Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chest Thumping

I told almost everybody that I knew that I was going to make some built-in bookshelves in our living room. I told my brother Jim I was going to build book shelves to rival the ones he did in his house. I told my brother Dan I was going to craft an impressive set of shelves that would make him and his expert do-it-yourself-Mr.-fix-it attitude proud. I told my neighbor, Mr. Jones, that I was going to build a book case and that I may need to borrow his manly saw that he uses on all of his awesome projects.

I told everyone I was going to build a built-in book shelf unit. I may have even thumped my chest a few times.

I told Lauren I would have the dining room (completed around 12/16)and the living room finished with their re-dos by Christmas. The Saturday before, 6 days prior to the deadline, I was ready to start the final phase of the living room. I was going to build book shelves (thump thump thump). Lauren was going to keep the kids occupied, I was going to spend the whole weekend sawing, cutting, hammering, painting and screw gunning (thump thump).

Earlier in the week Lauren and I spent an hour hand selecting the planks of finished pine, furring strips and trim. We purchased just enough to complete the design Lauren had wanted. My first order of business was to go to Mr. Jones' and use his saw. He helped me cut the 8 foot pieces of pine to the desired height I would need for the wall sides. We talked about the project and my ideas for framing the 12 inch wide shelves. He nodded in approval and told me to come back if I needed any more precision cuts. I thanked Mr. Jones and hoisted the cut planks on my shoulder and walked back to my house (thump thump).

At home I used my table top mitre saw to cut the furring strips, used for support, down to the size of the shelves. I cut two 6 foot furring strip boards into eight inch pieces (thump thump). As I started to assemble the frame of the shelves Lauren popped her head into living room.

"What are you doing?' she asked.

"Framing the shelves."

"Why are the furring strips so small?"

"I decided to cut them like this so it will support the shelf."

"Yes. But the shelf is 12 inches wide." She pointed out.

"Yeah. So?"

"You cut the strips to 8 inches. The strip is supposed to support the entire width of the shelf. Besides we bought just enough wood to do the project the way we discussed."

"Yes, but by cutting it shorter I saved on the wood." I said with confidence, throwing some basic but semi-fake math in her face.

"Yes, but by cutting it shorter we now will have a bunch of smaller pieces for the back support, instead of one piece that goes all the way across." She said with confidence throwing real math and geometry back in my face.

"So?" Was the only response I could muster.

"So?" Lauren asked. "It will look stupid." She answered herself.

"It won't look stupid. Who is going to notice?"

"I will."

I gave her a dirty look.

Lauren changed to a softer tone. "Listen Bill, maybe I should take over this project."


"I just know that I could do a better job." Lauren said without any inclination she was going to thump her chest.

"What?" I repeated. I was offended.

"I am going to finish this job." She said.

"Look I made a mistake. It is no big deal. I can do this."

"No. I think it would be better if I did it."

I was hurt. "Fine. They didn't cover this when I went to carpenter college. Oh that's right, I didn't go to fucking carpenter college. "

"Neither did I Bill." Lauren snapped back. "But I know how to measure and cut."

She had a point.




I packed up the kids and spent the rest of the day, the weekend really, taking care of them. There would be no more macho chest thumping that weekend. Before.



It took me a couple of days to nurse my bruised ego. Now I have to tell everyone that, not I, but my wife, built the book shelves.

I love my wife. She can build killer book shelves. I am proud of her (thump thump).


Anonymous said...

your wife did this!!!! I'm impressed! KUDOS to her!

Nilbo said...

Awesome. I believe that while thumping her chest is probably a bad thing, doing SOMETHING to her chest is an appropriate reward. For you. For checking your testosterone at the door.

C. said...

Nice job, Lauren.

eclectic said...

Please schedule your next vacation to Washington, and bring Lauren's tools. As far as we're concerned, you can both build our sure-to-be gorgeous shelves. You can negotiate during the trip which of you is to thump whose chest upon completion.

Shannon said...

WOW!!!! A lesser man wouldn't have had the balls to hand the reins over, even if he knew he was screwing up the job royally. Good job, Bill!!! Can you send Lauren to my house next? I've got a bathroom remodel for her to tackle. Oh, wait, bathroom begats are your job, aren't they? Never mind. :o)

Alisha said...

Seriously, if things don't work out, I'm gonna snatch her up in a second!

Anonymous said...

Wow, those look fantastic. How does one learn to make those/get the plans?

Anonymous said...

The left one is about a half inch lower than the right one.

Sharkey said...

Wow--looks great!

Anonymous said...

Oh, it takes a VERY big man to be so awesome when it comes to this! Good for you! Your wife is a very lucky woman!

Anonymous said...

I wouldnt even know where to start!

Of course some may think it was how you planned it.......like the way my hubby doesn't iron things very well knowing that it drives me insane and I will finish it myself...????

Love the colour of the walls though.

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to show my husband this post, because a)he barely passed his carpentry class in college and I've got the shelves to prove it, and b)Lauren's got Skillz that make me jealous.

Congratulations to both of you for making this project turn out beautifully!

Stacey said...

I see Ugly Chair made a comeback to the living room from the dining room.

Melinda said...

Lovely book shelves. Listen, she could not have done it if you hadn't entertained and watched the children.
Way to go Bill and Lauren. That is real team work.
(I think your wife may have some real skills you can pimp. lol!)

SciFi Dad said...

Is there something wrong with your wife's chest that you don't want to thump it?

Anonymous said...

I am singing Chest Thumping to the tune of REM's Night Swimming

Susie said...

Lauren is the MAN! (I say that with the utmost admiration.) And it takes a very thump-worthy man (that would be you) to step aside and let the wife do the job. My husband and I would both like to have a wife like Lauren! We're still up to our elbows in getting our house project done by New Year's Eve!
I still don't understand what furring strips are, but they sound really nice.

WILLIAM said...

My wife read this and said, "Bill, I don't think you know what furring strips are."

I said "It doesn't matter".

She says it does.

Furring strips are small pieces of wood used as a backing to support a flat finnished surface of a wall. I am using the term furring strip as a small piece of wood used as a support for a shelf.

cryitout! said...

very nice job and color choice, too! well done.

GadgetGirl said...

I think she may need to consider a new career! Very impressive.

Cole said...

Looks great. Maybe next year, you should let her run your fantasy football team.

Anonymous said...

Are you going to put books on the shelves?

for a different kind of girl said...

I'd like to hire Lauren to come fix the cabinet re-hang my husband did in our laundry room. The one where he attached a giant block of wood under the cabinets and when I noticed him doing it, cried a little bit, as I am wont to do when he takes on these types of home improvement/repair projects. He also pulled out the "Who is going to see it?" card and I responded with the "I will!" card, so, you know, I think that kind of think is just natural when tools are in play.

And honestly, I notice that block of wood EVERY TIME I'm in the laundry room.

Elly Lou said...

I am incredibly attracted to your wife at this moment. Yowza. Nice furring strips.

Anonymous said...

a) Well now we know you don't wear pants at home - Lauren does.

b) Lauren is a control freak - 8 inch is plenty

c) White colored cabinet outside girls' room and toilets is ugly - I bet you don't get to keep any of your stuff on the shelf.

DoThat4U said...

Lauren is a stud!! Shelves and paint job are beautiful. You are pretty fucking cool for allowing her to take over and reporting it to others and then boasting your pride in her success and you are funny as shit. So glad I could stop by and swear all over your blog.

PS~i totally heart lauren!!

James (SeattleDad) said...

Great Job Lauren. You sound a lot like Mrs. LIAYF. She often wants to take over projects so that they get done 'right'.

Happy New Year.

Stacy Uncorked said...

AHAHAHAHA! I love it!

This is the exact scenario that would happen in my house. Hubby's the electronic engineer but I'm the one that knows how to measure and cut. ;)

The transformation to the living room is beautiful and inspiring! Well done! :) Happy New Year! :)

James said...

I don't think I could have given up control. Even if I knew the results would look this good. And even though I don't know the first thing about building bookshelves.

Ali said...

Looks amazing, Lauren!

DoThat4U said...

I left you an optional award. Come get it if you like.

The Absence of Alternatives said...

OMG. Kudos to both you and your wife! On that note, I think I am in love with her.

Bogart said...

Holy Carpenter Batman...

Not only did your wife do a good job with the shelves, she did an amazing job putting you back in your place...You know, dusting the shelves that she built.

Do you do that while wearing a French Maid's outfit? Can you post a picture?