Spackle [ 2004-10-05, 4:18 p.m. ]

I have been systematically trying to update our apartment: furniture, dťcor, organization, cleanliness. Within those categories is an ongoing project, the framing and hanging of different photos and pictures. For most things interior-design-related, I have a pretty good eye. For hanging pictures on the walls, I do not.

We have a mishmash of things on our walls Ė some framed prints bought back when we were young and thought something on the wall is better than nothing and spent hundreds of dollars framing about $20 worth of prints which now seem kind of juvenile, especially since Kent just recently put down his GQ and announced that he would like to begin collecting art. ďMaybe we could discover some young Brooklyn painter?Ē he thoughtfully suggested. I thoughtfully suggested that doing so sounded like the premise for a very bad movie, one in which a greasy-haired skinny-but-sexy painter named Hugo or Duncan or Theo would move in with us and bisexual mind games would ensue, resulting somehow in a fire/violent assault/imprisonment. So needless to say, we do not currently own a lot of original art, although it is worth noting that Kentís SISTER is an artist and makes lovely, lovely pieces which I would really, really love to own, but am somehow not able to because of weird family dynamics or a lack of communication or maybe even spite, for all I know. But I digressÖ

We have a few of my sister-in-lawís pieces (two, tiny), some framed photos my brother M took and matted, some watercolors Jay bought for us in Italy, some family pictures and a few other assorted items in addition to the previously mentioned prints. Now, what I am struggling with is exactly how I am supposed to arrange our ďcollectionĒ in order to perfectly capture the modern-yet-casual-yet-bohemian-yet-sophisticated-yet-artsy-yet-WEíRE COOL SO BE OUR FRIEND! vibe Iím going for. Weíve lived in the apartment for over three years, and itís still an ongoing project. I am currently considering putting picture rail on several walls so I can just lean things and rearrange to my hearts content.

But all of this is beside the point. The point, that sneaky little bugger, comes to us in the form of a voice mail message. A message from the art supply store on Court Street, calling to let me know the pictures Iíd brought in for framing were ready.

They were wedding pictures, favorites which Iíd finally gotten around to taking in, and they made their ironic reappearance earlier today, just a mere 40 hours after Kent and I had what I thought was a relationship-ending fight. A one-of-us-is-sleeping-on-the-couch-and-I-CANíT-BELIEVE-YOU-DONíT-UNDERSTAND-WHAT-IíM-SAYING-and-I-get-the-dog-you-can-have-the-furniture kind of fight. It began, as most horrible fights do, over absolutely nothing. We spent the day walking around, had Thai food for lunch, were watching football and relaxing. Well, maybe not relaxing, but not fighting either. Then my sister-in-law called and the holidays were brought up, and in this house, the holidays are always, ALWAYS gonna get the shit on the fan. I wish it werenít so (and were you to hear my side of the fight, it wouldnít be so if Kent would just GROW UP GODAMMIT), but it is. And as anyone who knows us could have predicted, we fought. And fought and fought and fought. Past regular old anger, into blind rage where you say all those biting things, into hurt and tears, then into the real danger zone, where youíre not mad anymore, not sad anymore, but suddenly are so sure that things are O-V-E-R that you start saying all the bad stuff you are not allowed to say to someone who you, you know, love. It was a horrible, horrible night, but one which ended when the sun came up the next morning, and in the light of day certain things were a lot easier to see. That I love my husband dearly, for instance, and that the phrase ďworth fighting for,Ē does indeed contain the word, Fight.

So Sunday night was sleepless and horrible, and yesterday found me feeling a bit ragged. Kent called during the day, and apologized. I did too, and we made plans to meet for dinner. I can cook us something, I suggested, but Kent said No, we need to get out. And for any of you who read this site with any sort of regularity, you know that as usual, things turned out fine. I have a tendency to get REALLY FUCKING FURIOUS in the amount of time it takes Kent to crack open a bottle of beer, so the fact that we fight Big and Bad isnít really surprising. And hopefully, neither is the fact that we always make up, because like I said, I really, really do love my husband whole-heartedly. But it is so very, very easy to lose sight of all that in the heat of the moment. Or the forest through the trees, especially when the trees wonít stop complaining about not being able to spend every holiday until the end of time in Cincinnati.

(On a total aside, when Kent and I fight, Tuesday gets really nervous and either runs into her bed and curls up into a tiny ball, which breaks my heart, or runs to my side and clings to me, which makes me laugh, because 9 times out of 10, I am the one doing the yelling, I am the instigator, and I am the mean one. But she is my baby.)

No one slept on the couch last night, no one yelled or fought or said things they would regret, and then this morning I went to the art supply store and picked up our framed photos. I unwrapped them in the apartment and tried to remember what it felt like to get married. Then I stared at the apartment and thought how badly I need to paint, redecorate, win a million dollars, use that million dollars to buy new furniture, and then do something about that hideous chandelier. But painting seemsÖhard and a million dollars I do not have, and I havenít a clue how to rewire a light fixture, which left me with the pictures. Oh, the pictures and my quest to get them up on the damn wall and just be done with it already!

I hammered and nailed and arranged and rearranged and cursed and dropped something heavy on the floor and left a dent and then I rearranged some more. And now Iím done for the day, not entirely satisfied with where things have ended up, but done nonetheless. Iím actually afraid to keep fiddling with the pictures because I have put so many holes in the wall that I fear for the structural stability of the building (built in the 1880ís, renovated ONCE, kids). See, if youíll allow me to make a painfully bad metaphor, I hammer and hammer and hammer without ever bothering to STOP and LOOK and MEASURE and PLAN. I am impatient and impulsive and I swear that I AM ALWAYS RIGHT and Sure, I can eyeball that, no need for a ruler. And to continue with the bad metaphor, this apartment is a work in progress. The pictures keep changing and getting moved around, the furniture isnít right, but we are getting there. Last year we had two ugly couches and no table. Now we have a dining room table, and recently acquired chairs, which means we can have friends over for proper sit-down meals. We have stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. We didnít used to. We have a dog and matching towels and pictures on the wall. Now we have wedding photos on the wall, sort of. Itís a work in progress. Itís all a work in progress.


If you looked behind the pictures hanging on my walls, youíd find a lot of mistakes. I canít take back the things Iíve said, Iím not trying to mask them either. But mistakes are part of the process.

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