I’m the fidgety sort. The need to constantly redecorate my home is a form of fidgety-ness, which always leads to backaches because I never get help to move the furniture. I put my thighs into it, though.
I find it partially relaxing and partially nerve-wracking to read home decorating magazines. I get halfway into one and then I’m up moving furniture, creating new combinations of decorative items, rehanging pictures, and switching out rugs. Fortunately, I have someone who helps me make these redecorating decisions. She’s my insultant. No, not “consultant,” I meant “insultant.”
Sitting on the porch after a long day in the garden and leafing through home redecorating magazines is a treat. There’s nothing standing between achieving most of the ideas suggested save for a bit of money. And my insultant. I comment on the ideas suggested within the pages and ooh and ah over them, and she gives me that special dose of reality that will save me lots of expense and injury.
I see on page 9 a photo of a living room. The setting is bright and cheerful. Off to the side, sitting very close to a coffee table the size of a Volkswagon, is a wrought iron seat thing piled high with books. I say to my insultant, “Ooh, I have a wrought iron seat thing just like that! I think I’ll bring it inside and use it in my bedroom that way.”
Wisely, but firmly, she responds, “And, some night, when you get up to use the bathroom, you’ll stub your toe on the lovely curved metal legs and your shrieking will wake the neighborhood.”
I decide to leave the wrought iron seat thing outside in my shade garden.
I see a photo showing a wrought iron chair placed next to the bathtub, turning the bathroom into something chic and inviting.
“Stubbed toes,” is all she says.
On page 15, I point out a clever idea for hanging items on the wall. The hooks are actually old metal hose nozzles screwed into a pegboard over which is mounted an old window sans glass.
“Read this,” my insultant says. “Drill 1 and a half inch threaded pipe into the board and then screw a nozzle onto the pipe to secure it. So, after you’ve spent five hours making this ridiculous thing, you’ll hang it somewhere and instantly regret it. It will constantly remind you that it’s just a board with hose nozzles stuck to it.”
I move on.
“How cool,” I exclaim. I’ve just noticed a darling coffee table upon which are glued large wood block letters with a glass top covering them. The glass is much wider than the tabletop below rather than cut to fit. “It creates a nice effect,” I say to my insultant.
“Shins,” my insultant says. “Your eyesight isn’t that great, the lighting in your living room is subpar, but you think you can navigate your way to the sofa without whacking your shins on that piece of glass?”
I see a clever vase made out of an old, partly rusted radiator screen wrapped in a cylindrical shape, the ends fastened with wing nuts. I love vases. I’m always on the lookout for interesting ones. I’m still looking at the photo but I can feel my insultant’s eyes on me.
“Is your tetanus shot up to date? Is your first aid kit stocked with antiseptic and bandages?” my insultant says. “I’ve seen you cut your fingers on Styrofoam. Just sayin’,” she says.
“Okay, okay,” I say. “Maybe not such a good idea.”
“I want a chandelier!” I scream. I really do. I want chandeliers in my studio, my breakfast room, my bedroom, my living room, and on my back porch.
“Yeah, read this,” my insultant says, pushing me back down into the chair. The writer of the article states: “A crystal chandelier, which cost Lynn only $90…”
Only $90. Even I’m a bit outraged over the use of that adjective. Ninety dollars is a month’s groceries for me during a weight loss month. I turn the page quickly.
On page 22, the writers tell me to “sprinkle some razzle dazzle around a room by embellishing throw pillows with old rhinestone jewelry.” The effect is sparkly. I love sparkly.
My insultant places her large, wrinkled hand over mine. “Dear, you do not own stuffed animals. You have two dogs—well, three, if you count your sister’s. Each one of them has picker’s disease. Let’s think back to the time your Stella reduced your sister’s entire Berber carpet to a pile of squiggly rope. Now tell me if you think it’s a grand idea to razzle dazzle your pillows.”
I don’t even respond.
“Ooh, that white sofa with the seat cushions wrapped in lacy curtains and the rest of it covered in this heavy white damask is divine,” I murmur.
“Stop murmuring,” my insultant says. “Once again, and I so tire of this… Your dogs? Do you think Stella, Sally and Carmella are going to take a look at it and say, ‘We better just sleep on the floor and in these doggie beds. We wouldn’t want to dirty the damask.’ Have you taught them to wash their own feet and bottoms yet?”
I’m too embarrassed to speak for a few seconds.
“I like this idea,” I say. I’m looking at a wall lamp with its cord wrapped in a pretty fabric sleeve.
My insultant glares at me. “You’ve got a sweater that’s been missing a button for five years and you think you’re going to take the time to make these sleeves? And do you really want your friends to walk in, notice them, and think, ‘Wow, she IS neurotic.’ “
I spy a group of different sizes and shapes of vintage mirrors placed on top of each other all strung on the back of a door from the same hook. I’m certain I can find mirrors like them at my local thrift stores. I’m planning my weekend excursion when my insultant breaks in.
“Really? Hang mirrors on the back of a door? Okay, I see four mirrors there and for every shut of the door that’s seven years of bad luck. Or, 28 years with one good slam.”
“Okay, okay,” I mutter and move on.
And so it continues with the pastry cutter filling in as a napkin holder, the mattress springs fashioned into a snack container, and the upside down cheese graters attached to a piece of wood and used as pencil and brush holders. All either useless clutter or injuries waiting to happen, according to my insultant.
My delight over the old wooden gear with candle tapers slipped into the wheel’s notches is the last straw for my insultant.
“ARE YOU DEFICIENT? Have you forgotten the candle and wooden shelf incident in Minneapolis?”
I give up. Sort of. I have an idea for using that vintage sled in my garage as a hanging pots and pans holder in my kitchen.