Elegance Beneath

Dearest Rachel –

So the plastic sheeting came down the other day, so it doesn’t look so much like Daniel and I are living in some elaborate tent anymore. It’s actually mildly disconcerting how accustomed I got with the ‘hall’ that had been created in the sunroom between the entrance and the master bedroom area. Still, it does feel more like a house these days, so that’s nice.

We also had another team in yesterday morning to shim the carpet in various places. Yeah, I wasn’t familiar with the word or what it meant either; when I first got a call from the carpet people, I was racking my brain as to whether they were getting back to me about my plans to redo the carpet in the sunroom, the dining room and the family room (which is all one solid area of carpet – and as you’ll recall, it’s been like this since we moved in, and heaven knows how many years before). It was a strange experience in particular because, while I’ve been thinking about doing this ever since we sent Chompers off to join you over there, I didn’t recall having made any such arrangements with this company (which, to be sure, Dad had recommended to me at some point). So how on earth did they know to contact me about this? And was I really ready to do this right now, even as we’re not quite finished with the current project?

If nothing else, there is a ridiculous amount of furniture to move out of any one of these rooms, let alone all three. Just the bookshelves alone would be a huge pain to take down. I’d already turned down (or at least, postponed) Tom the Electrician’s offer to set up the wi-fi router from its current place by the wall at the far left (where, while it doesn’t so much stick out, is still fairly – and aesthetically displeasingly – conspicuous) to behind those shelves, where no one need know where it is. Frankly, the idea of moving all that just now is too daunting to contemplate for the moment. He has offered to return to handle that job when I do get around to removing the (by now old and badly stained) carpet, so there’s that.

But no, they weren’t calling about that; they don’t have clairvoyants or mind readers over at the carpet place. What they do have is informants elsewhere, in the form of Tim and his crew. Having completed most of the work in both rooms, the next step is – for the time being, since we do still have the carpeting in place, and for who knows how much longer – to pin down the carpet at each doorway between the new floors and the carpeted rooms, lest someone trip over the loose nap of the carpet, for instance. Even in the picture above, you can see three such points of entry (well, you can see two, but the third, where the hall by the pantry empties into the dining room, is visible – you just can’t see where the flooring and the carpet meet, because of the furniture). Additionally, you might be able to guess that I’m taking the photo from where the master hallway empties into the sunroom. So that’s four points right there; and when you add the two master bedroom doors, you have a total of six to deal with. Quite a few, when you think about the size of the house overall.

Anyway, they came in with three guys (or rather, two guys and a girl, but come on – it doesn’t matter as long as they know what they’re doing) and got to work. It was a surprisingly quick job, too; they were in and out in less than an hour. But as they were working, the lead fellow called me over.

“Sir,” which was a weird experience in itself; I don’t think of myself like that, any more than I’m comfortable being referred to as ‘Mr. Larson’: those are titles reserved for my dad, “did you realize there’s nice hardwood floor under here?”

Hardwood floor? In the sunroom? No, no, I did not realize that. So, this means I might not even have to bother with carpeting the place? Just remove the carpet, clean and polish the floor, et voila? That sounds like an interesting plan…

Only, Daniel (when I informed him of the discovery, was having none of it. Carpeting is cozy, he says, but hardwood is just… elegant. And I’ll give him credit, he managed to say that in a way that made it abundantly clear that he thought of that as a Bad Thing.

Look, I get it; we’ve rarely been much for elegance of any sort. Dressing up was rarely a thing we did; that was for back in the day when we would go to this dance or another back in college.

I have a few photos like this for the formal from your junior year. If it weren’t for my peering over my glasses like a villain from a Stanley Kubrick film, I’d have this portrait made into a line drawing for our tombstone.

Of course, there were also the formal nights on the cruise ships, too… and before that, you might remember that red flapper dress I’d gotten you from Long Grove back in the day. It set me back a bit (at least, for me and my situation at the time; nowadays, I’d hardly blink at the expense), but we got some use out of that dress, although I’m hard-pressed to find much in the way of pictures of it.

The only one I know of is this one that your dad basically did a by-hand photoshop job on, incorporating it into this group photo of the Disney Epcot gang, as a way of commemorating our upcoming (at the time) honeymoon there.

Even then, the pose suggests more playfulness than elegance, per se. We never really learned how to be dignified in those sorts of situations.

And it probably rubbed off on Daniel; to this day, I can barely ever get him to wear a shirt with a collar on it, never mind a tie (admittedly, I don’t like wearing ties, myself, so I’m not about to force one on him). But he does seem to have an antipathy towards anything he perceives as being formal or elegant.

Still, it’s not as if the room is one that we really use. My grandmother’s old chair is taken up with the pillow that Ellen made for us as a wedding present, the rocker is occupied by Daddy-Cat, and the daybed is covered with some of your favorite stuffed animals. It’s a room to display stuff while people pass through, but little more.

Meanwhile, Daniel rarely leaves the family room, aside from bathroom breaks, and since the carpet extends from the sunroom to the family room, maybe he’s afraid I’d leave the whole place floored in hardwood. That would be a legitimate and understandable concern, if not for the fact that dining and family rooms are part of the addition to the house, and most likely, wouldn’t have the same floor as the sunroom. So I’ve left him to mull over the idea of the sunroom being separate from the other two when we finally get around to updating them all, and hopefully, he’ll be able to understand and accept the possibilities involved.

Until then, honey, keep an eye out for us, and wish us luck. Clearly, we’re going to need it.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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