Wednesday, December 24, 2008


For the past week I've been holed up in my hometown of Parker, Colorado dogsitting a couple of incredibly rambunctious golden retrievers for some lovely ultra-liberal associates of the McHanslaw clan.

It's been a nice change of pace, and the income has acted as a nice stopgap measure for my dwindling financial resources, but the amount of nostalgia inherent to this quasi-vocation is absolutely staggering. As I write this fine post, I am sitting no further than 150 yards from my 3rd grade classroom and a mere couple of miles down the road from my childhood home. As such, I thought it would be most appropriate for me to do a McHanslaw family history themed post while I'm out here, as with any luck I'll never be living out here ever again.

With that rationale firmly in place, I proudly present to you a comprehensive tutorial on how to turn an attractive, understated rustic home into an unapologetic perversion of American culture - An abomination, if you will - in 5 easy steps. Enjoy!


To complete this project, we're going to need a house. Not just any house will do though, make sure to pick one out that doesn't make your eyes bleed when you look at it, as the end result won't have the desired effect if it already looks horrible when you purchase it. For the purposes of this tutorial, we'll be using my childhood home, which looked something like this when we left it 6 years ago:


Admittedly, when the McHanslaw clan resided here the home was markedly less photoshopped and didn't have that monstrous black specter lurking on the northern edge of its property, but you get the general idea. Trees, bushes, dirt roads, bricks, everything's painted the same color... you could almost say it looks like a natural part of the landscape. This, my friends, must come to an end.


If you're working on a property that has an attached house and garage, go ahead and skip this step. If you've got a detached garage, or even if you've got a storage shed or any other free standing structure outside of the house itself, then read carefully.

The first thing you're going to want to do after moving into a house like this (and I do mean the FIRST thing... as in, you should probably get this done within 1 or 2 weeks of your move in date) is cover up the wood exterior (honestly, who uses wood on the outside of their house? Yuck!) on ONE of the buildings with high quality, easily washable, and infinitely attractive aluminum siding. Why only one of the structures instead of both? Because this way you can have a green garage and an off-white house, which will stand out far more than if both structures were the same color. After all, regardless of where your home is located you want your house to be as sore-thumb-like as possible, otherwise the mailman might never find it.


This also acts as an initial assault on the senses of your neighbors - one which will hopefully put them into a state of shock that will render them completely incapable of raising any objections against your actions in the coming months. Think of it as a blitzkrieg approach to battling any nearby HOA's that might have intentions of bothering you.


Build a large driveway that leads up a hillside (make the driveway paved if your driveway is dirt, make it dirt if your driveway is paved) to a large clearing, then wait. Don't put anything on or near that clearing for as long as you can hold out, just leave it as a road to nowhere.


Why do something like this, you ask? Because that's how the game is played, my friends. That's how the game is played. You want any neighbors with kitchen window views to your property to utter the phrase (with dread dripping from their voice) "what on earth are they doing over there?" no fewer than 80 to 120 times before you actually show them the new edition you're planning for your property. Before we get to that new edition though, let's take care of a brief sidebar.


Seeing as how at this point you're just waiting around for your neighbors to reach whatever "what on earth are they doing over there?" quota that you've set for them, now might be a good time to make the interior decorum of your home match its svelte new exterior. For certain, you're going to want to emphasize garish floral garlands, wood grain wallpaper, and Anne Geddes posters; and you might want to throw in an impractically large gun rack or two just to make sure you're getting your point across. Be creative here - we get far too few chances in life to truly flaunt our dizzying lack of aesthetic taste, do NOT waste this opportunity.

Please note that I cannot provide any sort of assurance that the pictured home's current residents actually decorated in this manner, but let's not kid ourselves here... we all know what's happening on the walls in that house. Alright, now let's get back to that "new edition" you're about to install...


Now we've reach what is probably the most critical step in the abomination-crafting process, the step where we voluntarily erect the single most obtrusive object known to man smack dab in the middle of the property. Not near any trees, not behind any hills, not particularly close to any of the other structures on the lot, just right out in the middle of nowhere, all by its lonesome. Hell, I'm even going to retire the floating red arrow for this picture, as I have a slight hunch that you'll be able to figure out what I'm referencing on your own:


A couple things we need to point out here: First, perhaps most importantly, the barn-like leviathan structure (henceforth to be known as the BLLS) is yellow, so we've officially achieved the highly sought after and extremely rare tri-color residence. Also, notice that the BLLS is structurally ambiguous. What is it? Is it a garage? It's kind of big for a garage... do they keep semi trailers in there? Wait... maybe it's a barn. But if it's a barn, why does it have a garage door? No, it's got to be a guest house - look at that awning, it's definitely a guest house. But once again, why the garage door?

These are the conversations your neighbors will be having over the next few years as they watch their property values fall directly through the floor. Let no one ever tell you that you lack the power to change lives.


Four words: Twenty. Foot. Flag. Pole.


Fifth word: Sweet.

And with that my friends, I have taught you all their is to know about ruining attractive houses and sullying the childhood memories of well intentioned bloggers the world over. And though it might be a cliche' in these modern times to say so, no, I am not at all bitter about this.


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