I never knew how much restraint I had until spontaneously, inviting a woman I know over for tea.
I am extremely neat, a fact often brought to my attention.
The reason for this is, your environment is the one thing you can control. Everything else in your life is a crap shoot, but a nice, orderly home is up to you.
Trish, I’ll call her, has tons of money, owning a very expensive apartment that needs a dramatic overhaul. She’s been interviewing contractors, never meeting her approval, for a decade, while the walls come tumbling down. Let’s just say, bunkers have more appeal.
I have a fraction of what she has, but you still walk in here thinking an Astor is in residence, just one with a few quirks.
It’s not hard to have a charming place. Most of my things come from thrift stores but, yes…I do have an eye, inherited from my mother who could have taken a slum and got it into House and Garden Magazine.
But I’m digressing.
Trish, the little darling, didn’t stop criticizing my place till she left, making it the longest cup of tea in history.
“OMIGOD…YOU’RE SO ORGANIZED. THERE’S NOT ONE PILE, ANYWHERE.”
This seemed to mystify her like I was the Harry Houdini of homemakers. I do have several closets, she opened without asking, making chirping noises at my neatly arranged shelves.
Then she went on about my many horse prints gracing the walls. She owns a Warhol that the way it’s framed on her crumbling bedroom wall, looks as if she won it in a poker game, where my posters, all from artprint.com, are framed as if they could hang at the Met.
I never brag over anything, so as she systematically tore my house to shreds, I said nothing, allowing her to feel better about her own shabby shambles by not picking up the rope, as they say…in other words, not engaging, though my blood was about to burst through every artery.
BUT…as she was FINALLY leaving, taking one last potshot at my beloved umbrella stand, that did it.
“I keep mine in the closet…why must you exhibit them this way Susannah…I mean really…don’t you think it’s a bit much?”
“Actually Trish, I was thinking of getting an even bigger one so I can make more of an impression when someone like you, who could use a few pointers, comes to visit. Would you like me to come over and help you organize? I could get rid of so much of that JUNK, you have…and recommend my framer for that one UGLY painting you own.”
As I was speaking I led her into the hall before calmly, shutting the door.