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Let’s talk for a minute about household decorating. While this rule hasn’t been written before, I think it’s time someone did write this down. I won’t speak for all men, but I think I speak for enough of them when I say this: We don’t care that much.
No, really. We don’t. You can attempt to get an answer out of us, and if we’re pressed, we’ll give you one. But the truth is that we really don’t care that much about the way the house is decorated. As long as you aren’t doing the living room in pink chiffon, we’re OK.
I say this because this past week, “we” redid the hall bathroom. By “we” I mean that I pulled off the wallpaper, scraped it down, washed the walls for the remaining glue, took down all of the towel racks, pictures, mirrors, medicine cabinet, and anything else on the wall, spackled, re-caulked, and painted two coats. Sue picked out the paint and put stuff back, and the kids cleaned up the piles of discarded wallpaper. This is why “we” get the credit.
The spackling became the point of contention. I needed to know what holes got spackled over and what ones stayed. Obviously, the holes for the sliding mirrors had to stay, and so did the ones for the towel racks, but what about the others? In this bathroom, we had a pair of elaborate metal candle holders with glass sconces, one on either side of the mirrors. Did Sue want them back up or didn’t she? I certainly didn’t know, and for a while, neither did she.
Evidently, on important issues like bathroom wall sconces, I am the deciding vote. The problem is that (say it with me, now) I don’t really care that much. Keep the sconces, lose the sconces, sell the sconces on eBay, toss them in the trash, whatever. I. Don’t. Care.
I’m not saying this to be mean or hurtful. I just don’t spend a lot of time considering the way one of our bathrooms is decorated. I’m just as happy to put them back up or to cover up the holes and pretend they never existed. Either way, once I’m done with that part of the job, I won’t think about them again for the next, oh, rest of my life.
Again, I won’t speak for all the men, but it comes down to this: we really haven’t thought about anything like that much at all in our lives. We don’t have an opinion, but we do generally want to have a peaceful, quiet house. So when you put us on the spot like that, we don’t want to give you our opinion, we want to give you the one you want. We don’t know what that is, and when you don’t know what it is either, we know that anything we say is going to be wrong.
So please stop asking. Make your decision and stick with it. And avoid pink chiffon.
• Steve Honeywell is a father and sometime stay-at-home dad. He teaches at Rasmussen College in Rockford and is a freelance writer and proofreader.