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  • Writer's pictureWendy Elizabeth

A Cautionary Tale of Curtains

My curtains are at least 30 years old. They are beige. They are lined. They have texture. They are still in good condition. I don’t know who bought them, or why, but I am convinced they will outlive us all. They, along with the cream colored walls, are the only remnants of my previous life. Boring walls and curtains. I am annoyed at the curtains. They are custom fitted to the walls with anchors, a pulley system and funny little fixtures that I can’t even begin to understand. I am alone on a Saturday night and I am determined to take them down. Armed with a step stool and a screwdriver I climb up to the curtains. I take off the end pieces and am horrified to see they are not even real finials. They are plastic and they are only half a finial! It’s important to note here that had I ever washed the curtains during my 20 years of living here I would have known they were plastic! I take them off and try to slide the curtains off the rod. They won’t come off. There are about 20 hooks attached to a separate hook on the inside of the curtain lining. I start to unhook them. As I do I realize the curtain is still attached by a piece of string that is enclosed in the (plastic) curtain rod. I try to remove the string from the curtain rod. It won’t budge. I end up having to cut the string piece by piece with a pair of scissors. As I get closer to the end the entire thing slides off and whacks me in the face.

I take a deep breathe, iced my face, and go back into the living room. It took me 4 hours to take down the two sets of curtains……………

I shoved the whole mess into garbage bags and went online to look for new curtains. I decided I wanted curtains that were colorful, patterned and outrageously fabulous! Not beige.

The next day I begin my search for new curtains. My budget of 100 dollars quickly turned to 400 as I measured the windows (one was 10 feet wide and the other 6 feet). I bought curtains from 4 different stores and rushed home to try them. My excitement was short-lived as I saw that I had forgotten something really important. I had thrown away the curtain rods when I took them down (they were also plastic and were damaged when they fell. I held the curtains up as best as I could and I hated them all. Hated the one in duck egg blue, hated the cream damask and really hated the paisley green one. Maybe I needed something orange. So, I go back to the shops, return the curtains and start to look at curtain rods. There is no way I am paying that amount of money for a curtain rod. I think I’ll go industrial. It should balance out the formality of my sofa and the colorful paintings. Off to the local hardware store I go. I find two copper pipes, caps for the end and copper anchors to attach to them to the wall with. A total of $27. dollars. I go home, measure the pipes and cut them with a pruning saw. But now they look too new for my living room. I take them outside, sand them down with sandpaper and spray them with lemon juice. I wait about 3 minutes (am getting impatient with the entire process) and nothing happens. I get bleach and spray over the lemon with the diluted bleach. Back to the store I go looking for curtains. I finally found some I really loved. Brown curtains with gorgeous orange zinnias and green leaves all over them. I cringed as I paid nearly $500 dollars for them, convincing myself it was worth it to have my living room look all lovely filled with orange zinnias. I rush home and check on my curtain rods. I decide to rub some dirt on them and then spray some black paint on them. The black paint reacts with the bleach and dirt and makes it look all mottled. I decide to leave them out overnight, in the rain.

The zinnias look ridiculous. My living room looks like a mess of murals and craziness, but not in a good way. My living room is already pretty colorful so to add about 16 feet of orange zinnias was not the best idea. I nearly cried as I remembered the nice, beige curtains I had thrown away. Now I was sitting like a fish in a bowl for all the world to see, curtainless and cold.

A new day and the curtain rods looked great. I decided to return the zinnias, but I did so love the pattern. My solution was to keep one curtain panel and recover my chair in it. An ode to the zinnia! I got a bit distracted and did that for three or four hours before I returned the other curtain panels. Happy to see the credit go back into my account.

I decided I needed beige curtains afterall. Back to another store I went. As I was going in I saw a sale of blankets and throw. Dozens of them in beige and cream. $8 dollars each for a King size blanket. I got 4 of them in cream. I bought curtain rings with little clips in black and copper. I think I did a little dance as I left the store.

When I got home I hemmed the bottom of the King size blankets and sprayed them with liquid starch. I sanded the curtains rings so that they all looked about the same color.

After two days of being outside the curtain rods had discolored. I mounted them to the wall and attached my new “curtains” to the curtain clips. I slid them along the copper piping.

They made the best sound.

For more by Wendy and the Blue Giraffe, go to:

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