed down the Michaels ('cause we're hardcore like that), we headed off to our next and final destination for the evening, Target. As you can see from the lack of checkout lines, we were in a rather small and elite group of Target shoppers. I guess that's what you get when you're accessory shopping around 9:30 pm on a Thursday evening.

Let me tell you one thing for sure, if the college Alex and Wendy had any idea what would be in store a short 13 years later, they'd shake their heads in disgust. I'm talking about the two young kids who would be using their Thursday night as a springboard for the weekend, starting the evening by heading out to the bars at roughly the same time we were pushing a cart through the home accessories aisles of Target and absolutely running on fumes, wanting nothing more than to be getting ready for bed. Like a good 1980's parent, I don't think they'd be particularly "mad" at us, they'd just be "disappointed."

Once again, the end caps taunted us, this time with all of their Nate Berkus-y flair...

...But we stuck to our plan and headed to the lamp aisle.

Wendy immediately picked out a good looking and handsome light that might work perfectly for our Asian table. The look was modern, but not too modern, just right for our new kitchen and sun porch area. Though the selection of the lamp came easily, the shade was another question.

Wendy began eyeing the various shades for the room like an LPGA pro trying to get a read from a tricky 18th green with the tour title on the line. She was in search of the perfect complementary yet low cost shade option, and you could read it all over her face.

She selected two gray shades, and we setup a rudimentary yet effective side by side test to determine the weaker of the flock and weed them out. There's no room for stragglers when it comes to DIY home design, yet it was quite obvious who wasn't going to be making it to the show.

The smaller shade on the right, like the one kid everyone had in their first grade class, had "I'm a failure" written all over it, so we mercifully placed it back on the shelf and proceeded with our selected winner. But can we really call it a winner when there was really no competition to begin with?

Our next stop on our late evening tour of the Tar-Jay was the frames aisle. Once again, we avoided the siren song of Nate Berkus's high gloss, contrasting colors, rich patterns, and seemingly random collections of accoutrements (what's up with the faux tortoise shell wall art??) and focused on our end game. We had struck out on frames at Michaels and needed to find a few to hang on either side of the white hutch. Lucky for us, Wendy found a couple contenders almost immediately. Her eye was sharp yesterday evening, I could see it, she was clearly in the zone.

Feeling as if our trip was a success, we were dealt one minor setback when we realized that two of the five frames available in the size and style we wanted were significantly damaged. We needed four frames, yet only three were in the store and undamaged. I now know how the crew of Apollo 13 must have felt when they realized they would still need to travel around the far side of the moon, but would be unable to land.

We purchased two of the frames, thinking we might instead hang one frame on either side of the hutch, or if needed, we'll go back out and pick up two additional frames from another local Target.

Upon our arrival home, we had just enough energy to give the frames a test hang in an attempt determine if we'd need to go searching for two additional frames. I gave it a go: frame! Ah ah ah.

Two...two frames! Ah ah ah.

Hands down, we're voting for the two frames option. What are your thoughts on this decision? One frame or two?

With tired bones, exhausted minds, and spent bodies, we turned in for the evening at roughly 11:30 pm. Somewhere, in some college town, another younger Alex and Wendy's nights were just getting started. Little do they know where they'll be in about a dozen years -- trolling the aisles of home design stores in the hopes of scoring that elusive accessory or two. Best of luck to you...young Alex and Wendy, best of luck indeed.

Comments 21


Jesika Davis
11/16/2012 at 10:50 AM
Two. And night shopping, though rushed, is my FAVORITE thing. I think I was in that very same Target on Monday night at 8 getting shoes for my daughter!
Two it is! You'll have to watch for us, we seem to always be at that Target. Late night Target people are the coolest!
11/16/2012 at 12:22 PM
2 on each side for sure. You're making progress! You'll get there, I have all the faith.
Thanks, Kate. Two seems like it's the consensus. We're encourage thus far. This weekend will really let us know how we'll be sitting.
11/16/2012 at 12:33 PM
My college self was also quite dissapointed when I spent last Saturday evening in Menards. I had a nice beverage when I got home later, but still it wasn't quite the same :(
I always think of the movie Old School and Frank the Tank when I tell people I'm going to Home Depot or Lowes on a weekend. "Might go to Bed, Bath & Beyond if we have time. Nice little Saturday."

Now when I take a sip of some of the horrible beer we drank in college (Natty Light) I'm instantly transported back to the the good ole days.
Sarah Kate
11/16/2012 at 12:42 PM
Go for two, the savage Wendybeast is never wrong.
All that know her, know this to be true.
11/16/2012 at 12:53 PM
2, definitely 2. But do you need 2 on each side, or can you just scoot the hutch over father? That, or the opposite side could be asymmetrical with perhaps just one taller frame? Just tossing out ideas. ;)
I think we'll try to find two matching, but if that fails, everything you suggested are completely viable alternatives.
11/16/2012 at 2:28 PM
1. I'm totally behind schedule on creepily stalking you guys because I had no idea this tour was on your plates!

2. I vote for the 2-frame option

3. This post was hilarious, and can you please train Ryan, my husband, to go to Home Goods et al with me to search for perfect accessories, lamps, and frames?

4. I'm glad you guys found a "light" at the end of the tunnel on this "shady" late-night shopping excursion. :)
1. No worries, though I can say we've missed your stalking too. :-)

2. Sounds good!

3. Thanks, and I can't promise anything on the Ryan training. I feel like putting up with shopping is just one of those things guys either have or don't. I actually rather enjoy it! (I'm weird.)

4. SO ARE WE! What a huge relief!
11/16/2012 at 2:47 PM
Very funny post Alex!

Definitely 2! Take the eye up with art!

Don't forget to remove the bag of chips on top of the refrigerator before the home tour! Haha.
Thanks! I think I hit my comedy stride with this one. I'll return to overly technical and boring posts next week. :-)

We'll be adding "Remove chips" to our final checklist. That's totally the sort of thing we'd overlook for the next two weeks and then realize it was up there the whole time when we'd look back on photos.
Karin K
11/16/2012 at 4:41 PM
You hit two of my very favorite stores! Michael's always ends up being a letdown, except for the time I discovered the reject bin back by the desk where you place custom orders. I had a weird sized piece of art and had all but given up hope of finding an over-the-counter frame that I could use, when I spied that bin. After a quick perusal, I found a really nice custom frame that was the exact size I needed for EIGHT bucks! And I got the glass cut at a local glass shop for an additional THREE bucks. I actually tried (and failed) to cut my own glass on the painfully bad advice of a Michael's employee. That was a waste of $12. Anyway - just a tip for another day - I vote 4 frames, definitely!
I glimpsed those castoff frames as we were leaving the store. Some of them looked really nice. I was thinking we could even pick out one we like that we could then cut to size and re-make into a frame. Might have to give it a shot.
11/16/2012 at 6:28 PM
Two frames - ah, ah, ah.

And I have that lamp. :-)
Don't you also have the "Cat Party" bowls we have? Seems we may have some similar tastes.
Kathy S
11/18/2012 at 6:16 PM
Two frames for sure! And your house will be fabulous!
Old School Dave
11/18/2012 at 6:59 PM
Two frames or one?? OK, just to be a rebel I will vote for One frame!! Too bad the owl was stolen!!! Do you think the prime suspect has the initial W????
11/23/2012 at 10:28 AM
A Home Goods AND multiple Targets nearby? That sounds so luxurious, I'm jealous ;-) Although my small town is getting a Home Goods soon and I'm sooooooo excited!
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