Red SofaIt started with the new furniture, became more complicated when the tree left the building, and the lamps were the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Whatever the precipitating factors, we’re experiencing the Ripple Effect in a big way around here, and I only hope the tsunami stops soon.

The Ripple Effect is that thing that happens when you change anything in the household. Like when you add the Christmas tree (if that is your celebration of choice), you have to upset the delicate balance of objets d’art that adorn your home, because there simply would not be room otherwise. No one would be able to see the tree for the forest of stuff surrounding it.

The trouble is that when you attempt to regain spatial equilibrium after the pine needles are swept up, it never fits the same as before you shifted the rubble. Part of the problem is that there are new things which have arrived in the household.

Sometimes large, pink things take up a lot of space and are made by Mattel. Sometimes expensive electronic doo-hickees require floor room to command, especially now that full-body controls are the new joystick.

The storm really started just after Christmas, when the old living room furniture went bye-bye, and the news was delivered. This was a monumental change, a huge shift from the begged, borrowed and stolen furniture we’d been living with for 24 years and practically required therapy. Naturally, we chose furniture that looked like it was made 90 years ago, but that’s just us.

Of course, the furniture didn’t fit unless we moved a bookcase and another armchair that didn’t go bye-bye, necessitating the moving of an additional bookcase out of the house, and the happy removal of the three-legged armchair that was thrown up in on Halloween by a surprise guest under the influence of too much candy and some other substances I shan’t identify here.

And then there were the lamps. Two standing ones, packing a whopping potential 360 watts each, and a 100 watt-er on the vintage sewing machine cabinet that was supposed to be refinished roughly fifteen years ago and still shines with the cruddy shellac the prior owner applied.

Because we wanted to actually see the new furniture. Since we moved in our living room has been under-lit, dark-ish, murky and had become, now that our eyes are well over thirty-five, a mystery.

Let there be light, we said, and it was good.

Unfortunately, it also showed us how dirty the walls were, how many cobwebs were clinging to the ceiling, the cracks in the lathe and plaster and the untold number of nail-holes that were hammered home during the years. Some of the smears might have been mucus.
OK, I know they were. Kids. What are you gonna do?

Sadly, this means the Ripple Effect has just begun. I see painting and patching in our future. And when that room looks bright and gay, the dining room will seem dingy, and then the kitchen will be calling us and soon we’ll be spackling and selecting Martha Stewart colors and the children will be neglected and the dogs will complain and my creative urges will wither on the vine…

So I say adequate illumination is overrated, let’s turn down the lights, enjoy the shadows, and stop the tsunami now.