Kitchen dilemma spurs buffet of responsesTL

By Tammy Keith Originally Published June 9, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated June 7, 2013 at 2:08 p.m.
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On impulse, I joined an online decorating-dilemma discussion group.

I have been trying to decide on a kitchen backsplash for weeks, and I’m getting nowhere.

I quickly posted my problem, and I called it A Tale of Two Tiles — Help!

(I thought my take-off on A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens might attract attention.)

My hunter-green laminate countertops are history, and now I have nice, quartz countertops, but the walls behind them are torn-up Sheetrock.

As I explained when I joined the discussion group, it’s not life or death, but I am about to lose my mind trying to decide on a backsplash to go with my new kitchen countertops.

I had two samples, and I could not decide. A decorator at the tile store even said it was 50-50 for her.

A friend whose decorating judgment I trust the most has been busy selling her house and remodeling another, so she hasn’t been able to hold my hand. The nerve, right?

To be fair, I texted photos of three countertop samples, and she narrowed it down to two for me.

She’s been helping me for 20 years, and for some reason, she thinks I’m ready to be on my own. I am not.

So, I found surrogate friends.

Within minutes of posting my problem, I had responses. Let me tell you, there are lots of people out there happy to give their opinions.

What came to mind was a restaurant my husband likes to go to that has a pond on the property. We were there early one day recently, and we fed the fish. As soon as I threw fries in the water, I had a feeding frenzy. That’s what the responses popping up so fast reminded me of.

Most of the replies were in favor of the subway tile. One woman, Ann, wanted to see more of my kitchen to help decide.

I took more photos, including one where my husband is visible in the computer room, and posted those.

Total strangers could see into my house, photos on my fridge and my husband.

That’s a little creepy when you think about it. But, I didn’t think about it.

I made the mistake of feeling like these people actually were my friends. Not to go all Manti Te’o, but I could see how you can form relationships online.

I really liked Ann, for example. She laughed at my comments. She “liked” my title, A Tale of Two Tiles. I told my 19-year-old, and he said. “Gosh, Mom, you are so old: ‘Somebody liked my comment.’”

She said she wanted to see ivory tile, so I dutifully went and got a sample of ivory tile.

For the next few hours, the comments kept coming. I checked the website on my iPhone as my husband and I were eating lunch.

I wasn’t quite savvy enough to respond from my cellphone, though, and I couldn’t wait to get home.

I guess I breached some discussion-thread etiquette, because I told a little personal story about my decorating history, and that was it.

The fish found better food.

People had posted other dilemmas, like “This living room is making me nuts!” and “Backyard Dissaster! (Being able to spell correctly is not a prerequisite on this, or any other, site.)

When I had trouble deciding what to wear to go out that night, my husband said, “Maybe your friends online can help.”

That gave me a great idea for a new discussion group: Fix My Fashion Faux-Paus.

Let the feeding frenzy begin.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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