Why DIY with your wife is more fun than doing it by yourself.
I felt the second tug on the bottom of my painting sweats, couldn’t look down from the ladder. “Yeah?”
“I need your little ‘stiff’ thingy for a minute.”
All of them ran through my mind. I landed on the most offensive, to me. “Little?”
“Yes. You know, your little ‘stiff’ tool?”
“Yeah, I know my not-so-little stiff tool. Just for a minute?”
She was oblivious. “Yes. Where is it?”
“I try to keep it with me. Hate to lose it.”
“Don’t be silly. You don’t have enough pockets for all this junk.” She was shuffling through the tools that shouldn’t have been on the end table. “I don’t see it down here.”
I got to a place where I could put the paint brush down and look at her. Jesus. The girl always got more paint on herself than anything she ever painted. I can still find thirty-year-old pink all over an aluminum step ladder from the time she and our daughter decided the steamer trunk for all nine thousand Barbies needed to be pink.
“I’m not sure what ‘stiff tool thingy’ you mean.”
“You know, the one I used to get caulk off the fireplace the other day.”
“You got ‘caulk’ off the fireplace with my ‘little stiff tool thingy?’” Still nothing. Oh well. “You mean the painter’s tool?”
“I guess. Only men would have a tool called ‘stiff’ that scraped up after their ‘caulk’ mess and had another name, too.” I wished I could have seen her face for that one.
It was killing me, but wisdom said leave it. “Painter’s tool. Just remember that. My little stiff tool thingy is a Painter’s tool. ‘Stiff’ is just how hard it is.” Still nothing. I eyed the tool bag on the floor next to the ladder. “There it is. Yellow tool bag, on the floor. Right next to my Big Johnson.” How could that have been more perfect?
“Well, it says ‘stiff’ on the handle. And ‘stiff’ I can remember.” She gave me that devil girl look. “Barely.”
“I’ll be happy to fix that for you.”
“That’s what you said about this fireplace. Two weeks ago.”
“I didn’t know what I was getting into, or how much work it would be.” That was just stupid. Wide, wide open.
“So that’s what you’ll tell me? You didn’t know how much work I’d be? And I’ll have to wait two weeks?”
I wanted to say, “You could consider it foreplay,” but I don’t have a death wish. “I’m a part-time handyman, except on weekends.” I put on my best Barry White. “But you know, baby, I’m a full-time lur-uv machine.”
She walked away toward the kitchen, hair streaked with paint, my “little stiff tool thingy” in hand. “No you’re not.” She turned, looked back up the ladder and smiled. “But I knew there was a way to get you to finish this before Sunday afternoon.”