White lung disease

Thursday and Friday were all about sheetrock. Chris the Taper Mudder Guy has pounded up the last hunks of sheetrock around the subpanel, patched the holes upstairs, and patched the big hole in the closet where the subpanel used to be, and taped, corner-thingied, and mudded everything everywhere. He’s also gotten little globs of compound on the cabinets in the dining room, but the stuff is ridiculously fragile and easy to remove (from walls as well as cabinets, I learned ruefully when I mudded my bathroom a few years ago), so I’m not worried about it. Coming up are sanding and remudding and resanding and remudding, and white lung disease for all us inhabitants, and then a round of topping and skip-trowel work, so that the new walls and ceiling match all the old walls and ceilings.

The holes upstairs were from where Jon and George had to pull a new circuit when they were putting in the arc fault circuits that are now required in bedrooms, which they had to bring up to code because they had moved the subpanel to bring it up to code, which they had to do because they’d done anything electrical at all, which they had to do because I didn’t like my old kitchen in the house that Jack built.

Meanwhile, somebody has peeled back more of the carpet to the base of the stairs, since the tiled portion of the foyer is going to reach back to the first step. However, nobody has peeled carpet out of the closet, which will also be tiled, nor the first bit of the hallway. So once again I ask myself, what is efficient about the way these people juggle the jobs, doing bits and snatches of work in one place before running off to the next? Why would you come all the way up to Montclair to peel three square feet of carpet but not peel the other six? I don’t get it.

Thursday afternoon Jon and I took a field trip to see the Granite Guy and the Slate Guy. We started with the Granite Guy, wandering around among the slabs and holding up an alder shelf from my pile of cabinetry to see which went best together. I was pleased that my original choice, uba tuba, looked quite nice with the alder. (Uba tuba, for those of you who nodded off in the previous expositions) is basically a tight-grained granite with little flecks of gray, quartzy-looking stuff, and brassy bits. Granite Guy calls them “gold veins.” Whatever.

Dakota mahogany also caught my eye. That’s a salmony-pink number with swirls of gray and quartzy bits stuff that I have always associated with boulders in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, so even though it’s wildly colorful, it appeals to me. Somewhat disconcertingly, it looked really nice with the alder also, throwing me into doubt. Should I overcome my fear of color and branch out from Basic Black? Granite Guy thought so. He said both are beautiful, but Dakota mahogany would bring out all the colors in the Indian peacock slate I’ve been leaning toward.

From there we went to see Slate Guy, who turns out to be Slate Woman. (I hate “gal,” sorry.) There we gathered up a few representative tiles of Brazilian slate, the stuff Jon’s been recommending, and Multi-Raja, which is what this shop calls the Indian peacock I’ve been wanting. We schlepped these along with the shelf around among THEIR slabs of granite, stopping first at the uba tuba, which went nicely with the Brazilian. Then I noticed a similar but flashier slab a few slabs away: Golden Butterfly, which is basically uba tuba with a lot more gold, and which struck another blow against certainty. The alder and the golden butterfly brought out the gold in each other, and the Brazilian slate and the butterfly brought out the flash in each other. Although I wasn’t so fond of the Brazilian slate’s palette (it’s beautiful, but all those golds and rusts and brownish tones aren’t so much my colors, and the bold contrasts of its colors are definitely outside my stark Scandinavian modern comfort zone), I couldn’t argue with how beautifully the three materials went together.

We wandered around a bit more, searching for Dakota mahogany to no avail. I finally found something similar, and I thought it looked pleasant enough with the Multi-Raja and the alder, but it just didn’t jump out at me the way the other combination had. We wandered back to the uba tuba and agreed it looked great, and then back to the golden butterfly.

I stared at it. Jon stared at it.

I said, “I don’t know, Jon, it just speaks to me somehow.”

“Yeah, it’s kind of speaking to me, too.”

Somehow we both found this puzzling.

Anyway, we’ve more or less decided on the golden butterfly and the Brazilian, even though I like the Multi-Raja slate better and love the Dakota, because the Brazilian, the alder, and butterfly are positively stunning together. So what if Brazilian’s not in my preferred palette? They’re gorgeous together and the others are merely nice. I’m going to have to assume that this is a case where I’m supposed to override my Scandinavian instincts in favor of more color to warm up all the rest of my Scandinavian instincts.

The catch is that Slate Woman only has four slabs (my job needs two for sure, maybe three), and at least two of them are on hold. However, they’ve been on hold since April, so I don’t think they’ll stay on hold past actual money being waved around. Jon would rather buy his granite from Granite Guy, who already bid the job, but Granite Guy doesn’t think he has any of this stuff on hand. He’s going to check his other store in Reno. Presumably Jon is now backing and forthing with Granite Guy and Slate Woman to put a plan together.

My fallback is uba tuba and Brazilian. Dakota mahogany and Multi-Raja are third choice. Come on, you can’t really picture me working at a pink counter, can you?

So get this: in a rare departure from my usual expensive taste, which I swear is unintentional, I have fallen in love with what is considered a lower grade of what is already one of the cheapest granites around.

And get this: I thought this was going to be a short post.