Cleaning House!

Arnold & Arianna, happy at last

Photo by Tenaya HillsWhen Arnold Schwarzenegger talks, I listen. Well, I mean, sometimes I listen. Sometimes I just stare off into space and wonder what would happen if you put a cheeseburger in front of Maria Shriver. Or a plump baby. Actually, come to think of it, I really don't listen at all.

But he said one thing that really resonated with me. It wasn't that bit about America welcoming him, an immigrant, when he really just keeps waffling on Prop. 187. It wasn't that thing he said . . . well, I guess he really hasn't said anything else1.

But this was the resonating thing. He wants us all to "clean house." And you know what? He's right! It is time for a change!

I don't know about you, but my house is really dirty. Plus, I just moved to Santa Ana, and I don't really have all the new furniture I need to go in my ranch-style home (my Mexican-grandmother kitsch was much better fitted to my 1920s Craftsman bungalow), and I have this big yard that has a lot of potential to really be fabulous if I can just force myself to get medieval Martha Stewart on its ass.

So when Schwarzenegger said it was time to "clean house," I got Commie Mom on the horn. "Mom!" I said (that's her real name; "Commie Mom" is her rap alias). "I think it's time to 'clean house.' You know, beat the rugs, wax the floors. Maybe put up some lingonberry jam for winter." Commie Mom tentatively agreed. So I continued.

"Wanna go with me to the Home & Garden Showat the Anaheim Convention Center? We can 'clean house,' and also find a really pretty tree for my front yard, maybe. What do you think about Japanese maples?"

"Japanese maples are gorgeous!" Commie Mom said.

I moved in for the kill. "And there'll be people from Trading Spacesthere too!"

"Oooh, that sounds fun!" said Commie Mom. When she's not watching C-Span, she watches Trading Spaces or the Food Network. She doesn't actually make any of the food. She just likes to look at it.

We were on our way.

Now, from the outside the Anaheim Convention Center is a nice bit of real estate, all glass and steel domeage. Real estate is another thing Arnold Schwarzenegger knows quite a bit about, even if he's not so hot with his other businesses and the constant lawsuits and all. But. The city of Anaheim still hasn't figured out how to stop the road rage that ensues whenever you try to figure out where to park. The main parking lot, a block down from the convention center, said "Closed." The parking lot under the convention center said "Full." The old man "directing" traffic—and who was probably personally responsible for Prop. 13—finally told us we should park at the Marriott, right after we had passed it. It took 22 minutes to circle back around the block. We decided, as I always do and Commie Mom probably doesn't, because it's decadent, to valet. Valet parking may very well have been the greatest invention of the 16th century; with someone else parking our car, we didn't have to shoot anyone. That's always a plus.

Inside, at last. We would see the "fantasy gardens" and the modular homes, and the living room "designed" by Star 98.7's Ryan Seacrest(also host of a little thing called American Idol), which we had a chance to win! (We had a chance to win the furniture, not Ryan Seacrest himself, and the poster actually had the word designs in quotes! Like this: Ryan Seacrest "designs" an entertainer's living room. Truth in advertising. Isn't that fun?) Also, there were many, many large bronze statues of children playing leapfrog, and bronze statues of children with creepy, heavy-lidded eyes that made them look like the needle and the damage done. There were $2.75 "ice cream" cones and there were massage recliners with signs on them that read "Please do not use," which is pretty much not the point. And there was a booth with one of those make-your-kid-a-star scams, and another with that whole "Habitat for Humanity" scam. You know what the Bible says: Give a person a house and he'll have a house for a day. Teach a person he don't deserve a house, and you can be the next Republican governor! Poor people don't need "houses"! They need to get off their "asses" and get four jobs! (Or as Ann Coulter likes to say, "working families is a euphemism for families where no one works." The old gal really hits the nail on Jimmy Carter's head, don't she?)

One of the fantasy gardens had shrubs shaped like butlers, which Commie Mom bizarrely stated was very much my style. I think she had me confused with Arianna Huffington. (Oink, oink, Arianna2.) Another had a koi pond with a sick duck on it. "That duck is sick," my mom announced, looking at the little duck that was deathly still under a reed. "Maybe he's just tied to that reed," I offered, filled with hope that maybe the duck was merely tied to a reed. We love the Home & Garden Show!

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