— Vincent Van Gogh
Dutch Painter (1853-1890)
One would assume husbands with almost 3 1/2 decades of experience would understand the value in knowing when to speak and when to listen in conversations with one’s wife.
One would be wrong.
Like a broken record, some of us just keep talking in spite of logic, common sense and all other mannerisms inherently non-male.
It happened a couple of weeks ago in our little home.
Some has been shared already. Here’s the rest of the story.
With the spring season rolling around, our “Habitat state of mind” surfaced which meant the time was nigh for purging the old, the unused and the neglected, and donating it to the Habitat ReStore here in Cleveland. Our purpose was plain. Create space in my wife’s Arts & Crafts Room for a new tabletop for her newest hobby — scrapbooking.
Our decisions were decidedly simple.
In our household, when the purge bug bites the dust doesn’t settle until a room is half cleared of those items we once cherished. Nothing different this time. I even joined in the fray by suggesting this should go because we don’t use it and that should follow because we never needed it.
Gone was a big cabinet.
Gone were bunches of books.
Gone was the remainder in our fading collection of antique VHS movies.
Gone was a towering bookshelf.
Gone were boxes of knickknacks most of whose knicks I never really knacked anyway.
By purge’s end, the room was almost empty save her leviathan desk and treadmill. Both we pushed to the center of the tiny room because somebody’s loose lips sank his tranquil ship by suggesting the time was right for repainting and putting up crown molding to match the other rooms we had remodeled in the past few years.
My beloved could have at least had the marital courtesy to say to my suggestion, “Well, let me mull that over. It’s a lot of work.” Instead, we were halfway to Lowe’s when she offered her benefit of my doubt, “Do you have the right nails and extra paint brushes?” It was her way of saying I could change my mind before it’s too late but don’t even think it.
Accenting my chivalry, I offered with pursed lips, “Not to worry, my love. Piece of cake.”
Which wasn’t far from the truth. The blood I spilled during that project could have dyed half-a-dozen red velvets.
We returned home well-armored with paint, molding, a few brushes, new electric outlet covers (in our household old ones are replaced with bright new white ones upon each remodeling), shiny floor vent cover and band-aids. The latter is a remodeling must in our home.
When it comes to painting we have a system.
My wife does the taping. I do the painting.
My wife puts down the drop cloths. I supply the drops.
My wife provides moral support. I mutter unspoken thoughts that don’t support my morals.
My wife bubbles, “We’re almost finished!” I counter, “With paint or life?”
When it comes to putting up crown molding we too have a system.
It is called trial and error.
The errors multiply with every try.
It is one reason we laughingly gave ourselves a nickname years ago when trying our hands at anything related to measuring, cutting, nailing and right angles. We call our little tandem the Approximate Construction Company.
No claims to professional quality.
No assurances that our “new” will look better than the “old.” Most of the time it doesn’t.
But of any construction project we undertake, one can be assured of this certainty — lots of nails. Lots and lots of nails. Back in September 1993, I launched the erection of a 12 ft. by 20 ft. storage shed in our back yard. Three months later it was finished. Three years later it became the first wooden shed in the history of storage to rust.
Stories of like adventures are ours for the telling on all matters related to carpentry.
Including crown molding.
Which we don’t even use. Our molding is actually door casing which serves the same purpose, is just as attractive and it’s easier to cut.
Unless it’s Approximate Construction Company doing the cutting.
Maybe it’s the tape measure. Maybe it’s the molding. Maybe it’s bad saws. Or maybe it’s just us.
Thankfully, my wife tolerates these flaws.
In my construction talents.
And in me.