The decorating addiction can ensnare anyone

January 26, 2020

Lately, I’ve run into a lot of people on the street who’ve said to me, “Nan, I feel a deep void in my life, an empty chasm. Something is definitely missing.” I’ve nodded in agreement, for I know what the problem is and have for a long time. The problem is there is nothing on television that doesn’t start with the words “global warming” or “impeachment.”

Having been held captive indoors by a schizophrenic weather pattern, a lot of folks rely on television for entertainment. Since the advent of high-tech devices, any form of conversation is out.

Of course, you can always turn on the television just for the news, which runs 24 hours a day, even if the TV is unplugged. This can be expensive. With all the arguing, yelling, finger-pointing and logic-defying opinions from political experts, those antidepressants and mood elevators you have to purchase can add up – and I hear therapy may be even more costly.

I used to enjoy any television series that had at least a chalk outline of something, always in a back-street alley. You never found out who did it until the very end. But then again, I couldn’t pick myself out of a police lineup, so I kind of gave up on those series.

Last year, I found a different kind of television show to fill that void. Not only am I addicted to it, but it has had a lasting effect on my behavior which has become quite alarming to my family.

These are the shows where the crews demolish homes that look like they have been through atomic testing, and then they are rebuilt into glamorous three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes that look like they have been through atomic testing, but now have a forest view. The contactors do stuff like move walls, transform bathrooms, take down fireplaces, add porches, put on new roofs, add landscaping, glass-enclose spider-infested basements and keep the spiders to hang above the mantel. 

When everything is finished, only then does the lucky couple get to see all the work the experts have done. It’s always a surprise, since the homeowner only wanted the inside of the house repainted. Not only that, but they have decided they couldn’t wait any longer, and the marriage dissolved months ago.

Those of you watching at home know that your own house is dated and obsolete. You feel like you have to run out and redecorate your whole living space. A few of these shows and your house will never be the same, nor will it ever be good enough.

It's the accents in the decorating that ensnare you. First, I found myself building a white picket fence that hangs on the wall and doubles as a chalkboard. Once I began to use an electric saw, I couldn’t stop. Any piece of wood would do.

I began to weave baskets for soaps and utensils. All bathrooms had folded white towels with lily of the valley green stem cuttings tied with a ribbon on top. White is in today.

I began to haunt junkyards and the town dump. A rusted-out wheel over the doorway can make a great impression if you have the perfect soldering tool. (Bandages and burn ointment can be purchased at your local pharmacy.)

Once again, I knew the void in my life was finally starting to close in when I found a life-size yarn image of a political figure which I knitted into a round basket of apples. I filled my house with glass jars that housed such things as dust and air vapor.

Remember, design is everything, but a sledgehammer and a blowtorch are essential. I promise, I am seeking help. Well, as soon as I finish the six-foot reindeer made out of clamshells.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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