Apr 14, 2014 by

I was headed to a conference in south Georgia when I got the call.

I knew who it was going to be without looking at it. The Little Black Dress has an uncanny knack of calling me right after I drive off in the car. Usually it’s to add something to the grocery or whatever list that she forgot to include.

As I mentioned, I was not going to the grocery but a conference. Doubtful there was anything I could pick up for her down there.

“Youngest said I had to call and make sure you are okay with it,” she said. “He thinks you won’t want me to.”

That narrowed it down. “Um, exactly what is ‘it,’” I responded.

“I’ve always hated the rock all around the fireplace and I want to get rid of it,” she responded. Now, I tried to explain to her that was a rather herculean task and we were still working on installing the new floors and she was trying to finish a book and we’ve got to get the yard finished and can we just finish all those things before we start on another project and …

When the LBD gets into “project mode,” it’s best to just get out of the way. One year she got on a gold fetish for Christmas. She was spray painting everything, and I mean everything, gold. I had to hide the dogs.

So I got out of the way. “Have at it,” I said.

Said fireplace remodeling was publicized throughout the various stages on Facebook. Seeing the Little Black Dress with a rather large crowbar is a sight to behold. First the rocks were removed, then plaster applied, and finally, the “faux finish” as those decorator types like to call it.

Throughout it all, friends sent encouraging words, commenting on the Facebook photos.

By the time I got back, The Dress was on the finishing touches. It was impressive. I believe I even used the word “awesome.”

She smiled and went back to bed with a multitude of pain pills. “You were right, it was a bigger project than I thought. I can’t feel my back,” she said.

For some reason, we seem to do these little projects when one of us is away. I remember when we first moved to Alaska there was less than a 1 percent vacancy rate. We literally had three houses in our price range to choose from.

When we entered the house we eventually bought, I went toward the living room. She went toward the bedrooms. In one corner of the living room was a walled-off section with a door. About the size of a large walk-in closet. I opened the door.

“There’s a sauna in the living room,” I said.

“The toilets and tubs are avocado,” she replied.

At least the shag carpet was gone.

The Dress was not exactly excited about the “sauna in the living room” motif. A few months after moving in, she left town for a few days. I called over a friend, and with a couple of sledgehammers, we took that thing out and did it without putting our eyes out.

When she returned, the electricians were finishing up getting rid of the old outlets and lava stove.

I believe she used the word “awesome.” I just smiled and went back to bed with my pain meds.


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