Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Artist And The Brute

Another progress report today, both on the walls and on the division of labor concerning them. Steve has painted the two contrasting colors on the walls (above the wainscoting and below) in the living room and may get to some of the trim. Note I say "Steve" and not "we." All pretense of my helping with this phase of the task is dropped. Steve is such a perfectionist with paint, and the results so professional, that my "help" turns out to be more of a hinderance. We've learned from previous experience that a) I end up with as much paint on myself as on the walls, and b) he usually has to come behind me and fix my mistakes. I have no talent for painting except on the grossest jobs where detail doesn't matter and there, it's not talent so much as sheer brute force. Maybe I could whitewash a fence à la Tom Sawyer, but forget about fine finishes. That takes Steve's fine eye and steady hand. My contribution will come later, during the week, when I'll wipe down the wood floors with a good cleaner as preparation for painting the shoe molding. Then Steve will take over again. Next stop: the den.

I fight the impulse to feel guilty about not being much help. Steve does seem to get fulfillment from his job well done. Still, I can't sit up here and muse away the hours while he's working. I find other jobs around the house to do, or sit and keep him company. And I do know that I'll be doing things that are just as important if not as glamorous, so that assuages my conscience. The bottom line is that we enhance for each other. What I can do, he can't nor has he much interest in, and vice versa. It makes for a very complete and satisfying end product, at least if we're working on the same thing!

And then there's the fundamental truth that without Steve in my life I'd have absolutely none of this. Remembering that makes any job I can do all right with me.

4 comments:

Cuidado said...

That is a very sweet post and I hope Steve reads it!

I am a perfectionist with paint as well and would like you to stay out of my way too.

You could just keep changing cd's and bringing food.

Ralph said...

LOL! That's exactly what I do, except I just set the ipod on "shuffle" for the music. I've always said, "I do the hardware store runs and make the sandwiches."

michele said...

Every partnership has it's divisions of labor. I'm the painter in our family. My father taught me. John and I still laugh over our first painting-together experience. I thought everyone knew how to paint. Apparently not. My 'suggestions' were cause for John to retire from painting. This summer I painted the entire interior of the house we bought next door. No furniture to move and cover. Walls needed only minor patching. Carpet gone and subfloor to catch drips. It was heaven. Steve would have loved it! I cranked up the music and painted the day away. John smoked pork shoulder/butt and rewarded me with wonderful pulled pork sandwiches worthy of Memphis. I can't cook a lick. Thankfully he I can and does.

Ralph said...

Michele, it's no wonder why the four of us have such a good time together. That's my scenario exactly, right down to the pulled pork!