Paul was on vacation last week. A luxurious time of non-stop projects and all-day banging, sanding, sawing, powerwashing, and twenty-seven trips to Home Depot.
At the beginning of the week, he sat down to make his list of things to do. I was excited, because there was a project I’d been waiting for him to find time for. I must have been hanging around his list-making too eagerly because he looked at me, looked back at his list, and immediately crossed out the first item. He said—hand me that marker. I was delighted! My requirements were getting top billing and in the bold sharpie they deserve. He wrote:
Fortunately for me, this is a dictatorship, and his list is meaningless in the face of my frou-frou wishes.
A month ago I saw this on craigslist.
Paul didn’t even protest the idea of spending good Saturday-project-time driving an hour and trying to figure out how to bring it home in one piece. Which was nice of him. Or he realized the futility and just skipped that step.
There is something about watching your husband climb up on a car roof with an electric drill, to execute a crazy project, which he is not interested in, for no reason other than to make you happy… that fills you with gratitude. Not for the old, empty mirror frame you’re getting, but for the way he sees things. The plan and the competence and the fact that before you left the house he assembled wood, straps, screws, and power tools.
Then we drove home on a five-lane interstate, with me immediately forgetting this is his part of the show and directing—slow down! Slow down!! SLOW DOWN!! He loves this—how I never relinquish the show.
All the way home, I was sure every piece of decorative plaster was going to blow right off. Instead, it was completely fine. It even still had cobwebs on it.
My initial plan was to use it as a headboard. Since the mirror was long gone, I thought I’d do a tufted, upholstered insert in white linen, where the glass was originally. Only, it turned out that the guy we bought it from wildly underestimated the height. To put this over our bed, we’d need way taller ceilings, or to put the mattress weirdly close to the floor.
When we saw it in person, Paul said—there is no way that will fit over our bed. I said—oh no, really? But secretly I was thrilled. Because it would force us to use it as a mirror. And I am a mirror-hoarder. And a mirror-hoarder always knows where her next mirror is going.
The bad part was now we had to get glass… which is an entirely different project.
It sat in our living room for a few weeks. Until we got around to taking it apart and making a template. Turns out the top of the glass is not curved… which is way more sensible than what I was imagining.
We took the measurements to the same guy who did our bathroom mirrors. He cut it and delivered it the same day we took him the template. I was thrilled. Until we went to fit the mirror in the frame… and it was an eighth of an inch too large.
At which point we realized this had been going way too well, and now it was time for the part of any project where the process grinds to a halt and frustration ensues.
Since the mirror was ridiculously cheap, and the guy delivered it for free, and it was 9:30 at night, we weren’t about to demand a refund, or new glass. Instead Paul had to shave the sides of the frame. This was his favorite part.
The next morning, Paul installed a base. The board is screwed to the studs, and supports the bottom of the mirror, so it’s not actually hanging on the wall. It will get secured at the top, but all the weight is supported from the bottom. We’ll use small crown molding to cover the screws, and meet the base of the mirror. I really wanted to use huge, fancy molding, and tried a couple configurations… but this seems to be a rare case where less is more.
Then, since it was seven o’clock in the morning, we couldn’t call anyone to come help lift this thing. Rather than wait, Paul decided to do it himself. He jacked up each side in increments, with me sliding boards, and eventually 5 gallon buckets underneath.
This is one of those things where the entire time you are completely conscious of how it could go horribly wrong. My way of dealing with that awareness is to repeatedly ask Paul if he’s sure this is a good idea. To which he is forced to reply—yes. Even though, obviously? This is not a good idea.
I tried to explain to Paul how this is The. Best. Thing. Ever.
I tried to explain to him how my head was exploding from how much I loved it. And he was like, that’s great, are we done now? I said yes. But I’m actually thinking we need something else here… maybe a fancy light fixture? A small chandelier? A large chandelier? Maybe my bench?
Or… actually a shallow, built-in bookcase would be very nice under there. I will tell Paul you all suggested it, and that I had nothing to do with the idea.
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