Part I: The Man of Many Names
Ever since I started writing this blog I have referred to my husband as “Robert” even though I never call him that personally. I would never say, for instance – “Robert. We’re going to be late. Are you ever going to be ready?! Or – “Robert! The phone’s for you!” Or “Goodnight Robert”. It sounds phony to my ears just writing it.
I suppose it all started with “Bob”. And at this point I don’t really remember, but I must have called him Bob a bit in the beginning.
But my first husband was a Bob and so it just seemed unnatural to use that epithet again. And right off the bat, over 35 years ago, my son, Kevin adapted his own name for the second Bob. He began by teasing me – saying “Mother, are you going to be spending the weekend with That Man again?” And that immediately became T.M. Silly, I know, but it was one of those crazy, oddball occurances that for whatever reason just stuck. And I began to call him T.M. And my daughter and mother began to call him T.M. And many of our friends only know him as T.M. In fact, certain people seem to have come to the conclusion that his name is “Tim”, but that’s few and far between.
So now we’re up to four names – Bob, Robert, T.M. and occasionally Tim. But then there is Poker World, as he calls it, where he is known and even affectionately called R.C., which stands for his first two initials standing in for Robert Caldwell. And that got me confused for a time, when I heard an unknown man’s voice over the phone asking for Arcey? Huh? Sorry, wrong number.
I know that a name is important. It stamps your personality onto your public face. In fact, back in early April I wrote in a posting called “What’s in a Name?” the following sentiments –
“It only stands to reason that names must be of the ultimate importance when you consider that many religious traditions require that the true name of God NOT be spoken . That gives some credence to my belief. And consider the doors and worlds that could be opened just by uttering “Sesame” or “Rumplestiltskin” Certainly our names tend to define us. Just how far ahead do you think Bernie Swartz or Archibald Leach would have gotten in Hollywood if they had kept their birth monikers”?
I went on to lament how our immigrant grandparents had their names willy-nilly changed for them and to further decry the fact that I was supposed to be given a family name – Kerstin, which I would have much preferred over this popular song intervention I was stuck with. So I “get it” that this man with many names is protesting the use I have been propagating by referring to him as Robert. Recently I tried to correct my error by announcing that henceforth he would be referred to as “Bob” – a name he definitely prefers and one which is used by most relatives on both sides of the aisle. But I can’t do it. Sorry. I might as well call him Rumplestiltskin or Bernie Swartz.
So this is what I propose. Henceforth – I will call him AND refer to him as T.M. Simple as that. And YOU can call him Bob or Tim or whatever you are comfortable with, and that’s just fine, but now we will be clear on the nomenclature.
Part 2: “DONE!”
So – T.M. and I recently had a difference of opinion on the meaning of the word “done”. When we initially made an agreement that concerned how necessary it was to complete just one area in this remodeling/reconstruction mess, we evidently failed to elaborate and confirm to one another our individual understanding of the term, “done”. That is why the Grumpy Room has now become the Interminable Room. Yes, it is majorly cleaned up, has a new hanging and linen closet (minus the doors) and one bookcase (still needs two) and a computer desk (very happy about that) but still lacks other shelving, rug, drawing/office table, cozy chairs and lamps and pictures on the wall.
He, it seems, thought that it could be called done when he got his mess cleaned up and so he moved right on to opening up the wall in the kitchen for the refrigerator.
And of course, that went right from being another Interminable Room to an Intolerable Room the day the switch on the shop vac accidently got switched from vacuum to blower! But I am glad to report that I now am “done” with rewashing every dish, pan, utensil and kitchen surface in that space.
So the work goes on and we’ve communicated a bit better and even moved back upstairs. Soon I will have pictures to show of the “done” bedroom which is near completion and in the mean time, I have my sacred space and it’s done.