When I was a kid, my cousin Rob and I would set up domino trails all the way around the floor of the basement rec-room in their house. Push one domino and hundreds of them would clack-clack-clack to the ground. I was thinking of those five hundred dominoes today, a week into having the interior of my house painted.
The problem was that the first quote came in so high, we decided to do it ourselves. Then we got a second quote, far less than the first, very reasonable in fact, and I liked the guy. “When can you start?” asked I. “Tomorrow morning,” answered he.
We weren’t ready. Wallpaper takes a week to order. They wanted to start upstairs. We flew down to John Lewis. Chose a pattern strongly reminiscent of one of my favourite books, Day of the Triffids. It’s gorgeous, but the fresh new colours I craved now require us to throw away all the rugs and all the bed linen. (And my daughter hates it, says it’s scary and she won’t ever sleep back there again.) And then there’s all the junk we put back into the room today. It looks really…junky…next to our fresh new look. As does the furniture. Even the paintings don’t seem right.
With each fresh new look, there’s more to discard. The window blinds (dirty), the books (too many, in horrible tumbling heaps), the lampshades (old fashioned), the dogs (generally hairy and prone to slumping down against newly painted doors). Husband and child will have to go soon, as they’re both incapable of looking fresh and new enough, what with the towels on the floor, the endless half-empty bottles of nail varnish and discarded sweet wrappers, and my husband’s insistence on having whole trees delivered to our front garden “for next winter’s fuel.”
I may as well go too. I’m getting no work done, despite having had a fantastically helpful debrief from both American agent and English editor on Dog. I’m raring to go. But I can’t get to my desk, and when I do manage to find it, I’m pretty sure I’ll realize that it doesn’t go with my fresh new look either.