I heard from someone somewhere that the true test of a marriage is if the partners can work on a home project together without murdering each other. That seems about right to me.
Cramped, teetering on a ladder in a close hallway while reaching for the limp wet wallpaper being handed up; four hands squeezed into a space under the sink barely big enough for one trying to unloosen a rusted nut; differing opinions on just how to angle the bulky furniture up and around the turn of the stairs.
Yes, two working as one on a home project can surely test the limits of love.
Becky and I are in the midst of such a test as we paint the built-in bookshelves my carpenter brother recently crafted for us. It covers most of the wall and will hold lots of books. I know we could have saved time and effort by getting rid of some of our books, but that is easier said than done for two certified bibliophiles. We have been on the same page, you might say, as to what this project requires from each of us. So far, our marriage seems to be holding together.
Painting is not one of my favorite things to do, I must admit, but I do enjoy going to the hardware store to choose a color. I spend much more time than is necessary standing at the bright display of color choices reading the names of the different hues. What fun it must be to come up with new ways to describe “dark green.” How does one get such a job?
Our intention was to paint the bookshelves green. We considered “Caesar Salad,” “Spinach Salad,” “Tossed Salad,” “Green Pear,” “Green Grapes,” “Yellow Lettuce,” and “Celery Sprig.” Finally we settled on “Bean Pole,” mostly because I was getting too hungry to go on.
I continued to peruse the color chart as our “Bean Pole” was being mixed. I began to develop a menu partly to assuage my hunger, and painted a picture in my mind of an elegant meal.
My plan for the first course would be the greens mentioned earlier garnished with “French Olive” and dressed with “Sweet Mustard.” This would be served with a “Bread Basket” of “Hot Cross Buns” and “Johnny Cakes” topped with a “Honey Glaze.” The soup course would be a simple “Tomato.”
For the entree, I would serve a fresh fillet of “Salmon Rose” with a “Lemon Twist” sautéd in “Golden Butter,” under a “Golden Flame.” This fish would pair well, I think, with a chilled “Riesling.” For sides perhaps a choice of “Roasted Pumpkin,” “White Asparagus” or fresh legumes plucked from the vines of the “Bean Pole.”
I would offer a variety of desserts with a choice of fruits including “Watermelon Slice,” “Orange Slice,” Sweet Melon,” “Dark Mango” and “Iced Berry.” Those with a sweet tooth might opt for “Grandma’s Cherry Pie” or “Coffee Gelato.”
Speaking of which, what meal would be complete without coffee? I would serve “Hazelnut Coffee” as well as fresh “Italian Roast” along with a plate of “Dark Truffle” candies since chocolate always adds a richness to coffee. After-dinner drinks would include an “Ancient Burgundy” or a glass of “Port.”
By this time, the paint was mixed. We paid for it along with some brushes and other supplies we needed and headed out the doors.
“Well, that’s done,” Becky said. “What else is on our to-do list?”
“I’m not sure; I’ll have to check,” I said. “But I do know that before we go anywhere else, I want to stop and get something to eat.”
Norman Knight, a retired Clark-Pleasant Middle School teacher, writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.