Along for the ride:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I wish I'd thought of that!

A short while ago chronologically but a lifetime ago in construction/economy years, I was called to a meeting by a new client who wanted to redesign her living room fireplace.
Back in the day of Nouveau Richism I had watched her house spring up from the expensive dirt of Atherton and had spent some time with the builder/developer talking about the subtleties of using the correct scale and natural materials to get the best results from his "spec" construction. I didn't get the job and watched as enormous pre-cast moldings were applied willy-nilly to every window, door surround and Look-at-Me orifice of the McMansion. No surprise then, that the living room fireplace was an over-sized cement horror story poised a foot and a half off the ground, on a sarcophagus-inspired raised hearth.
The proud owner of this Hollywood version of a European Stately Home on Steroids  had furnished in the most opulent "I saw it in an Hotel and copied it" style which I had ample time to study whilst waiting for half an hour for Madame to be available, even though she was the one who had asked that I meet at 9 am on a Saturday morning, at her convenience. I didn't give up and leave right away as I had already been there once, at her request, when she had stood me up completely.
This day was full of distractions of gardeners, caterers and tent erection companies needing directions to be ready for an event she was hosting that evening. Minions milling about everywhere and Ms. Asian Trophy Wife was really just waking up and still in her robe. Poor thing probably had a late night the night before.
I used my time wisely. I took measurements and prepared my portfolio to be viewed and had several ideas to put forth that would turn an eyesore into an asset.
When the lady of the house finally deigned to join me she graciously said "Hello" from the doorway, as she walked towards me. That was swiftly followed by the words 'Oh, you pooped behind the couch!". "No, I did not!" I replied.
It turned out that one of her miniature-something dogs hadn't received the memo about not pooping in the living room, (White carpet, as I'm sure you guessed). The client was all set to have our little tete a tete next to a pile of designer dog turds. I bowed out. I claimed I could tell how busy she was and we should reschedule at a time when I might have her full attention.
It's the only time I have ever not shown up for a scheduled meeting. Deliberately and on purpose. I think if I had gone and been treated as badly a third time, I might have been unable to resist taking a lead from the dog's bag of tricks.


  1. You can tell a lot about someone by the respect they are shown by their pets...! ;-)

  2. It's a great image .
    Though it might linger ....

  3. That is almost too funny for words, but your words did a great job telling it anyhow!

    She deserves an ugly fireplace, and it sounds as if she deserves the dirty pooches too.

    Glad you are housebroken. It does show some class, after all. *VBWG*

  4. So you really didn't give a shit? Good for you.
    I am truly grateful that I can spend my days holed up with my computer for company and do not have to deal with the people you do. Great story, ER!

  5. S&S, linger it surely would.

    Jean, I am so housebroken that it only recently occurred to me as an option.

    Deborah, great comment. I look forward every day to new experiences.

  6. Please insert the sound of wild cackling into this little white rectangle of commentarydom...

    And a whole lot of high fives and bravos.

    And that was Ms. Asian Trophy Wife as opposed to Ms. EuroTrash Trophy Wife or Ms. Indian Subcontinent Trophy Wife or Ms. African Ancestry Trophy Wife or Ms. American As Apple Pie Trophy Wife, was that?

  7. Oh the poor thing, she's probably still sitting on the sarcophagus fireplace waiting for you to show up...

  8. Ms. Pliers "Provocateur". As you well know I am willing and able to adapt to many different cultural customs and niceties. I wonder if she ever understood my silent and diplomatic restraint.

    Owen, People like that judge others by their own standards......Maybe she did have her doubts about who pooped on the rug!

  9. Although I must rightly think and shout, "Bully for you, well done, ER!" I also sadly think she probably didn't even notice you chose not to turn up the third time. Because, really, narcissism dictates there's only so much one can see around the edges of a mirror, n'est-ce pas?

    (But, the biotch deserves her shitty little dogs and ugly beton beast. So there. Grr.)

    Warm hugs and quiches from Kitty xo

  10. people are just weird!.. I was hoping you would end the tale by saying you later did go round and do the deed... :-)

    There's no accounting for taste... I just love a bit of leopard print, juxtaposed against my glass coffee table...

  11. Ooh, you go English Rider Girl! You were gracious enough to try the second time. Some people live as if the rest of us are only here for their service. My daughter's in-laws were like that.

  12. You should have gone and taken Diva, not having given her a poop walk first, of course.

  13. Kitty, spot-on, all the way through!

    Watercats, leopard print or dog doo? Leopard print or dog doo? Let's weigh the design implications before we make a hasty decision:)

    TechnoBabe, The majority of my clients are not like that. Thank goodness.

    Friko, Diva is covering her ears. She is much too refined.

  14. Unless this client was going to be worth a shitload of money to you, I'd give her the elbow completely.

  15. Argent, done deal, I wouldn't pee on her if she were on fire.

  16. my parter and i have a little hobby of going and visiting show homes and imagining what we would do with each room if ever we were able to afford anything half as good.

    we spent about 2hrs wondering around this 5-bed house with 3 floors thinking: art room, crafts room, teaching room, music room - this is where the Prime Minister will sit and generally making ourselves at home in this house-we-could-never-afford.

    Just as we were leaving another couple walked straight in, opened the door of the downstairs bathroom and went "huh, no bloody window!" and stormed out

    How the other half live eh?

  17. Don't Feed The Pixies. Perhaps one of them was a violinist?

  18. Hungry Pixie, I too enjoy seeing beautiful, cozy, original homes. I like being a part of the finished product. There are houses I have worked in several times over the years, sometimes with different owners, sometimes with familiar clients turned friends.
    Maybe the couple in question were practicing some performance art piece?

    Dr.FTSE, meaning Pixie must have selected the toilet as the music room?