Monday, October 31, 2011


The League of Ordinary Ladies: Home Décor

Previously: The Man in the Dishtowel Cravat.

Esther C. Werdiger has a weekly podcast and a rich internet life, but also a job in Jerusalem.

130 Comments / Post A Comment

oh, disaster

Love these. My apartment came with Q-tips and those little individual teeth flossing things in the freezer.


@andrea disaster One of my apartments came with a carving fork and another came with a ladle. I have kept both. I use the ladle sometimes, and the carving fork, never.

Also love these. :)


@andrea disaster I'm jealous of this normal stuff - my old apartment came with many many condom wrappers in unnerving places.

The Lady of Shalott

@andrea disaster Why were they in the freezer?

@JanetSnakehole ...what were the unnerving places??? I am curious!


@andrea disaster My place came with tampons and bleach...

oh, disaster

@The Lady of Shalott No idea. They were also scattered about in the fridge.


@andrea disaster
I had one that came with a yellow plastic raver dress.

I do not wear it.

My house came with a box of rocks with a tree branch stuck in it in the attic. I am kind of worried that it is something malevolent.

Katie Scarlett

@andrea disaster One of college apartments came with a large, unopened jar of pickled beets!


@The Lady of Shalott Well, there were some under the doormat, which was a lovely welcoming present. One behind a framed mirror, one in the crisper drawer of the fridge, and one wedged behind the water heater (a repair man found that one about 3 months after I moved in.)

I like to imagine that the previous tenants had to hide them quickly before someone's mom was visiting.


@andrea disaster Mine came with very small, floral wineglasses and a mop.


@andrea disaster Oh, my dad's current house came with a lost stash of weed, hidden behind the water heater or something. And his house before that came with some 1960/70s Playboys stashed in the attic.

The Lady of Shalott

@JanetSnakehole That is equal parts horrifying and amazing. "Quick! Crisper drawer! Water heater!" It's like hide-and-seek for your house and your condom wrappers.


@andrea disaster A gallon bucket of fondant in the hall closet, among other, somewhat more normal things.

oh, disaster

@JanetSnakehole That reminds me of how when I was a kid I would hide stickers around my bedroom because I liked the idea of people finding them decades later being like, "What is this N'Sync?" Except that's creepier, 'cause it's condom wrappers.


@phlox Fondant! I feel like that is weirder than the condom wrappers everywhere. Also, doesn't fondant have to be refrigerated? What was it doing in the hall closet? What was it doing in a bucket?

Am I thinking of the wrong thing?


@andrea disaster I had a house full of crap left by the previous tenant and I remember I found the most amazing silver dolphin bottle opener and a giant ass BB gun. It was sweet. They had also left a ton of textbooks which I then sold and made a bunch of money off of.

Much better than the previous tenant of another place I lived where all they left was a giant four foot wide cat pee stain embedded in the carpet. That was not so awesome.


@andrea disaster I also remember at a house I had when I was a kid there was this weird crawl space under the house that led to this room you can stand up in, so I used to play around in there. My friend and I wrote creepy ass shit all over the walls so it probably looked like some serial killer had been camped out there. I can only imagine the reaction of the next person who found it...


@Xaxa You win.


@xx-xx-xx fondant *does not* in fact need to be refrigerated, and usually comes in a bucket. Gross, right? I know this because a bucket of fondant is now sitting in my kitchen cabinet. I wouldn't try it, but my friend did, and said, "I could eat this if I were really... sad." Love.

there were so many things in my apartment when I moved in, but most notably were the santa-face-shaped platter, hundreds of super sad past-due, overdrawn notices, and newspaper clippings sent to a past tenant from her elderly mother, and tiny little bottles of plum wine with little plums in the bottom. I only found the letters because a drawer in the cupboard never closed right, and so I took the drawer out and found all these papers there, and spent an afternoon in the rabbit hole of Susan Reynolds' life, circa 1995.


@xx-xx-xx No, we had very similar questions. Glad to know it is supposed to come in a bucket, thanks @candybeans.


@phlox Weird... and then more weird.... but thanks for the clarification!


@candybeans My last house came with a bunch of baby photos that had been left in the floor of the shed and were all washed out and sad looking.

I kept one of them.


@momentisaflower This is completely off topic, but is your username a reference to a Langston Hughes poem?


@Katie Scarlett Your college didn't happen to be William Paterson, did it? My friend Scott used to have a strange affinity for beets!


@andrea disaster My last apartment came with... half the furniture that's now in my current apartment. Bad roommates= broken leases= new coffee tables!


My car came with an open jar of Vaseline under the passenger side seat, does that count?


@anotherkate Yes! It thrills me to know end that you got that, lol. Especially because I registered before I realized it'd be more fun to have a punny name and I have been wishing I could change it. That's one of my favorite poems!


@andrea disaster I used to do this! And draw tiny things on the inside of my closets where I was pretty sure my mom wouldn't notice.


@momentisaflower I actually wrote a paper in high school english on that poem. I think I was drawing parallels to The Scarlet Letter? Hester Prinn = oppressed black man?

Dirty Hands

@andrea disaster I DID THE SAME EXACT THING WITH STICKERS!!! Not N*Sync though, more like the Sandylion ones with bears riding bicycles and such.

oiseau de nuit

I bought a van off of Craigslist and it came with a crack pipe. I gave it back to the sketchy girl I was buying the van from and she nonchalantly threw the pipe in her purse. Later I found a bunch of NASCAR lighters with broken safetys in the backseat


@Xaxa You moved into Jolie's old place?


@andrea disaster BattleStar Galactica Season 1, a weird film called Tie Me Up Tie Me Down by Pedro Almodóvar, a Philip Roth novel and a travel guide to Japan. Former housemates had very good taste.
And, as it turns out, unpaid bills and baliffs, but they didn't come till later.


@andrea disaster I saw an old one-reel on TCM about superstitions in America and they mentioned how a "roof tree" nailed to the framework of your roof was supposedly good luck. I'd never heard that before but it might be a thing.


@Dirty Hands i did the same thing with stickers too! Multiple times my best friend held my waist while I dangled upside down out my second-floor bedroom window to stick them on the side of the house. We were weird. My dad saw it one day while he was in the yard. It did not go over well.


I'm glad I'm not the only one with a laminated picture of Catherine Keener.


@atipofthehat ...do you mean in your wallet specifically? Because I think she's laminate worthy, too.


@atipofthehat I hate the things I know about Keener and the condition of her Spanx from a costumer friend. It shouldn't have changed the way I feel about her but...it has.


@apb Oh no! Now you must tell us what condition the condition of her Spanx is in! My imagination is running wild here...


@atipofthehat Generally unclean with, um, pantiliners etc. left in for the costumers to deal with, which is generally considered beyond the pale even for a-hole stars. Also general personal unpleasantness, I guess. Very disappointing since she always seemed like a great cool older sister? Though luckily I have one of those, already.


I can't picture myself living in a foreign language speaking country for long enough to need to visit a salon! (for any reason)

clearly i am even more ordinary than this lady. or perhaps the appropriate term is just "boring ol homebody"


@redheadedandcrazy When I was in china I had to have a language lesson especially to get my hair cut. "Do not thin" was the most important - my hair is many but fine, thinning would make it super awful but it's standard procedure for Chinese hair.

I do miss getting a full on massage before haircuts, though.


I had an apartment that came with 3/4 of a pint of carob mint soy ice cream. I ate it.


@werewolfbarmitzvah I had a place that came with soy sausages in the freezer. I also ate them.


I love these SO HARD.

I Want To Go To There

I made an account (After months of ghost reading..) to lament about how currently I am living in Moscow (from Canada) and am in need of a hair cut.

But my Russian is not good enough yet to even dare discuss with a hair dresser what I want / price.

A picture of my preferred 'do on my iPod.. I see you in my future.


@The Most Pernicious Woman Try the fancy Western chain hotels, I'm thinking like the Marriott Renaissance, some of them have small salons in them with English speaking staff, or their English speaking concierge may be able to help you. The picture idea is a good one though. Be specific about the bangs!

What are you doing in Moscow? Do you need an assistant?


@The Most Pernicious Woman The first time I had to get my haircut in Italy they told me that I should really emphasize that I only needed a trim, because otherwise they would cut way too much off. I apparently emphasized it so much that the hairdresser ended up cutting something like a millimeter. I seriously could not even tell my hair had been cut afterwards.
I now in theory speak more than well enough to explain what I want but still always end up looking like an idiot because I can never remember the exact right words. It doesn't help that there are like 5 different ways to say "highlights" and I always seem to choose the wrong one.


@The Most Pernicious Woman
Yes, definitely ask around! If your Russian is good enough to call/visit a salon and ask if any of their staff speaks good English, you'll be SO MUCH HAPPIER. I found a pretty normal, very cheap place with an English-speaking hairdresser when I was there and it went just fine. Wish I remembered the name of the place so I could share the love.

I Want To Go To There

@highjump I am studying on a year abroad- I know there is a big market for teaching english though, if you're looking for work over here!


@The Most Pernicious Woman Ah. I studied abroad in St. Petersburg and I only visited Moscow for six days. It was not enough! (Though St. P is clearly the superior federal city. You must visit for at least 10 days.) I miss Russia a lot and sometimes I randomly apply for jobs at big multinational corporations with offices there - like Coca Cola. I don't have my TESOL so I can't get an English teaching job.


My apartment came with an empty sewing machine box, and a 5 year old printer that probably broke as soon as the former tenant brought it home. Been living here for two years and just last weekend, unburdened my cramped closet from these relics.

Jillsy Sloper

Protip: if you are a hairy Jewish lady, do not attempt to get waxed in any Asian country, they will take forever and make you feel like a freak. I thought I'd be safe in Malaysia, because hey, they must see some hairy Saudi tourists, amirite? NO, hairy Saudi women get waxed at home. Don't do it. Just deal 'till you arrive in an actual Mediterranean country.

Faintly Macabre

My old apartment changed hands at least every year (students), so I don't know who glued the creepy zoo and clown troupe foamcore posters to the living room walls. This was ~50 clowns, mostly black-and-white, all leering at the camera. Better yet, in dim light (no curtains!), the white of the clowns' facepaint glowed. I do know that my first night in that apartment, when I had to sleep on the battered futon, I tore that clown poster off the wall and threw it down the back stairs.


@Faintly Macabre I'm guessing it wasn't a load-bearing clown poster, then.

Faintly Macabre

@octagonfudge Ha! I did sometimes worry that the clowns resented my throwing them down the stairs and were down there glowing malevolently and plotting revenge. I have a kind of overactive imagination.


@Faintly Macabre In my imagining of this, when you tore down the poster the glowy clown faces were STILL ON THE WALL AAAAHHHHHH


@Faintly Macabre I just wanted to say hi, and we are awesome!

Faintly Macabre

@faintly_macabre Oh man, twins! And I see you were here first--I hope we can share the title peacefully, unlike some people/fictional characters!


@Faintly Macabre @faintly_macabre that used to be my 'lurking' AIM name, for when I wanted to depressedly stalk people and only talk to my mother. one of my favorite books/cartoon movies!


My apartment came with a roll of Christmas wrapping paper wedged between the fridge and the kitchen counter.


It wasn't my apartment, but...my folks moved into a (short sale) house a couple years ago. I scheduled a visit during this time to come help them unpack. When I left, my mom thought I had left several things in the bathroom, that in reality had belonged to the previous tenants. She mailed me a box containing: Vagisil, Acne medicine, and candles. Thanks Mom.


one apartment came with bugs: cockroaches, silverfish, and las chinchas (bedbugs).

it also came with an attic full of wire hangers, which came showering down on me when the roof leaked and the ceiling came down.

the next apartment came with a queen size bed, a free couch, and a beautiful ginormous table. and a yard. and a choir of angels that greeted me every time i opened the door and did not see any bugs.

Wookiee Hole

@madge Did a screaming Joan Crawford come down along with the ceiling?


My apartment came with a business card in the top closet, the name on the card matched my first name. OoooOOooooOO!


Period Shits!! Yes.


@likethestore I know! Yes!

The Lady of Shalott

I swear on anything: stuff like this ("weird things left by former tenants in places") is SO fascinating to me. I don't know why. It's like how I'm also fascinated by secret messages and secret passageways and lost-and-found items and crap like that.


@The Lady of Shalott I still have the picture of a woman in a tiger costume from I think the late '80s that I found in a used book.


@The Lady of Shalott Right? And abondoned buildings. Like, if it was just crap in someone's house: not interesting. Crap someone left behind? FASCINATING.

My parent's house is on the grounds of old brick kilns. The office building there was a freaking treasure trove of fascinating things.


@Craftastrophies I found a crisp, yellowy newspaper clipping about a sceance held in 1960s rural England in my second-hand copy of Middlemarch, which was completely TERRIFYING.


Had the same experience in Paris needing an "emergency" wax and not speaking a lick of French, other than "un cafe creme." Luckily for me the lady was portuguese and with the exception of me trying to figure out whether i should tip her, was able to get successfully de-follicled using only my limited high school spanish (which apparently is NOT portuguese, btw). I figured Paris is super sexy, so whatever depilatory service they give me could only help, right?


"but CANNOT obviously", Sure you can.


@notandersoncooper Totes can.


I had my ...self waxed in Tanzania, and though my Kiswahili was pretty terrible I just sort of held my panties in place to show her and it worked ok.
But I was not willing to let ANYONE touch my complicated curly white-girl hair, so I cut it myself in the backyard with children's scissors and using the truck window as a mirror. Add the constant sunblock sheen, and I looked so sexy all the time.

Faintly Macabre

@gobblegirl The only good, cheap curly-hair-cutter I've ever found vanished, so I've been cutting my very curly hair in the bathroom mirror with ancient hair scissors. I tell myself I'm going for the playfully wild look.


@Faintly Macabre

I only stopped cutting my own curly hair when I finally found a ridicu-cheap hair stylist who could cut mine into an Audrey Hepburn pixie. When she inevitably disappears (they always leave me!!) I will go back to my bathroom sink, my sewing shears, and a shot of rum.



(Home haircuts are always better when you're a little drunk. Just putting it out there).


@Faintly Macabre Curly hair is totally okay to cut on your own, because the bottom doesn't have to be completely even. Just cut it when it's a at least sort of dry, so you can see how the curls go. (That said I've had the same hairdresser for 8 years and would follow her to Iceland if I had to).

Faintly Macabre

@gobblegirl Oh yeah, I always do it when it's dry. It's not really a methodical thing, more a go to the bathroom, decide to grab scissors and cut off random stick-out-y pieces.

@OhShesArtsy I'll have to try that...my uber-curly-haired friend loves his drugs/alcohol and does all his own haircutting now, so maybe it does help!


My apt. came with a bottle of aloe vera gel in the fridge and a few of those cheap little eyeshadow applicators that come with new eyeshadow! Servicey! Also, the bitch who lived there before me did not even attempt to clean out the spills all over the fridge and stove. Thanks to Jolie*, I had my apt. clean in no time!

*By this, I mean, thanks to "Ask A Clean Person." Jolie did not actually come and clean my apartment for me. I WISH. <3 u clean person!


@bonnbee There was aloe vera gel in my old place too! - a huge, industrial-sized thing of it that was maybe 10% emptied. Plus a clearly old (typography/design dated) carton of epsom salts.


My current apartment came with a tea towel commemorating the marriage of Prince Charles to Camilla Parker Bowles, one of those padded hotel ice buckets, four margarita glasses, and an egg timer from a fertility clinic.


@bowerbird That is amazing. Especially the egg timer!


@bowerbird Um, what kind of egg?


@bowerbird It's like, instant party!


My house came with a kitty grave in the yard. :(


@laurel A friend of mine's family sold her childhood home and left their grandmother's ashes buried in the garden.


@OhShesArtsy ouch. That would be super sad. If/when my parents move the new people are definately getting a lil pet cemetary in the back yard. :(


FINALLY I can share that my apartment came with several sampler boxes of Malibu rum and that I was very very excited upon finding them tucked away in an awkward cabinet.


@annveal jealous! even though Malibu is so gross. My last apartment, the previous tenant left behind a kitchen drawer (the only kitchen drawer) full of cords and things, and packets of dehydrated chicken noodle soup. I may have eaten one packet.


@annveal hilarious and weird. What did you do with them?


@paperbuttons I certainly drank them while unpacking. I later made some reprehensible home decor purchases online, but I think the two events were unrelated.


Best wax I ever got was in Paris, the African (Morrocan?) kind, where these big, laughing African ladies just use sugar wax like a wad of gum (no strips of cotton), and, after they do your front, say, in French, "Okay, flip over, now we do your ass," and get right in there. (I remember thinking, "OMG, I have hair on my ass and didn't know it till now?" Apparently everyone does! I'll be darned.) It was at a place called La Sultane de Saba, I believe. It's over in ten minutes and you feel like you've been initiated into something grand and womanly and scary so that you'll never be afraid of pain again. And actually, it only hurts the first time. I learned to make the wax and do it myself when I moved back here, because they don't do this here.


When I moved in I found an abundance of cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink. Some had never been opened. Unfortunately, the last tenant never looked under the kitchen sink because the place was disgustingly dirty when I got here. I know from other neighbors the tenant was female and I can speculate that the pair of underwear I found under the radiator in the bathroom was hers. I stuffed it back under the radiator and there it stays...I clean around it.


Period Shits just made me splutter tea all down myself. And all your apartment gifts are bloody hilarious. I've written before on here about my fear of getting waxes/haircuts in foreign countries. Weirdly though for waxes I quite like it (as long as you can convey what you actually want) because both of you know there's no point in making awkward chit chat so you can both just do what you're there to do without the small talk about holidays and weather and stuff.
In France I used to just ask for a 'ticket de métro' and lie back and not say another word.


Young Marble Giants! <3 <3 <3

Esther C. Werdiger

@cuminafterall FOREVER

the angry little raincloud


Is it sad that I know the names of random Ikea furniture? I don't even own that chair.


I got a bunch of random Spanish word magnets from a poetry kit, and an accusation of gentrification.


@faintly_macabre When we moved in to our second-most-recent place, the current resident seemed genuinely baffled that two people could possibly be interested in a three-bedroom. He lived there by himself as a sort of caretaker, but kept all of his things in one of the bedrooms.


My new apartment came with 2 plates, a giant container of sea salt, left over salad dressing, expired milk, and a fresh dog piss spot on the hardwood floors.


Well, I hope the tenant in my former apartment is enjoying the mixer that I couldn't find anywhere in my boxes when I unpacked, because I must have somehow left it there.

One of my apartments came with a poster of a basketball player rolled up in the closet, which I helpfully left for the next person.


One of my old places came with small animal bones (bird skulls, mostly) and prayer flags set up into what looked like an altar in the roof-less garage in the the back yard.


OH MY GOD. "the Period Shits"

I am seriously fucking dying over here.

fondue with cheddar

@Lady Swallow@twitter Now I will think of this every time I get the period shits.

-Jen, laughing to myself in the bathroom

Lise Mctaggart@facebook

I cannot find my Kitchen Aid red toaster...been looking for three months! I will die if it doesn't turn up soon! My first high-end kitchen goody and a gift from my daughter boo hoo...


I live in France half the year and US rest of the time. When I first moved here I could have had a letter correspondence with Voltaire thanks to my perfect classical French, but could not negotiate my way around a supermarket or a salon. Some French words sound so similar I'll never tell them apart ... mice/eyebrows, horse/hair ... you can just imagine the alarmed looks I get.

The Lady of Shalott

@ChristineMargaret One of my lovely friends spent a year abroad in the south of France a couple years ago, and while she grew up speaking Quebecois French, when she moved to France she was totally adrift for a while. And she couldn't figure out why people kept giving her weird looks at the store and at parties until someone told her that the wine she had been buying at the grocery store was actually cooking sherry.


Wait, you used to live in Melbourne? And the university supermarket job with the Man in the Dishtowel Cravat, was that in Melbourne too? Because I think I know which man you mean. He did sound awfully familiar.


My apartment came with a vaporizor and a hobby horse in the attic. And the walls up there were covered in writing, which would be creepy, except that I'm sure some angry emo teen had her bedroom up there at some point, because it was all written in blue Sharpie and said things like, "No one gets me" and shit like that.

Anyway, all I'm really trying to say is that I live my life for The League of Ordinary Women now.


I once lived in an apartment that came with one thing in the cabinet: a jar (formerly a salsa jar? label removed) filled halfway with salt, and on the lid was written in capital sharpie letters MORTON SALT. FROM TEARS.


@bananalise Well, I now have the perfect title for my novel


When I was five my family moved. At our new house in New Mexico, just outside the front door, I found a perfectly mummified, dessicated salamander. I still have that little guy.


Ughhh I am so sad I missed this yesterday, because my little house came with a roasting pan (which I have used), some sport-weight Red Heart Super Saver yarn (my boyfriend: "You like yarn!" "Um, no thank you"), a drum which is apparently a floor tom, and an Alice in Chains t-shirt. Also, bedbugs in the couch.

Also I liked the League of Ordinary Ladies when it started, but each one has made me like it more and more, until now I gasp a little when I see a new one.


My apartment came with a rusty wheelchair, a gorgeous seven-foot tall bookcase, a drawer full of party hats, a used condom, a room full of bits of broken hardware, a grocery cart, a spray-paint mural on the wall, and a kitchen/fridge full of food. Among other things.


My apartment came with a rusty wheelchair, a gorgeous seven-foot tall bookcase, a drawer full of party hats, a used condom, a room full of bits of broken hardware, a grocery cart, a spray-paint mural on the wall, and a kitchen/fridge full of food. Among other things.

Sarah Nicole Pinner@facebook

BB gun and handcuffs in my closet! Oh, and a bag of syringes.


I just made an account to comment about what my apartment came with. I have very tall kitchen cupboards that are hung at the tip top of the ceiling, so for a long time, I didn't even use the highest shelves in them. After I got some new glasses I was moving things around and found the knife and cake server from the wedding of the previous tenants! They were engraved with their names!! Sadly my landlord didn't have a forwarding address for them (or claimed he didn't) so, there they still sit...


@Esther C. Werdiger -- love love love these! Also, they _are my life_.

In addition to the usual chatchkis, _my_ apartment came with a gold-painted antelope head on a plaque that my landlord apparently got for doing something awesome in the army, an anchor, several amphorae (yes, the kind ancient Greeks liked to use for wine), an anchor, and two shells (like, the kind you shoot out of a tank). Welcome to Israel, Sophia!

Re: triangles in Hebrew, I still haven't managed to get a good haircut after a YEAR living here -- everything turns out trashy or dowdy or some odd combination of both. I need a magazine picture of amazing bangs. Or an amazing "pony", I mean. BUT I do know a lovely Canadian woman who does waxes -- she is very fast, and SPEAKS ENGLISH. She lives in Tel Aviv, though. Still, I'll hook you up.

Janina Wilen Madoff@facebook

We got two extra giant american bricks of velveeta and a 4 foot wooden fork carved with elephants with our house.


When I moved in my new apartment there were a lot of things that the previous owners did not want so they left them there, I found a carpet that was so beautiful that I decided to install it in the bedroom. When the guys from carpet installation Phoenix AZ came to my house for a free in-home measure they liked the carpet and told me I made a good decision to keep it.


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