Monday, February 7, 2011


My apartment has been staged. This means two realtors and a professional stager came in and instructed me how to make my house look less like my home and more like the Houlihan Lawrence catalog. This involved not just rearranging the furniture and hiding the usual clutter, but removing four of our seven bookcases and their contents, relegating all Ryan's toys to his room, and displaying just-so decorations that make me itch. Seriously, white-on-white curtains and decorative pillows fill me with violent rage.

Among the crap laid out for our professional photo shoot was a bowl of fake fruit. I have no intrinsic hatred for this; it's a glass bowl with some fake pears and apples and a pomegranate. And my real tomatoes. And an empty bag of coffee. And a can of honey from New Zealand. It would not look out of place in Pottery Barn.

Except for the Cookie Monster doll.

The picture of the cat, however, I hate in a profound, visceral way.
Do you see it? At the bottom of the bowl of fruit in my official real estate listing photo, there's a little Cookie Monster? I was not home when these pictures were taken, so I was quite shocked when the proofs came in.

"Why the hell is Cookie Monster in the fruit bowl?" I asked the selling agent as diplomatically as I could.

"Oh, tee hee! I love teal," she explained. "Let's see if anyone notices."

For one, Ryan noticed. And he has appropriated Cookie for his own. I have not stopped him from playing with it, because I feel that a plush doll is more appropriate in his hands than in a decorative fruit bowl.

I must add, this is not just an ordinary Cookie Monster doll. This Cookie Monster has yellow butterfly wings, and green strings that were probably designed to tie him to some sort of mobile, but now look like strangely floppy antennae.

 Ryan has named this item Cookie Monster Wings Butterfly Toy.*

As you might expect, Cookie Monster Wings Butterfly Toy flies around the house eating things. Last night, Cookie Monster Wings Butterfly Toy ate Ryan's dinner, a houseplant, my new kneepads, and my face. When Cookie Monster Wings Butterfly Toy ate the picture Ryan had drawn on his easel in blue dry-erase marker, I was at first smugly satisfied that the doll was no longer teal, but then Ryan cried, "Oh no! Cookie Monster Wings Butterfly Toy is a MESS!!!" He then, uncharacteristically, took the matter into his own hands by drowning Cookie Monster Wings Butterfly Toy in the kitchen sink and then carefully drying Cookie Monster Wings Butterfly Toy with the dish towel.

And this is why we can't have nice things.

* Ed note: It has come to my attention that this is actually supposed to be a Twiddlebug. Specifically, it was a give-away in boxes of Kellogg's cereal in 1994. But it doesn't look like any Twiddlebug I've ever seen, so I support Ryan's analysis. Thanks to The Deviant Unicorn for the correction.


  1. As soon as I saw that picture I was already composing a comment to tell you it was a twiddlebug from sesame street (I LOVE the twiddle bugs by the way!) that live in bert and ernie's flower box, but then I got to the bottom of your post and saw that you already knew and my thunder was stolen :( Out of curiosity, how much does it cost to stage a home and how does it work exactly. We are getting ready to put our home on the market and in this bad housing market we could totally use some help since our house is LIVED in and set up to help a SPD kiddo not to look pretty!

  2. Natalie: we're using two realtors (they work tag-team) who have a stager and photographer they like to work with. I hired the stager for a one-hour consult for $85, then I implemented her suggestions myself; she would have gladly done the work for me @ $85. When it came time to take photos, the realtors and stager came in and arranged/added things the way they wanted (like I said, I wasn't there), and the realtors paid the stager and photographer out of the commission they anticipate earning for the sale of my apartment.

  3. "Cookie Monster Wings Butterfly Toy" just sounds to me like the Japanese name for it.

  4. If I was shopping for an apartment, seeing the twiddlebug in the bowl of fruit would have been in the plus column for me!


Keep it civil, people.