Sorry for the radio silence, friends and fans. I wish I had a proper excuse, but really, whenever I started to write my brain would refuse to string words together, and instead concoct pictures of dancing gerbils for half an hour.
On Wednesday night, Taylor and I went to my parent’s house for the long Thanksgiving weekend. I played with my three year old niece, Bella. We spent a lot of time drawing and coloring, and she busily appropriated crayons to different people in the living room. Taylor got the red crayon, and Grandma got the blue crayon, but Taylor couldn’t have the red crayon anymore, because Grandma needed it, and the orange crayon doesn’t work, so that one goes to Grandpa. I wasn’t a part of the crayon redistribution because I was busily drawing pictures of dogs and cats on demand for Her Royal Bellaness.
The dogs, she told me, were all named Fido.
And so were the cats.
Thanksgiving was chill and pleasant. Dad made up a recipe for pickled green beans with hot chili powder, which are both exactly what they sound like and infinitely better than what you’d expect. Dad also made a few drinks after dinner and I found out, to my shame, that I have a lower tolerance for alcohol than my mother. That evening, Taylor made me promise that I would go furniture shopping with him on Saturday.
To two furniture stores.
Here’s the thing about me: I love the idea of decorating, but the application? Not so much. I can’t only look at so many coffee tables and dining room chairs before I go mental. By the second hour patrolling through carefully staged living rooms a voice in my brain starts yelling, “LIGHT IT ALL ON FIRE. THEN WE CAN GO HOME AND WATCH SPONGEBOB.” So when Taylor said ‘two furniture stores’, Dania and the immobile giant Ikea, I had an ominous knot in my stomach.
“I may get worn out,” I told him. “That might be too much for me.”
Taylor snorted as he finished a slice of pumpkin pie.
“Two stores?” he said. “You can handle that.”
Friday came and went, and when I woke up in Saturday, I lay in bed steeling myself for several minutes. It was Furniture Day.
I fitted myself up with boots, a ponytail and a Diet Coke for a little extra fortification and we hit the road. The first furniture store had the desk that Taylor wanted, a simple L-shaped affair composed of three individual pieces. Not too expensive. High quality. Not too shabby.
It was actually, dare I say it, sort of fun to go through the store, trying out furniture and teasing each other about our different tastes. I like fabric couches that look like you could use them for cover in a nuclear attack. Sturdy. Able to weather the claws of cats and the assault of spilled party drinks. Even better if they look cushy and inviting. I like couches with ‘character’, but I also like pugs, so there’s your point of reference.
Taylor is something of a minimalist. He likes couches with smooth, clean lines and ninety-degree angles. He doesn’t like the ‘overstuffed’ look. A number of these couches happen to be leather, although leather is by no means a requirement.
He thinks that the furniture I like looks messy and disorganized.
I think that the furniture he likes looks like it belongs in a doctor’s waiting room.
Despite our differing opinions, we found some pieces that we both really liked. Not just ‘accepted’ or ‘dealt with’, but were both totally excited about. This included his desk, a futon, and a blue sectional couch that was sturdy fabric with clean lines. We felt successful and energized.
Aaaaand we should have probably ended the day there.
Instead, we both tried to trek into Ikea, the Mordor of furniture, swarming with people shouting and arguing about which table or which lamp, shoving and crowding and yelling. Being a small person, I immediately felt drowned in the noise and the maze of choices. I grabbed Taylor’s hand, and we waded in.
After five minutes, I was putting up a brave face. After twenty minutes, I was beginning to feel the strain. After thirty, I was a raging grouchmonster and I wanted to go home. I could see the beginnings of grumposity on Taylor’s face as well, and as we tried to discuss what we liked and didn’t, little niggling arguments began that ran in circles until we were both pissed off and exhausted. We both tried to diffuse it by making small innocuous comments as we went through the store, but everything we said started off a hailstorm of disagreement.
I mentioned that I thought jars of buttons would be a cute centerpiece. Taylor said that he didn’t really get how that was ‘cute’, and it just sounded kind of cluttered. I was insulted, so I got insulting. Taylor got insulting right back. We realized we were both feeling foul and left it alone.
Taylor said he wanted to be careful that we use the coat closet in the new place, instead of dumping coats wherever we do now. I felt this was a jab at me, and tried to stress the need for a catch-all at the door because we are both sloppy sometimes. This boiled into a huge debate about whether we should just live in filth, like I supposedly wanted, or have completely unrealistic expectations, like Taylor supposedly wanted. Again, we realized after a few minutes that we were both out of sorts and left it alone.
By the Marketplace section of Ikea we were both done. “I’m ready to go,” said Taylor. “Can we go?” I nodded and took his arm and we bolted for the way out, stopping only to throw those obnoxiously huge yellow bags in the bin.
Stepping out of Ikea was like gulping down a fresh of breath air. We immediately felt the unwarranted grouchiness melting away, and the farther we got from that great Swedish nightmare, the better we felt. It was like coming out of Oz, and we were both a bit bemused about the whole thing. We are never that argumentative. Our biggest disagreements are usually long discussions that culminate in ‘needing a hug’, but that…weirdness couldn’t even have been described as a disagreement.
Just a series of grumplets grouched into a giant humbug.
That night when we got into bed we lay staring up at the ceiling in the dark.
“I’m sorry I was kind of mean today,” I said. “You didn’t deserve all that.”
“I’m sorry too,” said Taylor. “You told me that would be too much for you.”
“Yeah. It really was.”
We lay quietly for a few moments.
“I really did like that couch,” I said, after a minute.
“Me too,” said Taylor. “That was really good. I liked that a lot.”
And we left it there. Lesson learned. A little furniture shopping is a good thing.
And too much will lead to a knife fight.