Story Time: The Drawbacks of My Dedication to Decoration


On Facebook, someone asked me to do a weekly story from my life. Not a boring story or stupid one, but one of the fantastic tales of misshappery that seem to always happen to certain individuals in life, myself included. I thought you guys might enjoy these too, so I’m repeating them here. Here is the fourth:

Hubby and I have lived in our present house for over a decade. When we first moved in, it was…outdated. The dining room had paneled walls, the kitchen had a small pass through and Formica countertops, the bathroom was a peach and brown nightmare, the floors were carpeted (I live with sand and sea—I hate carpeting), it was just not as cool as we wanted it to be. So, we did what any self-respecting couple trapped in a home that doesn’t suit them would do, we demolished the inside with no idea how we would rebuild.

When I say we demolished, I am not kidding. For about  a year we had no kitchen and a tarp over much of the floor because we’d taken up the carpet and underlying asbestos tiles.

See, hubby and I are like children when it comes to home repair and maintenance. We don’t know how to do shit. We should just live in a traveling caravan that we could abandon when it becomes too dirty or when the overwhelming number of pizza boxes from Midnight Pizza celebrations begin to take up too much space.

Anyway, the house did finally get remodeled. It had been such a big procedure that we decided to have a Halloween party when it was complete.

Anyone who knows me realizes that I am a Martha Stewart wanna be with none of the skills or knowledge of said Martha Stewart. But I try. I really do try. I bought and borrowed a ton of Halloween decorations and I sent Hubby out to buy new serving pieces, plates, cups, etc.

Naturally, one of the most important decorations at any Halloween party is the cobweb stuff. Since we have cats, and they eat everything, I saved the cobweb erection (hahahaha) for the last minute and didn’t realize that I had bought too little of it to give me the cool effect that I wanted.

But hey, I’m creative, I mean, I had made myself some big ghosts out of sheets and construction paper and they looked cool so—maybe I could come up with a way to make additional cobwebs out of stuff lying around my house!

I looked in the closets and tried to tear some old towels apart, but that was just linty. I went to the drawer under the stove and took out plastic bags and tried to stretch them out so they’d rip but in a stringy way, and they just looked like ass. I went into the bathroom and tried tearing apart cotton balls only to end up with big cotton tufts. I even thought about relocating some REAL cobwebs I found in the laundry room, but my natural fear of bugs got the better of me.

While in the laundry room, I spied a big box of light bulbs that my grandmother had sent us home with after one of our trips to New Hampshire (don’t ask). The bulbs were individually boxed and had these white pressed fiber looking squares in between each box. I pulled one of these white squares out and felt that it was scratchy, but the individual fibers all pressed together made  me think I could tear it apart and make a decent little cobweb.

So, I started tearing. It was harder than it looked because these squares were kind of tough, almost like brillo pads, but I was determined to have a perfect Halloween home so I worked my ass off, pulling, twisting and tearing at this white pad until it started filling out a little. I noticed my hands reddening, but between my eczema and the roughness of the pad, I wasn’t surprised and just carried on.

About 5 minutes of twisting and pulling later, I realized that this was going nowhere and that I needed to move on. I put the square down and decided to leave. But when I grabbed the doorknob the laundry room, it hurt. Bad.

In fact, any time any of the skin on my hands touched anything, it hurt like I was getting stuck with about 8 million acupuncture needles.

I ran to get hubby and asked him what was going on with my hands. I told him the whole story and he immediately looked really freaked out and alone, like he was trying to figure out what household chemical the dog just swallowed. He asked me to show him what “white pad” I was talking about and when I did, his expression was one of shock and horror.

Why? Because the mysterious material I’d just kneaded in order to create cobwebs for my party, was fiberglass. I now had hundreds of thousands of little glass shards sticking out of my hands, ready to poke me as soon as I touched anything. It hurt like a sonofabitch.

The fix, while it took days and was painful, was pretty easy. Just press tape to your skin and pull out the glass–kind of like having a Biore’ strip for the idiot in your life. And you keep doing it, over, and over, and over again. Until it’s gone.

And yeah, it does eventually go away.


2 responses »

  1. OH DEAR GOD. You’re crazy, woman!

    I’ve had fiberglass splinters on two distinct, memorable occasions (some of our props in A Midsummer Night’s Dream were fiberglass, which I learned after I had been rolling around with them, and the attic at my day job is FULL of fiberglass). Your story gave me the willies.

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