decorating · humor · musings

Just Cover It Up

I’ve now been in my Mexican casita for a year, and since I have loads of time in isolation, I continually look around to see if I need to add, change, move, or replace something to enhance the décor.

It’s what can happen to an idle mind: if you don’t like what is happening, repaint a wall or buy a new throw rug.

Redecorating is stressful: trying to decide on the right colors for the sofa that go with the wall color you haven’t selected, and then finding the exact rug that will tie it all together requires hours of addictive searching of online stores.

All this mind playing takes me back to the days right after I married into the family of 4 teenagers. I had been single and had a beautiful white brocade couch accented with two over-stuffed chairs in pale yellow. A beautiful crystal chandelier hung over the chrome and glass dining room table. Really perfect unless you have kids hanging around on it.

The rude awakening began when I came in one day and a greasy, nasty, messy, oily, motor sat in the middle of the table. It caught my attention because it just didn’t fit with the chandelier. I stood there, trying to get my breath, gulping for air so I could shriek at the top of my lungs.

Being a reasonable adult, I stormed out to the garage, attempting to remain rational, so I could understand why in the world a motor had been plopped down where we would soon sit to eat.

“What is that on the dining table?” I screeched in a voice that was pitched two octaves above my normal tone.

“It’s the lawn mower motor,” was the reply from the non-communicative 14-year-old.

“Why is it there?” I queried.

“I had to put it somewhere while I worked on it.”

Perfectly logical to a teenage boy. Not so clear to the owner of the chrome and glass table!

It did make me reconsider the house décor. When I walked back into the house, I took a look around and realized that my white sofa was now dingy brown, and the yellow chairs were less than pristine.

The next day I took everything to an upholstery shop and had that sofa covered in dark brown material that would last 110 years, the chairs got a new look in brown checks, and I put a plastic tablecloth over the gleaming glass and chrome dining table. It was 12 years before I saw the glass top again, and the last time I saw that sofa, it was still brown!

In decorating books, that redo is called ‘Decorating by Necessity’. I didn’t care if the carpet matched the table covering, or if the chairs complemented the walls. All I wanted was to make the house livable for six people and a dog, without me freaking out about keeping things perfect.

To this day I don’t understand disassembling a motor in the dining room, but I do understand why I sport grey hair I proudly cover up with pink hair coloring: it was most certainly caused by living with ugly furniture and smelling motor fumes while consuming Hamburger Helpers.




2 thoughts on “Just Cover It Up

  1. Laughing up here in Michigan. My mom had 4 kids and one husband and one dog. We had brown plaid sofas for as long as I can remember. 🙂 My sister and I just put new floors in what used to be mom and dad’s lake house which we inherited 16 years ago. For all those years we kept it pretty much exactly the same until recently we realized the furniture had been beat up and was sort of filthy and the carpet had wrinkles in it that we kept tripping over. So we put down rustic vinyl plank flooring (it’s a lake house, everything gets wet) and we bought a beautiful light turquoise sofa and a beautiful area rug. Not very smart, that sofa, but it was so beautiful and we know Mom would have loved it. We threw out the brown plaid sofa. Somewhere I hope Mom is smiling. I think she is.


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