We’re getting a new President so I decided to move the piano.

If this living room was to be where we will be hunkering down during breaks from slaying dragons the next four years, I needed to really bump up the coziness. Reorient, readjust, redefine, rethink.


And open up the space.

This meant sending my beloved library table to the attic. Its veneer was damaged a few years ago by a leaking flower pot. I always cover the spot because, oddly, it hurts my feelings. It is a piece my first husband and I found in a small town antique store and refinished ourselves. I lost the opal ring he gave me but I always kept the table, a leggy keepsake of a marriage that ended forty years ago. Who can explain the emotional power of flawed furniture?

And have more light.

This meant finding a home for my husband Howard’s grandmother’s cursed ceramic lamp. The lamp broke early in our marriage and lived in a grocery bag for many years. Probably decades. Then Howard found an 80-year old guy named Ned who was the former CEO of the local Red Cross who had a shop selling crystal where he repaired broken heirlooms like our lamp and Ned fixed it. He took the hundreds of pieces in the grocery bag and recreated my husband’s grandmother’s lamp. It took months. We knew it would. When Howard left the lamp, it was summer. Ned told him to come back after two major holidays.

The story becomes unbelievable if I tell you that, after two major holidays and more, the lamp came home only to be broken again within months. “I don’t remember you,” he said to Howard, “but I remember the lamp. You broke it again?”

Since then, the lamp taunts me with the possibility of accident. Ned is dead, though, so we would be sunk if we broke it again. It made me happy today to put the lamp soundly on the top of the piano whose lid I closed for the first time in twenty years. I love the majesty of the open lid but finally finding a home for the tortured lamp trumps whatever I thought was grand about my piano.

And let my fireplace breathe.


It’s been suffocated by my piano for years. And now it’s free. I’m going to light a wee log every day in the winter that is to come. It will be warm and safe here in our little living room. I have a lot of matches, if nothing else, and each one is ready to create some fire. Keep the light on, I say. Keep the light on.