Saturday, July 25, 2009


In June, when both of my daughters came home for a couple of weeks, I was the recipient of an intervention.

It was raw. It was emotional. But they felt the situation was desperate enough to intervene.

I had been on a trip to Door County, Wisconsin, with my four sisters. When I got home, my daughters were waiting for me. “Mom,” my oldest daughter said, carefully speaking from the intervention script she had prepared in advance, “your addiction is affecting the whole family.”

My addiction?!? Ye gads, did they find the Peanut M&M wrapper in the garbage?

She continued with the prepared script. “Your obsessive-compulsive clinging to your 1986 wallpaper and carpet has forced us to do a redecorating intervention.”

Desperate, I looked at my younger daughter for support. She stared back, steely-eyed, and said, “It’s true. You need a redecorating intervention.”

I immediately went into denial. My 1980s mauve and powder blue carpets? My matching wallpaper with the stripes and flowers? My white plastic light fixtures—complete with 20-year-old baked-on bugs? Was there something wrong with this classic look? Wasn’t it sort of retro/shabby chic?

At that point in the intervention, the girls pulled out paint chips with color names like “Spiced Applesauce,” “Olive Garden,” and “Warm Gingerbread.” I found myself feeling a little hungry. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad. But when they presented a sheet from the local Floor to Ceiling store with price estimates for carpet, I suddenly lost my appetite.

I looked to Tom for help—good old dependable Tom. I knew I could count on him to veto spending all that money on new carpet and paint. He would support me one hundred percent. But when he couldn’t look me in the eye, I knew that the girls had gotten to him in my absence. “Dad called the painter and he can come next week,” one of my daughters said, giving her father a quick warning look with an unspoken, ‘Right, Dad?’

In my own defense, it’s not that I never planned to redecorate again. Tom and I have already spent 32 years in this house, and my guess is we will spend the next 30 years here, too. My plan has always been to redecorate right before we put the house on the market to go to the nursing home—in the year 2039 or so—to kind of spruce it up a bit for potential buyers.

So now that the intervention is over and we’ve repainted and recarpeted half of the house, I have to admit that it’s an improvement. However, now the other half of the house definitely looks slum-like in comparison. So I suppose there’ll be a second intervention, more paint chips, another heart-stopping carpet estimate . . . which will lead to a third intervention for the outdated siding and the leaky windows, etc.

It’s enough to drive a person to drink—but I suppose that’s just inviting another intervention.

1 comment:

bd said...

Too Funny!! THANK GOD you have girls!! We have the same wood paneling installed just before our wedding in the living room of Russ' home farm house (seems like just yesterday he claims)