Diary of a Widower

Daily entries by a husband, who stayed behind with his two sons

Unable to pick… curtains

MONDAY, April 5 – We didn’t argue a lot, Jenn and I. Often the outburst came after a long period of ignoring a problem, bottling up the anger, and voicing reproaches indirectly. Some inconsequential trigger would then lead to a vehement discussion.  About curtains, for example. I couldn’t care less about curtains.

When we moved to Amsterdam in mid-2008, Jenn accused me of not being involved in the process of furnishing the apartment. For months there were no curtains in the living room, bedroom, dining room or bedroom, mainly because I was too lazy to give the problem some thought. It wasn’t my cup of tea and the very idea made me nervous.

She said, ‘All right then.’ Jenn took care of it and was angry with me.

To my relief, our downstairs neighbor recently offered to make curtains for our new apartment. She helped to measure the windows and choose the type of curtains. But when she presented me with a large bag of fabric swatches, so we could take our time choosing the color and material, I panicked.

Not Eamonn.  He had no trouble deciding on the curtains for his own room. The kid has taste.

Sander said: ‘It doesn’t make any difference to me.’  Same here, but we had to choose. I broke out in a cold sweat. Sander was still absorbed in his laptop, pretending he was doing his homework. Eamonn, who lay contentedly on the couch reading a book, was pleased with his choice of fabric and happy to just get on with things.  OK, Overdiek, solve the problem. I called the downstairs neighbor again. Help!

She came upstairs and made various suggestions. But the more options I was presented with, the more difficult it became. Blank, nothing, nada, not a clue.  ‘I’m finding this difficult,’ I stammered.  In more than one respect.  Then I left the room and went up to my bedroom.  Beyond hope, I threw myself on the bed.  I’m a hopeless bungler. Jenn would have known and at that moment I would have given anything to be able to bicker with her over curtains.

Five minutes later I got hold of myself and went downstairs. The neighbor made a few subtle suggestions. Minutes later the problem had been solved,  but what kind of curtains will soon be hanging in our new apartment and what color they are… I still haven’t a clue.  But that’s always better than not having an opinion.

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