Forgive me

In sickness and in health, through the irrational demands of a wife who regularly struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder: the Armstrong marriage survived another home improvement project.

Maybe because he’s been taking Prozac, or maybe it’s because of all that HOT HOT SEX, but when I told Jon what I wanted the wall to look like, he said something like, why aim for perfection when approximation is so much easier? Which is the most romantic thing that has ever come out of his mouth, so I pushed him down on the floor and ripped off all his clothes.

We could have bought all sorts of different tools and spent hours making templates to make sure that everything lined up perfectly, but instead he held up one mirror while I stood back ten feet. And then he moved it up and down per my estimation. From there we eyed everything else armed only with a laser level, a pencil, and one sturdy hammer. And so what if one or two frames are a few centimeters out of alignment? WAIT, DID I ACTUALLY JUST WRITE THAT? Is this what therapy does to you? Turns you into a person who can walk by a crooked frame without reaching out to correct it? Why not just save a little money and smoke pot every morning?

We were originally going to print out six photos, but I realized that I had a whole bunch of illustration prints tucked away just waiting to be placed in permanent homes, so we hung the prints instead. Potential problem: we had already hammered nails into the wall to hang the frames horizontally, and three of the prints that I wanted to hang were intended to hang vertically. Solution: pretend not to notice. So three of the prints on the wall are hanging THE WRONG WAY. And I’m not kidding, just now when I wrote that my left nostril flared to the size of a grapefruit.

Is it just me, or is this post starting to feel like a painful, awkward confessional? Internet, I once cheated on a high school science test. In college I let a boy touch my boobs. Two years ago I stole salt and pepper shakers off a table at a fancy restaurant. And I have only repented for two of those things. The third thing was so much fun that it didn’t feel right to say I was sorry.

  • Molly

    completion of home projects always warrants drinks, regardless of approximation or perfection.

    in that vein (not that I’m aiming for mediocrity, mind you), my favorite axiom is:

    “better is the enemy of good enough”

  • michelle @ TNS

    this post is making me hyperventilate a little.

    once, in college, i stole a cocktail shaker from a fancy martini bar. walked out with it right in the pocket of some baggy cargo pants (don’t ask why i was wearing baggy cargo pants to a fancy martini bar), it sill had ice in it and everything. and i was not sorry, and continue to be not sorry.


  • …loveMaegan

    I’m not sure that pot would be any cheaper – but it’s definitely more fun.

  • Sara Bear

    I love this post as well as every other one. Thanks, Heather. :)

  • Tasty

    That approximation statement really, truly, is the sexiest thing ever.

  • piglet

    i have the ocd problem myself.

    except, when i go to my sister’s house (who is 200% more ocd than i) and mess up her pictures and turn things upside down.

    it brings me more joy than i ever thought possible.

  • Reen

    what does it say about me that the prints you have in the daily style photo, you know, the ones that you say should be hung horizontally, look to me as though they are perfectly right vertically??

  • Hippo Brigade

    I have one of those IKEA mirrors, and you’ve just inspired me to buy 3 more and hang them– without the aid of a measuring tape. Thank you and whoo hoo.

  • Tootsie Farklepants

    You should totally frame the salt and pepper shakers in one of those keepsake box frames, and hang it. Right next to the cup and saucer used for your first cup of coffee. It could be your confession of crime wall. Every used to be Mormon home should have one.

  • ellen from ireland

    OMG you are soooooooooo organized;) Love the colour of your walls. Your painting jazzes it up just the right amount. You’ve got style honey;)

  • Heidi

    Now you can totally mess with your guests. What? Crooked? I don’t see it. And then laugh histerically behind their backs – or worse blog about it. Okay, so I am just mean like that.

  • DeeAnne

    Hey that is awesome! Both that you were able to hang them that way with out collapsing onto the floor and how wonderful it turned out! It looks fabulous!

    I had been wondering where you were and now I know!

  • Sandra

    At least Jon didn’t hang the pictures a foot below the ceiling, which is where all of my Chinese relatives like to hang art.

  • Dawn

    looks perfect to me!!!

  • Lanna Lee Maheux-Quinn

    It looks great!

    (And I hope that it was the boob-feeling that “was so much fun”. Because, if it was cheating on a science test… I would wonder.)

  • megan

    I love that you have so many aesthetically-pleasing framed prints/paintings/reflecting surfaces on your walls! Really puts the HUGE BLANK WALL in the kitchen/living room of my apartment to shame.

  • Karrie

    Beautiful :) I’m glad I’m not the only psycho who likes straight things. And that can flare their nostrils when irritated.

    The wall looks great.

  • abigail

    you are my favorite.

  • Melly has been this last week’s distraction for me. Starting from day one, it’s been such an intriguing read, sometimes in a “feels so right but has to be wrong” kind of way.

    It just keeps getting better.

  • Clara

    Congratulations with this! I spent last Sunday just trying to hang 2 pictures, one of top of the other…I had never done this before, and just all the leveling and measuring and not hammering nails in straight … I was going mad o.0

  • shaunacon

    Love it! I may just be making a tip to Ikea to pick up some of those mirrors.

    Glad to hear you are making progress with the OCD thing. Trust me – I know it can be hard to overcome.

    I must confess I have too stolen salt and pepper shakers from a restaurant. I just couldn’t find any I liked at the store and they were just sitting on the table begging me to take them.

  • Jill S.

    It used to be, my husband wouldn’t let a single nail mar the walls he built with his own hand. Then we had children and they colored on the walls and said Batman did it, and he loosened up.

  • lomagirl

    What was the fun thing? Oh! That. Yeah. I should have guessed.
    Your wall looks fine. All of the previous perfection attempts must have made you good eyeballers.

  • scargosun

    Love the design! The mirrors add great dimension. We did something similar with pics and started the smae way you did. Put the first one up and laser the rest. I am still overwhelmed by the patience of my husband at that time.

  • Deb (Missives from Suburbia)

    Wait… my OCD forces me to hang things immediately and overrides my compulsion to have them hanging perfectly. Maybe you can train your OCD to do the same thing?

  • Jill

    But look how much closer the whole installment is to the right side of the wall? Ya couldn’t have at least centered it?


  • Kate

    Love the wall and love order in my home too…beautiful.
    OCD is not so bad, keeps things neat and tidy!
    Thanks for the post.

  • theSpectrum

    As a fellow OCD victim, your post made me hyperventilate until I passed out at work for 20 minutes. HANGING THE WRONG WAY!? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Can you warn me next time you’re going to type something so scandalous!?

  • Anonymous
  • little brother

    Is it just me or is the mirror in the upper right just a little higher than the one on the left…

  • J. Bo

    I’m so sorry, but I’m driven completely insane by the horizontal-but-should-be-vertical prints.

    How you can sleep in this house, I’ll never know.

    (Yes, before you ask, I AM seeking professional help, BUT IN THE MEANTIME… you COULD put those two particular prints in the bottom row, thereby not fucking up the lateral symmetry. Much. And right now I’m imagining that you’ve done just that, so I can sleep.)

  • Keri

    Looks good!

    I bet you know exactly which ones are off by just millimeters and by how many, right? ;P

  • Kristan


    I have to admit, even though Chuck is the bread winner (of the dogs) and I love him, Coco is TOO CUTE!!!! I just watched your Vimeo videos of her (after watching Leta sing adorably) and I am pretty much cuted to death. It may take all day to recover — NAY, all weekend!

    Coco’s whinier than I expected, but I think (since I don’t live with her) that just adds to the cuteness.


    All the best to you and yours,

  • robinv

    “why aim for perfection when approximation is so much easier?” That is my personal lifetime motto! I just wish I could get my husband to buy it!

  • Kristan

    And sorry that was totally unrelated to this post. What’s a girl to do when comments are closed? :P

  • SarahThe

    With those fabulous prints, I’m not sure order or symmetry matters.

  • Satchel

    Take the salt and pepper shakers back.

    As usual – great photography and the ability to articulate a boring story and make it interesting.

  • Workman

    I’ve got to agree with Dawn and others. I can’t see anything wrong with how they’re hung.

    Perhaps I’ve got the opposite of OCD. What would that be? Slob’s Disorder?

  • Sarah

    You know the shade of blue you have painted your walls is so pure and beautiful I think I could stare at it all day. I haven’t read all the comments so I have no clue how they got from your post to show off your handy work to rants about mental health. Damn good thing you didn’t put before and after dead people pictures up there, Heather! I made myself laugh with that and this is all that is important. I must go buy something in that shade of blue right this minute.

  • Toni

    I love it. Your guys did a GREAT JOB!

  • Cici


  • val cox

    It looks great, I love the simplicity.

    You have more restraint than I, as I could not go the second day without repositioning that lower right mirror up and the the left about a 1/4″!

  • Erika

    My husband always says it’s easier to ask forgiveness that to get permission. I guess it makes it a little more difficult if you’re not actually sorry, but I’m sure we can still work with it.

  • J.

    Forgive ME, but more about the ripping off of the clothes, please!!

  • Kayla

    You are hilarious! Hearing that Jon is taking Prozac reminds me of when my Mom called me to tell me she started sneaking Prozac in my Dad’s orange juice and, “He’s so much perkier.”

    Oy! Tell Jon, “Real Men Take Prozac.”


  • Julie

    My OCD keeps me from hanging stuff up in the first place. Or maybe it is my ADD. I can’t remember.

  • koz

    Progress, gorgeous progress.

  • angelawd

    It looks great, but I would always know things were out of alignment or hung the wrong way, and I would never be at peace. I don’t know how you do it.

  • Heather

    It looks awesome. I love the layout. At least you didn’t end up with 14 useless holes in the wall… (thank you mother-in-law)

  • Cassie

    Haha, good for you two. It looks great! I tried the parchment paper thing you guys did in the kitchen, iirc, and it worked great. But the second project – same way you did this one. By eye.

    Good job!