Room 911: No, I’m Right

The appointment time had come to meet Murray and Phyllis Bickerson, who I now thought of as the Bickering Bickersons. This assignment would be challenging. {{more}}Each had secretly called me to tell me what was wrong with the other spouse’s decorating viewpoints. Lord, I thought, please give me the tact to know how to deal with this circumstance.

I knew that it wasn’t all about decorating-perhaps my Psych 101 class in college, not to mention all the reality TV shows (especially Dr. Phil’s),led me to believe that this was really about the relationship.

Before the car ignition was turned off, the couple had come to the driveway to greet me. They seemed jovial, cordial and treated me as if I were a long lost relative about to leave them an inheritance. Maybe, I had gotten this all wrong. That thought lasted a nano second as Mr. and Mrs. Bickerson showed their true colors.

“Come in through the back door,” motioned the Mister.

“No,no,no, let’s go through the main entrance” replied the Mrs.

“But darling, this way the decorator will see our family room and my collections,” said Mr. B.

“Your collections are all over the damn place and besides, she will get a better feel for the house if she uses the front door,” retorted Mrs.B.

“Oh, but sweetheart, you can’t be serious. I just have a few things in the foyer.”

“Few things, my foot. The house is crawling with all your junk. (She didn’t actually say junk. She used a French word because she said, “Pardon my French.”)

Quickly, I made a decision to stop this verbal dueling and expressed an interest to start at the main door of the colonial style house. It would impact on my envisioning the rooms and how they transitioned from one to another. You can imagine my surprise, when I saw a set of moving Lionel trains taking center stage in the entryway.

On a demi-monde table against the staircase was a matchbox collection. Underneath the half table was a large humidor with 20 international miniature flags sitting atop it.

On the right side of the walls was a collection of sundials and on the left, a collection of framed menus from top notch NYC restaurants.

“Do you see what I mean? He’s a junk collector. Wait ‘til you see the family room,” quipped Mrs. B.

“Well, you should see the living room . I’d put on sunglasses, if I were you,” remarked Mr. B. sneeringly.

In the next installment, you will get to see some bickering at its best. Suffice it to say, that I was eager to see the other rooms but Phyllis remembered she had a bridge game and Murray was going to use the time to sort out his argyle sock collection according to color and date of purchase.

We made our appointment for the following week. They stood out on their deck, arm in arm, waving as I left Troublesome Road. Here is what I heard as I backed out of the driveway:

“I told you she agreed with me,” said Mrs. B.

“She said no such thing,” said Mr. B.

“You could tell by the look on her face that she knew I was right,” said his wife.

“You could of fooled me. The look of admiration on her face for my collections …”

Tedra Schneider is the founder of reStage, a division of Tedra Associates, Inc. She has worked in residential/commercial interior decorating and design and can be reached with questions or comments through her website,