Certain phrases are guaranteed to inspire terror in the human heart. These include:
“I think I just heard a noise downstairs.”
“I don’t like the look of that CAT scan.”
“We’re out of vodka.”
And, perhaps most horrible of all:
“It’s time to remodel the bathroom.”
These last words were muttered by yours truly late one afternoon as I stood gazing at the master bathroom of our house in Vieques.
As a whole, the house looked terrific. This was hardly a surprise considering that we had replaced, repaired or generally updated every square inch of the place from top to bottom—with the exception of the upstairs bathroom.
This seeming oversight wasn’t because we were in love with the bathroom’s original décor. To be honest, ceramic tiles embellished with diagonal gray stripes and tiny pink roses aren’t our idea of tropical chic.
We just hadn’t gotten around to it.
But standing in the shower a few minutes after my epiphany staring at the pink roses, I realized that one of us had to go—and it wasn’t going to be me.
Gingerly, I broached the topic with Michael.
“You know, this place is looking great,” I commented out of nowhere later that night as we sat in the great room reading.
He looked up from his book and glanced around the space briefly. “Sure is,” he said, returning to his story.
I leapt to my feet and nervously straightened a picture on the wall.
“Except…” I began.
He kept reading.
“With the exception of, um, you know…”
His eyes never left the page.
“The one part we haven’t gotten to…”
“The bathroom,” he said quietly, putting down his book with an air of ominous patience. “You think it’s time to re-do the bathroom.”
“Oh well,” I muttered evasively, not quite knowing how to proceed. I had imagined steering the conversation in stately procession from Points A to B to C, but suddenly it had careered from A to Z Minus with lightning speed.
“I wouldn’t put it quite like that,” I huffed self-righteously.
He flicked some imaginary lint from the front of his polo shirt. “Then how would you put it?”
I racked my brain for another point of entry, but nothing sprang to mind—except the truth. “I hate those pink roses.”
He smiled. “Okay, then let’s get rid of them.”
Oh my god, I said to myself, that was ridiculously easy. And in the heat of the moment I decided to go for broke. “How about a new shower?” I soldiered on.
“Sure, why not?” he countered, smiling almost as broadly as before.
“And a new vanity?” There was no stopping me now.
“Fine,” he agreed, the left corner of his mouth twitching slightly.
“Wow, that’s great!” I exclaimed, grinning idiotically at my run of good luck.
Without another word he went back to his book.
I, on the other hand, was too excited to read. Instead I decided to celebrate the moment with a small cocktail.
“While we’re at it, how about that pool you’ve been wanting?”
I could hardly believe my ears—had I accidentally drifted into some parallel universe in which even my wildest dreams were destined to be fulfilled?
“What about it?” I replied, positively drooling with excitement.
“We can’t afford it.”
Make that a double.