So Paul said, “I’ll call Dan and we’ll check it out.”
Now I need to interject something about our marriage. If couples could be divided into only two categories, the categories being: “the fighter” and “the passive one”, let’s just say it would not be me wearing the passive crown, especially when it came to home improvement. I would assess our fiscal constraints, determine my vision for the area to be improved and then scheme how to reconcile the two. Paul just didn’t seem to care. Most things just seemed like too much hassle and expense.
As well, Paul always seemed to be at work or away on business whenever anything in our home broke down. I was the one who stood clutching our checkbook and who swooned when hats came off and heads were scratched and dire things were said like, “Well I tried to save it but you’re gonna need a new…” BLACKOUT “…I think it will be around…” BLACKOUT -insert any enormous sum of money “…but that’s only cause I’m giving you the family discount.” To repeatedly hear evil things like that throughout the years takes a toll on a girl, especially if she was a bit twitchy to start.
All that to say when Paul assured me he and my other floor guy would take care of it I didn’t feel entirely assured.
I should tell you more about the floor. It was concrete that was covered with 50 year old linoleum tiles. I guess covered isn’t accurate since in many places the tiles had broken and were patched together with cement. It all was caked with plaster and drywall dust. Laminate was the only thing that we could just lay over the mess without a ton of prep. Even inexpensive linoleum would have needed a lot of expensive prep work. And laminate was also the only thing we could do ourselves.
Paul had a meeting at church the one night Dan was able to come over. He got down on his hands and knees and dragged a level over every square foot of the kitchen. He was encouraging from the get go. “This looks good…oh there’s a little dip but we can fill that in with a bit of self- leveling compound…that’s great…Alison you’re fine.” I was starting to relax when he reached the last corner, “Oh My!” And then the level broke.
OK, it didn’t break, but it jumped and if it had had a nose it would have started bleeding. Dan started saying all sorts of terrible things that I would rather not repeat. He sounded just like the contractor. And then Paul came home.
He took the news calmly, got down and checked things out for himself. I was pulling a Lady MacBeth. Not by running around yelling, “The blood! The blood!” but by pacing and wringing my hands. Paul, wisely, ignored me. After assessing everything and talking with Dan he decided to put down some levelling compound and see how far that got us.
That night I rehashed what Tom, the contractor, said, what Jon, the carpenter, said, what Dan said, what the UPS guy who hadn’t even seen the floor said…then Paul, my husband, said, “Babe I am going to take care of it.” And I knew he wasn’t just saying something to pacify me. I believed him and let go of the burden.
It’s silly really, it was just a floor but it opened up an opportunity for something in our marriage to shift. We have sailed through many difficult things together but it was the little things that would undo us.
As I write I can hear him working on the floor in our main bath. This was the same floor that Dave, the tile man said would need a ton of prep work and I shouldn’t even bother putting tile in if I wasn’t ready to take the tub out now, because when I do need to take out the tub it will ruin the tile. Paul, my husband, said he would take care of it. He is.