Kent and I wallpapered last night and we're still speaking.
Of course we only put up three pieces.
Kent's doing a remodel in the basement. He's creating a Man Cave. It's going to have a projector and a big screen, space for the ping pong table (which I'll be happy to move out of the living room), and a huge map of the world. He ordered the map online from National Geographic. It's actually wallpaper. It came in three sections. Last night we put it up. I was a little nervous when he asked me to help him. I've heard that wallpapering together can mean the end of an otherwise happy marriage.
I was a little worried because Kent and I are classic miscommunicators. Sometimes we just don't get what the other one of us is talking about. Over the years, we have had to learn how to deal with this.
"This map is really cool. It goes on just like wallpaper only it has this feature built in so that you can line up the seams perfectly without any overlap. You lay one piece over the other and then you take something really sharp and you make a cut," Kent said.
Hmm. But how do you...? I tried to picture what he was saying. I pictured us ruining the wallpaper map.
But rather than say anything, I sighed audibly and stared at him.
This is how we deal with our miscommunicating. The audible sigh, the silence, and the stare means,
"We're doing it again."
"We're doing it again."
"You don't get what I'm saying, do you?" he asked me.
"No, I don't," I told him.
"Look," he said. "See how on this piece, you have all of the word Boston? And on this piece you have Boston over as far as the letter s?"
"Yes, so you can overlap and line it up exactly. But you said they're not going to overlap."
"They're not. You have to cut some off after you put it up."
I looked at him, didn't say a word, and sighed audibly.
I was picturing what I thought he was saying, and I was seeing him overlap the wallpaper, line it up perfectly, and then cut it and ruin it. How do you cut it? The wallpaper is on the wall. It's lined up perfectly. You cut it, you ruin it, right?
" Okay, just watch and you'll see."
We'd already succeeded in getting the middle section of the world on the wall. We'd smoothed it out, pushing the air bubbles out one side and the other. It looked pretty good.
It was time for the big overlap that wasn't going to overlap.
I watched, and helped. We placed the western-most section over the middle section, carefully overlapping to line up the letters in Boston and the letters in lots of other place names and the lines of latitude. The wetness of the wallpaper paste kept the paper pliable as we moved it around on the wall. We got the bubbles out. With this section we were also dealing with an outlet. We had a little problem with wrinkles at the bottom.
Then it was time for the big cut. Kent got out the razor blade and I shut my eyes and held my breath.
He was cutting right along the eastern-most edge of the western-most piece, through the middle piece. Then he did something he hadn't told me he was going to do. He peeled back the eastern-most edge of the western-most section and removed the strip of the middle section that was now severed from its main body.
He never told me he was going to do that.
Then he replaced the part he peeled back. The two sections abutted beautifully. Then he took this little seam roller and rolled it all nice and smooth.
"You never told me you were going to peel back what you already stuck down," I said.
If he had told me he was going to peel back part of what was already stuck down, I'd have understood.
But all is good. We completed placement of the eastern-most section of the world. It worked out just as well as the western-most. Again, a few wrinkles toward the bottom, but only people with bad manners would notice.
The important thing is that we're still married.
So how do you wallpaper together and stay married? It's all in the communication skills. You just sigh audibly, don't say a word, and stare at the other person.