Everything In This House (Has A Story That Makes Me Smile) 3

Continuing on in the upstairs bathroom:

On the wall behind the tub hangs a very old oil painting that was given to me by my paternal grandmother (aka; Nana). Since this was about the only heirloom I ever inherited, I have cherished it immensely. It’s a portrait of an obscure female relative lounging in a very fancy gown in a very ornate setting…supposedly in Brewer, Maine. The paperwork that is taped to the back of the painting says the woman is my great-great-great Aunt Roseanne – my Great Nannie’s mother’s father’s sister…whew.

Several years ago I brought the painting to the Antiques Roadshow to get the scoop from an appraiser. It was an enlightening interview. It turns out the painting was done by an itinerant painter. These wandering painters traveled the countryside with canvases that were already painted with women’s bodies posing in sumptuous gowns with ridiculous, opulent surroundings. The portraitee simply chose the gown and background that she liked the best, and the artist painted her head on the body. Voila! Instant upper-class standing. This always cracks me up. That explains the Dutch windmills in the background in Brewer, Maine.

Above the tub is a fabulous crystal chandelier (purchased from Overstock.com) that said when I ordered it for the new house, “Some assembly required.” Yessah, that was an effing understatement. When it arrived it was in a bazillion pieces, so I persuaded Tom to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon helping me thread 150 crystals on the chandelier by pinching tiny little bits of metal filament with pliers. It only cost me 2 six-packs of Bud Lite to entrap him (he’s easy). The chandelier is very beautiful. It makes the bathroom look like a proper bordello.

In front of the tub, Tom built a tower out of the floor tiles and this houses the plumbing for the faucet. It’s very elegant. On top of the tower is a graceful black urn that holds Ken’s ashes. In 1987, my husband, Ken, killed himself. Out in our back woods in NH, at a special place we called The Tree, my gorgeous, funny, brilliant husband took his boot off, put a 12-gauge shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger with his toe. A neighbor who was cross-country skiing for the first time in her life skied down our trail and came upon a headless corpse at the base of The Tree. Blood and brains splattered everywhere on the snow. I still give thanks unto the heavens that it wasn’t me skiing that day. The urn is from Rowantree Pottery in Blue Hill and has lovingly held Ken’s ashes since 1987.

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