We have been married more than three decades. You think you know a person, but the surprises never end.
I turn on the television and the husband says, “On sweet!”
“It’s not the food channel,” I say. “It’s one of those home remodeling shows.”
I am about to flip the channel when he says, “Leave it. Those on sweets are incredible.”
I can tell we aren’t communicating (it isn’t the first time – not even the first time today), so I ask what he is talking about.
“En suite – it’s a large bathroom that joins a bedroom,” he says. “You know.”
I don’t know. And I’m not sure he knows. So I do what anybody does in the face of the unknown – I quietly Google it. The man is right; en suite: so as to form a suite – connected (bathroom en suite). I am stunned. I am not stunned because he is right, but because he is current on bathroom design. I’d thought the only thing the man knows about bathrooms is where to find the clean towels.
“Look at that,” he says. “It’s a rainshower shower head. Nice.” My jaw drops. Who is this man?
“No, no, you’ve got it wrong,” he snaps at the television. “Upgrade the cabinets. It will be worth it.” Then he turns to me and says, “They’re probably looking at about $15,000 right now.” Sure enough a number pops up on the side of the screen saying $14,500. The man is good.
One of our girls calls and asks what we’re doing. “Your father is helping remodel a bathroom on television,” I say. “Interesting,” she says. “I told him we were having tile work done in our bathroom and he estimated the cost within dollars.”
I hang up and ask how he has become an expert in luxury bathrooms. Without looking away – and who can look away when they’re rerouting plumbing, knocking walls down to the studs and unpacking a soaking tub? – he says, “The gym.”
The husband joined the gym a few months ago. He’s lost 10 pounds, lowered his blood pressure 20 points and became a home en suite expert. Turns out he always takes a treadmill in front of the cable news channel and when he grows bored with the news, he switches to the television set next to it, which is HGTV.
“En suite televisions,” I crack. He is not listening because “Love It or List It” is doing a reveal.
“Wonder what it costs to replace old grout,” I say.
“Grout is nothing,” he says. “That’s a small job.”
“Hmm. The upstairs bathroom...”
Just like that, he’s out the door to the gym.
Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.