Everyone thinks I'm not handy, just 'cause I tend to break stuff

Over the past couple weekends, I've been working on redoing my apartment. This is a big step for me. I'm not the sort of guy who straps on his toolbelt and regrafts a table, or whatever the hell it is handy people do. Me, I do things the old-fashioned way. I buy cheap furniture from Target and ditch it when it falls apart, like the pioneers did.

But no longer. I have become a man's man, and I will regraft any tables I please. And to prove it, I'll let you know that it's not called a "toolbelt." It's called a "bag." Don't forget it.

And to prove it further, here's some pictures from the adventure.

This is what my apartment looked like at the outset:

Not an auspicious beginning. My desk is there in the back, and it's seen some good innings. I've had that desk since I was three, and I think it might have been a hand-me-down at the time. It's been through quite a bit - I tended to carve drawings onto its surface as a child - but I'm fond of it and want to hang onto it. Here's a couple closeups:

And here's a closeup on one of the drawers. I'd always thought they were black on purpose. Imagine my surprise when it turned out that it was just corrosion.

You can tell from the picture that I did all my sanding, staining, and painting on the Houston Defender, the excellent - and free - local black newspaper, of which I helped myself to a few dozen copies. In my defense, I did actually end up reading it, and I enjoyed it very much, especially the interview with charming character actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, of whom I am a longtime fan.

I sanded it down and added three coats of stain, sanding in between coats. I wanted to make it look attractive and well-maintained while keeping a lot of the character that made me like it so much (not that I needed to worry - nothing on this planet was gonna make that desk look new again). Here's the finished desk:

I also got handed down an old table and chairs from a friend that was vastly superior to my current setup, thought that certainly isn't saying anything (it's bad to have a glass dining room table you're afraid to put anything onto for fear it might collapse and shatter/kill you). I sanded them down and painted them a matte black, and added new seat cushions:

One of the major problems of my apartment was book space, so Claire and I went to Ikea on one of those biannual sales they're so known for, and bought a giant new bookcase. Then I sanded down my other two bookcases and painted them the same matte black as the table and installed them in the living room. Of course, that took some rearranging, so I ended up switching my whole living room back-to-front:

Which brings us to the fact that Best Buy's prices on the LG models finally dropped, so I also bought a brand-new HD TV, seen here. It's only 32", but I'm sitting four feet from the thing, so I can't imagine I'll need anything bigger.

I put the new Ikea bookcase in the bedroom and took down all my Star Wars posters (I couldn't bear to throw them out, so I moved them to the laundry room) and installed a set of paintings I bought from New York artist Steve Keene, whose gimmick is that he simply produces paintings in mass quantities. I spent $27, counting shipping, and received 18 paintings - ranging from an impressionist take of the famous Abe Lincoln photos to an Smiths album cover - of which I put up 12.

I guess that about covers it. I mean, I changed out a few other things here and there - I rebuilt my coatrack - but that's all the big stuff. And let me just say, I've gained a new respect for those people who are actually good at this stuff. I spent the week following this sick at work, as my body simply decided it had been through enough and wanted to spend every free moment lying down.

Of course, it turns out that when you don't have any sandpaper, brushes, paint, stain, and other relevant artifacts, fixing up an apartment can be just as expensive as just buying all new stuff, and while I think the thrill of accomplishment is worth the cash, it looks like I'll be eating in for a while.

At least I've got a table to eat it on.