I loaded up my 25-year-old dining room set and hauled it off to a local thrift store the other day. I had advertised it and had a couple of inquiries. One couple stopped by to take a look.
As I say, it has been in my house for years, but it never looked better than it did when I was trying to get rid of it. It was devoid of mail and newspapers, it had been polished and touched up and the chair legs had been tightened so they no longer wobbled. It looked almost good enough to keep.
The couple that came by were Filipino, they told me. As they perused the table and chairs they nodded and spoke in their own language. When the lady looked at the hutch, I discovered that the phrase ‘old fashioned’ sounds the same in English as it does in Filipino. Her husband suggested he might still be interested if I would deliver it to Surrey. No deal.
Now you may ask why I was getting rid of my dining room suite. Apparently, according to people who don’t even live here, my furniture, my carpets and my wall colours are all outdated. I find that so strange, because I think everything is just fine. It’s all perception.
For most men, if they have a comfortable chair and a great view of the TV, we are happy. Any small move or suggested relocation of either one is considered to be “redecorating” by the man of the house.
We’ve seen Martin Crane’s old yellow and green recliner in the TV show Frasier. Patched with duct tape, it was a stark contrast to the chrome and leather furniture his son preferred. Archie Bunker’s chair was the centre of the living room, and in almost every episode Archie was ordering Meathead to get out of his chair.
Both those chairs are now in museums, clearly indicating that we have to address the historical value of furniture before we update anything. Who knows, I may have just given away a bit of Canadiana without taking time to research its pedigree. Some people, however, would call that procrastinating.
As I look around my living room, there are numerous picture of fires and fire halls, tastefully framed and matted, shelves full of Stephen King novels and models of fire trucks or fire chief’s cars. I don’t know how you can update such classic design features such as these. But they all have to come down and be put away while the painting is done and the carpet is replaced. That’s a lot of work.
“Maybe you can do some of that while you’re watching the Super Bowl,” comes a bold suggestion. “What?” I calmly reply. That would clearly be classed as multi-tasking and everyone knows men don’t do that well. There are too many variables that could have led to missing the play of the game.
Sometimes when they don’t think I’m listening, I hear whispers about kitchen cabinets and bathroom tub surrounds. I know this is far from over.
Other days I am presented with paint colour chips, and carpet samples. “Won’t this look great?” As if I’m supposed to imagine an entire room from looking at a tiny square of carpet.
But I’ve learned to just roll with it. A man’s home is his castle, but only until the queen comes home. At least that’s what McGregor says.