Well, that didn't take long. Matt and I have already enjoyed our first home improvement argument. Or it wasn't a full-blown argument as neither of us would show steel over something like this. It was more that we sketched out the contours of a possible argument that we could have and then I left the field, perhaps saying something like, "Well obviously you have no need of my opinion," like one says, and then Matt called foul on me for saying that and criticized the approach I was taking to the argument. It was like a meta-argument except that the idea of a meta-argument makes me so exhausted I would never admit to beginning or engaging in one.
Aren't you so glad I'm blogging every day?
The scene was set by a long trip we made to the home improvement store tonight. Matt was going and for some reason I wanted us all to go. I am still giddy with the notion of paint cards and floor finishing and things that are fun, you know? So the idea of going seemed exciting. It wasn't as exciting after I remembered I don't really like those places and then I wound up holding Hank in my arms due to an invisible, minor, and possibly illusory scratch he suffered on his arm. Before that, I did manage to have a long conversation with the flooring associate about carpet for the basement stairs. I found out that installing carpet on stairs costs $13 per stair, and that all carpet is scandalously ugly. It just is. I have carpet all over my second floor, and I've never really felt one way or the other about it. But I realized I've never bought carpet, and it isn't fun to pick out. Especially on those disembodied sample sheets. Seriously, there were some Berber samples she showed me that made me feel like I would never be joyful again. That wasn't Matt's fault.
The whole point of the trip was so that Matt could do some reconnaissance on what would be involved in going further than the basement guys are going, and sheetrocking a couple more rooms himself after they finish what they're doing. When he told me this plan, he prefaced it by saying, "Free your mind." Which is our throat-clearing utterance that we use when we want to propose something that may be met with resistance. I promised that my mind was free, and then when it turned out that his plan was something to do with building materials, I was like, "Fine, if you want to do that, go for it." And on the way to the store, I was supportive. I let him know this by saying, "I'm supportive of your plan."
But once we got home, the kids were in bed, and we were standing down in the basement, I just felt that he was being a scoosh unrealistic about how much can be accomplished before next Monday, which is when he wants all his guys to move down there and work. He says Monday is "not negotiable." Keeping in mind that Larry and Darryl the basement guys will not be gone until Wednesday. And we then need to clean and prep the floor, stain and seal it, and paint the walls. I can't see a major construction project happening if Monday is the goal. That was my position, and to strengthen it I cited Matt's well-documented and not-always-warranted optimism about how much can be done in a limited amount of time. I could give you chapter and verse, but it will all be in the biography I will write about him so I will spare you here. His optimism and self-belief are among his most appealing traits, they are. Anyway.
So I was like, "It will take us all four days to do this floor and paint. There is no time for anything else." And he was all, "Yes there is. I will do it." And then I realized that there was no need for me to draw that line in the sand. What was I arguing for? If the man wants to hang some sheetrock, why not? He wasn't asking me to stand there and hold his nail apron.
Then I gestured to a wire rack hanging on the wall, where I used to store gift wrap. I told him that I looked forward to having a little gift wrap station down there again, maybe with a little table under it. He said, "Hmm, maybe in the far future, but there won't be anything in these rooms that isn't office-related." And then I was like, you're kind of being a butt, and killing my joy. And he said he didn't want to kill my joy.
But it was too late. The joy was dead. Then I stood up and brushed off the seat of my shorts and came up here to tell you about it. He followed me to admonish me for beginning to argue about the basement. That's also what we call being a butt.
Possibly I was also being a butt, due to some submerged and obscure issues of my own. I don't know.
So that is what's going on in basement today.
I'm glad we had this talk. I'm sure in a little while we'll be lapping out of the same dish again.
I love you guys and I know you would never tell me I can't have a gift wrap station in your new home office.