The other day as I was passing through the living room, I noticed an arrangement of canned olives artfully displayed on the console table by the front door. Ripe. Large. Spanish. On the window sill, was a tower of fruit cocktail. The sight of canned goods in my living room struck terror in my heart. It was already starting to happen. It’s only a matter of time before I find my dresser lodged in the staircase.
Since we have taken the baby gates down and Sean has had free reign of the house, I am finding all kinds of unusual things in unexpected places. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the whimsy a can of olives can bring to good home design, because I do. Not to mention what they can do for a martini. But at the same time it scares me because I know from experience that it starts out innocently enough accessorizing with a few canned goods here and there, rearranging a few pictures, sorting books large to small, but it won’t be long before he’s moving furniture. Ask my dad.
My parents didn’t go out a lot when I was growing up — partly because they didn’t have a lot of extra money for that kind of thing, but mainly because they were afraid of what they might come home to. Anytime my parents went out for an extended period of time, I would get all Laurie Smith and do a Trading Spaces on my house.
In just a few hours and with no money or a carpenter, I could make over our entire house. I would switch everyone’s bedrooms, taking the largest room for myself of course, and assigning my brothers to my small room. I rearranged and organized everyone’s closets and dresser drawers. I re-hung pictures. I made curtains. Sometimes I even painted.
My parents never seemed to mind or at least they put up with it. Or maybe they were just too tired to move the furniture back. And they never asked how a 60-pound 9-year-old girl could move a bedroom suite by herself. Or maybe they were just afraid to know. I have always been a remarkably resourceful being with a very strong back and an even stronger will. Although, one time I did get a chest of drawers stuck sideways in the staircase. You might expect that when my dad came home to find his dresser stuck betwixt and between the two floors that he might say something like, “What the hell???…” But no. The only question he asked was “Where were you planning to put this anyway?”
And that is why finding olives in my living room is so frightening. Because I know it’s just a matter of time before I come home to find my dresser lodged in the staircase.