vendredi 4 juin 2010

Testing a marriage


The wood, screws, angles and color-coded plans


"Je ne comprends rien," he announced, with a tone of refusal laced with rejection, squatting back on his heels in front of the pile of wood I brought home from Comptoir des Bois and the plans on which I had just finished giving each piece a letter, which I noted on the step-by-step, IKEA-like instructions for construction I had labored to make this afternoon, as well as on each piece of real wood, and color-coding them, coloring my plan, section and elevation detail like a coloring book. I didn't know really what more I could do to make it plainer. I hate it when he says that. He sounds like his children, which is what I told him.

I no longer ask, "Did you try?" It's just a little too antagonistic and schoolmarmish. This evening, I took another tactic.

"Je n'aime pas quand tu dis ça. Tu as l'aire de tes enfants." I tried not to sound to negative or accusatory. Just stating a fact in the most fact-stating of ways, while communicating my own refusal to accept his.

The line was drawn. He had already taken me into the petit salon to show me how he had tried to do it and why it didn't work. It was the nylon anchors that didn't hold in the wall, he told me, and that wouldn't change with my plan. It was when he tried to nail something to them that his wood piece fell off the wall.

You need to imagine several lengths of wood, glued and nailed, or some such, to one another along their lengths, and this sticking out from the wall at 60°, attached by nylon anchors (remember those?) he inserted through holes he had pre-drilled in the first length of wood. There was nothing supporting the end that stuck out from the wall, but it did feature a nicely cut triangular section of wood, against which the sheetrock (plasterboard for the UK English speakers among you) would lay.

"J'aimerais pouvoir utiliser au moins ça," he said, showing it to me. "C'est très bien et ce n'était pas facile à faire." I shook my head. We weren't going to use it if we followed my plans, which I had labored to make, and for which we had all the wood we needed, at a certain cost, as well, mind you. I threw a small fit.

He didn't press the point.

"De toute manière," I pointed out, "on peut utiliser de la colle aussi entre le cadre et le mur, rajouter des chevilles à frapper supplémentaire, et puisque le bois fini est incorporé dans le cadre avant de le fixer au mur, tu n'auras ni à le frapper avec un marteau ni à le percer pour fixer les tablettes." Which is to say that since the whole thing is pre-built, it can be glued and fixed in place with the nylon anchors, and we won't have to bang nails into it or drill it for screws to attach the finish wood for the jambs later. In other words, it ought to hold. It is, in fact, far sturdier.

It's also true that it is a bit hefty. Maybe it will need some angles to support it on the wall, too.

I really hope it will work because I really, really don't want to find out what divorce court is like. I hate apartment hunting, and the frogs might take it badly.

It's getting dark, and he is still sawing. By hand.
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