Years ago when M and I painted the living room of the house that wasn’t yet half mine, we pushed all of the furniture into the middle of the room and crab-walked the perimeter, brushes and rollers stiff as sore limbs and caked with pumpkin-colored paint. We queued episode after episode of Star Trek: Voyager and Tuvok’s stoic acceptance of the vagaries of children’s tempers helped me to control mine. House projects are something I have accepted with reluctance, and perhaps only because of my love for a man who is convinced that if he doesn’t know how to do something, he’d rather learn than pay someone else.
So it was that when we agreed to begin tearing up the kitchen floor, I indulged in a little TNG and sliced up some watermelon. Stealing bites between peeling tiles, unable to hear over the roar of the heat gun but having seen enough to know just what Wesley Crusher was prattling on about, I found comfort in being part of a crew of two. We’re always doing or dreaming big, and for all it might seem that our projects are for the someday that hasn’t happened yet, I know these are the memories the rest of our lives are going to be built on. I think our kids might be as inclined to groan as I have been, but I’ll share with them my secrets: suck on cold fruit, escape into utopian fiction, trace the patterns of paint and stain and grit on the same pair of old work pants, remembering where you’ve been and what you’ve done. Work together. Be a family.
Or maybe because he’s their Daddy they won’t be so buggered.