Sunday, January 26, 2014

Little Compromises


So, the blizzard of ’14 which blanketed Short Pump with 2 whole inches of snow and shut down schools for 4 days has had an unintended consequence. It has unleashed Pam the Painter. Yes, my wife has taken this unplanned and unPAID vacation and turned it into an opportunity for home renewal. She is turning life’s lemons into lemonade, making chicken salad out of chicken ...er, eh, you get the picture.

To say that my wife pays attention to detail would be damning her with faint praise. To say merely that she is a perfectionist would be an insult. When Pam brings her laser-like focus to painting the perfect straight line, it causes disruptions in global satellite communication so intense is the energy. Oh, and there will be no taping of walls when Pam wields her mighty brushes, these flawless lines must be fashioned totally free hand. “I just can’t get over how much longer this takes than I think it’s going to take,” she mumbles to no one in particular.

When this is all going on, I am relegated to walking through the rooms every thirty minutes complimenting how awesome it looks and asking if there is anything I can do. But I already know what she is thinking even if she doesn’t say it, “Are you kidding?? You’re only good for rolling ceilings and even then I’ll end up coming behind you to fix all the mistakes.”

So, imagine my surprise when she made this stunning announcement:

“Honey, you know how you’ve been asking me for 3 days if you can help? Well, I think I’ve got something for you to do.”

First I think it’s a trap. She is secretly resentful of my horrible painting skills and is getting ready to ask me to clean brushes as punishment. But then she says she actually wants me to paint something. I’m getting psyched. My wife actually has enough confidence in me to offer me a painting assignment? I’m ready, willing and able.

“Sometime tomorrow, I think I’m going to have you paint the inside of the pantry.

The inside of what is basically a closet, 3’x4’ with no light, in which one human being can barely fit and once filled with food, no one will ever be able to see my handiwork. Perfect.

This is what passes for division of labor when it comes to home decorating in my house. I am only assigned tasks that do not offend the perfectionist obsessions of my wife. But, I suppose it’s a fair trade. In thirty years of marriage she has never once mowed the grass. Anything that has the potential to result in a hernia or ruptured disk is my domain. Pam is boss of all things aesthetic. It actually works out pretty well, although I’m still bummed that she said “no” to my suggestion of hanging the “dogs playing poker” painting over the sofa.

It’s the little compromises that make marriage work!