Cute, Cheap and Easy / by Dana Bergstrom

"Our extremely expensive art project" is what I call our last house project, Fixer Upper #4, but that's only when I'm feeling gracious. On the days I'm PMS/TDYing or just feel like letting my inner bully run me, I call it the "big fucking money pit" or "divorce house" or "Pauly's other woman" or some other combination of swear words plus a dramatic descriptor. My inner bully has flair!

I've gotta admit though, it was pretty fun to buy all new windows and doors and fill that fixer upper with sexy, shiny, eco-friendly products. Creating beautiful spaces is something we both love to do. However, since we're not in a financial position to lose additional money on Fixer Upper #5, I've created a helpful saying to keep us on track with our renovation goal!

Whenever Pauly starts talking about extravagant ideas for the house we're doing now, I shout the mantra,

"Cute, Cheap and Easy, Pauly! Just think of me when I was 21 and we were dating!"

This is where I double over and laugh hysterically.

It’s funny 'cause it's true. Pauly didn’t actually have to take me out on dates because he was too busy fighting me off. The sweet, innocent fella barely knew what to do with such a wildly affectionate, assertive young woman.

After I catch my breath from all the giggling, then I yell,

“Now I’m ugly, expensive and highly difficult! Bahahahaha!”

Also funny 'cause it's true. I squirm and roll around and laugh and laugh and laugh. Pauly just stands there shaking his head. I probably do this silly routine a couple of times a week, which is about how often he decides to spout off insanely grandiose remodeling plans.

You’d think he’d learn his lesson by now and knock it off. Nope.

But at least I’m having a good time! And my redundant comedy act sure beats getting all fearful and allowing my inner bully to take me over like I did with Fixer Upper #4.

So I'm gonna keep on hollering our mantra while endlessly giggling. It brings up wonderful memories of our young love, saves me a lot of fear-based angry yelling, and jacks my vibe, making me ridiculously happy.

I visited Pauly in San Diego when we were still dating. He managed to keep me off of him long enough to drive us to Tijuana where he bought a bunch of jewelry that promptly turned my skin green. I loved it all! Cute, cheap and easy!

I visited Pauly in San Diego when we were still dating. He managed to keep me off of him long enough to drive us to Tijuana where he bought a bunch of jewelry that promptly turned my skin green. I loved it all! Cute, cheap and easy!