Friday, June 17, 2011

The mostly-true story of how quarter round almost ended our relationship.

The Players:
PERCOCET JILL (PJ): Having lifted a 5-gallon bucket of primer out of her car and wrenched her back, this Jill is on heavy painkillers.
IBUPROFEN JILL (IJ): Well into her recovery, this Jill is taking only ibuprofen but is still in pain and is highly irritable.
DBF: Incredibly patient and level-headed love of Jill's life.
VOICE OF REASON (VoR): Jill's magnificent mother.

Scene 1: In which Percocet Jill starts trouble.
DBF: We need to paint the baseboards. We should pull up the shoe molding.
PJ: Can we reuse it? It'll cost a lot to replace it all, won't it?
Baseboard and quarter-round.
DBF: It's really not that expensive to replace.
PJ (in "my word is final" voice): We need to reuse it.

***  2 weeks pass, DBF has painstakingly removed and labeled 7/8 of the existing quarter round. ***

Scene 2: In which Ibuprofen Jill has no memory of Percocet Jill's decision.
[sound of wood splintering]
IJ: What was that?
DBF (seething): I broke it.
IJ (soothingly): It's okay, it's not like we're reusing this.
[DBF turns to look at IJ, daggers shooting from his eyes.]
DBF: What?
IJ (hesitantly): We're not reusing this. We're replacing it, aren't we?
[DBF exits house.]

*** 1 week passes, DBF has begun the new quarter round installation. ***

Scene 3: In which a hammer is not the right tool for the job and the miter box is under utilized.
Miter box
DBF: Where's the Dremel?
IJ: Why do you need the Dremel?
[DBF points to the half dozen bent nails in the brand new quarter round.]
IJ: Oh. [looks around] Did you miter the ends?
DBF: [points to corner, rolls eyes] Yes.
IJ: No, I mean where they overlap. Look, right here. [points to where bookcase will reside and no one will ever see the molding] Why didn't you miter the overlap? It hides the seam better and this, well, it doesn't look very good. Didn't you know to miter the overlap?
DBF: I do now.
IJ (quietly): Should we redo it?
DBF: No. Now where's the Dremel?

*** 2 weeks pass. IJ's criticism combined with DBF's frustration of bent nails and dented quarter round has brought the project to a screeching halt. ***

Scene 4: In which Ibuprofen Jill vents to Voice of Reason.
Mitered overlap
[phone conversation]
IJ: I don't understand why it's taking so long, it's just a little bit of quarter round blah blah complain blah blah...
VoR (trying to interject): Jill...
IJ: blah blah complain blah complain complain blah...
VoR (yelling): JILL!
IJ: Yeah?
VoR: This has gone on long enough. I'm sending you your father this weekend.

A few days later, Jill's dad shows up, nail gun in hand. Somewhat miraculously, and with a little refereeing from Jill's dad, in one afternoon DBF and Jill complete the project that had lingered for weeks. Their relationship manages to survive and they have learned the following:

  1. Do not reuse floor molding.
  2. Miter, miter, miter.
  3. A nail gun, not a hammer, is the right tool for the job.
  4. It's really not worth fighting about.


  1. LOL... I found your "mostly-true" story when I was taking a break from my quarter round removal task (we're getting new flooring put in). Buying fresh baseboards but reusing the quarter round. I hope I will survive ....

  2. Oh that drives me crazy when people "don't remember" something they said or did before. YOU remember. It's just a schtick that people do for emotional control over others by jerking them around.

    And he should have known to miter the overlap. But asking "Didn't you know...?" is clearly a kill-joy button pusher because obviously he didn't.