Pam Stone | A true test of marriage: 1 room, 5 days

June 15, 2014 

When I watch the national news, I am always staggered by men or women who say, after suffering through a particular event – the details which are often unimaginable – that the crisis somehow brought them even closer to their spouse.

That both humbles and amazes me, as well as inspires me to take notes, because Paul and I have our own perfect storm approaching it and I am wondering if we can possibly weather the crisis.

“Yep, about 5 days,” replied the kindly gentleman of whom we had asked, “How long until we can move back in?” regarding refinishing our floors.

This is something we have put off for ages, mostly because we can’t just get a B&B, somewhere, or a hotel room, with several cats and two terriers, one of which wears diapers. But it’s gotten to the point where the floors, even though I have airily declared them as “rustic,” are now in danger of becoming damaged, and the refinishing, with three layers of industrial protective sealant, is going to take days to dry in this humidity.

“What are we going to do?” I asked, frowning, “Camp in the barn? I guess we can bathe in the wash rack...”

“This might sound crazy,” said Paul, his eyes lighting a shade, “But as we’re having the downstairs done, why not put up a ladder to the upstairs and simply live in the master bedroom while this is going on? We’ve got a bathroom up there, too.”

I stared at him blankly which gave him the idea that I was in full support.

“Think about it,” he continued, excitement rising in his voice, “Since the upstairs bedroom leads out to the back deck, the cats can have their litter boxes out there and we’ll just have to carry the dogs up and down.”

“Bonnie has to pee pretty much every hour,” I reminded him, “You going to lower her, at midnight, in a basket, like Saul, over the wall in Damascus?”

“Well,” Paul waved a hand as if to dismiss any further objections, “We can manage all that.”

“And we’ve got no TV upstairs,” I reminded him.

“So, we’ll read for a few days or look at things on our laptops.”

“Food?” I managed, weakly.

“We can make sandwiches and put them in a cooler,” he replied, throwing down the final gauntlet of common sense.

I had no more excuses. This really was the most cost-effective and responsible way to continue to remain on-site and care for the horses and oversee the project. But would it really be that simple?

“What if I hate you after five days?” I asked, I thought, quite reasonably. “I mean, it is a type of forced captivity.”

Paul blinked. “What am I, the Taliban?”

“No, but I think we’re going to have a whole lot of stress and as you’re the one who always falls dead asleep by 10:00, I just know I’m going to be the one falling off the ladder in the middle of the night and landing on a copperhead.”

In the end, I concurred with the idea and if all goes well, we’ll be exclaiming over our glossy, amber-red floors in the next couple of weeks. And if it doesn’t, I’ll be the one at Urgent Care tending to a snake bite on my bum.

Reach PAM STONE at pammstone@gmail.com.

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