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I am the good cop

There is a tricky dynamic at play in our home. I can’t say for sure if it’s man vs. woman, mars vs. venus, evil vs. good, or simply Hubby #1 vs. Kirsten, but what it comes down to is that under our roof, there is a bad cop (Hubby #1) and there is a good cop (yours truly). This means that if there is a misbehaving child, I negotiate rewards for good behavior and get no reaction, and he can scowl slightly and suddenly rooms are clean, teeth are brushed, and all arguing ceases. Sure there are times when I wish I wielded the power of being the bad cop, but inherently, I dislike the confrontation and I hate to disappoint anyone.

99% of the time, the balance works well. Occasionally though, the system fails miserably. This week was a system failure.

I’m sure we all remember the Great Dining Room Table Search of 2009-2010 and the resulting game of table delivery chicken with Gerard* from Crate and Barrel. Well, I’m happy to share that at long last we decided on a table. Well, what we actually decided was that our ideal table wasn’t out there, so we had it custom made. I know, we’re nuts. And just because we were no longer limited by the design specifications of tables already in existence, didn’t mean that the table acquisition became that much easier. In a way, it made it more complicated. Suddenly we were being confronted with needing to decide details that are already made for you when you buy a pre-made table. How high do you want the table? Uh, regular height. How wide? Um, wide enough to fit pretty centerpieces but not so wide that you have to yell to have a conversation with the person across from you. At long last, after multiple discussions with a furniture maker, one detailed drawing from Hubby #1, and three wood color samples later, the Table of our Dreams was complete.

I arranged for it to be delivered on a Monday (when Hubby #1 was at work). Right on time, the furniture maker and his son arrived at my house. Unfortunately for them, it turned out the be the hottest day of the year. To say the men struggled to get the table up the ten stairs between our driveway and our front door would be an understatement. Each step was agony to them, and I don’t think I’ve seen two people sweat so much before. They carefully placed the table in our dining room and I have to say, I was in awe. It really was everything I ever wanted. It actually made me quite emotional as I explained, with tears in my eyes, to Baby #1 that this would be the table we would be celebrating all the important events of our lives at for ever more. She didn’t seem to get why a piece of wood with legs was so special, but I knew that when Hubby #1 got home that he would share my sentiment. I mean, isn’t having a big dining room table for family and friends to gather part of the American Dream?

Instead, when Hubby #1 got home, he spent about three seconds feeling the love for the table with me, then became fixated on a slight ridge in the table’s finish. After some squinting and adjusting my head, I could see that it was true. With the light a certain way, and holding my head at a certain angle, I too could see the ridge, and I could feel it under my fingers.

“You need to call the furniture maker and ask him to come back and look at this,” Hubby #1 told me.
“What?!? Why me?”
“Because I’m swamped at work all day and you’re here,” he answered.

Crap. He had a good point. So, the next day I called the furniture maker and explained the problem. Then I arranged for him to come back on Saturday, so that Hubby #1 could be there to show him what we were talking about.

On Saturday, he came, and Hubby #1 showed him the slight ridge. He said the only thing he could do would be to take it back to his workshop and refinish the tabletop.

My answer was a resounding, “No, no, no…it’s not that big a deal. We love the table. Thank you for making it. I’m sure we’ll be by to buy lots more furniture from you in the future, and thank you again for coming by to look at it. Would you like a glass of water?”
Unfortunately, before I could get that out, Hubby #1 said, “When can you pick it up?”
“Monday,” was the furniture maker’s answer.

Crap, again. Monday meant that Hubby #1 wouldn’t have to be there…I would. That Monday turned out to be the second hottest day of the year. The furniture maker and his son didn’t seem to have any easier a time getting the table down the ten stairs than they did up. To make matters worse, I had to move my car across the street to clear the driveway for them and as a result, by the time I came back they had started to move the table down the steps which meant that I was trapped in our driveway with nothing to do but stand there watching them struggle and sweat. My guilt was huge. Here I was, the good cop being forced to carry out the bad cop’s orders!

The good news is that I insisted that the table had to be redelivered when the bad cop was on duty. And as luck would have it, I was out getting a lash and brow tint when it came so I didn’t even have to see the furniture maker’s sweaty face. Although, it was a considerably cooler day.

Now, we finally have our beautiful table – although I actually think that minus the ridge it was a tiny bit more beautiful before. Hubby #1 pointed out that I could call the furniture maker to come back and re-do it, but I think we both know that there is no way on earth that that is going to happen – it’s just not what the good cop does.

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