Thursday, March 24, 2011


It’s eight in the morning, ninety minutes before the start of class for me and Ed and I are at Home Depot studying floor boards.
I want you to consider hickory – he tells me.
We need to buy floor boards for two room that are currently floorless. It’s tricky because the rooms feed into the living room, which does have a floor – of mixed wood specimens. It’s maple here, Andy tells us, and oak there.
So... why aren’t we buying oak? I ask Ed.

Too straightforward. The farmhouse floors are variegated.

I’m not convinced. The hickory is so variegated it makes your head spin.

hickory to the right

After the last class for the day I head for the construction mess at the farmhouse. Andy is there. So is his grandson. Ed’s tampering with the electricals. We convene downstairs to study the floor issue.

DSC06428 - Version 2

Isn’t hickory like having a zebra in the room?
Why not?
Zebras are black and white. These floor boards aren’t black or white.

And we continue in this way. If not about floor boards then it's the walls or ceilings or closets.

My head is spinning. The crew leaves. Ed and I continue to work – or, rather he works and I pass tools, screws and track bits.


And now it’s nearly dusk. I'm longing to sit for a few minutes (hours?) in a space that hasn't a thick layer of construction dust. Finally, Ed's ready to let go and head back to the condo for dinner. We walk to the old Ford with the red tape for a fender. I reach inside to open the hatch. Hmm. Hatch opener is not working. I slam the door shut and, in response, the lock slips down into a locked position. The key is inside. Ed, the thief extraordinaire, breaks into the car, retrieves the key and hands it to me.

At the condo I reheat soup from yesterday. Ed microwaves stale bread, I add a salad.

So, hickory over red oak?
Yes, sure. Funny how at the end of the day, lines blur, and things that appeared so monumentally important just a few hours back now seem trivial and benign. Zebra like? Sure. With ginger cabinets.