Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House

Thursday, January 8, 2009
After I posted yesterdays entry my mother informed me, with just a hint of disappointment in her voice, that I had failed to mention her all-time favorite 80's hit Lady In Red. Just to give you an idea of how far from cool we were then, just picture a powder blue mini van, driving 5 miles below the speed limit, with Lady In Red blasting on the radio. Whenever we pulled up to stop lights I would try to sink as far down into my seat as I could so I wouldn't have to risk accidentally making eye contact with the people in the car next to us. Then I would whine, "Moooooom, this is so embarrassing. I think they can hear your music," and she would say, "Oh, who cares if they can, those windows are tinted back there. Besides, those people over there aren't even attractive." So, now I've done my part for mom by throwing that little childhood anecdote out there and we can move on to today's business.

I think today I finally started to relax a little bit about this whole project, and stop rushing through every book. I spent the whole first week keeping such close tabs on how many pages I had left to read before I would be finished that I didn't feel like I was fully immersed in the book. Today I've begun to let go of that. The book will get read, the entry will get written, and I don't have to stress about it in order for it to get done. I want to enjoy this year, and that means enjoying each day and book as it comes, and not worrying about rushing to finish or thinking ahead to tomorrow's book. That may not seem like a big deal to some, but that's huge for me. I've never been a live-in-the-moment kind of person. I've always rushed through one thing so I could get to the next - and I've always been more focused on tomorrow or next week or month than I am on today. I stopped rushing today, and I enjoyed this book more than the previous books.

The title of this book gives a pretty clear idea of what it's about, but I'll go ahead and throw in the description from the back anyway. Here goes: "This is the story of Mr. and Mrs. Blandings, parents of two skeptical daughters, who answer a crisp real-estate advertisement, and fall sentimentally and uncritically in love with the ruin of a mountain farmhouse." The back cover also describes the book as "agonizingly funny," a claim I just can't agree with. I think the book is funny, but it's more of a gentle humor, the kind that will slowly wash over you. I love books with gentle humor, because I can be amused by reading them and still read them in public without looking like a idiot for laughing too hard. I'd really like to avoid a repeat of the laugh-until-I-cried-and-starting-coughing incident from when I read a David Sedaris book on a plane once. This book can be safely taken in public, and you will not humiliate yourself, or disturb those sitting near you, in the process of reading it.

It's a snowy, cold day here in Indiana - the kind of day that makes me want to watch an old movie. Since I didn't have time for that today I decided to settle for the closest thing, reading the book that one of my favorite old movies is based on. This has become my latest book buying venture - searching out the books my favorite movies were based on. Most of those books are out of print, so it's been quite a challenge. I've already read Father of the Bride, and Please Don't Eat the Daisies - and today I've decided to spend a little time with Mr. and Mrs. Blandings. Such a delightful couple, and they never overstay their welcome And by that I mean I didn't have to hear about their most traumatic childhood moments, or the people they dated when they were 17 - I got just enough back story to give a crap and not too much that I felt like yelling out, "Enough already."

Fun Fact: The average house price the year this book was published (1946) was $5,600.00. I looked this figure up a few minutes ago because I wanted to see how that compared to the price Mr. and Mrs. Blandings paid for their house ($11,500.00) in the beginning of the book. The author kept tossing that figure around in such a way that I felt like I was supposed to be impressed by how much the Blandings had spent. But I didn't really have a frame of reference for it, hence the research (a blogger's job is never done). I'm not going to tell you how much the final cost of the house was by the end. I want to leave you in suspense, just in case you decide to read the book at some point.

And now dear readers, I'm off to go look up more books that my favorite movies were based on. I should act like a responsible grown-up and get back to work - but, I've read an entire book today, so I've earned the right to goof off for a few minutes. Oh, I love having a crutch, I mean blog.

P.S. - I've heard from several people that they are either having problems commenting or they are making comments that aren't getting posted. I have published every comment that I've received - but for some reason I'm not receiving some of the comments. If you're having a problem with comments going through or getting posted after you have made them, send me an e-mail at and I'll try to help you get the problem sorted out.