Clarice James

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction


Words That Strike Fear in My Husband’s Heart

2014-10-20 -300-150When I utter this specific string of five words, I see fear in my husband’s eyes, I hear it in his voice, and, I swear, I smell it oozing from his pores. The words in themselves are innocuous; it’s what they represent that scares him.

Some husbands panic at “We have car insurance, right?” Others tremble at “Mother’s coming for a visit!” And a few quake at “Honey, I think I’m pregnant.”

Not my husband. First, he doesn’t let me drive that often. Second, my mom won’t leave home for more than three hours at a time. And, third, we’ve decided to wait to have kids.

[That’s a joke for those who are looking at my profile photo and wondering if I’m delusional.]

“What could those words possibly be?” you ask. The five little words that strike fear in my husband’s heart are . . .

“Hey, I have an idea!”

Persuasive-Essay-IdeasHe tries to hide the terror, but his subtle body language tells me otherwise: the slumping shoulders, the eye-twitching, the convulsing, the hand slapping his forehead, or his head banging against the wall. He thinks I don’t notice, but I’m observant, if nothing else.

I don’t know what his problem is. My “hey-I-have-an-idea” ideas have been good ones, if I do say so myself.

  • Begin an online publishing syndicate. [I admit working twelve hours a day and watching $13,000 go down the cyber drain was not the most fun we’ve had.]
  • Create an art piece to draw attention to our living room’s cathedral ceiling. [Can you believe he took issue with lifting and hanging my 4-foot by 8-foot masterpiece built of wood, tile, and stone?]
  • Start Party of One, A Fellowship for Those Tired of Dining Alone. [Some found it unusual that I asked my husband of four years if I could start a group for singles. Who knew?]
  • Initiate a marketing campaign for my fellow literary clients—all 154 of them. [Sheesh. All I asked him to do was take pictures of the books individually on our bookshelf; size the photos; create individual Facebook cover photo banners; Photoshop e-books into the bookshelf; and, oh, create the nonexistent book spines for these e-books.]
  • I convinced him to join the critique group which meets at our house, you know, just to help out. Now he has an anthology of short stories published called, Premium Mixed Nuts.)

Hmm . . . Hey, I have an idea!

Since my husband is so good at executing my ideas, I think I’ll make him a nice meal today before he gets any of his own ideas about that singles group.


Actual size of wall hanging: 4′ x 8′


Ten Favorite Home Decor Stores and Why I Like Them

If you’ve read any of my profile, you know that I love home decorating projects–whether doing one of my own or working on someone else’s.  Here are a few of the places, in alphabetical order,  I can count on to find what I need!


CTS Matelasse BeddingChristmas Tree Shops:  The first Christmas Tree Shop was located on Cape Cod where I lived up until my recent move to New Hampshire. It was one of my first stops on my home decorating buying sprees. But you have to go often, because their merchandize is always changing. And it can change from store to store and from town to town. When they were bought out by Bed, Bath & Beyond in 2003, I noticed an increase in the quality of the CTS’s home décor and bed and bath linens.  I recently found a king-sized, cream-colored mattelasse bedspread I’d been searching for in stores and online. The cost: $39.99.

HGTV Home Furniture:   If you’re a fan of HGTV home design shows, then you’ll enjoy seeing their new brand of furniture and household furnishings–the same ones their designers use. The site tells you where you can find their brands locally so you can check things out in person.

Hobby Lobby:   Yes, if you’re a crafter or hobbyist, this is the place for you. But I was excited to see so many home décor items, including pottery, pictures frames, mirrors, small pieces of furniture, outdoor goods, and quirky items in this store—items that required no work and no assembly. Good for me!

HomeGoodsHomeGoods:   This is another place I love to poke around in even when I’m not actually working on a project. I usually check TJMaxx, too, which is their sister store. My most recent finds were the perfect ottoman for the end of our bed, a small chest of drawers for my office, and some lined curtain panels the right shade of grape for my bedroom–only $18.00 per pair!

Kohl’s:   This is my go-to store for kitchen and bath area rugs, bath linens, and kitchen ware. They have some great sales, too. The other day I was getting ready to order a picture frame online from Kohl’s for $49.99, but I was psyched when I saw the same frame in the store for $22.90!

Pier 1:  Okay, I admit it, I like their commercials, especially when that colorful sock monkey sings! Even though they have a good selection of dinnerware, art, glassware, and candle holders, I often imagine the perfect customer for this store is a single woman. It’s a good research place for writers, too.


kohls rugGrandinroad: This is my new favorite catalogue! I love the fresh colors and fun patterns in their area rugs, pillows, ottomans, and painted furniture Even their leather side chairs come in ten colors! This catalogue makes me want to start decorating my home all over again. But don’t tell my husband.

Home Decorators:  This company is similar to Grandinroad. While Grandinroad might be a little more eclectic, their style is more classic. Cool side tables, buffets, and trunks.

LampsPlus: After looking in box stores, local furniture and lighting stores, and major department stores, I found the perfect hanging light for over my dining room table at LampsPlus. It’s a Kathy Ireland design. When I first got this catalogue, I said, “So this is where those TV designers get their light fixtures.”  This is a cool website and so easy to navigate. They’ve got a great search engine; I’ve used it tons to find just the right style, size, material, and shade of area rug.  Shipping is either free or $2.99– no matter what you buy. Returns are easy, too.Lamps Plus

The next time you’re out and about, stop in one of these places and get inspired! Don’t forget to bring your paint swatches, measuring tape, fabric samples, and list of your room and window measurements.

Or find your find online!

Tip: Find out the store’s return policy, keep your receipts, and plan on returns. You never know how it will work until you get it home. For example, I bought an ottoman I liked at HomeGoods, but found one I liked even better in another HomeGoods.