Thursday, March 08, 2012

Lighting, IKEA vs. family heirlooms, and odds are good that I’m your husband. Or a Chihuahua.

Do you ever find yourself in the position where you both feel like you're right but also suspect you might be being ridiculous?

I am probably like one of those tiny little dogs with sharpy-sharp teeth who is all, “Stay the fuck off my lawn. I might have to jump to reach your kneecap, but don’t think I won’t bite the crap out of your ankle.”

I realize it's not a flattering comparison, but it's the best I can come up with.


Nick and I have what I consider the most critical things in common, such as a deep love for each other and our family, very closely aligned life priorities, and similar approaches to spending money.

We also have, as I have documented many a time, extremely different styles in clothing and decor. With few exceptions, he’s let me pick all the colors in the house. Because he loves me and is indulgent. Also, he’s color blind, which works in my favor.

Now, Nick would never, ever choose all the Hindu gods and goddesses, the Buddhas, the Mahavir, or the plethora of Indian wall hangings and such that decorate our home. But he agrees they look nice in the house.

And I would never choose his heavy leather men’s wood paneled library furniture or ginormous bookcases or giant wardrobe or cumbersome sleigh bed frame which prevents me from being able to make my own bed. But I agree that they are beautiful, high quality pieces. They suit our Victorian-era house.

And all but the fucking sofa with the asshole stealth leg of toe-break death are very comfortable and/or useful.

Which brings me to IKEA.

Nick hates everything IKEA stands for with a passion. He saves his money, and he buys nice things. All of his furniture is either inherited (his lot inherits it; my lot buys it) or purchased from this amazing consignment store in New Jersey. He’s refinished a lot of his wood pieces himself. He can rewire lamps and do minor plumbing when need be.

In my ad one of my hopes was a man who could use power tools, and let me say, he does not disappoint. In other words, in many ways, I think he is magic.

But sometimes he pisses me the fuck off.

We have this very expensive antique ceiling lamp that I hate. Well, I hated it in our dining room. It looks quite nice in Betty’s room. But I call it the Bully Light. Because Nick bullied me into it.

You see, he is one of these efficient people who wants things DONE. And COMPLETE. And it bothered him no end that we had this gross, cheap light fixture in the dining room when the rest of the room had been redone.

And here’s where I am probably like your husband, or at any rate, like a lot of my friends’ husbands. Things like this don’t bother me. I can step over piles of dirty clothes or books on the floor, walk around piles of clean laundry on the table. I’m not avoiding it; I just don’t see it. I wasn’t dwelling on our hideous cheap lighting because as long as the bulbs went on, I wasn’t looking at them.


These things, however, set Nick’s teeth on edge. And so he bullied me into agreeing to this light fixture, because although I knew he didn’t love it, it was the one he liked best at the antique lighting store and he just wanted it UP and DONE. And sometimes, sometimes it’s easier to agree than fight.

And sometimes it’s also easier to go ahead and admit how much you fucking hate a light fixture than pretend that you think your husband is right, no matter how many times he tries to talk you into thinking so.

Which brings us back to IKEA.

For the first year or so that we lived in our charming, closetless Victorian house, I, a woman with a love of clothing and shoes and perhaps too many items of both, did not have a closet. I was asked to hold out until we had enough money (and had finished having our babies) so that we can turn the adjoining room into a spectacular wall of closets.

I had to beg – I tell ye verily, beg – for an IKEA closet NOW NOW NOW. Because I could not wait 3-5 years for an amazing wall of closets. It was the topic of many a fight.

And then he very kindly helped me order one and put it together for me, and while he was annoyed that it is basically made of cardboard (true) he agreed that it is nicely designed and suits my purposes perfectly.

Thus emboldened, I bought some ceiling lamps. Plastic, modern, cheap. So what? I like how they look. They're not the most amazing things ever. I don't love them with a passion. I just like them.Nick hates them. He put one up in Jordan’s room, and was infuriated by the quality. “It won’t last!”

“It doesn’t have to last 20 fucking years.”

“It’s probably going to burn the house down.”

“Right. Because you hear all these instances of IKEA lamps burning houses down. But somehow they’re still allowed to sell them.”

(I told you. I will shred your pants leg as high as I can reach and not let go.)

So this morning Nick texted me on my way to work to ask if I would call Australian Builder to tell him that we don’t have a ceiling light for the girl’s room (which is essentially done!) So I replied, “I just told Miguel that we do in fact have an IKEA light that I like but you won’t let me use it and so they’re going to have to wait. Do you still want me to call?”

And instead of engaging, the smart man replied, “Yes, please.”

I called AB and said, “Nick wanted me to call and tell you that we don’t have a ceiling light for the girl’s room.”

“Oh, I thought you did.”

“Well, technically we DO, because we have one that I like that I bought at IKEA so we COULD have it done today. But since everything with Nick has to be a fucking family heirloom, we won’t have one until Saturday.”

AB, who tends to see eye to eye with Nick but is also married and rather astute said very soothingly, “It’s OK, Lis. It’s no problem. We’ll get the rest of it done and get the light up later. It’ll just take a second. The room will be fine.”

And really, how can you continue to stomp your feet and act like an enraged bitch with that?


  1. Well, once certainly COULD. Continue, I mean. It's *possible*.

    My people buy furniture, too. But my parents are of the "buy good stuff that lasts forever ilk" as well.

    Which is how my sister and I are going to wind up with a houseful of furniture that we HATE, that we have to deal with. When you say you want to buy something that lasts for generations, you're buying furniture for people you don't even know yet. What if they hate it? What do you do with it then?

    1. You see exactly what I mean.

      Nick is going to inherit this lovely grandfather clock that belonged to the forebear he's named after, and this huuuuge dresser of his father's, both of which are great. But his father has tried to foist a ton of tchotchkes on us - beer steins and such (collectors! they are collectors of all kinds of things!), and I've made it very clear we have NO ROOM. They have a lot of chintz and china figurines in display cabinets and such. Fortunately he has two sisters who probably want all that stuff.

  2. fucking couch, I still have a crooked toe from it! just put your foot down and put your lamp up. this way, when little sophie is 8, she can pick out her own light that she likes and you won't have spent a bomb on it. HA! here is what is in Zoe's room and it's so pretty, girly and it was cheap! (like 80$ on sale). looks antique but isn't.

    1. Yes, fucking couch. It's not even comfy. But it's leather and cleans so easily and can withstand any kid abuse, so once Kid 2 is old enough, we will get a new one.

      I bet that light looks great with your wallpaper! I don't think I ever told you how pretty I thought it was! As for the that I've stomped around and made snide comments and processed it, I suppose we can find one we both like that isn't spendy.

  3. The Crawleys inherit furniture too.

  4. There are a few blog posts when I am very Thankful I didn't marry a man smarter than Nick. I get my way a lot and don't have to bite kneecaps (although believe me we do have our issues) I agree with not having to have everything last forever. What fun is that? What good would catalogs and internet shopping be if we all thought like Nick! Congrats on your new closet!! That's worth celebrating (I'll do that part for you)

  5. I tried to think of a more flattering comparison for you...there is one, no several...I'm just really tired today and can't pull it together.

    Thanks for the drawing!

  6. When you started to talk about extremely different clothing styles, I was wondering if you were going to link us to the airbrushed animal sweatshirts he got you when on a business trip. I tried to search that post, but couldn't find it, but WoW.

    And say, re: some inherit, some buy: some of the pieces, like the one your mom had carved in the 60's, well they'll be heirlooms to your kids!


Tell me about it.