Tuesday, December 22, 2009

She might be the next Picasso

posted Sat, 29 Jan 2005

Am I being unreasonable? Read the whole thing and let me know.

When I turned the pillows on my sofa earlier today, in preparation for sitting down with a good book (rather than doing chores), I noticed that someone had scribbled on one of the pillows with a black pen.

At first, I thought maybe Harpo or I had sat on the sofa with a pen in our pocket, but then I realized that the pattern was not that of an accidental, one-time pen leakage. Then I saw that another pillow was defaced in the same way. And the sofa itself – several lines about eight inches long right in the middle of the seat back and little circles in each of the buttons.

This was not my doing.

Let me give you a history of my sofa. I got it at an estate sale in Houston after I got out of college. It’s an old, antiquey sofa. Probably no value as an antique, but I like it. It’s built really well – good bones. When I got it, the upholstery was faded and worn. I couldn’t afford to re-upholster it, so I threw blankets over the bad parts.

When I moved to Miami, I found an old Cuban guy who worked out of his garage to do the upholstery work. I scrounged through fabric shops for remnants for the covering. When I told my mother I had had the couch re-done in white, she sighed and asked, “I’m never going to be a grandmother, am I?”

When I moved to M’town, the movers damaged the couch. For a mere one-inch tear in the fabric, the moving company paid to have the sofa completely re-upholstered. Yes, I took advantage of the situation and got really nice fabric. I think the whole thing cost about $1,000, fabric and upholsterer’s charges together.

Now I have ink stains on my lovely white sofa. On the expensive fabric white sofa. And I know how they got there.

I called my cleaning lady. “Esperanza, I just found that someone drew on the sofa pillows with a pen. And on the sofa. I think it was Isabel.” Isabel is Esperanza’s two-year-old daughter.

“Oh, yes,” Esperanza said. “Don’t worry. I’ll clean it next time I come.”

“No!” I said sharply. “Don’t touch it. I’m going to take the pillows to the cleaners and see what they say.”

“OK,” she said cheerfully.

“You could ruin it. It cost $1,000 to have that couch covered. I need to know the best way to do this,” I explained.

“OK,” she said.

“I expect you to pay for everything,” I continued.


“It was your daughter who did this,” I told her.

“OK,” she said again, not so cheerfully this time.

“Do not bring Isabel with you here any more if you are not going to watch her,” I said.

Remember that Esperanza repeatedly left the gate open at Holly and Patrick’s house, despite their warnings, until their dog got out and was hit by a car. I still kept Esperanza because she does do a decent job of cleaning the house, but if I am going to have to worry about a toddler running around with pens, scissors or other instruments of destruction, along with a somewhat careless mother, I might have to reconsider.

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