Sometimes, the Olds get an idea. Usually this happens because they are bored, or because they have suddenly realized a fact that the entire world has known for many years. Or both. Right now, this idea concerns redecorating the living room.
This is something that strikes a chord of horror deep in my soul.
It is not just the thought of the Olds with a new project, although that rarely means anything good for me. It is that it is a project which they are only slightly less equipped to deal with than I am. And, I am useless when it comes to redecorating, or decorating in the first place, at least when it comes to human sized living spaces.
I do not care about things like faux finishes and matching curtains and statement pieces or pretty much anything to do with any program ever shown on the DIY/HGTV networks. As someone who makes things for [an impoverished and poorly planned] living, one might think that I would be someone who loves sewing throw pillows and slipcovers and who has “theme” bathrooms. After all, I spend a huge amount of my life looking at colors, finishes, texture, composition, and designing. Choosing four* colors of beads for a project can take me hours. Not only do I choose the colors, I have to decide on size, finish, placement—all of this for things that can be as small as a millimeter across. Wouldn’t you think that, say, choosing a bedspread and curtains would be fun or satisfying for me in some way?
If you do, then you are wrong.
Here are my long cherished and practiced beliefs about interior design:
1. Get a house.
2. Put your books and art supplies in it.
There are other variations, like “Get an apartment” or “Put your books and DVDs” in it. But this is the general idea, and it has served me well, or at least adequately, so far. Yes, I do like to have a bed and other furniture, especially bookshelves. But this covers the essentials.
The Olds’ beliefs are similar, except that they have always had much larger living spaces than me, and their central focus is usually the kitchen and wherever a television can be placed. Quite often things like curtains and wallpaper and such look very nice in their homes, but that is either an accident or because someone else picked those things out.
Yesterday I came upstairs for my mid morning break and found both Olds dressed and flailing around looking for shoes, car keys, pants, and other things they can never find when leaving the house. Since it was barely noon, I was shocked. I asked “What’s wrong? Who is going to the ER? Or are you going to Ohio? Did someone die???”
One of them paused and glared at me. The other one was busy cursing because he’d just tripped over a pile of my shoes.
The Glaring One said (in a shirty, snippy tone) “WE are going to look at furniture!”
Me: “What?? For where? Here??”
Glaring: “Ha ha, very funny. For the living room, of course.”
Other Old: “Goddammit these fucking shoes why can’t you blah blah blah nonsense words angry sounds etc”
Me [ignoring him]: “Why? What’s wrong with the furniture we have?”
Glaring: “WE ARE JUST GOING TO LOOK. NOW MOVE THOSE SHOES BEFORE YOUR FATHER KILLS HIMSELF.”
Me: “My my, we are all a little tense today! Maybe you should have a little wine before heading out! Wait, let me get you a bottle and a straw to take with you!”
[duck back downstairs ASAP]
Olds: [thumping, stomping, grumbling, possibly throwing things? back door opens and SLAMS shut]
Later, I was out, and when I got back, they were in their usual positions, accessorized with an empty wine bottle and mostly empty wineglasses. They have not found any furniture they like that also matches the dog. As I made for the stairs, I heard one of them say “Well, we have to find the furniture before we decide what color to paint the walls”.
I’m going to have to move.
*design note: almost never choose four of something; choose three or five. Odd numbers are always more pleasing to the eye. This is science. Or math. Maybe geometry? I read it somewhere once, realized I already do that, and made a note to refer to this source when teaching. Obviously I lost that note.