Summer, we are told, is DIY season. So is fall, apparently? They air the same commercial for every season, but the gist of it is that you should always be doing something to work on your home. I’m mostly down with that, since we’ve got so very much to fix in this house – I’ve shown you the wallpaper, but I’m ashamed to show you the full range of carpets; that should tell you something about the level of ugly. We’ve also got the usual furniture buying to do, which is complicated by the fact that I hate almost everything I’ve ever found, regardless of price point. The world is full of things that are not what I want, and tables that are made for short people.
In other words, we still don’t have a dining set, and are eating in the breakfast room.
The problem, as I see it, with the DIY stuff is not the doing so much as the yo-self bit. Particularly when your partner in these endeavors is diametrically opposed to the most critical goals of your very soul. Sure, he figured out how to smooth out the horrible pointy texture on the walls in the upstairs hall** and he actually knows all the secret dude words to use at Home Depot to get the things we need,*** but for soul-sucking experiences, nothing beats the Yellow Paint Argument. Not to be outdone, Brighter vs. Bolder and Deeper vs. Richer put in strong appearances whenever the paint chips come out, and he won’t stop bringing up trivialities like “where will we put it?” and “why do we need it?” when I show him a fabulous thing I’ve discovered that we can totally afford. (Woe be to me on those occasions that I show him a large, ornate, not-obviously-functional object that technically falls outside the budget of someone who isn’t a Rockefeller by birth.)
I’m sure you can appreciate the unfairness of my situation. You’re already 100% on my side and don’t need any examples. However, I came prepared and see no harm in offering them to you. Plus, the he-said/I-said is sort of my shtick, so it feels wrong to leave it out.
We are, for reference, moving a large and ungodly heavy object up from the basement. It’s actually a clever piece of furniture designed to disguise the existence of litter boxes from the delicate eyes of company. Moving heavy things is the sort of togetherness that we do not do well.
HIM: Okay, now let’s take it back up again.
ME: With less shouting this time, maybe?
HIM: I hope so, but when I tell you I need you to hold it still, I need you to actually hold it still.
ME: Fair point. Counter: you cannot say you need my help and then get all shocked and frustrated at my lack of 15-foot armspan. If that’s what you need, then you don’t need MY help, you need Elastigirl or something.
HIM: Elastigirl isn’t real.
HIM: Now, Mr. Fantastic on the other hand…
I tell you, it’s a good thing I love him.
I ought to change the rule so that every time he says something that winds me up, he says “you love me!” but that would probably only make things worse.
Quickly, while we’re on the subject of moving heavy shit around, this happened and I want to share it with you because I know you’ll be disturbed right along with me. I mean, it’s just weird, right?
HIM: Now, I’ve already turned this one, so we’ll just lift it coffin-style.
ME: (pauses, puzzled)
HIM: (gestures) so you get on that side.
ME: (moving slowly) I’m concerned by your apparently extensive knowledge of coffin lifting and tipping techniques.
HIM: Look, you have your skill-set and I have mine!
Tell me truthfully: should I be concerned for my safety? I mean, I don’t think he’d actually kill me, but a man with such an easy way with coffins has to be looking for opportunities to put that talent to use.
* Harrison Ford, in case you didn’t know, was first trained as a carpenter before he became Han Solo. A while back, he did an interview with John Stewart and was asked if people ever want him to do carpentry for them—and if so, what does he say? His response: “Same price.” Make a movie, make a table, same price. Now, Husband and I heard that and resolved to one day be wealthy enough to be able to pay Harrison Ford to build us a coffee table (my special hatred for basically every coffee table ever made is almost supernatural, but if Harrison Ford made and signed it, I’d love it forever and that’s about the only way Husband will be getting one.) We are not, as yet, in a position to pay Disney money for Mr. Ford’s time, but I feel like if I could just talk to him and explain what’s going on with the dining room, he would be willing to work for scale.
** I don’t know how else to describe it; it’s sort of like the stuff that’s meant to hang off the ceiling, but really firm and won’t scrape off no matter what and it’s hella sharp. The dogs were using it to scratch themselves, and I even gave it a go once or twice as a back scratcher: very effective, not attractive
*** Seriously, what is with that store? They’re always trying to send me to a craft store instead! Even when I show up covered in plaster dust and stained with paint, if I’m asking where a certain fitting or hook or adhesive or anything is, they immediately jump to “Have you tried Hobby Lobby?” The only department that never pulled this was Paint, and I started dragging those poor boys all over the store if Husband wasn’t available. Because no, actually, I didn’t think to look at the craft store for a switch plate.