Another Day, Another Swatch (2018 Erma Bombeck winner)

A few weeks ago, my wife Sharon caught me completely off guard with the question that no man wants to hear.

“Honey, don’t you think it’s about time we did something different with the bathroom?”

Now, as your typical guy, I could go years without moving a couch cushion or a magazine, let alone walls.

Immediately, my mind races. Does the toilet flush? Check. Does the faucet still leak? Nope. We fixed that months ago. Is there anything growing in the shower? As far as I can tell, no. I say, “as far as I can tell”, because to me the shower is the most intimate place in our house. It’s the one space where I spend one hundred percent of my time naked and without my glasses. This means that my wife could rent it out to a bunch of hobbits and, as long as they were quiet and kept to themselves, I’d never know until a new Lord of the Rings movie came out featuring an overweight, naked, Irishman.

“So, what do you want to change?”

A couple hours later, I’m in a store filled with color samples, each one ever so slightly more bluish-greenish than the next one. Sharon waves a paint chip under my nose.

“What do you think of this one?”

“I like green.”

“It’s Poseidon.”

“I didn’t recognize him without the trident.”

Sharon rolls her eyes and wanders off muttering under her breath and I do what I always do in these situations. I sit down in a comfy chair off to the side and try to strike up a conversation with the guy next to me who’s engrossed in Facebook on his iPhone while his wife is sifting through hundreds of equally similar, but ever so slightly different, red paint samples.

“What are you in for?”

It soon becomes clear that Sharon has quite the project in mind, moving the toilet, the shower, and inexplicably the ceiling. There will be new fixtures (all with brand names that contain no vowels), new tile (in a color I’d call light yellow, but Sherwin-Williams would probably call something like “sad omelet”), and a home equity loan that makes me weak in the knees.

We have a couple of architect friends do the design work and call a contractor friend to come over to give an estimate. (Why are all our friends employed in making home improvements?) After listening to Sharon spend half an hour describing the project, I finally pop the question to our contractor.

“How much is this going to cost?”

His answer is the classic line from Animal House.

“My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.”

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