I gave up all ambition to accomplish anything today, and went back to bed. And it’s all my sister-in-law’s fault.
You see, my sister-in-law has the soul of a decorator. Her house is always gorgeous, with just the right touches in the corners; the colors are not just pleasing, but comforting, the pictures hanging on the walls are always straight. And she is constantly working on it – moving furniture, painting walls, even changing out the pictures, swapping them around to give the visitor a whole new perspective on perfect.
Me? Not so much. I go for the comfortable look. Once a picture is hung in our house, usually the day after we move in, it is there to stay until we move out. I have no eye for color, no awareness of furniture fashion. Mainly, this lack of any decorating sense has served us well; it’s hard to want to bring new stuff into a household full of hairy, shedding beasts (and I include Bruce and myself amongst them).
But because my sister-in-law likes to change up her decor, she often takes pity on me and generously passes on items that no longer fit into her vision. On my last visit, she asked me if I wanted a practically brand-new bed linens set. Gorgeous, swirling blues and greens, fresh, soothing, lovely. From Pottery Barn. Even I know that Pottery Barn is THE place for quality home goods. So, since my dogs had recently taken to tearing open the seams of my old bedspread to pull out the stuffing, I greedily clutched the beautiful fabric in my hands and scurried home to re-do my bedroom, imagining a calm oasis in which to relax and lay our heads. Two things: that was a month ago, and I just decided to attack the project now, so it’s all been sitting in a pile, creating a not-so-calm oasis in which I regularly heard Bruce cussing as he tripped over it. The other thing you need to know is that the bed set I am replacing was also given to me by my sister-in-law, about 10 years ago, and it, too, was a first-class set, including all the necessities, plus curtains. (come to think of it, the cover on my daughter’s bed was Susan’s, too – good lord, I’m the poor relation of which I’ve read in gothic novels!)
So I finally got around to my version of redecorating. I stripped off old cover and shams, took down matching curtains, and hauled them all away. We shall not discuss what happens to curtains when they have hung for 10 years. I will just say there were more critters in my house than I realized. I had gotten around to ordering european pillows, which are square (why?), to fit the new shams, and thought I would find some pretty curtains when I went to the store to pick up the pillows. I ordered them from a store I had not shopped at in years and years, and, while I won’t mention the name specifically, it starts with 2 initials and ends with a name that sounds like a coin that is not a nickel, dime, or quarter.
I wandered in at opening, wondering to myself why I never shopped there – gee! look at all the sales! – and went back to the customer service counter to pick up the order. Only one register was working, one man in his 80’s was working it (I am not exaggerating), and 5 people were in line with returns, pick ups, and purchases. A sales clerk walked by, looked us over, and turned around and left. When next she came by, I told her, politely, that I just had a pick up, and I’d be happy to pay for it at another register, if that would be easier. She grudgingly took my number, and that of another customer’s, and disappeared. For 15 minutes. About 10 minutes into my wait, I went looking for curtains, thinking I could at least be productive while she took what apparently was her lunch break. I found some that would do (My sister-in-law would never have settled on something that “would do” – first mistake), and came back to the counter, where the clerk shoved a box only slightly smaller than my car across the floor to me, and said, “Here’s your pillows.” And turned away. I am not often stunned into silence, but I have to admit my mouth was hanging open, and nothing was coming out. I had a brief, internal debate about what my next actions should be, but, because I did not want to go to prison, I merely got back in line and paid for my curtains. It was hot, and the curtains were on sale, and…I really don’t know what was wrong with me… I never stand meekly by when I have been so stunningly mistreated. But I did. And then I ripped open the huge box in the middle of the sales floor, took out the three pillows, and stalked out. I’m sure they could sense my displeasure in my posture and stride. And they cared. I’m sure they cared.
When I got home, I scurried excitedly about, stuffing pillows into shams, smoothing covers, twitching the bed skirt into place. Everything looked terrific. For the final touch, I took the curtains out to hang them. And realized I had bought the wrong length. And that I was going to have to go back to the store to return them. In the heat. To the customer service desk. And interact with those employees. At that store I had sworn to never again grace with my presence.
I couldn’t handle it. I just lost it. I crawled into bed with two of the hairy beasts (not Bruce), and just gave up. And blamed my sister-in-law.