lundi 21 juin 2010

Work begins again, or learning to live with imperfection

More sheet rock

There are other pictures of last evening's work that show the room to be what it is, much brighter, but I like shadows and contrast, as for the work itself, for the moment I say, as the French do, "no comment." I am withholding judgment, which would very much surprise my husband to read that, since he believes he heard plenty of it yesterday. Loudly, and with conviction.

"Mais tu es un vrai bricoleur!" I believed I shouted, not necessarily at him, although I am sure he is convinced otherwise.

In fact, at one point, he approached me in the kitchen, where I had sought refuge in another pressing task that needed me at not far from 10 pm -- the preparation of a late supper --, my son having another four-hour exam session the next afternoon, with the last two following Tuesday and Wednesday, and made reference to my steadiest criticism of the French Education Nationale, our reviled system of education, "Et tu parles d'encouragement."

He was complaining about my lack of such encouragement for him. The thing of it is that he is making a poor comparison. He has not, you see, once come to me to learn a thing, knowing it all better than do I already. What encouragement ought I, then, to offer?


I let it go without comment, just as I had tried to let go without comment his renewed and vigorous cursing of the lightweight framing system for the insulation earlier in the evening.

"C'est vraiment de la merde ce système -- Mais! Ce n'est pas possible! -- Regarde-moi ça! Mais regarde ça! -- Mais on ne peut même pas faire rentrer la vise! Ca sort à chaque fois, mais que c'est de la merde ce système -- Je m'en fou de ce qu'ils dissent -- Mais! C'est pas possible!"

I reminded him that it is conceived and fabricated by two of the top materials systems companies (Isover and Stihl), used not only in France but in the UK and the US, and probably elsewhere, in fact, certainly elsewhere, and somehow, somehow everyone else manages to screw it to the framing.

In fact, he had managed to screw it to the framing, with greater and lesser success, when we first started hanging sheet rock (was it only a month ago?). The screws, at any rate, didn't come flying back out of their holes, and he hadn't had to push into them with all the weight and strength of his upper body, sending the ladder sliding away from the wall. I suggested that he stop, recover his senses and his calm and let me go and ask at the supplies store the next day what we might do, see if the neighbor didn't have a proper cordless driver as I believed he had offered, but there is no stopping him when he is in a fury, and I went off to announce Brazil's goals (that second with not one but two hand balls was too much!) and red and yellow cards (Shame on Kader Keita! FIFA should throw that one out, suspend Keita and let Kaka play against Portugal) to him from the living room, and to read the articles covering the dramatic catharsis les Bleus were staging on the World Cup's theater this weekend after too much pressure, too much loss, and too many years of Raymond Domenech and Jean-Pierre Escalettes at the top of the FFF.

Spoiled and overpaid they might be, but since so is every other player on an elite national team in Europe and South America that is perfectly inadequate to explain the team's only solidarity: absolute opposition to their leadership from the Fédération Française de Football. No, it is the FFF itself that is to blame.

"Carton rouge pour le Brésil!" I called to the sounds of the electric drill in the deepening evening. "C'est Kaka! Et, mais c'est pas possible!" I exclaimed, my husband appearing to stand behind the armchairs and watch the replay, "il n'a strictement rien fait de tout!"

I mean, c'mon, Keita didn't even grab the right "injured" part!

My husband watched and shook his head as Kaka walked off field, suspended for the next match against Portugal. Like that didn't feel bought and paid for, somehow, if it weren't payback for Brazil's two uncalled handballs in Fabiano's second goal, a goal the BBC reports "had a dubious hint of handball." Hardly dubious; even the referee told Fabiano with a knowing smile after the goal was counted that there was hand, showing him precisely on his own arm where he had used his to control the ball. But no, there absolutely should NOT be video refereeing so the referee would have the advantage of actually seeing what happens on the field. That would RUIN soccer!

[Note: It has come to my attention that I need to make a sarcasm alert for the above comment. So, sarcasm alert!]

Next, Italy will be offering Keita citizenship. Thank you, anyway, for giving us reason to forget les Bleus for a moment.

My husband hesitated a moment before returning to the drill he had left in the "petit salon".

"Ah, je me suis rendu compte," he said, "que c'était de ma faute que les vis ne rentraient pas." I looked away from the replays in succession and at his face, in the penumbra. There was, he was saying, nothing wrong with the screws or the system. He had my attention, and I knew where he was going with his confession. "J'ai eu la perceuse en marche arrière comme pour enlever les vis." Mais voilà, bien sur. En marche arrière.

He had, in other words, the drill in reverse, as you would to remove screws.


The problem is rarely outside oneself. Such is the use of calm. Now, if he can do that in the OR, why on earth -- ?

Today, I am in a miserable state not because the traitor in the locker room still hasn't been forced to walk the mutineers' plank in the world press and French public conscience -- the one who told everybody that soccer players use really bad words, allowing us to all suspect at last that superstar soccer players aren't necessarily gentlemen, despite their suits for travel and when forced to sit out for injury --, but because I really should have waterproofed the exterior walls before installing the lightweight metal framing, insulation and sheet rock.

Meanwhile, it's the Fête de la Musique and the first day of summer (cloudy and chilly), and my husband asked if I was to go to the fête somewhere (it's everywhere), or maybe hang some more sheet rock.

Is that rain I hear?

Sheet rock, if he'll borrow the neighbor's cordless sheet rock screw driver.

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