Chick Wit: Recreationally rearranging the furniture

Posted: March 25, 2012

Here's something I do that might be crazy: I rearrange the furniture.

Often.

Blind people don't stand a chance in my house. And most of the time, neither do I.

Rearranging the furniture is one of my favorite bad habits. My most favorite bad habit is eating chocolate cake, and my least favorite bad habit is marrying badly.

It all began with an ottoman, which somehow expanded into the Ottoman Empire.

Let me explain.

I was sitting on my couch in the family room, working on my laptop with the TV on. I went to put my feet up on the coffee table, and my foot knocked over a mug of coffee. This had happened to me more times than I can count. Every book on my coffee table has been soaked with coffee, and so has the table itself, but I don't think that's why they call it a coffee table or a coffee-table book.

Right then and there, I decided to do something about it. I remembered that I had an ottoman in my office upstairs, which was paired with a chair that's there for show.

Please tell me I'm not the only person who has furniture for show.

The chair-and-ottoman sits next to my desk in case somebody wandered in, put their feet up and watched me work, but that's never going to happen and I wouldn't want that anyway. Once I met a writer who told me that he read the pages he'd written that day to his wife, and I thought:

That poor woman.

In any event, I got the ottoman, carried it downstairs, plunked it down in the family room, and put my feet up on it.

Yay!

I ended up changing the fabric on the couch to coordinate with the ottoman and even changed the paint color on the walls, which is how the ottoman became the Ottoman Empire and a bad habit was born.

Since then, I look around my house with a critical eye, wondering if the current furniture arrangement is the best and invariably deciding that it isn't. This thought usually strikes around bedtime, when all the smart people in the world would probably go to sleep.

But not me.

I shove couches around, and then chairs. I even rearrange pictures on the wall and start hammering nails. Pick up any one of the framed things on my wall, and behind it you'll find at least 12 holes, like automatic weapon fire, but really tiny.

Frankly, I don't think there's anything wrong with this bad habit.

On the contrary, I'm a fan. That's a great part of growing older, you start to think that even the bad things about you are good.

And why not?

Whose life is it anyway?

Rearranging the furniture is a way of having fun, for free. It keeps you on your toes to think about what other ways the room can be reconfigured, even if it means that you'll stub your toe on a chair that didn't used to be there.

In a funny way, I think it's a small-scale way to improve your own life.

Case in point is my alarm clock.

I know this sounds trivial, but why stop now? Somebody has to write about the simple things in life, and if you like that sort of thing, you've come to the right place.

I have this really large, ugly, glowing clock next to my bed, which I've suffered with for years. The numbers need to be big because I can't read them otherwise, and I need to know the time if I wake up at night, so I can worry about how much sleep I'm not getting.

I put things over the clock so it's dark enough to sleep, but it's not the best solution, to cover a clock with a pair of cotton undies, like the world's ugliest night light.

Then it struck me that I could put the clock in the bathroom.

Now, I sleep like a baby, my bathroom has a night light, and my cotton undies are back on my tushie.

Happy ending.


Lisa's new novel, "Come Home," will be published April 10 and excerpted in The Inquirer on April 8, 10, and 11. Lisa and Francesca Serritella's book, "Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: The Lighter Side of Life as a Mother and Daughter," is in bookstores now. Visit Lisa at scottoline.com.

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