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Typical Day

Cornice Giclee (it's French) steps through the front door of the showroom at 9am sharp. She co-owns this showroom with her partner in crime, Mortise Inglenook. Business has been booming ever since the two of them set up shop two years ago—so much more effective than attempting to work out of her home. Now she can physically walk potential clients through the space so that they can see firsthand some of the options she is able to provide, rather than merely flipping through catalogs or browsing websites. Besides, some of her clients are real technophobes.

Cornice goes to her office and spends a few minutes responding to emails and voicemails, then reviews her schedule for that day. Her first appointment is a consultation with an existing client. Danny Drywall owns a modest ranch home; he knows he can get by with the minimal square footage the house features, but is frustrated by the closed-off feel of the place. He has already had Cornice visit him at the house so that she could get a sense of the situation, as well as what it was Danny envisioned or desired. It has previously been determined what walls will be demo'd, what hallways widened, etc., but today Danny has come into the showroom to start picking out some of the actual furnishings that will be included in the finished product. He doesn't just want more space, of course—he wants a whole makeover. He'd ideally like his living room to be the prettiest girl at the dance.

"What do you think of this chandelier?" Cornice asks him, indicating a fixture that she feels will not offend her client's masculine sensibilities, but will add a touch of class to the new dining room.

"Eh, I don't know," says Danny. "I'm more a ceiling fan kinda guy."

"Okay…then what are your thoughts on this little number? A gorgeous Minka Aire Wing fan with mahogany blades. It's subtle, but elegant. And I think it would go fabulously with that table we picked out last week."

"I love it. Let's go with this. Er…how much?"

"Seven hundred. But worth every penny."

Danny flinches at the cost but nods in agreement. If he's going to do this thing, he might as well do it right.

After digging up all that they can in the showroom, the two retire to Cornice's office where they fill in any holes by skimming through a number of brochures, as well as browsing color palettes and fabric choices. The entire appointment takes over two hours, but great progress has been made. Cornice makes plans to visit Danny's home one last time before renovations begin early next month.

Danny leaves and Cornice takes a working lunch, going through emails that have accumulated in her inbox while she was occupied with her client. By the time she exits her office at 1pm, the showroom is packed. Maybe not Madison Garden packed, but it's doing quite well as far as furniture showrooms go. This business gives Cornice the chance to make money selling items individually as well as incorporating them into remodeling jobs. The more ways to make some dough the better.

Mortise is manning the only open cash register and looks stressed. Cornice helps lighten her load by opening up the second register. There's already a line six people long.

"You gonna be okay here the rest of the afternoon?" Cornice asks her.

"What? You're leaving me alone with all this?"

"You know you love it. Yeah, I've got to be at the house on Mason by three. Most of the furniture's being delivered today."

"Well, can't they just…maybe you can tell them…fine, go. I'll just be here, going insane."

"Oh, Mortise, you're already there."

Mortise presents her partner with a gesture that is not altogether appropriate in a professional setting, and then goes back to assisting customers with their purchases. Cornice helps out for as long as she can, then takes her leave at about 2:45.

"See you later!" she calls out as she leaves.

"Burn!" says Mortise.

Cornice arrives at the house on Mason a few minutes late—the furniture deliverymen are already there. Figures. The one time deliverymen are actually on time. She lets them into the house and explains roughly what is going where. She then guides them through the halls as they bring in each new piece, and makes sure it is positioned precisely right. Because heavens knows she's not shifting any of this stuff around if they get it wrong.

Ugh. The fabric on the dining room chairs is chartreuse—not the lime green she ordered. In seconds she's on the phone with the distributor, demanding that they get this error corrected as soon as humanly possible, as the client will be moving back into the house the following day (he's actually not moving back for another four days, but the furniture company doesn't have to know it).

Cornice heads back to the office, stopping on the way at the construction site for another project she has in the works. She is meeting with this client tomorrow and wants to have some furniture and fixture options ready to show her—she measures each newly constructed room so she has an idea of what will fit inside of it, and makes notes in a pad that she keeps in her wallet. She observes the amount of light that is flooding in through the new bay windows in the living room, and tries to imagine what hues would look especially vibrant in there.

When she gets back into the showroom—ten minutes after closing—she sees that Mortise has flopped down on a couch and appears to be passed out. She attempts to tread silently past her on the way to her office. "Tomorrow you have the registers," she says without opening her eyes. "Argue and I’ll strike. I may look tired, but there is fire in me yet." Mortise has fallen asleep before the last word is spoken.