Room 911: The Bickering Bickerson’s

“Hello?” “Is this reStage?” said a man with a deep voice.

“Why yes, it is”, I said. “How can I help you?”{{more}}

“Well, my name is Murray Bickerson and I don’t want my wife toknow I’m calling you. I know she’s about to call you and I have to tell you my wife doesn’t like any of my art work, my taste in furniture, claims I’m color blind and is about to throw out my magazine collection, my bowling trophies, all my cardigans and argyle socks as well. She’s mad, I tell you, simply mad. We can’t agree on anything. I should have known when I started dating her, that she would be difficult. And, please, please, please don’t tell her I called you. Just giving you a heads up.”

My teeth were rattling by time I got off the phone. He simply hung up without letting me get a word in edge-wise. Barely a moment to catch my breath , when the phone rang again.

“Hello. My name is Phyllis Bickerson and I am calling to set up an appointment for you to come and convince my husband that he has lousy taste. He’s a slob. He’s never there to help me with housework, gardening, visiting family, reading takeout menus, going to polka night, or remembering our wedding anniversary. Furthermore, he’s a difficult man and I should have known this when we started dating in college. But please, let’s pretend we never talked. How about this Tuesday afternoon at 1234 Headstrong Hollow? That’s located between Troublesome Trail and Recalcitrant Road, “ said a woman with a whiny voice.

“Mrs. Bickerson, I’m not sure what you‘re asking me to do from a decorating /declutttering, point of view and secondly, I can’t see you for another couple of weeks. Could you be more specific?” I intoned , after wishing I had never picked up the phone.

“I’ll tell you what I want you to do and by the way what is your name?”

“You can call me Mrs. Schneider for now,” I informed her.

“Well, Mrs. Schneider this is quite simple. I am right and my husband is wrong and he needs to hear this from a professional. He has no idea about style, decorating, taste, color coordination and I am about to throw out all his collections that have done nothing but accumulate dust. You have to agree with me, as I’m sure you will and you just have to frame your answers so you don’t hurt his feelings too much.

Okay? Are we on the same page?”

“Actually, no Mrs. Bickerson. I’m not a marriage and family therapist and maybe your husband’s taste isn’t that terrible. Maybe there will be a way to find a common denominator to incorporate everyone’s decorating and design needs. From a professional standpoint, it’s important for me to keep an open mind when I come to your home. So, if that is understood, I will come to your house two weeks from this Tuesday at 4 p.m.,” I remarked with hesitation in my voice.

After I got off the phone, I knew darn well that this would not be an easy assignment. They never taught you about Marriage 101 in design school and there was little time to get my degree as a psychologist.

Too bad they didn’t live on Margaritaville Lane!

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,