jeudi 30 octobre 2008

The art of visual noise

I stressed.

Joaquim made me the reds for which I had been asking, "Je me suis revéillé à minuit, et je me suis dit, 'Tiens, il y a une chose encore à faire, préparer un échantillon du rouge,' alors, je l'ai fait pour toi."

Not that it matters, I suppose, that he finally made exactly the red I had requested before he made the first ones -- to match the color on the house, only with a bit of the eggplant color of the frist paint sample. There it is, with another shade of it, on the right of the center group, with the orangey one and the deeper rust colored one from a couple weeks back. Laisse tomber. Ceci fait partie des mystères.

Better not to ask.

The only thing that is certain is that it has to travel through his head and spirit and become his before I will ever see it.

I called Sam out to look; his eyes are like looking through my own.

"Which do you like? The reds or the browns."


"And which of the browns?" He looked a second to his right and to his left, and without missing a beat, he pointed, "That one." It was the very one I had liked so much when Joaquim did it, and which settled into a brown with a slightly slate cast to it. It picks up the light and uses it.

Joaquim grinned and nodded, "The anthracite."

I have always like anthracite and purples together, and ochre, forget it. I die for it.

I walked by later, and there was a white "X" on it. It surrounds the ochre we chose, on the top and to the right.

"Mon mari va penser que les gitanes sont passés marquer la maison. Je vais quand même lui montrer le rouge. Après tout, c'est sa maison aussi."

It was his before it was mine.

L'avis de minun aviomies

I considered letting the opportunity pass by, not showing him. It was rainy and cold. Terrible light to look at anything, and worse timing, running out the door to go to work, but it hadn't been there the last time he saw the house by daylight. But, how could I do that? What sort of credibility would I ever have again with myself if I didn't give him the opportunity to at least see the color he wanted, the one I had Joaquim make for him, and had it removed before he ever looked at it?

I'd show him. He leaned down to kiss me good-bye.

"I'm getting up." He looked surprised. It wasn't 8 AM. I could lie there a little while longer.

I pulled on the same work-out clothes I had on since Tuesday evening, and waited for him to head out the door.

"J'ai quelque chose à te montrer. Joaquim a pu faire le bon rouge." His eyebrows traveled up into his high forehead, "C'est là. Il y en a deux. Qu'en penses-tu?"

"Tu sais, j'ai toujours preféré le rouge. Je l'aimé bien."

"Je sais." I waited a second while he looked. "That's the brown I like. I think it will add something to the house, create more opportunities for planting around the house and set the flowers, and then the fall foliage off better." I saw the look that crossed his face and winced. There I went again, putting my plants above all. I was seeing the house settled into its garden. He was seeing his house as it was.

I forged on.

"It reminds me of Normandy and Denmark. Clean. An old motif, updated. Similar to the houses like it nearby, but different. Ours. It's the mark I make on it."

That makes it mine.

He nodded, "Pick the one you want."

"Je veux que tu l'aimes aussi."

"On le saura quand cela sera fini."

Et oui. Just what I needed to hear. Please, God, let me be not wrong and he be pleased and satisfied.

The work today

I stressed.

They arrived and began mixing the chaux. I could hear the machine start up, and then José appeared by the living room door with a glob of it on the palette and a trowell in hand. I came out to look.

"José! It's not the same at all!"

There ensued cell phone calls, Joaquim mumbling something to me about the wrong reference number for the black pigment when Georges passed me his cell phone to talk to Joaquim.

"Je pense que vous devriez venir voir." I was amazed, as it was, that he hadn't planned to be here to mix the first batch personally.

"Georges, he told you what to do?"


"Vous êtes sur de ne pas vous tromper?"


"Alors, soit il aurait du noter la mixe soit il aurait du vérifier lui-même l'achat et le mélange ce matin." We lost the day. Joaquim called Georges later to say he wouldn't make it that afternoon; I think he was bothered because he didn't call me. Things happen. It's their time. I suggested that they take down the shed roof from the kitchen entry, and Georges added that they could prepare a workspace to paint the shutters.

Better be good. I worry ever so slightly.

Already, I rejected the window Joaquim got for the stairwell. It was the wrong construction, clumsy, I didn't like the Brazilian wood, even if it is to be painted, and the hinges were cheap looking. I went to the store where he got it, took one look and returned to say that we'd need to spend a little more money. Looks like a carpenter is going to make one like the others in the house for us.

And what if I didn't have an eagle eye and a few years of this?

I suppose I'd never see the difference.

What worries me is that I think he understands, and then a little corner will get cut, a little accident will happen, and I am on my guard. We'll see tomorrow.

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