"boo radley moment"
A reference to the character of Boo Radley in the novel "To Kill a Mockingbird," a "Boo Radley Moment" is when a person is astonished at the sight of something or someone excessively strange and/or rare.
(Seeing a recluse emerge from their home after a prolonged period of time) Man: *stares blankly, mouth open* Recluse: Having a Boo Radley moment, are we?
(Photo #1. Robert Duvall as "Boo" in the 1962 film, To Kill a Mockingbird.)
(Photo #2. Johnny Depp as "Sam" having a Boo Radley Moment in the 1993 film, Benny and Joon.)
Introducing . . . Don the Plumber
Thursday, 13 April 2017. The basement flooded. Again. Mike came home from the shop to clean up and diagnose the clog. By now, he’s a pro at this.
First, he confirmed the floor drain was indeed a second-time offender. He then spent the next hour scooping water and unidentified floaties into Homer buckets. Following clean-up, he whisked around our 1,300 square-foot basement whilst analyzing various valve-related issues. Poking this, poking that, twisting things here and there while simultaneously engaging in an out-loud Q&A session with himself. Content with his answer, he located his whizzbang DIY BrassCraft plumbing auger, heaved it up the basement steps, then disappeared out a side door while floodwaters and floaties awaited further dispatch.
It does not matter how handy your husband is. When you live in a 119-year-old house, rule number one is this. Keep your plumber on your phone favorites list. Ours is on mine, under the moniker “Don The Plumber.”
Mike was in the front yard snaking the mainline with an auger plugged into an already over-burdened electrical source. I, in turn, was inside, watching the house lights surge bright then dim. Time to call Don.
Don answered promptly. I was in the process of explaining the flood and what Mike was doing about it when Mike announced, more or less, the problem was solved. I told Don to stand down. Off Mike went, back to the shop.
All was well. For a day.
Friday, 14 April 2017. The basement flooded. Again. Don was on his way from another job with no established ETA, so I decided to call the California DMV and straighten out their misunderstanding regarding the current location of my Jeep. It does not seem to matter how long you are out of California – the long arm of the income tax collector, fire prevention tax collector, dog tag fee collector, and assorted state agencies will manage to reach out, grab you, turn you upside down, and shake every nickel out of your pocket.
So, there I was waiting, on something called “virtual hold,” when the doorbell rang. I opened the door and greeted Don while apologizing that I might have to answer my phone really fast in the middle of a sentence. Don walked in at the same time the phone rang. I picked up and began my conversation with DMV-lady while watching Don stop and stare straight up at the red chandelier and Sistine Chapel-ish ceiling medallion in the foyer. Sometimes, I forget the impact our home has on newcomers. Don had not been inside since June 2016, when the house was still haggard, topsy-turvy from our move and awaiting application of various decorative flourishes.
I kept my eye on Don, trying to talk to him while juggling the DMV debate. I don’t think he heard me. He redirected his gaze from the foyer ceiling, aimed it to the right, and fixed it on something beyond the parlor door. At this point, I realized he was having a Boo Radley Moment. Several, in fact. Until he worked through them, intelligible communication was improbable.
“Oh … my … Lord,” he said as he recovered from his stupor and propelled himself into the parlor. “Is that a still?” he said. “Why do you have a still in your living room?” He makes a 90 degree turn. “Are those oilers?” he exclaims as he looks at the beginnings of our new steampunk project sprawled all over the cocktail table. Now his eyes are darting everywhere. “Are these chairs for sitting? Can I sit on these chairs? Oh my gawwwd where did you get that BENCH? It’s AWESOME! Why does the lady’s butt on this painting stick out? What’s bas relief? Can I touch it?
Don’s staccato fire questions remained partially unanswered while I continued my chat with the DMV. Overwhelmed by curiosity, Don exited the parlor and made his way to our den. I could hear him exclaiming, “Wow. What … is … that?” By this time, the DMV call had reached an unnatural end. I joined Don in the den and told him the giant object of fascination was a steampunk light Mike was building to illuminate the art collection. Don says, “Man, your husband’s an artist. Look how he mixed the galvanized with the copper. I just LOVE that!”
Shortly thereafter, Don was back on task. I told him Mike had snaked the main line, but Don was unimpressed. I showed him the auger, which he poo-pooed. He then headed out to his truck and hoisted out a mega-auger which he used to re-snake the mainline. I watched as Don gave me a blow-by-blow of the progress and made obligatory plumber cracks, such as the one about the size of his snake versus Mike’s.
Procedure completed, Don ran the water for 15 minutes before announcing the problem was solved. Don departed.
All was well. For a day.
Saturday, 15 April 2017. The basement flooded. Again. Don was on his way in while I was on my way out to run errands. Mike stayed behind so he and Don could put their heads together and come up with a solution.
An hour later, I’m back. Mike and Don are in the parlor yucking it up, drinking from a bottle of homemade orangecello bequeathed on us by our BFF’s, the Stalones. I assumed from their celebratory demeanor a resolution had been reached. Yes, indeed. Turns out great minds think alike. Tree roots were the culprit, and both guys had snaked the main line in the wrong direction.
I joined the boys and the conversation turned from plumbing to parlors. Don was fixated on the sea-change that had taken place in our house, a lot of which was accomplished with superficial décor. Don said it inspired him to do something fun with his own house which, he noted while wincing, was not infrequently overrun by bats and squirrels.
Don left, but I’m sure he’ll be back for one reason or another. In the meantime, let’s roll up our sleeves, go back to the beginning, and figure out how we gave Don his Boo Radley Moment.
Parlor plan #1: Visions of loveliness inspired by a Giuseppe Berenato Murano Chandelier
I won’t regale you at this time with the second half of our “misadventures in moving” tome. I’ll save that special stuff for later. Let’s just jump ahead to the point where we finally got enough boxes and furniture out of the parlor to see the floor. And it’s a beautiful floor. Check out this late 1800’s craftsmanship.
(Photo #3. Miter cuts on oak floor in parlor.)
15 June 2016-ish. We’d already decided to use the parlor as a combination dining and sitting area. The house has a gorgeous paneled dining room, but we rarely sit at the dining table. We like to use all the rooms in our house, so we made the paneled dining room the den.
The parlor is an awkward shape. Clearly, the 1898 construction of our house and Edith Wharton’s The Decoration of Houses first published in 1898 were ships passing in the night. Wharton advocated balanced and symmetrical rooms with architecture laid out in a manner that ensured privacy for the home’s “inmates,” who’d otherwise be exposed to nosy servants and peeping guests. Our parlor is a little over 14 feet wide by 18.5 feet long. It has a giant gaping pocket door that consumes half the length of one wall, a fireplace set at weird corner angle to the right of the pocket door, and, at the helm of the room to the left of the pocket door, a three-sided bay window arrangement consistent with the Queen Anne style. The space between the pocket door and the bay windows is completely taken by a giant radiator. And, there is a window directly across from the pocket door which frames an attractive view of the discarded appliances, buckets, and other assorted oddities on our neighbor’s porch.
(Photo #4. Parlor as depicted in a photo we saw on a real estate website that lured us to the house.)
(Photo #5. Real estate website photo taken from parlor showing pocket door and foyer.)
(Photo #6. Parlor, foyer, and small vestibule back on our April 2016 pre-move-in move-in day, when the stuff from the Tehachapi house arrived in Cadillac by way of Mayflower Moving.)
Furniture arrangement and placement of art therefore would be a challenge, as would lighting. For some reason, before arriving in Cadillac, I had it in my brain that there was a spot for a chandelier in the middle of the room. Theoretically, I supposed there was, but in reality, there was no electrical in the ceiling. Bummer. Given the heavy plaster texturing on the ceiling, that was going to be a problem. So was the fireplace, which was an old coal burner that had been screwed shut to ensure no one burned the house down.
July 2016-ish. After clearing the room, we were left with a hodge-podge of mismatched furniture from varied rooms at multiple homes past. A traditional-styled cream-colored mirrored armoire sat against the wall across from the pocket door and to the right of the “neighbor’s porch” window, which by now was shrouded by a protective temporary curtain. An undersized apple green settee, with a whimsical swoop-y back and a seat shredded by Roxy, was ceremoniously placed in the center of the middle bay window. Flanking the settee to its right and in front of the radiator was another settee, a vintage gold and pink brocade jobbie that was falling apart at the seams. A shabby vintage trunk served as the coffee table. Our funky19th century Eastern European banquette and my great grandparents’ dining table, then-currently painted bright blue, and lamps of many styles and conflicting color schemes completed the diverse ensemble.
(Photo #7. Creamy mirrored armoire, which subsequently was taken upstairs and swapped out with a black and gold armoire that used to be in our kitchen at the house in Orange.)
(Photo #8. Apple green settee and shabby coffee trunk.)
(Photo #9. Owen on the goldy-pinky brocade sette.)
(Photo #10. Levi reigning supreme over the Sanford & Sons furniture arrangement.)
August 2016-ish. My first step was to develop a vision for the room, including paint colors to establish its overall look and feel, and replacing the hodge-podge of furniture with a more consistent arrangement. We had already purchased a Murano chandelier specifically for this room. This delicate glass beauty had been shipped from Italy to Mike’s shop in Anaheim while we were still living in California. We then hauled it across the country and stuck it in the basement, where it sat in an unopened box until September 24, 2016.
I knew the chandelier would be the big statement piece in the room. Everything, starting with the paint colors which in turn would dictate the replacement furniture choices, turned on that chandelier.
In the meantime, not wanting to dig through the fiasco of boxes and art in the basement and unpack a fragile Murano, I instead pulled an Internet picture, the one I had relied upon when purchasing it from some clown named Giuseppe Berenato at a company called “Luce Italia.” Here’s the picture of the pivotal chandelier inspiring my dream for the room. As you can see, the dominant colors are pink and a peachy coral. Its shape is flowing, its mass is substantial, and it is ornate. It’s just glorious.
(Photo #11. The Giuseppe Murano El Magnifico.)
I was thinking, initially, the best color for the walls would be black. Our art has tons of color, not necessarily consistent, and black is hands-down the most fabulous grounding color when there is a lot going on in a room. Because there is no crown molding, I wanted to take the black paint up the walls and onto the ceiling. Art lights and silky taffeta-ish drapes in soft coral would ensure the room did not look like a dungeon. I thought the delicate pastels of the chandelier and drapes, offset by the black contrast, would be super stunning. The baseboard and window trim I would paint a metallic tequila gold that would pull orange-ish hues from the chandelier. For the furniture, we would purchase antique-y looking stuff that pulled attitude from the Murano and color from the art.
Easy-peasy, I thought. Just convert the fireplace to gas and this room is done. I moved on to other things.
Curses! Parlor plan #1 foiled by an Italian asshole
24 September 2016. I was prettttttyyy excited. Mike and I attacked the basement in search of the Giuseppe Murano. Twenty minutes later, we located two boxes containing the expensive masterpiece. We pried open the stapled top on box number one. Right away I noticed objects wrapped in Italian language newspapers. These in turn were mixed in with a bunch of popcorn. “This is weird,” I said to Mike. Muranos, at least the ones we had purchased in the past from other sources, came in multiple parts carefully shrink wrapped to flexible boards. The wrapped parts of this lamp – mostly glass – were just sort of mixed into a pile of popcorn. Extraction would be similar to digging through a McDonald’s ball pit for lost car keys.
I was beginning to have an uneasy feeling, but nonetheless watched as Mike pulled out what appeared to be a glass bell and began carefully unwinding it from the sports section. Unwrapping complete, he held the bell out for our mutual consideration. A few seconds went by before I broke the silence. “What the fuck is that?” I said. Mike was semi-speechless. He set down the object and dug out another part, unwrapped it, and again held it in the air to confirm we weren't seeing things. We weren't.
Let me just sum this up this way. It was the ugliest pieces of shit masquerading as a light source I’ve ever seen.
Furious, I stormed up the basement stairs, obnoxious glass bell in hand, and began composing one of my more eloquent pieces of correspondence in recent history. Document completed, I hit “send” and fired off this e-mail, which, to this day, has gone unanswered:
(Photo #12. Speaks for itself.)
Obviously, the parlor plan was not going to work. I tried to salvage the Giuseppe Pepto Bismol Murano by painting it black, thinking I could add some gold leaf to enhance its lovely flowing lines. I gave up as soon as I realized the only potentially complementary décor would be an ‘80’s pleather sofa and some Patrick Nagel posters.
(Photo #13. The Giuseppe Murano, '80's rehab version.)
Back to the drawing board.
Parlor plan #2: Figuring out paint colors, overhead lighting, and drapes (again)
October 2016-ish. When the Italians let you down, there’s only one place to go.
Seriously, I have been buying chandelier from this on-line superstore for years. Without exception, they have been very good quality, arrive unbroken, and now that we live in Michigan where there is no brick and mortar Lamps Plus, we pay no sales tax and shipping is free.
(Photo #12. Schonbek 6-light from the Madison Collection.)
I opted for two matching 24-inch six-light crystal Schonbeks. As it turns out, because we had two uses planned for the parlor and the room was long, it made sense to divide the spaces by hanging chandeliers separately over the dining and sitting areas. Maybe the whole Giuseppe letdown was divine intervention. (But, if you really want a reasonably priced Murano, I can say we had a good experience with a company called Sogni di Cristallo. These chandeliers arrived unbroken, in a condition consistent with advertising, and were quite pretty).
The paint choice was a little tougher. I initially thought about sticking with basic black and painting the baseboard and window trim glossy bright red. Mike wasn’t digging this. So, I poured myself a glass of wine and, under Levi's strict supervision and with an edition of Elle Decor at my side, started digging through paper paint splotches.
(Photo #14. All you need to pick color . . . a dog, a glass of wine, some reading material, and paint sample chips.)
As you can see from the progress photos I was taking to keep Mike engaged in my daily dawdles while he toiled away at the shop, I was all over the place with color. A little turquoise here, a little red there, how 'bout some teal?
(Photo #15. Splotches of the ill-fated black, turquoise, red, and teal on the wall adjacent to the fireplace. Oh, and a piece of the replacement furniture. We opted for some allegedly antique a la eBay chairs in red and gold leaf which look a hell of a lot nicer than they are.)
Not satisfied with the result, I next turned to amped-up purple, light bluish green, light blue, and WTF was I thinking, brown.
(Photo #16. More color splashes. In the background is the foyer, now painted in a really pretty Lapis Lazuli by Behr.)
(Photo #17. More light blue and pale greenish blues. There are odds and ends in the foreground along with a doggie life jacket. I really can't explain the life jacket.)
By this time, I was starting to love how red looks with light blue (the blue is my own mixture -- a little too cool and bright for the room) and pale green/blues. A plan was forming in my mind. I could do one of these colors with the red furniture, paint the dining room table glossy red, and paint the moldings and window trim metallic gold in a tone similar to the gold leaf on the chairs. The wall color we'd take up onto the ceiling, and to add visual interest to the ceiling, I thought we'd install medallions over the two chandelier.
Sound groovy? That's what I thought. But again, I could tell Mike just was not into it.
Having exhausted most of my options, I turned to an old faithful: Benjamin Moore's Aplomb. We had used the same color on the kitchen walls at our home in Orange (with the help of color specialist and friend Kathleen Jewel) and I knew it worked well with red. Most importantly, however, Mike liked it and, being decidedly purple, it was a good compromise.
(Photo #18. Benjamin Moore's Aplomb AF-625 from the Affinity line.)
The last step in the trifecta of wall color, chandelier, and drapes was selection of nice quality curtains that did not cost an arm and a leg. I turned to another favorite on-line super-store, Half Price Drapes. I freaking love this company. Their product quality, especially for the money, is superb. Their in-stock drapes arrive promptly following an order and, if you get on their e-mail list and watch for their special offers, you can get some screaming good deals (particularly around the holidays).
For the parlor, I selected 108-inch striped silk curtains in "Smokey Topaz and Amethyst" at a price of $74.50 per panel, on sale. I was a little bummed when I saw these same drapes were discounted even further a week or so later (they were clearance and not returnable), but the deal was still amazing for quality silk, lined, and weighted drapes. I also ordered 108-inch sheers in pale gold for $14.99 per two panels. (These sheers look ethereal from both the inside and outside the house. Just throw them in the dryer on the steam cycle or with a wet cloth to take out the creases and get them a little wavy and prettily crumpled.)
(Photo #19. Smokey Topaz and Amethyst drapes as depicted on Half Price Drape's website.)
For the curtain tie backs, I chose jeweled cuffs because I wanted the drapes gathered super tight to let in the maximum amount of light. Lorella Dia (an Italian artisan who did not let me down) made these whimsical beauties. What's not to love?
(Photo #20. Lorella Dia Lighting Creations handmade tiebacks.)
Finally, for the switch plates, outlet covers, and drapery rods, I went for Susan Goldstick. Susan is a California-based artist who makes fabulous, colorful jeweled hardware, knobs, switch plates, lamps, and furniture. We have been buying knobs and switch plates from Susan for years. She also will do custom colors to match your decor.
(Photo #21. Susan Goldstick switch plate.)
(Photo #22. Susan Goldstick drapery rod and finial.)
Parlor Plan #2: The soft stuff
October 2016-ish (still). Next were the throws -- both pillows and blankets -- and several "tie in" items de décor. For these things, I went to Etsy. This is another great source for unique and (usually) high quality items. I've bought a lot through Etsy and have had only one bad experience with a seller called Bharat USA who was unresponsive and then took back a return without a corresponding return of funds.
We already had a little bit of chaos going with some of the existing textiles and lamps, including some hot pinks, burgundy, dark navy, and turquoise. All of this might sound good hypothetically, but when thrown in with red and purple, things were going to spin out of control. As can be seen from the following photos, the idea behind these new selections was adding some fun texture and linking otherwise inconsistent colors in the drapes, furniture, and on the walls.
(Photo #23. Throw pillow covered with re-purposed mink coat from ElleVintage369.)
(Photo #24. "Caramel Sundae" pillow cover in bronze faux silk with ribbon fringe from CPDCDecor.)
(Photo #25. "Gold Pink Floral" accent throw pillow cover from couchdwellers.)
(Photo #26. "Red Velvet and Gold Brocade Heart Decorative Pillow" from SendASmooch.)
(Photo #27. Reversible leopard to cut velvet tasseled throw blanket from Myshop1020.)
(Photo #28. Plaid black, turquoise, and yellow handmade throw pillow from originalthrowpillows.)
(Photo #29."The Czarina, Boho, mixed media hand carved" corbel from blueyeduckstudios.)
(Photo #30. "Couture Boudoir Lampshade with John Waterhouse's Pandora's Box" by filigreelamps. This is a Victorian reading lamp which I hung high on the middle bay window rod.)
Parlor plan #2: The hard stuff (ceiling, fireplace, and paint)
July 2016 - November 2016-ish. While on-line shopping was afoot, Positive Chimney (here in Cadillac) was busy converting the parlor and foyer fireplaces to gas units. Both fireplaces, when constructed, burned coal. Herb at Positive Chimney explained he worked on our house back in the 80's when the owner installed a wood-burning boiler down in the basement. This heating scenario required placement of a liner in the foyer chimney flue which rendered the foyer chimney inoperable. The parlor fireplace, which backs the foyer fireplace, just could not safely be used as a wood burner (as evidenced by burn marks on the wood floor adjacent to the hearth).
Both fireplaces have beautiful antique mirrored surrounds. When Positive Chimney (super contractor, by the way) removed the parlor fireplace surround, we were surprised to discover multiple layers of old wallpaper with the bottom-most layer appearing original to the house. This told us the parlor fireplace surround (as well as the one in the foyer) was not original to the house. Presumably, the surrounds were architectural salvage added at some point down the road after original construction, probably by the fellow who lived here in the '80's and did quite a bit of work on the house.
(Photo #31. Parlor fireplace with surround removed and exposed wallpaper layers.)
The fireplace renovation was an ongoing event while Mike and I decided to add a tin ceiling. We needed overhead lighting, and putting up tin was the path of least resistance vis-a-vis the plaster ceiling and chandelier installation. Plus, Mike and his brother Greg had installed tin on the kitchen ceiling at the house in Orange and we loved it.
So, back to American Tin's on-line store we went. Our last tin ceiling was candy apple red, but we decided glossy black was the best color to keep the parlor dramatic without making it look like a complete circus.
19 November 2016 -- 30 November 2016. Mike and Greg started measuring, trimming, and nailing up tin on the ceiling. There was only one snafu (that I can remember) which resulted in them having to pull down about half a day's worth of work. It had something to do with a miscalculation by a mathemagician.
While the Brothers Amazing were working on the ceiling, I started painting. I'd waited soooo long for this!
(Photo #32. Mikyver in action installing the American Tin ceiling. American Tin is a great resource.)
(Photo #33. Mikyver and Gregyver, the Dynamic Duo.)
(Photo #34. Close-up of crown moulding installation.)
(Photo #35. Fireplace progress. Positive Chimney set up the surround and the fireplace front temporarily to allow Cadillac Cut Stone to measure for granite installation. The unit is Valor's Portrait Series, Windsor Arch.)
(Photo #36. Here, we have the granite installed. It's called Madagascar Blue, which reads green with a gorgeous bright blue popping out here and there. Cadillac Cut Stone did a very nice job on this. Last step is for Positive Chimney to come back and install the units and the fronts.)
(Photo #37. Now it's my turn. Painting at night. Originally I was going to sand down the baseboards and window trim and do it right, but I had a lead paint freak-out and decided to take a short cut. The trim is Modern Masters Pearl Black.)
Parlor Plan #2: Pulling it together (sort of, but something is just not right)
December 2016-ish. Finally, things were starting to come together in the parlor. We started moving furniture in and around the room and added a glass cocktail table to replace the shabby trunk. We also purchased less wobbly dining chairs. By January, I was moderately satisfied with the outcome.
(Photo #38. The parlor is almost done! Cool dining chairs are from The Interior Gallery in Dallas by way of eBay.)
(Photo #39. Like I said, almost done. I'm not liking the light blue lamp shade. It's just too far across the room from the rest of the light blue I'm trying to pull from the art. Sort of creates a ping pong effect in the brain. I'm also not really loving the bright blue dining table. It worked in our former house because it matched the ceiling, but now it's sort of a stick-out with no bright blue friends big enough to keep it company.)
(Photo #40. But I am pleased with the drapery and hardware.)
(Photo #41. And I like the paint job on the pocket door, team effort by me and Mike.)
(Photo #42. Art by Marcus Glenn. The lady's butt -- the bas relief one in the top piece in an orange and pink dress -- is the one Don the Plumber tried to grab.)
(Photo #43. One of my personal favorites. Here is a tassel made from a vintage Lucky Strike Monkey figurine hanging on a cherub lamp. Doesn't every chain-smoking monkey need a cherub friend to get him through the Pearly Gates? The tassel is from Savannah Tassel Company available on Etsy. Her tongue-in-cheek tassels are wonderful. They are scattered all over our house.)
Parlor plan #2: My mom is going to freak when she finds out I painted great grandma's dining table AGAIN...
April 2017-ish. Okay, so while I was a hardworking litigator who rarely took vacations, my big treat was to take a few days off and paint rooms, repaint rooms, paint furniture, and repaint furniture. I've painted my great grandparents' dining table four times. Why not go for five? And while I'm at it, I'm going to repaint a $60 side table (Old Towne Orange antique shop find) that's been bugging the crap out of me for almost seven years.
The trick is, because we have about 90 cans of paint and sample pots in the basement, I'm going to follow two rules. One, I'm going to sand before painting for the first time ever. Two, I'm only going to use sample pots to paint these tables.
Ready, set, go!
(Photo #44. Self-explanatory.)
(Photo #45. Side table after I sanded off the swirly ridges.)
(Photo #46. Turns out I'm not good at sanding. It looks like shit. Now I need to let this dry before coming up with a new game plan, so I'm going to turn my attention to the dining table. By this time, I have a coat of gold oil paint on the dining table under the debris.)
(Photo #47. I decide to break my "only sample pots on hand" rule and call Mike. He's at Home Depot. I say, "Can you pick up a sample pot of green paint? Lime green, not too pastel, but not too bright either." He comes back with this. It's called "Anime." The words coming out of my mouth are, "Looks perfect, thanks!" but the words going through my head are, "Looks like monkey vomit." However, it's nothing I can't fix with a little cream and turquoise mixed in from the other sample pots.
(Photo #48. A bit of a set back with dripping gold leaf paint. But then, an epiphany. Perfection is overrated! Just let it puddle down like you did it on purpose.)
(Photo #49. Add some matchy-matchy fake orchids and I like it like that! The side table is another story. I got frustrated and just started swirling different colors all over the top. Why not.)
(Photo #50. Side table and dining table are now close to complete. You may be wondering, "Why the wild colors on the table?" I did that to pull the colors from the antique banquette but punched it up a few notches to keep things lively. BTW, the purple Walmart rug is just a dog blanket.)
(Photo # 51. All pulled together. Parlor is looking fun, but it is lacking a certain je ne sais quoi.)
Parlor Plan #2: Just add an Ecto-Fairy Steam Vault, a pièce de résistance lamp, and stick a fork in it. She's done!
You can learn a lot about people by observing how they respond to life's Boo Radley Moments. Do they respond to the excessively strange thing with laughter? Wonderment? A huge smile? Or is it derision. Judgment or criticism? Do they want to be its friend? Do they try to outsmart it? One up it? Do they tease it, pet it, put it on a leash, stick it in a cage, or try to shoot it?
What about me? How do I respond?
I buy it.
7 April 2017. I'm on Etsy. Again. I find this ... thing. I blink in astonishment and stare at the computer screen. Is that a Hobbit in the lower left corner? Is that an oil can attached to a teacup with lights and pulleys attached to a Hobbit Machine Shop? WTF?
Now we're talking.
(Photo #52. The Ecto-Fairy Steam Vault from FaeScapes in Bothell, Washington. It lights up.)
Smitten with the Ecto-Fairy Steam Vault, I eagerly dove into FaeScapes' on-line shop. No. Really? Is that a lamp growing out of a diver's helmet? Shut the front door. Does that lamp have ... wings?
(Photo #53. "Imagination," a lamp created by FaeScapes destined to replace the Hollywood Regency lamp with a light blue shade on our side table.)
Tap tap tap on the keyboard. Tap. Click. Tap, click, tap, click click click and . . . click.
17 April 2017. The Ecto-Fairy Steamvault and a lamp named "Imagination" have traveled across the United States from my old stomping ground in Washington state and are now sitting in boxes in the foyer. I open the smaller box containing the Ecto-Fairy Steamvault and gently remove it from its popcorn surround. Fabulous. Now I turn to the bigger box. Open it. Try to lift Mr. Imagination from his cocoon of bubbles and popcorn. This isn't going to be so easy. Must wait for Mike.
(Photo #54. Imagination stuck in a box.)
Now here's some background on this. Mike wasn't really aware of these purchases. At least not on a detail level. I told him I bought something to put on the cocktail table and a lamp, but I didn't indulge him with additional information.
Fortunately, he was in a good mood when he got home. He saw the Ecto-Fairy Steam Vault on the cocktail table. "Did you buy something?" he asks. "Yeppers," I say before explaining I need help extricating a lamp from this box over here. Mike walks to the box and peers in. He knows me well enough not to bother asking questions and just begins the extraction process. "I can't believe someone actually thought they could ship this," he grumbled as the box gave birth to what may be the weirdest lamp in the history of illumination.
The moment of truth has arrived. What does Mike say once he wraps his mind around the implications of our most recent UPS delivery?
"Bitchen!" he exclaims, dragging out the short "e" -- "Bitchheeeeeeehnnn!"
(Photo # 55. Mike posing with his new friend.)
(Photo # 56. The little fairy man whistlin' while he works at his Ecto-Fairy Steam Vault. BTW, his tiny backpack contraption says, "Ghost Hunters Inc.")
(Photo # 57. Imagination and the Ecto-Fairy Steamvault at home in the parlor.)
As you can see, light fixtures played a huge part in the decoration of our parlor. The room had come full circle. It's inspiration started with the Giuseppe Berenato Pepto Bismol Puke Murano Chandelier and ended with a winged lamp called Imagination. Now, we have just one wee little detail to address -- we're rotating the Michael Godard olive and martini art currently hung to the left of Imagination and hanging this lovely painting called "Christina the Astonishing" by Victor Lee (St. Victor Diaries). The paint is still drying on this work of art, so the best I can do at this time is take a picture of my computer screen.
(Photo # 58. "Christina the Astonishing" by Victor Lee.)
I hope you enjoyed the decoration of our parlor. We sure did. In the meantime, I'd like to suggest a movie for your viewing pleasure: Benny and Joon. It just might change your life. If not, it has some of the most sublimely LOL-hilarious scenes in the history of cinema. So at least you might get a laugh.
Or . . . maybe you'll have a Boo Radley Moment.