“I just want more of her.” A wonderful piece on the late lamented food writer, Laurie Colwin.

Punch List

Dear Ann,
There have been kind requests for a virtual tour of our apartment after 9-months-that-we’re-calling-6-months of renovation. There have been sweet compliments about the dotty chair and seemingly vast kitchen sink (a trick of photography; it’s a regular double sink; stick a camera on the edge of your kitchen sink, and marvel at the canyon of stainless steel). I would be thrilled to relive each and every olive hinge (to re-plate or not to re-plate?) and doorknob (faux vintage but how vintage? how faux?), and share with everyone the many ways in which knitting has influenced my aesthetic journey.
However.
livingroom.jpg
This is the living room, 5 minutes ago. I think it best to save the tour for another day, and to resume my liberal use of the ‘crop’ feature on Photoshop Elements. With ‘crop’, actually fixing things or tidying up is So Last Century.
bigmitermay8.jpg
In the grand tradition of Winston Churchill defending the free world from his bed, I am pretty much living in the dotty chair. I find that there are few activities that cannot be conducted from a squishy yet supportive armchair, provided it has chenille dots on it. And see how the Big Miter has grown. I am down from the original 360 stitches (when I said 432, I was wrong; I have counted) to 153. I’m closing in on completion, and my head is full of ideas on how to turn it from Unwieldy Half-Acre of Knitting into Luxurious Throw For Dotty Chair. More miters! (Ya think?)
On the home front, we are at the precarious, hopeful phase of construction known as the Punch List. This is where you make a list of everything that is not quite right, and you tell the contractor, and they fix it. As you know, My People are a race in which the menfolk are downright ashamed of themselves if they cannot hang a screen door, snake a toilet, and rotate the tires using only tools and materials ordinarily found in their pockets.
As you also know, I did not marry such a man. Here is a typical “Punch List With Hubby” vignette:
Scene: Hubby, Contractor, and Kay viewing bathroom floor.
bathroomfloor.jpg
Contractor: Okay, so what have we got here?
Hubby: I’m very concerned about that gritty substance between the tiles.
Kay: [avoiding eye contact with Contractor] Um. Hon. That’s….grout.
Good times. Love. This. Guy.
Love,
Kay

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34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. Between you and Cara I’m starting to twitch whenever I see a mitered square. But in a good way. I swear.

  2. Post marriage, and when it became apparent that my favorite show was This Old House, my husband let it be known that he would never ever be involved in anything home repair/renovation (and after 22 years, I can add home ownership). Also, I notice in NE, while visiting my relatives in the panhandle, that men wear a wrench on their belt. In a leather case. Maybe a wonder tool but looked like a wrench. I knit and carry my needles as I need to.

  3. ROTF…oh my, very funny. Cropping is a great way of tidying up for the cyber-neighbors…

  4. Well, good luck with it all. Send Hubby away for a week and you and the contractor sort it all out.

  5. Hmmm. Can I apply the Photoshop Crop to Real Life, I wonder? And that list is a Snag List here.
    Love the mitre, but then you know that already.

  6. I think the renovations are looking lovely. Sometimes it is better not to understand grout.
    The miter is gorgeous (as is befitting the chenille-spotted chair). Have you given in consideration to just knitting a border on that big beautiful miter and letting it stand on its own as a lap blanket/throw? You could think of it as showcasing your genius in simplicity?

  7. The dots are *chenille*? Oh my. I may need to have a lie down. No, I need to google for chenille dot furniture. Oh my.

  8. Oh, that’s just cute! I had a similar experience the other day when I found out my husband has never waxed a car. I’m not exactly handy myself, but what 30-year-old guy has never waxed a car? Now I wonder if he knows what grout is…

  9. My guy is decidedly un-handy. I come from a long line of machinists, carpenters, mechanics and builders who pride themselves upon their ability to never, ever have to hire anyone to fix anything. When I first realized that John was completely and utterly lacking in the fix-it gene, i was a bit thrown. That said, he has proven to be the perfect man for me, so I keep my lip zipped about the handyman stuff. Renovations blow. I’m glad you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  10. My husband is of your tribe as is my father so I always marvel at menfolk that can not just make it happen. How do they survive? At bbq last night my handyman had to help with a vapor lock situation…you would think that he had invented fire. I just beem with pride as this gene has been passed on to my 2 teenage daughters. You should see my 13 year old change the tire on her dirt bike…very impressive.

  11. Dotty chair does look v. nice….v. much like it should be sent to live with us downtown.
    Good thing hubby chose the profession that he did….

  12. Ah yes, the Jewish husband syndrome. Also known as I’ll-pay-someone-else-to-do-it-itis. Mine is happy to do a little spackling or a little picture-hanging, but anything more involved gets contracted out.

  13. My People (N.D.) are so like Your People, but you forgot to mention they can drop the oil and change the filter on any vehicle in 5 minutes flat…unassisted. When my dad once asked me how much it cost to get your oil changed in “the city”, he proclaimed the price was “highway robbery.” Enough said.
    My husband is not like My People, but he is great with computers so I will not complain.

  14. mitermitermitermitermitermitermitermiter
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    LOVE!

  15. Recently the Hub got it into his head to “re-grout” the tub. Except he meant “re-caulk.” He is also of the is-it-a-hammer-or-a-drill-? gang, but bless his soul, got a book from the library, bookmarked about 5 websites, and we did it. In the process, we found that the last owner has grouted OVER the caulking, which was part of the problem. I kept saying “I can’t believe this – this is so weird – why would you do this?” And poor Hub kept saying “Hey, it’s an easy mistake – why not? – it’s not so crazy.”

  16. Also? Something about the giant square says to me if you do four squares, you should do inside out or one corner inside out or… you know what I mean.

  17. Perhaps he does not recognize grout because he has never scrubbed it? That is precisely the kind of husband that I have!

  18. I am a fan of Photoshop’s “healing” tool for virtually cleaning my apartment. You’d never know the floor desperately to be picked up!
    I can see no reason for leaving the dotted chair. Looks like a perfect spot!

  19. Nothing like cropping. If only that would work on terrestrial and actual guests, not just virtual. Maybe just large black screens and boxes.

  20. I think I’d rather have the home improvement challenged guy! I have got the one that believes he can fix anything, and after 2-3 trips to Home Depot and many hours of sweat and swearing, we still need the contractor!

  21. My dh, being a previous tile man, now garbage man slash side job tile guy will find that hillarious! I cannot watch any home improvement shows and especially none involving flooring of any kind because of the constant “you don’t have to do that…!” coming from any corner of the house. Those that do the biz do things differently from Joe Homeowner who could probably get his fingers grouted together permanently. However, he was also schooled by an Econ teacher that told the guys in highschool never to let their women fall in love with the house because as soon as you finish it and want to sell it, they won’t move. My dh’s remedy, rip stuff apart because you don’t like it, it leaks, it’s old, etc but then don’t have a plan to replace, improve or add onto it. Ex.: we have new windows but no trim and there’s that weird canned foam insullation sticking out in odd lava flow-like formations around said new windows. Sigh, I give up. Anybody want an extremely talented hubby that does wonderful work, for other people? In our house “the cobbler’s children have no shoes.” DH’s people wore kilts and probably beget MacGyver, but they don’t finish, probably why kilts stopped where they did and didn’t progress to pant-legs. My people, they paint houses in white t-shirts and never get a spot on them and know when to pay a professional to do the job, and also don’t rip anything apart unless the lumber to rebuild is neatly in a pile in the driveway before the first wrecking ball is let loose.

  22. Photoshop Elements: Why didn’t I think of that? And to think i thought I needed to get out the vacuum cleaner. Silly me.

  23. I get grout and caulking (that’s the rubbery sealant stuff, right ?) mixed up all the time. So, our bathroom looks just as it did when we moved in as both of us are too scared to do anything to it, and feel that it would be a defeat to call someone in. So we bath in an unpanelled bath, where the skirting boards are held on through gravity/balance and we have our own version of the Pompidou Centre, with pipes and drains all available to view. Nice.

  24. Oh my the miter and chair again! Love it! Love the crop tool… wish you could just use it and the undo button whenever needed in life. How did I miss the kitchen sink? Not that I can find it at my house either. When I picked up knitting I had to give up something.

  25. My adorable husband, he with the Biblical name, has not a single fix-it gene. He tells everybody that in a second life, I’m going to marry Tom Silva, that short, does everything perfectly guy from This Old House, my favorite TV show. I bet Tom Silva would be surprised at how many woman in America dream about having him around the house! Can we start a Tom Silva Fan Club right here?

  26. My dad is of the belief that the rubber mallet is an appropriate tool for fixing everything. Mostly, this method is unsuccessful and leads to Mom sneaking around to fix things when Dad is otherwise engaged- with much audible sighing. They have worked out a system, of sorts.

  27. I just found our punch lists from three years ago in an old notebook. Believe it or not, I have a lot of nostalgia for the renovation.

  28. i’m with joseph: the story pirates are pretty brilliant. we need more of the singin’ and dancin’ in our days of parenting. ‘why would you do what a dog does? arf! arf! arf!‘ –it’s ‘Fame’ with beanie propeller hats, for the long, dark snacktime of the soul…

  29. I like the crop feature too. It’s often the best thing going.
    Unfortunately I married a mechanic. There is nothing he says he cannot fix. I hope one day to send him on a nice trip somewhere and have someone come in a fix everything he says he fixed.

  30. My hubby is normally quite handy. After we moved into the house, he decided to tackle some issues we were having with the kitchen sink. He got everything together, got under the sink, and, with our two cats trying to get in to help, started to work.
    Unfortunately, he had forgotten to turn the water off. The cats still run every time he opens the cupboard under the sink.

  31. I love that! My husband and I are doing some minor renovating in our new home after the last people who lived there should have hired contractors, I think. We come across situations where they did something goofy, and I can imagine the wife and husband having that conversation. >.I love that! My husband and I are doing some minor renovating in our new home after the last people who lived there should have hired contractors, I think. We come across situations where they did something goofy, and I can imagine the wife and husband having that conversation. >.

  32. if all our husbands were handymen, then handymen wouldn’t have jobs! (I just keep telling myself that, and I have hire-a-hubby on speed dial to fix the disasters)

  33. I don’t know if my Dad knew vice grip from a crescent wrench, but Mom was a regular Ms. Fix-It. (Necessity is mother of invention, and all that.) Because of this, I have no concept of my mechanical limits and will freely dismantle any part of our house without regard for the fact that I had no idea how to put it back together. We were without a kitchen sink for two weeks because of me. When we moved, I think the Hubbins pushed for new construction so I wouldn’t be tempted.

  34. ok, that’s hilarous i had to delurk. my hub told the contractor: why is there chalk between the tiles?