Monday, November 10, 2014

The Great Sconce Standoff of 2014

The sconces that hung above the fireplace were a bit medieval-looking. Sort of blackened silver and with ornate, swirly designs on the plating that was attached to the wall, they really needed to go. I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking when I bought them but since my husband wasn’t keen on them from the beginning—and I was the one who insisted they were “perfect”—well, I had to live with them.

Preparing for the painting of the living room was, finally, the perfect time for them to be replaced and for me to keep my deep dark secret about the mistake of purchasing them in the first place.


So while we moved furniture out of the way and into the center of the room to get covered in drop cloths, my husband also removed the sconces from the wall. He was happy to get rid of them—but probably not as happy as was I! Now, instead of ugly sconces, the living room had, as its focal point, two 5” round holes with a bit of insulation sticking out and some wires that had little plastic caps on the end.

I quickly went about locating replacement sconces—now more discerning about my choice and understanding of the impact they would have in the room. After a few days I found (once again) the “perfect” sconces. (But these ones really were with their pretty white shades and a few carefully-placed dangling crystals.) I sent the link to my hubby with the subject line “please order asap.” After all, the room was just days away from being finished and I wanted to have the sconces at the ready for installation.

Every day I gently asked, “Did you order the sconces?”

“No. Not yet. Remind me tomorrow,” would be hubby’s beleaguered response.

This went on for weeks—and weeks. The room was painted and the furniture back in order. The holidays were fast approaching and still I had no sconces. The gaping holes in the walls mocked me with every passing day. I’m pretty sure they became larger as time wore on—for sure the faceless holes became more irritating. But I wasn’t going to give in. The Great Sconce Standoff of 2014 was underway and I was up to the challenge.

(I would have ordered them myself but I’ve found over the years that when I order items from the Internet, my husband doesn’t appreciate the little torn piece of paper with the date and amount I’ve handwritten as my idea of a receipt so I’m okay with him being in charge of Internet ordering—and now it was just a matter of principle: who would win the Great Sconce Standoff of 2014?)

Each inquiry from me about the sconces became quieter, more subdued, more “I don’t care if you don’t care.”

Here’s the problem with that tactic: I actually cared and he really, truly didn’t!

A month into the Great Sconce Standoff of 2014 I had a serious dilemma. Two increasingly large black holes were overtaking my living room and I had to somehow get my husband to order sconces. There was no wiggle room in the war that waged between us in that I’m positive that he didn’t even notice the holes while I was becoming fixated on them—obsessed even.

How to get out of the standoff, save face, and get sconces became my daily goal.

I tried this maneuver: I said to him, incredibly nonchalantly, “You can go ahead and put the old sconces back up.” I thought this artful twist would push him to order the scones.

Imagine my horror when he said, “Okay.”

OKAY?! Now I knew that I was in trouble.

Not only was I going to lose the Great Sconce Standoff but I was going to be subjected to the reminder everyday as I looked at the medieval sconces that were going back up. I had to think quickly! I had to recover without him knowing that he almost won!

“Although I don’t want to do that to you. I know you don’t like them,” was my clever comeback.

Three decades of marriage has taught my husband well so his response, while pleasing, was frustrating as hell, “I know you like them so they will be fine with me.”


Now it was likely going to turn into a new standoff: who was going to be the better, selfless spouse!

Was this ever going to end? I wondered.

Then it hit me. “I know you are busy. Let me order them because I think with the newly painted room, new sconces will be much better. I know you are busy so I don’t mind ordering them.”

That did it. The idea of getting a receipt that was just a scrap piece of paper with the date and amount handwritten on it was more than he could take. I found his weak spot and am unashamed that I used it! That day he ordered the scones and a few days later they arrived.

I’m not proud of what I’ve done, but it was necessary. Someone had to lose the Great Sconce Standoff of 2014—and it wasn’t going to be me…

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