Drool on It All If You Like: It’s Your Stuff

plastic covered couchFella comes to our house, wants to clean a rug that lies on the floor of a room where a zillion dust motes dance in the golden bars of daylong sunlight but the minute he walks in, his face goes pale.

“What have you done here?” he cries. “Your rugs are all faded! “

I look and he is right: The rug he has come to clean had been red, tan and navy when we bought it. Now it is rust, cream and baby blue.

“This rug is losing RADIANCE! “ he yelled.

“I’m losing radiance myself, “ I say. “It’s fine. It doesn’t hurt. “

“Here’s what you have to do, “ he goes on, ignoring me. “Pull down the shades. Draw the drapes.” He bustles around doing this until the room that has dazzled with sunlight a moment before looks ready now for a séance.

“But we love the sun!” I tell him feebly. We sit in this window seat here, and-”

“Then at least take a sheet and cover the area of greatest exposure!“ he snaps.

“You owe it to your rugs,“ he adds, scooping up the carpet in question and hurrying out the door.

I have thought a lot about this scene since that day. This is the man who sold us our rugs in the first place and I was sorry to let him down, but I just can’t run a house his way, keeping the rugs bright by locking the sunlight out. Keeping things perfect under plastic. Pleasant under glass.

I used to visit houses like this when I was a kid and they made me feel as though silken cords were stretched across the chair arms, and velvet ropes were hung across the doorways.

I vowed I would never run my own house that way.

And I don’t. We live in our house, dammit. We live all over those velvet sofas in the living room, which are only velvet because velvet is the toughest fabric there is.

But now the upholstery man has just gotten after me too. He came here once for the Victorian sofa I had tried reupholstering myself a decade ago that ended up looking like a lumpy pink bed with a person sewn inside it. He took that old thing out and turned it into a pale-blue dream of perfection.

Then this past month, a small visitor set her tiny bones upon a sofa even older than the Victorian one and blam! one Duncan Fife leg – ball, claw, and all – shot straight out from under it. So the guy was here now to perform diagnosis on the break.

But his gaze fell first upon toddler who was clumping quietly around in his little white shoes. 

You let your CHILDREN in this room?“ he squeaked, his voice ascending the scale of disbelief.

“Sure, “ I answered, as the child in question smiled sweetly and drooled a little onto the velvet.

“On THIS couch!? “ He squeaked. “MY couch?! “

“It’s going to lose radiance!” I could all but  hear him say next.

He didn’t say that though. Instead he picked up the most recent casualty and started for the door. “It’s your house, “ he shrugged washing his hands of us all.

“You bet!“ I called after him.

Because really it’s fine by me if our stuff is too worn out to pass down to our kids one day. What I would much rather pass down to them is permission to enjoy the beauty of their surroundings; permission to fade, as we all must fade, gloriously, in the sun.

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16 thoughts on “Drool on It All If You Like: It’s Your Stuff

  1. “I’m losing radiance myself, “ I say. “It’s fine. It doesn’t hurt. “ But DULL you’ll never be Terry!
    This will make me smile all day!

  2. I loved the “I’m losing radiance myself” comment as well. I grew up in a house that had to be perfect – fine, the furniture looked great, but the house was not lived in – a house that is not a home. p.s. – talk about these contractors taking it personally!

  3. At first I thought
    that was a photo of Cal but I don’t think it is. I do recall some houses that had that plastic wrap on their sofas and One would tear skin off the backs of ones thighs when slipping down off the sofa. Yikes that hurt.

  4. that looks like my sofa when i was a kid, plastic and all. i’ve never understand how some people NEVER open their blinds/shades/curtains. i wish i could retract the roof and let in as much light as possible…and i bet when you look at your faded rug it looks more beautiful now than it ever has, it has plenty of hidden footprints. xo love to you t!

    1. And love back to you Nic.. I do cherish two things, sunlight and all the old stuff. We still sleep in a bed with a headboard we found when we bought our first house in 1975. It was down in the cellar covered with black varnish, a tall thing maybe 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide. I refinished it and we still use it today. When we die – together I hope like that rich old couple on the Titanic – maybe our kids will float us out to see on it .

      1. that’s outstanding…. you are so amazing at refinishing. you should do a blog on all the stuff you’ve transformed with plenty of pictures in the sunlight! xo

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