Decorating Surprises

#FlashFictionFeb Day 9 Write about a surprise gone wrong. (600 words)

There’s a misconception that creative people are also good at crafty, paint-y, decorate-y things.

I am solid proof that this is false information and possibly a filthy lie.

Oh, I’ve tried. Believe me. I was one of those people who thought, “I’m creative! I can make a story out of the expression on my cat’s face, of course I can self-decorate the house while I’m home with all this time on my hands.”

Well, I was wrong. But don’t tell my husband.

In my somewhat tepid defense, home decorating shows use camera sorcery to make people believe they can paint an “easy” plaid pattern on one wall of their den that doesn’t end up looking like something from a Dr. Seuss illustration.

I was enchanted enough by this idea to follow Shondra-on-the-tee-vee’s advice and use contrasting colors for a “pop” all dens need. I surprised my husband George
with the “pop” of color.

He did not appreciate it, or my newfound advice on “popping” color but was kind enough to offer to paint over it.

“Why would you want to paint over it?” I asked, appalled that he was not smitten with the brown and yellow plaid.

“Because it looks like a rotten banana and it’s hideous,” George said, in a very disenchanted way. “Please do not paint anymore.”

I was clearly under attack. If 25 years of marriage teaches you anything, it’s to be on the offensive preemptively. I had to defend my creativity.

“Well, I am sorry that you cannot appreciate a fashionable home,” I huffed. “And if you don’t like the plaid wall, you’re really going to hate what I did to the kitchen cabinets.”

“I doubt that,” he said, doubtfully, but he had yet to see the chalk paint that looked ridiculously like white shoe polish wiped on every wooden surface of the kitchen.

“Oh my God,” George said, when he did see it. “Are you…finished? Or is this the primer?” He reached out to feel the paint.

“Don’t touch it!” I screamed. “It picks up fingerprints like a bitch. I need to stencil some swirly things on it, so it doesn’t show smudges,” I explained.

“What are the smudges on it already?” he asked.

“They’re stencils I messed up,” I whispered.

“What?” he said. “I didn’t catch that.”

“I said ‘shut the fuck up, George,’ “I whispered again.

“You know what,” said George, “It’s great. It’s really great. If you like it, I like it, OK?”

I was shocked and immediately sensed a trap. (Refer back to 25 years of marriage. To the same person.)

“I don’t know what’s happening here, but I’m sure it’s a trap,” I said.

George didn’t hear me because he was busy dragging a gold-leafed, life-sized baby hippopotamus statue from the junk room into the newly-decorated den. He parked it in the center of the room, looking quite pleased with himself, which fully confirmed my suspicions of a trap.

“I’ve been saving this,” he said, “I think it will add a little more “pop” to the den.” He was positively pleased with himself. Which meant only one thing.


“You know what?” I said, savoring the moment as much as I hated the hippo, “It’s great. It’s really great. If you like it I like it.”

“Good,” said George.

“Good,” I said.

Thus began the saga of a den that ended up having enough “pop” to surprise even the most stoic of interior design critics, like my mom.

But that’s a different story for a different day.

Remember to follow me for more home decorating tips and relationship advice.

Or don’t.

Published by


As a former transportation industry writer, I learned that a regular paycheck is nice, but writing about something you're no longer interested in is miserable. Apparently, I like writing more than money - so I'm back to freelancing at 52. It's not as altruistic as it sounds, I'm also cranky and difficult and refuse to fit in anymore, making steady employment pesky and potentially dangerous to my psyche.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s