Little House Update

I found this neat little table for 20 bucks, and I had the mirror already, so I put it in the upstairs hallway in between my bedroom and the spare bedroom:

About two years ago, I found this massive file that was a scale representation of the universe, and I had a friend blow it up put it on canvas and frame it, but I never had a place to put it until now. I think it looks great in my office.

Finally, ABC’s kids are coming down for a visit the first week of April, so we set the blue third floor bedroom up for them (and that is a royal we- all I really did was pick up the twin beds off craigs list and be my usual patient saint-like self as she shopped for the bedding and stuff).

The boys already play hockey and are lax curious, so I had a buddy of mine custom string some sticks in their favorite colors. Gonna do some craigslisting for cheap bikes because Bethany is great for kids to ride around. She made the lamps. She’s very crafty and can do all sorts of cool things like that. I’m kinda lucky.

69 replies
  1. 1

    Nice lamps! How did she make them? BTW how is the dildo center piece coming along.

  2. 2
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Sounds like this is moving quickly. Good for you, JC.

  3. 3

    You gave them sticks? This seems fraught with peril.

  4. 4
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    What are the blue things under the universe?

  5. 5
    oldster says:

    Dude, I am so happy to hear you sounding happily coupled-up.

    You deserve it. You’re a great guy, and you have enough love for a house full of pets *plus* a human being, too.

    Having been married over 35 years, I can tell you that my wife has been the greatest source of joy in my life. I wish everyone in the world could experience something similar in their lives.

  6. 6
    Jacel says:

    Some real classic comics being guarded by the tiger

  7. 7
    zhena gogolia says:

    Very nice!

  8. 8

    @Omnes Omnibus: They look like computer monitors. The office green color is like the flag of Pakistan, green.

  9. 9
    Gozer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Looks like monitors

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    Very civilized, Cole.

  11. 11
    trollhattan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Pair of monitors, I think. Cool pic!

  12. 12

    BTW who gets the pink room? Is that for Balloon Juice guests?

  13. 13
    Gravenstone says:

    You’re turning into quite the homebody. Watchmen graphic novel? Hopefully at least one of the boys is a teen? Because that’s a little much for the younger crowd.

    eta: after blowing up the pic … yeah, better make that late teens.

  14. 14
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @schrodingers_cat: @Gozer: @trollhattan: Yep. Thanks.

  15. 15
    kindness says:

    Her kids are lucky she found you John. I love the wood in your house. Really like seeing fine grain in the wood and you have it in spades.

  16. 16
    PaulW says:

    I’m so envious I wanna move north and get a house that has three floors with enough bedrooms to color each in a different primary color.

  17. 17
    lollipopguild says:

    Your saint-like patient self showed up when? He came in from an alternate universe?

  18. 18
    Keith P. says:

    I’m really starting to get into these home improvement threads. For some reason, I got enough energy this year to start working on my own house after letting it fall into disrepair (too many half-finished projects leaving multiple rooms without power, new sheetrock needed in various places). I’m re-attacking my plumbing this weekend (just trying 3 lines for now), and I’ve got a couple of pieces of furniture I’ve designed and am ready to build (dining room table! puzzle curio!). And I’m filling that time by fixing all the power issues (90% done) and painting doors.
    I’ve actually got a little notebook on my desk just for this purpose, since I can’t hold focus long enough otherwise. Got the master list, divided into short, mid, long term projects + costs + tools needed. Amazing how productive I feel when I organize my tasks.

  19. 19
    p.a. says:

    If they play hockey get them longsticks when they can handle them. Hockey skills make mad LSMs.

  20. 20
    trollhattan says:

    Checked out the opponent for my kid’s HS at Friday’s state girls D1 basketball championship. They’re a private LA academy where annual tuition and fees are $40k. Holy fvckballs, $160k to send your kid through high school?

  21. 21
    p.a. says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: If they play in the house ABC’s lampmaking skills won’t get rusty.

  22. 22
    trollhattan says:

    Ironically it’s called the Green Balloons Bedroom.

  23. 23
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I was hoping you’d ask about that, so I wouldn’t need to. It’s a lovely shade.

  24. 24
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @trollhattan: There’s plenty of elementary schools in NY that cost that much.

  25. 25
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @trollhattan: Let’s just say that “green balloons” is a better safer word than “harder.”

  26. 26
    rikyrah says:

    Everything looks great, Cole.

  27. 27
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Safe, not safer. Grrr.

  28. 28
    NoraLenderbee says:

    I like how the universe has a window in it.
    A reflection of a window. it’s like a giant allegory, man.

  29. 29
    aimai says:

    Love what you are both doing with the house. Its just turning into the coziest, loveliest, homiest place imaginable. You (and ABC) deserve all the happiness you are having.

  30. 30
    Schlemazel says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:
    Nah, if they already play hockey they have experience settling scores with sticks =8-O

    I seem to recall JC was a Lacrosse player so this will be a great chance for you to teach them something & get to know each other.

  31. 31
    trollhattan says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    In my burg the most expensive private schools are in the mid-teens. My kid’s school, by contrast has more than 50% student body below the poverty line. When worlds collide.

  32. 32
    Fair Economist says:

    The house looks great, and the relationship sounds great too.

  33. 33
    Mnemosyne says:


    BTW how is the dildo center piece coming along.

    Now that we know that ABC is a queen of DIY, I bet she could have made something really cool. 😄

  34. 34
    Mnemosyne says:

    John, as someone who grew up with a stepparent, let me just give some advice: play it cool, and just hang out. Don’t try too hard to be their best friend and give them time to get to know you. My now-stepmom took me to the movies (Grease!) and did other low-stress fun stuff with me so we could get to know each other. In retrospect, it was like a weird form of dating to make sure we all got along, but it pretty much worked.

  35. 35
    Yarrow says:

    Very nice room. Hope everything goes well with the visit. Bethany and surrounding area looks like a fantastic area for kids.

  36. 36
    Davebo says:

    Damn John.

    Look, I understand trying hard. I’ve done it since I became single with one lady who had kids and it was tough but I did it. That eventually didn’t work out and I found someone like me without kids but let me say, you are trying way, way hard here.

    That’s not a bad thing. Actually it’s a beautiful thing. But they’re kids and these days that seems to reach to the age of 26 or so. All that said, here’s my advice.

    1. Never, EVER give advice to a single Mom on raising her kids. This sadly continues on even if you marry and they become your de-facto kids. Get used to it. They’re her kids.

    2. If you’re lucky, and picked the right girl, the kids will be a joy always to be with. Truth is they won’t always, but it doesn’t mean she’s not a fabulous Mother or that you aren’t incredibly lucky to have found her. It just means she’s a fabulous girl (if she brings you joy and happiness) and happens to have kids which I assume you, like me at the time, had no experience dealing with. For guys who’ve never experienced it like us it’s sometimes hard to fathom but it’s part of the deal. It really can be incredible, like nothing you’ve ever experienced, but it can be shall we say, less than that at times.

    The thing is, and I’m not that much older than you, it’s an opportunity to do something that deep in your mind you’ve thought about for a long time. And you never had to change a single diaper or go through pregnancy!

    Still, don’t try too hard. Kids pick that shit up in a second.

  37. 37
    Aleta says:

    Good surprise present, custom sticks. And then there’s Thurston. And the older animals for loving when they sit down. And the bikes for independence. Should be a blast.

  38. 38
    danielx says:

    Although we still need an occasional #Ihateyouall post. just to let us know it’s really you.

  39. 39
    joel hanes says:

    You’re more than lucky.

    But those top-heavy coke-bottle lamps, in a room with two boys AND lacrosse sticks ?
    Can’t really tell from the photo, but if they don’t have two or three of the heaviest
    steel washers available in that diameter glued on as a base,
    we’re talking a half-life measured in days, not weeks.

  40. 40
    Jess says:

    You know you’re going to trip over those protruding feet of that cute little table and knock the marble top off onto your toe–right?

  41. 41
    Mnemosyne says:

    @joel hanes:

    John has a yard. When in doubt, send the little bastards outside to whack at each other in peace.

    Speaking of which, anyone who thinks that girls are sweet and calm and never start hitting each other should have spent the week with me and my nieces. Because I’m a mere aunt, my rule was, “No bruises that we have to explain to your mother when you get home.”

  42. 42
    Yarrow says:

    @joel hanes: They’re her kids and she made the lamps and put them in the room. She must have some idea of how they act around things like lamps.

  43. 43
    Mnemosyne says:


    Or she made them out of cheap materials like Coke bottles knowing they would get broken anyway, so there was no point in putting something more expensive in there.

  44. 44
    Sandia Blanca says:

    I love the kids’ room, and I’ll bet they will too. Much thought and care that they may not notice, but the overall effect will be one of welcome. I’m very happy for John and ABC, the kids, and the pets.

  45. 45
    Another Scott says:

    @Davebo: A few lessons like “You call THIS a made-up bed? THIS is how we make a bed!! Now do it AGAIN! And AGAIN! Now give me 20!!” and they’ll be fast friends.


    Seriously, John has done pretty well with his fraternity “kids”. And he’s got that teacher stuff down pretty well. And he’s old and mellow enough to know not to push. I think he’ll do fine.

    He better!!



  46. 46
    Suzanne says:

    This makes me so happy. I love homemaking. It’s such a great way to show caring for someone, I’m very happy for you and ABC and the little monsters. You’re doing a great job.

    @Mnemosyne: My Spawns wrestle and fart loudly and shoot Nerf guns at each other.

  47. 47
    Keith P. says:


    BTW how is the dildo center piece coming along.

    It probably looks like an Iron Throne made out of dildos by now.

  48. 48
    Tazj says:

    That’s a really cute room. I love the lamps. I’m with Keith P., I enjoy the home improvement threads.

  49. 49
    burnspbesq says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    You gave them sticks? This seems fraught with peril.

    Note that there is no mention of giving them balls.

    Buying sticks is a lot more complicated than when Brine and STX were a duopoly. Top end sticks have gotten expensive, too; I paid close to $200 for a Brine Cyber in the summer of 2015.

  50. 50
    Mnemosyne says:


    I’m a little bitter about kids right now because the younger niecemonster gave me her nasty cold and I’ve been coughing up a lung since I got back from Florida. Not fun, especially since I’m leaving for a writer’s conference tomorrow.

    I hope both spawns are doing well and not leaving any bruises. ;-)

  51. 51
    MomSense says:

    Happy for you, Cole.

  52. 52
    jl says:

    Nice pics. Pretty place. Cole is living in a neat, fashionable, attractive ‘twee’ house. Who wudda thunk?
    Would the TunchForce approve, not approve or would it be beneath his notice?

  53. 53
    zhena gogolia says:


    Tunch would cuddle up to ABC and start purring.

  54. 54
    Suzanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: Spawn the Elder has been in a really good mood for the last few days. She went to a friend’s house after school to do homework today. I’m taking her to the Pride parade next weekend, because she wants to go. She confided in me about some friend-related concerns. She doesn’t act like she hates me—quite the opposite. It just makes me crazy to think that she’s going to my ex-husband and saying that she hates me and that I’m a terrifying ogre. I am, AT MOST, overbearing on occasion.

  55. 55
    Ol' Nat says:

    It looks awesome! I’m totally jealous of the universe pic.

    Don’t trip over the feet on that little table!!

  56. 56
    Another Scott says:

    @Suzanne: Good, good.

    Don’t doubt yourself when it comes to your flesh and blood. :-)


  57. 57
    MomSense says:


    You’ve got this, Suzanne.

  58. 58
    Lyrebird says:


    It just makes me crazy to think… don’t. I’m not saying it’s easy, but please please please do whatever you need to do (therapy, mountain climbing, i dunno) to keep your head as free as possible from the crazy-making spin you’re hearing from someone who iiuc has demonstrated non-trustworthiness.

    I was over 30 before I learned how to get around some of the anxiety symptoms I had relating to my own parents, who shared custody of me very fairly, who both care a lot, and whom I love and appreciate.

  59. 59
    satby says:

    Happy for you John!

  60. 60
    Mnemosyne says:


    I’ll put it this way: what are you going to believe, the word of your ex or your lying eyes?

    Unless your kid is a Meryl Streep-level actress, she is not acting like she thinks the way your ex is claiming she thinks. So ignore him and just concentrate on chilling with your kid.

  61. 61
    EBT says:

    That is a pretty nice table.

  62. 62
    Suzanne says:

    @Mnemosyne: Well, no my ex is taking a seed of a truth and exaggerating. Like, just now, I checked the district grades website, and Spawn has good grades right now, but she didn’t turn in an assignment today. So I went into her room to check on it with her, and she said, “Am I in trouble? You’re scaring me.” And I was like, “No, you’re not in trouble at all, I’m just reminding you to take care of it.” Then I asked what I did that was scary, and she said, “When you do That Voice. Or maybe I’m just really anxious.” So I wouldn’t be surprised if she she tells her dad that I freak her out. But like…..what? I’m her mom and it’s part of my job to remind her about her goddamn homework. In some ways, she is such a bundle of nerves.

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:


    It may be because of my ADHD, but I am abnormally sensitive to the tone of someone’s voice. Apparently, most people react to body language first, but I react to tone of voice. Once I figured this out, my boss agreed to try and keep her tone of voice even when she was asking me questions or wanted me to do something and, after a few weeks, I had adjusted enough that she didn’t have to do it anymore because I had desensitized myself and was less likely to overreact to her tone. But we never could have gotten to that point if I had not let her know it was a problem for me AND she had not been willing to adjust to help me out.

    It might be worth discussing something like that with your Spawn. Like, Thanks for letting me know a particular tone of voice I was using was triggering your anxiety — I definitely didn’t mean to do that. If I try to moderate that tone for the next few weeks, would you be willing to promise to stop and listen to me when I come into your room?

    Tone of voice is something that’s really easy to fix once you know it’s a problem, and it’s something you can solve if you work on it together.

  64. 64
    Mnemosyne says:


    And, seriously, that you have a 13-year-old who’s willing to tell you when you’re doing something that bothers her and (implicitly) ask you to work with her to communicate better? That therapy did her a lot of good. That’s better communication than I usually have with my mother, and I’m 47.

  65. 65
    Just one more canuck says:

    @Mnemosyne: yup – no blood, no problem

  66. 66
    NotMax says:

    that was a scale representation of the universe

    My God, it’s full of stars!
    – Dave Bowman

  67. 67
    Denali says:


    Your daughter is telling you what is making her stress out – that is such is good thing. Memosyne’s advice is great. Listen to her and to your daughter. Do what you need to do to change your tone of voice to make it less scary. Your daughter knows you love her. Tell her so often.

  68. 68
    Barbara says:

    @Davebo: Let me just say that even when you are their parents, sometimes your kids behave in ways that make them seem like obnoxious strangers to you. I think that’s what non-parents giving advice to their parent SOs miss. There is nothing going “wrong” here. It’s just parenthood. This is what it’s like even when you are a great parent doing nearly everything right.

  69. 69
    LeonS says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: Especially if they read Watchmen!

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