Last weekend I made a trip to my mother’s house, the house I grew up in, to obtain some paperwork in order to sell her car now that she’s no longer driving. The house will be the next item sold, once I can get it fully cleared out.
A lot of the furniture moved with Mom, so the living room looks a bit ‘bare’ now, and there’s little to attract focus…to draw the eye.
Except for…..that wall.
The wall I speak of is one of the room’s end walls. It has a brick fireplace with a wooden mantle, same as it has been since the house was built. A large mirror hangs above it which reflects back upon the room and, with a subtle eye trick, makes it appear more spacious. Mom was Feng Shui before it was cool, apparently.
The wall is also the only one in the room (which has, incidentally, four walls) that has wallpaper on it.
On one wall.
Out of four.
This was no accident. It was planned this way. In 1987 Mom had paid off the house (after 21 years) and had decided to make some ‘modifications to it. The single car garage space doubled. The wall separating the kitchen and the living room (a non-wallpapered wall) had a huge ‘pass through’ cut in it to further open up the space. Something Mom had always wanted to do. The exterior of the house was painted, a deck was put on the front of the house, and the entire interior was either painted or papered.
But all the other rooms had all four walls either papered or painted. Not a mixture of both. Not a combination of paper and paint. It was one or the other. A complete job. As it should be.
Except the living room. That has paint on three walls. And paper on one wall.
I hope in reading this you’ve come to realize this fact, this one wall being papered has been a source of great anxiety for me for years. Since 1987. I stared at it then. I stare at it now. To this day my mind cannot possibly make order of papering just one wall in a room. It seems incomplete…it seems unnatural….it seems AGAINST GOD’S PLAN!!!
Okay, well maybe not God, but at least Martha Stewart. Maybe Rachel Ray? Paula Deen? Flo The Progressive Girl? SOMEONE HAS TO BE AGAINST THIS! IT CAN’T JUST BE ME???!!!!!
I offer this up as proof positive of how my Virgo mind operates. Virgos are known for being perfectionists. I’m not a perfectionist. I’m not a neat freak (being a parent to two boys it’s helpful that I’m not a neat freak). I’m not the best cook, the best decorator, the best organizer, etc., etc., etc. I’m not perfect in anything, and don’t really strive to be. I don’t spend my entire day straightening things out and scrubbing out everything and sanitizing my roofing shingles and such other things. That’s not me at all. I just try to live my life in as orderly and rational a way as I can. I look at a chore ahead of me and figure out how to do it in the least time consuming and energy expending way. But I’m far from a perfectionist.
It’s just that some things, when they seem ‘off’ to me, or seem like a completely convoluted way of going about something, or seem disordered, drive me bonkers. I used to think (worry) that perhaps I had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. When you get right down to it, most Virgos are at least a little OCD. We thrive on order. We look for ways to do things more easily, more logically, more efficiently. We are methodical. We are consistent and analytical and reliable and precise. We make good, steadfast friends and solve problems logically and rationally. We organize ourselves from the inside out, starting with our minds and then spilling over into our surroundings. We don’t usually act upon impulses. We aren’t rash. We aren’t given to snap decisions.
And we MOST CERTAINLY DO NOT PUT WALLPAPER ON JUST ONE WALL IN A ROOM!
It makes no sense! It has no balance to it! It’s ‘off’…..it would be easier to accept two walls of four papered, because at least that number would be even. But one? Just one wall? No. Just….no.
Earlier tonight my cousin Michelle posted a photo to Facebook of a kitchen countertop made of a slickly varnished slab of wood. It’s a great look. Very natural, very earthy, very simple. I love it.
But I could never have it in my house. Not as it is pictured here, anyway.
Because the edges are not a straight line. I’d stare at it. I’d spend an hour or more each day staring at it because it seems ‘off’. And then I’d finally be forced by my own mind to take a saw to it and cut off the parts that stick out and then sand it down until it was a straight, even line…and then varnish it. Only then could I have it in my house and NOT stare at it and be compelled to ‘fix it’.
Like that one wall in the living room in Mom’s house. The one wall out of four that has wallpaper.